Oh — it hurts so much. Watching our dear American Idol contestants fall by the wayside. Actually, no. It’s not painful at all, especially when all the singers dropped in last night’s elimination episode pretty much assaulted our beings over the course of the week — whether through painful vocals, boring stage presence, or strange, guttural, faux-Chaka sounds. The people who went home certainly deserved to go, but did they deserve to go more than others? That is the real question…The results show opened up on an optimistic note: Paula seemed slurry and loopy — like she’d just had a special shot of Happy Juice to get her in her special Abdul place. When Ryan asked her what she thought of the guys, she stared back for a few moments and then somehow managed to slur out that they had nowhere to go but up. (Actually, they could go down too).
It became very apparent that she might topple over at any time and begin doing snow angels on the floor; so Ryan switched gears to our first group song of the season: an antiseptic and bland version of “Sowing the Seeds of Love.” You know, I love Tears for Fears, and it was slightly unnerving watching one of their hits get totally Idol-fied by this dubiously talented group of singers. Most importantly, however, was that there didn’t seem to be any guy with any potential. Brandon was okay, I guess, but Phil Stacey — man, his opening solo was brutal. The good news for Paul was that in his two lines, he actually sounded pretty strong, not that it really mattered at this point.
Anyway, as this cheesefest reached its climax, I couldn’t help but wonder who was hitting the dreadful high notes in the background. They were so off-key that I could only imagine they were the sonic demon children of Haley Scarnato.
Hitler’s Youth takes the stage!
We then went to a commercial break, and when we returned, it was time for the inevitable: an apology from Chris Sligh. Yes, the curly-haired lisper wanted America to know that he LOVES Simon, despite what his confrontational comments about Il Divo and Teletubbies implied. Simon merely smiled triumphantly, saying that he liked Chris too. Eventually, this metaphorical frottage ceased, and it was time to make our first cuts. Ryan pulled the back row of guys down to the stage and one by one excused them. First off the hook was Brandon, then Sundance (boo!), then Chris Richardson, then Nick Pedro. This left only Blake and Paul. Yeah, um, not looking good for you, Paul.
Sure enough, our Barefoot Sensation was cut from the show, which was too bad because he did sound much better tonight… at least until he resurrected his “Careless Whisper” for an encore. Man, he was terrible. But was he terrible because at that point, he was so deflated and depressed that he didn’t bother to hit the right keys? Eh, probably not. I read somewhere that Paul made a strategical mistake by talking about his dumb shoes instead of relaying a personal story, and therefore, viewers were less invested in him. Either way, I kind of liked Paul. He deserved to go, but I would have rather seen the death knell ring for Sundance and his human airplane of warbling.
Next, it was time for the girls to get cut. Ryan also had the back row take the stage, and let me tell you about this back row. It was pretty much all the heavy hitters… and Antonella. Hmmm… wonder where this was going. To be fair, Leslie Hunt was still in the mix, but I didn’t really feel like it was her time to go just yet. Anyway, Ryan went down the line, saving Jordin, Stephanie, Sabrina, and Leslie. This left only Melinda and Antonella. Hmmmm… (insert image of me weighing the options with my hands). No shock here: Melinda was saved, leaving a shaking, barely composed Antonella to stand there alone and face elimination. Honestly, the girl looked like she wanted to throw up on Ryan Seacrest, which I totally would have endorsed had he been wearing his JT vest again (but he wasn’t).
Anyway, it looked like it was curtains for Antonella, but suddenly, she received a list minute reprieve. Ryan told her to sit down — she was safe! Yay good looks! Instead, Ryan called Amy Krebs up from the first row and quickly announced that she was going home. The poor girl looked like a deer in the headlights. She had no idea what was going on. She probably thought she was at the salad bar at the Hometown Buffet.
Funny. It seems like there’s only one person who’s not cheering for Antonella…
“So… I didn’t win the competition?”
Ryan then asked Simon what Amy could do to further her singing career, and Simon simply responded, “You have to stand out.” Now wait a second. Amy totally stood out. She was the girl…. with the hair… who sang that song… what was her name again?
Anyway, Amy looked immensely depressed after this surprise cut, and in her glum state, she too had to sing a lame encore, which once again reminded us why she wasn’t fit to continue in the competition. Maybe she’d be better suited for Wet Rag Idol.
