One would think when things get down to six people on Idol, the show would get a bit shorter, a bit snappier a bit less bloated and fillerific. It pains me to admit this, but I've seen all seasons of Idol, not because I'm a fan of it but because I like gawking at the macabre moments and occasional brilliance of it in between fits of laughter, and there has not been one season of this show that didn't bring on more, rather than less, bloat as the season wore on. Besides, after watching The Voice the other night, Idol seems even more like the gross, lumbering behemoth of cheese and trash that it has become this season.
Not only will we get six performances of Carole King classics but three duets as well for a grand total combined waste of 95 minutes of my life. Kill me now.
Right off the bat, Ryan delivers the good news that we're less than a month away from the finale of this soggy burrito. Can't wait! Next we get a pimp package of Carole King's really long career and an encore intro of the Idols. There's even a dude in the audience holding a giant “I'm Here” sign above his head. We also find out that Babyface is this week's hired help for Iovine. I guess Will.i.am finally wore out his welcome. He starts off by saying the Idol cupcakes “are all really talented” thereby proving that he's either being really well paid by Idol or really grossly overpaid in real life.
Stand still, the bus is backing up!
In an effort to finally bus him, Idol is graciously allowing Jacob to go first tonight. Aren't they sweet? Jacob picked “Oh no, not my baby” but he's having trouble singing it in pitch in front of Iovine and his sidekicks – why isn't he switching to a different song? - so it seems Idol's strategy might pay off in the end. Jacob gets a white pianist to accompany him and I'm thinking, wow, did Idol finally come to their senses? But then the song picks up, the lights go on and he's got a brass quartet and three background singers all trying to out-harmonize each other behind him. Never mind. The vocals are so-so, pitchy in places and annoying in others but it's his outfit consisting of some weird checkered suit with a yellow shirt, blue vest and a a purple bow tie that really offends. I'm not even going to mention the yellow shoes because it's just too upsetting.
Barking Chihuahua Section: Steven quips that Jacob shook his tail feathers beautifully. JLo says there were places when he wasn't perfect but he killed it. Randy agrees that it was sharp but liked the scatting and hopes America will “give [him] some votes so he can stick around”.
Translation: Man, we want you gone so bad!
Keep breaking, just make sure you do it on our schedule
Lauren's song this week is “Where You Lead”. Her lack of self-confidence shows in rehearsals when Babyface is telling her to slide higher up in a certain spot but Lauren is not sure she can consistently hit the notes. Mid-session Miley Cyrus shows up without any preamble to impart nuggets of wisdom about the mean, hard world that is waiting out there and to not pay attention to any of it. Since Idol is now obsessed with having at least six people on the stage at a time, Lauren gets a whole array of supporting players and even picks some dude from the audience to sit with her on the steps. She seems a touch more confident on the stage but the vocals are weak in spots. She does slide up into that falsetto at the end as per instructions leaving a better impression.
Barking Chihuahua Section: JLo is proud of her because she saw Lauren pushing hard even though her voice cracked. Randy liked the swagger, didn't like the song, thought it was boring. Steven babbles on about light and dark and says that she shined when her voice broke and she should do it more often. Isn't that a bad thing usually, Steven? Sigh. There's no making sense of these people.
Translation: Get it together, girl! We want you to be voted out at final three, not before!
The first duet of the night is Casey and Haley singing “I Feel The Earth Move”. Haley clearly anchors this one with her stronger voice while Casey is kind of a growly mess and out of tune with her especially at the end. Steven is elected to say embarrassing things on behalf of the judges such as putting Casey on the spot about being in love with Haley – don't ask – and babbling on about how much he loved the whole thing. Good thing the duets are not really part of the competition and supposedly won't make a difference with the voting. Haley and Casey even admit that they didn't practice their duet much and “it showed”. Oopsie.
Your same old friend
Scotty has gotten by every week singing essentially the same song, the same way and holding his mic to the side as if his life depended on it. However, he thinks it's finally time to stop being so one note and bring something new. His song is “You've Got A Friend”. Iovine wants him to give the song an arc by starting off soft and step away from his usual country cheese style. To his credit, Scotty takes the advice and we get a more restrained Scotty sitting pretty on a set of steps. Of course he's got an eight piece string section, smoke and mood lighting but, get this, he's holding his mic straight and doing his best to not squint and wink all Elvis-like at the camera. Progress! However, I think Babyface hooked him up with some boy band style hand gestures which are somewhat disturbing. Sigh.
