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American Idol: 9 Finalists Compete

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Maybe I was in a crabby mood tonight, since in retrospect it seemed like I had some complaint about every Idol performer, but tonight's episode for me was where the merely not-as-goods transformed into intolerables. It started, I’m sorry to tell you, with Anoop. The theme tonight was "Top downloads" which to me, frankly, is meaningless. He sang "Caught Up" by Usher, hoping to get to use more stage moves. My take on his performance was that he seemed to think he looked much cooler than he did, and his resemblance to Michael Jackson, with that jacket, was creepy, down to the lapel-smoothing. He finished the song on a power note and I pondered what it was about him that suddenly made Anoop seem like sort of a bro. Weirdly, Kara called this out and said that Anoop seemed like his frat brothers had talked him into singing this song. Simon hated it as well and, shockingly, agreed with Kara. Then Anoop started giving lip to the judges' comments and I found it hilarious when he said "I'm trying to be an R&B artist" and Kara said "Really?" I'm done with Anoop.

I've never been very into Megan so it wasn't hard for me to find fault with her "Turn Your Lights Down Low" by Bob Marley (as covered by Lauryn Hill, I guess, in downloadland). Her voice is unusual, but that doesn't mean good. If you listen to Megan without looking at her you'd wonder why she’s on the show. The judges agreed with me (and Simon and Kara once again concurred).


Danny Gokey sang "What Hurts the Most" by Rascall Flatts. I thought it was weird that he blamed last week's 'bad' performance (which I thought was fine) on song selection issues. The show needs to reveal how these songs are chosen because to me it sounds like whining when contestants complain about this. Danny sang really well but people, do you really want him to be your Idol? He is Taylor Hicks before he went gray. The judges disagreed with me and they are dumb.

Allison, my favorite, dressed like Cyndi Lauper, or Jem, or Pink, or Lily Allen, or somebody, and played guitar for "Don't Speak." She wasn't as good as I hoped she'd be, which was disappointing and Simon picked up that she shouted a bit. Paula's comment was one of a few tonight that sounded like she'd written it out ahead of time and was re-reading it. But more importantly, I liked Allison's outfit. She's 17 and kind of weird so I dig it.

Then Scott sang "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel, which was the worst thing ever. I mean, not the singing, I guess his singing was fine but the song choice was just so cliched and boring and, well, uncool. And I’m not even a Billy Joel hater. Also, Scott's outfit wasn't a help either—it looked like somebody tried to style him as a T-bird but he just looked like Kinickie's weird cousin. It's to the point now where, like Kara, I don't care about the singing, I just hate the way the person sings and I hate Scott's easy-listening crap and the judges' I'm-so-proud-of-you commentary. But I don't hate Scott! I actually wish he were annoying so that it would be fun to pick on him. 

Matt Giraud sang The Fray's "You Found Me" and I couldn't tell if he was singing the right notes or not—it was a David Cook type song. Apparently Matt loves making the judges mad by singing un-R&B because he really disappointed them. Paula might have even said that he aborted the things they loved most about him (or possibly it was "avoided".) Actually, I think this was better than his Coldplay performance but not by a whole lot. By the way, Randy recommended that Matt sing One Republic's "Apologize" which I think is a horrible idea.


I think Lil Rounds is suffering from an identity crisis. She dressed and sang like Whitney Houston doing "I Surrender" by Celine Dion. I don't know if she decided that she wants to be that big diva but it's a little late for that for me. Paula actually made a good comment when she said she didn't want to see an adult contemporary Lil Rounds. Then Ryan tested my patience by asking Lil's little kids what they thought of the performance and then by picking one up and putting her in Randy's arms, which seemed kind of intense for two young children.

I do admit I look forward to seeing what Adam Lambert will do each episode, and if I’ll hate-love it as usual. Adam sang "Play That Funky Music" and, like with Danny, I can do nothing but say he is a good singer but I really don't want him to win the show. It's like he's a white guy playing Lenny Kravitz in the Broadway version of his bio-pic rock opera. And I couldn’t help but feel awful for the people who buy his single and have to remember that on an mp3 you can't see Adam's neato hairdo but do have to listen to him shrieking for what seems like 30 seconds. The judges disagreed with me and Paula thinks Adam is the new Mick Jagger and Kara remembered back when we were all at Studio 57.


We closed with Kris doing "Ain't No Sunshine." It was a good choice for him: he seemed to put a little Justin Timberlake in it. I didn't think it was anywhere near as good as the original but it was one of the few performances that didn't enrage me, so good for him. And the judges seemed happy too.

Anoop, Scott and Megan tomorrow, please.

Grade: B-

Stray observations

—Do they add five steps to Ryan’s staircase ever week?

—Overall the clothing tonight was like a bad homage to the '80's.

—Did anybody watch the Osbournes show? Were you ready to go wild?

—I see you, Mandisa: looking good, girl!


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