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American Idol Top 11 Redux – The Results

Fun results show.  The contestants actually performed in duos or trios before getting their results, which was really the best use of time I have seen so far on a results show.

The first two to perform are Lauren and Scotty, who sing “I Told You So,” some country song that makes me remember loud and clear why I don’t like country music.  Snoozefest.  Thankfully, both are SAFE.

Jacob and Naima are next, performing Ashford and Simpson’s “Solid”.  They sound pretty damn good, but not good enough to propel Naima to safety, as she is in the bottom three, while Jacob heads back to safety.

I cringe when I hear that Fantasia will be performing a song named “Collard Greens and Cornbread.”  But AGAINST ALL ODDS, Fantasia IS BACK.  She’s got a retro vibe tonight, way more full-figured than ever, and she is actually CLASSY.  The song is actually pretty good and showcases Fantasia’s voice.  Thank goodness.  Most of Fantasia’s performances since Idol have actually made me cringe.  But this one was not bad at all.  I’m still pushing for you, ‘Tasia.

Back to the results…

Haley, Pia, and Thia perform Katy Perry’s “Teeenage Dream”.  They sound great, but oddly, only Haley and Pia have solos, as if to let everyone know in advance that Thia will end up in the bottom three.

Paul, Casey, Stefano, and James are up next with a medley that I don’t really enjoy very much, mostly because I never want to see Paul or Stefano sing again.  Unfortunately, it looks like I will definitely have to see at least one of them sing again as they are only doing a bottom three tonight.  Casey is the first to be SAFE.  James is next to be SAFE.  Shockingly, PAUL winds up in the bottom three, while Stefano is safe.  Though happy, I am certainly surprised.  I thought Paul surely had more fans than Stefano.

Jamie Foxx and will.i.am perform next, which marks will.i.am’s second time on Idol this season and is basically just a promo for Rio The Movie.

And to no one’s surprise, though to my dismay, Paul is safe and Naima and Thia are sent home.  Oh, well.  They were my picks for this week and they were bound to go soon anyway.  It just would have been nice not to have had to sit through any more Paul or Stefano performances.

All in all, even the results shows have been better this season.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Top 11 Redux – The Performances

March 30, 2011 1 comment

Lots and lots of recap of last week’s “SHOCKING” results show.  And it’s on to Elton John night once again.  I guess it’s actually Season Three redux, as the theme nights have closely mirrored Season Three so far.  And WHOA – it’s an “Entertainment Weekly Fashion Photo Shoot”.  Good for you EW getting that partnership.  And congrats to the brand police at EW for confusing the world about what the magazine covers!  Dalton Ross + Fashion?!?!  No offense, Dalton.  You’re the best, but I know you’ll agree that it’s a bizarre pairing.

Scotty – “Country Comfot” – He’s just so solid.  His fans will love the performance.  I will be content if he wins the whole thing.

Naima – “I’m Still Standing” – The Reggae Version.  Wow.  She really does not have a strong voice at all.  But she sure did change up the song and offer a creative version.  I like the fact that she has a personality and a vision and gives a real performance every week.  Seems like the judges have decided it’s time for Naima to go.

Paul – “Rocket Man” – No surprise here.  Of course he’s singing Rocket Man.  Yuck.  Do I need to keep listening to him week after week?

Pia – “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” – One of my favorite Elton songs.  Also done quite well by Archie three seasons ago.  But not done like PIA.  WOW.  I had no idea how a woman would sound on this song.  Then she sang the heck out of it.  Damn.  She is gooooooooooood.  But do we have to listen to her talk?  I would rather not know who she is.  She’s too Jersey.

Stefano – “Tiny Dancer” – First of all, Stefano – please shave off that awful facial hair.  Second, please stop being such a CHEESEBALL.  Hold me closer, Tony Danza.

Lauren – “Candle In The Wind” – Bleh.  Standing O from the audience?  Kind of bizarre.  Randy thought it was Lauren’s best performance.  I didn’t.  I think she should stick to uptempo.  I didn’t hear what the judges heard, but I’m glad they liked her, because I’m rooting for Lauren.

James – “Saturday Night’s Alright” – Flaming piano?!?!?!  This dude is the real deal.  Completely.

Thia – “Daniel” – Do they staple Thia to the floor before her performances?  Why doesn’t she ever move?  It was fine.  Just fine.  But as Randy said, safe.

