After all these weeks, there should have been a performance from almost everyone that forced me to back up the DVR and experience it at least once more. It hasn't happened.
Two of the seven remaining contestants on American Idol went home this week. And this time, they actually did go home. It seems like the producers have been trying to psych us out all season, throwing as many surprises as they can to keep the show fresh. Not so tonight. Two went home, and it was no surprise to me who those two were.
But first, we got to see some behind-the-scenes stuff as the Idols prepared for their group number. When Ryan said they called on a huge name in the choreography world for this week's group number, I was pleasantly shocked to see that it was Paula.
It was nice to see her dance again. Makes me want to go back and watch some of her vintage music videos. Thinking about it also took my mind off the goofy disco outfits the Idols were wearing. Anoop had quite the George Michael look going.
Well, the judges finally used their save last week somewhat confusingly on Matt Giraud. The good news is now that the save has been used, we don't have to endure any more of the awkward begging from the contestants at the end of the show. The bad news is that two people are getting eliminated this week. The worse news is that it's disco night.
In all fairness, though, this group is unlike most Idol groups in that they seem to do better with the more well-defined themes. When it's a free-for-all, like with the Billboard night, they lose their way and everything dissolves into chaos. Disco night just further proves this theory. With a few exceptions, the group manages to turn in vocally solid, interesting and original performances.
I love the movie Flashdance, so I got all excited when the Idols started singing "Maniac" for their group number. But then I quickly deflated when I realized their version is nothing like the movie version with Jennifer Beals doing her butt dance. I'm not a lesbian, but watching that scene always makes me wish I was. Bring on the leg warmers and ripped sweatshirt.
After that, we had some footage of the Idols attending the red carpet premiere of 17 Again and getting to meet Zac Efron, Leslie Mann and the other stars of the film. Zac was in the Idol audience, too, wearing some goofy ski hat and looking like nine miles of bad road, but whatever.
Tonight's theme is songs from the movies, so we have Quentin Tarantino. Come on! That's pretty awesome in a completely inappropriate way. As my boyfriend said when I turned it on, "I wasn't going to watch this, but it's Quention Tarantino!" It may not seem as though he fits on this show, but as pop culture-obsessed as he is, it's only fitting that he'd be completely in love with this show (because you know he totally is).
This week is weird. Because the judges couldn't shut their mouths last week (and it wasn't just the girls, as Simon accused) and they went so over their time, only two judges are critiquing each contestant. What this means is that Simon won't be critiquing every contestant, which sucks, because come on. As much as I don't want to feed his ego any more, Simon's critique is the one that matters the most, because if you strip away his crap, he gives solid advice 9 out of 10 times -- which is at least 6 times more than any of the other judges. Real talk.
Alright, results show: I haven't watched the episode yet; it just started and I have it on pause so I can make my predictions. I think the bottom three is going to be Anoop, Lil Rounds and Scott. Lil Rounds will go home. Anything else would officially shock me, but I love being shocked, so here's hoping.
We're still on the whole "year of their birth" thing, so Ryan makes a big deal about how old Simon is by showing a clip of Frankie Avalon singing in the year he was born. Then the stage opens, and Frankie Avalon himself comes out and sings. Simon looks completely surprised and amused. It's actually a really cute moment, and Frankie sounds great.
Enough of that, though; I want to find out who's going home! So let's get on with it. We've got 50 minutes of filler left before we get our answers.
It feels like forever since I've written about American Idol, so I'm more than ready to get back into the swing of things. I'm digging this week's theme: Songs from the year you were born. Even better are all of the baby pictures they're showing. The photos of Simon with his ray gun and Ryan with his buck teeth are absolutely precious.
I also appreciate the fact that they finally cleared up Lil Rounds' name. Her name actually is Lil, and it does not stand for "Little," as Simon asserted the other week.
Overall, it's a strong week for the contestants, with only a few notable exceptions. It's such a good week, in fact, that one of the contestants whom I've been very vocal about not liking in the least totally impressed me. The world has turned upside down.
Well, most of you correctly predicted who would go home on American Idol this week. A whopping 1183 votes for the predicted loser were logged in our poll!
But before we got to find out who it was for real, a whole bunch of other stuff happened, starting with Kara saying she appreciates the audience and their passion for the Idols. That was in reference to the heckling she got last night.
And Paula tried to redeem herself by saying that while she put the spotlight on Adam Lambert (you know, that Mick Jagger/Steven Tyler comment), she knows that all of the Idols have something special. Alrighty then.
Then Ryan descends from a big long stairway on the stage, like he's some old-time movie star or something. It's a little weird and cheesy, but also kind of fun. The theme this week is wide open, with the contestants choosing any song that's a popular download on iTunes. Let's get to it.
Anoop Desai started things off with Usher's "Caught Up." He cranked the pop factor up a few notches and showed that he's got the chops to switch it up a bit. Randy's a little torn and doesn't like the song choice. Kara thinks it's like a bunch of "frat guys dared you to get up and do Usher." Paula loves his more playful side, but says Anoop's stage presence needs a little work. Simon thinks it's "a complete and utter mess," saying, "It actually gave me a headache."
This being the results show of Motown Night, the Idols sang a montage of Motown hits against a backdrop of classic Motown stars. Very nice. I also liked the Ford commercial, with the contestants putting together giant puzzle pieces while singing "Take Me Away." They look like they're having a blast.
Then the Velvet Teddy Bear Ruben Studdard sang a tune, and Ryan mentions that he was recently married. Congrats to Ruben!
And then the countdown begins with Adam Lambert up first. I can't imagine that he'd be going home, and sure enough, he's safe. With his ability to show such vastly different sides of his artistic talent, Adam has launched himself straight to the top of my favorites list.
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?
It's time for the judge to be judged. American Idol is toodling along this year, and after tonight we'll be down to ten performers (presuming that the new-fangled Judge's Save rule isn't employed). So, now that we are where we are, it seems about the right time to note that the new judge is a dud.
Okay, maybe not a total dud, but she really isn't bringing much to the table. Timidity gets you nowhere on American Idol. She needs to get tougher. She needs more attitude. Apparently, I'm not the only scribe who feels this way.
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!
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