The charming piano man gets the boot, but not before Lil makes her bottom-three debut and Flo Rida sings about oral sex (!) on the 'Idol' stage 

By Michael Slezak
March 02, 2015 at 04:43 PM EST
Frank Micelotta/American Idol/Getty Images
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”You are one classy gentleman.”

With those words — and what seemed like a few dozen additional stream-of-consciousness adjectives — American Idol judge Paula Abdul bid farewell tonight to season 8’s most congenial contestant, Scott MacIntyre. And really, what better (or more accurate) compliment could anyone pay to the visually impaired piano man?

Week after week, Scott brought undeniable enthusiasm and an understated wit to the Idol stage, gently poking fun at Ryan’s effort to high-five him, offering to move his piano closer to the front of the stage after Paula said it was separating him from the audience, and even tonight, getting in one last zinger about those rose-hued pants the Idol stylists foisted on him during Motown week. (I cannot lie: I guffawed when Scott slyly asked ”None of this is pink, right?” during the ”Ford Music Video” behind-the-scenes package.) Indeed, it’s a testament to Scott’s personality that he was able to regularly talk back to the judges, demand custom-made chocolate cakes from the Idol Mansion’s personal chef, and repeatedly give viewers flashbacks to their early ’80s dental-office visits, and yet still not come off like malevolence incarnate.

Being brutally honest, though, Scott finished better than he should have with eighth place. Since reaching the top 13 some six weeks ago, the Arizona native has struggled to prove there’s a place for him in the modern music world. Certainly, he didn’t achieve that elusive goal with tonight’s encore presentation of Survivor’s ”The Search Is Over,” which was punctuated by a final falsetto run so brutal, I bet it could have a pretty successful career as a member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship league. (Badum-bum!) Heck, I’m pretty sure the contestant himself mouthed ”It’s me” to fellow bottom two-dweller Anoop Desai after Ryan asked which one would be flying the Idol coop (”caw! caw!”) after the final commercial break.

I just wish that Simon, Paula, Randy, and Kara had had the common decency not to patronize Scott by pretending that they were seriously considering using the Judges’ Save on his behalf. For one thing, when the veto power was announced earlier in the season, Ryan was very clear in stating that it could only be used in the event of a unanimous decision by the judges. So was there really any point in the extended ”deliberations” that took place after Simon announced that only two panelists were advocating for throwing a lifeline to Scott?

Either way, Scott joins Jorge ”I never can say goodbye” Nunez, Alexis ”I’m begging of you please” Grace, and Michael ”ain’t too proud to beg” Sarver among the contestants who’ve delivered words of desperation while singing for their musical lives on results nights this season. Sample lyric from Scott tonight: ”How can I convince you that what you see is real?/Who am I to blame you for doubting what you feel?”

I’m not sure where Scott’s Idol ”journey” will take him next — a tour of classy hotel lobbies and piano bars, perhaps? — but let me make a suggestion to the producers of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars: Why not sign up Scott for the fall 2009 season? I kid you not! We’ve seen the guy practicing his dance steps with his completely adorable sister (loved her jaunty braids tonight!), and even if he doesn’t turn out to be the world’s most talented hoofer, DWTS is ultimately about personality anyway. Well, that and the seasons-old and alarmingly heated rivalry between sequins and fringe. (Right, Annie Barrett?)

NEXT: Tonight’s song parody, as inspired by Adam Lambert

Anyhow, I now pause this TV Watch for a moment to continue my season 8 results-night tradition of writing an Idol-themed ditty, and this one is dedicated to all of you Idoloonies who DVR’d last night’s performance show, only to find that you’d missed Adam Lambert’s ”Mad World” (head over to mjsbigblog if you want to check out the video) thanks to the show spilling well into the 9 p.m. hour. Naturally, I’ve set this one to a Song From the Year I Was Born (1972!), Robert John’s ”The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (incidentally the No. 21 song on Billboard’s year-end chart). Click here if you want a little musical accompaniment!

Tuesday eve, oh

You set your Tivo

Idol cut off tonight

It’s nine o’clock

The show’s not done, Fox!

Idol cut off tonight

A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh (8x)

Kara’s squawking

Now Paula’s talking

Idol cut off tonight

Randy’s balking

Where’s Glambert rocking?

Idol cut off tonight

A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh (8x)

Hush, now viewers

No need for furors

Idol cut off tonight

Don’t come unhinged

Fox says ”just watch Fringe”

Idol cut off tonight

Hey now, I hope none of you lip-synched that number, since live singing was back — and more cacophonous than ever! — during tonight’s performance of ”Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” a song from the year Idol itself was born (2002). (No scathing comments about this track, please, as it just so happens that the very first gift I ever got from my hubby was a CD remix single of Kylie Minogue’s thoroughly awesome comeback hit. Sorry for the overshare…I’m sappy like that!) But getting back to tonight’s performance, I’m not sure whose sneaky idea it was to give Adam the line ”there’s a dark secret in me,” but don’t think for a second that it went unnoticed!

