So, yeah. Every week I am more and more shocked that the season is almost over. It still feels like absolutely nothing has happened? But it could just be me, because according to this week’s wacky novelty opening, Season 9 has drummed up quite enough plot and character to be considered a made-for-television movie. Mother, May I Sing for Money? Ooh, or Crime of Passion: She Woke Up Pitchy. This … is American Idol!
American Idol Rocks Your World
Oh look, there are the judges in all their horribleness, but who cares about them? Clearly no one, as Ryan all but ignores them, and plunges us right into a performance from Season 3 champion Fantasia. She’s got a new single called “Bittersweet,” and a very smooth look, from the hair to the skintight pants and silver spangled tux jacket. Unfortunately, this outing isn’t as balls-out insane as the last time Fanny appeared on the Idol stage, but the song is pleasant enough, and if you like her style, it goes down a treat. She talks with Ryan afterward and says you should buy her album this summer because she’s back to being a soul singer like you like.
No group-sing yet again, perhaps because they’ve been so very failtastic this year. Although, that never stops them from airing the Ford commercials: this week’s effort features some song called “Put the Message in the Box,” and involves our Top 4 driving their sweet cherry red Ford around the world for various wanton acts of cultural assimilation. Casey ends up in lederhosen, Crystal in a kimono, and Lee in a thawb. And Mike in his regular old clothes, because nothing else in the whole world would fit him. Womp womp.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Since tonight will witness the reveal of our Top 3, and this reveal is followed immediately by the ever popular hometown visits (“Hero’s Welcomes” as Ryan describes them), we now witness an extremely sweet montage of some of the best ever moments from said visits. These are probably my favorite moments of each season; no matter who is being feted, no matter if I despise them or don’t know who they even are. I’m a soft touch, and these are super touching, so montage, away! Carrie’s happy landing in Oklahoma. David Cook Day in Kansas City, Elliott Yamin parading in front of like all of Virginia, with his dear sweet mother. Archie being gosh-darned adorable. Wow, Taylor Hicks, remember him? Adam Lambert gleefully greeting a sea of Californians. Even Danny Gokey’s voiceless concert and tears of joy manage to be endearing. It’s magic. I can’t even lie; I rewound this like three times. And, I don’t know who the guy is at the end of the montage, but he sure is dreamy. Was he ever on the show?
Anyway. RyRy interviews all four present day
contestants artistscontestants about their hopes for their respective homecomings. Besides visiting sponsor stores and car lots. Mike wants to see his puppy. And Florida smells. Crystal is like, “Family and stuff, I guess, but really my band and all the bars we play at.” Lee just wants to get a homecoming. And to talk with his parents without a camera being there. Casey says everything everyone else says, and also wants to get back to the kind of people who say “y’all.” Shucks, you can find us anywhere. Also, all of the Top 4 family and friend entourages are up in the Safety area, while the kids sit in the loser stools. Drama! Suspense!
And just in time too, as we’re beginning results stuff. Ryan lines everyone up in center stage, and the lights go blood red. Mike and Casey’s duet of “Have You Really Ever Really, But No, Really Really Ever Really Loved a Woman?” was well received, unlike their solo efforts. Mike selected their cheesy song (surprise!), and Casey admits he just went along because Mike was super gung-ho. He went for the solo "Mrs. Robinson" because of his quest to go down in history as Kara’s boy-toy tease, of course.
Lee helped Crystal turn the gorgeous “Falling Slowly” into a floor exercise at the Throat Olympics, but in the process I guess saved all of our souls. (I think I’m legally prohibited from mentioning his name, so I’ll just say that that guy who sang that song last year and then went on to win this show did a much better job. It helped that his version was not a duet, and that his singular gift for expressing a melody like a poem gave the already beautiful song a lovely gloss of warmth and yearning. But, since Lee and Crystal performed it as a duet, their rendition paled in comparison to both that nameless guy, and the markedly superior original duet. For me for you.) Crystal introduced the song to Lee because of her deep love of the film Once, but Lee has the most to say about – I think? – how much he loved the song. I tuned out early because all the “so, you knows” were hard to follow. This year’s contestants are the rambliest bunch of Mumbly Joes ever, I swan. Eventually Ryan gets to speak again, and when he does it is to announce Casey, that’s Casey James, as the first member of the top 3, and yes, you read that correctly.
