Before I begin recapping tonight's show, let's look back at last night and see what we learned. Randy Jackson does not know the meaning of "to turn the other cheek" and thinks New Orleans is a state. He was unable to find any good name-dropping opportunities during Carole King Week ... which should make it a staple of future seasons if this show lasts beyond Season 10. Steven can actually say something besides "that was beautiful" but whatever else he adds is even less helpful and nearly impossible to decipher. And JLo is a guy magnet, even for guys of questionable heterosexuality.
Ryan reminds us that this is an elimination night which means "a lot of fans are going to be disappointed with tonight's results." Spoiler alert -- not this blogger!
The top six did a medley of Carole King's songs and, for those of you hearty souls who want to brave the AI Live Summer Tour, let's hope none of these songs are performed. In fact, I'd say that this group, because of its noted diversity of styles, is possibly the least able to harmonize of any prior collection of Idol contestants. Every time two of them gets together, it's painful. But, when a greater multiple tries to sing together, it's a mad dash by the home audience to the mute button.
Who sounded the worst? I'd say the honor has to go to Jacob Lusk. As bad as he is singing alone, when you hear his Kermit under water voice contrasting with the clear sounds of Lauren or James, it's disorienting. But no one came away unscathed and the producers may want to consider scrapping medleys for the duration. Or maybe use it as a product placement opportunity, a graphic of a bottle of Pepto Bismol would work just fine.
Although tonight their awful group singing was actually surpassed by how poorly each of them can do an English accent. Is it really that hard? Dear readers: In honor of tonight's final Michael Scott episode of The Office let's say together: "that's what she said."
Before we get into the results, last season's robbed second-place finisher, Crystal Bowersox, comes back to the Idol stage to sing "Riding with the Radio." Well someone has sure gone country! What happened to our midwest hippie chick? So instead of Lillith Fair, she's off to CMA Fest. She had one guy playing the mouth organ, another on steel guitar, and of the many choices on her very good debut album she (??) picked the most countrified one. She still has a great voice, is a passionate performer, and a solid songwriter. But I'm sorry to see her go down south.
For this week's twist, we have Jimmy Iovine weigh in about each of the remaining contestants before we hear their fate. Jimmy was a little tough on Haley Reinhart...first he said she has one of the best voices in the competition, but he claims that Haley doesn't know who she is...Haley was not buying it and apparently used some epithet to express her disagreement. Well, that should bode well for their future working arrangement. We'll find out as Haley is safe and will be back next week.
Scotty McCreery is more accepting of Jimmy's suggestion that some of the subtlety he showed last night in his soft, tender rendition of You've Got a Friend may not result in sufficient votes. But, ultimately (meaning after unnecessary drama, because there was no way Scotty was going anywhere!), Scotty was told he was safe.
Jimmy has a lot of faith in Lauren Alaina and it is not misplaced as the very young, very good singer is eventually told she is safe. Then Jimmy gives the quote of the night. Nay, the quote of the season. In discussing Casey Abrams' growling/grunting vocals, Jimmy says "Casey has got to realize that the family dog does not vote on this show." He predicts that Casey is safe (a psychic, he's not). Ryan asks Casey about the grunting (finally!) and he explains that heh as a theory about it, that he has "this passion for music that I have to get out." I suppose this means he's confirming our suspicion ... he's possessed. As we all know, he eventually gets the bad news. But not yet.
James Durbin is clearly the new frontrunner. Jimmy loved him, the judges love him, and, according to Jimmy, if he picks the right songs "he can win this thing." He is sent to safety, joining Haley. Jimmy thinks Jacob Lusk's sartorial misstep last night could lead him out the door. His prediction is that Jacob's foot is precariously placed on a banana peel the exact color of that ugly shirt he wore last night. But, though it comes down to Jacob and Casey, who Jimmy had early predicted would be safe, it is Jacob who is off to Top 5 status.
And with that the second Vote for the Worst pick is eliminated. Casey Abrams is no more. He does one more self-indulgent, grunt-filled performance and is once again treated like the second coming. But, at least it turns out that the voting public didn't fall for it.
Now, I'm sure many of you are expecting me to dance on Casey Abrams' AI grave, something akin to how I reacted to the elimination of Court Jester Paul McDonald. But those two guys are very different. Paul is a 27-year-old grown up with an extensive body of work behind him who took to the Idol stage like the comedy relief between acts at the Apollo. He should have been followed on stage by someone wielding a broom -- it was ridiculous, from his neon outfits to his barely croaked-out vocals.
Casey is just 19, an only child of much older parents, raised among the NPR listening, tree hugging, jazz music loving people of Idyllwild, California. Of course, he's going to bring out a stand up bass and try scatting, I'm sure it makes his parents beam with pride. My problem with Casey Abrams has always been with the judges who have created a monster, showering him with undeserved adulation and never giving him any realistic critiques. They saved him when they should have listened to America and instead, like a drunk's enabler offering DUI bail money, continued to tell him that every off-putting thing he did was magical. The grunting, the lumbering menacingly around the stage, the crazed serial killer looks, the enraged teeth baring all while talk-shouting through songs...not once did they suggest those were not great artistic choices.
Is Casey Abrams this talented musician he's been touted to be? Perhaps. But what he turned into on the show was a psychotic Jack Black ramping up the creepiness factor in his performances week after week. And why not? He was getting praise and attention for it. So I will say that I wish him well. I hope he can go back to focusing on what it is about music that he loves and not what it is about being in the limelight that he craves.