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Archive for March, 2012

American Idol Recap – Top 9 Results Show

The show starts with Tweets from Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, and other folks congratulating the contestants who sang their songs.  Then out comes Eric Benet to surprise the Brackensickness.  Does this mean DeAndre is safe tonight, or that this is his consolation prize?  The Idols move into their mansion, which seems more like an apartment building than a mansion to me.  For some reason I suspect they are also going to somehow commercialize this place and use it in the off-season.  Who really cares?  They have to spend no more than an hour there awake every day.  And on to the results…

Elise, Phillip, & Hollie
Jimmy loved Elise’s performance and thinks she is a contender for the crown.  Jimmy says that if Stevie loved him the way she did, he will be an enormous star.  Jimmy says that what Hollie lacks experience – she is technically right, but emotionally behind the pack.  I have to say I agree with Jimmy on all counts.

HollieBottom Three
PhillipSAFE
EliseSAFE

Here comes Nikki Minaj.  Wow.  Boobies.

Colton, Joshua, & HeeJun
Jimmy says that Colton was good, but not good enough.  Thank you, Jimmy, for speaking your truth.  Unfortunately, he had a similar opinion about Joshua.  Jimmy doesn’t think HeeJun’s comeback was enough and that he just doesn’t sing as well as the other 8.  Well, that’s yet another truth.

ColtonSAFE
JoshuaSAFE
HeeJunBottom Three

Scotty McCreery performs.  Welcome back, Scotty.  He sounded great, he looked so comfortable.  As expected, this guy is going to be an enormous star.  Jimmy presents Scotty with a framed album cover in tribute to his platinum-selling album.  This guy deserved to win and will most definitely follow in Carrie & Kelly’s footsteps, rather than those of Taylor Hicks and Lee Dewyze.

Skylar, DeAndre, & Jessica
Jimmy thinks Skylar will have to go to more melodic songs in the future.  Jimmy doesn’t know what he thinks about DeAndre except that he needs more experience.  He also thinks DeAndre is polarizing.  I agree on both fronts.  Jimmy is 100% behind Jessica.

JessicaSAFE
SkylarBottom Three
DeAndreSAFE

Not crazy shocking, but unfortunate for Skylar.

Skylar is the first person sent to safety.  WOOOOO-HOOOOO.  Hollie is the next person sent to safety.  So HeeJun sings for his life.  And he does a pretty good job too.  Better than last night.  And to no surprise, the judges send him packing.  At least he left with some grace.

America – you have chosen wisely this season.  I mean, I still don’t know why you are voting for the Brackensickness, but at least your lowest vote-getters have been acceptable thus far.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 9 Perform Songs By Their Idols – and Trios!

Our Idols take on their idols tonight AND we have weird medleys performed in trios of contestants, for the first time.  Thank goodness the producers wised up this week and just gave the awful Tommy Hilfiger one segment at the beginning.  Watching him talk is truly painful.  Stevie Nicks is the guest mentor this week.

Colton – “Everything” by Life House
Jimmy and Stevie are in on Colton all the way, as he sings his “favorite worship song”.  Rick Santorum is also with Colton all the way.  And if you like Colton, you liked his performance.  Steven says he is “a dream come true” for an Idol judge.  Jennifer was really moved.  Randy thinks that performance was unbelievable.  And I am sure that the Idol producers see big revenues from the burgeoning Christian music star.  I apologize for not being able to put my feelings aside.  Just can’t look at him objectively.

Skylar – “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert
Skylar finally brought back the spunk, which was great to see, though I don’t think the song showed off her voice as much as it could.  I just feel like she is more talented than the songs she’s singing.  Steven saw a lot of Galveston in that.  Randy praised her range.  Skylar might make me like country music.

Colton, Elise, & Phillip – Fleetwood Mac Medley
Nothing funnier than watching Phillip Phillips sing backup.  He looks so supremely uncomfortable.  But then he steals all of the energy away from the trio when he breaks into his lead vocal.  And Elise looked good.

HeeJun – “A Song For You” by Donnie Hathaway
Well, he got schooled by the entire Idol production team and turned serious this week.  I can’t say I enjoyed his performance nearly as much as Jimmy & Stevie or the judges did, especially since this is one of my favorite songs of all time and my man Elliot Yamin just killed it in season five.  But it was a big step up vocally for HeeJun.  Jennifer prattled on about how “you don’t make it to this point in the competition by mistake.  Really, Jennifer?  Really?  May I offer you some counterarguments?  Let’s try Sanjaya Malakar, John Stevens, Paul McDonald, Aaron Kelly, Katie Stevens, Haley Scarnato, Kevin Covais, and Scott Savol.

