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American Idol recap: Sympathy for the Bedeviled

As the first season 9 finalist gets kicked to the curb, the focus shifts to guest stars good and bad; plus we get new insights into several remaining contestants

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Idol Lacey Tim Paige
Michael Becker/PictureGroup

American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

American Idol loyalists eager to defend the righteousness of the nation’s most popular singing competition received an unexpected gift during tonight’s results-show telecast: The juxtaposition of dishy season 7 champ David Cook and a bedraggled Lady Gaga impersonator/current chart topper. Yes indeed, on one hand we had Cookie paying tribute to the Rolling Stones with a tight, energetic ”Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” On the other, we had something called a ”Ke$ha” stomping around the stage in ungainly fashion, cavorting with a troupe of dancing TV sets, and capping her performance by inexplicably donning a Native American headdress.

(Yes, ladies and gentlemen, for her next trick, ”Ke$ha” will sully the reputations of a yarmulke, a turban, and even an unsuspecting French beret!)

Seriously, though, it’s blasphemy to discuss David Cook and ”Ke$ha” in the same sentence, especially since the erstwhile Idol champ was kind enough to give the season 9 finalists a front-row look at how to own — not rent, not test-drive, not borrow — the song, the stage, and heck, the entire room, whenever you’re lucky enough to be in front of an audience. Singing with conviction and a pitch perfection that’s been rare among the season 9 males, David proved you can keep a crowd’s attention without having to reinvent a track from the ground up and without moving out from behind the mic stand. (A crisp red shirt and black jacket don’t hurt that cause any, by the bye.) I just wish the production crew hadn’t positioned the microphone in a way that aggressively obscured David’s face. And also, wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to swap performance slots with the synchronized TVs, the better to build momentum over the course of the hour as opposed to the other way around?

Instead, ”Ke$ha” got the performance pimp slot, and based on her sloppy sing-speak, I’d have gladly opted for an encore by any one of the evening’s bottom three contestants — Lacey Brown, Paige Miles, or even Tim Urban. In fact, I like to think Idol‘s producers only invited the chart-topping diva to perform her current single ”Blah Blah Blah” in an effort to quash all the kvetching that season 9’s top 12 finalists are some of the weakest in show history. (Imagine Ken Warwick, feet up on his desk, barking into his phone: ”They think Katie Stevens has got pitch problems? She’s bloody Billie Holiday next to Ke$ha!”)

NEXT: Tim and Andrew’s awesome reality check