Wednesday, March 21, 2012

AI Season 11, Top 10 Performance, 03-21-12

Just in case we forgot already, Shannon went home last week. There were lots and lots of tears. Deandre does not cry pretty. But then the rest of the kids got their picture taken, and they forgot all about Shannon.

The judges enter first tonight. Steven is in black and white stripes on black and white stripes on black and white stripes. JLo is in a tight, black leather skirt and a tight black top, with straight hair and very red lipstick. Randy is in a black jacket and another one of those purely-stupid tall-collar shirts. This one has gray and yellow polka dots. He has another sequined face-pin on his jacket.

Ryan is breaking his Season 11 tradition by wearing a tie on Wednesday. He says that it's Billy Joel night, historically a bad night for the performers because mostly only Billy Joel can sing Billy Joel's songs well. (Note: Ryan doesn't say that it's historically a bad night, that's just my opinion). Personally, I'm hoping someone tackles Innocent Man, but I'm not holding my breath.We'll probably be stuck with Uptown Girl.

Jimmy Iovine is mentoring with Diddy tonight. And Tommy Hilfiger is in the house. Or at least he was. With some clothes and advice. Given how bad most of the kids look on their own, there's really only one way for them to go, style-wise.

#1. Deandre pops in with Tommy Hilfiger (hereafter known as H). H loves Deandre's hair, and thinks he should emphasize the shoulders. Iovine (I) and Diddy (D) get into a pissing match over which one connects to Only the Good Die Young more, so they forget to advise Deandre to choose a different song. On stage, Deandre is either wearing a white leather vest over a black leather jacket, or his white leather jacket has black sleeves. Either way, it's layered over a couple of other shirts, and there is a pair of sunglasses hanging from the innermost tee shirt neckline. Oh my, Deandre is bopping all over the stage, like this song is a happy little ditty and not an ode to a young jerk trying to talk a Catholic girl out of her virginity with that time honored come-on you gotta give it up sometime, why not now?. If he has any clue about the meaning of the lyrics, it's not showing in this raspy, vibrato-heavy performance. It's pretty awful. The judges dance around the truth, but their praise is tepid.

#2. Erika plans to sing New York State of Mind. Ooh, this could be good. D&I are afraid that Erika will oversing, and D thinks that Rhode Islanders can't sing this song. H suggests that Erika change her hairstyle altogether. Erika goes along, and we see her at the salon, getting duded up. The onstage reveal is slow, and I am absolutely amazed at the transformation. Erika now has sleek, short, black hair and the Pat Benatar look works for her. It suits her coloring. Her outfit is a vast improvement on earlier weeks as well- black on black layers topped by a black leather jacket with flashes of blue and pink sparkle she looks fantastic. And the song? Yep, she's doing just fine with it. Randy is thrilled, and he gives her good advice. Color me surprised.

#3. Joshua is singing She's Got a Way. H suggests a tux and black tie, and approves of Joshua's intent to wear a jacket a size or two too small. I&D quickly figure out that Joshua has never heard this song before, and isn't connecting with it. Onstage, Joshua isn't wearing a tux, though he is in too-tight black on black, with a white and black striped tie (with the stripes going the long way, like a skunk). He starts out straddling a backwards chair, singing softly. Neither one lasts. The choir comes out, and Joshua cranks it up to 15, as usual. He finishes, and steps up for the critique with a fairly smug look on his face. JLo is hesitant to critizice (I'm not psychic- she says this out loud), but she mentions that Joshua was singing the words but not the song. Steven liked it better. Randy babbles and agrees with both of them.

#4. Skylar is singing Shameless, a song I do not know. She's overwhelmed by meeting Diddy. I'm surprised that she knew who he was. Diddy tells her to hold back, to undersing a bit, which is excellent advice. H asks her about her style. News Flash: Skylar likes cowboy boots (she says, showing off a pair of fringed monstrosities that her mother sent).  H tells her to keep the boots and country flair. On stage, Skylar is wearing a snakeskin print strapless dress that wraps around and has a bubble hem, and drapey saddlebag sides that are doing her hips no favor. She has topped it with a cropped black jacket, very high heels (no boots), and shoulder-length earrings. You can tell that she's trying to hold back, but there are some wonky notes, and by the end, she's as screamy as always. She gets some criticism from all three judges.

#5. Elise is wearing a close-fitting fur helmet. It may be the single most ridiculous hat I've ever seen (and that includes Princess Beatrice's wedding hat). She says she is going to sing Diana. I&D caution her about singing a song that no one knows. H tells Elise that she's wearing too many layers. He recommends high waisted bell bottoms and a crop top. I'm glad that Elise ignored that advice- she's wearing a long, floaty, raspberry dress with a long black lacy vest. She's displaying a lot more chest than I knew she possessed. And she's singing Vienna, a much better choice. I'm not sure about this's odd. And the ending was awful, full of weird runs and odd shifts from low to high notes. The Hub liked it though, and the judges stand and ovate. Either they have a lot of extra time, or the show wants to keep Elise around, because two of her *students* come up on stage (high school age girls- I missed what they're students of) in order to gush at Elise.

Edited to add: Evidently Elise planned to sing Vienna all along, and my hearing is wonky. But... no one knows this song? I know this song, every word and note, and I don't know any songs...

Commercial Break: Listen Honda, that kid is easily four years too old for the continual *what's this?* bullshit. Your commercial is supposed to make me want to buy your car, not hope that a meteor falls on your actors.

#6. H tells Phil that he needs sartorial help. Phil begs to differ. H tells Phil not to wear gray on stage because it's so blah. He says that Bruce Springsteen wears gray, but that he also sports a splash of color. He does not remind Phil that Phil is not Bruce Springsteen. I&D want Phil to ditch the guitar and just sing. D very kindly loans some groupies to Phil, so he has a few girls to sing to in rehearsal. Onstage, Phil is wearing gray on gray (though I will say that the gray shirt looks very soft and expensive), and jeans with a baggy butt. And he's playing the guitar. He is ignoring the mentors 100%. He's singing Movin' Out. I've never heard this arrangement before- it's very Phil. It's also very interesting. Steven throws his sparkly scarf up for Phil afterwards. Randy advises Phil to listen to himself only. Given Phil's record for ignoring advice, that was probably the wrong way for Randy to go. Unless Randy  is trying reverse psychology and really does want Phil to start listening to him... Randy is a very complex man.

#7. Hollie's little brother and adorable half-grown Golden Retriever puppy send a video greeting. H wants Hollie to dress young (unlike last week's Dowager Queen at the Opera dress). Hollie likes sparkle, and H has some for her. I&D caution Hollie to really connect with Honesty. Onstage, she's wearing high-rise, cream dress trousers with a sparkly waistband (H was bound and determined to get one of the girls to wear high waist pants) with a glittery top and a shorty jacket. Again, we're seeing more bosom than I suspected existed. Hollie's hair is that kind of 40's sleek and curly. This outfit does more to invoke Barbra Streisand than anyone else. Oh my, this performance is nowhere near as good as it should, or could, be. The high notes are thin, and if I am not mistaken, she was off tune more than on. Steven says she is pitchy. JLo says that Hollie should try not to distract them by singing off key. Randy uses a lot of syllables.

Hayley Reinhart is in the audience. She has a new single, which she will be singing tomorrow night.

#8. Heejun is wearing an I Love Heejun tee shirt to rehearsal. He tells I&D that last week's constructive criticism freaked him out. Diddy gently reminds Heejun that it comes with the territory. Heejun confuses Diddy. Heejun also confuses H. I enjoy Heejun, but he's just being a snot to H, and it's starting to annoy me. On stage, he's wearing a black jacket, a white shirt, a bow tie, and a knitted cap. He starts out very slow, appears to stumble over the lyrics, stops the pianist, starts again, and I really believe that he messed up. But suddenly, he pulls his jacket off to reveal a red shirt under a pastel block print tee shirt and he shouts something to the camera. He's singing My Life, and this is... well, frankly, I don't know what it is. Heejun is singing, but this is not a song, it's a performance. He's prancing and shouting and Sanjaya-ing all over the place. It's not horrible, but it's not good either (Heejun can sing, after all). It is absolutely freaking weird. JLo didn't love the singing but she loved the performance. Steven is at a loss for words, but it's fairly obvious that he's pissed at Heejun. He tells Heejun that sooner or later he's going to have to start taking the competition seriously. I want to give Steven a Standing O. Randy liked the *fun*, but not so much the singing.

#9. Jessica is excited to meet H, who recommends that she shorten her dress. Her first bit of singing with I&D is not very good, and D calls her on it. He tells her to pull back and to get a handle on that runaway vibrato (Yay D!). Onstage, in her properly shortened dress, Jessica is really trying to hold it back on Everybody has a Dream, but it's just too much for her. By the big finish, she's shouting again, though she hits the big notes. I think it's totally Pagenty, but she gets a Standing O from the judges. Steven says that Jessica is beyond his ability to judge, and Randy calls the performance Perfection. I am confused.

#10. That just leaves us with Colton. H hates Colton's hair and suggests a new do (Yay H!), and Colton takes exception to that. He's singing Piano Man and I&D love it. Onstage, his hair is slightly less stupid than usual, though only slightly. He's wearing a black jacket that looks like it has a peplum. He's sitting at a red piano. This is slightly better than I expected it to be, but again, only slightly. There are far too many yodely breaks- they all feel forced, as though Colton is working very hard in order to look connected to the song. JLo says she has GOOSIES! from head to toe. She mentions Diddy, though she calls him Puffy, which reminds me that he and JLo have some HISTORY. I am so busy remembering that bit of gossip, that I don't hear what the other judges say. Doesn't matter, I'm not going to like Colton no matter what they say.

Best tonight: Erika and Phil
Most disappointing: Hollie
Worst: Deandre and Heejun
Going home: Deandre or Heejun

Note: Frog Girl's spring music program is tomorrow night, so I won't be home. I have programmed the show into the DVR, so if all goes well, I'll watch it and recap on Friday.

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