Well, this is a big week for American Idol
season 8. It's the week when the all-powerful judges shuffle around contestants' Polaroid pictures like they're playing some master game of Jenga, and in the end they select the top 36 that will perform for the American voters. Tonight they tossed a few Polaroids into the trashbin that I think should have stayed on their casting table for at least another episode, while there were a few other Polaroids that, um, I didn't think deserved a chance to develop. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
Some of the people who made it through, which I am happy about, included:
- Omigod omigod omigod!
I can't believe that a wacky unknown comic, who clearly auditioned with no greater aspiration than becoming the next Milo "No Sex Allowed" Turk, has made it this far. But I'm not going to question the gift. Norman may be dishwater-dull whenever he performs as "himself," aka Nick Mitchell, but when he wisely decides to put on his alter ego's trademark Mylar shirt, Midwestern-tourist cargo shorts, terry sweatband, and geek glasses, he transforms into what I believe is his TRUE self: the comedic genius known as Norman Gentle. His insanely entertaining--or make that just plain insane--interpretation of Ray Charles's "Georgia" (complete with
gratuitous floor-rolling straight out of Madonna's "Lucky Star" video) had me
rolling on the floor with laughter tonight. And it awesomely, unexpectedly earned him another night on Idol
. If this guy makes it to the top 36, I predict he will rightfully become the season 8 Vote For The Worst posterboy, and I of course will program his voting number into my speed-dial and start a phonebank to keep him on the show as long as possible. But of course, I will only do this if he performs solely as nutty Norman, not
as normal Nick. Nick Mitchell is dead, long live Norman Gentle!
Adam Lambert - How much do I love this guy? Let me count the ways:
1) His fantastically octave-straddling, theater-trained voice 2) His perfect hair 3) His guyliner so expertly applied, he could give Pete Wentz makeup lessons 4) His love of Queen 5) His queeniness. Adam just RULES. I am already dreaming of a Norman Gentle/Adam Lambert finale. A finale that ends in a tie. And then forces them to record Queen songs as a duo. Is there a way to fix the voting now to ensure this happens? Please?
Jamar Rogers - I like this guy. Besides admiring his loyal BFF-ship with grieving widower and fellow season 8 Idol hopeful Danny Gokey, I dig Jamar's flyboy style (that shamrock-green cardigan and skinny tie he rocked tonight were straight out of the Andre 3000/Pharrell/Kenye West preppy-rap lookbook), and I enjoyed his soulful take on the Plain White Ts' "Hey There Delilah" tonight. I've heard he [SPOILER ALERT!!] doesn't make the top 36 in the end, but I hope that's just lame Interweb gossip.
I actually like him much more than I like his pal Danny. (More on Danny later...)
Anoop Dogg - He sang Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative," and he sang it well. (Waaaaay better than Britney ever did, of course.) Hey, all Bobby Brown's doing these days on the reality-TV circuit is lame bed-&-breakfast CMT shows with Marcia Brady, so it's up to Anoop with bring a new edition (ahem) of Bobby's music back to the small screen.
Lil' Rounds - I gave her a hard time last week for her (in my opinion) shrill and overcooked Whitney impression, but she redeemed herself tonight with a tasteful and not-too-OTT performance of Alicia Keys's "If I Don't Have You."
I'm glad she got the chance to sing that, as the song suited her voice well. Lil' Rounds proved she deserves another round.
Jackie Tohn - I admit it: I didn't like Jackie at first. I wrote her off as a poor woman's Amanda Overmyer. But Jackie has won me over with her absolutely fabulous sense of '80s style. Some of her retro-dork-cool rocker outfits seem lifted straight out of "Do's" column of Vice magazine. The sequin butterfly Studio 54 blouses, the Bedazzled fannypacks, the mismatched animal prints...the chick is like a Nagel painting come to life. I hope she makes the top 36, ignores all the stylists' advice, and hits the stage in iridescent Hammerpants and giant Dynasty shoulderpads.
Jackie could pull it off, I think.
Nathaniel Marshall - It's dawned on me that the Idol producers have kept Nathaniel this long because his drama-queeniness makes for good TV. So? What's wrong with good TV? But tonight he performed an acoustic cover of Rihanna's "Disturbia" that would even melt the heart of Chris Brown, and he earned his spot in the semi-finals. However, that doesn't mean I'm not hoping he throws a few more good-TV hissyfits this season. The way he practically had a stroke tonight, when he found out he'd made it, indicates that there's more Marshall melodrama to come. I'm setting my TiVo now.
Stephen Fowler - My heart sank tonight when he pulled a Brooke White--i.e., he messed up his song and sheepishly asked for a do-over. His flub didn't seem to impress the judges, and I assumed he'd blown it.
I think Stephen assumed it too, judging by the frustrated way he slammed his hand down on the piano keyboard before exiting stage left. I'm glad the judges saw the good in him and gave him a second chance, and I hope he remembers the words next time.
