While guest host Dolly Parton had only the sweetest words for all of our top nine, last night marked the end of the road for yet another of our American Idol hopefuls. The bad news? This week?s loser was totally predictable — a long-awaited demise anyone could have anticipated. The good news? After tonight?s elimination, we?re down to a solid core of professionals and wannabes, all with a shot in heck at some form of post-Idol stardom. In other words, start taking notes — the annoying faces that grace your screen this week may grace your screen as guest performers and talking heads on future seasons of Idol. After weeks of waiting, the true competition starts.
I couldn?t have been more delighted with this evening?s group torture number: a nine-part song-and-dance arrangement of Ms. Parton?s emblematic ?9 to 5.? Need I paint this image of humiliation any more vividly for you? Not a single contestant succeeded at feigning proud. I was relieved (read: totally bummed) that none of our nine had the poor judgment to tackle the ultimate Parton challenge on their own. Alas, with stakes this high in the competition, I may have to kiss hopes of such entertaining, amateurish misjudgments to the wind.
Our couch potatoes wasted little time this week taking their spots on the velvet sofa. Michael Johns, David Archuleta, Carly Smithson, David Cook, Jason Castro and Syesha Mercado were all deemed ?safe.? With the exception of Syesha and Jason, our final group seems solid, and looking more ?star worthy? than ever. Carly heeded Simon?s advice to look more professional and put on a colorful shirt with sleeves. Dear David is letting America see that adorable face of his, cutting his hair like a sparrow to match the theme of his performance last night. I see Syesha in the bottom three next week alongside Jason. Syesha?s performances are too inconsistent this late in the game. As Paula noted, she looks great in yellow, but ?I Will Always Love You? was a complete bomb. As for Castro, our judges have stopped giving him warnings to “up the ante,” waiting for America to get with the picture and like someone better.
After announcing the ?winners,? it was time to transition into loser-ville with a string of performances of relatively successful past Idol contestants and America?s Next Greatest Band, the Clark Brothers. I?ll spare you majority of the yawn-inducing details, but apparently Bo and Bucky from seasons ago are doing just fine, recovering from the Fame Train whiplash. And if you didn?t care about the Clark Brothers already, there?s no need to start now. When Fox said ?next,? they clearly did not mean anytime soon.
And while it?s painful to admit, Dolly Parton?s performance was less than exuberant. But you know what? I couldn?t care less. So what if her voice wasn?t up to par and her choreographer was M.I.A? She looked like the Snow Queen on vacation from Narnia, chillin? in capris, serving iced tea on the patio. And if that minute and thirty seconds of pop-culture eye candy didn?t sate you, rewind to the unstoppable songwriter making a makeshift washboard out of her own acrylic nails. Reader, she?s a legend.
Finally, our bottom three were revealed: Kristy Lee, Ramiele and Brooke White were all sent to the silver stools of purgatory. Ramiele and Kristy Lee both saw it coming. Ramiele could not remove her hands, in prayer, from her chin. Kristy had written herself a ?reserved for Kristy? note to put on her very own stool. I?m not convinced Brooke knew she was heading for the stools, given her bubbly nature, but perhaps this will serve as a timely wake up call for the curly blonde. Everyone knows she?s not going to be the winner of this competition, but it?s pretty clear that a record deal, if not already set, is in her future. It?ll be everyone?s time to go sooner or later, and while I?m a big fan of Brooke White, her voice might not carry her through the final five.
No one was shocked to hear that Ramiele was voted off at the end of the episode (although I was a bit surprised that they played Chikezie?s song in the background and not hers . . . sheesh). While she may not have been the brightest bulb in the bunch, Ramiele?s style and spunk were always commendable. Hopefully, she’ll haul herself onto the Idol tour and secure herself a fan base large enough to see her through some sort of post-Idol project: opening a restaurant, starting a charity, or pursuing a project with Danny Noriega. At any rate, her exit marks the end of an Idol era. Tune in next week as our chances of entertaining humilitation decrease further.
*Side note: Did you note David Cook?s mention of his high blood pressure in his convo with Ryan Seacrest? Apparently it landed him in the hospital after his performance last Wednesday. Who would have thought our favorite rocker would be suffering from hypertension when his performances keep on getting better and better? Turns out, his brother has been sick with cancer, which has increased our loveable rocker’s stress levels dramatically. Let?s hope David is able to maintain his focus despite the family trauma! He is one of my favorites.
– Amy Beecher