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In keeping with the horror theme established by last week's Idol style chainsaw massacre elimination of Pia Toscano, it's movie night on Idol tonight. If JLo bawling her pretty eyes out over the untimely departure of this season's reigning Muzak pageant queen – and her subsequent declarations of total shock and seeming lack of awareness about the judges' own sordid role in Pia's elimination - didn't move people to stab themselves in the head out of sheer frustration, I can guarantee this episode will do the trick. Before launching into a summary of tonight's proceedings, Seacrust feels compelled to point out that JLo is now the world's most beautiful woman. Yes, she is. And her new album is coming out shortly as well. I'm sure that's a small coincidence and these two things are by no means related, nor in any way shape or form, say, orchestrated for publicity... Moving on.
Yo, so I've got this flowery suit in many colors and, dammit, I want to wear it. It's risky, yo, but I've got this!
For some reason, Chicklets spokesperson, Paul, is still on the show. This dude has to be the best troll, well, aside from Casey, to ever troll on Idol. His choice is Bob Seger's “Old Time Rock and Roll” from Risky Business. Will.i.am, who now seems to be on permanent loan to Idol, tells him that he should recreate the famous underwear scene from the movie while Iovine wants Paul to beatbox. Both of these things are sure to get him not only eliminated but also beat up in dark alleys for the rest of his life so, after staring incredulously at them for a few moments, Paul wisely decides not to take their advice. However, he also decides to wear a blinged out black version of the infamous white embroidered suit and to deliver the worst possible 80s parody version of this song complete with blond chick sax player and a tambourine.
Useless Judging: Steven liked it and he wants to borrow his suit. JLo saw a diamond in the rough being even more polished. Randy thinks he was at a Paul concert. He loved it!
Cringe Factor: SNOOKI - I wouldn't gush to the boss about this one unless you hate your job.
Hannah, Shmanna! I'll see you Daddy Cyrus' trashy mullet and raise you my mother's trashy six pound fluffy wig.
I'm not sure why Lauren chose to cover a stinker such as Miley Cyrus' “The Climb” from that cinematic masterpiece called Hannah Montana, but here she is giving Jimmy a reason to diss Miss Hannah Montana's atrocious singing talents. Jimmy boy thinks Lauren can hook all the Pia fans who, according to Will.i.am, are just a bunch of idiots who can be made to like anything Lauren wants them to like. Such as cupcakes. With Gwen Stefani no longer Lamb-ing her up, Lauren looks like she could have been on the Hannah Montana show but complete with trashy streaks in her hair and cowboy boots. The vocals are a bit on the shouty side but decent and definitely better than Miley's.
Useless Judging: JLo loved her! Randy loves that she was so amazing! Steven says he was moved beyond tears and she' s beautiful.
Cringe Factor: PUPPIES - Well, aside from the mother's Texas pageant queen from hell hair that even Ryan couldn't let pass without a snide comment. Lauren, burn your mother's wigs before they get you eliminated!
I'm singing about the end of the road because I'm secretly begging to be voted out. Or Iovine hates me.
Next up is Idol's resident tween idol puppy dog, Stefano, who survived last week's bloodbath and subsequent booing. Before he gets to strut his stuff, Ryan gives him a chance to pontificate about what separates a good singer and performer from the pack. The puppy vows earnestly to show that he is a great performer and to this end he chose that timeless classic from the movie Boomerang, “End Of The Road” by Boys To Men. Iovine tells him that the reason he's been such a jerk to him all this time is because he believes Stefano the cupcake can win it all. Translation: Stefano is the most viable teen hearthrob option left. Cupcake wants to connect with the texters so he is wearing unlaced, white hi-tops and employing all the tried and true boyband moves that sent millions of girls into a dead swoon a decade and a half ago. Well, you know, before Youtube was born. Stefano gets all the help Idol can offer including a four piece brass section and three backup singers. Sadly, there was no money left for fake smoke and while he looked committed the singing was limp and, well, boy band-ish cheesy.
Useless judging: Randy says Stefano slayed it with his best vocal to date. Steven thinks he milked the song. JLo says Cupcake now has the key to winning because he figured out that he needs to perform to win. Gee, she's sharp.
