These early starts keep making me miss the new opening sequence. Thank you, American Idol. So, it was Country Week in Idol Land, brought to us by Dolly Parton. I’ve been used to think of this week as the time when somebody unstoppable bites it. After all, Country Night claimed the ever-popular Mandisa, and it did finally rid us of Sanjaya when nothing else could. So if history teaches us anything, then tonight’s results should see David Archuleta hitting the road. Ha ha, belated April Fool’s!
What A Way To Make A Living
Tonight’s show is so jam-packed we only have time for the briefest glance at the judges before we jump right into group-sing! This week they’re tackling “9 to 5”, which is probably the hit most often identified with Dolly. Brooke and Kristy trade leads while everybody else tries not to keel over in embarrassment doing a line dance behind them. Eventually everybody gets to sing and all in all, from the buddy pairs and the big smiles pasted on to the bouncy, strutting, pointy choreography, this is a group-sing that would make the Silver Platters proud. Although I don’t think these kids would beat Patty’s Prancing Poodles either.
More of what happened last night. Dolly says some sweet, warm words about putting her ‘children’ in the hands of the Idols, and then we kind of gloss quickly over everybody being how they usually are except Michael Johns. But if you want the details, I suggest reading AJane’s hilarious recap.
Three On A Match
Results rigmarole. We’re still hiding all the kids backstage and bringing them out one by one, but now they’ve installed a camera back there to catch every tense expression and last-minute prayer. There’s nowhere this show won’t go. So, Michael Johns is the first guy out, and after the smoking performance he gave there should be no way he’s in any danger, but … Country Night. Michael says he was in his element singing his bluesy number, and he should keep that in mind when he favors us again next week, because he’s first off to the couches of safety. David Archuleta comes out and once again talks about the message in his song. All these earnest messages, it’s like he’s laying ground for a political campaign. Archuleta 2024: Sing Loudly, and Carry A Big Heart. It could happen. Point is, he’s safe.
Carly still has her weave in, but she’s wearing a yellow shirt tonight, so maybe Simon will lay off. Ryan’s all, “Well, you already know what it’s like to be over in Loserville,” and Carly almost melts in defeat right there because there’s no way that three in a row are going to Safety. Ryan asks her which side she’d rather be on. Instead of looking at him like he’s an idiot, which is what I’d do, she says she’d rather be with the safe folks, and Ryan tells her to go for it. She’s even effervescent as she runs over to the couches.
Darkness and Light
Wait, now everyone’s on the couches. Oh no, it must be time for the wretched viewer calls. At this point, I’d actually rather watch Ryan-on-the-Street, and that’s just sad. Anyway, somebody asks Syesha what she misses the most from home, and she says something actressy about missing her family, and then something fakey about American Idol being her family now. At least I hope it was fakey. They’re not going all 1984 on these kids, are they? David Cook wishes he could be more organized. Somebody asks who Randy hasn’t worked with, and he’s like, I know everyone in the world, dawg! And then some dumb stuff about wanting to work with whoever wins. A perky young thing asks what Michael and David Cook want to sing on tour, and they kid about a duet of “Islands in the Stream,” only they’re probably not kidding. Somebody tells Simon not to say “sorry!” anymore after raking people over the coals, and he promises never to apologize for being a bastard again.
Here now to remind us that this is a music show are the Clark Brothers, winners of last summer’s Next Great American Band. They come out and do a swangy, twangy, kind of unnecessary take on “This Little Light of Mine,” while mumbling the name Jesus. That’s kind of contradictory.
Tricks and Treats
Pimpmercial. The Idols try to rap along to “It’s Tricky,” and show off their smooth b-ball moves, while a pretty red car of some sort sits gleaming in the background. I wish I knew what kind it was. I would totally go out and buy it right now.
And now, back to the studio! Everybody’s in their results places again, and Ryan’s teasing Carly about how he faked her out. She says he’s “full of tricks,” and I can’t help but think that this is her clever way of calling him a leprechaun. Ryan remarks on how harsh Simon was with her last night. Carly says she doesn’t expect an apology, especially now. I think this is her clever way of calling him a big crankpot. David Cook struts out now in his spiffy new haircut. After the hollers die down, Ryan brings up his recent hospital visit; David says he has high blood pressure, which probably makes the tension building and the mind games kind of a downer for him, show. Just saying. Anyway, David is safe this week.
