American Idol begins by thumping its chest proudly about last week's AMAZING, HISTORIC show. Set to some quasi-dramatic music, we are reminded that the quality of mercy is not strain'd. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the Idol stage. It is twice blest: it blesseth the judges that give and him (Casey) that takes. Then, important words fill our screens...
HOPE HAS BEEN RENEWED.
BUT NO MORE SECOND CHANCES.
Dun-dun-duuuuunnnnnnn! You know, I'm still waiting for the day when the lowest vote-getter is executed live on stage. It could happen. I've seen The Running Man. I've read Harrison Bergeron.
Some of you may remember that I went to see Elton John last week on AI's Motown night, so I'm a little annoyed that Idol waited until this week to have its Sir Elton theme. (I just like when my real life and TV life get all matchy-matchy.) But the memory of the show is still fresh, so let's see how these kids stack up to the real deal, eh?The Idolettes' video packages tonight focus on their recent photo shoot with Entertainment Weekly.
Up first is the "naturally elegant" Scotty McCreery. I'm not kidding. Someone called him that. I'm immediately reminded of how brilliant I am when Scotty announces he's singing "Country Comfort," a song choice I predicted immediately upon discovering the theme. Obviously, Scotty has been taking performance tips from McSparkleteeth, as he shouts out, "Love ya, Grandma" in the middle of the song. I'm also amused when he sings the line, "the sweetest sound my ears have ever known," because those ears have heard a lot. Hell, he can probably hear me typing right now. Anyway, Scotty sounds like he always sounds and the judges love him like they always love him. Seacrest pretty much explains how I figured out Scotty would sing this song: "It's a song with 'country' in the title." Yep, he's just that predictable.
Naima Adedapo chooses one that Elton skipped last week, "I'm Still Standing," as something of an ode to herself. She decides to turn it into a reggae tune for some reason. Perhaps "Jamaica Jerk-Off" wasn't on the list? Jimmy Iovine basically writes her a spoken intro, dedicating this song to all the people out there who are still standing or some such nonsense. Because having someone tell you to dedicate a song and whom to dedicate it to makes it that much more heartfelt. I'm not wild about the fake Jamaican accent Naima has adopted, but I actually think this song translates really well to this style. This may not be Naima's best vocal performance ever but it's entertaining, and I love her jumpsuit. Plus, she brings back the "OOH, FIRE!" catch phrase that she introduced during her cover of "Umbrella." J.Lo contradicts me by saying that this song isn't suited for a reggae treatment. Well, Jenny from the block clearly has rocks in her head. She, of course, interrupts Randy, who can barely get out that he thinks Naima's performance was "corny," but lets Steven get through his whole monologue of nothing.
So...how y'all doing so far this evening? Y'all ready for Paul McDonald? He's decided to rock the faux Gram Parsons suit once again for his cover of "Rocket Man." I love Paul's reasoning for choosing this song: because his band tried to play it once before and they effed it up. Great! Surprisingly, this is not terrible. But then it gets kind of comical. And then he pretends to fellate the microphone for the last "long...long....time," ending on this really weird, Hannibal Lecter-ish whisper. So, OK, I give up. I used to hate McSparkleteeth because of how horrible he is but the guy makes me laugh like hell (albeit unintentionally), so I think I might be starting to like him. He's such an oddball. Like, when Seacrest is talking to him about his performance, it's clear that, in his mind, Paul is not on Idol—he's in the middle of a full-length, imaginary concert. Randy starts to say something about pitchiness when Jennifer butts her giant ass into his critique again. Steven just wants to know if Paul has been watering his suit. He also says that singers who miss notes are awesome. Then when J.Lo tries to talk, Steven and Randy both interrupt. She doesn't look happy.
Can you believe that Pia Toscano is doing another ballad? It's like finding out that Seacrest just renewed his yearly tanning pass. Shocking! Jimmy tells Pia to knock Randy out of his chair for daring to suggest that she, a ballad-based diva, should try to mix it up and show her versatility on the show. Of course, she does knock Randy out of his chair, or blow him out of his box, or whatever the appropriate phrase is. Steven suggests that "some people" might have been wrong about the no-more-ballads thing. Randy is like, hey everyone knows you can sing, we just want more variety...NOW GET OFF MY ASS, EVERYONE. I've already forgotten J.Lo's comments, but I do notice that she's basically wearing the purple version of Pia's photo shoot dress.
Like any good short Italian guy would, Stefano Langone chooses to sing the Elton classic, "Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza." Although I quite liked Stefano in the beginning stages of the competition, he's lost me. Last week wasn't great and I'm just not feeling it tonight. This song is all wrong for his voice. Not impressed. And I'm definitely not impressed by his feeble attempt to pick up J.Lo at the end of the song. But Jennifer loves when any attention is directed her way, so she loves the performance. She and Randy both claim that Stefano made a real connection with the audience and Steven is all, yeah, me too, nice things, whatever. Howie Mandel tries to lure Stefano's dad into helping him plug his new show, Mobbed. I think I heard Mr. Langone say, Heyyy, I ain't got nothing to do with that. I'm a legitimate businessman.
