Well, we never saw it coming, not even after Ryan Seacrest announced that Haley Scarnato, Phil Stacey and Gina Glocksen, the last group of three contestants left on the stage who had reaped the fewest of the approximately 33 million votes cast this week, would end with Gina going home. Nearly everyone we knew and everything we read had agreed with us in predicting that it would be either Haley or Phil. So we were stunned when Ryan first released Phil to safety then announced that Haley was safe and would be back next week.
Both the women were teary-eyed before the axe actually came down, but Gina burst into sobs when the pronouncement was made, her face buried in Haley's supportive shoulder. The bleacher seats were also awash with tears, from Jordin Sparks and Melinda Doolittle, to an actually shell-shocked looking Sanjaya Malakar. Even they appeared to have guessed wrong on the outcome.
It's really a shame, too. Not only because Gina wasn't the worst singer Tuesday night -- in fact, we and others ranked her as high as second best -- but also because she seemed to finally be coming into her own in the competition the past two weeks, letting her image soften with her song selections. And if you've seen real rocker chicks either in concert or on shows such as RockStar, you realized that Gina seemed more faux wannabe -- defined by her wardrobe, or more accurately her costume -- than by her actions. We never really bought into the image she tried to present, no matter how many net stockings, leather wristbands, laced-up dresses, purple nail polish or skull-adorned knee boots she donned. And perhaps that was part of her problem. America was still trying to figure out who Gina really was. It's sad that Gina went out wearing the worst assemblage of bad clothing we've seen on her to date: A strange empire-waist brown-and-taupe sleeveless knit dress that gathered at the thighs coupled with dark jeans and big-buckled black knee boots, with her green pickle good-luck charm (which she soon after tossed away) stuffed underneath one of the buckles. Has she learned nothing from the stylists?
Meanwhile, Haley continued to play the great body card for all it was worth last night looking sensational in a fitted orange top, teeny tiny white shorts and gold stiletto sandals. Guess she figured if it was her last appearance she would go out with a bang. Phil, once again, looked resigned to being sent home, but in what is becoming almost a weekly occurrence, appeared bewildered as he was sent back to safety. We can't help wondering each week whether Phil actually had the second or third least amount of votes. Ryan only tells you it's the bottom three, but except for the person eliminated, you never really know where the other two placed.
But we will remember Gina's tender renditions of both The Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You" and Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," sung by so many greats, but especially associated with Nat King Cole and Judy Garland. In fact, as Gina poignantly sang her way off the show with a song whose lyrics eerily echoed her own feelings:
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its breaking
When there are clouds in the sky,
youll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
for a minute or two we were actually reminded of Ms. Garland. No, Gina wasn't going to win this competition, but it wasn't her week to go, either. Sorry, America. You got it wrong.
The Ford commercial featured Bob Marley's "One Love" with the contestants first at a car wash that morphed into a rainforest scene then a hybrid car with Kermit the Frog inside.
The long-awaited songwriting competition also was finally announced. There is an appalling $10 entry fee (I'm sure Idol execs will say this is too discourage those who aren't really serious about the competition, but unless every cent is donated to "Idol Gives Back," it's just another ludicrous moneymaking scheme), with a team of A&R experts selecting a shortlist of the top 20 song submissions most suitable for Idol. The public will then vote for those songs online. The winning song will be performed live on the finale show and also will be released by this season’s Idol winner. For more details click here.
Michael Bublé, who performed "Just in Time" with Tony Bennett on the aging crooner's latest release, "Duets: An American Classic," wound up subbing for the ailing singer who Seacrest said had come down with the flu. Newsday's Dan Bubbeo described it best:
[Bublé's] "erratic performance of 'Call Me Irresponsible' made it seem as though he got hold of the wrong Diet Coke glass in the studio. He sounded unintelligible for most of the song and even forgot the lyrics at one point. He finished by joking to host Ryan Seacrest, 'So am I wasting my time by still voting for Antonella Barba?' -- referring to the 'Idol' semifinalist who became a media magnet after unflattering photos allegedly of her surfaced online.The audience failed to laugh."
Seacrest also announced that Jennifer Lopez will mentor the remaining eight contenders next week as they prepare for an evening of Latin music.
We've already heard from Chris Sligh how he developed close friendships with Gina Glocksen, Blake Lewis, Chris Richardson and Phil Stacey. Former Idol roommates and Season 5 finalists Kellie Pickler and Katharine McPhee also seemed to share that Idol bond. Some pictures sent to us by a friend yesterday, and supposedly snapped in Idol's red room on the sly, seem to indicate that Blake and Chris have also become tight:
CLASSIC IDOL VIDEO
Kelly Clarkson set the standard for standards with this unbelievable performance of "Stuff Like That There." As Simon says, it's absolutely brilliant. Don't miss it!
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