American Idol: America’s shocking decision?

Last night’s “American Idol” finale proved that while we have endured many crappy performances this season from the likes of KC and the Sunshine band, Lady GaGa, Frida Payne and even Idol judge Paula Abdul, they showed that they always save the best for last. I’d say this was one of the best finales, maybe the best yet. And for me, the outcome didn’t suck either. But more on that in a minute.

Ryan Seacrest announced that almost 100 million votes came in, and a record 624 million votes this season. Then they announced each judge and had little clips of them from this past season, focusing on each of their quirks, which was pretty funny. And I’m still seeing red from Randy’s bow tie. Then Adam Lambert and Kris Allen came out wearing all white…what? And after showing Kris’ fans in his hometown in Conway, Arkansas with host Mikhala Gordon, and Adam’s fans in San Diego with Carly Smithson, it was the first group performance–the final 13 all wearing white (oh now I get it) and singing “So What,” after which exactly one dude in the studio audience stood up and clapped. Does anyone remember Jorge? And poor Scott McIntyre was being pushed and pulled all over the place. Jasmine Murray reminded us of why she was booted off early on in the finals when she soloed….ouch!

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American Idol: To save or not to….

Last night’s “American Idol” results show was just a bit shocking as Ryan Seacrest promised at the start of the show, before or after boasting that 31 million viewers voted on Tuesday night. Dude, we’re proud of you for keeping the network and the producers smiling. Anyway, Grand Ole Opry week continued with a recap of Tuesday’s performances, a group number, a behind-the-scenes look at the little party they threw for Jorge and Jasmine after being eliminated last week, and the Ford video in which the finalists were having a water balloon fight. Nice.

Then it was on to the results….Danny Gokey, safe; Lil Rounds, safe; Anoop Desai, safe; Allison Iraheta and Michael Sarver, both in the bottom 3. Okay, I get Michael, but Allison? She was awesome Tuesday. I’m telling you people, Scott and Megan are stealing votes from better singers. Then Brad Paisley came out and sang his incredibly bland new single, “Then.” Look, I live in Nashvegas but I’m not a fan of most of the formulaic crap that Music Row spits out. But Paisley plays a mean guitar, I’ll give him that.

Then back to business. Scott McIntyre, safe; Megan Joy Corkrey, safe. At this point I’m doing the math. Someone is going to be eliminated that shouldn’t be. Matt Giraud, who is rocketing up the likeability chart, safe; Kris Allen, safe. That left Alexis Grace and Adam Lambert. Adam’s weird Jeff Buckley version of “Ring of Fire” really hurt him, but it was Alexis in the bottom 3. She looked pissed, and understandably, quite surprised.

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American Idol: yee haw, y’all

It’s Grand Ole Opry Week on “American Idol,” meaning the contestants last night had to sing country music songs by anyone who belongs to the Opry, including recently inducted member and former Idol champ Carrie Underwood. Opry veteral and country music legend Randy Travis spent the week in Hollywood training and mentoring each contestant. Country week can be challenging for most of the finalists at best, and painful for viewers at worst. But honestly, there wasn’t anything last night that was so hideous you knew for sure what tonight’s results would be. At least, that’s how I saw it. Here is a recap of the very good, the good, and the mediocre:

THE VERY GOOD

Allison Iraheta sang Patty Loveless’ “Blame It On The Heart” and while I had my doubts about this young (16!) hopeful, Allison proved last night that she is not only going to hang around a bit, but that she could be a contender to win it all. Her voice is just sick. Kara said Allison can sing anything in her own style, Paula said it was rock solid, Simon said it was good but tuneless in spots, and Randy strongly disagreed with Simon, saying it was “dope.” I agree, it was dope.

