"American Idol's" Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Week, while entertaining, didn't rock per se (unless you think Percy Sledge covers and will.i.am mentorships "rock"). But you know what? Maybe America just doesn't like rock. Maybe rock really is dead, judging from the astounding results this week.
You see, all season long supposed frontrunner Pia Toscano had been doing snoozy, Celine-style ballads, so she finally took the judges' (and, by default, my) advice and rocked it up this week with an uptempo Ike & Tina Turner song. It seemed like a shrewd move, and it was her first truly fun, funky, and yes, rockin' performance of the season...and it got her sent home. Maybe she knew what she was doing all along, when she chose to sing all those midtempo ballads.
Yes, dear readers, that was not a typo. Today is not Opposite Day, and April Fool's Day was last week. You read correctly: Pia Toscano was eliminated Thursday night, and it was a shocker that rocked the "Idol" auditorium to its very foundation.
Upon hearing the news, the surviving contestants--particularly Stefano Langone and Jacob Lusk, who'd been in the bottom three with Pia--looked like they'd seen the ghost that reportedly haunts the Idol Mansion. Steven Tyler could be seen reacting to the verdict with some sort of expletive-riddled outburst that required that little censor paddle of his (thankfully, his microphone was off at the time). "A mistake is one thing, but lack of passion is unforgivable," Steven chided the viewers at home who'd failed to pick up the phone for Pia.
Added the equally outraged Randy Jackson, who I'm pretty sure also let a curse word slip: "I'm gutted. You're one of the best singers in this!" And Jennifer Lopez seemed the most upset, sputtering through tears: "I have no idea what just happened here. I'm shocked, I'm angry...I don't even know what to say."
So what did happen? Did Pia's supporters not WANT her to switch it up? Or did they just assume she was safe because she rocked it so hard Wednesday night? Was it that weird L.A.M.B. diaper that guest stylist Gwen Stefani forced Pia to wear? Or is it just the sad fact that A WOMAN IS NEVER GOING TO WIN THIS SHOW AGAIN? (For those of you keeping track at home, FIVE females have been voted off already, while all of the men remain in the game--which means we're left with only two girls in the entire top eight now.)
I just don't know. I only know that I never, ever expected Pia to stall in NINTH place, putting her in a not-so-illustrious category with past "Idol" also-rans like Andrew Garcia, Ramiele Malubay, Nikko Smith, Camile Velasco, and Jim Verraros.
But on a happier note, at least there were some parts of Thursday's show that genuinely rocked. (And no, I don't mean the group-number medley of "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," "The Letter," and "Sweet Home Alabama.") First, there was a snarky skit by "charisma coach" Russell Brand, who memorably dubbed Casey Abrams a "gorgeous hairball of wonder." And speaking of gorgeous hairballs of wonder, original "Idol" rocker Constantine Maroulis was in the house as well, singing Simon Cowell's staple song "Unchained Melody" with that patented camera-stare-down technique he originated way back in Season 4.
But both Russell and Constantine were easily upstaged by an amazing, unhinged, out-of-left-field performance by actual Hall Of Famer Iggy Pop (who appeared instead of rumored musical guests Lindsey Buckingham and/or Jeff Beck). The Igster graced the "Idol" stage in all his sinewy, shirtless glory--spewing profanity (he got beeped more than Steven usually does), getting all up in J.Lo's face, and pogo-ing alongside the Idols in wackjob ways that Paul McDonald could never imagine. So if Pia had to go, then I suppose this was a truly rockin' sendoff.