NEXT: Kellie Pickler returns, and did Flo Rida know this was a family show?

And Lil, I’ve got to say, your instrument sounds better when it’s paired with a song that’s associated with a paper-thin voice. Next week, if you want to avoid the bottom three, think about trying to scale Mt. Britney or Mt. Rihanna, instead of, oh, Mt. Whitney or Mt. Celine. Also, you should avoid anything that resembles that grotesque, padded silver tank-top you brought to the Idol stage tonight. If I had enough money, I’d buy every last one of those shirts just so I could burn ’em to the ground! Or, alternately, I’d use ’em as solar-energy panels to heat my apartment.

Bad as ”Can’t Get You Out of My Head” sounded, though, I don’t think any of the individual voices on display was weaker than that of Kellie Pickler, who struggled mightily (except for those rare moments where she got to growl) on her new single ”Best Days of Your Life.” Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy certain aspects of Kellie’s number. After all, the ditzy season 5 grad has always been more about spirit and attitude than actual vocal ability, which is why I didn’t really focus as much on the garbled closing notes as I did the enjoyable lyrics about Kellie leaving her cheating ex in the dust.

Then, of course, I remembered that Melinda Freakin’ Doolittle has yet to take the Idol stage this season to sing a little something off her fabulous debut disc, Coming Back to You, and that oversight caused a mild twinge of fury.

Speaking of bad vibes, what’s Flo Rida got to do with Idol? Don’t get me wrong, I dig his No. 1 hit ”Right Round” in all its sexually suggestive, bass-pounding, transport-me-to-the-dance-floor glory. But as an Idol purist, I think guest-performance spots should only be handed out to former contestants (Paging Mr. Warwick: Elliott Yamin has a hot new single out, too, y’know?) or non-Idol artists who serve in some kind of mentorship capacity on the show.

Also, one other thing: Has anyone involved with Idol ever noticed that, um, ”Right Round” is a not-so-thinly veiled ode to oral sex. Sample lyric: ”You spin my head right round, right round/ When you go down, when you go down-down.” Okay, so the ode isn’t veiled at all! Haley Scarnato’s booty shorts aside, I’ve always been under the impression that Fox billed its No. 1 show as family entertainment, not a place where voluptuous backup dancers worked the judges’ table like day-shift strippers grinding the pole. Perhaps it was a disapproving stage hand who tried to stifle Flo’s flow on the last verse by attempting to gag him with a flood of confetti and streamers.

NEXT: Ryan + rap star = awkward

Then again, without Flo Rida’s appearance, we would’ve been deprived of seeing Ryan get all weird and flustered in the presence of the buffed rap star. Which brings me to our results night quiz:

Which of Ryan’s exchanges with Flo Rida made you blush most deeply?

A. Ryan wrapping up the ”Right Round” performance by declaring ”That’s hot, man.”

B. Ryan attempting a guy’s guy remark by looking at Flo Rida’s backup dancers and growling ”I like the company you keep.” (Ugh.)

C. Ryan giving Flo Rida’s physique the once-over, then noting ”I gotta go to the gym.”

D. Ryan referring to the aforementioned hoofers as Flo Rida’s ”harem.”*

E. Ryan briefly handling Flo Rida’s massive arm while guiding him toward center stage.

* Who else was immediately reminded of that old gem from Showgirls: ”I’m not a whore, I’m a dancer!”

In his defense, though, Ryan did score one good punch line tonight; when asking Adam Lambert about Simon’s standing ovation on Tuesday night, the host noted that the cranky British judge got up ”onto his lifts” to do it. But then Ryan had to go and wash all my good will away with his too-cruel fakeout over which contestant was going to get sent from the bottom three to the sweet relief of the safety couches. ”That person is…Anoop…stay where you are.” Seriously? As if Anoop isn’t going to suffer enough knowing that his excellent rendition of ”True Colors” was only enough to get him around 30,000 more votes than Scott and his bunky Survivor cover?

And now, because we’ve come to the end of this article, I have to ask: What was with Paula’s giant latex gloves? Was she getting ready to unclog a drain or merely getting into character for a guest-starring role on Dexter? Did anyone else notice Chris Richardson and Alaina Alexander in the background while Frankie Avalon (looking and sounding not too shabby for his age) performed ”Venus”? Who do you think Simon was referring to — Anoop, Lil, or Scott — when he said one contestant in particular was a good candidate for the Judges’ Save? And should Kara continue to dance at the table, Paula-style, or dial 1-800-Get-Your-Own-Schtick?

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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