Just like last season, when Idol had "Mariah Carey Night" despite the judges' constant warnings to never cover her, the show is now introducing "Michael Jackson Night," despite similar warnings. I wonder who will make the mistake of picking the one Jacko song that the judges have deemed "off-limits?"
Wanting to make the show more about them, the judges are now being introduced by The Great and Powerful Oz, and Seacrest enters down a long flight of stairs that look like they were swiped from Superman's Fortress of Solitude. I'm glad that Idol still isn't feeling any of the sting of the current economic environment.
This is Idol. Idol night. And no one's gonna save you from the recap 'bout to strike.
One of the favorites, Lil Rounds, is in the death spot, which is a little odd but, in her video package, she reminds everyone about the tornado that ruined her family's house, so she should be safe. She sings "The Way You Make Me Feel" pretty well but, even though everything is in tune, it's just kind of a boring performance. And she looks a little MOB-ish. (Mother of the Bride, for those of you who aren't professional bridesmaids, like myself.) Of course, Randy goes apeshit over Lil, and tells her that she made the song new again, regardless of the fact that she didn't really change it up very much. Kara hopes that she gets to hear Lil on the radio someday soon. Paula...oh, Paula. What is up with her??? She looks really peculiar tonight. Like the waxen-faced lovechild of Bjork and The Goblin King. Creepy. Anyhoo, she thinks Lil is a force to be reckoned with. Simon calms everyone down a bit with the more accurate critique that the performance was good but the song choice was a bit "lazy."
Next up is Scott MacIntyre, looking much more comfortable this week behind his piano. He's singing a song I've never heard before called "Keep the Faith," and it's one of those feel-good, climb-every-mountain pieces of crap that make my skin crawl. This is actually the best I've heard him so far, but he's still exceedingly average. And then there was the horrendous high note at the 2:31 mark. Unsurprisingly, Kara blathers on about how inspirational Scott is and glosses over the problems with his vocals. Paula says, "It's magical seeing your instrument at your fingertips." Oh, snap! I bet Kara is kicking herself for not saying that. After all, sexual innuendo is supposed to be her thing. Then comes the best comment any of the judges has ever made on this show. When Scott defends his song choice to Simon by saying that he was trying to be "artistic," Simon responds, "It's fine being artistic, just not on this show." Wow. Truer words have never been spoken. Paula ruins this glorious moment with one of her drunken ramblings about "Keep the Faith" being a #1 hit in Norway. To quote Randy, "What??"
Danny Gokey comes to the stage next and, amazingly, neither he nor anyone in his family or on the show makes any kind of reference to his dead wife. Perhaps I will be able to stomach him tonight. Ah, and he's singing my favorite old MJ song, "PYT." I kind of hate to admit it, because he's rubbed me the wrong way since Hollywood week, but his performance is pretty good. However, I hate that he's going out to the judges table to get Kara and Paula (filling in for pretty young things) to "repeat after him." Also, some of his gruff "please believe that I'm R&B" yelling is a bit over-the-top. I keep waiting for him to start singing, "I ain't white, I ain't white, I definitely ain't white!" (Those of you who've seen Not Another Teen Movie will know what I'm talking about.) The judges heap the praise on Danny, and Paula says that he is a "true artist," even though Simon just told us that this is not the place for artistry. Simon loves everything but the dancing, but Randy even loves that because he can feel that Danny's spastic movements come from deep within.
Michael Sarver sings the very lame "You Are Not Alone" while making really bizarre faces. (He looks like some type of lion-human hybrid.) I guess he sings well enough, but the performance is just ultra-boring for me, dawgs. Even the judges' comments are boring, limited to generic statements like, "you can really sing," and "you're so likable." Yawn.
Jasmine Murray wanders onstage in her nightgown to sing the very obvious song choice, "I'll Be There." As I suspected, she sings it mostly like the Mariah Carey version, but I actually don't hate her tonight. She doesn't sound as nasally as she has before. The judges forget all about Jasmine's "commercial appeal" for the first time and actually critique her vocals. The consensus is that she had some decent moments, but it wasn't the greatest performance ever. Randy, of course, takes the opportunity to remind everyone that he's friends with Mariah, so you know what that means. Take a shot!
Next up is Kris Allen, who I used to think was cute until VFTW started comparing him to a chimp, and now that's all I can see when I look at him. Bubbles sings "Remember the Time" while needlessly playing the guitar. He's not bad, but not great. Kinda Jason Mraz-y. Kara tells Kris that the girls love him, but I don't think he can hear her over all the screaming tweentards. Paula calls him "adorable/sexy," while Simon calls his performance "clumsy." Referring to Kris's wife, who was revealed in his video package, Cowell suggests that Kris should've kept her hidden for a few weeks. The wife does NOT look happy. You know who else isn't happy? Me, after Randy tells Kris that he's "kinda Jason Mraz-y," which is EXACTLY what I just said. Being on the same wavelength with this goon scares the bejeezuz out of me.
