Film and TV

American Idol Top 9: 3 Pianos, 1 Guitar, And a Heaping Plate of Cheesiness

What's up, fellow AI watchers? After a brief hiatus, I am back, here to write on a Michael Sarver, Jasmine Murray, Jorge Nunez and Alexis Grace-less Idol. We shed a single tear for them all, and sing an off-key version of "I Will Survive" in honor of all their efforts.

To be honest, I pretty much forgot any of them existed during last night's show (although I did appreciate how they flashed a picture of Sarver on the screen, as if he was a dead actor during the "In Memoriam" part of the Oscars). What I hadn't forgotten was how cheesy Anoop Desai can be; how much Paula loves to butcher the English language; and how annoying Megan Corkery has gotten. It was an episode with a few bright spots, but overall, only a couple of people really brought their A-game with a theme--most popular downloads on iTunes--that should have been a slam-dunk for all of them. Here we go:   

First, we're shown clips of the Top 9 on a field trip to Seadouche's radio studio, where he talked to them in a really condescending way about what it takes to put on a radio show. The whole thing smacked of a middle school field trip, but considering that most of the time, AI is reminiscent of a middle school talent show, it was probably apropos.

Then we get thrown into the performances, because we need to speed through these suckers tonight to make way for Osbournes: Reloaded (which I mistakenly watched five minutes of--five minutes of my life I will never get back. Damn you, Ozzy!)

Anoop Desai: Anoop informs us in his video package that he wants to "go out there and have fun." Well, duh. I hould hope so. And his song choice to do that with? Usher's "Caught Up." Oh, Anoop. I know you're in a frat, and thus think you are tough, but, like most frat boys suffering under that delusion, you are mistaken. And your version was bad, bad, bad. Randy was (surprisingly) on the mark when he said that the vocals were good, but the song choice was bad. I do still have hope for him, though--he just needs to get out of his "My Perogative" rut, which was funny the first time and is now getting kind of old. Ah, well, at least he's got the Noop Dogs on his side.

Megan Corkery: Or just "Megan Joy," as she has apparently taken to calling herself (which, by the say, if one of my biggest AI pet peeves--you can't change horses in midstream, and you can't change names in the middle of the season.) For that and several other reasons, I am no longer feeling the Megan love. I'll be honest--this bitch is starting to annoy the crap out of me. Most people agree that she should have gone home last week, and she wasn't even in the bottom three. I call shenanigans. Her version of Lauryn Hill/Bob Marley's "Turn Your Lights Down Low" made me want to grab her by one of her skinny braids and throw her off the stage. She kept saying she wanted to give us "some good, good loving," but all I got from the performance was that maybe she wanted to give me a good handshake. The judges called it boring, and I call it boring and bad, which, on AI, equals the kiss of death. But of course she got all cocky and told the judges that she thinks her fans are going to feel it. Mmkay, honey, good luck with that.

Danny Gokey: I think last night happened in bizarro world, because while I started to hate the once-loved Megan, I'm actually starting to like Danny. Es posible? The tides could turn again at any moment, but I actually dug his version of Rascall Flatts' "What Hurts the Most," (and I'm not even a little bit of a country fan), he resisted the urge to talk about dead wifey, and he didn't even talk about his grandfather who just died, which Danny Gokey of weeks past would have milked for all it was worth. The judges liked it, and I might--might--be warming to him. Just a little bit. Though I still think he's secretly a pompous ass and owns way too many glasses.

Allison Iraheta: She took the stage looking like one of those Norfin troll dolls, complete with a crazy-ass pink clip on, as if her hair needed to get any more pink. She unnecessarily played guitar at the beginning of her performance of No Doubt's "Don't Speak," which I didn't think hit it ot of the ballpark. I love her voice, but she seemed super nervous last night. It wasn't bad, and she might have even had the best female performance of the night, though that aint saying a whole hell of a lot. The judges mostly commented on her outfit, which is never a good sign. A rare misstep for her, but I think she'll bring it again next week.

Scott MacIntyre: Of course he decides to play a Billy Joel song--he even styles (or, I have to assume, his brother styles) his hair into a crazy late-1970s era Billy high fro type of thing. Scott, don't you read our music editor Martin Cizmar's reviews? Billy Joel is old news. Anyway, old Scott made a pretty decent go of it, though his blank, vacant stare is starting to creep me out a little. All the other contestants seem to close their eyes when they sing (I think Matt Giraud and Kris Allen had their eyes closed the whole time)--an idea, perhaps? It definitely wasn't the best performance of the night, as Randy Jackson would have us believe, but it definitely wasn't the worst, either. The judges ate it up, especially Paula, who said out of all the contestants, she was most proud of him, though she was quick to point out that it wasn't because of his "challenge." Yeah right, and you're also not hopped up on vicodin every show.

Matt Giraud: He was surprisingly in the bottom three last week, and came out this week with The Fray's "You Found Me." He performed surrounded by a sea of 14-year-old girls, giving the whole performance a creepy air of subtle pedophilia. The judges, who are trying to pin the Taylor Hicks kiss of death "soul" title on Matt, didn't dig it, but I thought it was a really good, solid performance. He clearly wants to do pop, the judges want him to do soul, and I think at some point, there will be a battle. Blood will be shed. And the judges will be victorious. There are too many of them, Matt. Just do what they say, and do your pop stuff in your free time. Anyway, I think he got unfairly reemed--his performance was definitely in the Top 5 of the night for me.

Lil Rounds: Lil and her ass performed Celine Dion's "I Surrender." Seriously Lil? Seriously?? You had all those songs to choose from, and that's the one you choose? She says during her video package that "America will love this song," which is true if all of America is made up of 50-year-old white women. She sang it well, but I basically took a two minute nap during her performance. The judges were not liking it. But she saved herself by wisely 1) crying and 2) having adorable children Well played, Lil.

Adam Lambert: Adam, can we talk? About your weird, slicked-back hair that you've been sporting the past couple of weeks. It's weird. It doesn't work on you. I love you, I love your over-the-top performances, even on songs as odd as "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)," but that hair has got to go. OK? OK. Sidenote: I love that your performance inspired Kara to say, "It's like Studio 57 up in here!" Really Kara? Where is Studio 57? I'd love to visit sometime. I wonder if it's anything like Studio 54...

Kris Allen: Kris had the money end-of-the-show position, and he made the most of it. His version of Bill Withers' "Aint No Sunshine" was original and sexy. The whole being married thing might put some of the teeny boppers off of him, but their moms will pick up the voting slack, guaranteed. The judges loved it, and I think it was the best performance of the night. 

 Prediction time!
Will be in the bottom three: Anoop Desai, Megan Corkery, Lil Rounds
Should be in the bottom three: Anoop Desai, Megan Corkery, Lil Rounds

Who goes home:
I think it's finally Megan's turn to go. You don't want to become this season's Sanjaya Megan, do you?

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Yvonne Zusel
Contact: Yvonne Zusel