Previously on American Idol: Bee Gees week proved to be a huge trainwreck, with outstanding performances from absolutely no one. Simon and Ryan continued their series of love taps, but that sly Ryan was also seen flirting with Nigel, Blake and Jessica Alba. Lovely LaKisha was eliminated, which was pretty sad, but it didn’t want to make me pull a Florida Evans or anything. This week our final three will be whittled down to the two who’ll make it to the Kodak stage. Can these kids finally turn this season into a real sensation? Who will choke under the pressure?? Will I think of another question to ask??? Join me as we continue our saga, As The Idol Turns.
We open with some of that cool camera-in-the-mirror action of the FINAL THREE backstage, and Ryan says that tonight they’ll be fighting for their places on the finale stage. Here’s hoping there are loin cloths and maces involved. That’d be exciting, wouldn’t it? I’m thinking it would get more out of me than hearing three songs from each of the semi-finalists. But that’s really just me being judgmental, so never mind. Yes, there will be three songs from each contestant this week – a judges’ pick, their own choice, and something selected by the producers. I guess Clive Davis was too busy getting his life-preservation dip to make it to the show this year.
Nine whole songs at two minutes apiece, that’s 18 minutes of music that have to be gone through, so we’re right down to business this week since there’s so much singing to fit in. Jordin’s up first for the night; we jump right into her hometown visit, with the mayor of Glendale, AZ announcing Simon’s selection for her: Rose Royce’s “ Wishing On A Star.” Jordin seems to have no clue what that even is, but claps with glee anyhow. Cute, right? I sort of wish she’d had more of a clue about what this song is, though. Part of what makes it so compelling is the mellow, dreamy vocal, and the ethereal-funk melody. Jordin’s working here with some unfortunate Sunday Jazz Brunch arrangement, which only accentuates the awkward, forced element of her notes and her phrasing. I think it’s not so good. But Randy disagrees, and says he knows now that Jordin is “in it to win it,” and likes her Beyonce vibe. Oh, Stephanie Edwards, how I weep for you. Paula says that Simon picked a great song for her, and Simon says she sang it brilliantly, but he hated the arrangement. That makes 30 million of us.
Ryan tries to get Simon’s goat by saying that Simon’s not sticking by his own choice; Simon lets his goat be got, and they go over that ground for a minute. Then Jordin seventeens that she herself wasn’t so thrilled about the song choice, because she’d never heard it before. It kinda sounds a little bratty actually, which might just be all that pressure or whatever, but Simon’s obviously not happy about her tone. And when Simon’s not happy, Ryan’s not happy, and when Ryan’s not happy … the world is dark. Bad move, Jordin.
Put On The Green Light
Perhaps Blake will bring light unto us all once more. He has a shot anyway. The Beatbox Boi has electrified his hometown in Washington, and the mayor seems more than happy to read Paula’s note telling the world that she has chosen The Police’s “Roxanne” for Blake to sing tonight. He gives a pretty good performance of it, too. Blake takes a lot of heat for enhancing his vocals, and he’s certainly no Sting, but his voice can be very pleasant in that generic radio sort of way, as it is here. It’s pretty clear at this point that Blake is turning into a runaway success; his niche has caught afire and will carry him into the finale. I think. Randy gives him an “A” for his version of “Roxanne.” If only The Dawg’s praise were something worth sticking on your refrigerator. Paula is all smiley and moony in love. Simon gives him props, but says it wasn’t fantastic, and wasn’t very original. The audience disagrees with him, I’m assuming because somebody rang a bell somewhere.
In Which The World Turns Upside Down
Hey, Blake! Hey, Jordin! Suck on this: Melinda got to meet the governor of her whole state. Also, she’s got Randy’s own sanction to sing a Whitney Houston song. Whoa. I think I felt the earth move a little bit. If Randy’s giving somebody permission to sing Whitney, what next? Will Whitney herself return to sing Whitney? In these strange days, no one can quite tell. Melinda laughs and thanks “Randy Johnson” for the great pick, because the governor of the whole state of Tennessee mistakenly called him that, and Melinda’s awesome, you see? So she comes out to sing “I Believe in You and Me,” with some wack keyboard carrying the instrumentation, and I get a sinking feeling that major cheesiness is coming my way. And it sort of does come, but it’s Whitney Houston, so what’re you gonna do? Melinda sings well, with some warbly trouble on the high notes, and a little too much power overall, but it’s still a good performance.
