Last week we said goodbye to the fabulous AJ, the quirky Leslie, and the mellow Nick, as well as some other girl who probably deserved the boot. What does the ousting of another three, count ‘em three very talented folks mean for this week’s competition? Why, it means nobody’s safe (unless your last name starts with D and ends with -oolittle)! So with all that uncertainty and so much on the line tonight you should definitely expect to see some of the most amazing, moment-making, mind-blowing performances you’ve ever seen on this show as the girls fight their way into the top 12. And of course, you should expect to be disappointed on almost every score.
Ryan’s sporting a kicky turtleneck under his familiar blazer as he opens the show tonight, looking much like a college professor. All he needs are the leather elbow patches. And a pipe, and a smug sense of self-satisf … well, a pipe and the patches anyway. The ladies file out as always, not much of a cheer for Haley, but the crowd absolutely roars as Melinda does her cute little two-hand wave. Ryan mysteriously pimps some “groundbreaking” Idol event that’s being unleashed at the results show. He nods to the guys and the judges, and apparently Paula has popped in a bit late. Simon crudely suggests that she was “under the desk” earlier. I’m not so sure he wants to go there with the personal attacks, what with the freaking Teletubbies in his own private history. Ryan adeptly changes the subject and somehow plunges us immediately into singing! He’s a good little host-elf, he is.
Heartbreaker of Gold
Jordin Sparks is first up tonight. We’re continuing with the “funny things you didn’t know and never cared about me” theme from last night’s show, and Jordin chooses to share her passion for football with us all. I understand her father is some sort of athletic man. She’s cute and bubbly, because that’s what she is, and so she sings Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” in a bubbly way. Her voice is very nice; she has some breath trouble but all in all it’s great. Aside from the giggling I have to do when sugary Jordin’s all “don’t you mess around with me (like, ‘cause if you do I’ll buy you a kitten!),” I’m sold.
Randy says Idol is a different show when the girls are on. Yes, it’s a good show when the girls are on. Paula loves Jordin’s energy, but for Simon, “energy” means manic and shrieky. Still, he thinks she’s got a wonderful personality, and she’s a lock for the top 12. Catch that, America? Simon thinks you’re all voting on personality! As Ryan gives out her numbers, Jordin squats so as not to tower over him, but when the audience laughs she pops back up, and it’s totally adorable and makes me want to vote for her! Also, I heard somewhere that she’s a good singer.
Eh, Go Ahead And Let Go
Ryan’s back on the brand unspecific red couch with Gina and Sabrina (oh, hey! Their names rhyme … they should start a band). He asks Gina what she thinks about all the glory the girls have been collectively showered with, and Gina says it’s great, and all the praise helps them feed off of each other’s talent, and they‘re all getting higher and higher. All those mixed metaphors and narcotic allusions must‘ve just clicked, because Gina starts to trail off awkwardly and Ryan diverts his attention to Sabrina with the same question. Sabrina’s just concentrating on what’s at stake now so she ain’t got time for your silly chat-time, Seacrest! We find out that Sabrina aspired to be “the next Katie Couric,” as if one weren’t enough. Why does no one ever want to be the next Mother Teresa? There’s someone we could use a duplicate of. Anyway, Sabrina’s broadcast dreams died out, and now she sings. She sings En Vogue, in fact -- their hit “Don’t Let Go,” that made the rounds at all the eighth grade talent shows I ever went to in the late 90s. Sabrina is still laboring under the idea of her having a big voice, which is just not true. She sounds great when she’s not cracking on the power notes. And she looks great in general, with her curls seeming much more like curls than a lion’s mane. Also she has on a fabulous gold crepe sheath that I covet muchly.
Randy’s not too thrilled with Sabrina’s performance, even though he’s the lying liar who told her the lie about her having a big voice in the first place. But he says she was solid tonight. Paula says her voice soars, but Simon says she was robotic and mechanical, and rather like a hotel performance. Paula pipes up and says whatever hotel Sabrina’s singing at, she’ll go there. Simon offers to send her, and I laugh. Ryan gets us all back together and asks if Sabrina deserves to make it into the top 12, and everyone says yes.
Oh, Nelly. No, Nelly.
