It's time for the first live results show on American Idol, but my question isn't "Who will make it?" It's "Will America get it right?" No one can speak for the judges' motivations except for Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj,
Mariah Carey and Keith Urban (and maybe puppet masters Nigel Lythgoe and Jimmy Iovine), but the questionable nature of their selections came full circle regarding Charlie Askew.
It's bad enough they brought along Zoanette Johnson to the finals, but at least her unwavering and overbearing confidence will shield her from harsh criticism. But for poor Charlie and his "Charlie Askew Syndrome," it was an experiment in personality destined to fail. He's a character for sure, but he didn't have nearly the chops of the other singers, and he knew it.
He tried to stick with his unique brand of entertaining, and the judges (especially Nicki) destroyed him. Here he is, watching all these singers practice with precision and clarity, and he knows he doesn't fit in. So he's thrust into this situation in front of millions of people, and he crumbles a bit under the pressure. Then, the judges exploit every insecurity he hides with his over-the-top happiness.
If America (or God forbid the judges in my anticipated double save) bring back Charlie, it'll only prolong things for a kid who is not quite ready. Maybe he could step up and find his zone (because contrary to how he probably feels, everyone IS pulling for him), but I think it's time to get him and Zoanette out of the competition. And it's up to all of you to make that happen.
So will it be the top 10 or the top 12? I think that with the extended nature of the show and five easy choices among the girls, a judges' save is inevitable to ensure the best move on. Just in case America screws up and proves as irresponsible as the judges.
The guys' side is a bit murkier, but I think with three easy cuts and seven guys for six spots, there shouldn't be any massive surprises.
Like the performance shows this week, we're blogging live and will be for the rest of the season. So watch along with us, and keep those comments coming throughout the show! Who will move forward? Who will get sent home? Will America restore my faith in humanity? Would Mitt Romney be president if Republicans could cast 50 votes at once? And most importantly, will ALL 20 contestants have to perform in a cheesy Ford video? Let's find out!
The Reveal Begins
Ryan Seacrest tells us that the 20 remaining singers are sweating it out in a back room (which is a bad choice of words for Lazaro), and no one but him, not even the judges, knows the results. They'll walk up some stairs and through another room to get to the stage, where they'll learn their fates in front of thousands of screaming (and booing) fans. Dunno why we need that much background info, but whatever.
He introduces the judges, and Nicki Minaj is wearing like 9-inch heels and needs help getting to her seat. Mariah Carey is incredibly booberific, and I wonder if she has a concealed weapon permit. I think there are some guys on the judging panel as well.
The top 20 has been divided by gender, and (as of now) five of each will be moving on. One by one, they will be brought out in completely non-random order and told whether they're headed back to Hollywood or a bedroom in their parents' house. And the guys are up first.
Good lord, do we really need a 30-second-per-guy recap of each performance? What a time waster. It's not like anyone can vote anymore.
Really Lame Results Method
What the hell is happening? This is a really strange way to announce the results. Ryan tells us he is calling out the guys in random order, then informs us that Paul Jolley is the first one to advance. Then he comes out on stage and sings "Alone," by Heart. I'm happy Paul is through, but I don't get why they're singing again. Even the reveal is lame. They should bring them on stage and THEN break the results.
The judges will weigh in while Ryan runs back to the other room to deliver more results. Keith Urban thinks Paul's tonight performance was better than last night's, because he channeled his theatrics into passion. Just keep doing that, Paul.
Welcome to the Top 10, Burnell
The next person moving on is Burnell Taylor, and he's singing India Aria's "Ready for Love." This format is so anti-climactic and confusing. It's disjointed and I feel like I'm watching an episode of Smash. Burnell sings beautifully, but I still think Mariah is overhyping him. She says she's just happy to be in the audience.
I guess they're just going to announce the five guys and not actually "eliminate" anyone? Just the five who don't get picked are out? There's no drama this way, and then we hear them sing just for the sake of singing, with no pressure. We've spent 16 episodes listening to them with actual stakes, so this feels odd. But it might be fun to see them perform with nothing on the line. I just don't know if I like it, because it's unexpected. Do you like this format?
Another Top 10 Addition
Ryan is back in the tiny waiting room, and the next guy moving forward is Curtis Finch, Jr. He seems genuinely excited and maybe a bit surprised, and I really think his smugness is just his face and not his demeanor. I still buy that he's a nice guy.
Ryan reminds us that no one on stage knows who is coming out next, and then refers to Curtis' performance of John Legend's "So High" as his "victory song." Is that new? I don't remember seeing victory songs before. It's not my favorite performance from him with some of his shakiest notes yet, but the judges and Mariah's boobs don't seem to notice.
Randy Jackson speaks for the all judges and their body parts when he says Curtis once again blew it out of the park and is one of the best singers in the competition.
