Yes, the latest to be eliminated is LaKisha Jones. Singing "Stayin' Alive" (poorly) Tuesday didn't save her. We praise her for one of the few "wow" moments of the season on the first week of the semis ("And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"), but, unfortunately for Kiki, it's been an uphill battle most of the way since. Still, she survived at least two weeks longer than most people expected. And being eliminated in the same position as Tamyra Gray and Chris Daughtry is nothing to be ashamed of. Plus, she'll be with the Idol Live 07 Tour all summer. There's no doubt in our mind that she'll eventually land an album contract, but, like so many finalists who preceded her, we think Broadway would be an even better bet for LaKisha. What Simon Cowell calls shouting when she sings, Broadway used to call being able to sing in the theater without being miked!
The producers cannily never really revealed how the over 45 million vote tally went. There really was no Bottom 3 or even 2. They'd like us to believe that Blake Lewis placed second from the bottom (he was the last one left standing with LaKisha), but host Ryan Seacrest never said as much. For all the audience actually knows, Jordin Sparks, who was released to safety first actually placed third. But since we'd prefer to try to base this on whatever facts we think we can grab onto, we'll go with the finishing order doped out by DialIdol:
1. Blake Lewis
2. Jordin Sparks
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. LaKisha Jones
DialIdol's results also showed that the contestants were grouped in pairs: Blake/Jordin and Melinda/LaKisha, with the number of votes between the two in each pair relatively close, but the distance between Melinda and Jordin rather huge. So don't be shocked if Melinda Doolittle doesn't make the finals. Of course, everything could turn on a dime with next week's performances. (Traditionally, each finalist will sing three songs, one chosen by the contestant, one chosen by the judges and the third chosen by Clive Davis).
But since the producers chose to make it look as if Blake was in peril this week, it wouldn't be surprising if his fans voted in droves next week, no matter how good or bad his performances are. If that happens AND if he really was already so popular that he actual did place No. 1 this week, it could assure him a spot in the finals.
Then the question would be which diva will join him there. Our guess? Jordin Sparks, based on the strength of her combined young/old fan base. Unquestionably, the best singer all season has been Melinda Doolittle. But it might not matter in the end. And we think the producers would be more than happy to have either Jordin or Blake win. We imagine they assume that because of their youth either of the two would be both more malleable and marketable than Melinda.
Here's how the rest of the evening went down:
At the opening of the show, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul had swapped chairs, so that when Ryan introduced them, Simon clapped like a trained seal and Paula kept rubbing her chest area, but Ryan told Paula that, with no disrespect intended to her, Simon had more to work with there. OK, kids let's get out of the playground and on with the show.
The filmed recap of the previous day's show was followed by Ryan's man-on-the-street interviews which were old by the second time he did them, and at this point are unbearable.
In case you are living on Pluto, they made sure to repimp the Idols Live 07 tour, announcing there will be 50 shows, making it the largest Idol tour evah! Whoopee! Fifty more chances to see Sanjaya Malakar struggle with pitch. And now Haley Scarnato can shop for 50 new pairs of short shorts. We're psyched. Are you?
In a taped segment (meant to air on the Idol Gives Back show but bumped back), P!nk ( Pink ) sang "Who Knew." She looked and sounded great. Interesting story here. According to TMZ.com, the pop star was originally set to sing her current racy hit, "U + Ur Hand" (another great song, watch video). That was until TPTB realized the song made references to, er, self-love as TMZ puts it (well, duh, how long does it take to figure that out?). The Idol producers supposedly asked P!nk to alter the lyrics to make them more appropriate for the "family-friendly" show. Well-placed sources say P!nk wasn't willing to compromise her artistic integrity (you go girl!) and agreed to sing her last single, "Who Knew," instead. Calls to reps for P!nk and "Idol" were not immediately returned. Watch video of P!nk on Idol:
The Ford commercial was kinda cute with the four finalists chased by fans all over town after being spotted by fans, a la The Beatles in "Hard Day's Night." The music was The Kinks' "You Really Got Me," and much to our relief, Sanjaya did not pop up out of a garbage can to help them sing it. Phew! Watch video:
Technical glitches kept the mikes off part of the time as the four finalists sang a medley of Bee Gees songs. Much as we love the Bee Gees, we wish the mikes had been kept off the entire time. It wasn't one of the night's shining moments. Yes, the group sounded good together last week, but they didn't this week. We'd prefer to give Phil Stacey credit for that, instead of Chris Richardson, but honestly, their two voices missing in the mix made a huge difference. Watch video:
Or, you can, instead, watch video of the Season 2 Bee Gees medley (which was better, anyway).
This was followed by Ryan filling more time chatting with the contestants, before going into a shameless plug for the newest Fantastic Four movie, "Rise of the Silver Surfer," which coincidentally happens to be a 20th Century FOX film. Oh my! The film's four stars were in the audience, including Jessica Alba, who got the promo's pimp spot. She and Ryan bantered about blondes before she told us that the film was so great, everyone should go out and see it ... twice! Uh, nice try, but no thanks.
A look at some pictures of the four finalists' early lives before it's time for Ryan to send the first finalist to safety. Watch video:
The four huddle and refuse to separate for Ryan. He asks them to line up. They don't. He begins anyway and they, surprise!, resign themselves to the fact that the elimination will begin huddle or not. Ryan tells Jordin she is safe and that she can sit down.
Next a plug for a new show by Idol's producers that will apparently be a battle of the unknown, unsigned bands series. Tentative title: "The Search for the Next Great American Band." Interesting? Perhaps. Before we can find out the next finalist sent to safety, Barry Gibb gets his pimp spot. He sings "To Love Somebody," and doesn't sound too bad, especially since his cheeks hardly move. Trying to check up on what might be the cause, we're now not sure whether he's Botoxing or perhaps taking cortisone or other steroids to relieve the rheumatoid arthritis that we've read has crippled him significantly. It's readily apparent that he has trouble moving his right arm, and we've read he can no longer play tennis or dance. Anyway, the performance is very well-received. Especially enjoying it is Bill Maher sitting in the audience (and who Ryan teased was even mouthing the words to "Islands in the Stream" during the Bee Gees medley). Watch Barry Gibb video:
Finally, it's time to get back to the matter at hand. Melinda is the next sent to safety. With just Blake and LaKisha left on stage, Ryan asks Randy who will be sent home. He says they both had rough nights the day before and keeps repeating, "I don't know man," leading Ryan to say "You don't know, do you?" sending Simon into a laugh. Next, Ryan asks Simon if he knows who's leaving. He says he doesn't know, but he could guess and his guess would be LaKisha. Shocker! But after he says it, you can see LaKisha's composure start to fall apart. And, indeed, Simon is proved right seconds later. Watch video of results and LaKisha's journey:
Her journey film causes streams of tears to fall from her eyes and reminds us of her great promise in the competition, a promise that will no doubt be fulfilled somewhere in show business. We doubt very much that LaKisha will ever need to return to her bank job, and that she has already begun to make a better life for herself and her daughter. Watch video of Lakisha's final performance:
Next week: Three contestants, three songs each, and on Wednesday a look at the finalists' visits to their hometowns.
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