From humble beginnings… to heroes. That’s the narrative American Idol has decided to go with for the three finalists who haven’t done anything heroic so much as just shown up to be alternately pandered to and insulted by the jellyfish that sit at the judges’ table. Welcome back, Rapture survivors! Or should I call you sinners? I held off on writing this until Sunday… just in case. As it turns out, Randy Savage was apparently the only person fit to enter God’s kingdom this weekend. RIP, Macho Man. I hope you enjoy body slamming angels in Heaven.
So, according to Tink, everyone’s still recovering from the shock of James Derrp-bin being eliminated last week. It was a tough week for Jimmy D. First he got cooties from Lady Gaga. Then he had to leave the flat iron and hair spray behind and head on home, with only his bedazzler at his side. Don’t feel bad for him, though, says Tink. He got a big hometown welcome from all of his fans in Santa Cruz. Way to go, Santa Cruz. You give a hero’s welcome to the fourth-place finisher. Keep aiming somewhat low, Santa Cruz.
After speaking at the community center, he did a ribbon cutting at a new drug store, taught a class at the learning annex and played a set at a bat mitzvah.
The final three are brought out on stage… Scotty, Lauren and Haley (just in case Idol-fatigue has set in and you forgot). We also see that Priscilla Presley is there. And that’s the last we see of her. Interesting. I would have liked to have heard her take on Scotty, seeing as how he’s such a huge Elvis fan and all. Like it would have been cool to hear her say something about how Elvis would have been proud to have his music sung on Idol. Or how he’s struggling to roll over in his grave that such a corn-fed, straight-laced teen is ripping off of his iconic music. But no, we just see her awful plastic surgery and that’s the end of that.
It’s an experimental new plastic surgery where doctors replace your head with the head of a three-week-old corpse.
Tink tells us that each contestant will sing three songs. Round one is contestants’ choice. The round two song will be chosen by Jimmy Iovine. Round three will be judges’ choice. Hmmm. That will be interesting. I really don’t feel like I’d trust this group of judges to make any decisions. At all. In life. Like I’m fairly certain these people are just being led around and told what to do and where to go by a responsible adult. And maybe, if they don’t have somewhere super important to go, they get to pick out their own outfits. It’s a little like being a first-grader….
Oh! Beyonce is the guest mentor, this week. Not sure how I feel about this… I enjoy watching her perform (music, that is), but I’ve seen a few interviews in which she appears to have been shot with a tranquilizer dart. So, of course, there’s a video that reminds us all how amazing and beautiful and rich she is and the fact that she’s a singer, choreographer, actress, producer, writer and designer of tacky fashions. When she comes out to greet the contestants, they seem a little underwhelmed. This is the least excited group of young people. They hate Lady Gaga. They’re unimpressed by Beyonce. They’re lukewarm about this whole celebrity thing, in fact. Too cool for school.
OK, Scotty’s up first. His song choice is “Amazed” by Lonestar. Beyonce approves of both the song choice and Scotty. “Scotty boy, that’s my boy!” she says, adding that he’s a charming, innocent cutie pie. Look out Jay-Z! She likes men with a unique look, I’ll give her that.
During rehearsal, Scotty goes into his higher range, which he hasn’t really done before. Beyonce thinks it’s smart that he’s saving his tricks to get into the finale. She clearly doesn’t know about the Granny Brigade that has organized to move him into the finale.
During his performance, Scotty Boy soungs great from the start. His deep, clear voice is incongruous with his scrawny, good ol’ boy look though. He’s rocking a jean jacket and plaid shirt and he sings earnestly into the camera, which I always find a little eerie. He does hit the higher range, but doesn’t stay there too long and he has a pretty big note towards the end that we haven’t really heard yet.
Steven says Scotty gets better and better with his melody and the song took him up a notch. JHo says that Scotty’s grown has a performer and that there are a million grannies girls who wish that he was singing to them. Randy name drops again, saying that he recorded the song with Boyz II Men a few years ago. He thought it was pitchy on ocassion, but it was money when he looked into the camera at the end.
For her first song, Lauren chose Faith Hill’s “Wild One.” Beyonce talks to Lauren about her nerves. She tells Lauren that it’s OK to be nervous, but she has created an on-stage persona for herself so that she can be pumped up on stage. She’s talking about her alter ego Sasha Fierce. What do you think Lauren’s alter ego should be called? L Boogie? Sasha Meloncholy? Pammy the Tiger Girl?
For her performance, Lauren’s dressed like a flower child with some heinous flower earrings and white boots.
The theme song from Austin Powers is playing in my head right now…
She sounds good, but it’s not her best vocal and she seems more focused on performing than singing. Also, the end of the song is super awkward and sounds like she’s got a mouthful of yellow jackets.
