Friday, May 11, 2012

AI Recap: It's the Climb (And the Fall)...

Last night's results show was probably the least predictable since surprise third-place finisher Syesha Mercado was eliminated, making way for the David Cook-David Archuleta dream final touted through most of Season 7. Our perrrfect little sprite with the big voice couldn't overtake the decision to throw her overboard the talent and fanbases of Joshua, Phillip (or "Double P," as a tie-less and oh-so-street Ryan called him), and Jessica. But unlike the shaking, crying, paler Hollie who auditioned in Season 10 (they love showing that footage now after initially hiding the fact that she had come oh-so-close to making it last year), the Hollie who sang her trademark song The Climb in farewell last night was the picture of calm, even as those around her both legitimately (and over-dramatically) fell apart.

But before Kieran dims the lights on this recap, let's run through the highlights. We were reminded ad infinitum that every contestant wants the chance to be a "hometown hero"—the opportunity to fly home on a private jet, visit your old (or current, in Jessica's case) high school, maybe even kiss some babies. And Ryan demonstrated his own heroics as he announced everyone in the theater would get tickets to a stop on the Season 11 tour. (It's not quite like being in Oprah's audience, but it's something.)

We got a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Ford Music Video, this week to (naturally) J.Lo's Feeling So Good. I guess Phillip's health is so fragile that he gets a pass on the videos every week. Interesting...

Ryan called each contestant up under the guise of learning the results, only to send them back to the couch. Oh, and Jimmy weighed in on everyone's performances, because when better to make after-the-fact insulting comments than when people are at their most emotionally vulnerable, and you're hiding in a studio? Jimmy continued the whole "Phillip is suddenly an artist" arc, which leads me to believe he's worried Phillip will win and needs to get on board, because while Phillip was really good Wednesday night, I don't know that both performances were appreciably better than anything he's done this season.

On Joshua, Jimmy said that his performance of You Raise Me Up "let him down," because it didn't show off a different side of his voice. But he ran out of adjectives when describing It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World (or, as musical expert Randy would call it, When A Man Loves a Woman), saying, "How do we find an original song good enough for his album? Why not just do this song?"

Jessica, Jimmy said, "lets the rabbit out of the hat too often" when she growls, as everyone knows when she'll do it, and he didn't think "impersonating a blues singer" (singing Etta James' Steal Away) was a smart move. But the same tricks were perfectly appropriate for And I Am Telling You, which he called, "flawless." And allegedly Tommy Mottola (who, were reminded, discovered our very own J.Lo and someone called Mariah Carey) emailed Jimmy to say of Jessica, "I'm going to her first concert. She's the real deal."

And Hollie? "All of the concerns I have about Hollie—the over-singing, the over-dramatization—seemed to work for Journey's Faithfully, because it's a dramatic song. It kinda worked. So I can sort of see why Randy said she was peaking at the right time. But sadly it was in the wrong direction," Jimmy said. And that wasn't all. He claimed to have decided not to counsel the contestants on their song choices this season but he had real concerns about Hollie taking on I Can't Make You Love Me, and "when she hit the opera button, she crashed and burned and lost out to the three other singers." How'd you like to hear all of that about yourself? Think Hollie was already packed?

Season 7 champ David Cook (love him), sporting a short faux-hawky haircut, sang The Last Song I'll Write for You, which is another fantastic song. And then, the "matriarch of our family" took the stage in a low-cut leotard-like thing to mouth the words to her song Dance Again and grind against lots of bare-chested male dancers. (This performance was fun for the whole family, I'd wager a guess.) The mistress of the double-stick tape performed feats of gravity with several near-wardrobe malfunctions. And one of the hot dancers' jobs is to pick confetti out of her hair at the end of the performance. Now how does that make her a diva? She even threw in a vintage Diana Ross, "I love you" at the end of the performance.

Because we still had time to kill, Ryan asked the judges about each contestant. Most notable from this everyone-is-amazing, best-singing-ever-anywhere segment was when J.Lo said that Hollie's making it onto Season 11 and doing so well "was a moment for both of us" (Hollie and J.Lo) because J.Lo was her champion. And Steven said that Phillip wouldn't be a "one and done," but would have a long career, "no matter what happens."

Then Kieran dimmed those lights and Ryan revealed that the first person in the Top 3...was a girl...from...Chula Vista, California! It's Jessica!!

And who do you think was next? The pride...of (somewhere in) Louisiana...Joshua Ledet!

Which left us with Phillip and Hollie. At this point some notable upsets have occurred, Ryan reminded us. Daughtry. Durbin. But not this time, as it was revealed that after nearly 70 million votes, Phillip would be headed home to Georgia for nachos and tacos, and Hollie was headed home on the Megabus. While she couldn't hear the start of her song, she sounded fantastic and worked the stage with the composure of a champ, while we were treated to the dewy-eyed near-tears of J.Lo (or is that called sweat?), the actual emotional crying of Hollie's BFF, Joshua, and the (for the second night in a row) single tear of Jessica. (Good adjustment to her microprocessor this week, wouldn't you say?) But my favorite part was when they cut to Phillip as Hollie finished singing, and you could see he was about to sing along with her, when he realized the footage of him mouthing the words to a Miley Cyrus song was a YouTube video away.

Will the producers be able to stop the Double P juggernaut in favor of the Joshua-Jessica final they've craved since they pretended to eliminate saved Jessica several weeks ago? If Phillip gets a song for the producers' choice round like Hit Me Up, that spells doom...

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