Randy says he handed her the challenge because he knew she could do it, and thinks she proved herself worthy of the grand prize. Paula seconds that emotion with a meek little nod; she’s strangely subdued tonight. Simon on the other hand is all gushy. He grins and says that this was Melinda’s best performance in the last month, and gives the first round to her. Melinda doesn’t even bother to be shocked by that. Ryan gets all hyper for a second and doles out some patented Randy drivel, prompting Simon to ask if he is drunk. Of course they spar a bit and verbally pull each other’s hair, so I guess we can all take a drink now.
Wait, How Old Is She Again?
Jordin returns, looking a little cooler, calmer, and more collected for her “viewer question” segment with Ryan. She’s also rocking a very cute blue satin halter, not that that has anything to do with anything. Ryan asks what Jordin’s favorite song is, and she’s sugary, remember? So she answers “Mmmbop.” Ryan hums a bit of it, and Jordin says it’s okay to love that song because she’s seventeen. Hmm. How come I never got my free pass for liking terrible, terrible music? I may have to go back and remedy this. Anyway, Jordin’s next number is Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money.” This marks the first time all season that I’m ready to buy into any conspiracy theory, because this? Is an awful choice on the producers’ part. Nigel may just be as black-hearted and out of touch as Clive ever was. I hope you took that drink earlier; otherwise, this will be no fun at all. Jordin singing an up-tempo tune about the daily grind? We've been here before. Awkward is again my word of choice to describe it, and that's about that.
Again, I must be an alien life form or something because the judges are all over it: Randy says “hot,” Paula says “fantastic,” and Simon says “very good.” I say “Whaa?” I would go back and rewatch to see if I’m missing something, but I just don’t have the pure strength of will.
Blake’s turn to answer a question now, and it’s a good one about the movie of his life. Blake says he’d be played by Jim Carrey, and the title would be Organized Chaos. Get on it, fan-ficcers. The producers’ choice for Blake is Maroon 5’s “This Love,” because they really want Blake to win. This is so right up his alley I’m ready to call a strike before he even sings a note. See, this song really isn’t even about singing; it’s about the melody and the beat. That’s why it’s so perfect for Blake, because he’s “the cool kid,” if you recall. Instead of being distracted by the record spins and such that he adds, they fit right in with the hipness and the percussiveness of the whole thing, so it’s all pretty engaging. The judges eat him up like sugar, of course. Randy looks forward to hearing a record like this from Blake, and Simon agrees it was much better than his first outing. Blake is visibly thrilled by Simon’s praise, and Ryan gets all touchy-feely with him in celebration. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Melinda’s grandparents are in the audience tonight, and OMG so cute! Lovely to see them. Melinda’s question is about who she idolized, and she quickly says it’s her mother, who is her BFF. Ouch, grandma. It’s okay, I still think you’re precious. In other, less sweet news, Melinda earns some seething jealousy from me right now, because she gets to perform “Nutbush City Limits” in front of all of America, and it would just rock my world if I ever got the chance to do anything half so cool for an audience half so big. But Melinda owns, so I guess she deserves it. She does an awesome job jazzing up the droning bass line, and throwing some rawness and fire into the kinda plain lyrics, and running around the stage with a rawk attitude on, in all ways doing Tina much justice. I love it. The judges do too – Paula says she could tell Melinda was having a blast, and loves her every day and twice on Sundays. Simon says loves this side of Melinda, and the way he keeps
leeringgrinning at her, I believe him. Round two is declared a tie between rockin’ Melinda and poppin’ Blake.