Antonella’s on now. Her “guess what about me” thing is short, probably because everyone already knows more about her than we can stand. So we very quickly learn she also likes to play the violin. Would that she stuck to that instead of always trying to sing. Tonight she gives us Corinne Bailey Ray’s “Put Your Records On,” a sweet, simple song that shouldn’t be subjected to this fate. Okay, so Ant is actually in tune for half the song, but the in tune parts are broken up and interrupted by all kinds of flatness, especially when she dips into the low register. So, yeah. It’s not so good. Not that anyone is surprised.
Antonella actually looks depressed, and there’s a really weird silence as she ends and the judges give their comments. Dare I hope that scales are falling off of eyes and people are seeing that Antonella is in fact a terrible performer? Yes, I do dare! Randy says the ending was nice. But he thinks Antonella’s a better singer than we‘ve seen her be. I say so what if she is, American Idol isn’t really about what you think might be there. It’s about show and prove, and no damage control on Randy’s part is going to convince me that Ms. Barba deserves to move any farther in this thing. So there. Paula gibbers about her higher range being her magic. Simon, I am convinced, is attempting to woo me. He makes me smile by telling Antonella bluntly that she has gone as far as she can go in this thing, and is no match for the other voices she’s competing with. Hear, hear! He also says Antonella has “taken a lot of stick in the media” (yeah, yeah, she’s taken a lot of stick elsewhere too, *ba dump tss*, moving on) and complimenting her on handling herself well. But now it must end. Please, Jeebus let it end. Antonella mouths off a bit again, I guess because she loves to do that. I hate recapping dull, bratty spats, so I’m skipping it.
Dig It, The Pageant Queen
Haley Scarnato used to be a gymnast, and she has video to prove it -- sure enough, there’s a clip of her looking all Dominique Dawes-like on a mat, and that is the most interesting thing that will happen for the next two minutes. Turns out Haley got hurt quite a bit on the circuit, so she turned to singing. Embarrassing herself on worldwide television every week must be painless, then. It must be, because even after all the criticism she’s taken for being to corny and pageanty, and lame, Haley’s song tonight is screaming “Miss Teen Alabama,” with plodding synth drumming and “inspiration cymbals” capping every measure, and lyrics like I sail through the heavens / with stars in my eyes / if my heart had wings / I would fly to you. I know I don’t even have to tell you her right hand is shooting up in the air like always. And she’s dead serious about it all, so, barf. It’s one thing to sing something completely lame and inane and have fun with it, it’s another thing altogether to think that crap’s really inspiring and cutting-edge.
Haley’s smiling like she’s just saved the world in her side-swept topsy tail and bedazzled red tank top. But I think she’d be better off calling Swan Brooner or Leslie Butler and getting a gig in some of those hotels Simon’s always on about. Randy says she sang well but without pizzazz, and that “there was no ‘yo’.” Getrude Stein, move over. I think I’ve found a new phrase. There was no ‘yo’ there. Or even better, There was no ‘yo,’ yo. Or! Best of all, Randy you’re an idiot. Oh, yeah; I think that’s the one I’m going with. Paula also says Haley sang well, and that she looked great, and obviously has a style that she’s comfortable with. Yes, but I’d rather she kept that to herself. Simon calls it a horrible high school musical performance, and says that he couldn’t even remember who she was, by way of saying Haley hasn’t made an impression on people. Eh, I think she has. Just not a good one.
Stephanie Edwards doesn’t have that problem; she’s won many hearts on stage in the past few weeks. Apparently she has always wanted to do just that. Her footage is all Past Stephanie singing her little heart out, as Present Stephanie tells us that whenever she was asked to sing for family or friends, she would run away and cry, but now she’s confident and comfortable and awesome while performing. At least, she usually is.
She sings “Sweet Thing,” in a gorgeous black spaghetti strap dress with aqua trim, and the beginning is absolutely lovely, but you know, it’s Chaka Khan (let me rock you, let me rock you, Chaka Khan). So when Stephanie tries to drift into that blustering, booming key change that Chaka makes seem so easy, she gets behind the music, and then she starts to rush, and then there’s breath trouble. So all of the volume she tries to show off ends up kind of crumbling to pieces. It's a good performance, but definitely uneven, which is the very thing that made all of Tamyra Gray's voters turn against her in season one. I so hope that does not happen here.
