We learned on Wednesday’s Top 7 night that the current crop of American Idol stars probably aren’t destined for starring roles in Rock of Ages, and that should sit well with all of them. But we learned on Thursday night’s elimination show that life continues to be unfair for the pitch-perfect contestants left in the competition and wonderfully fortunate for that other guy. Spin your shiny little bow-tie, you meek little Mephistopheles. Here are 20 observations about Thursday’s Coke-sponsored spectacle.
1. That group performance of “Somebody to Love” was, of course, stupid. Something about Janelle’s aggressive smiley-ness is grating to me today. Also, Lazaro’s voice seriously seems to be dwindling from week to week, while the vibrancy of his clashing apparel is holding steady at “completely jarring.”
2. Did I say “Somebody to Love” sucked? Well, it did until Candice tore through it with the raging heavy machinery of her voice, leaving everyone else and their hapless grins decapitated.
3. LOVE Amber’s industrial-print, metallic leggings/jeans. If this were Legwear Idol, she’d be making mentors like Dolce & Gabbana weep with astonishment.
4. I don’t understand Jimmy “Emphysemic Old Earthworm” Iovine ranking Candice below either Kree or Angie in this week’s performances. Her vocal decimated those two, and we didn’t need a wind machine to understand that she was being “gritty.”
5. Casey James. I remember him from season nine pretty well. He was simultaneously a viable artist (remember his cover of “Jealous Guy”?) and totally unassuming. If he had a funnier edge, he could’ve been the original Phillip Phillips.
6. Woah, Nicki, Randy, and Keith all selected Angie, Amber, and Kree as their top three singers in the competition. Uh? Based on the amount of criticism leveled at Angie and her song choices, it is unthinkable that she isn’t coming in fourth behind Candice. Thank you, Mariah, for understanding this! She ranked Candice in her Top 3 while ousting Angie. I’d consider this Mariah’s proudest showing yet, except of course she blathered about the meaninglessness of her rankings for over 17 minutes.
7. I can’t tell if Lazaro is embarrassed to have clinched a Top 3 audience vote or not. He has now surpassed Tim Urban’s seventh place finish and could be the highest-ranking “worst singer in the top 10″ ever.
8. Carrie Underwood is a vision in her apricot bathsoap-colored homecoming dress, but her voice sounds strained on “See You Again” (which is not the supercharged Miley Cyrus jam I’d hoped for). Hope her SIX-TIME GRAMMY-WINNING instrument recoups in time for her THREE CONTINENT-SPANNING tour of MANY COUNTRIES. Do you think Mariah resented that Carrie has more Grammys than she does? (Ridiculous, by the way.)
9. Amber and Candice came in fourth and fifth place in the home audience tally. That’s a little scary. How does Candice finish behind Lazaro?
10. A word on voting for Lazaro because he’s “a good person,” which Idol messageboarders — and even AfterElton messageboarders — have cited as a real reason to keep in the competition. Why would you penalize the other better singers, who seem like “good people” to me, for doing a better job than Lazaro? For remembering their damn lyrics? That is such weird, nonsense, defensive, nyah-nyah voting. Strikes me as a Republican move.
11. Janelle and Burnell (which should be the name of a dinner theater revue in the Catskills) are your bottom two. It is fun to see Janelle sweat a little. I hope it forces her to re-up her stage power for next week.
12. But it’s Burnell who’s forced to sing for his life. I was sympathetic until I remembered how awful his take on “You Give Love a Bad Name” was. I had great alternative song choices for him, remember? Those were good times, yesterday.
13. Naturally, Burnell’s song choice, India.Arie’s “Ready for Love,” is his most perfect song choice of the competition and a gorgeous lyrical match to his earnest bleat.
14. During Burnell’s performance, Mariah tilts her head at an austere 45-degree angle and looks like a bust of Mozart while shedding tears of grief. I couldn’t stop myself from belting “Through the Rain” at the screen.
15. Burnell is a sly devil. Or actually, a blatant one. As his performance intensifies, he saunters over to his weeping fellow contestants and starts singing intensely in either Candice or Lazaro’s face. I cant tell! I’ve watched the tape back four times, and the angle we get is too weird. If he was singing to Candice, it was cute. If he was singing to Lazaro, it was a full-on f*ck-you. That wouldn’t be a surprise considering Burnell’s brusque dismissal of Lazaro that time he forgot the lyrics to “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch,” but I’m just not sure! Ugh.
16. To be fair: It isn’t Lazaro’s fault that America voted him into the Top 3. If Burnell was making him feel like a jerk for that, he’s just being a baby. I’m praying for a catty backstory.
17. To top it off, Burnell concluded his performance by approaching Amber, his rumored girlfriend, and kissing her on the cheek. if this emotionally debilitates her for the rest of the competition, I’m going to protest this show AND Burnell AND India.Arie AND the fact that she once had an album called Voyage to India. Probably the most hilarious album title in history.
18. The judges don’t save Burnell because this is A GIRLS’ SEASON, RYAN.
19. The flashback of Burnell’s Idol journey is cute, but the most hilarious part is Mariah’s initial assessment of his audition. In garbled, exhausted Mariah-onics, she gurgles, “Burnell made me cryyyy.”
20. Next week’s rumored theme is the songs of Burt Bacharach. I was just thinking we needed more songs these kids have never heard of, won’t ever care about, and will resent for the rest of their lives.
Your turn. Is this weird season getting slightly infuriating? But here’s a better, more provocative question: Who’s our American Idol?