American Idol 9 Finals: Week 8

Preface: 7:15 PM Eastern

Rejected sub-title for tonight: “Shark-Jumping Week”.

I mean, really… the judges have been all-but-trashing the competition in quest of performances that are “current and relevant”… so this week, they have the final 5 doing the songs of Sinatra, with arrangements forced on them by mentor Harry Connick Jr., and with the performers banned from bringing instruments on stage…?

It’s bad enough the judges’ irrelevance has been on display for all to see… now the Bad Four have to judge these performers, some of whose parents may not have been born when these songs were originally released, as they struggle to sing Sinatra’s music?

There are those who believe that Idol is deliberately tanking this season, in order to get cancelled and free everyone up for X-Factor in 18 months.  Tonight will be used as proof of that theory.  OK, enough… I’m watching Celebrity Jeopardy!, back in 30 for the mauling…

Showtime: 8:00 PM Eastern

The cold open starts with Ryan on the Official Idol Staircase… walking by and introducing the Final Five… asking who will rise to the top… TONIGHT~!?  And Harry Connick Jr. says those famous words…

THIS… is American Idol! *cue the music*

We get the judges’ intro… and Big Mike leads the Top Five on stage… before the Mentor Montage… unlike previous mentors, Connick gets a full introduction and a walk down the Official Idol Staircase.  Now I’m curious… who does Connick have pictures of, exactly? 🙂

Break… and yeah, that was the first 7 minutes of the show in 3 sentences or so.  Oy…

Back, with Nancy and Tina Sinatra in the audience.  This segment’s made for walking… 🙂 as the Sinatras gift Simon with a memento from their father (a monogrammed handkerchief).

Aaron – “Fly Me To The Moon” (written 1954, Sinatra version 1964) – Harry “really likes” Aaron.  Deep… and he’s accompanying Aaron on piano. A bit of a wobbly performance, at times, as he’s not really a good crooner.  Pleasant… not bad, overall, but going first he needed to be better than “not bad”.  This one might fly him home.  Kara’s babbling actually has a point for once… Aaron hasn’t really had his “big” performance, and is running out of time to do it.

Casey – “Blue Skies” (written 1926, Sinatra 1946) – Casey, in the Product Placement Zone, told the story of a friend who tried to get him to take a band gig tonight for $50 and free dinner… I’ll leave it to VFTW to explain why the television-less friend may be luckier than us… 🙂 Oh, my.  Casey sounds lost.  He’s all over the place vocally, and doesn’t seem to have any feeling for the song at all.  He’ll get votes because he’s a “hot guy”, but this performance was a disaster.  I am officially over Harry Connick Jr.  We don’t need a f[censored] fifth judge tonight.

SCORECARD: Aaron > nails on chalkboard > Casey

Sir Anthony Hopkins is here.  Can he go all Hannibal on this mess?  Please?

Crystal – “Summer Wind” (written 1965, Sinatra 1966) – “There’s nothin’ I need to tell you”, quoth Harry. I was worried that this particular theme week would chew her up and spit her out.  After this performance, I don’t think there’s anything that’ll worry me about Crystal.  She made her way through this, I’m sure she can do anything.  Terrific performance, and a deserved LOUD ovation when she was done.  Meanwhile, the judges do a hatchet job on her.  I’m convinced that 19 don’t want her to win, as she’d be a handful to work with under contract… I mean, how DARE she have her own vision? 🙂

SCORECARD: Crystal > Aaron > screaming kindergarden > Casey

Michael – “The Way You Look Tonight” (written 1936, Sinatra 1964?) – Michael passes through the Product Placement Zone, talking about how this week may (or may not) be good for him, since his band played this style pre-Idol… picking a favorite wedding song was a good choice for vote-collection… fortunately, it’s also a good song for his voice and style… he’s a smooth-jazz kind of guy, this is a jazzy sort of song… and he nailed it.  As a performance, it should be enough to keep him around, but with the tween-centric voting patterns… who knows?

SCORECARD: Michael > Crystal > Aaron > jet engine at full blast > Casey

Lee – “That’s Life” (written 1966, Sinatra 1966) – Did Connick tell him to stop smiling? There were some issues (a bit of a wobble, some pacing problems), but overall, a pretty faithful version of a song we all know… nice way to close out the show.  Not great, and if there’s a bottom three tomorrow he may be in it, but he should make it through to next week.  The judges overrated this. 🙂

PRE-MONTAGE SCORECARD: Michael > Crystal > Lee > Aaron > subway passing at high speed > Casey

The Big Finish:

Your DVR cut off right before the montage, most likely, unless you’ve learned to pad the end time.

POST-MONTAGE SCORECARD: Michael > Crystal > Lee > Aaron > me doing karaoke > Casey

  • My vote: Michael
  • My elimination: in case you couldn’t guess, Casey, in what will go down as an epically bad performance

Lady Gaga’s pre-taped Cirque du Soleil-styled performance of “Bad Romance/Alejandro” is on tap for tomorrow night… plus Harry Connick Jr. sings, and someone is going home.  That’s 9/8c tomorrow.  Speaking of jumping the shark, Glee is next.


As I finished this blog, word came of the passing of baseball/broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell at age 92.  Baseball, and all of us who ever listened to a ballgame, are diminished a little tonight.

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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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