Um…where is Nicki Minaj? Homegirl sure knows how to make an entrance. Tonight (finally), American Idol goes live with the most boring Top 10 ever assembled. So boring, they’re even singing songs performed by other Idols on the show. All I care about is Curtis—who’s position in the line ostensibly means he’s probably leading off tonight, but he’s already #1 in my heart due to his red paisley sportsjacket that’s the most bold fashion choice since Bobby Bennett’s (in)famous orange suit in the Season 5 semifinals.
Mariah Carey just looks awkward and pissed right now in a very forced awkward and pissed way. Is she mad at Nicki or furious her stylist dug up some spangled champagne frock that J. Lo person left in the dressing room? The honey highlights, the hair tousled and pulled half up, the earthtone palette face—WHY THE HELL DID YOU COME BACK JLO? And stop covering your breasts with these demure necklines.
Curtis Finch, Jr.
A relatively recent staple of Idol is the Mantasia, the flamboyant ‘n’ plump African-American man who learned to sing in his church choir. This year, Curtis Finch, Jr. is our Mantasia. His performance was full of um, heavy-handed melisma (this sounds like something a music-y writer would say) but I don’t care because this is the most likable Curtis has ever been, even if the National Enquirer just “broke” his arrest record and he’s a really dumb criminal! That jacket is happiness.
Keith loves his jacket. Nicki is on the 405 or 101—all we know is that she and Randy Jackson hate each other. The tension is palpable even when she’s not there.
We’re forced to experience extended conversations between Janelle & Ryan Seacrest and Janelle & Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy asks Janelle, how are you different from any other pretty blond country singer? She pledges not to be watered down or pop. Idol really wants you to like Janelle. They really, really do. But Janelle is no Scotty McCreery, and she’s certainly no Carrie Underwood. Gone is a shouty mess as uneven as Janelle’s tragic “I’m stylish country” outfit. Janelle is most concerned with working the stage, just as Scotty did when he performed the song in 2011, (Or was it 2010. It all runs together now, like the eye makeup of a sad teen mother.) then actually SING. But Scotty could do both and Janelle cannot so that’s that.
When facing the judges, Janelle pulls out a Picklersque I’ve got cotton in my mouth. Keith loves that she sang a song sung by dudes, because Keith is a sinewed ball of positive energy. Nicki has arrived and she’s wearing a hoody and big cat sunglasses and brings up song choice, as does Randy Jackson. Mariah speaks of Janelle’s aura but again brings up how she wishes Janelle would sing a mid-tempo ballad to showcase her voice, emphasizing the collective opinion of every sitting at the table.
Like fetch, stop trying to make Janelle Arthur happen.
Temporary Home—Carrie Underwood
I want to comment on the vocal quality of this song, as I like this Devin Velez kid but Carrie Underwood’s lukewarm homage to In The Ghetto is dull when anyone sings it. It’s all rather meh, very much a telethon performance, but Devin has magical, enviable eyelashes.
Keith did not love it but speaks of Devin’s amazing voice and vibrato and hopes he can sing again. As she’s likely touched up her eye makeup during the commercial break, Nicki has removed her sunglasses and tells Keith he’s completely wrong and that she loves Devin and thought it was the perfect song AND liked that he didn’t do any Spanish because being bilingual all the time doesn’t show his range. Randy thinks its safe. Am further convinced Mariah Carey is possessed by Jennifer Lopez. She’s starting to sound like her. The transition will be complete by 10pm EST. NOOOOOO.
The guys are getting the shaft tonight because Idol will do whatever it can to not have a penis-wielding winner. Why do you think they’ve stacked the deck with all gay men? They think that…oh Idol, have you already forgotten what a Claymate is? A Glambert? This will all backfire. What will happen before will happen again. Another relevant ancient proverb insert here.
I Surrender—Kelly Clarkson
Angie doesn’t want to seem like a pageant queen yet she picks a Celine Dion song and says she can sing it as well as Kelly Clarkson. BLASPHEMY YOU DEVIL WOMAN. BLASPHEMY. I actually love Miss Miller’s dress, but I harbor resentment towards “good Christian girls” who dress in dominatrix-lite. And PLEASE allow the stylists to do something with your hair. Anyway, this song is entirely unmemorable because it is essentially a borderline Celine Dion B-side, but at least she went for the big notes. Her voice is probably the most confident we’ve heard all evening.
Keith loves her and considers her to be such an artist. Nicki is obsessed with her dress and spends 90% of her critique talking about Angie’s outfit and how she appreciates how she does not wobble in heels. She then calls her a superstar. While I disagree with Nicki, I still love Nicki. OH RANDY DO NOT SAY IT DO NOT SAY IT. IN IT TO WIN IT NO. STOP IT. NO. I’m going to get more soup. If you want to eat like me this evening, make this soup because its the greatest soup ever. (I also add a few pinches of Croatian MSG, just because a little Vegeta never hurt anyone.)
Jimmy tells Paul to be less Broadway and less theatrical, and Paul is shocked as he has never sang a Broadway song and had no idea he gave this sort of
gay vibe. Our little Evan Lysacekalike is the only thing close to eye candy going on this season (BRING BACK SEXY SAX GIRL) and he offers a very controlled and measured performance. It’s pleasant and slow, each phrase, each moment expected much like a 1mg sedative.
