Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Idol Season 8
Top 13 Results Show

To my readers: I was in the hospital last week and unable to blog. Although I'm still recovering, I'll try to play catch-up and provide you with videos and photos and as much critiquing as possible, even though it is a week old.

Thanks for your continued support.

Idol Addict

Eliminated: Jorge Nuñez, Jasmine Murray,

Ryan Seacrest opens the show by telling us that there were nearly 33 million votes this week, the highest vote total ever at this stage of the show, whatever that mean (for 13 finalists, or for 12 or for what?). Next he explains "The Judges' Save" rule, and we know immediately we're going to hate it. After flashing pictures of Tamyra Gray, Michael Johns, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry, Ryan asks what they all had in common? Er, they were contestants that didn't win? No! He tells us many of you believe they were booted too early, so the producers decided to create a new rule (it's really not new, they use it on the French version of "Idol"), wherein the four geniuses judges who selected the mess we now call finalists can elect to override the decision of the American public one time during the season before the final 5 are chosen, by saving a contestant who has the received the lowest vote total. The following week, two contestants will be eliminated.

So what is wrong with this rule? Well, to begin with, the theory as presented by the producers. When Ryan asks Simon Cowell if that rule had existed when Chris Daughtry was a contestant might he not have won? Well, no, Ryan. Chris Daughtry came in fourth -- as did Tamyra Gray -- which means the judges could not have used the rule to save either of them. Ha! And Michael Johns? No way he was beating out the Davids. Sure, had he been saved, he might have placed third, fourth or fifth, but who cares? What did that matter. Same goes for Jennifer Hudson. Fantasia or Diana DeGarmo weren't placing after her.

Secondly, how is the selection of the American Idol a mandate of the American people, when the producers judges keep insinuating their choices instead of ours? The Wild Card round was bad enough. This is worse. Can't we decide who we want? Losing "Idol" probably helped Daughtry's career, not hurt it. Obviously, we'll buy artists' CDs if we like them regardless of whether they win or not.

Finally, after seeing the rule exercised for the first two times Wednesday night, it seems even crueler to dangle this carrot in front of a person who really has no chance of receiving a reprieve. In fact, Simon was downright cruel and cold when rebuffing Jorge for the second time in the same evening. Nice going moron producers.

Watch video of Ryan Seacrest explaining the new Judges' Save rule

We are then "treated" to a view of the mansion that the con- testants are living in. Yes, it is gorgeous. Matt Giraud remarks that his studio apartment doesn't come with a gate. We're guessing it doesn't have an indoor pool, bowling alley, steam room, basketball court or movie theater, either, heh.

Watch video tour of the finalists' mansion accommodations

Next was the group number to a medley of Jack- son 5 songs. While Danny Gokey got a little bit of a breakout dance solo (despite Simon's negative remarks about his dancing the night before), we're betting that after blog comments the choreographers decided they needed to get Scott MacIntyre on his feet. He was up to the challenge, with one contestant or another gently guiding him by the elbow to the next mark he needed to hit. The camerawork was crafty enough to keep him out of most shots so you couldn't focus on him constantly. The group sounded OK. We've certainly heard worse.

Watch video of group number of Jackson 5 songs

After a recap of the previous night's per- for- mances, Ryan chats up the con- testants. Michael Sarver tells Seacrest he liked working on the Ford commercial, which, of course, is a segue into it. As a Ford Fusion drives through the city, the contestants faces are featured on skyscrapers as they sing Queen's "We Will Rock You."

Watch video of Ford commercial to Queen's "We Will Rock You"

It's time for the results. Michael and Allison Iraheta are safe, but Jasmine is told to step down to the stage. Matt and Kris Allen are also safe, but Ryan tells Megan Joy Corkrey to join Jasmine. Jasmine is eliminated and is asked to sing once more while the judges "deliberate" whether to save her (as if! Are they serious with this?) After her performance, Randy Jackson tells Jasmine it's the end of the road. She breaks down. Now, was this double torment and humiliation really necessary? Jasmine's journey is played out against Carrie Underwood's remake of Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home."

Watch video of Jasmine Murray's elimination

We take a break from the eliminations for a guest number by Kanye West, who sings his No. 1 hit "Heartless." It was obviously taped during the dress rehearsal, as the judges were not in their seats during the performance.

Watch video of Kanye West singing "Heartless"

Time for some more contestant torture. Not surprisingly, Ryan tells Scott, Alexis Grace and Danny they are safe. However, Anoop Desai is told to go to the stage. Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds join the safe contestants, leaving Jorge to join Anoop. One is safe and one will be eliminated. But not yet. First, there will be a commercial and another guest performance.

Watch video of Anoop Desai and Jorge Nuñez facing elimination

Ryan tells us that starting with this results show, every week a former Idol will appear to perform, beginning with Kelly Clarkson, whose CD dropped on Tuesday. She sings her current hit, "My Life Would Suck Without You." She sounds goods and the audience is very responsive. The judges stand to applaud her at the end, but rather rudely talked to each other throughout her performance. We realize as we listen to her that Allison Iraheta's voice is the heir apparent to Kelly's.

Watch video of Kelly Clarkson singing "My Life Would Suck Without You"

It's finally time to end the torture. Ryan makes short work of it, telling Anoop he is safe. Jorge gets another chance to sing, during which the judges will again "deliberate." This time it's a bigger farce than the first. Paula immediately stands up and dances the second Jorge starts, Kara grooves in her seat, while Randy and Simon chat behind Paula's back. When Jorge's done, Ryan asks Simon if the judges have chosen to save Jorge. Arms crossed in front of him, Cowell brusquely and dismissively gives a one-word answer: "No." It is followed a tic later by "sorry." We'll bet you are.

Watch video of Jorge Nuñez being eliminated

Tonight, the remaining 11 finalists perform songs popularized by members of The Grand Ole Opry. Randy Travis joins the Idols as Season 8's first mentor.

Tomorrow night, Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood sing "I Told You So" (previously a hit for Travis and now a hit single for Underwood), and Brad Paisley performs his new single, "Then."

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