Two hours? Really, American Idol? You needed two hours for a results show? And you were still scrambling to finish it by the end? This show’s results episodes are notoriously stretched-out marathons, where 30 seconds’ worth of information takes 60 minutes to reveal. But two hours? That is some other shit. That means we got an endless run of montages, reaction shots, and stretched-out Seacrest teases. We got a montage of the male contestants talking about how they’re not good at being interviewed. We got Ryan Seacrest painstakingly informing the contestants of what the judges had said about them the night before, as if any of them would’ve forgotten. We got Steven Tyler referring to Jason Mraz and John Mayer as “a little more alt,” which is just confounding. Somehow, though, nobody found time to ask Steven Tyler about his pink frilly shirt.
As results go, this one was pretty brutal, with almost half of the contestants being banished from Idol forever. In previous years, the show has taken its time jettisoning its dead weight. I prefer the old way of doing things, where four contestants get sent home every week. That means we get a few more bullshit performances than anyone needed, but it also means we get to know these chumps a little bit more, so there’s actually some emotional weight to it when one of them gets dropped. Instead, tonight was like the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan: bodies falling everywhere.
With this level of carnage going on, it wasn’t especially surprising to learn that the contestants the show has been ramming down our collective throat were the contestants who, by and large, did fine. Scotty McCreery, for example, got to sing his one song about a bazillion times for the cameras; he was never in any trouble. Neither was Lauren Alaina, who has been given plenty of time to be sassy onscreen. But Lauren Turner, who a lot of other recappers loved (and whose existence I completely forgot when I wrote my last writeup) didn’t make the cut, possibly because of a backstory deficiency. She didn’t even get to sing a second time to compete for the wild-card spot. And pour out a little for Brett Loewenstern, whose constant hugging was already getting annoying anyway. But I can’t really call bullshit on too many of the results, though, since the people who actually shanked their chances tended to be the first people who went home.
The judges also got to pick a few more singers to stay in the show, which meant we got a dogs-fighting-over-scraps spectacle, with singers doing whatever they could to stick around. Ashthon Jones sounded small and insignificant on “And I Am Telling You,” which has become an attention-demanders’ anthem in the last few years. Stefano Langone sang all sorts of crazy jazz&b runs and actually seemed to grasp the idea that he needed to do incredible things at that exact second; he was great. (Steven Tyler, to Stefano: “You gilded the lily of your own passion.” He really said that! What does it mean?) Kendra Chantelle sang “Georgia on My Mind” in a way that will not allow her to escape blonde-chick anonymity, though she certainly reached a few gigantic notes at the end. Jovanny Barretto sang in Spanish over Richard Marx pianos; I watched the show late and a little drunk, and I had serious concerns that I might pass out when he was singing. Naima Adedapo actually did an incredibly nuanced, wrenching take on Donny Hathaway’s “For All We Know”; it was some seriously impressive old-school r&b power on display there. Bonus points for sobbing at the end, but only after she’d already hit her big note. And Robbie Rosen did a perfectly nice version of some Elton John song I don’t know. None of them embarrassed themselves, and all seemed to treat the situation with real gravity.
Naima, Stefano, and Ashthon all scored spots, and I absolutely agreed with two of those selections. Also, Ashthon has really cool hair, so I’m OK with that one, too.
Somewhere in there, we got the debut of a new Jennifer Lopez video, which fulfilled my lifelong dream of seeing Pitbull on American Idol. (He said, “I’m like Inception, I play with your brain.” It was awesome.) J.Lo also wore a sparkly bodysuit thing, and I was not mad. The song was a pretty catchy piece of David Guetta techno-pop, even if it didn’t exactly make a compelling case that Jennifer Lopez should be judging a show about singing.