Randy does the whole thing about that being Chaka Khan’s song, and says he wasn’t with it. Paula thinks she was near flawless; she did fall behind, but she has a beautiful voice (yes!) and amazing carriage. Simon says she’s obviously one of the best singers there (yes!), but she gets a little copycat sometimes, and that doesn’t always work out. Tonight is a good example of that. Ryan asks if Stephanie has that all-important ’yo-ness’ about her, and Simon says that Stephanie has “100% done enough to sing her way into the final 12.” (Yes!!)
Oh, Oh, It's Magic ...
We need some Lakisha now! Or at least Ryan thinks so, as he brings us back from break. Lakisha says she’s ready to bring the energy, and then begs a hug. Ryan continues his attempts at flirting with girls and jumps at the chance. Cute. And, Lakisha is looking stunning in a well-tailored black, sleeveless, collared dress, with a ruched bodice and fluted skirt, and what‘s more, a dazzling smile to go with it. She looks happy tonight, or at least very excited, which is all good. She interviews about being scared of all kinds of animals, which is too bad, because puppies are chicken soup for the soul. Anyway, Lakisha sings “I Have Nothing,” a song I’ve heard enough to last me seven lifetimes. She sounds wonderful as always, and is so obviously feeling every word, which is always good. But it’s “I Have Nothing.” So it’s nothing super remarkable.
Randy calls it another great performance from The Great Lakisha, like she’s about to pull a rabbit out of her hat or something. Paula says she’s not going anywhere; she’s going to stay and work on being the next Idol. I’m sort of nearer Idolizing her people cheering in the audience with their Lakisha tees on. They’re awesome. For Simon, Lakisha brought passion and believability to the performance, as well as the all-important ‘yo.’ He also takes time to tell her gorgeous she looks. Heeeey, Lakisha. How you doin’?
Portrait Of Gina: A Very Obedient (And Totally Hardcore) Girl
We come back to a pillow fight between Ryan and the girls, but just before things get too slumber party-ish and the nieces at home start having uncomfortable questions, Ryan breaks it up and talks to Gina, who’s got a garish hot pink bra showing up through her sheer gray tunic with the leather strings hanging off of it. Gina, honey, I know Simon told you to be more rawkin’ but you don’t have to bend so completely or so quickly to his will. Just draw the line before you get to wallet chains, okay? She shares with us her lucky troll and pickle, and a pillow with her young niece and nephews emblazoned on. Aww. How weird.
Gina sings Evanescence’s “Call Me When You’re Sober,” going flat in the screamy parts like all rockers do, so it’s okay, because it‘s raw, and that‘s how we feel. Or whatever. And Gina does kinda rock too, in that American Idol, I’m on TV, so throw up the horns way. All of the judges congratulate Gina on being
who Simon told her to beherself. Randy tells her to keep the edge alive, and Simon really hopes she makes it through. Agreed, because if not we’re in for a dull season watching everyone lose the diva battle to the Melinda.
Just ... Yeah!
Speaking of that awesome lady, she’s closing our show tonight so this ought to be good. Her fun thing to know is that she’s sort of OCD, or what she calls “equal opportunity,” in that she likes to keep things balanced, like stepping on a pebble with both feet. I totally used to do the same thing, until this one time I got my hand slammed in a car door and decided being balanced wasn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.
So, Melinda struts out in this cute cap-sleeved print dress singing Peggy Lee’s “I’m A Woman,” and it. Is. Fierce. I’m saying, she’s so good. There’s no denying her fantastic voice or her dynamic performance; she just plain rules. An even though there are a handful of other worthy boys and girls, Melinda is so the person to beat right now. Randy says he’s ready to get her in the studio right now, and Paula calls her brilliant, and says she looks forward to what Melinda will do every week. Simon gets all throaty and calls her a tiger, and says he likes that she’s enjoying the show for what it is. And he tacitly slams Jennifer Hudson for calling AI a stepping stone, but seriously, it’s not like the show made her career. What it did was, it got her to the thing that would make her career. What would he want her to call it? Atlas, holding her up as if she were Earth? Get over it, Simon.
Anyway, a mostly meh evening in which Melinda pwn3d the other girls, and that’s all she wrote for tonight. In the playback reel to show the numbers, the editors make good and sure to show Antonella sucking harder than anyone has a right to, and Haley looking a great big corny mess. Did any of this get through to the voting public? One can only hope. The snarkalicious MsFroggy is bringing the news of results night, so stay tuned to find out who's filling out your top twelve.
You got the 'yo' factor? Send me a PM; I've got an idea for a show.