So we lost Haley Reinhart this week. Fuck you, America. That’s all I really have to say about that. I don’t know why twangy teenagers are bulldozing everyone else this year, but it’s going to make for a truly boring one-note final show. Has American Idol ever had a less interesting final two than Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina? Even the Taylor Hicks season had Katharine McPhee, who was pretty good. Scotty’s obviously going to win this thing; that’s been pretty clear from about week four. But I could’ve really used a couple more Haley performances in my life. Haley looked pissed. I sympathize. Unfortunately, she departed with “Bennie and the Jets,” probably my least favorite of her performances all season. She also neglected to scream her final note directly in Casey Abrams’ face and reciprocate his gesture from a few weeks back.
• As the opening crowd-sweep shots showed, this week’s audience included virtually every ex-contestant from this season. They were all sitting in the crowd, all clapping wildly. What a bunch of losers.
• In a video package, the remaining contestants all went to the Bad Robot studios to meet J.J. Abrams, and just so we’d know who J.J. Abrams was, posters for some of his projects flashed across the screen. Lost was not included, which is weird since Lost is by far the most famous J.J. Abrams project and because James Durbin was one of the kids there, so clearly we were in one of those Lost-style temporal loopholes. I kept expecting to see Sawyer roll through in a Dharma Initiative jumpsuit, barking out orders. The kids all got to see scenes from Super 8, but not the entire movie, presumably because one of them could’ve bootlegged the damn thing on their phones. These cross-promotional things usually annoy the piss out of me, but this one was fine, largely because I seriously can’t wait to see Super 8. This also led to all the kids getting their own Super 8 cameras so that they could document, in shaky and amateurish fashion, their scream-heavy hometown visits. And thus a new generation of filmmakers was born.
• Elle Fanning turned out to be one of those annoying celebrity guests who won’t pick a favorite contestant because “they’re all amazing.” They are not all amazing, Elle Fanning! You’re a Fanning! You should know amazing when you see it! She also giggled like she was Jimmy Fallon watching National Lampoon’s Vacation while high. She must be a real pain in the ass on set.
• The turnout at Haley Reinhart’s hometown visit was pretty impressive considering that it was fucking disgusting in Chicago this past weekend. Anyone willing to stand out in that cold and rain to catch a glimpse of Haley Reinhart is a dedicated Idol fan. We also got some fun interactions between Haley and her human mountain of a bodyguard; somebody needs to make that reality show happen. During her concert, she sang with her dad on guitar. The powers that be need to let her dad join the touring Idol band, because Haley’s dad is almost certainly the best American Idol dad ever. Beyond that, it was all the normal screaming-crying hometown-visit stuff.
• The Ford music video happened. The contestants played around on a beach and sang an Uncle Kracker song. If they can’t be bothered to do any goddamn thing with those videos, I can’t be bothered to make any jokes about it.
• At first, I thought the first musical guest this week was Il Divo, Simon Cowell’s pet pop-opera project, and I thought it was weird that the show was giving them any shine now that Simon is unattached. But no, it turns out that it was Il Volo, an entirely different pop-opera boy band. Look, I barely know who Il Divo is. I don’t have enough room in my brain for these biters. Go away, Il Volo. Take that biting-ass pop-opera shit back to Italy.
• Only notable thing about Scotty McCreery’s home visit: Josh Turner, the singer who fathered his whole style, showed up to surprise him during his concert. Nobody could’ve blamed Turner for calling Scotty out on his blatant swagger-jacking, but no, he just sang with him. It was cute. I guess it’s also notable that Scotty cried really, really hard. Scotty: Still a child!
• Nicole Scherzinger, the chick from the Pussycat Dolls and quite possibly my editor’s least favorite person on planet Earth, tried to get us to loosen up her buttons, but we kept fronting. Wait, no. She sang her shitty fake-reggae new single, which involved her singing in the goofiest fake patois since the Sugarland chick. 50 Cent delivered a perfectly acceptable guest verse. This song is definitely not going to be any sort of hit.
• Lauren Alaina had to drive through hurricane devistation on her trip home, and she cried a whole bunch. Way to fuck up Lauren’s home visit, tornado. She also threw out the first pitch at a minor-league game and showed demonstrably shittier pitching skills than Scotty. She can’t beat that kid at anything!