Can't say we didn't see this coming. And when I say that, I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen tonight on American Idol
. All I know is that no matter what it is, it won't be surprising, much to the chagrin of those in charge of all this madness. Our all-girl top 5 is now an all-girl top 4, but it remains to be seen when the all-girl top 3 will follow.
Sure, Ryan Seacrest promised a twist at the end of Thursday's episode
, a "contingency plan" (that has allegedly always been in place) to make up for the scheduling gap that skipping the save created. But the only way it will be a shocking twist is if they eliminate no one, bring back Danny Gokey to compete in a new top 5 and announce that two people will be going home next week. Or something to that effect.
Because either someone is going home or, more likely, no one is going home. The only real question is if they'll wait until the end to make that call in what would be the latest attempt to steer the results in a certain direction.
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Look, I would never suggest that Idol rigs the competition or manipulates vote totals, but the judges' influence over the results has been on constant and very transparent display even more than usual. And that has NEVER been more true than after Amber Holcomb's disastrous decision to sing "MacArthur Park" as her one-hit wonder.
As far as I can gather, there were only four people on the planet whose last name has never been Holcomb who even liked, nay loved, that performance. There are in-laws out there who were shaking their heads and faking smiles to their Holcomb spouses. The judges heaped more praise on Amber for this than they have on anyone for any song alllllll season. Then, when Jimmy Iovine miraculously put them in their places, they distracted themselves from commenting on Candice Glover's performance (which they needlessly bashed to advance said agenda) so that they could strap on some chain-mail and voraciously fight to the death in defense of their outlandish remarks.
The low point came when Randy Jackson actually said the kudos they offered were for Amber's vocal prowess and constant improvement and had nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, to do with the song. This after they hounded everyone else over song choice, with the caveat that they sounded good. It really was astounding to watch.
Now that we're faced with a likely bottom two of Amber and Kree Harrison, who oddly enough performed a duet together that was the low point (song-wise) of the night. If Kree gets the lowest vote total, I wouldn't be surprised if the judges let her go. And if Amber garners the fewest, the "save" that has since expired will be replaced with a non-elimination week, because really, how can we pick between these four, and who wouldn't love to hear them square off for another week?
Sorry, but when you're down to your final four, and America votes someone out, they don't need a second try to "get it right." That's who they eliminated. Just ask Chris Daughtry.
And speaking of Daughtry, yeah, he's not performing tonight. This week's former Idol carousel offers the much-anticipated return of Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze and Season 10 finalist Stefano Langone, who is amazingly making a SECOND return appearance on the Idol stage. And if "Yes to Love" is anything like "I'm on a Roll" (and yes, I picture him on sandwich bread), well, we're in store from some interesting dancing. Sigh ... let's find out what happens.
A Concert for Sick Kids and a Group Number
After a lengthy intro recapping the contestants' week leading up to show night, Ryan says he has an announcement that will affect the judges and turn the competition on its head. Gee, I wonder what it will be? But first, more from the children's hospital! We get to see highlights from the concert the final four put on for the kids, and man, these little ones really tug at your heartstrings. Instead of letting the girls sing in a non-elimination week, they should just do a benefit to raise money for the poor innocent children.
Next up is a group performance of Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire," naturally with Angie on the piano. Everyone pretty much sounds great, so it's hard to pick a standout. Amber is showing off the legs AND some midriff. Maybe the judges are pushing so hard for an Amber-Angie finale because they consider those two to be the most visually appealing on a commercial level? I hope not. I'm still pushing for Angie and Candice, and I love the potential for the superstar pairings.
The Ford Mission Hits a New Low and Other Filler
This week, the girls are cruising around in their Fiestas searching for Ryan Seacrest. His pre-recorded voice messages sound like they were pieced together from random snippets of things he said while doing other stuff, because he couldn't be bothered to actually record anything. The girls apparently also have a really hard time reading a promo, and then Ryan runs back on stage, legitimately late, and makes a bad joke about going next door to polish Tom Bergeron's Emmys.
Next up is 5 Things in 20 Seconds, where we get rapid-fire facts about each contestant. They are as follows:
Angie hates pink, lives in heels, loves to eat olives and runs out of time.
Candice loves Spongebob, can't sleep without socks on (weird!), loves Drake, loves purple and runs out of time.
Kree has been bitten by a snake, loves rap and doesn't know. She sucks (hilariously pinged as No. 3) and runs out of time.
Amber prefers showers to baths, likes 90-degree weather, was on the drill team, was in a play, loves neon green and has her septum pierced. So she can't count, but at least she understood the rules.
Wednesday's Recap and Jimmy's Thoughts
I don't know if we're supposed to like Jimmy more now, but I definitely appreciate him after he told the truth about "MacArthur Park." Not quite sure why we need his commentary since he offered it after each performance, but here we go. Amber is up first.
Jimmy thought "Power of Love" was great, but "MacArthur Park" was a different story. He has no idea what the song was about, and apparently neither did Amber. The only people who understood the song's meaning were the judges. And if America agreed with him (we did), she's in trouble. Randy once again stands by the judges' commentary. Not like I thought he'd backtrack, but still.