Hollie – “Jesus Take The Wheel” by Carrie Underwood
Confession time – I became obsessed with this song a few years ago.  Made me a Carrie Underwood fan.  Risky choice by Hollie.  Stevie Nicks schooled Hollie about bringing real emotion to the song.  Exactly what Hollie needed to hear.  But I don’t think it helped much.  Hollie – you are no Carrie Underwood.  Your performance of that song just exposed that more clearly.  I think Hollie is unraveling week to week.  Randy agreed with me, Jennifer inexplicably thought it was one of Hollie’s best.

AND NOW WE BREAK FOR SOME BRACKENSICKNESS…

DeAndre – “Sometimes I Cry” by Eric Benet
DeAndre’s performance tonight was dedicated to my friends, the Kestons, who are expecting a baby any minute now.  Lisa and James – he sang directly to you.  I actually enjoyed the first 20 seconds of it, then tuned out as soon as the falsetto craziness took over.  The judges loved him, and I fear that the Brackensickness may continue.

Jessica – “Beautiful Nightmare” by Beyonce
I think Jessica earned her front-runner status tonight by not doing a Beyonce imitation and slowing down this song into a ballad.  Hate to sound cliche, but she “made it her own.”  Steven thought it was “delicious”.  I liked her use of disembodied red doors.  I am going to ignore that she said her alter ego is “Bebe Chez”.

Deandre, HeeJun, & Joshua – Michael Jackson Medley
What sounded horrible when announced turned out to be not so bad, largely saved by Joshua.

Phillip – Steel Ravens by Johnny Lang
Stevie thinks Phillip is going to be very famous because he has a “magic you just can’t deny.”  “And last but not least,” Stevie continues, “he’s gorgeous.”  Thank you for verbalizing it for me, Stevie.  The gorgeous thing was simple enough to say, but I was looking for the word “magic” earlier, I think.  Not even my favorite Phillip performance of all time, but there is just something magical and riveting about this guy.  I’m tired of all the Dave Matthews comparisons.  Dave has none of Phillip’s magnetism.  Steven says that he still thinks there is someone inside of Phillip trying to climb out.  Also well said.

Joshua – “Without You” by Mariah Carey (actually by Harry Nilsson)
MANTASIA IS BACK!!!  Best Joshua performance in weeks.  He just killed it.  Randy thought it was flawless and brilliant.  Jennifer thinks Joshua is a phenom and an angel from heaven.  He’s not going to win the competition and he clearly knows it.  But this guy is a true, true talent.

Hollie, Skylar, and Jessica – Madonna Medley
Enjoyable.  Probably helped buoy both Hollie and Skylar a little.  Despite the voice on Jessica, Skylar just stole this one for me.

Elise – “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
That’s right, Idol producers.  It’s about time you gave Elise the pimp slot again.  You have buried her in ignominious place each week and made her the underdog.  It’s about time you positioned her to get the respect she deserves.  Jimmy said Elise came in and murdered it.  Stevie said she shouldn’t change one thing and that she would hire Elise in a second.  GREAT song choice.  Totally different from everything she has done before and I think should finally win her some new fans.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. Elise
  2. Phillip
  3. Joshua
  4. Jessica
  5. Skylar
  6. Colton, Elise, & Phillip
  7. Colton
  8. Hollie, Skylar, & Jessica
  9. HeeJun
  10. Hollie
  11. DeAndre, HeeJun, & Joshua
  12. DeAndre

Who’s Going Home?

Let’s break it down again…

  • Phillip, Jessica, and Colton are undoubtedly safe.  I am going to add Skylar to this mix of folks since she is solid every week, charismatic, and will deservedly have the country vote + some.
  • Elise will almost certainly escape the bottom three this week and if not, will not be the bottom vote-getter.
  • I would like to guarantee Joshua safety this week because he most definitely deserves it.  But Idol’s weird advising to all of their contestants not to come out of the closet handicaps people like Joshua from feeling fully authentic and connecting with the audience.  Still, I think he will be safe as well.
  • So that leaves a pretty obvious bottom three of HeeJun, Hollie, and DeAndre, which would also be a very sensical bottom three.  I think HeeJun annoyed some people last week and this week probably alienated those who liked his schtick.  Hollie just appears more and more to be a killer voice but not a natural performer.  And DeAndre, well, I’m not sure who is still voting for DeAndre.
  • I truly think that any of these three could end up going home, but my gut is telling me that this may be the week when the Brackensickness comes to a stop.

