”American Idol”: Smiling through the tears
Michael Slezak has the night off. He’s going to hack into Votefortheworst.com in a desperate attempt to put an end to the You-Know-Who madness. (Oh, if only!) But fear not, Michael will be back next week! In the meantime, help yourself to a taste of his webcast series, Idolatry. It’s magically delicious.
Before we begin, is anybody out there cataloging the ever-evolving variety of Seacrest psych-outs employed every Wednesday night? Ryan, you rascal, just when I think I know what you’re up to…
After dividing the final nine into three groups of three (someone’s smarter than a fifth grader!), our host let Jordin, Melinda, and LaKisha sit down, then wasted no time in granting a reprieve to the trio of Blake, Chris, and Sanjaya — a boy-band-gone-wrong tableau waiting restlessly in the shadows of center stage. As Ryan confronted the bottom threesome, did anyone even notice him let Phil break for safety? Or were you all too busy contemplating how you’ll feel if our hapless, tuneless antihero (Mr. Malakar) actually goes all the way and wins this thing?
As for Simon, Randy, and Marian the Librarian (the gal in the middle there), they seemed nonplussed when asked to comment on the bottom two vote-getters, Gina and Haley. I wish I could say I did more than shrug when Ryan broke the bad news to Gina the Nice Grrrl. (Yes. She really is both. Unless, of course, her edgy look is a contrivance I’ve fallen for.) I had kinda sorta started to care about her: In her last few episodes, G.G. came across as a genuine sweetheart, with some talent to boot. But that ”Smile” did her in. Her actual (gorgeous) smile aside, something about such a straightforward — and sweetly arranged, and perfectly in tune, and confidently calm — performance from the tongue-studded, black-clad ”rocker chick” obviously didn’t resonate with fans. Only in the final moments of Wednesday’s results show did Gina pour her heart into those same gushy lyrics to make for a moving farewell encore. As the orchestra swelled, and Ryan passed her the mike, and she gulped, ”This is hard,” I felt bad that I’d never voted for her. At least we know that, with reliable pipes like hers, she’ll make a strong showing on tour.
The same, of course, cannot be said for all of the lucky eight individuals who remain. Well, let us march forth bravely into the future with Sunny McGigglygrin (a.k.a. Jordin Sparks, my current prediction to win) and her comrades Spikey Beatbox, Sexy Flexyboy, Count Baldy, Kiki Belta Bignote, Shinylegs Scarnato, and Mindy DooSomethingAboutThatAwShucksPhoniness. Am I forgetting anyone?
Oh, right. Can we just say that we all noticed Sanjaya’s new bob haircut and leave it at that and not give him any more attention? (His high-fiving dad is pretty irresistible, though, I must admit.) Michael said it best in yesterday’s TV Watch: This too shall pass. Howard Stern, please have mercy on us, the Idol faithful!
With the flu sidelining this week’s guest vocal coach, Tony Bennett, understudy Michael Bublé popped by to phone in an utterly forgettable rendition of ”Call Me Irresponsible.” I actually thought, ”Hmmm. You started out a little pitchy.” For reals! Which got me thinking: He’s young enough that, had the fates been less kind, he might actually have been an Idol contestant instead of a guest star. What might the judges have said about his performance tonight? Randy: ”Dawg, you worked it out” (of course). Paula: ”You touch me. With your soul, and your charming besferperpawackadoo. Sail through!” Simon: ”I love your smirk. Smashing. You’re not very current, though.”
And what was with the smarmy Antonella Barba joke Bublé made to Ryan just before they cut to commercial? Think his girlfriend, The Devil Wears Prada‘s Emily Blunt, likes him for his sense of humor? And he made a wacky suggestion to you kids watching at home while plugging his CD: ”Steal your parents’ credit cards.” Call him irresponsible, indeed!
Here’s what’s too bad about Gina’s departure. She could have really kicked it next week when the show welcomes, that’s right, Jenny from the Block. Let’s get loud, people! J to tha L-O! I think we should embrace Jennifer Lopez as a perfect fit — the ultimate style-over-substance vocalist giving singing tips during the most style-over-substance season in Idol history. Will she coach Haley to Spanish-language crossover success? Will she turn Blake into a Fly Boy, giving him a few more dance moves to add to his signature heely-ankly robot spin? Will she spritz the ladies with Glow perfume and tell them to keep it real?
Judging from your postings on our message board after the Tuesday competition night, it looks like many of you expected Haley to go home this week. From Garth: ”This season is fast becoming a train wreck. Sanjaya believing he is the Little Engine That Could…and following up the rear, so to speak, Haley’s Caboose.” From Donkeygrooming: ”The best part of the show? Tony Bennett disses her attempts to flirt during the rehearsal, and implies Haley is about as sharp as a bowling ball for misunderstanding the meaning of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’.’ ” From DD: ”Wouldn’t it be great if Haley put as much thought into her vocals as she does her cleavage/leg-exposing outfits?”
What do you think about the results tonight? Will you miss Gina? Were her medieval Robin Hood boots a fashion hit or miss? Are you looking forward to J. Lo’s appearance on the show next week? And if you’re entering the Idol songwriting contest, which contestant would you want to sing your song?