The audience goes nuts, though, especially her family who are all wearing t-shirts with her face on them. Is the tacky t-shirt a southern thing? I remember going to Six Flags Over Georgia as a kid and there would be hordes of well-fed families with matching ugly t-shirts that said things like “Johnson Family Reunion: You’ve seen the rest, now reunion with the best!” They were mixed in with couples wearing matching Tweety Bird shirts.
JHo said that it was very good and you have to attack the song because everyone who’s left is a great singer. Randy thought it was nice and that Beyonce gave her great advice. Steven said Lauren’s ready for America to be all over her. I’m not sure what that means. Does it means America should be over her? Or should be getting all up on her?
For her first song, Haley chose “What Is and What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin. Beyonce thinks it’s a weird, risky choice that shows her conviction and her lady balls. She says being a superstah is about going for what you believe in. Not very convincing, but she also thinks that Haley has the It Factor. And because Haley is fresh out of the womb, she tells Beyonce it is an honor to work with her because she grew up listening to her music.
Haley starts the song way above the stage and sounds blue-sy and blowsy and sexy. This is a dramatic way to begin, but it also means that she has to navigate about 30 steps in her heels. At the bottom of the stairs is her dad, who is playing the guitar and looking like he’s in seventh heaven.
“Take me into your kingdom, zombie Jesus!”
Haley’s all over the place… center stage, in front of the judges, behind the judges. And then as she’s headed back to the main stage, she takes a tumble up the stairs. Oh man, those shoes are no joke. The women should get extra consideration for that! To her credit, she keeps on wailing and everyone just eats it up.
Don’t you always feel even more like a jackass when you fall UP the stairs?
Randy says she slayed it, she’s fearless and it was one of her best performances ever. Steven says “Haley, did you fall for me?” He says it was superb and it’s not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up. Deep thoughts by Jack Handy. JHo says that falling on stage is the sign of a professional… she’s fallen and so has Beyonce (link). But when you fall ass over elbows, you just gotta keep singing. Anyway, she thought it was a good round for Haley.
Tink comes out on stage and asks the judges who won the round. They agree that it went to Haley who got her freak on and created THE moment.
On to round two… we get to re-live the first time we met BabyLockThemDoors back when he had short hair and sandals and made JHo say “hell fire, save matches, fuck a duck and see what hatches,” setting us up for a season insane, nonsensical quotable quotes.
Jimmy Iovine chose Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” for Scotty, who unenthusiastically says he’s beyond thrilled about the song choice. He plays the guitar for this performance and though he has left the jeans jacket backstage, he has changed into a different plaid shirt. It’s a strong performance, although his eye fucking the camera means we spend a lot of time staring into his nostrils. Ladies love that, I guess?
Seriously, ladies and gaymen. How are you not losing your minds right now?
Steven says he’s never heard Scotty deliver a chorus like that before. JHo had some fantasy about him grabbing her the guitar and while singing the line “are you gonna kiss me or not” and she requests that he shave his head for the finale. Scotty replies SHDC, which is the brotastic way of saying “short hair, don’t care.” Randys ays it was the perfect song choice and Scotty is approaching a Garth Brooks level of performance.
Before we re-live Lauren’s audition, we go backstage where a makeup artist is smearing makeup on Lauren’s legs because her pantyhose ripped. Tink offers the help, which would be smarmy if it was anyone but Tink. Anyway. Lauren auditioned in Nashville and the judges thought she was the best they’d seen all day and she got to bring her family into the room with her while she and Steven Tyler sang to one another and her family and cousins watched all slack-jawed and did a hoe down and blew on moonshine jugs.
For her second song, Jimmy Iovine chose “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry, which is a pretty sad song for a 16-year-old to sing, but he tells her that it can be uplifting and it’s right in her sweet spot. For this performance, she’s dressed a bit more age-appropriately — it looks like a Hot Topic exploded all over her.
The beginning of the song sounds fine, but you can tell she’s not really feeling the words. But something happens in the middle. After a quiet part in the song, she comes back with a vengeance and kills the end. I don’t have enough music skillz to know what that was about, though, so maybe the judges can tell us.
JHo said that what happened was honesty. That there was an honest moment in the middle of the song and Lauren got caught up in, but that meant that there were “a few things” at the end. Randy said she realized that she didn’t hit the modulation at the right point but that she played it off and that’s what it takes to be a good performer. Hmmm… that didn’t clear anything up at all. Steven, can you help us out? It’s a beautiful song and you have a beautiful voice and you nailed it. OK. Thank you. As usual, no help at all.
After this, Tink asks Lauren’s mother what it has been like having her daughter on Idol. She says it’s crazy, nerve-wracking and has aged her 20 years. Her hair, however, has gone backwards in time and remains stuck in the early 90s.
Jimmy chose “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac for Haley’s second song because he’s wanted her to sing Stevie Nicks since he met her. He tells her that the most important part of performing this song is building toward the end.
For her performance, Haley tempts fate again by wearing another pair of killer heels. After the intro, someone turns on a fog machine, aims a giant fan at Haley and puts a soft focus filter on one of the cameras. The effect — along with the way she mimics Stevie’s haunting voice — is totally weird. It’s very late ’70s/early ’80s.