For those of you who dare say you enjoyed HeeJun’s performance, let me point you toward Elliot Yamin’s version of “A Song For You” in Season 5 (which he tops on his first album).  Elliot is not only such a talented musician, but also a mensch of epic proportions – something HeeJun could learn from.  Performance starts at 2:29:

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 10 Results

The show opens with our first lip-synched number – Billy Joel’s “For The Longest Time”.  Not horrific.  The only thing horrific is my realization that in all likelihood, not one of them actually knew that song.

First group:  Holly, Skylar, and Elise
Jimmy says you can’t get two individuals more different than Hollie and Billy Joel.  He said she was a sweet diva caught in the headlights.  Jimmy thinks Skylar needs to grow and do it now.  Jimmy says something transformed in Elise last night.

Hollie – SAFE
Skylar – SAFE
Elise – SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSAFE!!!!!!

Casey Abrams is in the hizouse having taken a big step backward in terms of his fashion.  Wonder if he’s here to support rumored girlfriend Haley Rinehart?

Lana Del Ray performs.  Snooze.

Joe Perry shows up to join the contestants and the audience in singing happy birthday to Steven.

Second Group: DeAndre, Joshua, and Jessica
Jimmy says “someone was jumping up and down and it was too much.”  Jimmy agrees that Joshua over-sang the song and needs to figure out how he is going to win the show (he isn’t).  As for Jessica, Jimmy says “A’s across the board.”

Jessica – SAFE
Joshua – SAFE
DeAndre – Bottom Three

Haley Rinehart “returns home” next, says Ryan.  I guess so.  If home is a place where your talents were perpetually ignored and you were flagellated with criticism.  For some reason, she’s singing from inside an enormous birdcage.  She sounds great and looks great too, reminding America that she should have been in the finals last year instead of Lauren.  You go Haley.

Final Group: Erika, HeeJun, Phillip, Colton
Jimmy loved Colton and thinks Colton is horse #3, joining Joshua and Jessica.  Jimmy is irritated with Phillip for not taking his (or Tommy’s) advice.  Jimmy thinks Erika was brave on the makeover and thinks she deserves to be on the top of the batch (maybe she’s not gone?).  Jimmy thought Steven was right about HeeJun, who says that if he’s around next week, he is going to be crazier.  Jimmy says Interscope is not going to spend its money on him – he ain’t gonna win.

Colton – SAFE
Erika – Bottom Three
Phillip – SAFE
HeeJun – Bottom Three

So your bottom three are DeAndre, HeeJun, and Erika.  Jennifer is right – at this point, everyone who goes home is a loss.  I’m surprised that American finally turned on HeeJun this week.

First person sent to safety is…DeAndre.  Seriously?  Followed by…HeeJun.  DeAndre and HeeJun – you should both thank every lucky star out there for your ridiculous luck.

Erika sings her heart out and sounds simply amazing.  But it’s not enough for the judges to use their save.  Clearly, it didn’t matter how good she was in her swan song.  I don’t think I would have saved her either, much as I am a big Erika fan.  America has unfortunately shown that they are not interested in Erika repeatedly.  To use their one save on Erika would be a waste, since she had absolutely zero chance of winning.  Clearly, HeeJun could keep going and foil Joshua, Colton, or Elise on a bad week for them – or even Jessica.  The judges need to save the save for someone who really does have a chance of winning the whole thing but who had a bad week.  They learned their lesson last year by using their save too early with Casey (who had potential, but who hadn’t been flawless), and they found themselves SOL when Pia was the bottom vote-getter.  So I forgive them for not saving Erika.

Goodbye, Erika Van Pelt.  I’m sorry your makeover did not help save you.  I’m truly Brackensick over the whole thing.

I am very curious to see what happens with HeeJun next week.  I bet the Idol machine is having strategy sessions about how to handle the situation.  He’s clearly not going to start taking things any more “seriously”.  If they get too heavy-handed about criticizing him, it could backfire.

Will you miss Erika?  Is anyone out there not Brackensick of DeAndre?  What do you think will happen with HeeJun next week?

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 10 Perform – Billy Joel Night

March 21, 2012 1 comment

The show starts off with a ridiculous segment of the top 10 mourning the loss of Shannon Magrane. As if she had died. Um…she just overstayed her welcome. Ridiculous. Steven Tyler begins the live show by saying that if you can’t sing Billy Joel, you can’t sing. Throwing down the gauntlet. Then later in the evening, he says he has never heard “She’s Got A Way”. Um…weird.