Allison Iraheta digs out an early-'90s Jacko song I had forgotten all about, "Give In to Me." She's got a pretty cool rocker chick thing going on here, and I like her. She seems much more authentic than token rocker chicks past, like Gina Glocksen and Ryan Starr, even though she's......wait for it.....only 16! Paula asks, "Are you 16? Or 17?" as if she doesn't know. When Allison confirms that she is, indeed, STILL 16, Paula yells, "Hear that everyone? She's 16!" Simon and Kara don't mention Allison's age at all, which is a bit of a disappointment. They do like her vocals though. Randy says, "I always say the same shit every day, so I'm just gonna say it again." And he does.
Anoop Desai totally faked everyone out before the break by doing the "Thriller" dance, when he was really planning on singing "Beat It." Anoop flubbed the words a little bit at the beginning and his attempts to act "hard" while singing this song are ridiculous, but I really don't think it's that bad vocally. The judges, on the other hand, tear into him, starting with Paula who tells Anoop that "Beat It" is untouchable (ding ding ding, we have a winner!) and that it always sounds karaoke when anyone but Michael sings it. And that's why we have Michael Jackson Night, folks. Simon writes the performance off as a horrible impersonation, Randy thinks it was the wrong song, and Kara no longer feels connected to Anoop. When asked by Seacrest if he now regrets making this a Top 13, Simon answers with a resounding "yes."
Jorgay Nunez is singing "Never Can Say Goodbye" with just the right amount of accent. I do think Jorgay has a nice voice, but there's something really cheesy about this performance. I feel like I'm at a Menudo reunion and only one guy showed up. Simon also picks up on the corny vibe, and all of the judges agree that this was the wrong song choice. Jorgay tries to defend his choice by saying, "I wasn't gonna sing 'Bad'," to which Simon replies, "Well, you sort of did." Oooh! I wish Jorgay would've snapped and started screaming at Cowell, "You ain't bad, you ain't nothing! You ain't nothing!!!"
The worst dancer in the world, Megan Corkrey, takes the stage to sing "Rockin' Robin," and busts some new moves the likes of which the world had never seen before, and was happier for it. Her twists and shimmies and tics are so distracting, but I'm actually finding myself liking Megan's voice on this one. Then, at the end, she actually goes, "caw caw!" and I nearly pee myself. Kara has officially run out of things to say and just offers, "You're so Megan." The judges talk about how quirky and unique Megan is, and Randy and Simon diss the "stupid" song choice. Simon doesn't think Megan's vocals are up to par, which I find amazing since they put her through to the Top 13 in a week when she absolutely sucked, and I think she sounds fine tonight. She is a complete spaz though. So Megan.
Finally, it's my boy Adam Lambert, sporting a new purple hair streak and a powder blue leather coat that I'm coveting very much. He sings "Black or White," which is a good choice for him, although I think he could've had more fun with "Smooth Criminal" or "Wanna Be Startin' Something." Anyway, there are parts that are very good, but I think the middle section is way too screechy and the melody seems to get completely lost. The judges, however, find no flaws and act as if this performance just unlocked all the secrets of the universe. Paula's attempts to simultaneously choke down sobs and choke out coherent sentences about the greatness of Adam forces him to hold back his own tears, lest The Glambert end up with raccoon eyes on national TV.
Matt Giraud sits at the piano for his version of "Human Nature." This is a pretty average performance, and it's kind of like watching someone doing an impression of Justin Timberlake doing an impression of Michael Jackson. The judges are, again, overly excited about this one, giving Matt much higher marks than I think he deserves. Kara says she hopes to see Matt for many more weeks, and waits for the applause to kick in before discreetly kicking her hotel room key across the floor to him. The show is obviously running long because the judges are now giving quick, 6-word max comments.
Closing things out is Alexis Grace, who is continuing to take Kara's advice to "dirty it up" by singing "Dirty Diana" while dressed like a 14-year-old hooker. Oy vey. I hate this song, I hate Alexis's slutty outfit, I hate her constant poop squats, I hate all the shouting, I hate the weird-ass high note at the end...I just hate this, period. This is horrific. I can't believe this chick got the pimp spot. Kara and Paula applaud Alexis and her "naughtiness," but Simon and Randy aren't as wowed, calling the performance good, not great, and a bit over the top.
Since 866-IDOLS-13 is apparently a phone sex line, the show had to come up with a new number for Alexis, 866-IDOLS-36, a slightly confusing situation that could end in Alexis getting screwed. Well, at least she's dressed for it.
Simon mentioned that there has been a "surprise change to the rules" for this year, which we'll find out about tomorrow night. I wouldn't be surprised if they've decided to start running things like Papa Nigel's show, So You Think You Can Dance, by making the Bottom 3 perform "for their lives," and then letting the judges ultimately pick who goes home. So much for letting America decide. (Not that I believed that our votes really mattered in the first place.)
It was revealed at the top of the show that, since there are 13 finalists, 2 people will be cut this week. I actually don't think that Alexis will go, regardless of phone issues, so if there is a Bottom 3 as usual, those 3 will be: Anoop, Jorgay, and Jasmine. (If it's a Bottom 4, Alexis could be the 4th.) I predict that the two going home will be Anoop and Jorgay.
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