American Idol 11: Third Final (Round of 10)

After last week’s surprise non-singing elimination, the Touring Ten try to restore a sense of order with another theme week – and it’s an odd couple to beat all odd couples.  The music of Billy Joel, with the mentorship of Diddy (and throw in Tommy Hilfiger’s first official appearance, along with Idol stylist Soyon An).   Hello, trainwreck!

The opening montage focuses on the fact that it’s time to pick up the pieces of losing two finalists… and go on tour.  They’re going to push the tour hard this year, methinks…

THIS! … is American Idol!

Deandre Brackensick – “Only The Good Die Young”
I’m not convinced that Deandre’s voice fits the song… but it’s not a bad take on it, all things being equal.  The problem he’ll have is going first – I don’t think this was enough of a performance to be remembered two hours from now, so it wouldn’t totally surprise me if he goes into the Bottom Three. 

First break… with the gimmick of hiding Erika behind a mirror with a question mark on it, hinting that Tommy Hilfiger did something special, I guess?

Erika Van Pelt – “New York State of Mind”
Wow.  Hilfiger convinced her to turn her hair from long and blonde/red-streaked to short and black… she’s also wearing clothes that actually fit her.  Hopefully the major change in look doesn’t distract from an interesting and enjoyable take on Joel’s hometown anthem.   If it weren’t for the Idol voters’ hatred of women, I’d say she was a shoo-in to advance.  She should go on to next week, but we’ll see…

Another break…

Joshua Ledet – “She’s Got A Way”
It’s always encouraging to hear a contestant say “I didn’t connect to the song” in the pretapes – as it throws the producers under the bus for giving him a song he didn’t want… not that the producers have ever figured this out.  I am not really into the gospel take on the song… it started slow and got to terrible by the end… but he’s got a fanbase that will eat it up, so he’s safe.  Of course, the Idolbots all but prevented J-Lo from telling Joshua this was a bad choice of song and arrangement, because heaven forbid anyone with years of music industry experience tell kids with no experience that they might be wrong… can they do the show without an audience?

Another break, as this episode lumbers forward with all of the speed of a drugged rhinosaurus…

Skylar Laine – “Shameless”
The fact that Hilfiger got her to cut back on dressing like a 40-something Nashville housewife was a good thing… unfortunately, she was a little flat in the open, but once she got into the song, her natural talent shone through.  Look, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m a fan, and I think she’ll do well in the long run — once Idol’s misogynistic voters bounce her several rounds too soon… she did a good job, and I hope she gets through.

Another break – you know, if the shows feel this padded with 10 singers, I can’t wait until we’re down to 6 or 7 and they’re frantically trying to fill two hours… it’s going to be brutal, because FOX has no idea how to develop a sitcom…

Elise Testone – “Vienna”
I don’t get why the mentors are always afraid of singers doing a little-known song at times… it’s a good way for the singers to showcase their talent without expectations getting in the way… and Elise was definitely set on doing it her own way, since she also ignored Hilfiger’s suggested outfit… she did a great job, sounded terrific, looked great, and will probably still get crushed in the voting.  I enjoyed it, but I suspect she’s still heading for the Bottom Three.  Interesting – showing a couple of teenage girls (Elise’s vocal students) supporting Elise couldn’t be a shameless plug for the Idolbot vote, could it???

Halfway home… I wasn’t a fan of Deandre or Joshua’s performance, but they’re probably safe.  I liked Erika and Elise, and they’re probably in danger.  Go figure.

Phillip Phillips – “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”
Phillip gets the Product-Placement Zone treatment talking about the Phillips family pawn shop… and yes, Ryan did throw to the pretape with “pawn-der this”… wow… did someone tell Diddy to sabotage the WGWG?  With Diddy’s advice, Phillip took all the life out of the song and sang a version as drab as the outfit Hilfiger didn’t want him to wear.  This painfully dull performance will be a test of the power of the White Guy With Guitar vote… because on its own, it’s Bottom-Three-worthy.

And if I needed proof that he’s going to be safe, you just had to hear the teen Idolbots squealing after the performance.  He’s not going home.  He could win this thing – and he has all the charisma of a potted plant…

Hollie Cavanagh – “Honesty”
More from the Product-Placement Zone with footage of Hollie’s brother… and that’s an interesting outfit that Hollie is almost wearing… they glammed her up, which will probably backfire, because the Idolbots will be jealous of her and refuse to vote for her… and that’s a shame, as she gave a pretty good performance (although I’m not a big fan of the arrangement, I think she overcame it)… one of the best of the night so far.  And… she also tossed the producers under the bus, saying she’d never heard the song before she “chose” it…

The girls have been the better singers… which means that we’ll have an all-girl Bottom Three again, proving that once again, this isn’t about singing anymore (if it ever was).  Honestly (see what I did there?), if they want this show to survive as a singing competition, they need to neuter the tween text vote a bit.

Oh… almost forgot… the one guy who might get voted off, even with VFTW’s full support, is next… after Haley Rinehart gets a cameo to promote her performance on the results show later tonight…

Heejun Han – “My Life”
Oh, this has trainwreck potential… and the producers put no effort into the pretape at all, so I think they’re pretty much done with Heejun at this point… even the fake restart to a more uptempo sound won’t help, because he didn’t kill the song, he murdered it.  There hasn’t been someone this completely wrong for the competition since Sanjaya Malakar, and if HeyJude gets through to next week, it may be enough to really get me to reconsider why I’m recapping this show in the first place… the only saving grace was the disgusted look on Steven Tyler’s face when they cut back to the judges’ panel after this “performance”…

Can “Vote For The Worst” save Heejun?  And will my television survive having a sneaker thrown through it if they do?  We’ll find that out soon enough…

Jessica Sanchez – “Everybody Has A Dream”
Interesting… Diddy told her NOT to oversing – basically, told her not to do what every Idol contestant has done for 11 seasons… and you know what?  It was a good idea… the difference from her rehearsal footage (admittedly, the producers clearly picked weak footage intentionally) to her live performance was massive.  She doesn’t need the Pimp Spot or a lot of producer pushing to make an impact, she’s good enough (and has a fanbase) to get through, and this performance proved it.  She’s not only safe, she has to be a favorite for the long run.

We’re going to wrap with a huge surprise – Colton at the piano.  Wow, that’s NEVER happened before…

Colton Dixon – “Piano Man”
What a totally unexpected song choice… and with all the obvious strengths, the song left me flat.  It sounded like Colton knows the words, but doesn’t know the song.  There’s a pain and a longing to the song that Colton completely missed… his version is too… um… positive?  Not that it matters, he’s in the Pimp Spot and he’s going through… but man, this was a massive waste of an opportunity.  He could have had a moment that made him a star, and he completely whiffed.  It was good.  It should’ve been great.

Montage time…

My bottom three: Heejun, Heejun, Heejun.
OK, my serious bottom three: Heejun, Deandre, Phillip
My expected Official Bottom Three: Heejun, Erika, Elise
And really, do I need to tell you who I think should go home?  No, I mean, really?

Sorry, VFTW, but I don’t think you can save Heejun tonight.  When the producers don’t care enough to even give him a decent showcase, they’re going to send him home – which they can do, as nobody sees the actual voting. 

See you Friday morning for the results show recap… unless I’ve thrown that sneaker through my TV…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s