Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

American Idol: “Final Judgment, Part 1”

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I’m trying to figure out a snappy way to start this review of tonight’s Idol, but I keep falling asleep. Tonight’s episode felt like it was part of an Xzibit meme: Yo dawg, I hear you like your selection process to be drawn-out, so I’m going to put some drawn-out selections in your drawn-out selection episode.

I don’t believe the Vegas portion of the selection process has added anything to Idol thus far, especially based on tonight’s episode. I thought we were going to enjoy one last solo performance from each performer, but, in fact, the performances (upon the mesmerizing LeReve - TheDream robot-pool stage) were third banana tonight, behind recaps of each contestant's journey and the ever-tedious process of faking the singers out.

The worst part was that there were barely any (and when I say “barely any,” I’m being generous) surprises tonight when it came to the reveal of the first part of the Top 24. I think the producers sensed this and thus reminded us that last year Jennifer Lopez had to stop and cry from the stress of murdering dreams, so we could remember the good times.

Otherwise, practically every contestant we’ve seen and been groomed to like has made it to the Top 24, and it felt like their last performances really had nothing to do with it. The judges didn’t think Jenn Hirsh’s performance was her best (neither did I; maybe it had something to do with her rogue false eyelash), but it didn’t matter, because she made it through (which is good, I like her, but the process of getting to that point was already boring, and she was the first contestant up).

We did learn of a few secret sob stories the producers had up their sleeves about some singers, so we’d have even more reasons to fall in love with them. Thus, now you know more about Creighton Fraker’s reunion with his birth father, Reed Grimm’s deceased father, and Heejun’s work with special-needs kids. All three, by the way, made it through, the only bright spot being Heejun joking, “He’s ugly,” upon seeing himself up on the jumbotron. Other favorites who made it through without even that fanfare included Joshua Ledet, Brielle von Hugel, Elise Testone, Baylie Brown, Phil Phillips, Colton Dixon, and Erika Van Pelt. (I was trying to think of a more exciting way of revealing this information to you, but considering the way it was doled out to me, like pellets to a penned animal at a petting zoo, I thought the direct approach was best.)

There was only one semi-surprise, and it was that Richie Law didn’t make it to the Top 24, although I had a feeling that after watching him sing “Ring of Fire,” he didn’t have a chance in heck, since he’d basically be McCreery 2.0. It would have been fun to hate-vote him through the show, but I’m sure we’ll find another candidate for that.


Some of the other male contestants seemed to be voted off for dressing poorly. Neco Starr (is it fair to have a stage name already? His real name is Deneco Pittman. Also, does Ringo acknowledge him as his son?) donned a bedazzed shirt, Jheri curl, and ruched leather pants for his final performance. He didn’t make it. Neither did Caleb Johnson, who already looked dumb singing in a ruffled shirt and jacket with leopard-print lapels and then had to take off his sunglasses in order to ask the band to start over again for him because he messed up.

The episode just felt like it ended on an overlong commercial break, as we wait to find out the fate of Adam “White Chocolate” Brock, who I think not only will make it but could stand to win the whole competition. But I’m sure we’ll have to wait 15 minutes as Randy says “I’m sorry to tell you that you definitely aren’t going to make it home to your precious baby just kidding no psych no dawg I mean really opposite day.”


Stray observations:

  • Last night, I had a dream that Steven Tyler ever-so-lightly pinched my butt, and I liked it.
  • Jennifer’s dress was beautiful, even if it did make her look like a fish when it reflected on her face.
  • I think he meant it as a compliment, but when Steven told Heejun, “You’re a better star than you are a singer,” that sounded like something you’d say about someone like Madonna.
  • I see Jessica Sanchez as the humanoid version of Thia Megia.
  • Adam, I know you’re verklempt and all, but “I have to sing” is not three words.