American Idol: going home is good

For the contestants who have made it this far on “American Idol,” going home has a different meaning than being eliminated. That’s because the top three finalists get to go home and enjoy a special day in which they perform in front of fans in their city, appear on radio and TV and usually have the mayor of said city give them a “key” to said city. Pretty heady stuff. But as always, it took the producers an hour to tell us the result that they could have delivered in a few seconds. And without DVR, it would have been excruciating.

To kick things off, Season 3 champ Fantasia performed her new single, “Bittersweet.” It was pretty good and she no doubt has a remarkable voice, but other than that, the performance was sort of bland.

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American Idol: competing with the Olympics

As Fox tries desperately to compete with NBC’s Winter Olympic coverage, they keep unveiling “first time in American Idol history” type stuff, which really is just a small break in format during Hollywood week.
But I’ll give them this…they are getting down to the final 24 quickly. Almost too quickly.

Last night’s two-hour episode began with the final 71 contestants being broken into three rooms. Two rooms would hold those advancing to the next round, and one room full of those heading home. This, after one final shot to impress the judges with a solo performance.

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American Idol: Boys club

I’m convinced there is nothing that makes Ryan Seacrest happier than announcing how many votes were tallied on Idol Tuesdays. Last night, he beamed as there were a record 64 million votes…a record for any non-finale Idol show. Of course, I think you can vote like 1000 times if you want so who knows how skewed those numbers really are. Anyway, these results shows have become a spectacle this season, as they try and cram three or four performances into the hour-long show. Here we go….

First, there was a group performance of “School’s Out” with this week’s mentor, Slash, on guitar. Not awful, but not worth watching on your DVR again. I will say that, holy crap, can that dude shred.

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American Idol: You call this an improvement?

So as Fox’s “American Idol” turned the page from Season 7 to Season 8, they vowed some improvements to help boost ratings. Well, we’re finding out that there was a bit of hot air in those promises. Yes, they added a fourth judge, and maybe they extended Hollywood week on TV another seven days, but an improvement? Not really. In fact, they barely showed any performances last night. I think they showed more of the judges deliberating and the contestants’ agony waiting for said deliberation than actual singing. Something is getting stale and the producers of the show can’t seem to learn any new tricks. But I’ll say this…the talent this year is pretty freaking good….and I believe it may carry the ratings regardless of the production.

Anyway, as the 72 remaining contestants got ready to sing in front of the judges solo but with some backup singers and a keyboard, the judges began their unenviable task of weeding out the mediocre ones. Then they were separated into four rooms..and you would think that two of the rooms would stay and two would go home, but that’s not exactly what happened. Only one room was sent packing, and I’m pretty sure there were no more than 15 or 20 in that room.

Among them, Kendall, the first girl of the night, attempted Carrie Underwood, and while yours truly is not a Carrie fan in the least, Kendall made Underwood look like Martina McBride…..Keneshe Young, the 16 year old from Cincinnati, who I thought was great, did not make it past this round…India Morrison, who led a fantastic group performance that included buddies Danny and Jamar, did not stand out enough on her own…..and Michael Castro, Jason’s brother, didn’t stay in Hollywood either, though they haven’t shown him performing since his initial audition (really now, how is that possible?).

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