Last week, Casey Abrams got voted off and then saved, which was either a travesty or an elaborate ploy. And of course they weren’t going to let him get voted off and not go on tour. Are you kidding me? Honestly, I just think they wanted to blow their save so it wasn’t hanging over their heads all year.
This week’s theme? Elton John, which actually totally fits this particular group of Idols. I can’t wait to see Naima come out and explode into a cloud of glitter and African dance. J-Lo’s dress looks like it’s already one step ahead of her. Entertainment Weekly tries to dress the Idols, and somehow Casey still looks Amish as hell. This…Is American Idol!
(Idol Drinking Game for Tonight: Every time Dalton Ross or Jimmy Iovine is extremely catty about the contestants without sounding catty.)
The Song: “Country Comfort”
Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross is the first, and probably last person ever to use the word “elegant” to describe Scotty McCreary. In the studio, everybody basically admits that he can’t do anything but sing the same song over and over and over again, so he might as well just ignore everything else.
Nice pleather outfit, there Scotty. I actually applaud his guitar playing skills, though. He’s no Casey James, but whatever. Shout out to Grandma! You can kind of tell that Scotty’s totally awesome guy and he’s going to do really well after he’s finally kicked off this show. He won’t win, but really, he’s already a winner. Some dude in Nashville’s got the contract already written.
The Judges Say: Hi Grandma!
I Say: Screw it, I hate country music, but I love me some Scotty McCreary.
The Song: “I’m Still Standing”
Before the break, we’re promised a “reggae update on a classic hit” which is a sentence I don’t want to hear, Ryan. Especially not when Naima is prancing around in a Jamaica themed jumpsuit. Naima loves the fashion shoot, because she wants to wear all these outfits at once.
So she’s got a fake Jamaican accent too, which makes her perfect for a No Doubt record, but makes her completely unintelligible for a bunch of the song, and then she hits the chorus and is like “Sing it with me now!” and the crowd is like…”Sing what?” And then she hits 0% of the notes. Which may have been the idea, I don’t know.
The Judges Say: That song was not meant to…do that.
I Say: Naima is like Sanjaya, but I do like jumpsuit.
The Song: “Rocket Man”
Paul is, like, “I miss the day when I can only afford the dollar menu and dressed like a hobo!” And then he has the audacity to say, “Well, I covered this song once with my band and it went horrible, so I figured, eh. Why not?” Between those two statements and the Rose Petal jacket, I’m guessing Paul is throwing in the towel tonight.
And then he kind of comes out and sleepily plods through the song. And not like the normal Paul McDonald turning every performance into a weird 1960s pop performance, like he looks like he’s literally asleep. You can actually see Jimmy Iovine’s heart breaking, even though I don’t think he’s there. Steven Tyler says he loves the top 12, so there’s a phantom contestant in here somewhere!
The Judges Say: That was boring, but you can do more with whatever that is.
I Say: It’s always sad to see somebody sort of give up on the competition.
The Song: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
Pia’s all like, “Fashion shoots? Sounds like a weekend at the Toscano household!” And Dalton Ross gives one of those “read between the lines this girl is a Diva in the worst way but I’m going to say how much she enjoyed the photoshoot!” talking heads. When is Pia going to break out “My Headband?” Jimmy wants to see her become a cross between Fergie and Axel Rose which is…Fergie. Basically.
She promises that this won’t be the samey samey balad that she always sings, but it is, because that’s all she can do. I appreciate the choir that comes out though, because that just makes this even more like an episode of Glee. She’s fine and whatever, of course. I’m just worn out by the robot-ness that is Pia Toscano.
The Judges Say: We’re crying on the inside.
I Say: I am Pia Toscano. Does anyone want to hear my hit song “Only Child?”
The Song: “Tiny Dancer”
Stefano does nothing but bitch about his photoshoot and his tight pants and the weird gold couch squares they have the idols sitting on, and then says how much he’s enjoying himself. Jimmy Iovine hates “Tiny Dancer” and wants Stefano to go home so bad for picking it.
I love Stefano’s hair, so that’s one thing. And his pants don’t look THAT tight. But the performance is awful. Jimmy Iovine is right. This song is awful, and if you’re not Elton John, then you’re just going to sound weird singing it. Then he goes over to hit on…Randy? And then J-Lo jumps in because only she can be the tiny dancer. So she loves it, of course. Even though it was just terrible and boring.
The Judges Say: At least your eyes were open the whole time.
I Say: I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I want Gordon Ramsey to come back out and criticize his mom’s cooking again.
The Song: “Candle in the Wind”
Of course she is. Ryan breaks things up by talking about how much Stefano’s dad looks like a bargain basement Howie Mandel (because they’re both bald with a soul patch!) which leads to Howie hyping his new FOX show Mobbed. Which is weird, because I thought ABC had him in their pocket. Sadly, he does not compare this show to America’s Got Talent. Then in the video package, Dalton Ross says that Lauren “Eats the camera up” which is industry speak for “is of average weight, so must be a fatty.”