It looks like Ramiele is doing her best to curl up into a ball like a kitten, but all those big bones are getting in her way. The droopy little petal looks depressed as Ryan reads back the judges’ lukewarm comments on her performance this week. He asks her if she connected with country music, and she says it was a little difficult but she enjoyed it. Too bad it landed her in the bottom 3. Kristy Lee is up now, and walks out with something in her hands. It turns out to be a little note that says “Kristy’s Seat,” because, as Kristy says resignedly but with a twinge of bitterness, she knows she is going to be in the bottom three. Ryan chides her for her pessimism, but sends her over there anyway. Ha. Me, I wish Kristy had saved herself a different seat, on a bus back to Oregon. But this is close enough for now. Ryan for some reason asks Paula for impromptu words about the girls, and she stumbles around the edge of coherence eventually saying what matters is connecting to the audience.
In case you don’t remember Phil Stacey, Bucky Covington, and Bo Bice, they were all AI also-rans in seasons 6, 5, and 4 respectively. In case you don’t care about Phil Stacey, Bucky Covington, or Bo Bice, I would advise fast-forwarding through this lengthy clip show of them remembering Idol fondly, talking about finding themselves, and making their own albums in Nashville.
Results again. Syesha walks out looking ready to cut her eyes at us when she finds out she’s in the bottom three. Ryan asks her why she’d do a fool thing like singing “I Will Always Love You” if she didn’t want to be compared to Whitney Houston. Syesha says she didn’t want to be compared at all but what could she do. Sing another song, you dope. She’s safe though.
So this leaves us to fill the last stool of lousiness with either Brooke or Jason. He asks Brooke what she thought of herself; she had a great time and asks Simon to apologize to her violinist. Simon sarcastically offers apologies to everyone including Paula, Carly, and the audience too because, crankpot. Jason says he felt good about what he did last night, and Ryan affirms this by sending Jason to the safety zone. Brooke just nods firmly and says, “Okay; it’s all right.” She’s such a nanny. An all-girl bottom three. They laugh about the fact that they’re all roommates, and Simon says this is exactly the right bottom three to have this week. We return to the crankpot thing and Simon says he doesn’t regret anything he said last night, and he was only trying to help Carly by saying she looked plum awful in front of all the world. Carly’s like, whatever. Then Simon says he thinks Carly is very cute, and I’m like, ew.
Feeling the Spirit
To clear our minds and hearts of all that stuff, we get to see yet another sneak peek at this year’s give-a-thon. Addis Ababa is the site this week, and Ryan narrates the story of two young orphaned sisters who live on the streets. They were separated from each other for months, but through the power of giving, American Idol catches their tearful reunion on camera. It’s impossible not to cry at this. Stupid show.
Hey, Dolly Parton is on now. I hope you can see her through all the tears in your eyes. She’s dressed all in white, with a silver spangled blazer complete with floaty chiffon sleeves and train, tight white leggings and silver heels. She looks like an angel with a reputation. And I can’t help but love her. Dolly’s singing is not so great tonight, but she moves and sounds just like any little old lady at church getting up to sing her testimony, so her trembly little high voice is still completely cute. She’s amped when she’s done, waving around and shouting hey to all the judges. She talks with Ryan a little bit about how much she enjoyed last night’s show, and Dolly gives Simon his pass back into Dollywood. Man, she’s adorable.
Lullaby, And Goodnight
But now big hair fun time has come to an end. Ryan corrals the bottom three in the center of the stage. Kristy looks pissed, Ramiele looks sick, and Brooke is as pale as the palest little cloud plus a pailful of paleness. Ryan asks Simon what he thinks, and he says it’s definitely not Brooke. Brooke is giving Ramiele a run for her money in the crying department; she says that between the whole Idol Gives Back manipulation and Dolly’s song, the competition is in a whole other perspective. That answer was so sweet that Ryan sends her to safety, and then he says Kristy is safe without so much as a pause for suspense. Kristy hugs Ramiele a good long time while she cries and her journey plays. Then she gives one awesome a singout. Her voice is laced with all her sadness and emotion, and it’s a shame she couldn’t do that more often on the show. Oh well. So Kristy Lee skirts elimination yet again. I don’t even think an internet urban legend has as much staying power as she does. (Except that one about the lady in Nigeria who needs my money to get her money out of her bank account and give it to me, but I think that one’s really true.) Anyhoodle, that’s all for tonight, and it’s a good thing because I’m just tuckered out. But y’all come back now, ya hear? Because next week we’re in for an evening of inspirational songs, plus Idol Gives Back II: This Time It’s Personal! It’s not to be missed.
Rest in peace, Mama Yamin.