Apparently, limiting marriage rights in California isn’t enough for some anti-gay activists so they’re taking their message to concerts too, like this week’s American Idol concert in San Jose. A crowd of protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church (home of Fred Phelps, hatemonger to end all others) came to the Idol concert on Sunday to spew their hate and show America that listening to Adam Lambert will convert our children to homosexuality and turn us all into deviants. Clearly that’s why Lambert uses a fog machine, to confuse and disorient us all before taking us to the dark side.
Even though we will never understand what goes on in the minds of people who need to stand outside an arena and yell evil things, it warms our hearts to see that some people on tour aren’t standing for it. Fellow Top 10 performer Michael Sarver took to his Twitter to condemn the actions of the protesters, writing, “Funny how people think it’s a good idea to mess with a big Texan and his AI family. LOL Adam is just fine, shakes it off and so should we. . .We are together in this thing. You mess with one you mess with all ten. We are strong and we are 1. For those outside protesting I say do not judge less ye be judged yourself. Guys don’t mind these people, we are a strong family.”
See, now that just makes us sorry we didn’t vote for you, Michael! [Photo: GettyImages]
Some things just boggle the mind. Like for instance, how that Nicolas Cage movie beat that Julia Roberts/Clive Owen movie AND Watchmen AND I Love You, Man at the box office last weekend. Sometimes we just don’t get people’s taste. Right now, we are questioning how America could put Matt Giraud in the bottom two last night and didn’t automatically eliminate Megan Joy or Scott MacIntyre. Enough is enough, people! We’re stunned. Luckily, Matt was safe and the Texas oil-rigger with a hard candy shell but a soft center, Michael Sarver, went home. (But we don’t have to cry about it, all these people are going on tour this summer, let’s not forget that.) Here are our favorite moments from the show:
5. Smokey Robinson’s Anti-Aging Miracles
Yesterday a friend asked us where Smokey Robinson gets his youth serum and after last night, we’re starting to wonder too, the man is just not aging. Plus he acts like he’s one of the kids — the way he performed with Joss Stone made it look like the two were besties who were going to get a beer after the show. He was a great mentor this week who seemed genuinely interested in each contestant and we love him even more now than we did before.
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.
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.”
One works on an oil rig, the other is a recent widow. But only on can be your American Idol…or neither, if one of the other ten contestants in the Top 12 wins. While the show is still a singing competition, it never hurts to have a touching story for fans to identify with and admire. The producers know it, and based on Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver‘s comments to the press, they know it too.
Music became important to Sarver when “things were really tough.” And with the state of the economy, we might all need a little music right now. “It’s tough,” says Sarver. “I think real life people can relate to me. In the economy that we live, it’s really hard on a lot of people. You see someone rise out of the ashes. To see someone rise and succeed, people relate to that. It’s special to their hearts.”
“Ashes”? Sounds like someone’s less fond of working class life than they let on. But can Sarver’s blue collar work ethic give people as much hope as Gokey’s triumph over recent loss?
People will think it’s too much, but it’s only been seven months since [my wife] passed. It’s not that I throw it in people’s faces, but I get asked about it all the time. Everyone wants to hear what I have to say. It weighs on my mind. But it’s a story I don’t want. It’s a sob story I don’t want … but it’s also causing hope for a lot of people. I didn’t want to live anymore after she passed. [But] now I have my mission set in stone.
With these two so self-aware about their “message” (“I work on an oil rig” and “a hero lies in you,” respectively), it’s surprising Alexis Grace hasn’t talked about her father allegedly needing money for a heart transplant. Maybe she wants the focus on her talent…or maybe she doesn’t want to blow her sympathy wad too soon.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Fans of Idol contestant Anoop Desai shouldn’t be too distraught over his surprise loss to oil rig roughneck Michael Sarver. After America selects 9 of the Top 12, the final three will be selected by the judges in a special “Wild Card” episode. And there’s little doubt that Anoop will get a spot. Why?
- He’s really popular…and the judges know that. Sarver only beat Desai by 20,000 votes, a small figure compared to the millions that voted. Even if he gives a weak Wild Card performance, Idol will have a hard time letting someone this well-liked go home.
- It’s not like there’s going to be a lot of competition. The Top 36 was seriously front-loaded, with this week’s batch containing most of the better known personalities. Anoop was easily the best singer not to make the 12 last night, and as long as there are no major upsets over the next two weeks, he’ll probably be the best singer up for a Wild Card spot—and he only has to be the third.
- He already has a nickname. “That dueling pianist guy” is not a nickname. “Anoop Dog” is a nickname.
Even if he does somehow get locked out of the Top 12, Desai still has grad school to fall back on—and the shrieking women at his a capella shows. After Idol, we’re guessing there will be even more.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Despite the fact that these hour-long results shows could easily be done away with, at least they get crap done. We lost nine contestants last night, which is pretty significant, but when we weren’t excitedly watching the reveal of who got to stay and who had to go, we had to watch filler like the Carly Smithson and Michael Johns‘ duet or the group song. Why, group song, why??? In the end we saw nine dreams shattered, but the dreams on one man, one woman and one wild card were kept alive.
After Ryan re-intros the judges who heartlessly re-point out the shortcomings of those who laid an egg the night before, the entire gang lays an egg with their pointless group song, “I’m Yours”. It serves no purpose except maybe to showcase the voice of someone who’s going home and make you feel bad that you didn’t vote for them. Given that Jackie Tohn feels the need to stare deep into the eyes of the camera to try and make eye contact with the viewer, we’re not feeling so bad about not voting for her, actually.