Ryan Seacrest stood patiently in a brand new galaxy, dwarfed by possibility, surrounded by stars. He strode confidently forward to find himself flanked by six stoic men on each side. Aliens? Not so fast. Ryan grew taller, rising in rank, until the real rulers of the planet emerged: two sassy runway models and Randy Jackson, with their leather and lace and empty offerings of peace. These were the real aliens, the ones with the power and the earrings. And “THIS! is American Idol.” It’s your top 12 guys, America. Everyone clap for how pretty J. Lo is!
Clint Jun Gamboa‘s energetic rendition of “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder reminded me of how much I do not enjoy watching people who take karaoke way too seriously sing karaoke. (I know, I know. Spoiler alert: I quit!) Seriously, though, the best performances on Idol make you forget you’re watching a singing competition and trick you into thinking you’re watching a real concert. So how did the karaoke host expect to do this with one of the most often-sung karaoke tunes ever?! As this was the first performance, I spent much of Clint’s airtime mesmerized by the crazy new set. There was a whole color blocking thing going on behind him that looked like that child’s game in which you have to keep moving around the pieces to fill a void — but there’s always a void, and even if you “win,” it’s still a little disappointing because there’s that void. Life, you know? It’s so awful. It’ll get better.
Jovany Barreto had arrived in the Idoldome directly from the shipyard. He just kept on strolling, like Jeff Probst from island to studio in the Survivor finales. Good for him. Understandably, though, such a long journey can make even a burly shipbuilder very tired. Jovany sleepily swayed his way through “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain and, as Randy pointed out, basically mimicked the original without bringing in anything unique. J. Lo and S. Ty liked it, or were at least enjoying themselves. Steven continued to call Jovany “Giovanni” and took the opportunity to exclaim “Holy shipyards!” J. Lo, who had been feelin’ it during Jovany’s longest, highest note, said “I’m so happy right now.” Oh, good. We were all hoping.
Jordan Dorsey failed miserably pretty much right away in his copycat cover of “OMG” by Usher. He was trying to be Usher, which is impossible, especially if Usher is not even who you wanna be. Oof, this was bad, though I did enjoy the way he plopped right down into a cheerleader’s sitting position at the end. Jordan doesn’t strike me as a musician as much as a person who’s used to excelling at things. Lookin’ good, bein’ hot, gettin’ attention, etc. Singin’. But it’s like Peter Gallagher (TV’s Sandy Cohen) reminded his new crop of ballet students at the beginning of Center Stage: It’s easy to be the best in your class if no one in your class is that good. I’m paraphrasing, obviously, but the point of all of this is that “THIS!” is the American Ballet Academy and Jordan Dorsey’s turnout leaves much to be desired. Once he settles in back at home, he should consider “releasing” an album of aggressively delusional motivational speeches about success.
NEXT: Tim and Brett choose weird songs; James Durbin goes heavy metal