American Idol goes a little GaGa

Last night’s “American Idol” results show was a bit different than the past two weeks, because there was no mentor working with the contestants, and instead the theme was popular iTunes downloads. That meant guest appearances from #1 artist Lady GaGa and also from last season’s Idol, David Cook.

But first they recapped the previous night’s performances, along with snippets of the judges’ comments. Here was a gem from Paula that I forgot to write about yesterday, when she was draping praise over Adam Lambert: “True genius does not fulfill expectations, true genius shatters expectations.” Ugh. How much did you hire someone to write that for you, Paula?

Then after showing a typical day in the life of the Idol hopefuls, there was a group performance of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and it wasn’t awful. Scott even got to play the piano instead of wandering around the stage aimlessly and trying not to trip on national TV. And Adam got to do a real scream, not a forced one.

Then, on to business….Ryan Seacrest broke them up into groups of three–Kris, Matt and Megan; Adam, Lil and Allison; and Scott, Danny and Anoop. He asked which of them we thought was the Bottom 3. I knew better…there would be one from each group to make up the bottom. Then David Cook arrived to sing his new single, “Come Back To Me” and was presented with a platinum album. He started tearing up, and for good reason…he told Seacrest that in 2006 he sold 1000 copies of an album he released on his own, and now he sells 1 million copies of his major label debut in 3 months, thanks to the power of the show. Damn.

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American Idol: Song choice still hampering some

“American Idol” is really heating up, as we’re now getting down to the real talent, and this season boasts at least five and maybe seven with a serious chance to win it all. Last night after the ridiculous booming voice introductions and the annoying banter between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell that just never seems to end, the nine remaining contestants were asked to sing anything they wanted, so long as it was a popular iTunes download. Pretty easy, right? Well, not when there are a few singers in this thing who just simply don’t get the art of song choice. Some do, though, and they do in a big way. But more on that in a minute. Here is your Top 9 America, in my take of the good, the in-between, and the bad:

THE REALLY GOOD

Danny Gokey has an amazing ability to connect with the audience, and he picks the right song week after week. We all know the back story, that Gokey lost his wife at way too young of an age recently. And he smartly draws from the grief and channels it effectively through song, as he did last night with Rascal Flatt’s “What Hurts the Most.” And if dude gave Mrs. Mike as well as judge Kara DioGuardi goose bumps, I imagine he did that for many of you as well. Paula said that type of song is where Danny thrives (what?), Simon said no one else so far (he went third) was in the same class and that it was Danny’s best performance yet, Randy said “the show starts here,” and Kara correctly pointed out that Danny moved everyone in the room emotionally.

THE GOOD

Scott McIntyre stripped down his performance last night to take on Billy Joel’s classic “Just the Way You Are” and it was easily his best showing yet. I actually didn’t find anything wrong with it this time, and I’m not a huge Scott fan. Kara said it was a smart decision to strip the song down, Paula said the best part about Scott is that everyone forgets about his “challenge,” Simon said it was Scott’s best performance by a mile, and Randy said it was the best of the night. Um, hello Randy…Danny Gokey?

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American Idol: live TV can be painful to watch

Last night on “American Idol’s” results show, there was more proof that live TV can be awkward and extremely difficult to watch at times. Reality TV is sometimes too much of a reality check.
But more on that in a minute.

After the recap, a Motown medley and the obligatory Ford video (I confess to reading the sports page during all of this), Season 2 champ Ruben Studdard peformed his new single, “Together.” And judging by how big dude is, I think he may have been singing about his relationship with a cheeseburger. But that’s okay, because after the song as he was talking to Ryan Seacrest, Ruben lost about 10 pounds of sweat. Ewwwww.

On to the results. Adam Lambert, safe. Matt Giraud, bottom 3. Yikes…what the hell was America thinking? Admittedly, I didn’t think singing Marvin Gaye was smart, but Matt did a decent job with the song. Kris Allen and Lil Rounds, both safe. Michael Sarver, bottom 3.

Then came a creepy duet for the second straight week….Smokey Robinson and the hot and much younger Joss Stone. They sang “You’re the One For Me” and if you thought Randy Travis ogling Carrie Underwood was creepy, go watch this one again.

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American Idol: Motown week challenges top 10

“American Idol” just gets more full of itself. From the way they that “Tell them what they’ve won, Don Pardo” announcer that brings out the judges and perpetually peppy Ryan Seacrest, to Simon drawing a mustache on Paula and laughing so much that he can’t deliver a fair critique of Allison. Just get over yourselves, people! It’s about the singers, or at least should be.

What follows is a recap of last night’s Motown performances, with the great Smokey Robinson coaching the finalists, and the great Berry Gordy in attendance. Keep in mind these are grouped into the good, in-between and bad based on my opinion, not the judges.

THE REALLY GOOD

Allison Iraheta was in the pimp spot last night, and she hit a long fly ball that would have cleared two baseball fields. She sang “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and I think we all keep forgetting Allison is just 16, because she has ridiculous pipes, and shows almost no signs of being nervous. Randy said it was “blazing hot,” Kara said “wow,” Paula said she looked fantastic and sounded awesome, through her Crayola mustache, and Simon said, through giggles, that it was one of Allison’s best performances yet. No, it WAS her best Simon…you were too busy acting like a 5 year old to notice. How in the world was Allison in the bottom 3 last week? Well, she shouldn’t be tonight.

THE PRETTY GOOD

Matt Giraud took on Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” Look, this is the exact song I was quoted in a Fox News article on, saying that no Idol hopeful should attempt it. But Matt actually did the song justice. I kept thinking he is no Marvin Gaye, but he did the best he could. Randy said it was challenging but that Matt did a nice job, Kara said she thinks all the girls watching liked it and that Matt is coming out of his shell, Paula said it was a nice job and Simon said it was a brilliant choice and a cool performance. Considering Matt went first, that’s pretty damn good.

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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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