This isn’t the Diana version, which is a nice change. This isn’t…horrible, even though it feels like she’s kind of rushing it in parts because she’s not the smoothest singer in the bunch, but it’s not horrible. I’m not a huge fan of her dress with the weird giant slit though. Then she kind of comes unglued at the end, but it’s too late for it to be entirely awful. Steven Tyler awkwardly hits on her weird dress. She has nothing nice to say about Randy.
The Judges Say: We actually really liked that.
I Say: Me too, shockingly….
The Song: “Saturday Night’s Alright.”
James is still marking the hell out about meeting Hulk Hogan, and Dalton Ross loves him, which is a nice change of pace. Jimmy Iovine really hates it when people go interact with the crowd apparently, but this show is all about helping James get more comfortable with other people.
This also isn’t really groundbreaking, though I do love that he starts a piano on fire and nearly burns down the Idol stage. I’m also digging the Harry Potter ascot. But this isn’t some earth shattering arena rock performance that he was promising. But still, piano on fire. James awkwardly references Michael Jackson lighting himself on fire, and Ryan whiffs on the reference to shill for Coke. Ryan!
The Judges Say: Sometimes we forget this is a competition.
I Say: Piano on fire. Good or bad, that’s all you need to know.
The Song: “Daniel”
Thia loves getting dolled up, which is shocking to absolutely no one. Though her dolled up doesn’t look a whole different than Thia normally. But whatever. Jimmy’s advice? Don’t be some melodramatic. She’s 16, dude. Good luck with that…
She is, of course, super melodramatic about the whole thing, in the way that Jordin Sparks was when she was on the show. But Thia’s not as good a singer as Jordin was, so this just comes off kind of boring. And then she goes for the high note and it’s not there so she’s singing in some dog whistle volume for a whole line, which is kind of a hot mess.
The Judges Say: You’re pleasant but sooooo boring.
I Say: Still better than the Pocahontas song.
Change: +/- 0
The Song: “Your Song”
Casey thinks photoshoots are awesome because they don’t even bother to tell him to do anything because the general Casey Abramsness of him is incurable. Then he goes to the studio and Jimmy Iovine rips him a new one for being awful, which is probably just a sympathy ploy, but still. Dude. Chill out. Rodney says to shave the beard, so Casey clips, like a quarter inch off of it. Baby steps!
So this is Casey trying to be Elliot Yamin, which is a strategy, I guess. Not a great one, but one that will will probably get you further in the competition than 11th. I’m kind of weirded out by the fact that he’s wearing a random medal. I kind of miss old, weird Casey, but he’s got to play it safe this week. So it’s safe, and ok, and whatever whatever.
The Judges Say: We’re so glad we blew our save on you!
I Say: He played it safe, which is what he needed to do.
Change: +/- 0
The Song: “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”
How does Jacob Lusk not going last on Elton John week? He IS Elton John! Jacob loves the hell out the fashion shoot. Jacob waxes nostalgic about Mary J. Blige, and she JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE IN THE STUDIO! OMG! It’s totally not set up! He’s crying! That’s just who Jacob Lusk is!
Speaking of who Jacob Lusk is, Jimmy Iovine’s only advice is to not make it too melodramatic, but the problem with that is, that’s the Jacob Luskness of Jacob Lusk. So of course, he’s coming out with insane faces and weird notes for no reason. That’s who he is as an artist. And it’s great, and it’s fun, and sometimes it’s weird and horrible like when he sings out of his back teeth and his lips are in his nose. Tricky Stewart apparently in the house.
The Judges Say: You’re no Robbie Rosen from the elimination rounds, or Pia, for that matter, but that’s great.
I Say: He didn’t go Full Elton, which is too bad, but whatever.
The Song: “Benny and the Jets”
Haley Reinhart in the show closing glory spot. Hahaha…what? Haley’s makeover looks great. Jimmy Iovine wants the piano player to break the piano, which has absolutely zero to do with Haley Reinhart because that’s how little she means to the competition at this point.
Can I make a confession? I actually sort of loved parts of this. This loungy jazzy sort of sexy, but in a weird uncomfortable way is exactly the space that Haley Reinhart inhabits. Like, in any other context, this would be a cabaret show or something. And she doesn’t hit any of the notes really, but it doesn’t matter because nobody cares, and it’s sort of…great? I don’t know. How is it that Haley Reinhart had the best performance of the night?!
The Judges Say: That was all kinds of sexy and awesome.
I Say: She…deserved the glory spot at the end of the night. What?
Bottom Three: Paul McDonald, Stefano Longoni, Naima Adedapo
I think Thia could just as easily be in there as well. Knowing my luck with picking this year, Haley will be going home after weeks of picking her to be voted out on the one week she’s totally awesome. Casey is safe because America’s been dutifully chastised for voting him out.
I just don’t understand anything about Naima, and I admit maybe that’s just because my musical horizons aren’t broad enough, but she just doesn’t bring anything to the table for me.
But Stefano was completely forgettable. I just watched the show, wrote commentary, and I remember absolutely nothing about him except that he was wearing tight pants. Paul has pretty clearly let his attention span drift away from actually competing, and America usually jumps all over that. So there are my two.
Prediction: Stefano Longoni and Paul McDonald