On Wednesday night the singing went from bad to worse to appallingly bad and I'm being kind here. The general horror left me wondering though whether these four judges honestly picked these people as the cream of the crop out of tens of thousands of wannabes because they thought they were some of the best or were they just kidding? I wish they were kidding. Sadly, I think these contestants were picked because AI needed some disposable padding, perhaps an extra week of competition and a semi-believable way to feature Norman Gentle, the new AI mascot, without causing massive riots. I know, this barely explains him, but it's all I got for now.
A Closer group
Dimcrest claims 25 million people actually bothered to vote for this tone deaf filler group. I see no reason to doubt the spiky-haired one. After all, that screechy awful Fantasia chick won this show a few seasons back and Clay almost did. I never overestimate America's tastes when it comes to AI. The bad news is that it will take one full hour for three of these non-starters to be anointed into the top 12. I'll try to cut out the fluff and minimize the pain.
There is a reason they pay Seacrest the big bucks. His endless Simon themed jokes and quips are just so stale and dated that they're almost an institution on AI and people practically expect them. Not that he wouldn't do it for free just to hear himself talk but I'm sure it's somewhere in Seacrest's contract that he has to keep the idiocy going or else. I'd still take the banter over the useless recaps they do over and over each and every week till I start hating every contestant no matter how good they are.
For tonight's first group sing the kids are doing Neo's Closer. The guys go first and they don't disappoint. Standard boy band hand gestures and sultry looks into the camera abound and even Norman is almost normal tonight. I can tell because he is wearing a black T-shirt and jacket. I'm sure the cheesy disco shirt is lurking somewhere under the layers and it might be resurrected later on if AI gets desperate enough. The girls chime in after which the two groups mingle and the weird group dancing starts. Kai is really a cabaret singer who has probably studied Constantine Marulis very closely and decided to become just like him, complete with hooded eyes and come-hither smiles. Oy. You can tell which ones imagine themselves to be the stars. Adam Lambert is so overconfident it's funny to watch and even fairly normal Norman looks like he buys the judges' hype. Or he at least pretends to.
After another protracted recap and more
exploitation of the mental casepimping of Norman Gentle without which I'd have been perfectly happy, we're finally on to the first result of the night. We're only 15 minutes into the show. But don't worry, there's more fluff where this came from. After a bit of chit chat with the contestants, Seacrest calls on Allison, the 16 year old redhead who looks about 36 and who got good reviews from the judges on show night. He positions her on stage right along with Jesse Langseth who, by contrast, got universally panned. Next Matt the welder who had so-so reviews and talked back to Simon is brought out and made to stand with the girls. The Spiky Haired One makes a show of asking the judges which one of these they think makes it. Randy thinks it's Allison and whaddayaknow! It's really Allison. Gee, I'm sure everybody is just shocked. To kill yet more time, we're treated to an encore of her Alone which she then proceeds to scream at the top of her lungs. Again. Carly Smithson, I miss you!
One down two to go. After some commercials to pay the bills, Meghan and Chris are brought down to meet their fate. Meghan was nothing to write home about but the judges still liked her. Chris got mixed reviews. Seacrest wants to know how they're feeling and oddly they're terrified. I wonder what he thought they'd say. The two are instructed to stand to Seacrest's left while he calls down Jeanine – the chick who wore shorts the other night and got ogled by Simon – and Matt Girard. Both picked bad songs and got little love from the judges. Jeanine is wearing shorts again, with an awful checkered shirt and suspenders because I'm guessing she wants to stick to what works even if it wasn't the singing.
The four wait in line with AI's dramatic music playing in the background as Seacrest calls on Paula to weigh in. She is torn. Is she ever not torn? Jeanine is quickly dispatched, followed shortly by Matt leaving Meghan and Chris to sweat under the lights a bit longer. More dramatic music! Hearts are pounding! Kara thinks Chris was Michael Buble-ish kind of good during Hollywood week but messed up a bit on Wednesday, she also thinks Meghan “could be a big recording artist”. Perhaps in another solar system.
After some silly banter with Simon because he's impatient and wants the silliness to end, Chris Allen finally makes it to the top 12. Is that shocking? I mean, it was clear the next one to be announced would be a guy otherwise where would the suspense have been? Chris seems stunned though because nobody ever got anywhere by covering Man in the Mirror. It looks like he wasn't thinking he'd make it either. Expect hordes of future AI wannabes to belt out preachy Michael Jackson clunkers in hopes of getting votes. They make him sing it again which is somewhat cruel or it would be if I didn't have a fast forward button on my DVR. Next.
We're 30 minutes in and two people are already in the top 12. This can only mean that we'll be treated to about 25 minutes of pure, unadulterated fluffy stuffing and 5 minutes of real content. Part of the filler is a rerun of what Seacrest fondly calls “An Idol Retrospective” set to A wonderful world. It's basically a nice time-waster filled with shots of endless AI wannabes waving their arms in the air and clapping, a steady parade of weirdos, Sanjaya's hair, the fake Paula and Simon kiss, Seacrest juggling and auditions of past AI successes like Daughtry followed by the confetti showers of all the winners to date. Aw, so sweet! I just wish I didn't have to sit through it yet again.
But wait, we're not done! It's apparently nostalgia night because Brooke White from last season is here sitting behind a piano, ready to sing her first single called Hold up my heart. She says it's a catchy song and I must say that while it's a song that's safely in the adult easy listening category, it's not half bad. Certainly better than dumb songs about red high heels or Jesus behind the pick-up wheel. Cringe! She still sounds like she's channeling Carol King via Janis Joplin but she's pleasant and next to the silly R&B featherweight fluff for pre-teens that past winners such as Jordin Sparks are putting out – Tattoo anyone? - her effort is positively brilliant and grown up. Now that's truly shocking!
Now that Brooke has given us the highlight of the evening all that's left is for another someone to quickly make it to the top 12 so we can all move on. After a few commercials the remaining five contestants are finally lined up on stage. They are Mishavonna, Kai, Jasmine, Adam and Nick. The first three got mixed reviews and were mostly chided for picking bad songs that were either safe, corny, too old, too young or just generally not right. Seacrest reveals their fate first skipping over Adam and Nick and it's not good news. With AI's predictable love for manufactured drama, it was obvious none of these three were going to make it to the top 12 and indeed they don't.
Left with Adam and the NickNorman the clown, Seacrest wants to know whether Simon really prayed like he said he would for NickNorman to be booted. Simon confesses that he was on his knees for six straight hours doing so. I almost believe him. But he should have saved himself the trouble because it was clear after Wednesday night that only producers with a twisted desire for ratings-generated ad dollars could love this guy. NickNorman's reviews were horrid while Adam's were glowing. You can guess which one made it. Adam, who has worse hair than Robert Smith but just as much love for good black eyeliner, makes it to the top 12. We can now all breathe easier at least till the judges' wild card picks are announced. Adam gets to screech and scream through Satisfaction yet again and he sounds and looks just as annoying as he did on Wednesday night. The Constantine stare! The silly imitation of Mick Jagger! The tortured mewling! Be happy you missed it all.
Allison Iraheta, Chris Allen and Adam Lambert slipped into the next three finalist slots tonight. Which three will make it next week? Another two hour monster session awaits us before we can find out. Be back here with me and my brilliant recapping buddy MotherSister as we dish the dirt, trim the fat and bring you all the breaking news about Seacrest's spiky gelled do and Simon's latest chest hair baring V-necked shirt.