After last week's elimination fun times we're left with three contenders for the shiny Idol crown and one more week of wobbly crooning before this whole mess of a season is finally put to bed. Can't say I'll miss it. When does The X Factor start anyway? Jimmy Iovine's intro analysis is all ohmigod-we-got-so-many-votes while he sagely predicts that there will be a guy in the finale. The man is a genius... Sadly, I accidentally forwarded through most of what he said straight to Seacrust who brags about the same big voting numbers – 95 million – and the presence of Il Volo, [b]Nicole Scherzinger[b] and 50 Cent in the house. He also says that two of the finalists “will make American Idol history next week”. As crazy, empty statements go, that one's a doozy. The only history American Idol ever makes is the same one over and over again and we know it all by heart. Moving on.
Irrelevant Filler:So even though Idol's big white hope who was going to bring metal back to grannies was unceremoniously kicked to the curb last week in the most entertaining elimination ever, Idol opts to air some footage of the the Top 4 contestants at a super secret VIP screening of the upcoming movie “Super 8” and some chit chat with J.J. Abrams. I love J.J. Abrams, the movie trailer looked good and the Idols are duly impressed by J.J.'s gift of some old school Super 8 cameras.
Haley Relevant Filler:As they do every year, the Top 3 finalists are flown home in style to take part in their completely spontaneous, not at all prearranged and artificially grand looking hometown parades. Hey, haven't we seen footage of this already? I may have to skip some of this crap. Haley's day was a bit rainy – damn this stupid Chicago weather anyway – but the crowd was still large and enthusiastic for her which is kind of weird for Chicagoans. Haley gets to sign hands, casts, gets to ride in the big limo down Main street, gets to talk and cry at her High School and tearfully reunites with her parents and siblings at home. She even gets a bit teary eyed herself at the warm reception. Her concert in front of 30,000 wet people at the Arlington Racetrack is rain-soaked but looks like good times.
Cheesy Filler:This week's Ford music video of the Top 3 is a beach extravaganza featuring a Ford Focus, sand castles and the Idols doing all sorts of beachy things while taking pictures. Groundbreaking stuff.
Italian Cute Sauce Filler: Do you know who Il Volo are? Never mind. All you need to know is that they're one of those big-voiced boy groups that are the operatic equivalent of the Back Street Boys. These three are pretty dorky looking in that lovely European way that makes perfect sense to me. They also have stellar tenor voices and boy, oh, boy do I love me some opera! They're singing “O sole mio” and it's a lesson in perfect harmonies, staying flawlessly on key and generally singing better than anyone on these last two seasons on Idol. I hope some this season's cast offs are taking notes.
Baby Lockdemdoors Filler: No results yet but next to get his hometown welcome parade is Scotty who gets to say “wow” a lot while experiencing all the typical screaming Idol crowds. It goes pretty much like Haley's day went minus the rain except Scotty starts bawling in the limo and he gets to revisit his old job at the grocery store and bask in lots of homemade signs at his first big concert. Hey, whaddaya know! That whole babylockdemdoors song is an actual song by a country dude called Josh Turner who shows up to surprise Scotty for a duet much to Scotty's delight. Who knew? I thought Scotty just made that song up 'cause it suited his voice... Oops. However, now that I youtubed this Turner dude, Scotty seems like just an impersonator. Who knew there were two of those on this season? I know and care zero about country music so I never put two and two together before. In light of this development, Josh Turner's appearance at Scotty's concert is quite clever. Hee.
50 Cents Worth Of Filler: So, apparently, Nicole Scherzinger of Pussy Cat Dolls fame has a new single and she rented a rapper to help her with it because that's the thing to do these days if you want to get play on Urban radio formats. While most people – hello, JLo! - would go the cliched Pitbull route, what with him being up for sale to the highest bidder on a permanent basis these days, Nicole is a true iconoclast and she teamed up with 50 Cent instead. Maybe he was half a dollar cheaper or maybe he's hotter than Pitbull. In any case, Nicole is draped in white feathers and she's singing a generic ass shaker R&B crossover song in this Rihanna ripoff style that's pretty annoying. There are some dancers in more feathers, fringe and sequined tops and a lot of booty shaking. Fiddy comes in halfway through and starts rapping about something quickly before he disappears after which we get pyro, more pulsing lights, more dancers and finally it's over. See ya on X Factor, Nicole!
Peachy Filler: Last Idol to get a hometown parade is Lauren who is from Georgia. The drill is similar: parade, signs, screaming crowds, interviews and High School homecoming. Oh, and lots of tears when Lauren is taken to see the devastation wrought by the tornadoes from a few weeks ago and to meet a pint sized boy who saved his family. Her big concert is followed by Lauren throwing out the first pitch at a local baseball game. There are so many cliches in this segment it should come with a slice of apple pie and two scoops of ice cream but it's the stuff that makes for Middle America votes come the finale so, ultimately, genius.
Resultishness: With 10 minutes of show time left, Seacrest assembles them all on stage to deliver the verdict. As far as I'm concerned, it's a foregone conclusion, and has been from the Top 24 on but let's play out the farce anyway. Lauren is already weeping as the show goes to commercial and when they're back Scotty is the first person to make it into the finale. Gee, I'm shocked. He pretends to be all stunned and puts his hands together in a prayer of thanks 'cause, you know, it's never too early or too late to court dem voters from the South. Lockdeminboy!
When Ryan next calls Lauren's name as the other person into the final two, Haley looks briefly stunned and must be thinking what I'm thinking which is, damn, this is going to be one country fried yee haw of a finale. Yawn. Idol runs her goodbye package after which Haley sings herself out with a pitch perfect “Benny And The Jets”. When the camera catches Lauren stone faced and bored looking as Haley sings, she quickly starts clapping and smiling. Too late, darlin'!
Haley goes out in style with a stellar performance making room for what will possibly be the most cringe-inducing finale on Idol ever. I guess Seacrust was right that these two will make for a historic finale of utter boredom, safety and stupidity. Last year we got to pick between one pile of singer-songwriter brick and another, this year it's two piles of country mud bricks. Exciting! How did Idol manage to boil down a season that contained everything from such quirky, somewhat entertaining people as Naima, Paul and Casey, to sideshow Idol impersonators like Durbin, to good but emotionally vacant vocalists like Pia, to true personalities with great original voices like Haley to a finale containing two peas in a country pod, one of whom is a white guy with a guitar... AGAIN. For the fourth time in a row, Idol is poised to spit out the exact same person all over again. Unless the 16 year old girl wins in which case Idol can finally put to rest all those accusations that a girl can't win Idol anymore. I'm sure that would be completely coincidental, now, wouldn't it, especially since Steven already declared Lauren the winner at her audition... Maybe the better question should have been: Can a non-country girl ever win Idol again? My answer to that would be a resounding no.
However, there is some excellent news too. After all these interminable months, Idol is finally making a one hour competition night. I can scarcely believe my good fortune! Of course, the whole two hour monster finale results show will more than make up for that scant bit of luck. I will deliver the goods of what will surely be a big hoedown of a performance night and my lovely partner in crime Arielflies will shut the barn door after the confetti shower of the finale. Seacrust promises lots of surprises and whatnot. I'm sure it will be safe as apple pie and completely devoid of excitement, suspense or any interest. I'll be over here rearranging my shoe collection.