Ryan says we're "knee deep" in the results show, which is awesome because that's not the only thing we're knee deep in tonight. Kree Harrison is up next.
Jimmy thought Kree needed to redeem herself after her mid-tempo first performance, and he agrees with Keith Urban that she didn't. You can't make an emotional connection with a song like "A Whiter Shade of Pale," because the lyrics are ridiculous. You can't win this thing with a bad song that has corny lyrics. To have a great performance, you need a great song. Preach on, Brother Jimmy!
Stefano Langone Returns (Again)
Stefano has apparently grown out a 1970s porn 'stache to add to his chin dirt, and I'm ready to keep him away from middle schools. We take a trip through his Idol run and then listen to him talk about how much he loves girls. Classy, bro. Next stop, Jersey Shore. Vinny wants his persona back.
"Yes to Love" is a slowed-down song that screams post-successful boy band solo career, only Stefano didn't do the first part. This is the kind of song that killed JC Chasez' career. He does sound better than he ever did on Idol, though. No time for commentary afterwards. It's time crunch after Ryan missed his cue (bathroom break?) and the girls had to spend 80 seconds telling us things we didn't know about them.
Candice Under the Idolscope
The judges bashed Candice for what I considered to be a spot-on performance. Jimmy thinks her big voice is tough to maintain when she's singing seven days a week, and he wants her to talk less (to preserve the voice, of course). He calls her song choices safe, and he urges her to push it.
Uh oh, confrontation! What we didn't see last night is that Jimmy apparently came out on stage to address the judges after they got distracted following Candice's performance. He accused them of not wanting to admit that Candice was just better than Amber, and when Nicki Minaj says Candice was indeed better, Jimmy screams "So SAY that!" This would've been great to see as it happened.
Nicki runs up on stage and play-strangles him, whereas he was worried she was about to clock him. So naturally, he now thinks she's sweet on him. Still, no one actually commented on Candice's second performance. On the bright side, Drake left a voicemail to tell her he was honored that she sang his song and that she did a great job, and even that he wishes she could've recorded it with him. Then he comes out from backstage to give her a hug and say hi to the crowd. Watching this, Dolly Parton??
Candice gushes all over him, and it's adorable and endearing, and no one cares that everyone avoided commentary on her performance of that other non-Drake song she sang.
The Triumphant Return of Lee Dewyze
Is he the only winner who was clearly second-best to the runner up? You could make a case for Katharine McPhee and Adam Lambert, but Kat came up short and I actually prefer Kris Allen myself. But I don't think there's much of an argument that Crystal Bowersox was more talented.
Lee met his now-wife shortly after his Idol run, and he just recorded a soon-to-be-released second album. His first single, "Silver Lining," is a snoozer about falling in love. It has lines like, "And then you picked me up and you put me in a straight line. You looked at me and said that it would be fine." Then the chorus awkwardly transitions to Mumford and Sons, complete with banjo. Then, just as quickly, it's back to slow and sleepy. It's like a CD that keeps skipping between two different songs. Now I want to hear "I Will Wait." Do that next, Lee.
What about Angie?
Is there time to dissect her performances? We've only got 10 minutes left, and we still need results and a stunning "twist." Okay, squeezing it in! Jimmy thought Angie won the night, hands down, with two great songs and two great performances. Also, her skin fits better when she's behind the piano, and I am getting sidetracked thinking of the Family Guy episode where Peter wishes he had no bones. Jesse J also tweeted that the performance was amazing. But she's not here, or anything.
We're forming two groups of two -- the top 2 and the bottom 2. Amber heads to the far side of the stage, and Angie to the near side. We know what these groups mean, but who is joining who? Kree joins Angie, and Candice walks over to Amber. Wow.
Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb are in the BOTTOM 2.
Kree Harrison and Angie Miller are in the TOP 2 and are safe.
The person THAT COULD BE LEAVING tonight is NO ONE.
Everyone is safe and no one is going home.
Ryan explains that because, for the first time, the judges did not use their save, an extra week is built in to the show and they need a non-elimination week. So the real twist is that we already freaking realized this. If you think about it, the only thing this accomplished was screwing over Janelle. There was no difference between saving her last week vs. keeping everyone this week, except we might have actually had some drama this time around. Instead, Idol delayed predictability last week to be predictable this week.
At least the votes will count towards a two-week total, so Amber and Candice are starting out at a clear disadvantage. Still, I trust Candice's ability to put together a comeback week much more than I do Amber's.
What do you think? Is Amber for sure going home next week? I can't even ask if you were surprised by this, because we've been predicting it all along. Still, did you get the bottom 2 you expected? Do you like that America ignored the judges when it came to both Amber AND Kree?
Tune in next time, when someone is sure to go home, during "Then and Now" week. Also, I'm pretty sure a show producer read the first paragraph of this blog and though, "Holy crap! Danny Gokey! Let's bring HIM back!" See you then!
You can watch American Idol every Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm on FOX.