“WHO DO YOU LOVE?” bellowed Ryan Seacrest. Could it be Lauren Alaina, standing to his left with a huge heart on her shirt — the only girl basking in Ryan’s typically selfish spotlight? Nah, couldn’t be her. It’d be a huge coincidence if it was her. Nope. The judges squirmed in their swiveling spaceship seats, and in one of the most pronounced departures from American Idol in seasons past, Randy Jackson “woo”ed (Steven) instead of booed (Simon). “Get on your feet and let’s go to the moon,” suggested Steven Tyler from his perch on, somehow, an entirely different planet. And we’re off!
Ta-Tynisa Wilson jerkily slid around the stage like low-grade butter in a busted skillet while sputtering out “Only Girl (In The World)” by Rihanna. Was this a joke? (EW has confirmed exclusively: No.) Were those leg warmers or were they boots? Oh, this was so hilariously bad. To be fair, Rihanna might sound like this live, too. But since Randy only knows one thing to say, he told Ta-Tas that she didn’t bring anything special or different and paled in comparison to Rihanna’s version. “It wasn’t unbelievable,” he claimed. But it was! In its HORROR. J. Lo actually offered the best critique before rushing to complete her sentence in a sweet and reassuring way. “It’s good that it’s over,” she began. Amen.
Me-lance fashion designer Naima Adedapo fluttered into our orbit to sing an oddly energetic version of “Summertime,” and then she flapped her lacy golden wings and scooted on back to her cozy nest on Sesame Street. I still think it’s weird for “Summertime” to sound so upbeat and wacky, but that’s probably because I’m more acquainted with the more melancholy versions of the classic Gershwin tune. After listening to Billie Holiday’s a few times, I was able to better appreciate the liberties Naima took with the song, but it was still too showy and cutesy-faced for me. Randy called her “lounge-acty.” (Whatever, spell-check. You stop that.) I think the bottom line here is that I was hoping she’d be…cooler. Overall, Naima’s voice sounded much stronger than I’ve remembered. Fantasia she is not, but I’m glad she’s not just the judges’ token “exotic flower in a rose garden” based on looks alone.
NEXT: Rachel Zevita a.k.a. Dita Vonabee Teese needs to be redeemed