Archive for March, 2011

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Thoughts On American Idol Top 11 Round 2: Elimination

March 31, 2011

Notes

Tonight’s elimination looks to be exciting, as two of these schlubs are getting kicked to the curb. Jennifer Lopez is styled very nicely tonight – hair, dress, total package. Steven Tyler stole Roger Daltrey’s pants. Seacrest lost that stupid side part and things are back to normal.

For this results show, the contestants are split into groups instead of performing together, so now there are a bunch of performances (and they aren’t all by Elton John)!

Lauren & Scotty – “I Told You So”

Lessons:

  • Scotty does his Bush impression no matter who he’s paired with.
  • Hey at least their pairing was age appropriate.

Ford music video “Kryptonite”

The Kidz Bop version was more convincing.

Naima & Jacob – “Solid”

Lessons:

  • These two are so cute together! The chemistry is off the charts! I hope they get a bunch of songs together on the tour.
  • Naima is a good singer, but Jacob’s presence brings her up to his level.
  • Jacob is kind of entertaining, but Naima’s presence brings him up to her level.

Fantasia – “Collared Greens and Corn Bread”

The season 3 winner is rocking the front pompadour like Janelle Monae. She makes all these little asides throughout the performance (“up top!”) that I wish more of the contestants would do. I must confess, I don’t know any of Fantasia’s music, but I love her voice. It’s squeaky but crazy powerful. The song itself is kind of slow, but it just builds and builds until Fantasia is wailing and the guitars are going crazy and the audience is swaying and clapping along. This is a good example of how to make a slow song fun. I like her.

Haley, Thia, & Pia – “Teenage Dream

Lessons:

  • One of these singers is not like the others.
  • Pia is the best, Haley is a windshield splatter and Thia doesn’t get a solo, but together they actually sound good. Good enough to rival the Dr. Luke vocal processing machine that is the original.

“The Idol Mansion Is Leaking” Montage

Who bought this mansion? Nigel Lythgoe? Mike Holmes would be hulking out right about now.

Paul, Casey, Stefano, and James – “Band On The Run”

Lessons:

  • “They formed a band!” I forgot all four of these guys can play instruments. Paul has a 12-string guitar.
  • Unlike the ladies, when they sing together they sound like fail. Worst band ever.

Bottom 3 (Announced in 4 songs)

  1. Naima Adedapo (America got it wrong like John Boehner on Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader)
  2. Thia Megia (there’s a bucket of chum in the shark tank)
  3. Paul McDonald (I’m normally down on Paul, but I liked what he did last night. I’m disappointed he’s in the bottom.)

Jamie Foxx and Will.I.Am – “Rio Product Placement Hot Wings”

“Maybe if I have enough dancing girls on the stage, no one will notice my half-assed singing.” Will.I.Am is a terrible singer and rapper, but he kicked Steven Tyler, so he’s ok with me. Meanwhile Jamie Foxx has clearly been getting complacent (“Blame it on the au-au-au-au-au-autotune”), because he sounds winded and sloppy live. It’s a good thing they could afford all those dancers, drummers, and capoeira fighters to distract from the musical sludge at the core.

Final results

Paul is in! Thia and Naima are out! Four ladies in a row have gotten eliminated on the show! This makes me uneasy!

I’m incredibly disappointed to see Naima go. She didn’t compromise and she did her own thing. And unlike a lot of these jerks, Naima’s choices were consistently fun every week. Eh, she wasn’t meant to put up with this show’s built-in bullshit. Maybe now she can find a venue that will actually give her the artistic space to grow and develop as the artist she was meant to be. Still, she was a respite from the typical lite-FM crapfest performances.

Meanwhile, I’m ecstatic to see Thia and her depressant and forced smile-addled antics get off my TV. I’ve been down on her all season, so I’ll just say that I hope she can go develop artistic experience and a personality. And given that the poor kid is only sixteen, she has time to develop them.

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Thoughts On American Idol Top 11 Round 2: Elton John

March 30, 2011

OK, the judges have used their save on Casey (and rightly so!). There’s no place to hide anymore. Ideally the way this thing should work now is if your performance sucks, you are out (or at least on the chopping block). Of course, given the way this show has gone in the past, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Steven Tyler looks like a disco yacht captain. J. Lo is dressed like the Heidi Klum Barbie doll. Seacrest got a haircut and looks like a Mad Men reject. Ken Cosgrove he is not.

