American Idol Semi-Finals 2: Norman Gentle in a Tux, Adam Lambert Shoots Rainbows, and Attack of the Duffy Clones


Sharyn Jackson is your American Idol host for season eight. This week: Woo woo, the second round of semi-finals!

It’s Round Two of semi-finals, and this 12 consists of a welder, a bartender, a font designer, and Norman Gentle. Simon says it’s too late for advice, but that can’t be true: I can think of a few pointers these contenders will inevitably need.

Before we even start, I’m going to root for Nick Mitchell and Adam Lambert, because any guys that can do “And I Am Telling You” and Cher’s “Believe,” respectively, are my kind of guys. And the judges seem to have swapped seats this week–are they backwards? Am I seeing things? And apparently no more family circle debriefing. Thank goodness–that was cheap.

1. Jasmine Murray

You know her: this is the girl who is so beautiful, it’s irritating. Seriously, pretty is the new ugly. And her voice is also sort of irritating. She listened to Kara last week–who last week advised Ann Marie Boskovich that “Love Song” would have been a good pick–but her pitch is all over the place. At least she’s sassy. She’s strangely confident for the way she sounds. They show us Jasmine’s “mom and friend.” I wonder if it’s her “special” friend. Randy tells Jasmine that she should have sung Rihanna–is that even okay anymore? Thumbs down from Kara, Paula, and Simon.

2. Matt Giraud

The dueling piano player from Kalamazoo is singing Coldplay in a cheap shot to get us to vote for him. Oh whatever, it’s no holds barred. Except him! Bar him from finals! This sucks. He’s like Glinda the Good Witch–he’s got more vibrato than Babeland’s stock room. No’s all around. At least it was better than in rehearsal, says Paula. Simon says Matt sounded like a wannabe pop star, but that argument doesn’t really hold up on this show, now does it?

3. Jeanine Vailes

I don’t remember her from Hollywood, but she is gawgeous! Tyra pre-weight-gain. She’s singing “This Love” and has a good start but then just shrieks the hell out of it. Still, those short shorts… what? Paula’s with me–she tells Jeanine she has great legs. Simon and Randy agree. Kara compliments her lips. This is sexual harassment! A very hostile work environment, if you ask me.

4. Nick Mitchell

Here’s a former fat kid who grew up to be a sad, old gay. Yay I love him! In his video he admits he’s not the next Justin Timberlake, but you know what? I think he is. He comes out as Norman Gentle and does “And I Am Telling You” again, only this time he dressed up the shiny shirt with a white tux jacket and Bermuda shorts. It’s kind of just awful and amazing, including a caress of the American Idol logo under the judges’ table, a bit of stripping, and the best last note to this song ever. Take that J-Hud. Simon all but begs America to send Nick home. But Randy, Paula, Kara and the audience, are so into him. I think the hologram shirt has hypnotized them.

5. Allison Iraheta

Ryan asks the 16-year-old what Idol school is like. “It’s a room,” she says. She’s singing “Alone”–already? You blow that wad in semi-finals, no one else gets to do it the rest of the season! A lot of faux-rocker girls are gonna have a bone to pick with this one. Especially if she does it well. It’s one of those songs that becomes a seasonal personal anthem (see: Carrie Underwood). And it’s good! Randy says, “It’s a funny show tonight, we had some comedy, some bad singing.” That’s a good way to sum it up. But, he says, this girl “blew it out the box.” And the gals agree. Simon reminds us that five minutes ago Allison was dull and lifeless in an interview with Ryan. He wants her to get a personality. But David Archuleta never got one and that worked out just fine for him!

6. Kris Allen

Blah blah blah, something boring in his video. He’s singing “Man in the Mirror.” After Stephen Fowler’s MJ mishap last week, is that such a good idea? No! Okay, it’s not that bad, just a snoozer, and I don’t like his hop-dance-shimmy. Whoa, some girls who look like the cast of Hairspray–Norman Gentle’s fag-hags?–are cheering for him. Kara says the song was a bad pick, but Paula and Simon say he nailed it. Randy calls him baby.

7. Megan Corkery

Another mommy. But this one didn’t start as nice and neat as Alexis Grace–she has tats. So far, everyone’s has loved her for her totally affected smoky old-lady lounge-singer voice, which can’t really be that hard to do. She’s singing “Put Your Records On.” Ugh! Why is this song so popular on Idol? I never even heard this on the radio before it crept into Season 3 and never left. What is Megan doing with her arms? They are flailing around while she stands awkwardly in place. It seems as though she has a really weird body. Baby weight? But this girl has something to her. The judges like her. Randy: “You definitely dropped dead.” I think that’s a positive.

8. Matt Breitzke

The other Michael Sarver. We can’t have a welder when we already have an oilman. Too bad, he actually sings a lot better than the roughneck on “The Way She Loves Me.” And I don’t get as much of a Crazy Christian vibe off of him. You know, in an interview last week, Michael Sarver said that he and Danny Gokey sit around backstage and talk about God at Spontaneous Idol Prayer Group. Anyway, the judges didn’t like Matt tonight, even though they all admit they like him in general.

9. Jesse Langseth

She beat out Franky Winehouse in a “Sing For Your Life” sudden death at the Judges’ Mansion a couple weeks ago, and I’m not totally sure why. This girl does not have a TV face. She chose “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. Awesome song. But she’s singing it in Megan Corkery voice. This is totally the way pop is going. Randy doesn’t think she showed enough range. Kara says this is her best look–a polite way of saying You Ugly.

10. Kai Kalama

I’ve had this guy’s name in my head all day. Like, every time my mind wandered at work, I started daydreaming “Kai Kalama Kai Kalama.” He looks kind of like Sayid from Lost. He stares creepily at us while singing “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted,” but he sounds better than any other male tonight. I get the feeling he already knew how to sing before the Idol boot camp did their work. Judges think his rendition was old-fashioned, with a pitch problem here and there. Simon says he’s not memorable and Randy says it was safe. Did these guys hear the same thing I did?

11. Mishavonna Henson

Great earrings in her video! What ethnicity do you think she is? On “Drops of Jupiter” she does neo-soul loungy Megan Corkery/Jesse Langseth/Adele/Duffy-affectedness. So over it. She looks like Lauren Graham! Ok, I like that about her. The judges are hard on her. They say she needs to loosen up. Take your shirt off! The judges have definitely chosen Megan as the Duffy they want this season.

12. Adam Lambert

Gaydar! He sang Cher’s “Believe”–acoustic style–in Hollywood. Tonight he does “Satisfaction” in shoulder pads. This lost Jonas Brother can sing! And the stage erupts into rainbows! Halfway through, he kind of freaks out on the song. Uh oh, Simon’s not gonna like him for his “theatrics.” It is a little much. But if Adam makes it through, we won’t even need Norman Gentle. He gets some love and some hate from the judges, but it’s mostly love.

You had two hours to vote, America! Here are my predictions and/or wishes:

Top boy: Adam Lambert

Top girl: Megan Corkery

Third place: Nick Mitchell

Possible Wild Cards for Round 4:
Allison Iraheta
Kai Kalama

Top 12, So far:
1. Danny Gokey
2. Michael Sarver
3. Alexis Grace

Archive Highlights