Cringe Factor: LEDERHOSEN - Those boy bands offered more ripped dancing puppy dogs for the same price. Stefano's budget one man version is the Walmart to their Barney's.
Yo, Jimster, bro, I'm winning this enchilada, dude! Oops, sorry, forgot I wasn't supposed to say that just yet...
Obsessive microphone cuddler, Scotty, picked a country song for movie week called “Cross My Heart” from Pure Country. He says he's going back to his roots, you know, as opposed to last week and the week before that when he sang... country. Shocker. Iovine says he likes the song but what he doesn't like is being called “dude” by a 17 year old snot-nosed Alfred E. Newman lookalike. Scotty doesn't think that Iovine was too offended but will be calling him “Sir” from now on to be on the safe side. As for the performance, it's standard corn-fed fare, quite flat in places, plenty boring and a whole lot of typical vote baiting twang. His last look into the camera reveals an obnoxious self-confidence, not the kind that says “I did a good job” but the kind that says “I know I'm getting a record deal”.
Useless judging: What is there to say when the audience is screaming their heads off and holding up signs that say “Grandmas for Scotty”? Steven says he loves his voice. JLo who, I guess, doesn't want to be queenie meanie with a record coming out, says “everyone wants us to be tough, but the truth is you're all so damn good”. Eh, who needs judges anyway? Randy says Scotty should not fix what ain't broken and “a star is born on this stage”. Way to go, Randy, telling the guy to just stay still till he wins.
Cringe Factor: – PICKUP TRUCK He's straight off the country Idol assembly line. If things ever get even slightly desperate I'm sure Scotty's got a granny stashed away in the wings ready to spring forth with a large apple pie to whip the voters back into line. Get it, Alfred!
I got this.
You wanna bass me around, man? I can teach you a thing or two about that!
So, Casey likes gnocchi. That is the sum total of what I got out of his inane banter with Ryan but it's more informative stuff than his entire session with Will, the wayward Pea, and Iovine. They both seem mildly horrified that Casey is trotting out the upright bass again and attempting to make Nat King Cole's “Nature Boy”, as Iovine put it, “small”. Casey's other option is “In the air tonight” which Iovine thinks is a swell idea, however, Casey is sticking with the jazzy number which he serves up with a side of scary serial killer looks, inhumane growls and a finishing touch of lounge singer. Not to mention the fog, the bongo player and the pianist. I'm sure the kitchen sink is hidden behind the curtains somewhere. The tweeners in the audience checked out ten seconds in but the judges are swaying languidly, possibly trying to come up with a positive spin on this thing.
Useless Judging: JLo was mildly scared that Casey blew it with this song choice, but then she realized that her notes said that on American Idol you can be “like Norah Jones with a jazz album that sells 17 million copies”. Really? Since when? Maybe she's sniffing hair spray fumes backstage, or something. Randy thinks Casey is ready to be the next Buble and to get on the Grammy stage with Herbie Hancock. Oh, and American Idol is suddenly about music education! Who knew? Steven thinks Casey is an artist, sort of like Sting. And beyond!
Cringe Factor: NAKED IN TIMES SQUARE – Not nearly as embarrassing as it sounds. Could have been “Naked At The Royal Wedding” embarrassing. However, Casey says that he wants to educate and show jazzy Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding that he can play. On second thought... I think I'm embarrassed that he's not embarrassed to be so full of himself.
Summary so far: Everybody is an extra super fabulous, out-of-this world artiste the likes of which we haven't seen since Pan invented his flute and Elvis first started humming a C5 while pushing toy cars around his nursery. Every. Single. Person. On. Idol. Is. Flawless.
Haley thinks she growing as an artist on Idol and Iovine feels the same way. Still, Haley understands that dead woman walking feeling since the voters have been busing the chicks one by one, week after week. To possibly stave off elimination, Haley chose “Call Me” by Blondie from American Gigolo. Iovine wants her to stay away from impersonating Debbie. Good advice there but what exactly can you do with “Call Me” unless you're kicking it into ballad or flipping it to disco? She's doing a straight up karaoke version assisted by three backup singers and a plugged in guitarist. There's some attitude there but it's all put-on. The vocals are growly without any punk in them but Haley looks pleased with the result.
Useless judging: Randy didn't like the beginning, felt the karaoke. Steve agrees because he always does but loved the chorus and her short dress. Sexual harassment is sexy, yo! JLo didn't like the belting part but doesn't want to criticize her too much lest she's voted off. A fine time to start doing your job, JLo.
Cringe Factor: GREYHOUND BUS – Haley got run over, then the bus backed up and rolled over her lifeless body twice more for good measure. And then she got a dirty old man comment about her short dress. What? No comparisons to Celine Dion and mentions of Grammy nominations?
Pffft! I'm not Clay, no, I'm not! First off, Clay had blonde hair and second I don't think he was on TMZ at Top 8. #winning
I'm over Jacob. Arrogant statements like the one last week live forever on the internet and his is going to linger way past the expiration date on Jacob's future career. Some stuff just goes that way. Iovine blasts him and tells him that people don't want a nobody preaching to them. Oh, snap! When Jacob breaks out into “Impossible Dream”, Iovine practically screws his face into a disdainful sneer and tells him to stop being corny. Hah! Will.i.am agrees and they come up with the brilliant idea to get rid of Jacob by making him sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” which was in some Will Smith movie I've never seen. Now, even I know that Clay Aiken, as miserable as he was otherwise, owned this song back in the stone age of this show but I guess Jacob was still in middle school then and doesn't know that he's just been set up. Kind of brilliant payback there from Papa Iovine. In the end, Jacob delivers a fairly restrained performance although at time he sounds like he's singing from the basement from under a wet blanket. He also gets the three singer, one piano setup which is a step down from the full gospel choir, I guess.
Useless Judging: Steven says Jacob is an angel and babbles on about innuendos for no good reason. JLo says she couldn't hear the last note and she got chills. Randy says it was “perfect, perfect harmony”. So, he was perfect.
Cringe Factor: MUG SHOT Just google him and you'll understand.
Does my bandana make me look manly? I love the WWE! Yeah! Metal lives forever! Don't forget about my disorders though! And I'm kind to little kids too! METAL!
Delivering the fatal blow tonight we have James whose most fervent wish ever is to bring back all that nasty hair metal that everyone who was alive back in the 80s kind of wishes to forget about. To accomplish this lofty goal, Kerchief boy picked Samy Hagar's “Heavy Metal” from the eponymous 1981 movie. He shows up to the mentoring session in a trucker hat and a wife beater – working that tool demo like a pro – only to find out that Jimmy hates his embarrassing, screamy, hook-less song. Durbin declares that he's got “deep seated passion for his music”. Moreover, with a grand total of two months experience in the music biz, he arrogantly tells Iovine: “You and I both know that you can't hear a hit song on the piano”. Ok, now, you may hate Iovine, you may think he's a tool but the dude is a music industry pro while James Durbin is a gnat in a trucker hat on a cheesy singing show. Jimmy sets him straight but Durbin still says he wants to “give metal a chance”. I'm sure Pop radio is salivating even as I'm typing this. The most remarkable part about the performance is the appearance of Zack Wylde whose hair, and 30 second guitar solo, easily upstages Durbin's painful death screams. And, yes, there was a back bend at the end, in case anyone is keeping score. Oh, and he dedicates his song to some little boy in the audience! What? No kitchen sink?
Useless judging: JLo thought it was crazy and she thinks there can be a Heavy Metal American Idol. I get the feeling she hasn't seen the show before. Randy says we were just at a Durbin concert and he thinks Bandana Boy is ready for Ozzfest. Zack was stoked. Steven says he kicked it and Durbin screams that “America asked for it!!” Really? The texting tweeners in Alabama asked for hair metal? Ok, then.
Cringe Factor: DANGER! DANGER! ABORT! On the I-wish-I-could-bleach-my-eyeballs scale of cringe ranging from 1 to 10 where 1 is least offensive, this was a solid 20.
Conclusion: Everyone was swell and super except Haley. The contestants are hopelessly convinced of their own brilliance and legends in their own minds. The judges are still useless and they're actually reading off of notes. I think JLo comes up with all the gushing bits at least a week ahead and shares them with Randy. Or the other way around. Steven is the only one whose commentary sounds more or less off-the-cuff but he's barely coherent.
Arielflies will be here to deliver the results and we'll find out whether America is in the mood to kick off another girl.