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: disco freak show

Last night’s “American Idol” results show was one of the most painful to watch in recent memory, and not just because we had to sit through two eliminations. The medley of performers from the disco era was easily the worst thing this show has ever produced, and something I want to try and forget as soon as I’m done writing this blog.

First, Ryan Seacrest announced that there were 45 million votes Tuesday night, the most this season so far. Yay America. Then they showed the final 7 preparing for their group performance with judge Paula Abdul doing the choreography. They did “Shake Your Body Down To the Ground” with the dancing being pretty good for a change. The pre-recorded vocal tracks weren’t bad either.

Then, on to business. Seacrest had Lil Rounds stand up and then he rambled on about how the show needs her in the competition, blah blah blah. Then he brought her out to the front of the stage, where he told her that she was going home. Nice going Ryan, was that “this show needs you” thing really necessary? Lil sang “I’m Every Woman” again and Paula ranted on about how Lil should have sang like that the night before. Whatever….at this stage of the competition Lil was next in line to go home anyway.

Then came one of the worst 10 minutes in Idol history….a disco medley by aging ’70’s stars Frida Payne, Thelma Houston and KC of KC & The Sunshine Band. Frida sang her only hit, “Band of Gold” and she was stuffed into this gold sparkly dress and has absolutely no vocal ability left, I’m sure of it; then Thelma Houston sang “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and she also looked and sounded old; finally, KC of KC & the Sunshine Band came out and with his giant red shirt and big balding head looked like Tony Soprano, and sang his hit “Get Down Tonight.” Folks, I can’t imagine James Gandolfini doing a worse job than KC did….and dude surely could have used Paula Abdul’s coaching as a dancer too…yikes. And that red shirt….like a popping flash bulb, that image is burned into my eyelids. To make matters worse, this was not a brief medley…..each performer did their entire song, so the whole thing went on for at least 10 minutes…..and each one of them looked like they needed oxygen afterward.

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American Idol: Was this really disco night?

We were all looking forward to Disco Week on “American Idol” the way we look forward to watching a train wreck, weren’t we? Who would butcher a disco song more than everyone else? How would Adam and Danny and Kris stay above the pack? Well, not Adam…that dude can do anything. Anyway, some performances were mind-blowing last night and others fell short, and it was the same singers who were awesome and the same who were awful, regardless of genre. Here we go…

THE VERY GOOD

Kris Allen, for my money, gave the best performance last night. He took Donna Summers’ “She Works Hard For the Money,” strapped on his guitar and turned it into a pop/rock version, ala David Cook last season. Skip the fact that this song came out in the mid-’80’s and has no ties to disco, and just look at the performance, which was absolutely stellar and fun to watch. Kara said Kris took a big risk and it paid off, Paula said it had a classy Santana feel, Simon said it was the polar opposite to Lil Rounds’ performance (who went before Kris) and then Simon (yes, that Simon) used the word “fantastic.” Randy said Kris knows who he is and is ready for the big-time. Folks, this kid could win…I’m telling you now.

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American Idol: Is this show about the judges?

Last night on “American Idol,” history was made, but it was self-serving, me me me history for the wrong reasons. The judges sometimes think that they control the outcome, and try to sway that outcome as much as possible. Sometimes, as they did last night, they cross the line in that regard and piss us off.

The episode began with a group performance of Michael Sembello’s “Maniac,” which wasn’t nearly as bad as previous group efforts, with nice harmonies and everything. My guess is, we’ve weeded out some of the really bad singers like Scott and Megan, so naturally the remaining talent makes everything sound better. Then there was a plug for the movie “17 Again” which comes out this Friday, as the Idol hopefuls got to watch the premiere on Tuesday after they performed.

Then, on to business. Allison Iraheta, who had the opening slot and didn’t deliver her best showing, safe. Adam Lambert, who screeched a few too many times through “Born To Be Wild,” also safe. Anoop Desai, who wasn’t awful Tuesday night but, well, sang the first of two sappy Bryan Adams songs. Bottom 3, my good man. Anoop seemed pissed off when Ryan Seacrest toyed with him, even saying, “Come on, Ryan!” So Seacrest promptly escorted him to the other side of the stage, probably enjoying it.

Then came the first performance, by Season 3 alum and now mega-star Jennifer Hudson. Hudson sang her new single, If This Isn’t Love,” and what it wasn’t was good. Her voice was as big and beautiful as ever, but the song….just blech.

