Seacrest, eat your heart out. Homer J. Simpson totally stole the emcee spotlight from you last night with his opener. We knew right then and there that we were watching the highlight of the second-to-last week of season 6 of American Idol, otherwise known as Lamest-Season-In-AI History-Right-After-Season-3-Which-I-Stopped-Watching-Halfway-Through. You know it can only go downhill from here, right? And unless you were as blown away as I was by Elliott Yamin’s Extreme Makeover – well, not only did it go downhill, it blew through the steel barricades and rolled a few times before crashing into a ball of flames.
My girl Melinder
Ryan seems a little downcast tonight, and I can only guess it’s because he already knows the results. There’s the usual desultory rehash of the previous night’s performances, distinguished by the fact that Blake didn’t totally suck when he sang instead of
stutteredbeatboxed and Melinda’s awesome rendition of “Nutbush City Limits”. Seriously, if she had the legs you would’ve thought it was Tina herself singing up there. Ryan asks the judges who’ll be left standing at the end of the night – Randy thinks it’ll be “the two girls”, Paula (who’s about as hammered as we’ve ever seen her) waves her arms around and says, “blah, blah, blah”. Really. Or she might as well have, anyway. Simon beams like a proud papa and says he just wants his girl Melinder to be in the finals. So did we all, Simon…so did we all.
I who have nothing…but a day named after me
A reminder about the upcoming AI tour, and Ryan sits chummily with the final three to chat about their home visits. Young Jordin was as excited as, well, a teenager, to return to much fanfare from her family, friends, and total strangers who are more than happy to jump on her bandwagon and be seen on TV. The mayor of Jordin’s Arizona hometown declares this to be “Jordin Sparks Day” and Jordin is giddily astonished to find that it’s, like, an actual day that’s hers. She makes an appearance at her high school and bursts into happy sobs when she’s reunited with her BFF. In spite of her singing talent and extraordinary height, this girl is way too normal to be a celebrity. It’s refreshing to see that all child stars aren’t freakish little prodigies…Dakota Fanning, anyone?
After the video lovefest, Ryan escorts Jordin up to center stage and recites the judges’ comments from last night, adding in a few disapproving glances towards Simon when he quotes the negative remarks. Is Jordin about to get another early pass to safety? Not tonight – Ryan’s in a teasing sort of mood and he sends her back to the bleachers to wait it out.
The boy and his Blaker Girls
Time to head north to Washington state and Blake’s hometown, which is populated with dozens of screaming preteen girls. Which goes to prove that no matter how funny-looking a guy is – even a guy who dresses like he’s going out on a date with one of the Golden Girls – put him on a stage with a microphone and he becomes a god. Or, God forbid, an Idol. Blake gets to fly to his parents’ house in one of those planes that can land on the water (now look, I’m not an aviation expert, if you want the proper name of the aircraft then go google it), and pulls up in a big-ass limo. Dad is a blubbering mess, and Blake endearingly calls him “Daddy” in front of yet another crowd of shrieking seventh-graders. Blake also has a video camera that he swings around, but fortunately none of the young ladies are inclined to flash him. Now that would be a homecoming, hey Blake? The Blakester also gets to sing the national anthem at a Mariners game, and he’s just nerdy enough to think this is the highlight of his home visit.
Blake’s daddy has joined the gang onstage, and Ryan has to ask him twice to go sit down so we can get on with it. So it’s Mr. Lewis’ fault that the show ran over and my tape stopped before I got to see the very end – please feel free to email him with any questions regarding the last couple of minutes. Thanks. Anyway, Ryan’s still not giving up any results…but how can I get mad at him? It’s not like he promised us a no-filler evening this time.
Ryan introduces the first performer as “the guy I don’t recognize anymore”, and it’s a damn good thing he says Elliott Yamin’s name, because HOLY CRAP. I haven’t seen an AI makeover that astonishing since Clay Aiken walked out with a dark brown mop-top last season. The little Amish boy is gone, my friends, and in his place is Elliott with a tousled head of curls and a barely-there beard. He looks a bit like a poor man’s Josh Groban, which is no bad thing. The song is a total cheesefest and unworthy of him, but last season’s awkwardness is gone and Elliott now looks at home on stage. Paula is on her feet, beaming and seal-clapping, while Ryan and the crew greet him like a long-lost son. Elliott gives a quick pep-talk to the final three and an even quicker plug for his CD and upcoming tour, and I’m left to wonder at the power of the AI stylists. I’m totally dying to see what Chris Sligh is going to look like after they get through with him.
Doo-in’ it Mindy’s way
It really pains me to say this, but this week’s Ford ad is…not that bad. In fact…it’s almost kind of cute. It’s set to Billy Squier’s “Everybody Wants You” (please, please tell me somebody else remembers Billy Squier. He gave me his mic to yell “Stroke!” into during a concert in 1983, and I never get to tell this story because no one remembers who he is, dammit). Anyway, the commercial. The Idols are first portrayed by child actors – little kid Blake bouncing on his bed with a guitar, Melinda and Jordin singing into their hairbrush and mirror, respectively – then they morph into their grownup selves and hop into a Ford, where they arrive to a red carpet reception. Almost makes me want to test-drive an Escape Hybrid. Almost.
Finally, it’s time for Melinda’s home visit. Melinda hails from Nashville, Tennessee, and the governor of her state sees fit to not only declare it “Melinda Doolittle Day”, but also names a street “Melinda Doolittle Way”. Wow…I thought you had to be pretty damn famous to get an actual street named after you. Nashvillians, you better buy up those Melinda Doolittle CDs by the bucketful, because you don’t want to be staring at that street sign 10 years from now wondering who the hell Melinda Doo-something was. For now, though, Mindy’s fans are out in full force, with red & white signs and matching red t-shirts. Even though there’s tons of people and excitement, Mindy finds the time to visit her church with mom and dad. How could you not vote for a sweet girl like this? Really – how could you?
Like we said…it’s not a singing competition
Time for some bland pop-rock, and up for the task is Maroon 5, with “Makes Me Wonder”. Not that this song choice is a shot at the voting results or anything. It couldn’t be, I’m sure. Frontman and serial starlet dater Adam Levine and the boys are nattily attired in dark suits, and Paula’s on full cougar alert – she’s on her feet wiggling her middle-aged booty and as short as she is, I pity the audience members who are stuck trying to see over and around her.
Finally, Ryan’s exhausted his filler supply, and it’s results time. He asks Jordin to step forward, tells her that she’s going to be darn happy with the almost-60-million voters, because she’s moving on to the final. Melinda is asked to step up next, and folks, we have an actual shocking elimination – because the journey is over for season favorite Mindy. There’s gasps and boos from the audience, and poor Blake guiltily takes his place beside Jordin as the second of the final two. The judges are surprisingly blasé about the result, but dimwit Paula is still on her feet and does some more arm-waving, then adds some sniffling to her blathering. Randy and Simon shrug and tell her that she was consistent, which counts for something – except, perhaps, enough votes to stay in the running.
Melinda sings out with “I’m A Woman”, and Blake chivalrously hands her his bunch of flowers. Mindy, you may not have been the bride this time, but chances are you’ll never have to be the bridesmaid again. Rock on.
Season 6 draws to a close next week, and it’s going to be a battle of Blake’s style vs. Jordin’s substance – I can’t wait! For it to be over.
Anyone wanna bet on whether Blake will wear a sweater vest or a bow tie next week? Or both? PM me.