American Idol Top 8: Where Have I heard that before?
When I was younger (before the DVR era) nothing would piss me off more than getting all pumped for my favorite show and finding out it was a repeats. Nobody likes repeats except foreigners and old people.
Tonight was a repeat.
I’m not going to blame the contestants because they obviously had no choice in partaking in tonight’s abortion. But the producers? Well, here’s a giant middle finger from this guy to you. Thanks for wasting four of my TV watching hours.
Now as much as I hated the repeats, I will say this – nobody sucked tonight. Probably one of the better – as far as consistency goes – shows we’ve had in years.
We saw probably one of the Top 20 best performances in the history of the show (which I put as a possible No. 3 for all-time clutch performances), some performers rebounding and two singers I thought were favorites forced into singing dreaded originals. And originals are the worst. If their originals were any good, they would be famous already.
So here’s the singer by singer breakdown, and some of these are a little mean. That’s what happens when you chase two kids around all day and are forced to stay up late because certain 2-week olds can’t do things like “eat by themselves” or “need their diaper changed” or “spit up and cry” …
1) Jessica Meuse
She’s ticketed bottom three. I am literally writing this as she’s singing. Why am I so confident? Because she’s singing leadoff, which traditionally struggles, and she’s doing an original and nobody watches Idol to hear people do songs they’ve never heard of. Plus, let’s use some common sense and logic here – why is Jessica Meuse on this show? Because she’s not signed or a star yet. Why is that? Because her originals aren’t good enough to get her a record deal. I’m annoyed because Jessica is one of the few Idols who have figured out song selection – despite my feelings about last week – and she’s been doing a heck of a job executing songs. Her singing tonight was fine, but honestly – how long did you pay attention for? Ten seconds? Twenty? Maybe 30? Because I’ll tell you what – if I don’t know the song I tune out and I have a feeling America did too. Bottom three, lock it up (unless three other people come out here and just embarrass themselves).
2) CJ Harris
And he’s back. My man-love for CJ is painfully obvious; whatever is in his voice I just love and it’s what I want to hear from an Idol. He’s done a pretty terrible job of picking songs every week – he’s as consistent as packaged gravy – and it’s showed in his performances. Tonight CJ was CJ; he’s a Southern rocker and needs to embrace it. Singing the Allman Bros.’ “Soul Shine” was perfect because it let CJ be CJ and he avoids the stigma of “sounding too close to the original” because there aren’t enough Allman fans out there to know what the original sounded like (but they’ll say they do because nobody wants to sound like a music idiot). His audition was great because it was authentic and tonight was even better, even with the electric twang. He should be safe, because that was a terrific performance, but we 100 percent need him to figure out Southern rock covers of pop songs or he ain’t coming closing to Alex or Caleb.
3) Sam Woolf
This was a good night for Sam because tonight was his best song choice since he tried out for the show. Tonight’s performance was solid – although the no comments, commercial, then the judges come back and comment was weird as shit – and I think it should keep him around even though I think his stock has been falling faster than Allison Ireheta’s (more on her later). Bottom line on Sam – he can’t win the show. He’s not popular because he’s immensely talented. Those young people aren’t screaming because Sam is talented. They’re screaming because they’re teenage girls whose hormones are crazier than a coked-up Steven Tyler and Sam is a quasi-celebrity. Teenage girls love quasi-celebrities more than they love their family (and they love real celebrities more than they love themselves, which makes me super pumped to be the father of two girls).
4) Malaya Watson
So good. So good. So, so, so, so, so good. Every season has a female soloist who is spectacular and usually she’s a) a super pretty white girl or b) an overweight black chick. Malaya doesn’t fit either mold and when she showed off her musical ability, she didn’t seem like a soloist, but son of a bitch can she sing. I’d be lying if I said I knew “Ain’t No Way” before tonight (sue me). Malaya crushed it and if my laptop and iPod weren’t so screwed up, I’d probably download the shit out of her version. She’s so, so, so, so good and I love it.
