Ryan: Who will become a hometown hero, and who will just be going home?
I guess he calls them hometown heroes because they get a parade and will bring in crowds spending money at local establishments…plus the towns get tons of publicity. The four line up around Ryan left to right: Lauren, Scotty, Haley and James. Is this a precursor of how the show will roll out?
The judges make their entrance wearing black and white – their formal wear for important occasions. I do love Steven’s black print on white – gorgeous. Once they are seated, Ryan announces that almost 72 million votes came in. That is 1.2million more than last week. Someone learned how to power vote; perhaps aided by a blindfolded bus driver.
The fluff and filler line up is then announced: Enrique Inglesias, Jordin Sparks (live) and a piece of concert film provided by Lady GaGa. But, there is a full hour to fill and the remaining slots will be taken by contestant duets and the weekly homage to Ford products. Wait…I feel like I’m missing something…oh, yes – Judge pimpage. Steven Tyler’s video of his new single will also be highlighted as a world premier event. Whoopee.
In case we forgot in the overnight hours, they play a montage of the performances, round one and round two, along with slices of judging comments including the revved up bus taking aim at Haley in round one. Round two finds her grazed and bleeding from the blow, but bouncing up from the pavement and giving a stellar performance.
Idol wannabes in the spotlight
The first duet comes from James and Scotty, who do a really nice job with “Start a Band.” The producers, in their bid to up the performance value, have seated young children around the edge of the judging platform. Holding toy instruments, they are cute, but could also be sending a subliminal message about getting children into music; if one was inclined to think the producers were going for anything other than cute. At one point James goes in for a cheek kiss from his fiancée and her nose pokes him in the eye, which later causes Ryan to tease him about tearing up early in the show.
Summer Tour Concert tickets are now on sale.
For the girls’ duet, Haley and Lauren take on honky-tonk with sass and attitude. Lauren’s second offering on the performance show primed her for this rollicking song, though Haley already has the skill to pull off, “Gunpowder and Lead.” Lauren really steps out of her comfort zone with hair tossing head shakes, which makes me think - whoa, stop the bus and get this girl on the rock train.
Following the duets, the contestants get a little hometown face time thanks to sponsor, Windows7(r). Each connects with a family member, and we learn that Lauren discovers someone has shaved off her dog’s hair; that Scotty has had a few piano lessons and that James’ two-year old son does a fair rendition of the ABC song. Haley talks with her Mom and Dad, but we don’t learn anything chatty about her.
Ryan: All four will get to go home to see their families in person, but only three will get to do it in style.
The Ford video once again has the contestants drawing shapes, though this time with neon markers in the dark to the song “Fireflies.” There really haven’t been any story videos this season other than the zombie attack in the park. This one is cute and fluffy, but not filling.
DIM THE LIGHTS Part 1
LAUREN ALAINA is the first person voted to one of the gold stools. (Sorry, I’m laughing here – gold – really? What, they spray painted the silver stools?) In her exuberant reaction she includes Ryan in her hugs before he leads her over to her new station. Steven Tyler lets out a held breath and applauds along with JLo and Randy.
Black Leather and White Balloons
For the first guest filler of the night, the contestants sit on a comfy couch to watch a piece of performance tape from Lady GaGa; and the audience gets to enjoy it along with them. Lo and behold she sends “You and I,” the song that had the bus revving its motor for Haley when she sang it the previous week. Am I looking at irony, here, a slap in the judges’ faces, or a class in how the song should be sung? Whatever…the Lil’ Monsters’ Mother delivers at the piano to a packed arena with, as Scotty puts it, her unique style.
The second filler is a pre-taped performance by Enrique Inglesias who, as green laser lights hit the stage, debuts “Dirty Dancer,” backed by Usher in a scrim appearance. Then he segues into the crowd rousing, “I Like It.” Red and yellow lights flood the auditorium as giant white balloons drop from the ceiling. Way to bring the audience into jumping mode, Enrique.
A few of the balloons survived the taping (clever production giggle) and one batted toward the stage by JLo sends Ryan jumping into the mosh pit in order to keep it off the stage. This is the second time this season he has taken a header into the audience, though this time it wasn’t planned and beefy security guards were not there to catch him. Luckily, audience members broke his fall or he could have broken his cranium. Scotty and James hold on tight to two other of the escapees as they sit on the holding couch. Finally Ryan gets fed up with the balloons and orders them out of there.
Performance filler number three is dished up by season 6 winner, Jordin Sparks. The production values, her costume, the dancers and the hip-hop/pop attitude of the song seem very Jennifer Lopez to me. Even Jordin with her straight long hair and short dress showing off her svelte body with tummy rolls reminds me of a JLo performance. The song, “I am Woman,” has a strong message which comes across forcefully. I think, with this debut of her new single, we can see where she is going with her album. Young Jordin is all grown up.
While the remaining three wait with bated breath on the holding couch, we are served up performance filler number four. In a video sponsored by Ford, Steven Tyler takes us into a surreal dreamscape while he sings, “It Feels So Good.” The images move from a black/white backstage through a door to Dorothy in Oz color for a carnival scene then a jump in black/white to a beach with foaming waves. In this upbeat dance tune, he makes use of his scarf draped micstand and, of course, many lithe, beautiful, scantily clad young women to the point where Ryan begs for an invite for himself and Randy to the party in Steven’s imagination. The video finishes with Steven morphing into a condor and flying away. Now I know why he is wearing a black/white print tonight; synergy, people.
DIM THE LIGHTS Part 2
Ryan: Remember there’s been a lot of buzz about how strong the guys have been this season; and after the nation wide vote, I can tell you…TWO GIRLS will be in the Top 3.
Ryan shows an open mouth HALEY REINHART the card and tells her she is safe. After a long hug with Scotty and a hug for James, she joins Lauren at the gold stools. Randy and JLo weakly clap, while Steven sits silent and stone-faced. Bus - meet railroad tracks.
As Ryan tells us we have to wait for this huge Idol moment, Scotty says, ‘whoa’; and James stands silent, near tears. When we return from commercial, James wipes away tears and he and Scotty hold onto each other waiting for Ryan’s pronouncement.
Ryan: The person with a shot at the Finale is…SCOTTY MCCREERY.
Scotty bends over in relief while the judges grimace and sit on their hands. They stand when James takes his tearful bows, though. James motions that it is okay to his serene looking fiancée, Heidi, as the tape of his journey begins to play.
Are the judges now ready to replace Haley with Scotty as their road-kill of choice? After James' emotion filled final song, a teary-eyed Scotty envelops James in a hug.
We say goodbye to the guy who wants to 'give metal a chance' and look forward to next week when the performance show will feature three songs for each contestant: one chosen by the judges, one by Jimmy Iovine and one by the contestant. The clips from their hometown hero visit will also play and it looks to be another jam packed 90 minutes. See you then.