This. Is. American. Idol.
Ryan hints at surprises to come (“take nothing for granted”), but with the Wild Card Judge Picks, no elimination at this stage is permanent.
Paula, who has been pretty coherent so far, looks bleary and is dressed like a saloon girl. Kara names disappointing names, but Paula demurs (no surprise there).
Michael Jackson serenades flashbacks of all twelve kids as they arrange themselves for the first group sing of Season 8. I don’t know this I’m Yours ditty, but Danny, Ricky and Stephen make sweet sweet harmony together. Jackie continually mugs for the camera in Grandma’s sparkly cardigan. Speaking of sparkles, there’s Tatiana. Casey avoids the shine, but who needs it with those assets?
And there’s the Pointy Pose. How I love the Pointy Pose.
The kids sit, carefully arranged in two rows. Casey, who looks like Parker Posey’s little sister, is tearful already. Jackie is drying herbs and flowers from one ear. Anoop pretends to be relaxed, and Tatiana pretends to be sane. Stevie is still a class act. On the other side of the stage, are the three Silver Suction Cups of Success.
Casey is called to center stage. She says she feels great. She is obviously lying, and is the first elimination of the evening.
Stephen is next up. Ryan ungraciously points out Stephen’s sweaty palms. Stephen says that he agrees with the judges’ assessment of his song choice, but takes comfort because no one said he sounded bad. Stephen obviously did not read my recap. And just like that, he’s elimination number two.
Alexis is wearing a frayed denim mini-skirt and a stupid hat. It could be worse- at least her underwear isn’t on top tonight. (I just realized that I hate almost all hats worn indoors). Ryan gives her the good news that she’s in the Top 12 without mentioning whether she was the Top Girl or the 2nd highest vote getter. Her father provides the first Proud Daddy Tears of the season as she sings, and I remember that I like her. I have no quarrel with Alexis, pink streaks notwithstanding.
Ricky and Jackie are called down together. Jackie’s continual mugging is starting to bug me, but I won’t have to watch it much longer. Ricky suffers the general fate of Those Who Had No Previous Air Time.
Anoop, is taller than I expected him to be. He and Michael are called down together. In the first surprise of the evening, Anoop is sent home. I like Michael, but his performance last night wasn’t that good. Ryan informs us that only a few votes separate Anoop and Michael, and I immediately form a theory that Michael is the Next Top Vote Getter because if he was the #1 guy, then Anoop would be sitting in the suction cups, along side him. But that didn’t take the girls’ votes into consideration. I throw the theory out.
We waste a bit of time peeking in on the Disney version of the AI Experience, in which all 7 previous winners are shown (yes, including Taylor). David Cooke and Carrie sound good together.
What’s this? Carly Smithson and Michael Johns? Why? Oh, one of them (or maybe both, it’s not exactly clear) has an album coming out soon. Carly is wearing a short-sleeved leather jacket, and talks about a missing weave. Michael is wearing a gingham shirt and an ill-fitting popped-collar jacket, that looks to be home-made from polished cotton. They sing The Letter, which is near the top of The List of Songs I Don’t Need To Hear Ever Again. Their voices don’t sound particularly good together, and I remember that I like Carly’s lower register much better than her upper.
Anne Marie, Stevie and Brent are up next. Randy looks at them and says that neither one performed up to snuff, which pretty well sums up Randy’s usefulness this season. With that, all three are out.
That leaves Danny and Tatiana to battle for the remaining chair. What this show loves more than anything else is manufactured drama, and pairing The Sob Story and The Crazy Girl is a guaranteed drama generator. Unfortunately, though Tatiana is given plenty of rope, she refuses to hang herself.
Ryan pulls the first “we’ll find out right after the break” of the season, and we segue to the weirdest Axe commercial of all. I thought it was one of those smug anti-smoking commercials at first (I am a militant anti-smoker, but those things make me want to light up).
So now we’re back, and I am prepared for either one to get the nod. I prefer Danny by a large margin, but a case can be made for Tatiana being equally deserving. Whether I like her or not, she can sing, and she has made a Herculean effort to dial back the excess personality. Polarizing contestants bring in the viewers, and lord knows how much this show loves viewers.
To my relief, Danny moves into the Top 12. The other 10 evidently feel the same way- they all look positively jubilant. Tatiana can’t even pretend to be okay. But I dare not assume we’ve seen the last of her.
Next week we get: Meghan Corkrey, Chris Allen, Mishavonna (Hession?), Matt Brietzke, Allison (Irihara?), Matt Giraud, Jasmine Murray, Kai Kalama, Jesse Langseth, Adam Lambert, Jeanine (Bailes?), and OMG, Nick Mitchell. It’s going to be interesting.