The American Idol theme last night was “Songs from the Year You Were Born” and we can think of about ten thousand songs we would have preferred to hear instead of the dreck that was sung last night. We were surprised by how much we liked hearing Allison Iraheta‘s version of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and we give credit to Adam Lambert for making the best song choice of the night with “Mad World” but we still don’t like that guy and ain’t nothing gonna change that. Here are a few things we did like:
5. Simon’s Standing O – Undeserved, We Think.
The best thing about the last fifteen minutes of Idol lately is that the judges have to rush through their critiques and give quicker-than-normal notes on a performance, like Kara DioGuardi saying to second-to-last performer Matt Giraud “Incredible on every level! Unbelievable!” and not trying to get poetic and verbose as she often does. So we were kind of shocked at Simon Cowell who chose critiqued Adam Lambert by simply saying “Words aren’t necessary, I’m just going to give you a standing ovation.” Simon, if he had the time, may have wanted to ask what, exactly, Adam did in that song that was so innovative or different from the version sung by Gary Jules for the Donnie Darko soundtrack. The song was written originally by Tears for Fears whose version was kind of uptempo-new wave, but then it was covered by Jules who uh, Adam basically ripped off. We still love the song and think it was a great oasis in a desert of blah song choices, but if you’re going to call something karaoke, this was it.
During the results shows, we always feel a little bad for the contestants since their flaws are re-pointed out for the purpose of bringing everyone up to speed, and then we feel bad for being critical too. While we tend to flip-flop our support for Anoop Desai and Matt Giraud, we do stand by our criticisms of Megan Joy, and finally this week America also seemed to get sick of her too. Anoop and (for some unknown reason) Allison Iraheta were also in the bottom three (seriously America, what’s your beef with Allison?), but poor Megan was sent home to weepily reunite with her baby and caw softly to him to her heart’s content. Some of our other favorite moments follow.
5. The Get-Along Gang
During the “What do these guys do all week?” video we learned a lot about what goes on at their Hollywood mansion – a chef comes in and makes Scott MacIntyre special chocolate cake, Kris Allen practices his sexyface in the mirror, and everyone gets along. There’s a lot of hugging and laughing at the mansion. These guys like each other so much that they do impressions of each other and the songs they’ve all sung. Trust us when we say that we once learned the hard way that doing what you think is a hilarious impression of a friend can lead to severed ties, so we’re impressed that these guys are so good-natured about it. Ryan made them all do some of the impressions on stage, with Matt Giraud and Allison Iraheta impersonating a riff-happy Danny Gokey and Anoop impersonating a yelly Kris Allen. Awkward much?
Last night on American Idol, it was more about the hair than the music. Because if nothing else, the hair was more entertaining. It’s getting pretty easy to start weeding contestants out (we’re going to make a prediction that the final four will be Allison Iraheta, Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey and Kris Allen), because basically everyone has had a dud by this point, but some people haven’t recovered from those duds. There was no official theme for the show this week, the contestants could sing any songs that are popular on the iTunes download list, new or old. No mentors to glean important, historic lessons from either. There weren’t many highlights last night but here are a few moments that stood out for us:
5. All About The Hair
Everyone was rocking a new or improved ‘do last night. Megan Joy had a weird braidy-dreadlocky thing happening as an homage to her Bob Marley song, Allison Iraheta had the pink version of Tina Turner’s 1980’s wig, Scott MacIntyre was introduced to pomade before being given a ride in a convertible, Lil Rounds got a sleek new wig, and Adam Lambert kept his Elvis pompadour even though he was singing disco. All in all, we were focused on the follicles more than anything else this week – seems the contestants knew that we’d need something to distract us from their singing.
Every week, the musical genre is supposed to “belong” to one or two specific contestants. Last week people figured Michael Sarver and his Texan oil-rigging ways would kill the country genre, but his performance was a barely intelligible, only just-good-enough performance. This week was Motown week with special mentor Smokey Robinson, and Kara DioGuardi said to Lil Rounds, “This was your week – if you don’t nail it, well, I don’t know.” Sure, plenty of stereotypes play into these assumptions (“Lil, you’re black, please represent Motown”), but the interesting thing is that they haven’t proven to be true yet and there’s always a surprising outcome and elimination as a result. We always figured Allison Iraheta would be a likely candidate to win heavy metal week, but who knew Motown would be her thing? Her performance was one of the best moments of the night, here are the rest (plus photos).