Three Down, (At Least) Two to Go
There's only seven guys left in the tiny room, and I bet they feel like the walls keep getting smaller. Charlie looks absolutely ill. The next guy in the top 10 is ... Devin Velez. He also seems pretty overwhelmed by the news, and I wonder if he'll be channeling that when he sings in Spanish. He sings Israel Houghton's "The Power of One," which I've never heard before. I find that to be a trend this season. Maybe that's why I liked Nick Boddington so much. He sang a song I not only knew, but actually liked.
Devin thankfully avoids singing in two languages this time around, which leaves me hopeful it won't necessarily be a weekly occurrence. Nicki thinks he relates to the Spanish-speaking audience and encourages him to continue
pandering to performing for that demographic. Thanks, Nicki. Even Spanish-speaking viewers disagree with you.
The Final Guy Voted Through By America Is...
The tension is palpable in the room, especially after Charlie muttered something under his breath the last time we were in here. I think he said, "Just tell us." Don't worry, Charlie, it'll all be over soon.
America's final choice for the top 10 is Lazaro Arbos. Did you know this guy stutters? But not when he sings. Oh, wait, you knew that? Just making sure.
To prove the show is live, Lazaro goes over some of his notes with a sound guy before he heads on stage, then he sings Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." It's shaky, and he seems really nervous for a performance that doesn't mean anything. He ends on a strong note, though.
Mariah congratulates him, telling him each performance shows his growth as an artist, but she wants to hear more richness in the lower part of his voice.
So as of now, it's the end of the line for Charlie Askew, Nick Boddington, Vincent Powell, Elijah Liu and Cortez Shaw. Nothing terribly surprising, but I would've liked to hear from Nick again. We're halfway through the show, though, with all the girls' results still to come, so I'm wondering if they'll even have time for a judges' save. The top 10 might just be all we have. On to the ladies!
Five Guys and One Girl
After we sit through more pointless recaps of each performance, Ryan is set to introduce the first girl moving on, which means she's automatically the best one in the top six. Unless there's some sort of surprise, but so far, America's been pretty on point.
The first girl joining the top 10 is Janelle Arthur. I didn't realize this was her third time trying out, but apparently it's a charm for our southern belle. She loves Oliver Springs and Tennessee, probably more so because she's not headed back there yet. She holds back her tears while singing Dierks Bentley's "Home."
Want some Dierks Bentley "Home" trivia? The song was released the day before my 31st birthday in 2011 and the day I met my girlfriend. It was also selected by the Arizona Centennial Commission to serve as the official song for the state's 100 year celebration. I'm guessing mine is not the only mind now blown.
Nicki calls her a ladybug marshmallow country superstar. That pretty much sums it up.
Six Becomes Seven
Ryan is really getting a workout running back and forth to the waiting room! His little legs are moving so fast! He's like a two-legged centipede. He's probably like, we're NEVER doing it this way again!
The journey continues for Candice Glover, and she does a little victory dance to go along with her victory song: Mary J's "Goin Down." Great song choice for her. Proving you can perform like a well-known diva propels you right to the top. She is definitely a favorite to win it all at this point.
Randy once again speaks for all the judges, saying the exact same thing he did last time.
Angie Miller Can't Hold Back the Tears
Ryan is visibly out of breath before announcing the next finalist is Angie Miller, probably the other favorite to take the whole thing. No surprise here, and she chokes up before launching into Beyonce's "I Was Here."
She is definitely fired up and incorporates some excited fist thrusting into her performance. I am just excited to use "fist thrusting" in a non-dirty sentence. Keith says Angie embodies the purpose of the show, as she is someone completely ready for stardom who just needed a break. Win or lose, she got one.
Only Two Spots Remaining
And less than 10 minutes of show time. Who will be next? Time to speed it up, Ryan! The second-to-last spot in the top 10 goes to Amber Holcomb. She rushes through Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman," and nearly forgets to start singing.
Mariah, as usual, doesn't know what to say. She settles on "I'm happy people voted for you."
America Rounds out its Top 10
Only one more girl to go, and since we WENT to commercial at 9:24 EST, I'm thinking there are no saves in store. But as long as the final spot goes to Kree Harrison, we won't need them anyway. And Kree it is.
That means Zoanette Johnson, Adriana Latonio, Tenna Torres, Aubrey Cleland and Breanna Steer are headed home.
Kree says she is relieved and ready to have some fun, and she rocks out with Susan Tedeschi's "Evidence." It's really a great choice for her, because she shows that she can sing something other than a ballad and have it sound really good. This is the first time I find myself getting behind her. Hope she can keep it up.
So that's it for the top 10, with no judges' saves or top 12. Ryan announces that the sixth-place guy and girl will participate in a sing off to join the American Idol tour, but that's a bit of a letdown. Just for me, though, not for the person going on tour.
Who is your favorite in the top 10? Were you surprised by any of the non-surprising eliminations? Anyone you wish stuck around longer? Is there a singer you think can't hack it with the rest of them? And what did you think of the new non-elimination, victory song format?
Join us next week, as we hear from your top 10, apparently without any shocking surprises. How un-reality TV of them to do all this so straightforwardly. And congrats, America! I think you got it right this time.
(Image courtesy of FOX)