After the break, Ryan then issued the first ever American Idol Challenge! We could win $10,000 and a trip to next week’s live show if we could just answer the following question: whose album is titled Breakaway? Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, or Fantasia Barrino? Wow. I can’t wait until next week when they ask us to unscramble: MERAICAN DOLI.
Well, for those people out there who actually care about Fantasia Barrino, the producers had quite a treat: Fantasia Barrino! Yes, the former Idol marched out on stage in front of the audience (which included Quincy Jones picking things out of his mouth). Anyway, Fantasia and Ryan had some banter, and then our plucky host asked, “What else is coming up for you?” Reading lessons? No, better. She was gonna be in The Color Purple this spring. Delightful. Fantasia then sang a song from the aforementioned musical, and afterwards, Paula cried, which made Fantasia cy, and then other people cried, and I hit the fast forward button.
After the break, it was time to drop another girl. My money was on Haley or Alaina going home, but since Alaina is decently attractive enough, this all boded very badly for Ms. Scarnato. What I forgot, however, is the Middle America loves wannabe Celine torchsingers. Haley was saved, as were LaKisha and Gina. Now it was down to Nicole Tranquillo and Alaina. Both girls were nervous, and I was really hoping that Alaina might get the boot, but as always, looks beat out — well, I want to say talent, but I think I’ll just say “lesser looks.” Kristen Wiig, I mean, Nicole hugged her buddy and then waved off the audience, saying, “It’s okay! I’m alright!” Great, but WE WEREN’T ASKING.
Anyway, Nicole took the mic one last time and sang with that strange, nasally voice that made her sound like she was enduring an exorcism on stage. I was fine to see her go, but something inside of me wanted to keep her around a little longer — just so I could revel in the freakshow that was her voice.
Around this time, one of the more awkward moments of the night occurred as LaKisha Jones tried to lead the other girls on stage to dance around their fallen comrade. However, the producers must have been waving the arms as if they were signaling a jet plane because LaKisha stopped in her tracks and then awkwardly stood there just feet away from Nicole before quietly retreating back to her bench. Please, LaKisha. Let’s let Nicole have her moment. Her strange, multi-voiced moment.
Lastly, it was time for one more guy to go home. Ryan lined up the remaining men (or boys, depending on who you’re referring to). Chris Sligh was spared the wrath of the Simon fans. He was safe. Phil Stacey, or “Bro,” as Ryan called him, was also safe, and so was Jared, who received a nifty, “Bro, you are safe.” Apparently, “Bro” is Ryan’s latest way to prove to America that he is no man’s sweetheart.
Anyway, AJ, or should I say AJ (the second time was me looking down three feet — he’s short), was also safe, which meant that just Sanjaya and Rudy were left. Ryan told us that one of them was in the top four, which I thought was totally ridiculous. Both of them should have gone home, in my book. I will credit Sanjaya as having actually been a good singer, despite how bland and tepid his performance was (which was shocking since his patented casual-snap is so enthralling to watch). Nevertheless, I needn’t make excuses for him. The teenybopper girls had already claimed him as their non-threatening male of the season, and thus saved him from elimination, which meant Scott Baio, I mean, Frank from The Apprentice, I mean, Rudy was going home. Lesson learned: never sing a song that’s been killed to death by Toyota ads (and also don’t pop your collar if you look like a dancing pea pod).
“C’mon, brah! I sang ‘Free Ride!’”
Well, Ryan asked Simon if he had any advice, but all he responded with was, “I can’t turn an okay singer into a great singer. It’s as simple as that.” Oooookay. (But he was totally right).
Paula, however, thought that Rudy had one of the best vocals in the competition, and people didn’t get to hear it. Yeah, well, again, I blame “Free Ride.”
We then saw our first goodbye montage, this time set to a Chris Daughtry song (smell ya later, Daniel Powter). When it was done, Rudy took the stage one last time and promised us, “I’m gonna go out with a bang, if that’s alright.” How about you go out with a SHUT THE HELL UP!
Needless to say, Rudy’s farewell performance was far from a bang, despite all his cartoonish efforts. Good riddance. I’m just glad that he didn’t stick around long enough for audience members to give him the “RUUU-DY! RUUU-DY!” cheer. Hopefully next week the guys will inspire some glimmer of hope in us.
What do you think? Happy with the choices? Who would you have sent home instead?