The top 10 take the stage tonight and we have a theme at last! They are to sing songs sung by past winners either competing on the show, the victory song, or songs they have recorded after the show.
I'm relieved because it means I will probably recognize most of them. I know I'm hopelessly uncurrent about music. But, a recent article stated that the median age of the Idol viewer is 46. So, I am surely not alone in not knowing all the latest hits and artists. What is interesting about that statistic is that the median age has gone down since last season when it was 49. *They* credit Nicki Minaj for the loss of older viewers. But the 18-34 year old viewing segment has stayed the same as last year. *They* credit Nicki Minaj for keeping the younger viewers watching. I'm thinking if she was really that big of a deal the younger viewing segment would have grown. Not getting worse seems to be considered a success only when talking about Idol or the economy.
The show starts with the announcer saying : Ladies and Gentlemen yourJudges* but doesn't mention their names and the camera pans them entering so quickly, we don't get a good view of them. Ryan says we are starting *on time* like its a big deal. I'm thinking the producers couldn't decide whether to offend Mariah or Nicki in the order of introduction so mentioned no one....but then we see that our precious Nicki hasn't managed to get her diva butt to the show on time. Ryan blames traffic because as we all know...traffic jams at 5 PM on a weekday in LA are a rare thing and no one could be expected to adjust their departure time accordingly.
So, Nicki isn't there when Curtis makes his entrance in his paisley jacket and sings *I Believe* which was performed by Fantasia. I was not watching her season so I don't have good or bad memories of that song. I will note that Curtis seems constitutionally incapable of choosing a song that doesn't have the word *believe* in it someplace. If he keeps this up he will surpass Danny Gokey's *all my songs are about the same thing* (in Gokey's case...someone dying like his wife) record. Jimmy tells him to careful because he is sounding a little too retro. For awhile I thought Curtis was following Jimmy's advice because he kept the melisma down some but he just couldn't resist that big, predictable, falsetto glory note at the end. I'm going to start calling it falshitto again like the guys do at Vote For the Worst. I'm thinking the performance is so/so and that the judges are incredibly kind to him in their comments. There is quite a lot of Curtis hate on the Idol forum boards. In fact, he may be the only one in the top 10 that doesn't have an official fan following there. The fan groups give themselves nicknames and Curtis doesn't have a group with a nickname yet. I've got an idea for one: The Falshittos! Curtis is losing his appeal to me especially since I was reminded that he made some sort of nasty crack about Charlie in Hollywood Week.
Janelle is up next and she is just the most natural sweet thing. Jimmy basically tells her pretty blonde country singers are a dime a dozen. I'm relieved she is going to sing something besides a ballad. She chooses *Gone* which was sung by Scotty McCreery in his season and I think her voice sounded great (even if she did have cotton mouth). Nicki, Randy, and Mariah wanted her to sing a ballad. Keith was the only one who liked the song choice and the performance, but since he's the only country artist on the panel, his opinion is the only one I care that much about. Nicki arrived in time to tell her she likes her styling but not her song choice. Nicki is wearing dark glasses and a what looks like a hoodie so she should shut up about styling tonight.
Devin is up next and sings *Temporary Home* which I believe is one of Carrie's post-Idol songs. The stylists have lowered the point on his head somewhat but its still too pointy. I thought he undersang the song and the judges agreed. He is one of my favorite guys but I think he is in trouble tonight.
Angela...the early frontrunner is up next. I. do. not. like. her. I thought my aversion was irrational until she starts talking about herself and how much Jimmy likes her and how she can sing the song *I Surrender* as well as Kelly Clarkson. At least pretend to some humility for crying out loud...you know...*blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth*? Of course Jimmy doesn't act like he likes her all that much when he tells her that she performs like a pageant queen but I think Angela is secretly pleased at the comparison. Anyway, she comes out and is pushing so hard at the song I think she is going to deposit something on the stage....a baby or something requiring the production crew to come out with some Clorox. I'm scowling in pain through the whole performance. The judges think she hung the moon. I think she is encroaching on Kristy Lee Cook land. And Nicki, I hated her leather dress and I really don't care if she can walk well in heels. I'm sure the Pia Toscano and Jessica Sanchez fans adored her.