Tonight’s guest mentor is Diddy, who is a welcome sight after last week’s Will.i.am, not to mention the new fashion mentor Tommy Hilfiger, who is unfortunately now in his own segment (+random lackey, who is apparently mute) before each contestant’s performance. Hilfiger is unpleasant to watch in every way. Truly, the joke is on him. Who needs his prognostications on how the performers will do tonight? And his styling seems to amount to: put huge earrings on all the women. Please let this be a one-week feature. I sense it may be, because he does not come off looking good. On to the performances…

DeAndre – “Only The Good Die Young”
Please. Go. Home. Now. DeAndre. Horrific. Now all I see when I see DeAndre is Milli Vanilli. The performance was cheesy, unpleasant, and unworthy. The judges talked around it, because clearly the producers see something promotable in DeAndre, but I think he was truly horrific.

Erika – “New York State Of Mind”
One of my two favorite Billy Joel songs. Not surprised that she chose it. Diddy and Jimmy tell her not to over-sing. Hilfiger wants to give her a total makeover. HOLY SCHMOLEY. I did not expect a Pink haircut and dyed jet-black hair. WHOA. She looks virtually unrecognizable, which I suppose is a good thing given that America had no interest in the old Erika. Maybe they will have an interest in the completely re-styled version? I’m not digging the look, but maybe that’s just me. It was hard for me to even focus on her performance because I still haven’t adjusted to what she looks like. But the vocals were great. I thought it didn’t necessarily cohere as an arrangement, but I still love Erika.

Joshua – “She’s Got A Way”
Well, if we use Steven Tyler’s logic, Joshua can’t sing. Unfortunately, he gave an incredibly lackluster performance of this very tender and moving Billy Joel song. No question, his worst performance to date. JLo was totally right by saying that he didn’t connect with the lyrics. He knows it too. Ah, well. He gets to have a bad week.

Skylar – “Shameless”
Awww. So cute. She was totally starstruck by Diddy. I just like her more and more with every viewing. This is a Billy Joel song? I’ve never heard it before, and I don’t particularly like it. Skylar does a great job with it. But it’s also not a moment for her. The judges didn’t say much.

Elise – “Vienna”
America, you are on crack. This woman is a star. So effortless. So much charisma. So much musicality. Standing O from the judges. Absolutely phenomenal performance. I was transfixed. Beautiful in every way. Goes up there for me in the top Idol performances of all time. America – wake the f*** up. Do not make her suffer the ridiculous indignity of being in the bottom 3 again this week.

Phillip – “Movin’ Out”
Tommy hates Phillip’s style. Phillip doesn’t care. Tommy thinks it will harm him. Yeah, right Tommy. Diddy tried to make him get rid of his guitar. That didn’t work either. YOU GO, PHILLIP. This guy knows exactly who he is. I mean, I generally hate this song, but he made it something so different. Phenomenal. I cannot take my eyes off of this guy when he performs and I just love to listen to him. Love it. I’m buying his album. As Randy said, brilliant. I love this dude.

Hollie – “Honesty”
You can put her in a glittery bustier, but that doesn’t mean she still doesn’t come across as staid and boring. Sorry. I’m just not feeling Hollie lately. She certainly has pipes, but I’m not paying to see her in concert. I think tonight was her worst performance by a mile. Steven thought she was pitchy.

HALEY RINEHART is in the audience!!! Could tonight get any better? And she’s performing tomorrow night.

HeeJun – “Just The Way You Are”….
In addition to his great personality, I will give the guy credit for improving his style every week. I love that he screwed with Tommy Hilfiger. My other favorite Billy Joel song. Um…fakeout. He ripped off his faux tux and actually sung “My Life”. I have to say, I was prepared to experience a HeeJun disaster this week, especially if he had sung “Just The Way You Are”. I thought it was his best performance to date. I thought it was fun, and I thought he sounded great. Steven called him out for “taking the piss” out of the song, saying that the music business is going to chew him up and that he needs to take it a bit more seriously. Weird time to have that reaction to him. And weird that I am coming around to HeeJun just when the tide seems to have turned against him. I was way more entertained than I was during Hollie’s performance.

Jessica – “Everybody Has A Dream”
Diddy gave her good feedback. Told her he didn’t believe her when she sang. I’m glad they are trying to undo some of that child-star training and helping her be the performer she can be. As for her performance – flawless. Simply flawless. Steven said “when God was giving out vocal chords, you were so at the front of the line.”

Colton – “Piano Man”
Someone explain the Colton fervor to me. I was prepared to have this performance make me change my mind about him, given the way they were pumping him up in advance. Yes, it was a very, very, very good performance. And he is definitely in the top half of this group. But I’m not buying the fervor. Props though for basically giving Tommy the bird.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances:

  1. Jessica
  2. Elise
  3. Phillip
  4. Colton
  5. Erika
  6. Skylar
  7. Joshua
  8. HeeJun
  9. Hollie
  10. DeAndre

Tonight was a good example of why it makes sense for the Idol season to be as long as it is. These different genres and week-after-week performances really show whether someone is versatile and someone folks will want to watch over and over. Hollie has been disappearing as a contender for me in recent weeks. Jessica, Elise, and Phillip, however, have pulled themselves into a different stratosphere tonight, as far as I’m concerned.

Who’s Going Home

I want to say that it’s an easy call tonight. DeAndre is clearly so out of his depth at this point. I do think that in the end, he will go home. But let’s break it down anyway.

  • Jessica, Phillip, and Colton are slam-dunks to stay.
  • I would love to say the same for Elise, but I think America may not be listening. Even so, I think she may avoid scraping the bottom this week finally due to a bunch of lackluster performances.
  • I think that America will totally disagree with the judges, and I’ll bet that HeeJun isn’t even in the bottom three.
  • I think that either Skylar, Joshua, or Hollie could find themselves as visitors to the bottom three due to unmemorable performances. I’m going to put my money on Hollie this time around, because Skylar gets the country vote, people have accepted that Joshua is talented despite one bad night, and Hollie just seems like an old lady.
  • Much as I love her, and despite her radical makeover, I still don’t think Erika is connecting with America, so my money is on her re-visiting the bottom 3.

So I am going to say that the bottom three are: Erika, Hollie, and DeAndre, with DeAndre going home. I’m Brackensick of him anyway.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 11 Results

This is…American Sponsorships/Promotions.  Tonight’s exhibits:

  • JLo on the cover of Vogue’s new issue
  • JLo pushing her new single
  • Tommy Hilfiger has signed on to be the “Image Advisor” for the rest of the season.
  • Ford Music Video.
  • Demi Lovato Performs
  • Daughtry Performs
  • The ubiquitous Coke cups

Phillip, Skylar, Elise, & Joshua
Jimmy’s rooting for Phillip.  Jimmy thought Skylar could have done better.  Jimmy thought Elise was captivating.  I agree.  And of course, Jimmy loved Joshua as much as we did.

Joshua – SAFE
Phillip – SAFE
Skylar – SAFE
Elise – Bottom Three –  I hate you, America

Colton, Shannon, DeAndre, Jessica
Jimmy tries to defend himself for suggesting Endless Love and just throws it back on DeAndre’s performance.  Jimmy thinks it’s a pass week for Colton.  Thank goodness Jimmy thinks Shannon pushed too hard.  Jimmy defends Jessica’s song choice, and says that if she goes home, we should all go home.

Colton – SAFE
DeAndre – SAFE
Jessica – SAFE
Shannon – BOTTOM THREE!!!  I love you America!!!

Erika, HeeJun, Hollie
Jimmy gives Hollie straight A’s aside from how she was dressed (was Tommy Hilfiger on duty yet?).  Jimmy truly believes that there is going to be an Asian pop music sensation, but he’s not sure it will be HeeJun.  Jimmy thinks that Erika oversung last night.

Hollie – SAFE
Erika – Bottom Three – I hate you America
HeeJun – SAFE

So your bottom three are Elise, Shannon, and Erika.

THANK GOODNESS, Elise is immediately sent to safety.

And your bottom two are Shannon and Erika.

And America, I have to give it to you.  You made the right decision.  Erika is SAFE!!!

So Shannon must sing for her life.  Why in the world do they have her singing the same song that put her in the bottom?  All emotional and upset and she’s supposed to sing it better?  Well, she didn’t.  And the judges did not use their save.  Wise choice.

At the end of the day, I can say without question that this is actually a top 10 without any complete disasters.  Jeremy Rosado, Jermaine Jones, and Shannon Magrane were actually not disasters either, but they were the right ones to go.  HeeJun should not be in it because this is a singing competition and he’s not the greatest singer, but at least he is entertaining and a nice guy.  And if he goes out next week at #10, I think justice will have been served (and he will have a career in comedy), and I will be thrilled with the top 9 and potentially even at peace with the order in which they are dispatched.

