American Idol: Eight Is Enough

And then there were eight. We’re jumping in to covering American Idol, which is awesome for me because 1) I love it; and 2) but for recapping the elimination show, I’d likely be reminded of my Pauly D and Vinny Thursday night withdrawals. The show begins as it should…Randy Jackson is smooth, dawg, Steven Tyler is swathed in an excessive amount of man scarves, and JLo is sporting an outfit I would have killed for back when I was in middle school – and mind you, that was in the late 80’s.

The show opens with the always suave and debonairly coiffed Ryan Seacrest promoting Aerosmith’s upcoming tour. The remaining nine singers are shown the celebrity tweets, which tout their favorite idols of the season. Carrie Underwood, Lifehouse, and Mariah Carey all show some love for those who chose their songs. Poor DeAndre Brackensick didn’t receive any such tweets after his performance of Eric Benet’s “Sometimes I Cry” (sidebar…I’m so excited to be recapping the AI because all season I’ve wanted to hear from y’all how much he reminds you of former contestant Jason Castro). Instead, DeAndre gets a personal visit from Eric Benet. He’s moved to tears, Ryan is excited to have Eric grace the stage, and somewhere Halle Berry is flaunting her engagement ring at her television screen while Olivier Martinez chides his future bride about being married to such a d-bag. Did I digress too much?


We’re reminded of the crew moving into the AI mansion. There is the appropriate amount of excitement, awe, and humility in each of the contestant’s faces. Of course, that all falls by the wayside when they see the actual mansion. A pool? A piano? A bidet? It’s called living, people. I’m not at all bitter that DeAndre’s bathroom (yes, bathroom!) is bigger than my entire apartment. #ihearttheeconomyfornormalfolks

It’s time for the results, and Elise Testone, Phillip Phillips (his name makes me giggle), and Hollie Cavanagh are up first. The amazing Stevie Nicks coached the crew this week with Elise singing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and wowwing the judges. Personally, I think it was probably an impossible song to sing, and she sounded flawless. In fact, she sounded just like Led Zeppelin, which is where in the problem lies for me. I heart Robert Plant, and I would have loved to see Elise put her own, more modern, spin on such a classic. Of course, that’s why I’m not a judge and I just make my calls from behind a computer screen knowing that I only got solos in my high school drama productions because I–and I quote–“sang really, REALLY loud and didn’t need a mic.” I only reference that so you’ll know that I totally get the irony of someone who can’t sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” critiquing such accomplished young people. With that disclaimer out-of-the-way, let the criticism continue! 🙂

Phillip sang “Still Rainin'” by Jonny Lang and received a much deserved standing ovation from the judges. He’s flipping precious. Big props, Phil-Philly. Hollie, a wholesome Avril Lavigne, tackled former idol winner Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel.” While, she did a great job and she was rightfully praised for her strong technical performance, there wasn’t a great deal of her own personality flowing through her performance. She sounded great, but she looked like a pretty skater girl singing like Carrie Underwood. After tallying the votes, she finds herself in the bottom three. Both Phillip and Elise are safe.

After an oddly beachy performance by Nicki Minaj (where are Rosie and Sophia Grace when you need them?), we’re back to the results. The next three singers in the hot seat are Colton Dixon, Joshua Ledet, and Heejun Han. After singing Lifehouse’s “Everything” Colton was praised by the judges. I like him, but I think he’s overly juzzed…bring down the faux hawk a few inches, and Colton not only is a great singer, but he’s also a dude who would be fun to hang out with and tell people, “Hey, that’s my musician friend.” With the spiked hair, he’s more, “Hey, that’s my musician friend. Please don’t make fun of his hair because he’s really talented.” But yet, no one can get past the hair…Again, how glad are you that I am recapping this with my keen ear for pitch and my desire not to be snarky?

Joshua. Joshua, Joshua, Joshua. He belted out Mariah’s “Without You” until he was overcome with emotion. Man I love this kid. He’s can moonwalk, he cries, he reminds me of a young Tracy Morgan. What more could I want? Heejun also received a standing ovation on performance night from the judges for his rendition of “A Song for You” by Donny Hathway. This came after rocky past performances. I’m on the fence about Heejun…he seems like his own worst enemy. Not surprisingly, Heejun is the only one of the trio who joins Hollie in the bottom three.

Before the final three are critiqued, last year’s winner, and my personal nemesis, Scotty McCreery takes the stage. Some things to know: I love country music…the cheesier the better. I love teen music…just revisit posts which reference my adoration for the Biebs (I’m sounding more like weirdo with every key I type). I love Lauren Aliana. I went so far as to see her in concert. I SHOULD love Scotty. I should provide him with the funds for his next pick-up truck with my wine-induced iTunes purchases…but alas, he makes me want to change the channel, or at least type quickly about my disdain while blocking out his song. I’m sure he’s a nice kid. I don’t think he’s a diva, but Geez Louise, he grates. Forgive me for fast forwarding through him getting an award.

Finally, we’re down to Skylar Laine, DeAndre, and Jessica Sanchez. Skylar attempted my idol (see prior paragraph) Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.” The judges loved it. Eh from this critic. DeAndre broke it down Benet style, and I’m sure that middle school girls everywhere where making him their Facebook statuses. Standing ovation from the judges, but I’m not sure that it takes much to get one from these judges. For me, DeAndre is too good, too polished, and too been-there-done-that. What I like about Idol is finding a diamond in the rough, a voice that may not necessarily already come in a pretty, commercialized package. And, while that adds up to Scotty McCreery last year, I am still not a fan. I’m thinking more of the shy Carrie Underwood who had never been on a plane until her audition. Jessica, at a mere sixteen years of age, rocked Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” better than Bey herself could have rocked it. Of this group, Skylar is the one to land in the bottom three.

Honestly, I think the bottom three was pretty accurate, based on my record label ear and knowledge of what’s hot, dawg. (bwhahaha!) Ryan has the sad job of announcing that Heejun will be singing for his life after finding himself at the bottom of the bottom three. After an amazing attempt, he isn’t saved by the judges. Poor Jennifer can’t even look at him. They know he’s amazing, but the judges are reserving their “save” for…


[Photo Credit: Micheal Becker/Fox]