Keith loved that song and has always loved that song. It is the first time Paul has stimulated Nicki’s sexual appetite, as he is styled very well tonight. Frankly, I love that Nicki is bringing fashion to this beyond it being the stereotypical kiss of death a la Paula Abdul oh you look great tonight. She’s also the first to admit this is NOT a singing competition.
I’m not going to talk about [his] sexuality.
Oh Randy. Everyone keeps talking about Paul’s theatricality and how its so nice he listened to Jimmy, but how now he just needs to go from here. Paul Jolley’s genuine appreciation of Iovine’s advice touches me for whatever reason, because I am so starved and desperate to be moved right now.
I Who Have Nothing—Jordin Sparks
SEE ABOVE AT THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO WATCH FROM THIS SHOW. THE ONLY THING. EVER. Candice looks gorgeous tonight—fantastic makeup. The weave could use a bit of work and well, the vertical embellishments highlight the minor camel toe going on but really, she still looks great. But most importantly, she finally WAKES ME THE F**K UP. It helps when one does a great song (Shirley Bassey is all sorts of goddess), but to compare this performance to everything else that’s come before it is rather unfair. Not even on the same level. Not even close.
Keith doesn’t have enough time to list all the things he loves about Candice Glover. Nicki says the blogs and Twitter love Candice and Candice cheerfully responds thank you, blogs. Everyone loves Candice and Mariah won’t stand up because her skirt is too tight WELL NO SHIT ITS JLO’S OUTFIT.
I ignored Lazaro’s entire conversation with Jimmy Iovine because I just discovered Google Reader is shutting down and now I’m all sorts of pissed. Lazaro’s performance is not good even though his suit is all sorts of Christian from Clueless fabulous. His timing, his phrasing, his intonation is ALL off. Probably the worst he’s done. While he recovers at the end, there were just too many parts where he just didn’t sing it hard enough, or well enough. But I feel bad dissing on him because he looks terrified and nervous and it makes me sad.
Keith did not love it, but loves Lazaro. Says the song wasn’t in his wheelhouse and Lazaro agrees and Keith throws out the cursory, I hope we get to hear you sing again. Nicki said it was her least-favorite performance of Lazaro (great minds, ya know) but loves that he looks like Ricky Ricardo and worries Jimmy destroyed his confidence. Randy autobot says the song was too big and it was not the right song for him. Mariah says people have fallen in love with his courage. Then my mom called and I missed the rest. But someone is singing Carrie Underwood after the break. Its curious to see which former Idols’ songs the contestants are choosing, as with the exception of Scotty McCreery and a single Jordin Sparks song, everyone has gone either Kelly or Carrie.
Jimmy’s boilerplate advice seems to be don’t oversing. Kree choose Roy Orbison via Carrie Underwood (OMG LOOK AT HER NORMAL GIRL PLUMP ARMS BEFORE SHE WON) because its like, a really good sad song. My Twitter feed seems to think this was up there with Candice’s performance but it leaves me cold—as does Kree’s god-awful blazer. She’s dressed like a soccer mom during her kid’s school’s annual silent auction. But she’s in tune and controlled. There are no missteps, and its lovely, but it is sort of too perfunctory.
Keith loves her voice so much. And then he cribs from Randy YOU COULD SING THE PHONE BOOK. Nicki starts talking about buttermilk waffles and microwaved Aunt Jemima syrup.
Flying Without Wings—Ruben Studdard
Burnell only wants to sing R&B. Jimmy warns him no one wants to hear a ballad every week. I suspect Burnell really only wants to sing ballads. I also suspect he’s the only male contestant who digs poontang. I wish I actually enjoyed modern R&B because I really like Burnell and I like his voice. Its a very solid, SAFE performance. But I just like this kid so go Burnell. Woot woot. Burnell.
Keith loves Burnell’s Burnellisms. The most curious thing about the judging is learning Nicki is a huge fan of Ruben Studdard’s debut album.
RYAN SEACREST MAKES WHITE SMOKE POPE JOKE
A Moment Like This—Kelly Clarkson
Amber is cute. Jimmy says she is beautiful. While I have been meh about Amber since we realized she existed, she’s impressing me in her pre-performance package, even though I facepalm after realizing she said she was going to perform A Moment Like This and not Stuff Like That There, the latter which I thought was referring to that cutesy big-band number Clarkson nailed. Amber gets to stand on some blocks and is tasked with singing into a wind machine. I mean, the song well…but Amber has one of the stronger voices in the competition. Who knew?
Keith loves how effortlessly Amber sings. Nicki says its the best performance of the night and how Amber is like early WHITNEY. Eh. Stay off the crack, Amber, and Nicki, how the hell have you forgetting about Candice singing Shirley Bassey because THAT was the performance of the night. But pink lipstick is a nice suggestion, I guess. RANDY SAYS A MOMENT LIKE THIS IS THE GREATEST AMERICAN IDOL SONG EVER. This is why Randy Jackson should not even be working in music. He also chides the dudes GUYS WHERE YOU AT THE GIRLS ARE KILLING YOU TONIGHT. Mariah has almost completed the full-on metamorphosis into J.Lo except she’s not talking about herself, so perhaps there is hope. Tomorrow night, Mariah, no earth tones, no respectable necklines. Thanks a bunch / love me.
Flying Spaghetti Monster.
How can this have so much GAY and be so damn boring? Because its American Idol.