A couple of more thoughts on last night's episode, following up on what I wrote:
1. I definitely realize the limitations of Brooke and Jason as Idol performers, and I don't know that either of them will make an album that I'd be interested in buying. But they are closer to the kind of music I like than any of the remaining contestants, in that their voices sound naturally sweet and refreshingly untrained, and their performing styles yield easily to imperfection. I've used the figure skater analogy before I know, but consider this: If all you're looking for in a skater is technical perfection and athletic prowess, than one small slip is enough to ruin an entire routine. But if you're more interested in what the judges call "artistic impression," then you can actually enjoy everything the skater is doing as opposed to merely sitting on the edge of your seat sweating out the jumps. I appreciate the technical perfection side of the Idol competition too, but as a music fan, I ultimately respond best to the people whom I'd want to hear sing in a club or a concert hall for an hour. Neither Jason nor Brooke are quite that good–and their respective personalities tend to irritate me–but they're in the neighborhood.
2. Do we buy Paula's explanation for her mid-episode judging slip-up? If you missed the reports on her comments last night and today, she insists that she saw Jason Castro's second song in rehearsal, and in the last-second rush to throw some comments together she inadvertently started reading notes she made in preparation for his second performance. (Although she also claimed that she was reading notes she made for David Cook. So whatever.) My uniformed speculation is that the judges always have some possible talking points at the ready–likely based on their own viewing of rehearsals–in case they have trouble hearing the performances live. (Another theory: Jason Castro is Paula Abdul's "constant.") So I think those were Paula's own words, in other words. But the mini-scandal here is that the judges may be basing their comments not on what they're seeing on the stage live, but on what they think America is seeing and hearing. And I'm not sure that's fair.
Anyway, onto the show, and I've gotta ask…How does Claire stomach watching a whole hour-long results show every week? On my own dime, I'm a fast-forwarding sonuvabitch on results night, but since I need to earn my [freelance fee amount redacted], I suffered through the full ride. And here's what I saw:
-An syrup-paced, mumbly Neil Diamond medley. (The flipside of recruiting more mature performers this season is that they look way out of place doing choreography and singing in unison. Why does Idol insist on theme park performances one night, when Simon would likely slam such a thing the night before?)
-A quick glimpse at how pathetic Constantine and Gina's lives have become since they were on the show. (In brief: They're still doing the show in a way, via recaps on Fox Reality. Although I guess they're at least getting paid now.)
-Randy Jackson holding up a Coke cup, at length.
-Some innocuous pop song by Natasha Bedingfield. (I'll be honest: I fast-forwarded after the first minute, because I felt like I was violating my Popless rules.)
-An inarticulate Q&A; session with the fans, including some dull chit-chat with Simon's first kiss.
-A car commercial with expensive special effects, set to a drippy Donovan song, inertly sung by our contestants. (I never really watch these commercials, but I've go to admit that they look neat, even if they sound weak.)
-Neil Diamond doing his best Ben Gazzara impression while singing what seemed like a decent new song. (Again: Fast-forwarding after a minute, because of Popless.) At the end, the reanimated corpse of Diamond's mom, wearing the make-up of the Saw clown, waved from the audience.
-The bottom two: Brooke and Syesha. (My "Archuleta shocker" didn't come to pass.) Or were they the bottom two? Ryan never labeled them as such so it could be that one of the actual bottom two was sent to the couch as "safe" early on. I think they do that sometimes, surreptitiously.
-Going home: A very weepy Brooke. Celebrate her home, gang. (Will she get over her grief by finally going to an R-rated movie? Saw, perhaps?)
-Results shows suck.