Friday, May 4, 2012

AI Recap: Blown Away

Another results show has left its wake, and sadly, our country spitfire, Skylar, was tossed overboard. I honestly thought she'd make it to the final three, or perhaps even the finale, given the judges' enthusiasm for her performances, her sheer spirit in a final grouping without much outward personality, and, of course, her talent. But according to J.Lo, the top three—Joshua, Jessica, and Phillip—"deserve to be in the top three," so there you go.

Because we're running low on contestants, we were treated to two not-live performances of Coldplay singing Paradise and Every Teardrop is a Waterfall (but they recreated the confetti shower at the end of the band's second performance to make it look to the gullible home audience that the performances were live). And an over-Mystic-tanned Carrie Underwood (although not as bad as the "tanning mama") emerged from a wind tunnel to sing the title song from her new album, Blown Away. (It was reasonably clear that appearing on every morning show this week has taken its toll, because Carrie showed nary a sparkle of the personality she's grown into since winning AI in 2005.)

All that, and Kieran wasn't even there to dim the lights. (Matt stood in for him.) No wonder I'm cranky this morning.

The show's manipulative powers were at their best today, calling Joshua up first by himself to hear his results. Jimmy called him "a tough one to beat," and said his rendition of To Love Somebody was "one of the best performances ever on the show." (Interestingly, this hyperbole reminded me of when Barry Gibb called Jordin Sparks "one of the strongest vocalists in history" just before her performance of the same song.) Jimmy also said that Joshua "deserves greatness," promising J.Lo and others that he and Interscope "are not going to drop this ball." Okay, then. So is the show over? Can I get my life back for a few weeks before recapping So You Think You Can Dance? (Thought it was worth a try...)

Hollie and Phillip were up next. Jimmy called it a "critical week" for Hollie, praised her rendition of River Deep. Mountain High but called her version of Bleeding Love "competent." He then said that "because of how Phillip has been feeling," it's no wonder he's coasting, but he didn't do a great job this week. However, because Phillip has "been so strong" and "has so many assets" (namely J.Lo and the other judges celebrating his individuality every week), Jimmy expected him to be safe. And he was, so Ryan sent Hollie to the bottom two.

So are people voting for Phillip because they like his laid-back style, because he's cute, or because he has health problems? I think he'll make a good record, but don't think his performances on the show merit the support he's gotten.

The last duo to learn their fates was Skylar and Jessica. Jimmy said he wished Skylar "understood the lyrics better" for CCR's Fortunate Son (which they convinced her to sing), and although the judges praised her version of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, he called it "Nashville meets Vegas and Broadway," even criticizing the stage set during her song. He said Skylar would need "a crushing song to win the night" next week in order to make it to the finals. He then called Jessica's performance of You Are So Beautiful "magnificent," but said that Proud Mary was "a travesty." But why? Because "her dress was too mature it made people uncomfortable." Seriously? He then lambasted the stylists on the show, saying they were "torpedoing Jessica." J.Lo explained that in show business, sometimes the costumes need to be more extreme, but she understands why people might have been upset.

WTF? Are there really people who watched the show that didn't vote for Jessica because her dress was too tight? She wasn't wearing some of J.Lo's clothes—it was a dress reminiscent of a Tina Turner performance. If we're trying to create the narrative that Jessica isn't resonating with people because the songs she sings (which she picks herself) are too mature and that the stylists are dressing her "too mature," maybe we should consider the fact that she shows no visible personality at least 80-85 percent of the time as a detriment? It didn't matter, of course, because Ryan told her she was "one step closer to the finale," as he sent Skylar off to the stools.

When confronted with the bottom two, Randy said the entire top five "sang their faces off" Wednesday night and nobody deserved to go, while J.Lo basically said that the top three deserved to be the top three, so...And after nearly 60 million votes, Skylar was eliminated. (Either the judges are better actors than you'd think, or they were expecting Hollie to go home before Skylar.) But Skylar had the last laugh, because she rocked the hay-ell out of Gunpowder and Lead, her final performance.

So, next week the theme is "California Dreamin'," but who knows what that means? I'd imagine the judges will do everything they can to get Hollie sent home, so it will be interesting to see what happens. Of course, if someone sings this song, I promise to vote as many times as I'm allowed!!

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