Try, Try Again
At the return from break, we find Paula pretending to plant a kiss on Simon, and Ryan looking on in amusement. Sometimes I really worry about them, but I’m no superhero so I’ll just hope things work out for the best, and move on to Jordin. She used to work at the local mall, if you can believe that, and they’ve now given her a commemorative star. Nice in theory, but I don’t think I’d want to see it a few months from now when pretzel salt and cookie crumbs and shoe rubber have taken their toll. Luckily for me, I don’t live in Arizona. Jordin’s got one last chance to get some glory of her own for the evening, and to do it she’s going back to her show-stopper of the season, “I (Who Have Nothing).” It’s fabulous, yes, absolutely, but I’ve seen it before so I’m failing to get the thrill of it tonight, when we’ve had such freshness and newness from the other two. And it hurts her that I’m not buying the flinching and wincing expressions or the shrinking gestures either; they make the whole thing read rather contrived to me, which isn’t what I’m looking for in a pitiful, gut-wrenching ode like this one. But she did sing her diaphragm out, which is something. The judges applaud her for her vocal, which is how it should be, but I’m kind of worried for Jordin after such an uneven offering. I can’t say that she made a very big wow mark tonight, and her snapping back at Simon’s criticism of the song’s age doesn’t help matters much. Not even Ryan knows what to do with that awkwardness.
And You Shall Know Him By The Hearts In His Wake
Speaking of awkward, we segue rapidly into footage of Blake’s visit home, which shows him on stage beat boxing as Sir Mix-a-lot performs “Baby Got Back.” I bet you thought you’d never see the day, huh? Lord knows I wish I hadn’t. Sir Mix proclaims Blake the new King of Sea-town, and Blake takes his new title and gives us a rendition of Robin Thicke’s “When I Get You Alone.” I’ll wait while y’all stop giggling in remembrance of Robin’s own terrible performance just a couple of weeks ago. Suffice it to say that Blake’s better than him. Even with the silly dancing. Okay, maybe not, but still. Randy gives some tepid praise, but liked the Maroon 5 number better. Paula thinks he’s given three great performances tonight, and Simon really liked it, and congratulates Blake for knowing himself and always looking like he’s having fun. Blake seals his fate by smiling shyly and saying “I’m having a blast,” which no doubt spurred tens of thousands of people who collect Precious Moments figurines and pictures of pretty cakes to vote for him, in addition to all the other Blaker Girls and assorted fans. Ryan tries to rib Simon for gushing and says he “has a musical crush,” my mind goes boom! trying to figure out all the pots and kettles in that statement. Let’s just say that Blake has captured America, and leave it at that.
Yes, Melinda’s closing the show yet again. And I have a hard time being upset about that. Back at Melinda’s alma mater, they’ve named a street after her, which is probably going to make things fun for people at the local post office. Meanwhile, on stage Melinda’s doing a repeat performance too, but I actually am into this one. Not that I’m biased or anything. *cough* It’s really mainly because I love love love this song. And probably because this is the performance that made me acknowledge that Melinda can do anything and I have to have something to be excited about this season and she’ll do nicely. But for whatever reason, Melinda’s second rendition of “I’m A Woman,” is just as electrifying as it was the first go-round. I don’t even bat an eyelash at the stilted theatrics, with the throwing the jacket and stuff, because it’s the final three and she’s really trying. I also love her exploiting her background singing sisters with her crazy hip-swiveling hijinks. Way to look like a star, Mindy!
Reactions to the performance are predictably gushy. Randy has loved seeing all the full range of Melinda’s awesome tonight. Paula pats her on the back for grabbing ahold of the spotlight, and Simon says she has consistently delivered. Yeah, consistently delivered the awesomeness. I’m sorry, where were we? Oh yeah, at the end.
That was our top three, and not a bad night either, considering the kind of lackluster competition we’ve had so far. I think this is certainly a tighter race than last year, and although it looks iffy for Jordin, she’s obviously collected tons of fans who may indeed rally to send her to the Kodak, leaving Blake or Melinda in the dust. I obviously have no idea who shall stand our final two, but have no fear because the witty and wonderful AJane is bringing the news of the results, and then it’s on to the finale!
Elliott! Excited? PM me, and we can eat bon bons and gab all about it.