American Idol: The judges really do have an influence

If you people thought the judges on “American Idol” have less influence now that America is doing the talent evaluation, last night’s results show was proof of just how strong their comments can be. Here is how it went down….

First, there was another group performance of a song I didn’t recognize but Mrs. Mike liked. I think she liked the song and not the delivery, because these group numbers are just bad musical theater. Anyway, it was straight to the results….Lil Round, in the Top 12. That left 11 others dangling and only two chairs to fill. Ryan Seacrest had Arianna, Taylor, Alex, Kendall and Scott all stand up and announced that one of them was in the finals. Uh-oh…by my notes, only Scott really had a chance to make it, with Kendall being a long-shot. So Arianna, Taylor and Alex were all told to sit back down, and it came down to Kendall and Scott. Naturally, it was Scott who made it, and not because he’s a great vocalist, because he’s not. Scott is something like 95% blind, and the judges did this fake drooling over Scott on Tuesday night to ensure that America voted him through. I know this because I’m halfway done reading “Chart Throb” and becoming more and more cynical about how this show works behind the scenes. And I’m getting pissed because I know Felicia or even Kristin deserved that spot more than Scott did.

Then it was Nathaniel and Kristin to stand up and both get the boot together, and then the same with Felicia and Von. Bummer, they were both decent. Finally it was Jorge and Ju’Not. I thought they were both great but that Jorge had an extra special something on Tuesday. We’ll find out what happens after the break….but wait, Ryan Seacrest wasn’t going to break, and there were 20 minutes left in the show….he announced Jorge was going through and Ju’Not was going back to the couch. So there you go….Lil, Scott and Jorge. I’m not upset about Lil and Jorge, but I am upset about Scott. Way to go, judges, you got what you wanted.

Then it was on to the wild card selection, and the judges brought back some of the semi-finalists who were voted off the last two weeks…there would be 8 wild cards who are going to perform tonight for the last three seats in the finals…and since there is no results show tomorrow, I’m guessing that this will totally be the judges’ call, and that scares me. Here’s why….

The judges selected Von Smith first, and while I can understand why, they didn’t select either Kristin or Felicia, and in fact chose no one else from Round 3! The others were Jasmine Murray, who had show such promise but chose an awful song last week….Ricky Braddy, who I thought was amazing in Round 1…Megan, who sang last week and has some appeal but not that much…Tatiana, who, we all know, was picked by the show’s producers to get more amazing footage of her telling us it’s “her dream” and crying and panting and crying some more (sorry, go read “Chart Throb” yourself!)…..Matt Giraud, who has a great voice but butchered Coldplay last week…Jessie Langseth, who has some good qualities but who really shouldn’t be a finalist….and finally, Anoop, and I admit I was pulling for this kid more than anyone.

If the judges really do have the final say tonight, your wild card finalists are going to be Jasmine, Tatiana and Anoop. It doesn’t matter what Von, Ricky, Megan, Matt or Jessie sing or how good they sing it. My cynic meds taste good, and I’m taking them because I hate seeing very good talent go home at the expense of TV ratings. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…see you all tomorrow with the recap!

  

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American Idol: this round better

Last week on “American Idol,” there were some horrific performances of some bad song choices. How long could it go on? Well, this week, that was answered, because the song choices AND the performances were far better. That was good for us and good for the judges, but when you think about it, not really fair to everyone that sang last night because now that middle round that went last week may water down the finalist talent. But it is what it is I guess. With that, here is our recap of the good, the bad and the in-between from last night’s semi-final round:

THE VERY GOOD

Quite frequenly on this show, the performers who sing last make the best impact on voters, but last night the final two who sang were just lights out anyway. The first was Jorge Nunez, the kid from Puerto Rico who the judges had told to work on his linguistics and sound more American. Are you kidding me? Well, Jorge chose a white bread song in Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and accent or not, it was excellent. And I mean, this dude has a spectacular voice. Paula said she’s proud of him, Simon said Jorge has a good voice, which is an understatement, Randy said it wasn’t perfect but really good, and Kara said Jorge was born to sing.

Lil Rounds closed the night with Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You” and it was not just the best performance of the night, but I would dare to say it was the best semi-final performance of the season. Lil is not a contestant on “American Idol,” she is already a recording artist going through the necessary motions, kind of like standing in line to get her license like everyone else. Simon said “in one word, brilliant” and that it was his favorite of the night, Randy said it was one of the best this season, Kara said Lil is a powerhouse, and Paula said Lil is “first class.” Yeah, all of the above. See you next week, Lil.

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American Idol: Shtick sells

Last night on “American Idol,” Simon Cowell made my blood boil just a little. As he sat in one of four judges’ thrones in a judges’ “mansion,” he consistenly made reference to the fact that various contestants were not good-looking enough to make it as musical artists, or more to the point, to win Season 8 of “American Idol.” Mrs. Mike pointed out that Cowell is looking for the total package of looks, talent and the ability to sell millions of records. But this is also what has been wrong with the music industry for at least a decade now–that it passes on less pretty but more talented artists for pretty ones that they think they can teach to sing. Look, I’m not saying Cowell hasn’t been successful with that formula, but sometimes you can’t ignore amazing talent because you can’t picture their face on a magazine cover. Okay, I’m done ranting, on to the results at the Hollywood mansion…

I don’t know how many contestants made it this far, but only 36 are going on to the round in which America votes. This year will be different from than previous seasons, as 12 at a time will perform, and 3 of those will move on while 9 go home, with the judges selecting three wild cards to round out the final 12. So as they do every year at this point, the remaining hopefuls have to face the judges, but the scene is in a mansion this year. Is this someone’s house? Anyway, a handful of these contestants had to “sing for their lives” against one another, which was extremely uncomfortable for everyone. Here are the results, for real this time…

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