Film and TV

Idol Beat: This Time It's Personal

The Daily Beast had a story up yesterday about how this season of American Idol might be the best ever:

This year, the contenders have already proven energetic, and the audience is responding, with half a dozen developing breakout followings across the Internet, even before the finals have begun.

"Breakout followings across the Internet?" Well, say no more. I mean, it isn't like undeserving subjects ever developed massive online presences before.

Last night, the 13 finalists performed to win your love. It was another two-hour affair which, if you were judicious with the DVR and skipped over all the mutual masturbation between the contestants and producers Don Was and Jimmy Iovine, you could skate through in just under an hour. God bless technology.

The over/under on the number of Randy's "Yo"s is at 15.

The contestants all performed a song by "their own personal idols." This should at least be good for some mockery, especially among the youngsters. Sure enough, there were some interesting choices, but nobody just flat-out screwed the pooch.

Lauren Alaina's idol is Shania Twain. Not because their names sound the same, but because she's "like a country music legend who was the first female artist to mix country and pop together." Kid, you seem nice and all, so I'm only going to advise you to go pick up some Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrell MP3s and not send a moonshine bomb to your house. Steven didn't think it was "kick ass" enough, while the others complained she didn't "kick it up" enough. I didn't realize we were watching the Food Network.

Are Jimmy Iovine and Don Was going to sing everybody's praises like this?

Casey Abrams picked Joe Cocker ("A Little Help from My Friends"), so props for that. Despite the fact he looks like the guy who lived in the gym at my apartment complex in college, he killed it. Ashthon goes with Diana Ross, another laudable choice, but her version of "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" disappoints. She has the look, to be sure, but her voice will never match it. The judges hedged their bets, perhaps unwilling to piss off Motown's Berry Gordy, a "surprise" guest.

Well shit, Paul McDonald goes with Ryan Adams. I love Ryan Adams, from Whiskeytown on to the Cardinals, but he fucking butchers "Come Pick Me Up." J Lo drops the "unique" on him again (after confessing she doesn't know who Adams is), while Randy goes with "different." Paul's not long for this world.

Pia Toscany, on the other hand...Jesus, how did I know she was going to pick Celine Dion? And when did "All By Myself" stop being an Eric Carmen song? Even if she doesn't win Idol, the Bellagio will give her 20 weeks a year.

James Durbin goes with Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed." Maybe I was wrong about Le Shriek, and the ladies seem to like him. Haley Reinhart picks...LeAnn Rhimes. 'Kay. Steven--predictably--barely hides his boner. Randy feels "sleepy." Next.

Gah. Jacob Lusk. Leaving aside the fact your "idol" (R. Kelly) is...of questionable moral character, his shtick just bores/exhausts me. Unfortunately, he'll probably get a huge boost from the gospel voting bloc. Ditto (idol-wise) for Thia Megia, who goes with Michael Jackson's "Smile" and--for the first time--shows some cracks in her facade. As does Stefano, who has some hiccups in his take on Stevie Wonder's "Lately." But who are we kidding? He's pretty enough to get through the next few rounds.

Aw, we get to see Karen Rodriguez as a little girl dressed as Selena. Unfortunately, her choice of "I Could Fall In Love" isn't going to change the minds of people who think of her as that nice girl in English class who wears the high collars and ankle-length skirts.

Say what you want about Scotty "You Mean The One With The Olives In It" McCreery, but as long as he's singing country, he'll keep going. That is, unless Marc Anthony puts a contract on him for those looks J Lo keeps giving off.

Naima Adedapo closes out with a reggae-tinged "Umbrella" that at least brought some interesting production values. At this point, it's hard to say who's going home tonight. If I had money riding on this, and you have no proof that I do, I'd put Ashthon, Paul, and Stefano on the bubble. I am notoriously bad at predicting these sorts of things, however.

And if you picked the over on Randy Jackson "Yo"s, give yourself a hand. There were 19.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar