Everything went according to plan on Idol last night. Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds were out, Matt Giraud stayed in, and the other four had nothing (almost nothing, anyway) to worry about. And now that the Judges’ Save is used up, there’s none of that fun “Sing for your life!” business anymore to humiliate the contestants. Still, the show had a healthy dose of guest appearances and crazy outfits last night (OMG did you guys see Ryan Seacrest‘s outfit?? He went tie-clip commando!) that made it all worth it.
So obviously Lil Rounds will get eliminated this week, that’s just common sense. The judges have it out for the poor woman. But after we so boldly proclaimed last week that Matt Giraud, despite his Judges’ Save, would get the boot this week, we’re not so sure anymore. Even though the judges were tepid about his metaphorical “Stayin’ Alive” performance, we liked it more than a lot of the other songs. At this stage of the game, we’re think Anoop Desai and his Pepto-pink vest will join Lil on the elimination stools tomorrow.
5. Pool of Abdul
“Looking at Paula’s face during that song, you were melting her into a pool of Abdul,” Ryan Seacrest told Adam Lambert after Adam’s gentle version of “If I Can’t Have You,” thus coining our new favorite phrase/band name. Hello Cleveland! We are Pool of Abdul! For a second we thought we’d finally fully enjoy an Adam performance but damn him and his high notes, we went right back to hating when he started to howl at the disco-ball-moon.
The bottom three last night on Idol consisted of three contestants who will never win the competition – Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud and Lil Rounds. As blandly likable as each of them are, they can’t win, although the use of the Judges’ Save did extend Matt’s life for at least one more week. Without a doubt, they’ve each just made too many mistakes though and the next two weeks will result in their eliminations. Aside from that bit of predictability, we also got a wee bit more Quentin Tarantino during the show last night in the form of a Grindhouse-ish opening sequence, which made us happy, but he was nowhere to be found during the show. Luckily there were a few noteworthy, non-Tarantino nuggets to talk about.
5. 17 Again
Zac Efron and His Hair jetted back to L.A. from New York after hosting SNL this weekend, just for Idol (well, for that and the premiere of his new film 17 Again). The contestants got to attend the premiere and, even though it’s a complete rehash of the Big/18 Again/Freaky Friday concept, we love Leslie Mann and Thomas Lennon, and Efron proved he has some comedy chops on SNL, so it might not be totally terrible. As much as the segment was a shameless plug for the film, we love how excited real celebs get for Idol contestants.
When we heard that the theme for this week’s American Idol was songs from cinema, we were psyched and thought we’d hear “Diamonds Are Forever” from Adam Lambert (of all the contestants, he’s the one with an inner Eartha Kitt), or we thought maybe Anoop Desai would sing “Gangster’s Paradise”, there are plenty of kickass choices that would have suited these contestants really well. Alas, we got two Bryan Adam‘s songs that haunted us through high school and that will continue to haunt us for the next 24 hours, and one “Born to Be Wild” (shudder) among others. Quentin Tarantino was the mentor (and awesomely, Idol couldn’t even plug his upcoming film Inglourious Bastards because the title is too racy for the 8 o’clock hour), and as tiresome as his manic craziness can be, we had actually hoped for more Tarantino. We did enjoy a few moments from the show though.
There were only about eight minutes of actual content in last night’s results show of American Idol, and of that content, none of it was remarkable. Unless you count the celebrity sightings of Mario Lopez and the mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan. We knew that Scott MacIntyre would probably be sent to the bottom three, but the other two that joined him were anybody’s guess and when all was said and done, Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds joined him. It was Scott though who finally was sent home. His time had definitely come but it was actually bittersweet. Also bittersweet, the fact that there were only four moments we could scrape together because this episode offered nothing.
4. The Search is Over for Scott
After Scott was revealed to be the lowest vote-getter, he walked the metaphorical plank while the Dread Pirates Abdul, Cowell, Jackson and DioGuardi debated his future. The judges’ votes were split two to two on whether to save him (but you know that had they saved him this week, he would get the boot next week). Ultimately we think it was his last high note (“Living for a drrreeeaAAM!”) where his voice cracked that spelled the end for him. As always though, he was a class act and in a special PSA at the end of the show, Paula Abdul said as much when she went on about how amazing he was, when really you know the voices in her head were like “Just don’t say the word ‘blind’ out loud and you’ll be fine!”
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.
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.
Ryan Seacrest told us early on last night that the final results might shock us, so right off the bat we knew that someone big, someone key to the entire Idol early prediction process, would face the judges. When it came down to Alexis Grace and Michael Sarver in the bottom two, it was Alexis who had gotten the lowest number of votes and had to sing for her young life. The oil-rigger was safe, but it’s okay because he pulled at our heartstrings earlier in the night talking about his daughter. After reprising “Jolene,” it turned out Alexis wasn’t worthy of the elusive Judges’ Save like all those blogs were saying. Maybe this show isn’t rigged after all. Wait a minute, rigged…oil-rigger…holy crap, is Michael Sarver this year’s American Idol?? Here’s our five favorite moments.
5. I’m A LITTLE Bit Country. But Not Much.
We’re not the worlds biggest country fans, and having a bunch of amateurs sing music they’re not thrilled about, arranged in ways we’ve never heard before can be trying. But the lesson we learned last night is that country music when done right can be good. Brad Paisley, who we’re not all that familiar with but who has a nice stage presence, performed “Then” (with no sitars), and later Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis debuted their duet “I Told You So” that was so good that it made a bird sit very still on Carrie’s head for the entire performance without flying away. Really though, it was nice to hear a couple of songs written and performed by people who really knew what they were doing in this genre and didn’t muck it up.
The New York Daily News reports that an American Idol staffer is telling people that the show’s creators have already chosen this season’s top four—allegedly Danny Gokey, Alexis Grace, Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds—despite the fact that there are still eleven contestants that, well, America gets to choose from.
Those ARE the people…Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds are better singers and musicians than Gokey and Grace, but they’re too much like past winners and ‘A’ successes…The producers really want it to be Danny or Alexis. They think they’re very commercially viable, have a good image and a great story.
Fox had no comment, and—even with rumors of producers stacking the deck with strategic song-shuffling—it’s hard to believe anyone could guarantee who makes the cut. Producers probably didn’t want Jason “I Shot The Sheriff, Presumably While High” Castro in last year’s final four instead of Carly “Randy Jackson’s BFF” Smithson. Likewise, photos of Lambert being out and about could make him less popular with middle America than Michael “Jesus Built My Oilrig” Sarver or Scott “Blind Faith” MacIntyre. While the “fixed” four are definite front-runners, you never know what could happen over the next month—just ask Joanna Pacitti.