Lauren Alaina feels very connected to "Candle in the Wind." Apparently, she too has always seen Marilyn Monroe as something more than sexual. The song lends itself nicely to the countrified arrangement and Lauren sings it really well. And it's a good thing that her vocals are on point tonight because she looks like a baby hooker. Also, can Ryan please stop engaging her in conversation? If Idol wants people to like this girl, they should never let her speak ever again. Never. Ever. The judges salivate all over Lauren and Steven finally comes to life and tells her, "Keep singing like that, and you'll be able to afford the rest of that dress." See, Tyler? Isn't it so much more fun when you don't just sit there nodding, agreeing with Randy and saying "great" and "beautiful" all the time??
Another song choice I correctly predicted is James Durbin's. He goes for the rocker, "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)," even though it's Wednesday. What a rebel! He wanders around the audience before hitting the stage with a DLR-style air split. And then by the power of his hand, the piano bursts into flames. Sweet. Despite some general cheesiness and a few painful shrieks, I actually like this performance overall. And I'm so happy to finally know some of the lyrics (Ohhhh—"We had it with your discipline!") that I've never understood before (and never bothered to look up). Sir Elton isn't exactly the greatest enunciator. Steven warns James not to "stay up there too long," referring to who knows what. Because everyone gets the same amount of time to perform, right? He's bats. J.Lo thinks it was a "full performance" and Randy gives it a great3. Ryan starts having heart palpitations when James mentions Pepsi (as part of a Michael Jackson hair reference that whooshed right over the Idiot Pit's heads), then quickly reminds everyone that the show is sponsored by COKE. THE REAL THING. DON'T DRINK PEPSI. IT'S BAD! THAT SHIT WILL MESS YOU UP!! Then Ryan runs off stage to beg the Coke goons waiting in the wings not to beat him with the hose again.
I was 90% sure that Thia Megia would sing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" or something equally lame, but she surprises me by picking "Daniel." Well, not as surprised as I would have been had she picked, say, "Philadelphia Freedom." I mean, it is still a ballad. And Thia does a decent job with it, but she is just dull, dull, dull. The only moment of true pleasure I get from this performance is the delicious irony of this mannequin singing about someone whose "eyes have died." However, Jennifer thinks it was beautiful and Steven says, "You sang a great Elton John song well." Wow, how insightful! As is so often the case this year, Randy is the only one to say anything remotely negative, mainly that this is another "safe" song choice for Thia.
Casey Abrams (HE WHO WAS SAVED) is singing "Your Song." Yes, it's yours. Go ahead, you can tell everybody. Casey is showing off his newly de-puffed beard along with his softer side this evening. He sounds pretty good, but still manages to squeeze out a few grunts and growls here and there. Randy, Steven and Jennifer take turns patting each other on the back for having made THE GREATEST SAVE IN THE HISTORY OF HISTORY last week.
Jacob Lusk's decision to cover "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" is rather predictable. I was holding out hope that he'd somehow get "The Bitch is Back" past the producers, but that's a dream for another day. Jacob had previously only heard the Mary J. Blige version of the song and, hey, guess what? Mary J. Blige just happens to be wandering around the studio! I don't think I've heard her version, but Jacob's is just fine. He reins it in when he'd normally go over-the-top and, consequently, off-key, which apparently doesn't sit well with Randy. He wants more screaming.
Well, well...Haley Reinhart (and apparently Jimmy Iovine) is into "hardcore bangage." Her words, kids. Watch it back. She tries to reimagine The Fabulous Baker Boys with her in the Michelle Pfeiffer role as she shouts and growls through "Bennie and the Jets." What's most annoying about Haley is that I can hear some really good qualities in her voice, but she just tries to do so many things at once that it comes out as a big ol' mess. Luckily, this isn't one of my favorite Elton songs, so I'm not too terribly upset that she's brutally raping it. J.Lo shrieks, "That was IT, Haley!!" Randy gives Haley the Best Performance of the Night badge because she yelled the loudest. Steven manages to barf up a half-sentence, "You...sing...sexy." Ugh. I'm not sure why, but the judges and producers love this chick and know that hardly anyone else does, so they put her in the pimp spot tonight to make sure she sticks around.
Am I the only one who's a little disappointed no one gave "I'm Going to Be a Teenage Idol" a whirl? Yeah, it's a deep cut, but so what?
Because of HE WHO WAS SAVED, two people will be going home tomorrow night. Who will it be? Could fan favorite Scotty possibly end up in the Bottom 3 because he went first? Or is he one of those guys like Adam Lambert, who is immune to the lead-off spot of doom? A "shocker" like having Scotty in the B3 could certainly generate more attention, which is what the producers want. But after last week's manufactured drama, I think this week might be a little more straightforward. I'm guessing that Naima, Stefano and Thia will be in the Bottom 3, and only Naima will survive.
Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.