I thought she sounded great, but it was all a little hokey and distracting. Her mom seemes impressed, though.
The judges seem to be giggling about the whole thing. Randy says her pitch was perfect, it was a somber moment, and adds that if they used wind machines for guys, he’d have grown his hair out. Steven says it reminded him of how much he loves Stevie Nicks, which doesn’t really sound like a compliment to me…. JHo said she wanted Haley to take it further at the end, but it was a beautiful moment and it was a nice contrast to the Led Zeppelin performance.
Tink wants to know who took round two. Steven says Lauren and Randy and JHo say Scotty. JHo says this while wriggling around in her chair. Tink checks in with Jimmy Iovine, who’s sitting in the audience in his hoodie and baseball cap. He says that Scotty transformed to a country rock star and it’s like Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks had a baby. That would be one baby with some weird-ass facial hair! He says that Lauren showed poise and that what Haley did wasn’t easy.
There’s another music video premiere, this time from Beyonce. I heard her “Run the World (Girls)” song when it was first leaked, before her voice was cleaned up and everything and it suuuucked. The version that aired Wednesday night was much better. That also could have been because they only showed a part of the video, and Beyonce didn’t actually do a whole lot of singing. So, it’s about some post-apocalyptic world run by women in haute couture, who stand on burning cars, ride horses around and fight off hordes of make-up wearing men with lions and fierce shoes. It’s very Aunty Entity from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. But far less badass. Anyway, I don’t think it’s a very good case for putting more women in power, but I didn’t see the whole thing, so who knows.
You’re not running much from that position…
The awful plastic surgery theme continues into the third round as the judges picked “She Believes in Me” by Kenny Rogers for Scotty.
It’s like someone took a Kenny Rogers roaster and stuck some beady eyes and white teeth on it, then rolled it around in stray hairs…
Oh. Brother. Why are they out to torment us like this? And has Scotty done anything remotely age appropriate yet? I think the judges have said it before, and I whole heartedly agree: it’s like Scotty was born in the wrong era. He should have been a teen back in the 50s or 60s. Will having a significantly older fan base work for him in the long run?
So for this performance, Scotty’s changed into a Sunday school blazer and t-shirt. He sits on a stool next to a piano played by a man wearing a distractingly sparkly fedora. It’s a corny performance of a corny song. So cheese-tastic I’m going to call him Cheesy Poof. JHo’s singing along. To his credit, Scotty doesn’t seem very comfortable with it and sounds a little off key towards the end. He ends on a high note that he doesn’t go very high for.
It’s like Enrique Iglesias came back for another week…
JHo applauds him hitting the big chorus. Randy says this is all about Scotty stretching himself, because we already know what he can do in the comfort zone and he nailed the chorus. Steven says he hasn’t heard Scotty sing a chorus like that before. So… I think they liked the chorus? After the judges’ comments, Tink gets Scotty’s dad to sing the “baby lock them doors” line, proving that Scotty got his height and bass from daddy.
The judges chose Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance,” which seems to be a far more appropriate song for a teen. She comes out onstage looking like a Disney princess for this song, and Sideshow Bob has a cameo as a violinist. This her best song of the night and she especially kills it towards the end when she gets all growly and has a couple of r&b runs in there. Even though she ended her earlier songs strongly, she cuts the final note of this one early and instead thanks the audience for listening, I guess. I think this is a nerves thing.
JHo says it gave her the goosies and Lauren won the round. Randy name drops again, saying Lee Ann Womack is a close personal friend of his and she’s probably watching the show right now and saying “dude, you slayed it!” Yes, I’m sure Lee Ann Womack was sitting on her couch at that very moment hollering out “dude! You slayed it!” at her TV. Ah, but Steven’s a close personal friend of Lee Ann’s, too, and says she’d be happy with the performance.
For Haley’s final song, the judges picked Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.” Haley’s happy with their choice, but I’m guessing that if she had any idea how this was going to turn out, she would have begged for something else. It was pretty awful. I was like she was singing way to low and was having trouble keeping up with the pace and the words. And they had to do some rewrites to make it more family-appropriate, replacing the line “would she go down on you in the theater” with “would she go out with you.”
Her face said what her words could not…
She manages to right the ship when she hits the chorus, and at that point you can see why someone thought that this might be good idea, but after the chorus ends, we’re back on the train to Unfortunate Town.
Randy says America’s go their work cut out for them, because those were some amazing choruses. Steven said she nailed the choruses. JHo thought the choruses were powerful. It’s amazing how those three can talk so much and say so little.
Tink checks in with the judges who resoundingly say that Lauren won the third and final round. And that was the performance night! It was somewhat underwhelming, but I thought Haley killed it, while Scotty remained somewhat consistent and Lauren continued her adorable campaign for Miss Congeniality.