5. The One Trick Ponies
Ever since “Mandolin Rain,” our problem with Scott MacIntyre is that he seems to Bruce Hornsbify all his songs. He has talent, yet somehow all his songs take on a bland, generic feeling. By contrast, Megan Joy was a fruit basket short of getting a job at the Copacabana last night – she was dressed somewhere between a Delia’s catalog model and Carmen Miranda, and despite that, her looks were the only thing the judges could compliment her on. When Paula Abdul told her, “Megan, your stunning beauty takes my breath away,” Simon Cowell retorted “It’s not Top Model.” Megan’s warble did no favors to Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life” and Randy Jackson even went to far as to call it a trainwreck. It’s clear by now that Megan and Scott can’t win this competition because each of them is a one-trick pony. While Scott’s trick is being inoffensive and soft-rock-y, Megan’s is that she makes us wish our hearing would disappear.
Turns out America doesn’t give a crap about you no matter how uplifting your English as a Second Language backstory is or how many gorgeous sisters you have back in Mississippi. The two finalists sent home last night on American Idol‘s first finals results show were Jorge Núñez and Jasmine Murray who proved they just couldn’t satisfy America’s taste for the King of Pop. Pack your bags and say goodbye to the insane Hollywood mansion we got a glimpse of last night, kids. No more black light bowling or steam room for you guys. As sad as their departures may be, we still found five choice moments to discuss.
5. The Judges’ Save
After announcing that Jorge was eliminated from the competition, Ryan Seacrest told him “I’m going to have you sing while the judges chat,” presumably about whether or not Jorge deserved “The Judges’ Save,” which is the new twist to season 8. Seacrest explained that the judges would allow one “save” this season in case someone they thought was worthy needed a second chance after being voted off. There will be only one save, it must be unanimous, and the week after the save, two people will be eliminated to make up for it. We LOVE that Ryan even bothered to tell us that during Jorge’s performance the judges would “deliberate” in case they deemed him save-worthy, because while Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell appeared chatty, uh, Paula Abul and Kara DioGuardi not so much. Paula was on her feet the whole time. But of course we know Paula expresses herself through dance.
Aside from the over-the-top entrance by the judges at the top of the show, and the obvious sale on glitter at Sally Beauty Supply (it was swept liberally across all the girls’ eyes, Kara DioGuardi‘s arms and Paula Abdul‘s upper half — where she wasn’t enveloped in plumage), there wasn’t a lot of flash in last night’s American Idol. Considering the show was devoted to Michael Jackson, a man known for his sequins and sparkle, it was kind of a bummer. The big question is why would anyone sing a lesser-known Michael Jackson song? The man has 13 number one singles, why couldn’t each contestant take one? We’re looking at you, Scott MacIntyre. Here are five moments we loved from last night’s show.
5. The Battle of the Backstories
Our first favorite moment was actually several, let’s call it the battle of the backstories. We’ve run hot and cold on some contestants, but seeing their families root them on melted our hearts a little. We saw a lot of hardships being endured and a lot of familial love, like Scott MacIntyre, who has a sister who is also visually impaired, Lil Rounds‘ family of five, displaced due to a tornado, Megan Joy Corkrey and Alexis Grace‘s babies, and Jorge Núñez who even went so far as to say that since the death of his grandfather, his being on the show has helped his family stay together. No pressure there, America. While we learned something new about many of the contestants (Kris Allen is married? He and his wife have matching aprons???) the real question is will any of this have an impact on the voting?
During last night’s results show, three lucky (some would say very lucky) singers made it to the finals. Some of our predictions from yesterday came true and some did not. It seems that America loves an underdog (a Michael Sarver, if you will) and last night’s Michael Sarver was, inexplicably, Kris Allen. We did not see that coming. The one obvious choice, Allison Iraheta, made it through with no complaints from us, but of the two men who made it through in this competition, one could be an extra on Gossip Girl and the other could be an extra in The Unofficial and Unnecessary Story of Pete Wentz, and neither will beat Danny Gokey. We also learned we’re pretty crappy at making predictions.
“It’s too late for advice now,” Simon Cowell ominously responded when Ryan Seacrest asked if any of the judges had a nugget of wisdom for this round of contestants. This week’s performances included a couple of seasoned performers, two single mothers, two high school students, a Norman Gentle, and a guy who has Kate from Jon and Kate Plus 8’s hair, only his is black. (But seriously Adam Lambert, the good news is that dogs across the neighborhood finally got a version of “Satisfaction” that they could hear properly, so thank you, feel free to retire now.)
5. Norman Gentle Rides Again
Much as we want Norman Gentle to stick around, we don’t think he’ll be here forever. As Ryan said after Norman groped the American Idol signage, “That’s the first time a contestant has gone to second base with our logo.” We loved his performance because he basically used the song “And I Am Telling You” to tell us he was not going. We love that as soon as he sang the words “I’m not going,” he knocked on plastic too. Plastic is just as good as wood in Norman’s world. He’s quirky and weird and yes, we agree with Paula that this isn’t the right stage for him, but we’d love to get a few more performances out of the guy to see how far he can get. Also, he called Simon “Sassy-pants.”