While you try to put your brains back together, let Chris Daughtry and his band, Daughtry, soothe your nerves with some good old rock and roll. They do a thing called “September,” which I am assuming fits really well on your local rock stations. Good for him, and although Earth, Wind, and Fire were the first to teach me that “remember” rhymes with “September,” it’s never bad to be reminded.
So, Casey, Casey James, is safe and nothing will be the same again. We’re back to the rigmarole, and everyone bar Casey, Casey James, is lined up. Big Mike earned my long-lasting wrath by singing “Will You Be There” like he was feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread, and overall made me wish Willy was still free, so he could come swallow Mike. I don’t know if cheese is good for whales, but I really think the good to the world would outweigh any potential whale cholesterol problems. Meanwhile, Kara talks to Mike about how “original” his copy of Maxwell’s version of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” was way back when, and Mike says something about how much he loved Michael Jackson’s effortless original and thought he could copy that too, but it was much harder than he expected. But he still enjoyed it and felt connected with it in his spirit.
Lee soloed with the enduringly incomprehensible “Kiss from a Rose,” and though almost never on key was still kind of unremarkable; Ryan brings up Simon’s karaoke critique, and Lee talks forever some more about how it wasn’t and he might’ve changed it up but he didn’t, but he did a lot of stuff at other times, and he does things. I don’t know, but the audience cheers like mad. Where in the world did Lee come from? Three weeks ago I didn’t know he was even on this show, and now he’s going to win. This is a dark horse arc like I’ve never seen before.
Meanwhile Crystal had a great time singing “I’m All Right” from Caddyshack and dancing like a gopher. Simon loved it, and so, through transference, did you. Ryan announces Mike’s name and tells him to hang tight. Then he tells us Lee “is headed back to Chicago…” and the ladies are already screaming because they know it’s a fake-out even before Ryan can say, “…to celebrate!” I truly am baffled as to how this came about.
The Contestant Is Eliminated
I’m going to put my brain back together now, while the extremely well-preserved Bon Jovi sings a new song like an old band. I mean all of that as a compliment.
Post-commercials, Ryan gives Lee yet another opportunity to express a coherent statement, this time about how it feels to be safe. (If you don’t know, it feels really good, and then really bad for everyone else, and then really good again.) Casey expresses relief because he seriously thought he was going to be eliminated fifteen minutes into the show when Ryan called his name. Aw. “I LOVE YOU, LEE!! I love you, Casey!” is the audience response to that, and I am almost ready to swear I’m being punk’d. But, no time to search for Ashton Kutcher in the audience, because Ryan is ready to deliver the final verdict. All arise.
Mike and Crystal. It’s not really suspenseful, but since Daughtry is there and it’s Top 4 night just like when he gave the show the shock of all shocks, I think they’re trying to work up what little bit they can. But come on. This fools no one, a fact I think Ryan is aware of, as he pretty quickly reveals Crystal as the final member of the Top 3. She bursts into tears, and although she is smiling, looks very sad to be giving Mike a goodbye hug. She goes to collapse into the arms of her Still Just a Boyfriend while Ryan and Mike chat about Mike’s being saved to go on for another unbelievable 5 weeks, despite America’s wishes. Oh wow, I can’t stop insulting him. What is this? I knew he’d pay for performing that song. Well, good luck at picking up everybody you meet and whatever else you do, Mike. Maybe you’ll turn out to have a career just like fellow 4th-place-finisher Chris Daughtry’s. I’m not sure if that’d be a blessing or a curse, for me or for you. But anyway, bye. And hey, extra thumbs up for getting out of here without doing that embarrassing double hand wave that makes you look like a gigantic baby.
Be sure to tune in next week, as we get the always entertaining judge selections, and I’m pretty sure Crystal will be doing an acoustic rendition of “Heartless” like you’ve never heard before. See you then!
Please watch Once, at least once.