Next on Jimmy's couch is Paula Jo. Jimmy truly does like him and advises him not to oversing so much. Paula Jo is just a complete mess to me. I'm not disliking him so much now that I have Angela to pick on but he is no more a country singer than is Placido Domingo. I think he wants to portray himself as country so he will get some votes from the country crowd but he just cannot stop sounding like a ballady pop singer who wants to cross over to Broadway. Ryan says he is going to show his *sensitve side* with *Amazed* which was sung by Scotty. I'm asking myself...when has Paula Jo shown anything BUT his sensitive side. He's been crying and emoting since his audition. Oh well...the judges think he followed Jimmy's advice and Randy takes credit on the judges behalf for Paul toning it down somewhat even though Keith is the only one who told him to can the drama queen act. Paula Jo does a fair job of holding himself back until the very end and bless his heart...*he just cain't hep hisself*. Women who don't have gaydar will think he is cute and sexy so I don't think he is going anywhere soon and I still think he may make it to the very end on that schlocky stuff. My biggest fear is a Paula Jo/Angela finale.
Finally, a real woman takes the stage. Candice sings *I Who Have Nothing* which was sung by Jordin Sparks. I believe this was the performance after which Simon told Jordin *you may win this thing* or something like that. Candice does it justice and then some. The judges all stand except Mariah whose dress is too tight. (I can see Nicki's silent smirk at that). Candice's family is in the audience and I am thrilled for her and I hope she goes very very far because I have enjoyed every one of her performances so far.
Poor Lazaro has to follow Candice and Jimmy treats him like he is simple, telling him to practice the song a lot. Evidently Jimmy mistook Lazaro ordering the band to change the key last week as a sign of insecurity and not a sign of remarkable composure at an emotionally charged moment. He sings Kelly Clarkson's *Breakaway*. Its a letdown after Candice. He has moments of great voice and moments of not so great voice. If it weren't for his backstory and loveability I would think he would be in trouble this week...and he may be at that.
Kree does Roy Orbison's *Crying* which was sung by Carrie in her season. I love that song...who doesn't love that song? The judges were complimentary. What is Nicki's obsession with food? Frankly, Nicki looked completely bored during the performance so I had no idea where she was going with the waffle comparison. I don't know if the song carried as much *oomph* as Candice's song and right now, Candice is setting the bar for everyone tonight. But I love Kree.
Burnell has ditched the Urkel glasses and I sort of miss them but he is a very handsome young man. He sings *Flying Without Wings*, a Reuben Stoddard song. It was nicely done. I like it that he doesn't do a lot of melisma and no falshitto. I hope he sticks around awhile but I don't want him to win the whole thing.
Amber gets the pimp spot. I'm thinking...how is she going to outdo Candice? She sings *A Moment Like This* which was Kelly Clarkson's victory song. They have the wind machine on her and she is smiling and relaxed and happy and all I could write at the end of the performance was *Wow*. She gets more confident with each performance and that makes her prettier. I was a little miffed when Nicki compared her to Whitney because I was thinking Whitney when she performed and I thought I was the only one astute enough to make that comparison.
So...we will see how it pans out. I think Janelle, Curtis, and Devin are in trouble. Lazaro would be too except for his back story which I think will carry him a week or two more. I think Janelle got a raw deal from the judges, myself. Hers was the only uptempo song of the evening and if all the judges want to hear are ballads its going to be a boring, slow season.
For Sanjaya fans, I wanted to pass along this link. He was spotted busking in the NY City subway system. I suspect Idol won't be pointing to him as one of their exalted alumna any time soon.