HOWEVER, when J-Lo said “You’re going to run away with this competition” it confused me. That means Jenny from the Block honestly believes Malaya is going to win and provided Alex or Caleb doesn’t have a stroke, there’s no way that happens; or she has no idea what that phrase means. Since Jenny of the Block likes to be real, I’m going with that because that’s not as stupid as saying Malaya will run away with the competition.
5) Dexter Roberts
The twitterverse exploded over Dexter’s performance, but I think they’re way off base. Dexter has gotten this far on the back of his party anthems, not on his ability to sing ballads. Don’t get me wrong – his performance was excellent. But I don’t think it’s going to work in keeping him out of the bottom three. I usually have more to say, but that pretty much nails it. Let’s just not make it out like Dexter picked a terrific song this week; it got forced upon him. He didn’t take any risks. He sung what he had to by the rules. I still want him back to see if he can make a song his own.
The sneakiest part of his performance was former Idol Allison Ireheta singing backup. That has to be low of the low for an Idol, no? I mean, Allison was a star during her season. Future stud. Tonight she looked like she had taken one or a hundred too many lines of cacaine over the years and her singing career is certainly on the downslope. Hope we get different former Idols singing backup every week for the humor of it.
Geena Gina Jena Irene
If she ends up winning Season 13, we’re going to look back at this season and say “Her Top 8 performance is when she figured things out.” That was how you Idol. You take a popular song and make it sound like it’s yours. The judges were right – most contestants start slow then go into the popular version. Jena’s ability to start slow and keep slow was mesmerizing. It’s tough to say now, but I’m not known for holding things in so I’m gonna say it now – that’ll end up the third-most clutch performance in the history of the show. (No. 2 is David Cook singing “Always Be My Baby” in the Top 7 in Season 7; and the far-and-away No. 1 is Kris Allen singing “Heartless” in the Top 3 of Season 9. Why? If you remember, the finale was going to be Lambert and Danny Gokey. No doubter. Then in his final performance of the Top 3, Allen does a fucking Kanye song and things changed. He went from a no-doubt third-place finish to the finale to winning the show on the back of that performance.).
7) Caleb Johnson
This whole week is bullshit and Caleb has so many votes on his side he could come out and fart “Chain of Fools” and probably still not get voted bottom 3. Even if he got canned, the judges are using the save. I would have loved to see him cover Aretha as is – Basic rule of Idol: DON’T FUCK AROUND WITH ARETHA’S SONGS – and it would have been fine. I don’t know how America is going to take to it. Blues isn’t exactly a popular genre right now and I don’t know if Caleb singing is going to be enough to make people vote for him. I don’t think he deserves bottom three and don’t think he will be, but I will not be surprised in the least if he is. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter – he’s safe.
8) Alex Preston
Want to know why you need to be really good early? Look at Alex. Voice-wise, Alex was fine. Entertainment-wise, I would have rather changed diapers all night. I hated that he was forced into singing some original piece of garbage (bottom line – if the song was actually any good, it’d be a hit already; now that he’s quasi-famous, it probably will be, so I can’t wait for people to tell me how I’m wrong because the song is Top 20 on iTunes. Fuck you if you say that) because there hasn’t been anyone better at picking and performing songs. Tonight didn’t help his cause, it only hurt, but he’s so far ahead of everyone else (except Caleb, of course) that it didn’t matter. I look forward to Alex coming back next week and doing some cool cover of a song that makes chicks wet and gives dudes a boner. Because that’s how good he is.
Best performance of the night was Jena and it’s not close. Worst performance is the rest of the field, because I really don’t think anyone was so bad that they it needs to be pointed out. And that sucks because picking who is going to be in the bottom three is impossible.
Who doesn’t belong? Quick breakdown: Jena, Malaya and CJ shouldn’t be based on tonight. Alex and Caleb are too popular, so they’re safe. That leaves Dexter, Sam and Jessica.
I hate picking those three, but I’m going to go with them. I can see CJ getting Bottom 3 because he was there already and if CJ’s bluesy rendition didn’t work he could get there too (I doubt it). But it should be Dexter, Sam and Jessica. Dexter will go home even though Sam should. Jessica is the only one of those three who would be saved.
We’ll see how good I am tomorrow night.