Usually I live blog AI but today I write the day after, knowing just how wrong everything went last night and trying to find the enthusiasm to write about it. The only redeeming aspect of this mixed bag of a final 13 is that there is plenty of snark fodder left. Imagine if good singers like Lauren Turner, Robbie Rosen and Jovany Barreto were still on the show. What obnoxious thing could I write about them?
But have no fear, the American public did not let me down.
I get more weeks with Casey "I am the Greatest" Abrams, who makes circa 1970 Muhammad Ali seem timid. Of Randy, he says, "I think I might play upright bass better than him." Wow, that is what the pop charts are desperate for, a great upright bass player. American Idol is certainly keyed into what's hot now. Poor non-upright bass playing Bruno Mars, his career is so over. So Casey Abrams is a sex symbol? How unfair is life for women? This slovenly, unkempt lump is a sex symbol and if a woman carries three extra pounds, let alone looks like she hasn't groomed since the Bush administration, she would not be getting squeals from the audience.
And I will hear more from my favorite, Jacob Lusk, who sounds like a cross between Mahalia Jackson and Divine. He has molested, manhandled, mistreated and abused notes to the point that the musical scale should seek a restraining order. It would take him five days, an oxygen tank, and a blood transfusion to get through the Star Spangled Banner. He is physically incapable of singing the original melody and all song writers should sue him for nonsupport.
Then I get at least another week with Paul "I just brush really hard" McDonald and his blisteringly white choppers. I'll believe you've never bleached your teeth if you admit that your raspy, it's-so-quirky voice is a bad Rod Stewart impersonation gone wrong. I believe that if you drank some tea with honey before you sang, you could clear up that throat condition and actually carry the notes in a pleasing way. But if you continues to squeak and rattle like that, I'll have to take you in to Jiffy Lube and see if they can fix it.
Tonight we say goodbye to the best natural voice in the competition, Jovany Barreto. Now, I may not have been a huge Jovany supporter, putting him fourth on my list, but I can appreciate a pure, controlled singing voice when I hear one. Apparently, good voices are not what this competition is about. So we also say goodbye to 11th grader Robbie Rosen, he of the pronounced proboscis, who has it all, talent, personality and a terrific voice. What he didn't have is the judges shilling for him like some of the others and that, sadly, is the story so far this year. The judges may change, but their manipulation stays the same.
Now, I'm not uniformly upset with America -- or the judges' -- choices. It was particularly fun to say goodbye to Clint "No Chubby Boys in My Party" Gamboa and Jordan "Next!" Dorsey. If you're unclear on the concept, boys, it's called Karma. You put out mean stuff, you get bad stuff in return. It's why Casey and Jacob are still in the competition -- that's Karma smacking me in the face. Oh, and Clint, those glasses? Not eccentric or cool, simply fugly.
The people did a little better with the women. Lauren Alaina has been a frontrunner since day one and she's been consistently great, even when switching genres on me and going all country like she did Wednesday. I was a little shocked with the bait and switch, but she can sing in any genre. And Pia's performance last night was worthy of all the judges' over-the-top fawning. Since they were my top two last night, I'm feeling a little smug. So this is how Casey Abrams feels all the time. Nice.
What should I make of the fact that the first two moved on to the top ten are country singers? I'm a little afraid. Hold me.
Julie Zorilla said even if she's cut she'll be eternally grateful. Wonder if she's still feeling that this morning. If it were me, I'd be feeling a bit more "suck it America," but then I'm old and bitter.
Karen Rodriguez made it into the top ten over Kendra Chantelle. They must have voted based on the earlier rounds, not last night. But whatever, or cualquier, as Karen would say, because Latinos are back!
Casey Abrams may be the only non-funny Jew in America (unless you haven't been at all amused by this post, in which case you can add my name to the list). His idea of humor is to repeat what someone says to him. So in answer to what does is feel like to be called sexy by a sex symbol like JLo he responded, I feel sexy. I remember another Casey from last year who, even during the pressure of AI, always had a funny comeback. Wonder whatever happened to him.
What was all that grunting and groaning when Casey and Jacob (and the later-departed Tim Halperin) were embraced in that giant bear hug? So, even when they're not singing they make unpleasant noises.
If we were picking guys with unusual voices, I sure wish they'd gone with Brett Lowenstern over Paul McDonald. I'm not sure I can deal with watching Paul's hair slowly disappear as the show goes on, it reminds me of David Cook's unfortunate 'do that was desperately trying to hang on to each last lock.
With screamer turned good singer James Durbin making it to the top ten, I was five for ten in my predictions. Great for a major leaguer, not so great as AI predictions go.
Speaking of screaming, Ashthon does her best divaish take on the Dreamgirls belterriffic song. Kendra nails the end of her song, showing she can knock it out with the best of them.
Jovanny sings Angel like, well, an Angel. Has there ever been such a pure voice as his on this show? It's like polished glass. I don't know why the judges didn't like him except for his voice doesn't match his stage presence. He's just not as electric on stage as he needs to be. JLo said it best when she said he did all he could do. He sang great, but for some reason that's not enough. Naima sang for her life and couldn't find the right notes if they hit her between the ears, but she has presence and star power, so that is enough. Yes, Jovany, life is unfair.
Also unfair was the fall of early front-runner Julie Zorilla. Gifted by god with looks and talent, how did she find herself on a one-way bus to join Janelle Wheeler in Who?ville. She went quickly from the one to watch to the one we'll forget by next week. It's even harder to say good bye to Lauren and Brett and Rachel and Tim. The only upside for them is that they learn early that the music business is cruel and unfair and can now become cynical and bitter at a much younger age.
Robbie Rosen sings, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, and they do a closeup on Randy and his frozen half smile does not bode well for the high school junior. Stefano Langone's vocals were equally strong, probably his best performance to date, and he has extra points in the cute department, so it's not a shocker when he's the judge's choice. I don't get their other selections, Ashthon and Naima, and I would have taken both Robbie and Jovany over either of them. But it's not up to me. Yeah, I don't get why not either.
I think this is an American Idol first -- no contestant from the Lone Star State. That must violate some reality TV show rule. But, really, how could they follow their representative from last year? And, no, I'm not talking about Tim Urban.
So here's your top 13: Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Pia Toscano, Thia Megia, Stefano Langone, James Durbin, Haley Reinhart, Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones, Paul McDonald, Jacob Lusk, Casey Abrams, and Naima Adedapo. I have to somehow come to grips with the fact that my two favorites still in the running are both country singers. This is not a pleasant turn of events. I'm feeling a bit feverish and dizzy, maybe it'll pass. Next week maybe they'll both sing a Metallica song. See you then!