Tonight’s theme is the music of classic rock and glam icon Elton John. This could be cool. John has tons of hits in his back catalog and they range from singalong ballads to hands-in-the-air headbangers. True story: back when this show was first on and Kathy used to watch it with her parents, her dad would periodically yell “sing Rocket Man!”

Scotty McCreery – “Country Comfort”

He picked the song because it had “country” in the title. Well, at least he’s honest. Now Scotty is performing with an acoustic guitar. At least now he can’t hold his mic like he has a booger on his pinkie or throw up gang signs (though he did call out to his grandma in the middle of the song which was kind of cute). He also has to hit more high notes than normal, so there’s more work and less George W. Smirk. He didn’t feel like he was forcing anything. He had to put some effort into the deal and his performance benefitted. I kind of liked it,

Naima Adedapo – “I’m Still Standing”

Jimmy Iovine forces Naima to give a half-hearted intro about “a lot going on in the world and the people who are still standing,” which so not the meaning of the song. Fuck Jimmy Iovine. She complies, but brushes it off in a second. Her verses are nice and breezy, but her transition into the chorus felt a little forced. Her singing accent is more affected than it’s been in the past, but seeing as this is full on reggae she can rock it. I liked the half-time take on the piano banger. Naima looked like she was having fun, and in turn I was having fun.

Paul McDonald – “Rocket Man”

I think this could be a great choice for Paul. He’s wearing that stupid rose jacket again and he’s bent to one side for most of the verse, but it works for the tone of this song. Paul is comfortable here and plays around with the higher end of his range for the chorus. He didn’t hit some of the higher notes like I expected him to, but overall this was a good kind of mellow. It wasn’t plodding or saccharine like a James Blunt song. It felt honest, cloying side talk and all. It’s because Paul’s tortured voice fits with all the addiction and guilt and shame in the original song. As James said in his chat with Seacrest, it’s a singalong moment.

Pia Toscano – “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”

Jimmy Iovine tells Pia to stick with the ballads. Fuck Jimmy Iovine. She walks out from a moving ocean backdrop and sings with a ten-person gospel choir. It felt like some of the weaker moments of Glee where Lea Michele is just belting out whatever and the more interesting characters are relegated to the background. I kind of felt nothing about this performance. She sings well, but I’m not buying it.

Stefano Langone – “Tiny Dancer”

Stefano kind of oversang on the chorus and trailed off for some of it, but overall he sang it well. The best part for me was when he came out from behind the mic and actually moved around the stage. I agreed with Lopez’s comment that Stafano did a better job of connecting to the audience. I feel like Stefano is best when he makes himself approachable and tones down his pageant tendencies (a lesson Pia would do well to learn). He does well when he has fun and doesn’t worry so much about winning.

Lauren Alaina – “Candle In The Wind”

This does not seem credible to me. Was she alive in 1997? She’s smiling inappropriately for most of the song as if she’s asking for approval. “You like this song, right? See me singing it?” Lauren’s singing felt a little off, not in key or pitch, but in synchronization with the music. She was kind of doing her own thing. To cap it all off, Steven flirts with her inappropriately (and illegally) when she’s done singing. And she’s back to being the Chosen One. Why is she all dizzy? Was she drinking with Paul before the show?

James Durbin – “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”

James rocks the choreography for the song. He has all the ridiculous stage touches (jumping off the steps, lighting the piano on fire, chucking the mic stand offstage) down pat, but his singing is the worst it’s been in weeks. The color of the song makes his voice sound ugly, like a goblin. It’s as if his logic was “Maybe if I light shit on fire nobody will criticize me for my voice.” Once again it’s all sound and fury but no music, no substance. He comes off really immature, like a 14 year old boy living out a hair metal fantasy onstage without having done any of the work for it. It makes me uncomfortable. How’s your kid doing? By the way, whatever happened to this guy’s family? It seemed like such a big deal in the audition rounds. A few seasons ago when Idol had contestants like Crystal Bowersox or Danny Gokey or that bald guy Phil onstage, they’d cut to their spouses and/or kids in the audience every chance they got. I haven’t seen shit like that this season. Is his family ok? Are they still in some crummy LA apartment struggling to make ends meet? Does the Idol machine feel James’s story is less Bret Michaels and more “father on 16 And Pregnant,”? What the hell? Oh and Indra Nooyi’s coming for your head for that Michael Jackson-referencing Pepsi diss, you asshole.

