Fantasia ladles out comfort food; two of the top 11 are goin' back to their ploughs

By Annie Barrett
April 01, 2011 at 02:26 AM EDT
Fox

According to the maudlin piano keys splashed with magenta lettering that opened up the results show, we weren’t going to “BELIEVE….WHO IS GOING HOME.” What was that all about? I’m not surprised that Naima Adedapo and Thia Megia were the sacrificial lamb chops we lost last night. Lovely singer Thia never showed a personality, whereas the freewheeling Naima offered up a bunch of different ones, including an African dancer with clownish pants and a spirited business lady from Jamaica. I’d picked Thia and Stefano to go home, but Naima makes sense, too. You either dug her or you didn’t; she could only skate by for so long.

Paul McDonald — a newcomer to the stools of doom — joined Naima and Thia in the bottom three last night. Hello, sausage fest. Three girls and six guys remain. Get ready for some more boy band performances on Thursday nights.

I liked the idea of the extra performances, by the way, even if most of them seemed wildly unrehearsed and ultimately unprofessional. (Jacob and Naima, I’m trying not to look at you.) Why not, you know? There they are. Your top 11. There’s a whole hour to fill, so why not let ’em sing? It was a good chance to compare the warblers in settings other than the often disastrous group numbers and always mind-numbing automotive music videos. Haley got the pimp center spot in “Teenage Dream,” for example, but Pia, whose solo came second, came out much stronger and clearer right off the bat. She also knew what the lyrics were. Thia, meanwhile, didn’t even get her own verse, which was fine because it was more important to have the 16-year-old save her best vocal juice for the lyric “Let’s go all the way tonight” in the chorus. Kids!

A low-energy Lauren and Scotty reminded me of two people who refuse to leave the bar after-hours on their duet of Randy Travis’ “I Told You So.” All that was missing was a high table, an empty bottle, and the last fetid wedge of a barbecue chicken quesadilla ordered so many hours ago, before the couple’s quarrel had begun. Their vocals were very pretty and even complementary towards the end, I thought, and they were wise to not oversell the performance.

Kris Allen in the audience! There he is.

NEXT: Is Fantasia Barrino the next Jimmy Iovine? My first thought upon seeing James, Paul, Casey, and Stefano scurry into place for “Band on the Run” was Three Men and a Baby. Is that mean? I’m gonna go with Stefano who really stood out because he was seated at the keyboard instead of standing with a guitar. James had by far the best vocal here; I think Paul may have been underwater. Steven, caught off guard at the prospect of speaking on a Thursday, promised the four guys they could open for Aerosmith on their next tour. “All right, let’s get serious,” laughed Ryan. Ha, as if!

Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino brought out the sassier, somehow more tolerable version of Pia’s pageant hand for her performance of “Collard Greens and Cornbread.” Anybody ever had some love like that? Steven probably has, but Idol‘s favorite angry, horny, hungry baby gave Crazy a heaping helping of sweet potato pie anyway. “Steven, I love you,” she announced as he stared in her general direction, dumbfounded. I loved Fantasia’s growly storytelling, but what really gave me goosebumps was Jacob Lusk’s awestruck facial expression from the popularity sofa. Fantasia proceeded to condense a season’s worth of advice into a few seconds, thus barely edging out Jimmy Iovine for the coveted role of Most Helpful Idol Mentor of the Season.

Suddenly Jamie Foxx and will.i.am and a billion other people were up there, flailing. I wasn’t aware that these two had started working together, but it made more sense once I realized the entire point of the segment was to promote a Fox movie. I’m so out of touch with all of the national Parcheesi-board circuses lately, and I apologize. Anyway, go see Rio if you like bright lights and board games and “fun for the whole family.” Very convincing.

Lauren Alaina tumbled down the stairs of the Mansion and sat there in a giggling heap of lament, so I like her more now. Yep, that’s all it took. You can’t plant her in your penthouse. Yo. Yo. We got a hot one tonight!

Need I get into J. Lo’s pile of hair? I just won’t.

Happy with who went home? Should all of Paul’s audience-generated signs be about his teeth? Chat about last night’s results below, and I’ll see you next week.

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Read more:

‘American Idol’: Scotty throws swag, Lauren sheds tears on the scene for Top 11 results night, take 2

Elton John night recap: Haley and the Jets

‘Idol’ coaches talk the Top 11 taking on Elton John

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