Danny Gokey came out dressed in this weird white jacket that made him look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters.” Really, whose idea was that? Danny started off slowly with Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” but in the chorus he soared to heights that few in this competition can match. And to be honest, I hate this song. Kara said the second half of the song was amazing, Paula said it was brilliant, Simon agreed with Paula but said he hated the marshmallow suit and that it looked like Danny was going on a polar expedition, and Randy agreed with Kara that he only liked the second half of the song.

Anoop Desai was close to being eliminated last week, so he knew he had to step up his game. And he did just that, with a solid performance of Willie Nelson’s “You Are Always on My Mind.” Paula declared, “Anoop is back!” and that he touched her heart (please…), Simon said Anoop went from “zero to hero” and that it was an excellent song choice, Randy said he showed great skills and that he loved the arrangement, and Kara said Anoop took a classic song and made it sound amazing. Indeed.

Matt Giraud closed the night with Carrie Underwood’s “So Small,” but did a really cool piano version of it. This kid is a dark horse…..remember, his day job is as a dueling piano player, and his only blemish so far was that awful Coldplay song a few weeks ago. Kara said there is nothing small about Matt and that he is a true talent, Paula said it was authentic and honest, Simon said Matt doesn’t get enough credit for his vocal skills the way Adam and Danny do, and Randy said it was his favorite performance of the night.

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American Idol: Judges can’t save these two

Last night’s “American Idol” results show began with another new twist of rules announcement. I was afraid of the judges throwing themselves more into the mix, but what they announced was something pretty cool. They flashed on a big screen folks like Tamyra Grey, Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson, and Ryan Seacrest asked what they all had in common. That would be that they finished third or fourth in the voting in past seasons, and subsquently went on to have huge careers. The judges will have the option this season to “save” one eliminated contestant and give them another chance, to make up for a bad week, or because they feel so strongly about the contestant. Keep in mind they can only do this once in the next 10 or 11 weeks.

They then showed the finalists in their new digs at the American Idol mansion…are you kidding me? And then they showed the new Ford video, where the group covered Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” And then there was another awful group performance of The Jackson Five’s’ “I Want You Back.” Blech.

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American Idol: baker’s dozen perform

Last night began the finals of “American Idol” and Fox beefed things up by having the judges and host Ryan Seacrest come out onto the stage in grand fashion. It was really self-indulgent and hideous, to use a couple of Simon Cowell terms. I mean, was that really necessary? Then the judges wielded their mighty power a bit with some of the contestants, and they said there will be a rules change they will announce tonight as well that will also involve the judges. That scares me, because they already have too much influence on the outcome and are already anointing winners. Anyway, here were the good, bad and in-between from last night, with the theme being songs of Michael Jackson, and keep in mind that these are my opinions and not that of the judges:

THE GOOD

Lil Rounds kicked things off last night, and that’s always a tough position to be in. But Lil sang “The Way You Make Me Feel” and while it wasn’t her best performance, it was good enough to be better than most of the other finalists. Randy said it was a great way to kick things off, Kara said Lil scared everyone with that performance, Paula said Lil looked great and is a force, and Siomon said he did not like her outfit and that he was a bit disappointed with the performance but that it was still very good.

Danny Gokey sang “PYT (Pretty Young Thing” and dude just showed why he is in the finals yet again. This guy can sing anything, and despite some awkward dance moves that he admitted to just being natural, Danny’s voice will carry him far. Paula said Danny has a gift and is on his way to the “finals”…um, isn’t he there already?…..Simon said Danny has brilliant vocals but that the dancing was hideous, Randy said “you got IT” and that he’s passionate, and Kara said Danny has such joy when he’s on stage.

Kris Allen sang “Remember the Time” with his guitar in hand, and not only was it a super cool version, but Kris just knocked it out of the park, in my humble opinion. They showed a clip of his wife before he started and Simon didn’t think this was a good idea, because it might take away from the female voters. Kara said girls are going to love Kris, Paula said he was engaging, adorable and sexy, Simon said the vocals were just okay but that Kris is likeable, and Randy said it was “kinda cool.” I don’t think they gave the kid enough credit, I really don’t.

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