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American Idol recap: Let's Hear It for the '90s

The contestants choose “songs from their idols” for the Top 13 performance night

Posted on

Pia Toscano Idol
Ray Mickshaw/Fox

American Idol

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

Babies, I’m amazed at the way J. Lo’s red lipstick matched the Coke bubbles.

Maybe I’m afraid of the way I love Ryan’s dance moves.

Judges, I’m amazed at the way you pull compliments out of thin air,

Hang them on your lies.

Maybe I’m amazed at the way I love/hate Randy simultaneously.

Oh! (Oh.) Oh! (Oh.) Oh! Yeah yeah yeah…

Last night, the Top 13 figured out who their musical heroes were and, with Jimmy Iovine’s help, proceeded to copy them. Songs from the mid-’90s — the era in which most of these kids had first begun to fully grasp the concept of a “song” — ruled the school. Seacrest kept thanking us profusely for sticking with American Idol, as if we were ever going to change the channel. At least that’s what his mouth appeared to be saying as I sped through his segments on my DVR. Naima Adedapo proved she can dance, and Jacob Lusk became the new James Durbin. These things happen. Let us proceed.

Lauren Alaina surprisingly underwhelmed on Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine” — was the band drowning her out, or was it just first-of-the-night syndrome? Either way, her outfit needed more (preferably all) denim to achieve that authentic 1995 pop-country vibe we all knew and loved. Not sure what the stylists were going for with that sea-foam feather duster over black leggings. I ended up being more interested in the two anonymous blond backup singers standing stoically behind Lauren, shrouded in darkness and fear. The judges didn’t lash out at Lauren at all (if anything, J. Lo and Randy rehashed exactly what they’d told her in the past), but that didn’t stop her from pouting and rolling her eyes because Steven said he wished her performance “had been a little more kick-ass.” Seriously? I know Lauren’s only 16, but has no one ever told her “You can do better”? Someone needs a clue. Girl, we can ALL do better, all of the time. Get used to it.

Casey Abrams followed Jimmy Iovine’s advice to look right at the judges during the opening of Joe Cocker’s version of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” He did it — but it wasn’t the judges’ mere seatedness that he craved. Casey Abrams wanted to be felt. And after his growling, choir-backed, Wonder Years-inspired performance, J. Lo was ready to feel that 19-year-old. She was so blown away that at one point she grabbed Randy (the horror!) and thought, “What am I watching right now? I am watching somebody important!” It couldn’t be American Idol, you silly goose, Randy Remix. No way.

Steven brought everyone back to earth by calling Casey “a rainbow of talent” and “a plethora of passion.” You know, one day, when American Idol and Dancing With the Stars both finally croak, Steven Tyler and Bruno Tonioli will cohost a spin-off series of just them talking. The title will change each week and be vaguely sexual, something like Enter My Garden or Plethora of Passion, or more simply, What? I can’t wait for that. Anyway, Casey should feel free to use the following lyrical sequence from last night’s performance in his future romantic relationships as well. “Whatchu talkin’ bout, girl? I’ma get high!” The ladies will love it.

NEXT: Yo, judges, do your jobs