I mean, Phillip Phillips will be a star no matter what.  Of that I am sure.  Joshua Ledet will be better off making a gospel/soul/r&b album as a runner-up then he will if he is forced to make some bland mainstream album if he wins.  Skylar Laine has done enough this season already to cement herself a great recording contract and is positioned to become a big country star.  Jessica Sanchez already has enough adulation to get all Pia Toscano and get herself a recording contract immediately.  Colton Dixon has also already done enough to get himself a recording contract, especially if he wants to go the Christian music route.  DeAndre Brackensick will get a recording contract because they obviously think he is marketable and with a lot of work, he will have a great niche voice (even though he will never win).

So that leaves us with three who I feel really need to win the competition to have decent careers.  The first is Hollie Cavanagh, who’s got a killer voice, but has yet to show star quality, immense charisma, or signs of being an artist.  She’s cute as a button, but not striking either.  She needs to come in first or second.

The last two are Elise Testone and Erika Van Pelt.  They don’t have killer looks, they aren’t tiny and cute, and they are both over 25.  America clearly isn’t rallying to their sides, and it ain’t their faults.  I think they both have the highest chances of going home unceremoniously early, but I also believe that if either of them were to win the competition, each could have big Kelly Clarkson-like careers.  They both have big talent and great charisma.

So based on who I like + who needs it most, I am rooting for Elise & Erika to make it to the very end.  I know the chances of this are about as good as Lee Dewyze’s of having any form of a real career.  But I’m not giving up hope just yet.

SEND HEEJUN HOME NEXT WEEK, FOLKS.

And on a personal note, I am training again for the New York City Triathon and raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  If you could help me out with a donation to get to my fundraising goal, I would be greatly appreciative.  You can visit my page at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri12/mwertheim .

Wertheim OUT.

American Idol Recap – Top 12 (11!) Performance Show – Buh-Bye Jermaine Jones

March 14, 2012 1 comment

It’s a big night tonight, given yesterday’s Jermaine Jones news. I’m looking forward to seeing how they choose to handle it. Ryan starts off saying that “one of our contestants had to be eliminated last night” but that we will find out about it later in the show. Smart strategy, Idol. Keep folks tuned in to increase ratings so they don’t drop off after you make the announcement.

Tonight, it’s “songs from your birth year” evening. If I were performing, I would sing “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” because Lenny was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.

Will.i.am joins Jimmy tonight.

Phillip Phillips – 1990 – “Hard to Handle” by Otis Redding (Black Crowes version)
Phillip performs for Jimmy & Will.i.am on his way to the hospital to have kidney stones removed. Damn. And he’s on the Idol stage giving another killer performance. Love this guy.

Jessica Sanchez – 1994 – “Turn the Beat Around” by Miami Sound Machine (their version)
What a risk – can she beat Diana DeGarmo’s season 3 version? Could anyone? The answer to both questions is a resounding – YES! Steven didn’t like it much. Yes, it wasn’t the best choice in the world for her. I give her points for trying to do something different and doing it well. But it didn’t show her being special.

HeeJun Han – 1989 – “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx
Will.i.am calls HeeJun out on his enunciation. Thank you. Randy thought he was terrible. Jennifer thinks his tone is so special and gorgeous. Steven thinks he has a special voice. Now look, I really like this guy. Great personality. And he got all spiffed up tonight. But come on, America. You can find a slew of much better singers in the Karaoke places in Koreatown in NYC. Had to say it.

Elise Testone – 1983 – “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green
YES ELISE! Thank you for showing everyone why you never should have been in the bottom last week. She has a great voice, is so charismatic, and such a great performer. I hope America gets wise to this. She has no business being the dark horse.

Deandre Brackensick – 1994 – “Endless Love” – Mariah & Luther Version
Well, I have never heard this as a solo before. It’s also a huge stretch to say this was a song from his birth year. But I guess neither were the others. Now, I don’t like DeAndre nearly as much as redacted friend does, but I do think this was his best performance so far. He wasn’t as cheesy as before. The judges didn’t think it was the right song for him. I can’t say I completely disagree. But I think they were harsher than necessary.

Shannon Magrane – 1995 – “One Sweet Day” by Mariah & Boyz2Men
Boy. Thank you, Shannon, for giving me so many reasons other than my first knee-jerk reaction to not want you to win. After last year’s debacle, WHY WHY WHY would you choose a MARIAH song? So so so so stupid. Have you never watched this show? Did you not listen to the critique last week? Come ON. Jennifer thinks she did a great job. Steven thought it was beautiful. Randy thinks she has mad potential. I think they were compensating for how critical they were last week and that they were neglectful in telling the truth, which is that she had no business singing that song.

Colton Dixon – 1991 – “Broken Heart” by White Lion
After an opening piece where Colton said he “hooked up” with Chris Daughtry last week, Colton gave a solid performance of a song no one knows. Steven thought it was the wrong song for Colton. Jennifer thinks Colton looks pretty when he sings. Randy thinks Colton was dope.

Erika Van Pelt – 1985 – “Heaven” by Bryan Adams
While I did not like the arrangement, I LOVE Erika’s voice. LOVE. The judges didn’t love the arrangement either. Well, Randy liked it. VOTE FOR ERIKA, AMERICA.

And now it is announced that Jermaine Jones is being booted. They filmed his booting! Nigel & Nigel confront him with his crimes. Four active warrants out for him! Dumb, Jermaine. Dumb. How could you think it wouldn’t get out? But on the other hand, Nigel & Nigel – unbelievable to film this, and not classy. Come on. I always tell people that talent shows are not the same as reality television. But this is crossing the line and proving me wrong. Oy. They do show his Tuesday rehearsal performance of “Somewhere Out There”, which was good. But doesn’t make me regret his loss. Ryan says that it’s business as usual though and that the contestant with the lowest number of votes tomorrow night “might” be in danger of being eliminated. Way to not commit!

Skylar Laine – 1994 – “Love Sneaking Up On You” by Bonnie Raitt
In the worst advice ever category, Will.i.am tries to get Skylar to sing Coolio’s version of “Fantastic Voyage”. Boy, Will.i.am is a bad guest mentor. Though I do think Skylar would have been better off choosing a different song. It wasn’t a good enough song for her. The judges thankfully recognized that she had a great performance, despite the fact that the song wasn’t great.

Joshua Ledet – 1992 – “When A Man Loves A Woman” – Michael Bolton Version
The State of Louisiana sent Joshua a huge vat of crawfish. Ewwwwww. On to the performance. I love Mantasia. America – stop being racist and homophobic. This guy is a real talent. There haven’t been many like him on this show, and he deserves to stay in this competition for a whole lot longer. Jennifer thinks it is the best thing she has ever seen on American Idol. Steven says he gave it up so big, God came through his eyes. And I like this guy. He’s neither arrogant nor fake humble.

Hollie Cavanagh – 1993 – “Power of Love” by Celine Dion
Hollie is clearly what keeps convincing Shannon that she can tackle the biggies. But Hollie can, Shannon. You cannot. Hollie did great. And I really like her. It’s amazing how this huge voice comes out of this little person. I haven’t yet heard anything to show me that she is unique or an artist, but she’s certainly a great singer.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances:

  1. Joshua Ledet
  2. Phillip Phillips
  3. Hollie Cavanagh
  4. Elise Testone
  5. Jessica Sanchez
  6. Colton Dixon
  7. Erika Van Pelt
  8. Skylar Laine
  9. DeAndre Brackensick
  10. Shannon Magrane
  11. HeeJun Han

What’s Going To Happen:

Alright. Let’s work this through:

  • Phillip Phillips, Hollie Cavanagh, Colton Dixon, and Skylar Laine are safe.
  • I am going to put my money on Shannon Magrane being safe as well, because America clearly doesn’t hate her nearly as much as I do, and the judges gave her a free pass this evening.
  • I want to want to want to believe that America will also vote Joshua Ledet through this week, but I can’t promise anything. After all, he was near the bottom last week. And we all know what once happened with Pia Toscano.
  • That leaves us with Jessica Sanchez, Erika Van Pelt, Elise Testone, DeAndre Brackensick, and Heejun Han. All could potentially appear in the bottom 3 (with an improbable, but possible, appearance by Joshua). If I had to put money on it, I would say that Jessica skates through based on her past performances, and Heejun also skates through (despite being the clear worst this week) based on his Heejun-ness.
  • So I am going to say your bottom three this week will be Erika Van Pelt, Elise Testone, and DeAndre Brackensick. Erica because of the arrangement, Elise because of last week, and DeAndre because of song choice. And while DeAndre is the only one of the three who I think deserves to be in the bottom three this week, one of the women will be the lowest vote-getter.

Should Go Home:

Heejun Han or Shannon Magrane.

Most Likely To Go Home:

Elise Testone or Erika Van Pelt

Will Go Home:

No one. I don’t think there will be an elimination this week.

