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American Idol: Top 5 Perform

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I really didn't intend to lead with a lame swine flu joke tonight, but I think I have it. What else could explain the two things that happened tonight: that I didn't hate Rat Pack Night, and that I disagreed so much with Simon? It must be the swine flu.

The top five knew it’d be singing old standards tonight, but who would their mystery tutor be? The Pink Panther theme cornily played as they guessed and I love that Kris couldn't think of who from the Rat Pack would join them, since "All those people are dead." God I wish that phrase would get worked into Idol more.


It would have been much cooler to have a dead person as the mentor tonight than who it actually was: Jamie Foxx. The attempt to tie Jamie to the Rat Pack was pitiful. Apparently they both "transcend boundaries of entertainment industry." Uh, OK, not really, but I figured, even though Jamie Foxx annoys me in general, who knows, maybe he could be oddly entertaining, like Quentin Tarantino.

Jamie lost me right away though, explaining that the standards were about "singing a lifestyle. Can we say ‘gangstas’ on American Idol?" No Jamie, we're not ready for that yet! Too urban, too urban!

I kind of hated Kris' outfit—a basic suit but it's lame when people think loosened tie=Rat Pack. A loosened tie isn't cool unless you've loosened it after too much liquor and gambling and high class whores, not because your stylist told you to loosen it. Kris was going to sing "The Way You Look Tonight"," and Jamie immediately told Kris he'd do an album with him. I kind of hoped Jamie would say that to each contestant. I was pleasantly surprised by Kris' song. We've heard some pretty lame, boring stuff out of this era on Idol and Kris started off a little cheesy with his eye-sex and smile-singing. He was romantic, but in a first-dance-at-a-wedding way—safe and boring. But then the song picked up and Kris' vocals seemed stronger, and especially as he hit some falsetto notes he seemed especially marketable, like an Adam Levine who wouldn't try to have sex with you. The first three judges loved it, but Simon didn't think it was incredible, calling it "a little bit wet" and for once I didn't really get what he meant. If he meant sappy, well, yeah, that's the song. Would I download it on ITunes? No, but it was a strong performance from Kris, who does seem to improve week too week and is, as Kara said, a dark horse.

Allison is the only girl left, lest you forget (Ryan didn't let us). I love Allison. She sings like baby Marianne Faithfull but says things like "I'm too young to have a boyfriend….ah, I shouldn't say that!" Jamie encouraged her not to think of a boy but to think about her family, as she sang "Someone to Watch Over Me," which maybe was kind of good advice but even though Allison is young, it's impossible to buy her as a little girl. It's hard to completely buy this particular song from a 17 year old but it seemed like Allison got her biggest round of applause to date. Randy said that she was "Looking like Brittany Murphy, looking dope," (she was wearing a cute dress, looking dope-ish but not like Brittany Murphy). Paula, who was dressed like Madonna in the "Material Girl" video, liked it and Kara said that she wasn't worried for Allison's prospects for elimination after this performance. Simon however thought it was a little mechanical, which I thought was b.s., but he did say Allison didn't give off the confidence she needed to, which I can agree with. When he asked her if she thought she could win, she really didn't look like she did—I mean beyond a bit of diplomatic "Oh garsh I dunno" false modesty.


I realized tonight that I'm sick of Matt's hat and by extension, Matt. I may have been misreading it but I thought I sensed Matt trying to channel Vince Vaughn in Swingers, which is not cool. He decided to sing “My Funny Valentine” which I didn't think was the right song for him: I think the song is better for a person who's not quite as hep, like Danny. Jamie thought Matt was perfect, and then made him change the key. For no reason. Personally I thought it was a big mistake: Matt changed octaves constantly and seemed to have a hard time holding onto the real notes since he was doing so much goofing around with the melody, plus he seemed to add an odd inflection when he was hitting the lower notes. It was all over the place, but oddly, only Randy of all people seemed to hear what I heard. Oink oink.

Danny sang "Came Rain or Come Shine." Jamie had been watching the singers so far with an intensity that was hilarious, like if I looked at someone the way he did, they'd instantly ask me to stop because it was creepy/funny. So for Danny, Jamie put his face three inches from him. Between the personal space issues and the singing with the hands in the pockets, Danny's had some weird advice thrown his way this season. The ladies seemed to like his suit with the French cuffs. I thought the song was a little boring at first, but Danny sang with good control and ended with more authority, even a little intense for me, with the old "and biiiiiig finish!" The judges loved it. I thought it was Gokey as usual in that I give it props but I don't want him to win even though apparently he will, according to the judges.


Adam sang "Feeling Good" and when he was done Jamie said, "You don't care who I am!" which at first was kind of funny, but then I realized what a cock Jamie Foxx must be. Adam gave major entrance, sashaying down the stairs with the light coming out of his head and crotch. Then the music went burlesque and I kind of wished he were a sexy lady, because this was a Jessica Rabbit-type number, but with a dude.  I’m not saying I can’t appreciate gender-bending but I wanted someone to throw a glove or mink stole to the audience. I dug it, though.  Adam’s great with the stage drama and I enjoyed this performance more than I do most of his. I actually liked Kara's evaluation of Adam since it took into account some of his negatives as well as his positives: "Confusing shocking sleazy superb way over the top I like you." And Simon liked it too, saying that Adam wants to "prove a point" (that boys can sing torch songs?) and that Ryan was no longer allowed to use that staircase.

So! The singing/performing=way better than I expected for Rat Pack night. The mentor=pretty useless. Who will go home? I would like it to be Matt but I'm worried that it'll be Allison.


Grade: B

Stray observations:

—I don’t vote, so maybe I’m wrong but giving each contestant two phone numbers doesn’t seem to be twice as “easy.”


—If you download one of the iTunes tonight you can get a free autographed picture! I want a Danny.

—Jamie pointed out that Kris isn’t trying to be in the “throat Olympics.” Insert oral sex joke here.  Oh wait, I guess I just did.


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