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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American Idol: The wildest of wild card rounds

Last night on “American Idol,” the judges wielded their authority on the show by choosing the final three contestants out of eight wild card nominees who performed with their best foot forward. Only the wildest card of all was that they chose four finalists instead of three, making the Top 12 a Top 13. I actually loved that they did that, even if I didn’t agree with at least one of their selections. Here is how it went down…

Jessie Langseth kicked things off with Rufus’ “Tell Me Something Good,” a somewhat odd song choice but Jessie wanted to bring her sexiest best to the table. But it was really just okay. Randy said as much, calling it “not great and just aight,” Kara said she likes Jessie’s swagger, Paula said she likes her tenacity (uh-oh, swagger and tenacity?), and Simon said that while it was better than her previous performance, it was a bit self-indulgent.

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American Idol: A warning shot fired to next round of semi-finalists

And that warning shot is “DON’T UNDERESTIMATE SONG CHOICE!” Last night on the results show on Fox’s “American Idol,” it was painfully clear to some contestants who chose the wrong song to sing Wednesday night, and as a result one or two made it through to the finals that may not have otherwise. The recurring theme on Wednesday was, “I hope America gives me another chance.” Well, you have to treat every chance like it’s your last, so let that be a warning to next week’s 12 semi-finalists.

So anyway, there were results last night after some banter between host Ryan Seacrest and judge Simon Cowell. Then there was a look back at the journey of the 12 that sang Wednesday as well as a ridiculous group performance. Then the first three were brought out…Allison, Jessie and Matt B. Matt was asked if he regrets disagreeing with Simon disagreeing with his song choice, and he said he didn’t. Yeah, okay. Allison made it, Jessie and Matt didn’t.

The next group was Megan, Kris, Matt G and Jeannine. Matt G and Jeannine were sent packing, and it was between Megan and Kris. Megan I thought might have a shot but she really didn’t do very welll Wednesday, while Kris did a nice job with Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” and odd choice but a good job nonetheless. Kris made it through, Megan did not.

Then there was a retrospective of the 7 previous seasons….good lord, they really can cut this to 30 minutes if they wanted to. Then last season’s finalist Brooke White sang her new single, and I have to say, it really wasn’t very good. Sorry Brooke, I like you but I didn’t like what I heard last night.

Then the remaining five came out…Mishavonna, Kai, Nick (Norman), Adam and Jasmine. Mishavonna, Kai and Jasmine all sent home, and may I add all a victim of poor song choice.
So it was down to Nick and Adam. The showman or the dude with the theater background and heavy metal voice. Adam made it and Simon breathed a sigh of relief. As they did last week, each new finalist sang their way onto the thrones set up for them and there was no Tatiana-like melting down of those who didn’t make it, some of them still hopeful they will be wild cards.

So there are now six finalists, half the field….Danny, Alexis, Michael, Adam, Allison and Kris. No real surprises last week, but you might say all of last night’s winners were borderline choices. We’ll see you all next week….and I hope you semi-finalists are studying carefully that you need to pick the absolute right song. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  

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American Idol: I can get used to this

The producers of “American Idol” wanted to shake things up this season, and so far they have done that, at least in some ways. There are now four judges instead of three, and Hollywood week (on TV) was extended one extra week. But the biggest change of all is in the show’s format. Instead of 24 semi-finalists, there are now 36. And in the first three semi-final rounds, only 3 of the 12 are voted into the finals by America. What this does is weed out a lot of the lesser talent very early on, and sets up a very worthy, very talented Top 12. Of course, those voted “off” this week and the next two weeks still have a chance to make the final round as a wild card. But I gotta tell ya, this is a much better way to go.

So last night, since this IS an hour long results show, there was some fluff and padding. It began with video of the twelve who sang the night before in a video montage of their journey so far. Then they did a group number of the positively horrible Jason Mraz song, “I’m Yours.”

Seriously, that was the best they could come up with? Then we saw highlights of Tuesday’s performances.

Finally, Ryan Seacrest started bringing them out to the front of the stage. He asked the judges their opinion of how they did and then told them whether they were moving on or not. First up, Casey Carlson, who was pretty awful and chose an awful song in The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” Casey, not in the finals. Steven Fowler, also not in the finals. Alexis Grace, yes, in the finals. This girl is cute and has the voice that reflects her Memphis roots, big and soulful. They had Alexis sing, and this is so much better than having an eliminated contestant sing their way out.

Back to business. Ricky Braddy, who was clearly one of the best singers Tuesday night, not in the top 12. Jackie Tohn, also not in the top 12, and that’s good, because she’s been as annoying as the shiny pants she wore Tuesday night. Then it was between Anoop Desai and Michael Sarver. I had thought Anoop might make it, because he has an amazing voice and is likeable. But Michael was more likeable–the hard-working, everyAmerican many of us can relate to. Good for him. So Alexis and Michael so far in the finals, leaving us with five more and one more seat.

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