My snark demon Smirkelstiltskin may forsake me for saying this, but I’m actually starting to appreciate tween girls. Hear me out. As the American Idol Top 7 took to the Idoldome for the first time during last night’s live results show, a small platoon of tween girls ensconced in the peanut gallery rear balcony became nearly apoplectic with excitement — for Jacob. I know! Jacob! At one point, Jacob possibly threw a glance in their general direction, and when one of the girls was absolutely convinced it was mean directly for her, she began jumping, clapping and squealing as she turned to her friends, who themselves were jumping, clapping, squealing, and turning towards her. I had seen this behavior before, but in well-lit movies about high school, on Disney Channel shows, and by Ross on Friends — I did not realize until that moment that actual humans could get that specifically exhilarated.
Another example: During David Cook’s performance, a young girl just entering tweendom was so filled to her fingers and toes with happiness that she did jumping jacks for the entire song, the kind of jumping jacks where you clap your hands with each jump, your legs are a blur, and your body rarely touches the ground. I am fairly certain that if you had given the 12-year-old Adam B. Vary a tour of the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation led by LeVar Burton — i.e. The Best Thing That Could Have Ever Happened To Me at that age — I would not have been chemically able to enter the state of euphoria that girl did while watching David Cook.
Coincidentally, President Obama was in Los Angeles last night, snarling up traffic something fierce on the other side of town for a series of big fundraisers. Now, with two young daughters at home, Obama is certainly a man intimately familiar with tween girl enthusiasm. I humbly submit to him and his Alternative Energy Council that our nation’s scientists simply need to figure out how to harness the power spilling out of your average Justin Bieber concert, and we would have enough energy to run California for 350 years.
But I digress, and on purpose, because last night’s results show was as much of a snoozefest in the Idoldome as it was on TV. I suppose after several weeks of genuine entertainment filling out the hour-long-when-it-could-be-five-minutes-long results shows, we can give the producers a pass for an evening of Ryan Seacrest’s awkward banter and Katy Perry’s pre-taped lip syncing. And yet, despite all that, there was still some good behind the scenery during last night’s show — here are the highlights:
Wait…is that…Rebecca Black?! Relax, it wasn’t. But for the longest time, from my seat way back in the wayback, I could have sworn that I saw a girl who looked uncannily like the 13-year-old viral video sensation hugging and otherwise conversing with Lauren Alaina’s
sister clone pod-person mother. It wouldn’t be until roughly halfway through the show, when Cory the Warm Up Comic introduced this mystery girl to the Idoldome, that I realized who I was looking at: Season 9 contestant Katie Stevens. I just blew your mind, right? (Also, Smirkel wants to know why Katie Stevens is stalking him. He doesn’t mind; he’s just curious.)
The David Cook Is Still An Awesome Guy Tour, Part One Typically, when a guest performer is singing live on an American Idol results show, even someone who used to be a contestant on American Idol, that person does not step onto the stage until the crew is completely done setting up the instruments/mics/giant-gothic-alien-birdcage-parade-floats — the better to make a grand, rock star entrance. David Cook, however, wandered out onto the Idoldome stage while the Idol crew was still hard at work, just hanging out to, I presume, make sure everything was running smoothly.
If you’ve ever wondered how Casey Abrams dances… Maybe it was just David Cook’s particular song, or maybe Casey always dances like this when he’s really into something, but the guy moves like he’s a Peanuts character: Specifically, 70 percent the guy in the orange shirt, and 30 percent Linus.
The David Cook Is Still An Awesome Guy Tour, Part Two After David’s set and the televised introduction of Steven Tyler to his mother, Tyler made a bee-line for David during the ad break for a quick back slap and hello, followed by (slightly) more substantive pow-wow with Randy and exec producer Nigel Lythgoe. Jennifer Lopez, as is her custom, did not get up from her chair — people come to her, see, not the other way around — but she did swivel around to wave the audience behind her, just as Nigel had walked David up to meet her. No matter; David gamely plopped himself into Randy’s vacant chair, and stayed there long enough that I had a brief flash of hope that he was going to sit in for Randy (for the next segment? the rest of the show? the rest of the season?). Alas, David stayed long enough for a photo op with J.Lo, and then he was up again, first to give Jacob Lusk a hug of encouragement, and then over to the rest of the Idols to wish them well too.
“My gosh! Take a breath!” As all of this David Cook awesomeness was unfolding, Cory was busy handing out more Idol swag, but he’d raised the stakes this time by having the Idols all autograph it. Now, if tween girls are our world’s greatest untapped renewable resource, we must also recognize that, when mishandled, they are prone to dangerous meltdowns — like, say, when you ask Scotty McCreery to decide whom among the swarm of screaming fans should receive an autographed Scotty McCreery water bottle, and the poor kid can’t decide who to give it to. Just when I thought I was about to witness a collective cerebral hemorrhage, Scotty managed to toss the bottle to the girl closest to him, and everyone’s limbic system slowly began to return to normal. “My gosh,” marveled Cory. “Take a breath!” Of course, it was nothing Debbie the Stage Manager hadn’t seen before; this is how she counted us back from the break: “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, calm yourselves, 3, 2…”
Isn’t it bromantic? Both on camera and off, the deep friendship between James and Stefano is a beautiful thing. While James, Casey, and Scotty sang “Viva la Vida,” Stefano pumped his fist and jumped up and down during the “Ohhhaaaahhhhoooohhhh” part of the song, singing along himself. After we saw James’ massage prank on Stefano in the Idols’ “Day” Off package, the pair shared a high five on the velvet benches of safety. And right before we came back from the final ad break, Stefano ran over for a final hug from James.
After Ryan delivered the bad news, James kept his head buried in his hands pretty much until he tackled Stefano at the end of his farewell song. As the final credits played and the judges came up to say their farewells, James pulled away again, enfolding his face once more with his hands; he left the stage completely before the 19 Entertainment logo pops had even played. James was far from the only one sad to see Stefano — it felt like anyone working on the show tried to make their way to the kid for a farewell hug. As he left the stage, Cory said into his mic, “Say goodbye to Stefano everyone!” The seventh place finisher turned back to the audience, and began pumping his arms in an effort to get the audience on their feet for one last Idoldome standing ovation. Everyone seemed more than happy to oblige.