Friday, April 15, 2011

AI Results Show Recap: "Just Like a Man..."

The curse has finally been broken. After five consecutive eliminations of female contestants, the stranglehold of the preteen, tween and teen girls has been broken for at least a week voters finally sent a male contestant home, our "cool dude in a loose mood," toothpaste model Paul. And this after a "staggering" 53 million votes. (I'd love, of course, to know how many voters the show had, but there I go wanting facts with my entertainment again.)

The most beautiful woman in the world opted for a "Heidi the Dominatrix" look last night, with a menacing-looking gold dress, her hair in one long braid and bright red lipstick that matched Rihanna's hair. And Randy looked like he was just on his way home from the gym.

The contestants performed in groups again. I couldn't help but wonder when Lauren and Scotty performed together again—and led off the show again—whether this is Uncle Nigel's none-too-subtle signal that this is who he wants in the final two. (It may be inevitable but I sure hope not.) They sang (quite well) Lady Antebellum's American Honey, although Lauren looked a little uncomfortable with Scotty's point-and-cockeyed-flirting maneuver.

We then watched an overly-long segment on the making of the Ford Music Video (because the video isn't hellish enough, I'd imagine) and then more time was wasted watched the video itself, to Neon Trees' Animal. Something about zombies. And Jacob overacted.

Next up for the musical numbers was a duet between Casey and Haley, who sang Moanin', a jazz number made famous by Art Blakey and Charles Mingus, whom Randy name-dropped on Wednesday night. Other than Haley's hair, which I haven't seen since Miss Beadle stopped being the teacher on Little House on the Prairie, I was blown away by nearly everything about this performance. While I'm unsure whether Casey thinks clearing his throat is a jazz affectation or he actually has allergies, he clearly has an affinity for jazz music and scats fantastically. And Haley proved that she is more than just the awkwardly-leaning growler she seems to turn into nearly every Wednesday night, because she hit some amazing notes, scatted like crazy and showed off her bluesy phrasing. If you fast forwarded through it last night, watch it. Seriously.

While it didn't look like most of the contestants were paying attention, the judges gave the performance a standing ovation, and mostly turned it into a praise-fest for Haley, with Randy exclaiming, "Haley, baby, that's what we love!"

Ryan then brought the two duos—Lauren, Scotty, Casey and Haley—together so that Kieren could dim the lights. In unsubtle signal #2 from Uncle Nigel, Ryan told Scotty he was safe first, and then told Lauren to...take a seat...on the couch. Which, of course, left the talented jazz duo. And to no one's surprise (especially hers), Haley was in the bottom three again.

We then watched another overly-long segment where Rob Reiner apparently was helping the contestants understand music in the movies. (Rob Reiner hit all of the pre-approved notes in the script though, admitting he was "a huge fan of the show" and proclaiming that this season "has more talent than any other season.") I'll admit it; I fast-forwarded through his shtick.

Next to perform were country singer Jason Aldean and a little-known gal named Kelly Clarkson, who sang their hit Don't You Wanna Stay. (I've been hyping this song since November and it is the #1 most played song on my iPod. I am the cutting edge. Walk with me if you dare.) Aldean's hat was so far down over his face I feared that the show was going to somehow start out with Christian Slater or Russell Brand or someone stupid as another promotional shill, but thankfully it was just Jason.

I love the song. What I didn't love is that Ryan barely had any time to speak to Kelly (but we had plenty of time for Rob Reiner earlier), and in fact, when he told her he had a very tight results show and he just needed to "get to it," she smartly replied, "Just like a man." Can Kelly host the show?

The Benetton Chorus—umm, James, Stefano, Paul and Jacob—performed next, doing a medley of Sounds of Silence and Mrs. Robinson. They looked like one of the singing groups from the movie A Mighty Wind, and Jacob kept itching to get off his stool and take the songs to full-on histrionics, but he kept himself under control (barely). I thought Paul and James' voices blended well here.

Sidebar question: do young kids whose parents aren't Yankee fans even know who Joe DiMaggio is anymore? I just wonder if, when they hear Mrs. Robinson and the mention of Joltin' Joe's name, they think about anything, or just make up their own lyrics, like I used to with Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire. (Ask me sometime about when the British had control of Romania.)

Anyway, the four amigos then heard the results. James was safe. Despite a performance labeled by Randy as his "best to date," Stefano was again sent to the silver stools of shame as a member of the bottom three. Then it was between Jacob and Paul. Ryan reminded everyone that Jacob was in the bottom three last week while Paul was safe, and then announced that this week, "the tables were turned," and Paul was in the bottom three.

Spotted in the audience (along with Mary Hart): AI power couple Pia Toscano and last year's contestant, Didi Benami, who gave two of my favorite performances last year before she melted down—her Hollywood week performance of Terrified and her top 24 performance of Ingrid Michaelson's The Way I Am.

Ryan introduced Chaka Khan and Anita Baker in the audience, which then led into guest performer Rihanna, who "sang" California King Bed on what looked like the set of a Victoria's Secret fashion show. And Ryan talked longer to her than Kelly Clarkson. Go figure.

Results time. Dim the lights.

Ryan reminded everyone that five female contestants in a row had been sent home. He then told Haley that she would "follow in the footsteps...of those on the couch," because she was safe. And once again, she got no love from her fellow contestants. Jealous haters.

Then Ryan announced Paul would be leaving. And then the audio dropped out again for about a minute. Either they're having serious problems this season with the audio or this group of contestants has the foulest mouths along with the most talent.

J.Lo was near tears, but Paul urged everyone not to be sad. She tearfully asked him to sing Maggie May as his swan song, and I thought, despite the spastic dancing, he did a really great job. Of course, that gives credence to those who called him simply a Rod Stewart wanna-be.

And with that, another week comes to a close...

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