Casey – “Your Song” – Another favorite Elton song.  YES!!!  He is GROOMED!  He chose the right song.  He had no gimmicks.  He just sang the heck out of it.  And he tried to be humble.  Not sure he succeeded 100%, but he did mostly.  I think he will be safe this week.

Jacob – “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” – Wow.  Powerful.  Still a little too overly dramatic for my taste.  But he was still great.

Haley – “Benny And The Jets” – Dang.  She looked great.  And she got the pimp spot.  This girl can saaaaang.  Not sure what she does with her body when she sings.  A little weird, but she really proved that she deserves to be here.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. Pia
  2. James
  3. Casey
  4. Jacob
  5. Haley
  6. Scotty
  7. Lauren
  8. Stefano
  9. Thia
  10. Naima
  11. Paul

Who Will Be Leaving Us Tomorrow

With a double-elimination on hand tomorrow night, I think it is a pretty clear Thia-Naima farewell evening.  Naima is by far the weakest singer.  And who is really voting for Thia?!?!?  Should they do a bottom four, I want to say Stefano and Paul will slip in, but I think it’s more likely that there will be a surprise.

Another solid night with a great group of performers.  Some better than others, but no disasters like Camile Velasco’s performance on Elton night in Season Three, deemed by EW to be the worst Idol performance ever.  I think that was overdoing it, but you should judge for yourself:

 

 

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 11 Results

March 24, 2011 1 comment

There’s a lot of talk up-front about how the results tonight MAY SHOCK YOU, which leads me to believe that perhaps Stefano or Paul actually get the boot.  I wonder if the judges would actually apply their save this early.  I could see that as a possibility for either of these two.

The contestants come out in looking spiffy in their semi-formal.  Next we’re off to some bizarre guest appearance where Marc Anthony coaches the contestants on their performances.  Clearly, his appearance is something that was a portion of JLo’s negotiations to appear as a judge.  Once again, BRILLIANT career move by JLo.  And she even looked out for her man!!!

Live performance of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by the top 11.  Just reinforces how much I love Pia and James.  HOLY SCHMOLEY!!!  Out comes Stevie performing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”  Doesn’t really show him off as much as he should be shown off, but I just love Stevie.  Then he leads a rendition of Happy Birthday to Steven Tyler.  Good for you, Nigel Lythgoe.  You have truly stepped up the show’s “must-see” cred this season.

And the results begin with…

Lauren, Pia, and Scotty – All three are SAFE.

Sugarland performs.  I fast-forward.  Some weird contestant wrestling behind-the-scenes.

James and Paul are next.  Ryan goes on and on about how neither of them are safe tonight, before Hulk Hogan then appears to tell them that they are both SAFE.  WTF?!?!?!  Going a little overboard here, I think.  They are really not taking eliminations as seriously this year.

Jacob, Thia, and StefanoJacob is SAFE.  Thia and Stefano are in the bottom three.

Finally, Casey, Haley, and Naima take the stage.  Naima is pronounced SAFE, as is Haley.  Which means that Casey rounds out our bottom three.  I have to say, I am not completely shocked.  I was tiring a bit of his schtick.  I think Casey stopped showing his musicality and just focused on his quirkiness, and started displaying no sense of humility whatsoever.  Seemed like a bad call.  Hopefully he will have a chance to turn that bad call around.

Before the results are announced, we are treated to a performance by JHud, who should be an inspiration to whoever is voted out tonight.  Outlasted by George Huff, John Stevens, Jasmine Trias, and Diana DeGarmo and look at what happened to her.  And…um…George Huff is one of her backup singers.  Wow.

Ryan sends Thia back to safety.  Oh, boy.  Oh boy.

CASEY has the lowest number of votes.  Yup.  He obviously took the attitude way too far.  He knew it.  You could see it on his face.  And as he starts to sing for his life, Ryan cuts him off and tells him to stop.  The judges insist that they do not need to hear a note more.  They know who he is and they are saving him.  Wow.  Can’t say their decision shocks me that much.  This is why the judge’s save was created.  It was to save Casey Abrams, not Big Mike or even Matt Giraud.  It was to right the wrong that would leave Haley, Stefano, Thia, Paul, and Naima in the competition longer than Casey.  Casey is not likely to win, but he deserves to outlast those others.  I suspect they would have used it for Pia, James, Scotty, or Lauren as well.  And perhaps even Stefano.

So in the end, it actually did end up being one of the most shocking results shows ever.  And the judges used up their save, so the rest of the competition will have higher stakes.  My question now is – will the top 11 go on tour, or is the top 10 once again up for grabs?

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 11 Performances

Evening, folks.  Sorry for the delay in getting tonight’s recap up.  I just got back from my first group swim training session for the Triathlon in August.  At least I get to sit down to Motown night.  Whether on not the performances are good, at least we know the songs should be.

Casey – “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye – Wow.  Three backup singers and three backup violinists.  You would think Casey could at least have groomed that beard.  Very solid opening number.  Great as usual, though I can’t help but remember loving ‘Tasia on the same number during Motown week in season three…

Thia – “Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas – Aside from forgetting the lyrics in the third verse, I thought it was pretty freaking terrific.  I was frankly pretty shocked.  My college singing group did “Heatwave” almost every semester and I have heard the song endless times so much so that I find it quite boring.  But I think she did great things with it, sang it with soul, and was an immense improvement over her previous performances.

Jacob – “You’re All I Need” by Marvin Gaye – Absolutely one of my favorite songs of all time.  And a great performance.  Not only was the crowd on its feet, so were the judges, and in an Idol first, Steven Tyler even ran on stage to hug Jacob.  I gotta say though, if this guy makes it into the finals, I will really be impressed with America.  I have seen drag queens who are less queeny than Jacob.  Just sayin’.

Lauren – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by Diana Ross – YES!  Lauren Alaina is back.  From the first note, she sounded great, sassy, and sexy.  She was so much fun.  Steven Tyler said she “ripped that song another beauty mark.”  Hahahaha.

Stefano – “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie – OK.  First of all – is this Motown?  I mean, Lionel Ritchie, yes.  But ’80’s Lionel Ritchie?  More importantly – Stefano has NEVER heard this song before?  Wow.  I am truly getting old.  Most importantly, EWWWWW.  It was weirdly operatic, dripping with cheese, and with missed words.  Oh, and with melted Velveeta cheese on top.  Yuck.  Yuck.  Yuck.  He revealed to America what I already know – he ain’t the American Idol.

Haley – “You Really Got A Hold On Me” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Reinhardt is clearly taking the Scarnato strategy and sexing it up as much as possible to keep herself in the game.  That being said, she can also really sing.  I don’t know what it is.  She doesn’t really connect with me for some reason, but she is actually very, very talented.  I think maybe she’s a little too young.  But as far as I’m concerned, she earned her place in the top 10 tonight.

Scotty – “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder – This guy just has a timeless look.  You could tell me he was born in any decade in the last 200 years and I would believe it.  I give him mad props for not attempting to sing it straight up and try to pretend he has soul.  He did a very good job of countri-fying the song.  I don’t think it succeeded 100%, but I definitely think it did 80%.  As Jennifer said, it wasn’t his strongest vocal performance, but I still think he’s great.

Pia – “All In Love Is Fair” by Stevie Wonder – This woman really does have an astounding voice.  No question.  The best voice in the competition.  The judges are right – she can work on her performance a bit – but her voice is simply astounding.

Paul – “Tracks Of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Another solid Paul performance if you like Paul, which once again, I do not like Paul.  But I can definitely be impartial enough to recognized that he did NOT have a “moment” tonight like Jimmy insisted he needed.

Naima – “Dancin’ In The Streets” by Martha & The Vandelles – Look.  Naima does not have the most beautiful voice in the competition.  But she is a GREAT performer.  And she sounded great and had a great overall performance with an African dance break to boot.

James – “Livin’ For The City” by Stevie Wonder – Two words: Rock Star.  This guy is really tremendously talented.  My only true criticism here is that the song really does have a heavy subject matter and none of that came through via the performance.  Still, incredible.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. Jacob
  2. James
  3. Pia
  4. Lauren
  5. Casey
  6. Haley
  7. Naima
  8. Thia
  9. Scotty
  10. Paul
  11. Stefano

In Danger:

I doubt that the bottom three tomorrow night’s results will truly be based on tonight’s performances.  I would say that Thia, Naima, and Haley will have the highest likelihood of appearing in the bottom three.  Stefano could and should be there as well, and I think is by far the most deserving of getting the boot.  Can’t say I would miss him.  Could also be the week that Paul appears in the bottom three.  But if I had to predict tomorrow night, my money is on our saying goodbye to Thia.

Reminder

Once again, I have to acknowledge how much better this season is than the last two.  Every one of these folks is talented.  No doubt about that.  And frankly everyone except Stefano was pretty solid tonight.  Not easy to do these rankings.

On Another Note

As many of you know, I have started training for the NYC Triathlon in August.  I am training with a great organization called Team in Training, which provides professional coaching if participants raise money to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  If you are enjoying these blog posts (or at least if you’re reading them) and you’re in the position to do so, please consider supporting me in my fundraising efforts.  You can make a donation at http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri11/mwerthe59w .   Thanks so much.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 12 – The Results

An hour is simply too long for these results shows.  Especially when there is zero suspense to the elimination.

The show starts with a mashup performance of “Born To Be Wild” and “Born This Way”.  Boy, Gaga gets everywhere fast, doesn’t she.  Then it’s on to a bizarre Ford music video with Haley and Stefano playing lovers.  Then a relatively amusing interview montage where they apparently bleeped Pia because she said “shit-tzu” instead of “shi-tzu” when talking about her breed of dog.

First three on the hot seat:  Jacob, Casey, Lauren.  They’re all safe.  And Casey needs someone to groom his beard.  Please.

Next two: Haley and Paul.  No shocker, Haley is in the bottom three.

Some dude named Lee Dewyze performs, apparently to remind us not to complain about this season with a refresher of what we suffered through for months last year (or to show Casey how silly unkempt facial hair looks).  Ryan says something about Lee having gone from salesman to superstar.  Perhaps he was using the Taylor Hicks dictionary definition of superstar.  He offers some lame “words of wisdom” to the current contestants, who look about as interested as I do in what Lee has to say.

Three more on the hot seat:  Scotty, Pia, and James.  And no shocks here either.  They’re all safe.

Next two: Naima and Stefano.  And I’m 2-for-2 so far, as Naima is in the bottom three.

So we’re left with: Karen and Thia.  Thia is safe, and my alternate for the bottom-three, Karen, winds up in the bottom three.

Next up is a performance by the Black Eyed Peas.  More accurately, a performance by Fergie and will.i.am with special guest cameos by apl.de.ap and Taboo.  Bet they were nervous that they wouldn’t be able to outshine Lee Dewyze.  Not.

And back to the results…

Naima is the first to be sent back to safety.  And then, very surprisingly, Haley is also sent back to safety, which means that Karen is “in danger’ tonight, aka, the subject of fake deliberation by the judges tonight.  She gives us an encore performance of Hero and then Randy tells us that although the decision was not unanimous, Karen is going home.  Which means that either JLo could not stand to see her mini-me go home so quickly or JLo wants Karen to think that at least.  As the cameras filmed JLo consoling Karen, I could almost make out her mouthing “Baby – you should have stayed within a 6-note range.  But you kept trying to push yourself and show that you had a better voice than I do.  Haven’t you learned from me?  I have such an unimpressive voice, but I look like this.  That’s what makes a real superstar.  Here is the number for my stylist, baby.  You don’t need this competition.”

So Howard and Eileen, you called it tonight, while I did not.  I must say though that America did get it wrong.  Karen was not the best up there, but she was decent and diverse.  More importantly, Haley was horrific last night and stands no chance of winning.  Oh, well.  At least America has kept Naima in for another week.  But it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee on Thia.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 12 Performances

March 16, 2011 1 comment

This week’s theme: Songs from the year the contestants were born.  I can still deal, I guess.  I may freak out when those years start entering the 21st century.  Solid night overall.

Naima – 1984 – “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner – Interesting version.  Definitely different than the original and seemed very contemporary.  Very different for Idol.   Jennifer points out that she was pitchy.  She was right.

Paul – 1984 – “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” by Elton John – Wow.  This guy really has white teeth.  What else am I supposed to say about Paul?  Every performance is the same for me.  Paul fans will love it.  And Jennifer is clearly a Paul fan.  And Steven said he defines “a cool dude with a loose mood.”

Thia – 1995 – “Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams from Mulan – Um…she was born the year I graduated from college.  Seriously?  I’m not that old.  I thought she was solid.  I liked it a lot better than “Out Here On My Own.”  But it was boring and tepid.  The judges keep talking about some tone we haven’t heard yet.  What are you saving it for, Thia?

James – 1989 – “I’ll Be There For You” by Bon Jovi – The more I see this guy talk, the more I like him.  I love how comfortable he is on stage.  It is really impressive.  He definitely had a few flat notes, and I don’t think there was anything particularly impressive about this performance versus the other ones.  But he is talented and likeable.