Cody Sheldon - OK, I admit it, if it's not obvious by now: I have a soft spot for Lego-haired little emo boys. (Cody, Nathaniel, Adam, last season's Danny Noriega...even past seasons' Jon Peter Lewis, Constantine Maroulis, and Blake Lewis, to some extent). So what if I have the taste of a 13-year-old girl? At least I drew the line and never rooted for Sanjaya.
Anyway, I've not seen much of Cody since his first impressive audition in Arizona weeks ago. But I hope to see more of him in the top 36.
Jasmine Murray - Her talent and class always shine through. No drama, not a whole lot of screen time, just a fantastic voice. I think she's going to be this season's out-of-nowhere contestant, a la season 3's LaToya London.
And here are some singers that made it through that I am not so thrilled about:
Danny Gokey - Yes, it is sad that he lost his wife at such a young age, and so recently. It's a horrible story, a tragic ordeal for any young groom to endure, and my heart goes out to him.
And, yes, I suppose he can sing. He has an a'ight voice--maybe even more
than a'ight. But I just find him a little too vanilla. He bores me. Just because he has a sob story doesn't mean he deserves to stay. However, I am well aware that there are a lot of Gokey-geeks out there who will disagree with me, probably quite vocally. Haters, the messageboard is below...
Jorge Nunez - Yawn. He ruined that Ne-Yo song tonight. I love me some Ne-Yo and do NOT like hearing his tunes messed with, OK? Why does this Jorge guy keep scraping by?
Scott MacIntyre - Yes, he's blind. But anyone with working EARS could tell that his audition tonight, of Daughtry's "Home," was pitchy and off-key.
No one high-fived him after that
performance. Yet, he made it through anyway. I'd hate to think he advanced because of his sob story, but let's face it (you know
it's true), the whole blind-guy-overcomes-adversity story arc makes for good TV. Maybe even better TV than the whole widowed-guy-overcomes-adversity story arc. I'm just sayin'.
Michael Sarver - Zzzzz....oh, I'm sorry. I fell asleep. Forgive me, but it's hard to stay alert during this everyman's performances. He's like a Rascal Flatts member, but with less edge. Sarver has so little edge, he's a sphere. And that's not a dig at his weight, people. I just find him to be completely charisma-less. Back to the oil rig, I say.
Tatiana Del Toro
- Oh gawd
, do NOT get me started. Too late, I've already started. Started gouging out my eardrums so I don't have to listen to her constant unsolicited, judge-interrupting singing attempts and long-winded tearful speeches (the kind of speeches that make people, myself included, immediately bow an imaginary violin). And I've already started gouging my eyes out so I don't have to be subjected to her gratuitous posing and primping. Does she think she's hot or something? Nathaniel Marshall is prettier than her. I admit her hyperventilation fit while she awaited her fate tonight made for good television--I was on pins and needles wondering if she'd have a heart attack, right then and there in room #4. And I assume that's why the producers kept her. They'll probably put her in the top 36 for that very same reason. But I can't imagine she'll get many votes once America has a say.
- This one annoys me even more than Tatiana. This seasoned showbiz veteran doesn't even deserve to be on the show in the first place (see my blog on her industry past
for more on that), and during her audition tonight she committed the cardinal AmIdol
sin of forgetting the words. And she forgot them far more egregiously than Stephen Fowler did. But she made it through anyway. Of course
she did. We all know she's probably already been promised a spot in the top 12 by Fox insiders, so she could go onstage wearing a potato sack and singing "Row Row Row Your Boat" (with messed-up lyrics, yet) and still make it through. Argh.
And here are some of my deep thoughts on a few standouts that got axed:
- This was tonight's one true shocking elimination. She was an early favorite, a promising teen talent who wrote her own songs--songs that didn't suck
! And I thoroughly enjoyed her neo-soulful cover tonight of Sara Bareilles's "Love Song." It baffles me why someone like Tatiana stayed and Leneshe didn't. I guess Leneshe wasn't "good TV"--maybe she should have been more of a spaz, like Nathaniel or Tatiana. But luckily, she is very young, so she has time. This isn't her last shot. I hope she auditions for AmIdol
season 9. If there is
a season 9, that is...
- I was feeling the tie-dyed hair, and I wouldn't have minded seeing more of him during Hollywood Week, because this dude seemed to have an entertainingly Castro-like personality. (Cough
.) But I am ultimately relieved that nepotism didn't help Jason Castro's little brother coast through. Joanna Pacitti is enough--no more blatant favoritism, Fox!
India Morrison - I liked her group rap last week and her audition with her sister a few weeks ago, but her Rihanna-song audition tonight was bad enough to make Chris Brown lose his temper all over again. It was India's time be outsourced. Maybe she should audition for season 2 of Miss Rap Supreme instead? I bet she'd win that one.
So Wednesday is the big
night: the official announcement of the top 36. I'm hoping for Norman, Adam, and Nathaniel to make it through, along with missing-in-action Megan Corkrey (where was she tonight?
), but despite whatever spoiler top 36 lists are out there, we won't know the real results for sure until tomorrow. Tune in then to see if your favorites--or least
favorites--make the cut.