Fare thee well, Jermaine. I guess the Gentle Giant wasn’t so gentle after all.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 13 Results Show

The show starts off with the top 13 performing Stevie Wonder’s “As”, which was both uneven and made me just wish Mary J would come out and slay that song like she did with George Michael.  Unfortunately Jer Ber Rosado started the song off and continues to expose his being out of his depth.  The highlights for me were clearly Erika, Phillip, and Skylar.  Interestingly enough, the boys were split up into one group and Colton and Phillip were on their own.  I suspect the producers are trying to send a message that they are the two male contenders.

Jessica, Elise, and Holly are called up first.  Jimmy thinks Elise is in trouble.  Jimmy thinks Hollie “suited up and showed up.”  Jimmy thinks that Jessica’s performance was the best performance ever on American Idol.

Jessica – SAFE
Elise – In the bottom 3 girls
Holly – SAFE

Next up – HeeJun, Jermaine, and Colton.  Jimmy thinks that Stevie Wonder showed off all of HeeJun’s flaws.  Jimmy doesn’t think that Colton has found “his truth” yet.  Jimmy thinks Jermaine had an internal battle going on between timing and tone and he lost both.

Colton – SAFE
HeeJun – SAFE
Jermaine – In the bottom 3 guys

LAUREN ALAINA returns to the Idol stage.  She looks great.  She’s way more confident and at least I don’t feel like her voice isn’t going to hold up.  But she can’t hold a candle to pretty much any of the women on the stage right now. Except maybe Shannon.  What a difference a year makes.

Back to the results.  Erika, Shannon, and Skylar are next.  Jimmy thinks Erika did a great job.  Jimmy agrees that Shannon’s nerves tightened up her vocal chords last night.  Jimmy likes nasal, and he likes Skylar.  Yes, that’s what he said.

Erika – In the bottom 3 girls
Skylar – SAFE
Shannon – In the bottom 3 girls

And the final boys are called – Joshua, Deandre, Phillip, & Jeremy.  Jimmy worries that America will get bored of Joshua’s voice after awhile.  Jimmy thinks Deandre was a pleasant surprise last night – guess he’s not going home.  Jimmy worries that the girls’ vocal fireworks could outshine Phillip.  I agree, but as I said last night, it doesn’t matter if this dude doesn’t win.  Jimmy thinks Stevie Wonder ballads are made for Jeremy’s voice and he didn’t deliver.  He thinks Jeremy will go.

Phillip – SAFE
Jeremy – In the bottom 3 guys
Deandre – SAFE
Joshua – In the bottom 3 guys – America is racist AND homophobic

So, the bottom 3 girls are: Elise, Erika, and Shannon, as predicted.
The bottom 3 guys are: Jeremy & Jermaine, as predicted, and a shocker – Joshua.

Thankfully, Ryan sends Joshua and Erika to safety pretty much immediately.

Mary J. Blige is out next.  Wonder if she’ll outperform Lauren Alaina.  Ha.  I love you, Mary J.  You looked and sounded great.

Back to reality.  Steven says that Jeremy deserves to leave tonight.  Dang.  That’s harsh coming from Steven.  Jermaine is declared SAFE.  And in a horrific mistake by America, Shannon is declared safe.

So the Bottom Two are:

  • Jeremy
  • Elise

I have to believe the judges are going to do the right thing here.  Not only do they like Elise, but we have already have both Steven and Jimmy say Jeremy needs to go home.  Come on guys.

And the contestant going home tonight is…

JEREMY ROSADO.

Thank goodness.

So what have we learned tonight?

  1. Neither Elise Testone nor Joshua Ledet have a chance in hell of winning this whole thing.  America spoke clearly tonight.  At this point, it looks like Joshua will be the (more talented) Pia Toscano of 2012.  I can only hope that Elise puts aside the ridiculous flagellation she took this week and performs with the confidence she deserves to have next week.
  2. America isn’t totally tone-deaf.  They did have the sense to put Shannon, Jeremy, and Jermaine in the bottom.
  3. If it’s the entire Idol machine vs. JLo, the Idol machine wins.  Goodbye Jeremy Rosado.  You were a waste of a wild card, and I’m glad you won’t be taking up a valuable spot for weeks to come.

Frankly, I think it was a little silly to put 6 people in the bottom tonight out of 13 total. The bottom 4 were actually not shocking whatsoever.  Maybe they did it to create a need for people to get out and vote for Joshua and let them know we shouldn’t assume he’s safe?

In the end, it was as it should have been.  Jeremy was #13.

Wertheim Out.

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