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American Idol recap: We're All in the Mood for a Melody

The Top 10 take on Billy Joel; Erika chops off her Van Pelt

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American Idol

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

Big Billy Joel night on Idol! I can’t be the only one who was hoping for someone to choose “The Downeaster Alexa,” if only so we could giggle at the preposterous background visual effects laid thick upon an Idol at Sea. But whoever sang that would surely get dinged for lack of emotional connection to the song. “I didn’t quite buy that you’re a fisherman who’s got bills to pay and children who need clothes, despite the empty swordfish traps whipping in the furious ocean winds behind you,” Randy would say in his patented tone of faux disappointment. “You’ve gotta make us believe that you’re cruising through Block Island Sound. Ai-yi-yiiiiii…yo.”

Let’s get to the non-fictional performances, shall we?

This week the Top 10 got schooled in style by new, boring fashion mentor Tommy Hilfiger and in singing by a more-huggable-than-I’d-ever-suspected Diddy. J. Lo accidentally called him “Puffy” at one point. I had absolutely forgotten they were a couple.

What a world. We’ve seen it all, America. Just like Billy Joel.

I don’t think DeAndre Brackensick quite grasped the meaning of “Only the Good Die Young.” It’s basically a song about persuading a girl to have sex, while DeAndre’s boppy, smiley, and downright corny interpretation seemed dead set on persuading a girl to join him for a hair-braiding session in a meadow. I mean, count me in for that. Absolutely. But it didn’t work considering the song’s content. Steven Tyler pretended not to mind. “First I thought ‘too happy,’ but isn’t that what the world needs right now?” wondered Steven. Dream on, man! The world needs more frustration and abject misery.

Every time I hear or read or hear “Erika Van Pelt,” I think of a long and lifeless weave. Not anymore! She got a dark, sleek, short cut inspired by Pink. Like Cher in Clueless, my main thrill in life is a makeover, so Erika’s new ‘do combined with her right-on-pitch cover of “New York State of Mind” was one of my favorite performances of the night. If I had to nitpick, I’d agree with Steven that she could do more runs and take more liberties at the end of songs. And makeover-wise, I wish the hair was slightly longer and lighter but with dark pink, red, or purple highlights. That’s pretty specific! I wonder if she’ll “mess it up” a bit for the results show. Then maybe J. Lo won’t be “looking past her” onstage. (Unintentional insult of the night?)

Anyway, I dig the makeover in general, but I wonder if Erika will be like the America’s Next Top Model contestant who gets her head shaved one day and is voted out the next (after some sort of crazy doomed photo shoot for a muscle-relaxing shampoo or something). “Not since the Sanjaya pony-hawk have we seen such an Idol transformation onstage,” said Ryan, who had a big tweeting night backstage. Twitter was blowing up!

NEXT: Joshua takes ‘She’s Got a Way’ all the way to church