American Idol 9 Finals: Week 5

As noted last week, FOX is in a bit of a bind tonight.  They’ve juggled their schedule (and shoved back their affiliates’ local news by 30 minutes) to give the triumphant return of Glee a spillover audience from tonight’s “Top 8” episode of American Idol.  To do that, Idol was set for the rather odd length of 88 minutes. 

All well and good… until the judges saved Michael Lynche last week.  Now, it’s the “Top 9”, and it’s a mess.  One of two things will happen tonight: (1) Idol will run over, and the already-extended FOX primetime will run really long; or (2) this is going to be a warp-speed episode.

With Adam “My Career Is Tanking, I Need Good Publicity” Lambert mentoring the Top 9 (Part Deux) on the music of Elvis (yeah, that works, I’ll bet Lambert’s never had a banana-bacon-and-peanut-butter sandwich – and you can insert your own banana joke here if you so desire), they can’t cut the B-Roll before each song… so…

We’ve no time to waste, Glee fans will riot, so fire up the cold open and let’s roll… we have two contestants to eliminate this week…

Ryan hypes last week’s use of the save, while walking down the Big Staircase and past the Top 9 in this week’s pre-tape… because…

THIS… is American Idol!  *cue the music and Mark Thompson’s intro*

Cue the finalist intro… with Big Mike center stage again this week… and Ryan standing in a hole between Michael and Casey by the time they all make it on stage…

Up next… the B-Roll on our theme this week… and a look at the finalists’ trip to see the Elvis-themed Cirque du Soleil show… and an introduction to “one of [Idol’s] favorite performers”, who happens to be tonight’s mentor, and who happens to be in the front row at Television City.

Soon-to-be-famous quote: “My tongue is not as talented as yours.” (Ryan to Adam)

And we dive right in with… Crystal going first?  Guess the producers figure she’s safe… lest we forget that Chris Daughtry was eliminated in an Elvis Week… anyway, moving on…

Crystal – “Saved” – Adam suggested she go to an electric guitar this week, and she picked a rather gaudy one… As to the song… she did it again.  Another terrific performance… she caught the vibe of the song (perhaps because she’s busked on a few street corners herself), and hopefully the other contestants will get the idea that some energy and tempo will make them stand out.  Let’s just hope her fans remember to vote.  A lot. 🙂

Andrew – “Hound Dog” – Well, they didn’t dump the Product Placement Red Zone, and Andrew gets a visit… apparently, Adam talked Andrew into “changing up” the song… what the hell was he thinking?  It’s not really karaoke, but it’s not all that special, either.  If anything, this was a Fat Elvis late-career lounge-lizard attempt.  I don’t think this was a good idea.  Simply… this “Hound Dog” bites.

SCORECARD: Crystal > Andrew

Out of the break, we meet the Official Mom – Ryan’s mother, Connie, is in the audience tonight and helps introduce Tim…

Tim – “Can’t Help Falling In Love” – Oh boy… VFTW has been waiting for this moment all week… Tim’s on guitar… it’s Tim… a bit thin on the vocals, a bit sleepy of a performance… and guaranteed to get a zillion votes from tween girls with unlimited AT&T texting plans… OK, I guess, not great, not awful, just serviceable… but might not be enough to save him if a few of the marginal performers come through later.

SCORECARD: Crystal > Tim > Andrew

Lee – “A Little Less Conversation” (which has been done three times before on Idol, twice causing eliminations) – Adam reminded Lee he’s actually *performing” on a stage… let’s see if he gets it… he’s on guitar… I’m pleasantly surprised here… I expected Lee to fall into the lazy-performance trap… instead, he took Adam’s advice and *performed*.  Good song choice, good performance… quite enjoyable.

SCORECARD: Crystal > Lee > Tim > Andrew

Aaron – “Blue Suede Shoes” – Adam’s trying draw Aaron out a bit (which, again, would be good advice if listened to)… Well now… Aaron listened, sort of.  The first half of the performance rocked.  Then he slowed it down, and I wasn’t as impressed.  Overall, still a good performance, but I think he left a bit on stage… of course, Randy dissed the part I liked, and liked the part I dissed… well, he’s entitled to his (wrong) opinion, I guess… 🙂

SCORECARD: Crystal > Lee > Aaron > Tim > Andrew

Siobhan – “Suspicious Minds” (done twice before, singer was eliminated twice before) – Siobhan gets to talk about being an Elvis fan in the Product Placement Red Zone… I was expecting a blowaway performance from an “Elvis fan”… we didn’t quite get that… but we did get some screeching (gotta go with the trademark, right?)… and another good-but-not-great performance.  Enjoyable, but I think she could have done more… when Cowell was talking, I saw a look in her eye that left me waiting for her to just snap on the judges at some point… maybe if she’s eliminated tomorrow night, she’ll do an interview ripping the hell out of them later in the week…?

SCORECARD: Crystal > Lee > Siobhan > Aaron > Tim > Andrew

A quick Idol Gives Back update… the show will be live at Television City (Idols) and Pasadena Civic Auditorium (guest stars) next week… and Brian Dunkleman Queen Latifah will host in Pasadena (Seacrest’s joke, not mine!)…

Michael – “In The Ghetto” –  Adam telling Michael that it’s OK to be theatrical?  What a surprise… Michael’s on guitar… This was the performance he needed… strong vocal, if (as Randy indicated) a bit slow… all told, he did a good job and is probably safe… and we’ve hit warp-speed as the judges have been told to keep it very, very short (no, that’s not a shot at Seacrest, unless you want it to be)…

SCORECARD: Crystal > Lee > Michael > Siobhan > Aaron > Tim > Andrew

Katie – “Baby, What You Want Me To Do” – Channeling Katie’s frustration with the judges into a song?  Interesting concept… and it seems to have worked, with a less robotic performance… OK, here’s something I haven’t expected that I’d say this year… very good performance from Katie… fun, a bit sassy, and really entertaining… soon-to-be-famous quote: “That’s a very horny song” (Ellen – speaking to a 17-year-old girl… er… um… yeah…)

SCORECARD: Crystal > Lee > Katie > Michael > Siobhan > Aaron > Tim > Andrew

Wait, how can “Glee” go on in 8 minutes if the cast is in the front row at Television City? 🙂

Casey – “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” – Umm… yeah… and Adam telling a guy to build to a climax?  Right after “a very horny song”?  My, oh my, Idol’s lost its way… 🙂 Casey’s on acoustic guitar… it’s Casey… a bit of a raspy rocking take on a song most of us haven’t heard of… dropping him right into the middle of the pack…

PRE-MONTAGE SCORECARD: Crystal > Lee > Katie > Michael > Casey > Siobhan > Aaron > Tim > Andrew

The Big Finish:

POST-MONTAGE SCORECARD: Crystal > Lee > Katie > Michael > Casey > Aaron > Tim > Siobhan > Andrew

  • One for the money: Crystal
  • Two for the show road: Siobhan, Andrew

Adam Lambert performs tomorrow night… and we drop 2 contestants… 9/8c tomorrow… see you there… but we have to run, right now, otherwise Glee fans will burn down FOX stations across the country…

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Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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