Friday, April 1, 2011

AI Results Show Recap: Solid (as a Rock)?

Question for you: does all of the pimping they do on American Idol, for sponsors, music, movies, Fox TV shows, etc. (especially on the results show) motivate you to buy or download or watch any of this stuff?

I already drink Diet Coke, but I don't have any stronger need to buy a Ford or watch that Howie Mandel flashmob monstrosity. (It must be his biggest nightmare—large groups of people that could touch him.) However, after watching Fantasia sing Collard Greens and Cornbread and then watching and Jamie Foxx "sing" something called Hot Wings, all I can say is, I was HUNGRY last night!


So, what did you think of the results show? I wasn't completely surprised by the bottom three or who was sent home (in fact, I called it in my recap of Wednesday night's show), but what was with the dramatic crawl at the beginning, which promised "you won't believe who is going home"? I call FAIL.

You'd think that the nearly-robotic Ryan Seacrest would have his paces down pat as far as opening the show is concerned, but he almost came on stage just as the judges were being introduced. It was fun to watch him run and hide. (Look, I take my amusement where I can get it.) Steven was wearing a see-through shirt befitting his status as an elder rock god.

Weird sign spotting: "Steven, We Love Your Sweet Sassafrassy!" Lovely.

Ryan told us that the show had over 55 million votes on Wednesday night, a record for this point in the season. I guess the show has finally found a way to utterly harness the power of preteen and tween girl voters hit its stride with viewers.

For something wild and different this week, the contestants were divided into duos or groups. First they sang a random song (random in that there was no cohesive theme tying them together) and then they heard their results.

Lauren and Scotty took on I Told You So. Their voices blended well at times, but I felt like Lauren buried poor Scotty on this song. (I really hope she is hitting her stride.) And then, to the surprise of no one, Ryan told them that they were both safe. (I love you, Grandma!)

Ford music video to Three Doors Down's Kryptonite. Thia was 5 years old when that song came out. Lauren was 6 and Scotty was 7. I'm just sayin'.

Naima and Jacob brought cheesy back with Ashford & Simpson's Solid (as a Rock). (Nice to pair the two minority contestants and have them sing an R&B song. Go figure.) I had hoped to never hear that song again, honestly, and Jacob's run-of-the-mill overperforming didn't help any.

Afterward, we learned that America likes histrionics more than reggae Jacob was safe and Naima was in the bottom three, so it was off to the silver stools of shame.

Season 3 winner Fantasia performed her afore-mentioned hunger-inducing song, and then gave some good advice to the contestants. Strangely, J.Lo and Randy gave her a standing ovation right away, but Steven sat there catatonically until someone must have gotten a cattle prod. (Oh, and Jacob was his usual over-excited self.)

Haley, Pia and Thia took on Katy Perry's Teenage Dream (otherwise known as "Pia Goes Uptempo, and the Universe Remained Intact"). Haley forgot her lyrics, Pia nailed it and, blissfully, they didn't give Thia a solo, so no one needed to hear the newly-turned-16-year-old sing "let you put your hands on me in my skintight jeans." Sometimes those producers are smart.

Pia was declared safe (and in the ultimate subtitle error, we saw a caption of "Pia' Family") and then Haley was given the green light as well, which meant Thia was back in the bottom three again.

Season 8 winner Kris Allen was pointed out in the audience. I understand that many believe he unfairly beat Adam Lambert, but the way this show has barely embraced him while continuing to push Adam really irritates me. Maybe Kris will get to perform later in the season, but c'mon. He is immensely talented and deserves a little more respect. This kid ain't no Taylor Hicks.

After an over-long segment on the "rock star lifestyle" of our contestants, our very own boy band—James, Casey, Stefano and Paul performed a not-entirely-melodic version of Band on the Run. James had the strongest vocals, followed by Stefano. Paul whispered as usual, and Casey, well, he growled a bit. Steven told them they could open up for Aerosmith on their next tour.

Dim the lights again, because it was time for the results. Ryan told Casey, "if you knew how many votes you got, you'd be proud." (When did we start telling contestants they got a lot of votes?) He then gave James a reprieve as well.

And then it was down to our tiny dancer and our music whisperer. Ryan revealed that Paul was in the bottom three this week.

But before we could reveal who had been eliminated, we had to endure the visual and aural cacophony of and Jamie Foxx's "song" from the upcoming movie Rio (which Jamie promised is "fun for the whole family"). Which leads me to another rant—isn't it a little disingenuous to feature a song that consists mostly of people using Auto-Tune on a singing competition? The song would have been better if Naima performed; at least she brought life and "mad flavor" to stuff.

Ryan announced that Paul was safe, which meant that Thia and Naima's journeys would end tonight. While this wasn't a surprise, it's a little sad, because Naima was willing to take more risks than anyone else in the top 11. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn't, but she was always interesting to watch. I felt as if she had some good self-confidence but wasn't too full of herself, like Casey. And Thia just never showed any emotional depth, either in her performances or in her interactions with Ryan and the judges. She has true talent and I really wish she had waited a few years before competing.

So now there are three girls and six guys remaining. While some of the guy singers are inarguably stronger than those who have been eliminated so far, I again question the voting system on this show, which clearly empowers the preteen, tween and teen girls who are more willing to vote than anyone else. The show can brag about 50 million votes all it wants—the reality of it is that it's a much smaller group of voters voting incessantly, using multiple methods, phone numbers and accounts.

I also blame the judges and producers for not picking the strongest talents to advance. Kendra Shontelle and Lauren Turner, plus several of the contestants who didn't make the top 24 (like White House intern Molly DeWolf Swensen), would have made stronger contenders for the title than Ashthon and Karen Rodriguez, even Thia did.

Oh well. If I ruled the world...

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