Sharyn Jackson is your American Idol host for season eight. This week: the iTunes sales plugging Top 9!
The producers simply can’t justify another two-hour show with only nine contestants remaining, so they’ve graciously cut back to 90 minutes of karaoke goodness. They seriously couldn’t think of another infomercial to add to the show to fill the time lapse? Scratch that–tonight’s theme is top iTunes downloads. The contestants drive over to Ryan Seacrest’s Top 40 radio show in a Ford vehicle; there they try to imagine what it’d be like to have recorded one of the handful of songs played at high school dances around the country.
Anoop starts the night off singing Usher’s “Caught Up,” but he’s first introduced on stage by a trio of dancing ladies. The backup gals are really getting a lot of screen time this season–hopefully their career trajectories are going better than poor Anoop Dawg’s, ’cause this performance is pretty dismal. Randy says Anoop picked up his swagger, and Kara speculates that some frat guys dared him to sing Usher (haha). The frat guys in the audience boo. Paula tells Anoop to work on his stage presence and Simon calls him a wannabe.
Megan’s singing Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low.” I have some hope tonight, because it seems like it could be a good fit for her, even with that stupid vocal affectation. She’s completely full of herself during her preview video and it’s unwarranted, because she’s just as sheepy as ever. She does her awkward little Megan non-dance and baaaaas a few times. Kara says it was irritating. Paula tells her to sit down for her performance. Simon calls her indulgent. Randy reminds us, “You can love a song, but it doesn’t mean you have to sing it.” Megan retorts that her fans will vote. Cocky bitch is going home!
He picks “modern country” tune Rascal Flatts’s “What Hurts the Most.” I think the top download on iTunes is actually the manic version of this song–the one you can dance to on Dance Dance Revolution–but whatevs, Danny made a good choice, going back to his sappy widower origins after last week’s Motown debacle. He’s energizing the base! Paula, love. Simon, love. Randy, love. Kara, love.
She’s playing guitar! I didn’t know she even could. Allison’s singing No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak.” Yesssssss. But what the heck kind of animal did they sculpt into her hair? Her singing is amazing, but the guitar is distracting. Luckily she gives it up by the first chorus. Randy asks her what the hell she’s wearing. Simon makes well-deserved fun of her.
Hannah Montana The Movie looks awesome! As does High School Musical The TV Show (also known as Glee). Idol‘s back. This week, Scott has the liberty to do a Billy Joel song, even though he’s been trying to replicate him every performance, from MJ to Motown week. Scott does that heart-tugging lite rock hit “Just the Way You Are” and makes it incredibly boring and stressful, if that’s even possible. Kara says it came from an honest place, “which you know how to do well.” Paula: “Of all the contestants who grace the stage, I’m the most proud of you.” Randy calls it the best of the night. Looks like after Blind Guy’s visit to the bottom three last week, the judges’ disability-related condescension is back.
Matt also had to endure the uncomfortable Bottom Three stools last week. So to fight back, he’s delivering what he seems to think is an obscure single from the Fray, “When I’m Gone.” I wouldn’t go that route if I thought I was in trouble. Luckily the song is not that obscure, and his voice is pretty good. Paula thought it was too much like his disastrous Coldplay performance. Simon said Matt wasn’t being himself. Matt says he wants to show us he can do more than R&B. I’m there with him–stick around, Matt!
She’s had enough of the judges busting her about song choice. So this week, she attempts Celine Dion. Another iffy decision. Another brilliant hairdo. Lil’s gorgeous! But she’s no Celine, one of the soft-rock queens I completely and utterly revere. And no one’s ever tackled her well on this show. Lil’s singing is flat, and that’s only part of the problem. Randy and Kara question the song choice again. Paula tells her to stay away from adult contemporary. Simon says to “stop this.” Everyone tells her to be Mary J. Blige. Ryan tries to help Lil out by interviewing her little girls! It’s cheap, but oh-so-cute.
They always sequester him till the end of the show! He holds all the ratings, apparently. That’s a good sign! A commercial for Prince’s new CD is the perfectly apropos lead-in for Adam’s rendition of “Play that Funky Music.” The tempo is all over the place, Adam does some of his signature falsetto wailing, and the whole thing is very theatrical. That’s nothing new from Adam, but it’s like a ’70s funk jukebox musical or some Jersey Boys kind of deal on Broadway. Paula dances her ass off. Simon applauds his originality. Randy says Adam’s in the “star zone.”
What a pleasure that by the time we get to number nine, the show is just about over. Kris closes it up with “Ain’t No Sunshine” on keyboard. “I’m gonna try to make one of those ‘moments,’ ya know?” Kris has figured out that manipulation is the winning strategy on this show. His face is getting more and more beautiful each week. His singing’s not so bad, either. Kara gives him three words: “That is artistry.” (And she counts her words correctly this week.) Randy, Paula, and Simon say it was Kris’s best.
My guess for the Bottom 3:
Megan Joy, Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds