Probably because there were four contestants to send home over the course of a 60-minute show that included two musical performances and commercials, the results on last night’s American Idol were relatively quick (if not painless to those who were cut).
At the top of the show, host Ryan Seacrest asked the judges to share their opinion on this week’s performances. Simon Cowell said that when he watched the show back, he felt they had praised some people that weren’t as good on the playback. According to the judges, it sounds different in the studio than the mix heard by viewers at home. That could explain a few times where the judges were praising performances that were less than stellar.
Ryan also teased Ellen about her mistaking a piano for a guitar the previous night, when talking about Katelyn Epperly’s performance. She answered, “When you squint, a piano looks like a giant guitar.”
The group song this week was “I’ve Got a Feeling” by Black-Eyed Peas. The guys started it off, coming down the stairs, and then the girls joined them on stage. This time it sounded like they were performing live, which was probably made easier by the fact that they talked some of it, rather than singing.
First, the back row of guys got their results. Tim Urban was declared safe. Todrick Hall was asked to remain standing. Michael Lynche and Casey James were safe. Still standing, Todrick and John Park were in danger. As I’d predicated, John Park was the one leaving. His parting performance was more relaxed than this week’s performance had born. Too little, too late.
Then it was time for the front row: Lee Dewyze, Aaron Kelly and Alex Lambert safe. Andrew and Jermaine learned one of them was going home. Ryan drew this result out a little bit: “The person who is safe and around for another week is… Andrew.” Thank goodness! Jermaine said that God must have other plans for him (which may or may not include rocking his onesie), and he provided another atrocious example of oversinging. Now I’d like a written apology from all four judges and the producers for why they put this guy in the Top 24 to begin with.
Last year’s third-place finisher Danny Gokey performed “My Best Days (Are Ahead of Me)”, wearing a black leather jacket and a colored T-shirt with jeans. He had stubble on his face and was back to his happy-go-lucky performance antics. It was not his best singing, though, or maybe the single is just wrong for him. Afterwards, he talked a mile a minute to Ryan. He’s starting a tour today.
Then it was doom time for the girls, starting with the back row. Lilly Scott was safe. Paige Miles got a fake out: “Would you… take a seat?” She was also safe. Katie was safe, leaving Michelle Delamor and Didi Benami. “The person who is safe… is Didi.” It was the dnd of the road for Michelle. She was gracious about it, but clearly shaken by the news, which destroyed her final performance.
Finally, the front row got the verdict: Katelyn Epperly, Crystal Bowersox and Siobhan Magnus were safe, leaving Lacey Brown and Haeley Vaughn to sweat it out. Ryan asked Simon for his prediction and he said, “It’s obvious to everyone watching who’s going home,” but refused to say who. It was Haeley, who apparently couldn’t even be saved by the Vote for the Worst imps. As the two girls gave each other a hug, their necklaces got tangled. Afterwards, as Haley sang one last time, Lacey seemed more concerned about figuring out if her necklace was damaged than she was about listening. Crystal looked genuinely sad to see her go; maybe they’d bonded.
A few quick thoughts on this week’s cuts:
John Park was one of my early favorites from the audition weeks, but he failed to shine on the live stage. Song choice really killed him (going first for a jazz standard, which only John Stevens was able to pull off successfully; and then for a contemporary song that he didn’t really seem to love), but I think nerves were his true undoing. He had everything else going for him: looks, personality, and a positive attitude. I’m sorry to see him go but confident he’ll find a new path.
Jermaine Sellers was the Top 24 pick who made me say WTF? Not only was he a chronic oversinger, but he was also the contestant who’d had the bad grace to throw the band under the bus when he screwed up during Hollywood Week. For Jermaine, it was always just a matter of time.
Michelle Delamor looked great on paper but just couldn’t stand out in a field of talented fellow competitors. She’s got to find herself and find some confidence.
Haeley Vaughn was such a sweet soul, and if she had sung as brightly as her personality would have been a real contender. For her, the problem was consistency.