Pop Life

Idol Beat: Another Four Bite the Dust

I gaped with awe and then just started laughing at the overdone montage at the top of last night's American Idol, with BIG BLOCK LETTERS about contestants fighting to be the one and take each other's powers in the quickening, an act older than time. If this is how pompous and grandiose things are at the top 20 stage, what horrors await as spring turns to summer?

After some regrettable banter among the judges, the contestants came out and sang this week's group song: "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. That's not a typo, either; it's not "I've Got a Feeling" or even "I Got a Feeling," both of which are understandable statements in which the speaker would be announcing a feeling they had. No, it's "I Gotta Feeling," which when unslanged is "I've Got To Feeling," which is about as stupid and nonsensical a title as you'd expect from the atrocious group who scored a hit with a song that just repeated the words "Let's get retarded" for three minutes. The song is a towering monument to utter crap and waste, something beneath even Idol contestants, whose voices were auto-tuned at the end of phrases because why even pretend it's a song worth singing well. A few seconds in, I realized I'd DVR'd the episode and didn't need to suffer, so I fast-forwarded. I do that a lot with this show.

The guys' eliminations were first, with Ryan again asking them to rise from their seats a row at a time to face judgment. The first cut came down to Todrick and John, and though Todrick won't go all the way, it was clear that John had been even less impressive in his two weeks of live performances. He got the boot and sang his song again (I've already forgotten it). For the second row of guys, it came down to Andrew and Jermaine. Again, Andrew's got room to grow, but there's no way he was gonna take the bullet before Jermaine, whose masturbatory love of melismas was embarrassing to behold even for this show. He got the ax and warbled his way through "What's Going On," a great song I opted not to hear reinterpreted.

Halfway through the ep was performance time. I'm assuming that bigger names will appear to pad results shows later in the season, but last night, we got Danny Gokey, who I am told by Wikipedia came in third last year on Idol and is originally a church music director from Wisconsin. This is not a surprise. He sang a countryish song that sounds like something Faith Hill passed on; I refuse to call it country because I like Johnny Cash and Gram Parsons and just cannot reconcile Danny Gokey with their field. The girls' eliminations were more emotional. Not for the girls going home, necessarily, but for those who stayed. The survivors would break into tears when a loser was announced, possibly out of some weird mix of relief and fear and the misplaced belief that they'd bonded with the other contestants like soldiers in war. The first row of girls to be trimmed came down to Didi and Michelle, which again, no real surprise. Yes, Didi's "Lean on Me" was boring, but Michelle's reworked Creed track was a nightmare, especially when she had to swallow her rage at being eliminated and sing it one last time.

The final cut was down to Haeley and Lacey, with Simon opining that it should be "obvious" to everyone watching who'd be gone. It turned out to be Haeley, which is a good call. She could stand to grow a little, yes, but mostly I was annoyed that someone who'd seemed so fresh and interesting in the cattle calls had wasted her moment on stage by plugging through a Miley Cyrus tune. Pick better songs, kids.

Before she could sing one last time, though, there was the requisite and brutal montage of this week's losers cavorting gleefully at various stages of the contest up to this point. The show even went to a split screen that showed the losers watching themselves on a big screen, full of happiness at winning and winning more with no idea what would happen. This is easily the weirdest and meanest aspect of the show: to make the losers relive their optimism so soon after defeat.

So that's that. We're down to 16, and after another three-ep week next week, we'll be down to 12 finalists and just two episodes a week (I believe). I say we split the crown between Big Mike and Crystal and call it a day. Takers?

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Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson