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American Idol Recap – Top 6 Results Show

The show kicked off with a mediocre Carole King medley, which I only enjoyed when James Durbin was present.  Then we’re treated to a thinned-down, teeth-fixed, confident Crystal Bowersox, who reminded me that last season wasn’t completely talentless.  Although it does make me mad again that Lee DeWHY? could have ever beaten her.

Haley is up first and she is thankfully SAFE!!!!

Scotty, Haley, and Lauren are all brought up individually and told that they will get their results later.

Best quote tonight is from Jimmy Iovine – “Casey needs to realize that the family dog doesn’t vote on this show.”

James is SAFE!!!

And I am starting to get the sinking feeling that Jacob has somehow eluded the bottom three.  A feeling that is quickly proven wrong, as Lauren is sent back to safety.

Or…am I?

Bruno Mars performs.

Idol pulls something on us that they haven’t pulled in awhile and doesn’t tell us who the bottom folks are.  Instead, they tell us that tonight’s results are not in any particular order.

And…Ryan sends Jacob to safety.  Almost inexplicable.  I mean, who the hell is still voting for Jacob?  And why must I endure his histrionics for yet another week?

I said ALMOST inexplicable because Casey ends up going home.  If Jacob was going to edge anyone else out, it would have to be Casey, who has already shown once that he may not have much fan support, and who continued to growl his way through performances despite being told repeatedly that no one wanted to hear it anymore.

Which leads me to draw some conclusions….

First, arrogance never wins Idol.  Can you remember an Idol who wasn’t genuinely humbled and overwhelmed by their winning?  Can you remember an Idol who you thought was arrogant during the competition?  Kelly, Reuben, Fantasia, Carrie, Taylor, Jordin, Cook, Kris, and Lee – every single one of them possessed deep insecurity of some sort and came across as overwhelmed and couldn’t believe this was happening to them.  Do you think Justin Guarini would have given off the same vibe?  Or David Archuletta?  Adam Lambert?  No.  Casey was too confident and frankly arrogant to win Idol.  He was immensely talented, but also too high on himself, as were Justin, David, and Adam.  This is ultimately what leads me to pick Scotty as the winner over James.  American loves an unassuming underdog.  Though James does still have the autism/Tourette’s going for him.

Second, the producers are up to their old tricks again.  I thought this might be the case last week, but I am now sure of it.  They didn’t have a “bottom three” this week because either Lauren or Scotty (likely Lauren) were going to be in it.  They don’t want America to associate either with the bottom.  They want Lauren to win now, for some reason.  They think she is eminently marketable.  Having her show up in the bottom this week could lead to an “early” ouster next week for her.  That is the only reason that makes sense to me for skipping the bottom three.  Because an ACTUAL bottom three involving Lauren would have been a lot more dramatic.

Oh, well.  I can’t say I am devastated to see Casey go, but I am definitely devastated to have to endure Jacob for yet another week.

Wertheim out.

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American Idol Recap – Top 6 Performances

It’s Carole King night on Idol.  Should give the final six a wide range of excellent songs to choose from.  Not a bad idea for this stage in the competition.  Babyface joins Jimmy Ivoine this week as a guest mentor.  Also an impressive choice.  Carole King + Babyface – a little weird.  Tonight we’ll have both solos and duets from the contestants.

Jacob – “Oh No, Not My Baby” – Bizarre from beginning to end.  Who dressed him this week?  Totally solid vocal, but not a song that will resonate with anyone, except Steven, of course.  Not a worthy swan song.

Lauren – “Where You Lead” – Umm.  She sounded solid.  She seemed comfortable.  As Randy said, “she came out with a little extra swagger.”  Song was odd and she still hasn’t created a moment.  But she’s safer than Jacob.

Haley & Casey – “I Feel The Earth Move” – That was ROCKIN.  From beginning to end.  They both sounded tremendous and sounded great together and seemed so comfortable on stage.  And Haley looks hot again.  Who woulda thunk she could be the top woman of this season.

Scotty – “You’ve Got A Friend” – Classic song.  Aside from being a bit slow for my taste, I thought it was a very good performance.  Certainly the most coherent and solid solo so far this evening.

James – “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” – WOW.  Best voice on Idol this season.  James did the first verse a cappella and gave me chills.  This guy is the real deal.  Shame on all of you who called him a poor man’s Adam Lambert.  He will have a much bigger career.  And he deserves it.  His best yet, as far as I’m concerned.

Lauren & Scotty – “Up On The Roof” – I feel like I just tuned in to either a “light favorites” station or some Christian station.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Lauren just had no personality.

Casey – “Hi-De-Ho” – Loved it.  So Jazzy.  So different.  So classy.

Haley – “Beautiful” – Another great performance.  Great song for her.  It’s really time to stop punishing her and sending her to the bottom three.  She has earned her space in the top of this season.

James & Jason – “I’m Into Something Good” – Hilarious pairing.  Two superb voices.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. James
  2. Haley & Casey Duet
  3. Haley
  4. Casey
  5. Scotty
  6. James & Jason Duet
  7. Jacob
  8. Lauren
  9. Lauren & Scotty Duet

Who’s Going Home

Barring a big upset, Jacob is going home tomorrow.  I just don’t know who is still rooting for that guy.  He will certainly be in the bottom three.  If there is any justice, it will be with Lauren and Scotty, who both earned their way to the bottom three tonight.  But that would be too clean, wouldn’t it?  Instead of Scotty, I will predict Haley.  And there is certainly a chance that Lauren won’t go there either and will be replaced by Casey.  So pretty much the only person who is safe from the bottom three is James.  My picks would be Jacob, Lauren, and Scotty, but I think it will be Jacob, Haley, and Casey.

American Idol Recap – Top 7 Results

Show opened with Jacob, Stefano, Lauren, & Haley singing “Hey, Soul Sister”.  I’m still surprised to find that Haley is the only one I care to watch.  Then it’s off to Casey, Scotty, and James singing Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida”.  Definitely some cool moments on this one.  Seeing the three together makes James stand out as the star and diminishes Casey a good deal.

Casey is SAFE.

Jacob is in the bottom three.  And I’m one for one.

David Cook performs the first single from his new album.  Good to see him again.  I’m glad he has had decent success since he won.  He was always such a mensch and he is tonight as well.  I remember being so happy when he won.  He is certainly the most successful male winner so far.  This year could finally change that.

Lauren, James, and Stefano then take the stage.  Stefano is in the bottom three.  And I’m two for two.  James is SAFE.  Lauren is SAFE.

Haley and Scotty take the stage.  Scotty is SAFE.  Haley is in the bottom three.  And I’m three for three.  As I said last night – neither Stefano nor Haley gave the worst performances last night, but both were sent to the bottom three over Lauren and Scotty.

Thankfully, Ryan pretty much immediately sends Haley back to SAFETY.

Katy Perry performs ET.  Thankfully, she lip syncs.  I never need to hear her sing live again after the Grammy’s this year.  Like her or not (and I like her), you can’t escape the fact that she churns out monster hit after monster hit and is constantly covered on Glee.  As an added bonus, Kanye makes a surprise live appearance.  They are clearly trying to make Wednesdays on Idol into a weekly concert you can’t miss.

In the end, I called it wrong, as Stefano is sent home and Jacob is safe.  It’s an outcome that is ultimately the most just, though I am shocked that the teeny-boppers couldn’t push Stefano any further.  So at long last, the Sanjaya/Tim Urban/Kristy Lee Cook of this season is sent packing.  You were the best of your peers to make it this far.  Thank you also for reminding us all not to be too sad by giving us an encore butchering of Stevie Wonder’s “Lately”.

The next few weeks should be very interesting.  Scotty and James seem to be locks for the top two.  Lauren and Casey will likely round out the top four.  But both Jacob and Haley are capable of giving performances that are strong enough to propel them through next week and beyond, so nothing is certain.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 7 Performances

We’re still on the 1.5 hour shows, I guess.  I seem to remember that in the past, we would have been down to 1 hour by now.  But I guess there are just too many advertisers to integrate now that the extra half hour is likely the most profitable decision Fox can make.

Tonight’s theme is “Music of the 21st Century”.

A welcome surprise as all of the ladies who were previously voted out return to sing Pink’s “So What”.  Enjoyable until Paul returned in one of his awful suits.  Karen and Ashton seem to relish their return engagement more than the rest, as they won’t be going on tour.  Pia of course shows everyone why they made a big mistake.

will.i.am is not in the house this week, in case you were wondering.

On to the contestant performances…

Scotty – “Swingin'” by Leann Rimes.  Not his best vocal, but potentially his most entertaining performance.  The judges apparently woke up this week and decided to be critical and tell Scotty he needs to bring it more.  That should double his votes.  Even if he wasn’t the best, he’s still mesmerizing.

James – “Uprising” by Muse.  This guy gets the full-on concert production for every song.  This week, it’s a mini-marching band.  Great performance, as always.  Dude is the real deal.  The issue is going to be how much of America is comprised of Scotty folks vs. James folks.  My instincts say Scotty, but I would be happy with James.

Haley – “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.  She looked amazing and sounded amazing.  What an underdog story.  Who would have ever thought Haley would consistently be one of the better performers. (not me)  Happy for her.

Jacob – “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross.  Someone clearly told Jacob a couple of weeks ago that less is more, because he has been so much more restrained.  Randy wants him to bring back the old Jacob.  I hope he comes back with a compromise.  I am just starting to like him again.  I don’t think I could bear full-on Jacob.

Casey – “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5.  Lots of growling tonight.  At least it was somewhat appropriate.  Definitely rockin’.  Definitely different than Adam Levine, who feels about as dangerous when he sings as Bambi.  Enjoyable.

Stefano – “Closer” by Ne-yo.  I love Jimmy’s feedback before the performance.  “It’s not whining, it’s not pleading, it’s sexy.”  I might be able to enjoy his voice if I didn’t have to wade through those mountains of CHEESE surrounding Stefano.  Not as good as last week, but still decent.

Lauren – “Born to Fly” by Sara Evans.  Okay.  I think I need to officially say that Lauren Alaina has disappointed me.  I had high hopes that she would go from her original amazing performance to blossom into unbelievable.  Unfortunately, I don’t think she has ever had magic on the Idol stage.  She is clearly too young and too self-conscious.  I was rooting for you to win the whole thing. Lauren.  But I don’t think you’re ready.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. James
  2. Casey
  3. Haley
  4. Jacob
  5. Scotty
  6. Lauren
  7. Stefano

Who’s Going Home

I truly think that Scotty, Lauren, and Stefano should be in the bottom three tomorrow night.  But I am fairly sure that Jacob will take Scotty’s place, and Haley will take Lauren’s place.  So my prediction for the bottom three are Jacob, Haley, and Stefano.  While Stefano should say goodbye, I fear that it is Jacob’s week.

American Idol Recap – Top 8 Performances

Our first post-Pia show, which opens with a recap of the horrific elimination last week.  And quickly, we’re off to a celebration of JLo for her honor as People’s “Most Beautiful Woman In The World” this year.  She really is beautiful.  Boy, if it wasn’t clear before, it is certainly clear now that this year’s big winner is clearly JLo.  They really didn’t need to pay her anything to do this show, did they?  I have to say once again, I think she is just magical.

It’s movie night on Idol (again, we seem to be tracking the themes from Season 3).  And once again, will.i.am joins Jimmy Iovine in the coaching sessions.  Bizarre, but entertaining.

Paul – “Old Time Rock And Roll” by Rod Seeger from Risky Business.  Oh, boy.  I think this could be Paul’s week to go.  The original is just so rocking.  Paul sounded like a pixie and just bounced all over the stage in one of the loudest suits I have ever seen.  Of course, the judges had nothing negative whatsoever to say.  In my book, it’s really time to say “ta-ta, Paul.”

Lauren – “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus from The Hannah Montana Movie.  This is truly a stretch for a “movie song”.  Jimmy makes a good point to Lauren that this is her chance to get Pia’s votes and compliments her that she’s got a much stronger voice than does Miley.  And they are right.  Great choice for Lauren.  It’s age-appropriate, it’s epic, and she sounded great.  I got a little of that feeling I got when Jordin sang “Broken Wing” in Season 6 and she moved from dark horse to front-runner.  Check it out:

Alright, so she’s no Jordin Sparks.  But I think tonight may have had a similar effect for Lauren.

Stefano – “End Of The Road” by Boyz2Men from Boomerang.  Well, you can give Stefano props for one thing.  He does show us every week what kind of an artist he is.  He’s a cheeseball.  No hiding from that.  Good choice of song on that part.  Bad choice in terms of song title.  He certainly did sing the hell out of it though.  No Boyz2Men, but no Paul McDonald either.  He was singing for his life.

Scotty – “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait from Pure Country.  I think Jimmy was right – not the best song for him to choose.  But I’m going to stick by my prediction last week that Scotty will win this whole thing.  He’s just so darned likable.  Randy is right.  A star is born.

Casey – “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole from Moulin Rouge.  Wow.  He’s GROOMED.  Hair is styled and beard is even thinner.  I loved the choice of song and I loved the performance (as did the audience and the judges).  But Casey, dude, stop GROWLING.  Tonight I also think I put my finger on another reason Casey has trouble – because he doesn’t tell a story as he sings the song.  He doesn’t express the emotions in the song while he sings.  He just growls.  Still, it’s the kind of performance I personally enjoy.

Haley – “Call Me” by Blondie from American Gigolo.  Rocking is certainly what Haley should be doing.  Not as good as the last two weeks, but still good.  I really like her now and I like her voice, but I don’t like her performance style.

Jacob – “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” by Simon and Garfunkel from The Pursuit of Happyness.  WOO-HOOOOOO!!!  Jimmy called him out for preaching to America last week.  Glad someone said it.  With that out of the way, GREAT song choice.  And I liked Jacob for the first time in weeks.  Actually, I loved Jacob for the first time in weeks.  He gave me chills.  Understated and beautiful.  100 times better than last week.  Thanks as well for showing some humility.

James – “Heavy Metal” by Sammy Hagar from Heavy Metal.  James flouts Jimmy and will.i.am’s advice and decided to “give metal a chance.”  This time, I think Jimmy and will.i.am were right.  Not only do I not want to hear heavy metal, but I also don’t need to hear a long guitar solo during a singing competition.  Despite my not liking the song at all and now being sure that I will never listen to any of James’ records, I still do love James and think he has a stupendous voice.  Not sure if he made the smartest move tonight, but good on him for doing what he wanted to do.

My Ranking Of Tonight’s Performances

  1. Jacob
  2. Casey
  3. Lauren
  4. Scotty
  5. James
  6. Stefano
  7. Haley
  8. Paul

Who Should Be Going Home

After last week, I don’t think I can ever again say who WILL be going home.  But this week seems pretty clear to me about who SHOULD go home.  Stefano, Haley, and Paul should be in the bottom three with Paul going home.  If America really can’t open their minds, either James or Casey could end up in the bottom three instead of Stefano.  Really, America – if you’re listening – let’s please put Paul out to pasture already.

A Note About Pia

If anyone doesn’t know this already, Pia was signed to a record deal with Interscope the day after she was voted out, so we really shouldn’t feel too bad for her.  She’ll have more freedom to do what she wants without having been the winner or the runner-up, and will likely have her album out before either of the top two will.  And although I would have loved to have continued to see her perform, tonight was just another reminder of the fact that this is really one of the most talented (if not the top) seasons of Idol ever.  It was difficult to truly miss Pia when faced with such great remaining performers.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 9 Results

Not an evening I enjoyed.  Read on.

Requisite opening medley.  Followed by a special visit from Russell Brand to help them on their performance styles, or more precisely, to plug his new movie, “Arthur”.

Casey, Stefano, and Lauren are group 1.  Stefano is in the bottom three.

Constantine Maroulis performs “Unchained Melody” for some reason.  Fast-forward.

Segment with Gwen Stefani dressing the girls.  Fast-forward.

Paul, Scotty, and Pia are group 2.  Um…Pia is in the bottom three.  Ridiculous.

Some silly media training session with TMZ.  Fast-forward.

James, Haley, and Jacob are group 3.  Not surprisingly to me, but surprisingly to the judges, Jacob is in the bottom three.

Iggy Pop performance.  Fast-forward.

Ryan pronounces Jacob safe first.  Damn.  He really needed to be taught a lesson.  And then…the travesty of all travesties…PIA is sent home.

The judges do a horrific job of pretending they are shocked.  They obviously knew ahead of time.

What a disgusting travesty that Stefano, Paul, Jacob should outlast Pia.  Ugh.  I am truly disappointed.  I wish I could say I am truly shocked, but I did worry that Pia wasn’t connecting with anyone, that her personality was bland, and that she didn’t have a built-in fan base.  I just thought her voice would trump all of that.  But it is clear now, with 2 women and 6 men left in this competition, that it is only little-girls still voting.  Paul’s little girls and Stefano’s little girls came out in force to vote for them since they have previously been in danger.  But no one came out for Pia because anyone rational thought she was safe.

So now I am going to put my flag in the sand and say that SCOTTY is your next American Idol.  No question in my mind.  And I’ll be happy for him.  And he’ll be a huge country music star.  And you know what, Pia will be a big star too, unencumbered by the Idol machine.  Good luck, Pia.  I’ll buy your albums.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 9 Performances

It’s ROCK NIGHT on American Idol.  Or more precisely, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Week.

And we’re back with appearance #3 by will.i.am this season (come on, there MUST be people other than will.i.am and mr. jennifer lopez who want to appear this season).  he’s here to coach rock week.  huh?

Jacob is up first, with “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.  Once again – HUH?  Rock week?  I’m done with you, Jacob.  You lost me in your pre-performance interview when you said that if you get voted out this week, it won’t be because of your voice – it will be because America can’t look in the mirror.  Really?  How can you say something so arrogant?  The performance was strong and not as annoying as you have been in the past.  But also – nothing new with the song.  You’re not Michael.  By far the best part of this performance was Siedah Garrett dueting with him – the writer of this amazing song.

Haley – “Piece Of My Heart” by Janis Joplin. Wow.  Just weeks ago, I would have expected to be putting Haley near the top of my list.  But she was GREAT tonight.  I mean GREAT.  Aside from her awkward gesticulations when she sings, she is actually really, really talented and has truly proven she deserves to have made it this far.

Casey – “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Credence Clearwater Revival.  Very smart to bring out the upright bass again, Casey.  If only to remind us why we liked you at the beginning.  Aside from that, it was also a great performance.  But dude – please stop clenching your teeth and growling.  It’s scary.  You get rid of that, you’ll stay in it for awhile longer.

Lauren – “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin.  Smart choice.  I believe it was the week that Kelly sang “Natural Woman” in season 1 that she really started to become the front-runner.  Any reminder of that discovery definitely gives her a halo effect.  That being said, Lauren is neither as mature nor as vocally gifted as is Kelly.  But it was certainly solid and a great performance.

James – “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison.  Interesting that he is choosing a ballad this week.  But smart.  I just kept thinking “What’s James going to do this week?” since every week has been rock week for him.  I thought he was terrific this week and that he made the absolute right choice.

Scotty – “That’s Alright Mama” by Elvis.  Every week, against my better judgment, I just love this kid.  He’s such a natural.  And I’ll say it again – this kid is going to be HUGE.

Pia – “River Deep, Mountain High” by Tina Turner.  I was fully prepared for this to be Pia’s week to fall off of her game.  No such thing.  You just can’t dispute how amazing her voice is.  I mean, she didn’t ROCK it like Tina did.  But she sure sang the hell out of it and showed that she can sing anything.  Loveses Pia.

Stefano – “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge.  Definitely his best performance in a long time.  I didn’t hate him tonight.  Though I still don’t think he is of the same caliber as the rest of the folks.

Paul – “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash.  I truly could not remember who the last performer was and told myself that had to mean that whoever it was, they must not really matter much.  No surprise that it ended up being Paul.  Not a bad Paul performance, actually.  Dude doesn’t deserve to be kicked off this week, though I wouldn’t lose any sleep if he did.

My Ranking Of Tonight’s Performances

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

Who’s Going Home

Well, this is the first week I can remember in years where no one has actually been BAD.  What a testament to the talent this season.  No matter what, good folks are going to end up in the bottom three.  I think the most likely trio will be Jacob, Stefano, and Lauren.  Stefano is out of his depth.  Lauren was good, but not superior, and I wonder if she has a strong enough fan base.  And Jacob is just too polarizing and after being arrogant this week, I would be surprised if he isn’t in the bottom three.  Paul could slip in, but I suspect that his fan base will be voting in droves tonight, and some non-fans may be won over by tonight’s decent performance.  My instincts tell me that Jacob is going home.  I can’t say I feel confident about that, but I can say I will be relieved if it happens.

Would Appreciate Your Generosity

I write these recaps on Wednesday nights after trudging up to 138th Street and Riverside Drive to swim practice as part of my training for the NYC Triathlon in August.  I am training with a great organization called Team In Training which provides professional coaching for participants who raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.  I would greatly appreciate if you could give anything you can to help me get to my fundraising goal.  I am just about 2/5 of the way there and if everyone who reads this recap gave even $25, I would be at my goal.  So please help me raise money for this great cause if you can.  You can donate or find more info at my personal fundraising page: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri11/mwerthe59w.

Wertheim out.

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