Then more results. Kris Allen, who for whatever reason remains under everyone’s radar but delivers great performances every single week, was safe. Simon didn’t have the opportunity to judge Kris on Tuesday, so he offered this take last night: “Brilliant.” Damn, that was nice considering Randy hated Kris’ performance of “Falling Slowly.” Lil Rounds, bottom 3. Seacrest asked her about her banter with Simon and blah blah blah. Here’s the bottom line, Lil…you are not as good as most of the other remaining contestants.

Down to Matt Giraud and Danny Gokey. Danny, safe again. Matt, bottom 3, because he sang the second sappy Bryan Adams song of the night, and sang it pretty poorly. So your bottom 3, America…..Anoop, Lil and Matt.

Then Miley Cyrus sang her new single, “The Climb,” all decked out in a dress like she was going to a movie premiere, which maybe she was. Cyrus, who has grown up around country music, was almost forcing the twang in her vocal, but did a pretty nice job with a decent song. Mark that down, I just complimented two things I normally don’t–Miley and a country song.

Back to business. Anoop Desai, back to the couches, you are safe. That left Matt and Lil. Simon says the judges would consider saving one of them, and that the choice may surprise that person (ahem, Lil, right?). Well, it was Matt who had the lowest number of votes and Lil who would for sure stick around one more week. But would the judges use their next-to-last save opportunity on Matt? Seacrest handed him the microphone and told him to sing for his life, making us all endure that craptastic Bryan Adams ballad again.

The judges huddled, and it made me wonder this…..why the hell don’t they have a pre-show meeting about who they might save and who they might not, and know their decision going in?

Instead, Matt sang, and Kara and Paula danced like morons as they always do. Then, as Simon started saying, “I don’t think you have a chance to win, Matt…” Paula and Kara were screaming at him, and Simon announced that indeed, it was good news, they were saving Matt this week. That led to a group hug of contestants onstage and the judges all high-fiving each other, making this moment about them and how they controlled this thing, despite America telling everyone they didn’t really like Matt Giraud.

Simon told everyone to calm down, saying that next week they will have to eliminate two contestants, and that it’s disco week. Matt might actually make it through next week, but I’m guessing Anoop may not…and also Lil, who clearly has a short leash with the judges and producers right now.

So that’s it…..anti-climactic? Maybe, but next week we get to send two home and then it will be down to the final 5. See you all then, and get your afro wigs and bell bottoms ready!

  

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American Idol: Changes, but not really

Last night the Top 7 performed on “American Idol” and while some changes were made, nothing really changed in the end. Last week, you’ll remember that Adam Lambert was in the pimp spot, but didn’t perform until after 9pm ET, with the show running almost 10 minutes late. So those who set their DVRs missed his performance, though with Adam being a favorite, the votes were not affected at all. Still, something needed to give and they decided that this week, the judges would have to scale back their comments….meaning, after each performance only two judges would comment instead of all four. Considering that there would be one less performance this week anyway, that should help shorten the program, right? Well, not really. Not when the judges see it as a chance to banter on incessantly, and not while Ryan Seacrest can’t keep things moving along properly, and not when they book more commercial spots than necessary. Actually read that last part back, because I am quite sure that’s your real culprit in all this.

But anyway, superstar director Quentin Tarantino was the mentor this week, a guy who makes movies but has a passion for music and a knack for marrying songs with his films. And the theme was songs from movies. Easy enough, right? Well yeah, but Bryan Adams’ two sappiest songs reared their collective ugly head.

Here is how it went down:

THE GOOD

Allison Iraheta went first and sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.” It wasn’t her best, but when she kicked into the second half of the song, holy crap. Paula and Simon both draped her with praise. Paula said that while she knows she champions Adam every week (that’s an understatement), Allison is remarkably talented as well, and Simon said that Allison is the girls’ only hope left, and that she is getting stronger every week and believing in herself.

Anoop Desai sang the first of the Bryan Adams’ sap-fest with “Everything I Do (I Do For You)” and he did a really nice job with it. Honestly, I loathe that song the way Newman from “Seinfeld” loathes Keith Hernandez, but Anoop played with the melody a bit and made it soulful and interesting. Randy said Anoop has found his zone, and that it was in tune and had some nice emotion, and Kara said Anoop added some nice soul to a pop song and that it was one of his best performances so far. No argument here.

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