Friday, February 24, 2012

"American Idol" Recap: There's a Moon Out Tonight...

Doctor, my eyes.

Look, I realize that for many women Steven Tyler still has some inexplicable appeal. That would explain all the "Walk This Way, Steven" and "Marry Me Steven" signs that appear in the audience during the live shows. But honestly, I could have gone my entire life without watching him strip down to his underwear, moon the camera, and then jump in the water at the end of last night's episode. (And don't even get me started on stupid Randy's insistence that he wouldn't hold Steven's yoga pants, as if the very act of holding a man's pants could somehow emasculate you. Dumba--.)

Oh, yeah. The recap.

Well, our top 24 has been chosen. And of course, thanks to Nigel "I Never Met a Gimmick I Didn't Use" Lythgoe, the judges will choose one more male contestant from four who were eliminated—Jermaine Jones, David Leathers Jr., Cowboy Richie Law, and, inexplicably, Johnny Keyser, who didn't even make the top 42!! (This "most shocking event ever" was announced after the obligatory "contestants dance around like fools" segment at the end of the show.)

When we last left you, the fate of crybaby daddy Adam Brock was in the judges' hands. He sobbed for what seemed an eternity about how much he needed to sing, how that's all he wanted to do, yadda yadda yadda. Steven said, "I love to watch a man cry," and then told Adam he made it. And guess what? MORE TEARS! Plus, we got to see yet another baby picture. Here's what I know, Adam. When Baby Whitney watches this footage back in 10-15 years, she's going to hate you for the ginormous bows you made her wear in her non-existent hair. How can the kid hold her head up?

Jeremy Rosado was next down the path of crushed dreams. We were reminded of his "Idol family," the group he sang with throughout the competition—David Leathers Jr., Eben Franckewitz, and Ariel Sprague (although strangely no mention was made of group member Gabi Carrubba, who was cut before the top 42). According to Ryan, Jeremy "became a star" with his final performance of Carrie Underwood's I Know You Won't, which I found choppy, although he does have a nice voice. The judges inexplicably gave him a standing ovation, and J.Lo told him his performance was "transcedental [sic]." They praised him for being a nice boy, cheering all of the others on, and then told him he was a unanimous choice for the top 24.

Young Shannon Magrane, again sporting her too-short shorts, forgot the lyrics during group day, but gave a strong performance of Kelly Clarkson's The Trouble with Love Is when she "sang for her life." (Add that to the list of phrases I hate.) She made it through, although I think her voice will be even better a year or two from now.

Apparently Scott Daingerfield was a favorite of J.Lo's (surprise) last season, but had to withdraw, so this year he was hoping to go all the way. (In the competition. You people with your minds in the gutter.) His final performance of Folsom Prison Blues was a little bluesy, a little jumpy, and it wasn't enough to get him through this year.

Several people whom the producers didn't deem important enough even to acknowledge got cut, including Gina Glocksen lookalike Wendy Taylor. That must suck.

Pint-sized Skylar Laine was concerned because she didn't think she'd make it into the top 24 once they put fellow country singer Chelsea Sorrell through. (Interestingly, she didn't even acknowledge Baylie Brown as a country singer.) In a total coincidence (yeah, right), Skylar sang Reba McEntire's Fancy a week after J.Lo mentioned to the other judges that Skylar reminded her of Reba. I like her voice, but think she shouts a lot. The judges told her she made it through, and then Steven asked her to bring him some crawfish, since she's from Mississippi(!), but Skylar said she'd bring him some deer meet instead, and he should ask Randy to bring home crawfish from New Orleans. She also talked about wanting to jump in the water, which is clearly what instigated Steven later in the show.

Also making it through: "early judges' favorite" Hallie Day, "country crooner" Chase Likens and Season 10 returnee Aaron Marcellus.

Another returnee from Season 10, Deandre Brackensick, was cut at this stage last year. But a year later, his voice has matured, between his fantastic group performance and his final performance of Maxwell's This Woman's Work (so much better than when hammy Michael Lynche sang it during Season 9). As J.Lo put it, "we'd be crazy not to put you through."

"Gentle giant" Jermaine Jones was falling to pieces waiting for the judges' decision (which, sadly, if you kept count at home, you knew before he did). Jermaine has a beautiful baritone voice and a sweet-yet-slightly-uncomfortable relationship with his mother (he calls her "my beautiful" and she calls him "my handsome"). Although his rendition of I Believe in You and Me for his final performance was lovely, the judges felt as if he needed some more work on his voice, and hoped he'd come back next year. He was truly devastated, and while I wasn't surprised to see J.Lo get choked up, Randy even teared up (or lost a contact lens). "I thought I became a singer to break people's hearts in a good way," Steven said sadly as Jermaine walked away.

Vying for the last spot on the girls' side were three young-uns: Shelby Tweten, Ariel Sprague, and Hollie Cavanagh. (For some reason, they're not making any mention of Hollie's being cut during this same round last season. But here's her audition from last season, in which she nearly fell apart emotionally.) Since we only saw Hollie's final performance, I had a feeling she'd be the one to make it through, and I was right.

And then it was a battle of the youth on the guys' side as well, with 15-year-old Eben Franckewitz competing against 17-year-old David "Mr. Steal Your Girl" Leathers Jr. for the last slot. David trotted out his audition song, I Want You Back, for his final performance (channeling his "inner Michael Jackson," said Ryan), while Eben sang Ain't No Sunshine. (Ryan wondered, "But was it too safe?") Steven said that David had too much confidence while Eben didn't have enough, yet to my surprise they chose Eben over David.

So here are your top 12 guys, who will sing Tuesday night, along with the "mystery pick":

Creighton Fraker
Phil Phillips
Reed Grimm
Heejun Han
Chase Likens
Adam Brock
Deandre Brackensick
Aaron Marcellus
Joshua Ledet
Eben Franckewitz
Jeremy Rosado
Colton Dixon

And your top 12 girls, who will sing Wednesday night:

Jen Hirsh
Erika Van Pelt
Elise Testone
Jessica Sanchez
Hallie Day
Hollie Cavanagh
Shannon Magrane
Baylie Brown
Chelsea Sorrell
Skylar Laine
Haley Johnsen
Brielle Von Hugel

Three nights next week. Egads.

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