Barking Chihuahua Section: Randy was bowled over by the tender beginning of the song but wants him to hold the high notes longer. He's also screaming “Scotty is in it to win it”. Again. I want to kick him. Steven says this was his best performance to date. JLo likes that he finally tried working to get to the top of his range.
Translation: We know you have the votes but maybe we don't want a country winner after all.
Hello, David Cook!
Up next is James who sits down center stage with Ryan and, incredibly, is allowed to critique Scotty's performance. He sagely says that Scotty was much better than in dress rehearsal. Man, this show is such complete crap... Moving on. James chose “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and Iovine claims the dude is pure rock and roll and something about Carole King being a perfect match for him. Okay, then, Jimmy. You'll be happy to know that Durbin is not ripping off Adam Lambert this week! Yay! I know, shocker. He's not even ripping off Lady Gaga's props or his old high school's marching band. Nor is he impersonating a metal cover band lead singer. No, siree! He's going to be super authentic tonight and rip off David Cook of all people, complete with vest, T-shirt, flat hair and electric guitar. Throw in some dramatic lighting and he's Cook 2.0 this week. Well, aside from the ass badana. He starts off decently but then about 15 seconds in he slips into his usual pitch problems and he's sharp the rest of the way. When he slides into his gummy scream at the end it's like he's stabbing puppies again. Surely this will be the week that the judges will finally tell him that he's only singing in key about a quarter of the song. Right?... Right?
Barking Chihuahua Section: Wrong. Durbin gets his weekly head to toe tongue bath from all three judgebots. Steven barks excitedly about how he made out to this song back in his youth before WWI. JLo thought the pitchy wonder was magical and declares James the star of the night. Randy one ups her saying he will win the whole thing. And then in a final gesture of complete ridiculousness... Randy gets up from his chair and goes up to the stage to hug Durbin. No, I'm not joking. This is followed by a fly over from the Blue Angels, fireworks over the Nokia and the delivery of a handwritten note of congrats from Donald Trump and the Pope. And a twelve layer cake. With a rotating air guitar on top. And a WWE championship belt.
Translation: White Guy With Guitar winner #4 has been packaged and ready for delivery whether you vote it or not.
Another useless duet coming up, this time it's, predictably enough, Scotty and Lauren. Ryan is asking Lauren for the second time tonight about a romance – first was with that dude who sat on the steps with her – now with Scotty. Scotty denies it and it all degenerates into awkward land for Ryan the perv. Their third duet of the season so far is “Up On The Roof” and it sounds good like all the rest of them. Country and mellow and boring. JLo thinks Lauren sang the hell out of it and Scotty did a good job singing backup. Oh, snap.
Casey is singing “Hi-De-Ho” which Iovine thinks is a difficult song and Casey could either sink low or rise high with it. Casey just liked jamming in the studio to it and he looks like he's enjoying himself with all the 375 musicians on stage with him, everything from a harmonica to a sax and the backup singers. The performance is gruff, scary and growly, kind of Casey 101. Vocally there but over all a hot mess.
Barking Chihuahua Section: Randy loved that Casey kept it different all season. Steven thinks Casey found his niche and he was beautiful. Oh, and made his scalp itch. JLo wants Casey to loosen up a bit.
Translation: Stop growling!
Last solo performance of the night belongs to Haley singing “Beautiful”. Babyface helps her with the flow of the song and says Haley is very quick to get suggestions while Iovine wants her to put more emphasis on certain lyrics in the song to give them deeper meaning. Haley promises to “get it” right. Haley had some mic problems but in the end she pulls off some difficult vocals and even and works the stage well around the gaggle of brass musicians crowding it.
Barking Chihuahua Section: Steven says he “just saw god” and thinks she nailed it. JLo says she has one of the best voices in the competition and it was beautiful. Randy didn't like the beginning, and gets booed for that opinion, but thinks she pulled it off in the end.
Translation: We like you but not enough to want you to win.
I debated whether to even recap this last “performance” which is a duet of “I'm Into Something Good” by Jacob and James, the two leftovers. It is possibly one of the worst things I've even seen on Idol and I think I lost braincells just playing it back on my DVR. Everything from the horror of their tight white pants and shirts and blue blazers, to the horrendously bad vocals, to the cheesy singing straight to JLo whose legs stole the spotlight, to James' attention whoring final screech, it was pure crap start to finish. Steven babbles like an idiot that this wasn't the award winning performance it should have been. I think half the time even he doesn't know what he's saying. The rest of the time he's probably just high.
Finally done for this week. Somebody will be bounced tomorrow and we'll finally be down to the final five. It's gonna be a nail-biter, I'm sure. When is the next episode of The Voice I wonder...