Haley – 1990 – “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whit-nay – One of my favorite Whitney songs.  Uh-oh.  I thought she would be good.  I think this could very likely be her swan song.  For some reason, it just DID NOT work with her voice.  Uh-oh again.  Jennifer started out by saying how beautiful she looks.

Stefano – 1989 – “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red – Cute + Solid.  Pretty much every week.  For some reason, he reminds me of Justin Bieber.  Perhaps next week we get “Baby Baby Baby”?  But please shave the flavor savor…

Pia – 1988 – “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” by Whitney Houston – LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE PIA!  Not only did she sound amazing, she was also smart enough to turn it into an upbeat song.  Damn.  Head and shoulders the best.

Scotty – 1993 – “Can I Trust You With My Heart” by Travis Tritt – This dude is going to make me start listening to country music.  He is going to be as big as Carrie Underwood.

Karen – 1989 – “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dane – Oh, boy.  She sure wants to be JLo.  All glammed up with different looks every week.  Randy is right.  Started rough, but ended well.  I also agree with Randy when he said he’s not jumping up and down.

Casey – 1991 – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana – OK.  I am frightened.  Psycho Casey tonight.  How far Idol has come.  Who would have ever imagined a performance like that back in Season 1.  Steven is right – dude is crazy AND talented.  JLo is also right – parts of it definitely got too screamy/screechy.

Lauren – 1994 – “The Only One” by Melissa Etheridge – Despite the fact that she is sick, I think she was better than last week.  I bet she would have been astounding had she not been sick.  Wasn’t the best of the night for me, but I still love Lauren.

Jacob – 1987 – “Alone” by Heart – Alright.  Jacob is finally back.  No question he has the most powerful voice.  Tonight, he reminded me of ‘Tasia again.  I just wish his performance style was a little less flamboyant.  I think it takes away from his voice.  And I don’t think America is going to reward him for it.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. Pia
  2. Jacob
  3. Scotty
  4. Lauren
  5. Casey
  6. Stefano
  7. James
  8. Karen
  9. Naima
  10. Thia
  11. Paul
  12. Haley

Who’s Going Home

This one seems like the clearest-cut decision I have seen in awhile.  If Haley doesn’t go home, I will be shocked.  Joining Haley in the bottom three will be Thia and Naima – though Karen could slip in again.

Random Thought

Someone really needs to put a reel together of clips of Randy talking about himself, all the people he has worked with, and all of his experiences.  And play it for him.  Repeatedly.

The Other Show on Wednesday Nights

On an unrelated note, I hope some of you are watching Survivor.  It’s great this season, as always.  How about Phillip and his pink panties?  What a great character.  He’ll definitely go down in the annals as a Survivor all-star.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 13 Results Show

Oh no!  The show starts off with Ryan saying that Casey is sick and in the hospital.  I guess the good news is that it’s clear that he was not voted out this week.  Get well soon, Casey.

Group numbers are back.  At least this one is a Michael Jackson medley.  A few notable things:

  1. I love Pia.  She sounds amazing.
  2. Ashton actually sounds GOOOOOOD.
  3. They are pushing Stefano hard.  Always front and center, with the most solo lines.
  4. Thia sounds terrible.  She may now be my least favorite finalist.
  5. Unfortunately, I have to own up to the fact that Jacob Lusk has quickly gone from my favorite to my second least favorite finalist.  Just creepy.

Adam Lambert performs.  He pulls off two earrings much better than Jacob Lusk does.  I never particularly liked Adam, as evidenced by my “gays for Kris Allen” campaign a couple of year back.  Tonight helped me refine my dislike.  Dude is really just a very good musical theater performer or cover artist.  He’s an actor, not an artist.  He is better performing other people’s songs than he is his own.  Just my opinion.

Ditty Dirty Money performs, and in my opinion is more entertaining than Adam Lambert.  A bit weird to see JLo’s ex up there, but I guess that was a long time ago.

The Results…

  • Jacob, Karen, and Stefano are up first.  Lucky gents.  Only Karen is in the bottom three.
  • Lauren, Ashton, and Haley are up next. Ashton and Haley are in the bottom three.
  • The rest of the folks are safe.
  • And Ashton has the least number of votes, as we head toward the very annoying Judges’ save, as if there is any way they would save contestant #13.
  • The judges decide not to exercise their save, and Ashton goes home.

Lesson for future contestants – I think it was largely her attitude that got Ashton booted.  The same could probably be said for Mr. Magoo – aka – Clint Jun Gamboa.  No huge loss here.

Wertheim out.

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