I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that it's been a couple of years since I've seriously watched American Idol. I've caught episodes here and there, but haven't sat down with a full season in a while. I bring this up because I'm not sure if it's just that I've been away from it a while or if this year's group of finalists is especially good. We're still not even to the Top 10, and no one's performance was a complete disaster. Sure, I had my favorites, but nobody embarrassed themselves, which seems new to me.
What I love/hate about the results show is how, even if the contestants manage to get through the performance show embarrassment-free, that inevitably comes to an end the next night. Between the Ford commercial and the group sing, I have never watched a results show without spending a good portion cringing.
Speaking of cringing, tonight's result is kind of surprising, and I think it's going to polarize a lot of people. Someone who I thought would make it pretty far in the competition got the lowest number of votes. But does that mean he or she is going home?
Michael Sarver sang "Ain't Goin' Down Til the Sun Comes Up." He did a pretty good job with it, other than flubbing the lyrics a little in the middle. Randy Jackson liked the song, but wasn't sure about the vocals. Kara thought it was fun, but she missed the big notes. Paula thought the genre suited him, and Simon said it was clumsy and he couldn't understand the words. On a scale of 1 to 10, he'd give it 1.2. Really? It didn't seem that bad to me.
I'm pretty happy with the results tonight. I feel like America and the judges made the right call. And it isn't just up to America anymore. As Seacrest told us, there's a new American Idol rule. When someone is eliminated by America's vote, the judges have the ability to keep the person in the competition. It's designed to be used when America goes insane and votes people like LaToya London and Chris Daughtry off, people who deserve to stay in the competition. As I understand it, this option can only be used one time. Thankfully, the judges didn't use it tonight.
We also got to see the cool new digs where the Idols are staying. It's a ginormous mansion, complete with a swimming pool (or two), basketball court, bowling alley, hot tubs, the whole shebang. Looks like a very cool place to de-stress after being called to center stage to await your fate.
The audience is completely psyched, but Simon quickly brings everyone down in that special way of his by announcing that tomorrow's show is going to be double-elimination. This makes sense, since we have the same number of episodes to find this year's Idol, but we have one extra contestant.
My favorite thing about this episode is that the theme is the music of Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson, as you may recall, is one of those artists that the judges have said should just never be touched. So despite the fact that they have told Kris Allen, among others, that they should not sing Michael Jackson songs, we have an entire night devoted to just that. Sounds like a good idea to me!
Finally, we get to the point where we're starting to see the Top 12. Based on last night's performances, America chose the first three contestants to sail through. But first, we had the requisite judge's banter, promotional spots, and torturous "after the break" moments.
Oh, and the musical number with all 12 contestants dancing and singing "I'm Yours." I'm not a big fan of the choreographed group numbers. They're just so awkward and weird. But whatever.
Then Ryan chatted up the contestants. Anoop Desai said that everyone was fairly relaxed, but then Ryan got all creepy on him and pressed Anoop into saying, "This is the most nervous I've ever been." Way to ratchet up the stress level, Ryan.
Of course we start off with weirdness, as Simon finishes his "sing well" spiel, pauses, waggles his eyebrows at Ryan suggestively, and tells him he likes his new hair. Seacrest tries to play it off, but even through his layers of pancake makeup, you can tell he's blushing. Dave and Maddie, Ross and Rachel, Jim and Pam, and Ryan and Simon. This is the tension that makes television worth watching.
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