Thia Megia – “Daniel”

Thia’s channeling her personal story for this song, and maybe she’ll have some emotion. She still smiled too much, but dammit I actually saw a little bit of soul in Thia’s performance today. Her singing was competent and the arrangement was good but I think where she really developed was the emotional component. Her voice wavered, her smile cracked, and I could really hear the bittersweet tone.

Casey Abrams – “Your Song”

Rodney Darkchild Jerkins told Casey to trim the beard. At least he didn’t get rid of it entirely. That would not be good (“how did Zach Galifianakis get on the show?”). Casey tones down his dork swagger performance style for this song and it works for him. He plays it cool and honest (and that star backdrop kicked ass). The spectacle took a backseat to the straight up singing. I don’t want to hear that every week, but this week it really worked for him. I am reminded that Casey has the chops to be a solid performer. He just needs to keep the beard and keep mixing it up.

Jacob Lusk – “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”

And it was. Seriously, I didn’t feel a lot for this performance. Jacob is one of the most powerful singers in the competition, but his choice to sing a song that had already been done during the top 24 round by Robby Rosen had lost me. I didn’t care for the symphony arrangement and he was stiff as a board. He’s developing the same problem as Pia – too many damn ballads that are impressive but no fun to watch.

Haley Reinhart – “Bennie And The Jets”

Mush Mouth is back in effect! She starts off the song singing on a piano (which someone had to fix since it was last on fire) and gradually works her way to the stage. She slurs her words left and right and ends the song with a barrage of bleating like Paul on a bad day. This was a drunken car crash of a performance and there’s blood on the motorway. I am starting to think that the Judges got into Paul’s stash, because I certainly did not hear the same thing they heard. I am actually shocked and appalled at the praise they heaped upon Mushy McGrowlstein.

Overall the performance quality was about average with most of the contestants doing fairly well, a few kicking ass, and several colossal shit shows. I await the double elimination.

Top 3 Performances

  1. Paul McDonald
  2. Naima Adedapo
  3. Casey Abrams

Bottom 3 Performances

  1. Haley Reinhart
  2. James Durbin
  3. Jimmy Iovine, because I am tired of his attitude and voice and stupid hat and glasses. Fuck Jimmy Iovine!

 

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Internet Roundup

March 28, 2011

Popdust has a rundown of the Juno awards, which is the big music awards show in Canada. Drake was the host! Arcade Fire took home several of the big awards, including Album Of The Year, but lost the Artist Of The Year award to Neil Young. Justin Bieber won the Fan Choice award. Deadmau5 lost the Electronic Album Of The Year award to Caribou, but took home the Dance Recording Of The Year.

Meanwhile Hard Candy has posted a new DJ mix by Aeroplane. I don’t normally care for that “Balearic Beat,” but Aeroplane’s remixes of Chromeo’s “Don’t Turn The Lights On” and The Human League’s “Never Let Me Go” were pretty damn catchy. The 12-track mix features songs and remixes from French House vets Etienne De Crecy and Alex Gopher, up and coming power diva Clare Maguire, and remix band The Swiss (who are actually from Australia).

Finally in serious matters, I managed to track down an old essay by ESPN columnist and native Detroiter LZ Granderson. Granderson wrote the article in October 2009; about seven months after Chris Brown violently beat Rihanna. Ryan O’Connell expressed a similar sentiment in a piece on Thought Catalog written a few days ago. Read both articles back to back and see how much has changed in 2 years (answer: not a whole lot). Brown is still very violent and never really did any time for domestic assault and yet there’s still a big media push to “welcome him back.”

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Thoughts On American Idol Top 11: Elimination

March 24, 2011

Notes

Tonight’s elimination is one of the most important of the season, as whoever is booted today doesn’t get to go on the tour. Which poor sap is destined to truly disappear into obscurity, never to be heard from again? The Judges are announced (this judges intro is getting tedious at 2x per week.) Jennifer Lopez is dressed to the nines in that cute gold bead dress. Meanwhile Steven Tyler is dressed like a glam cowboy granny.

We get a montage of Marc Anthony coaching contestants on pitch and then watching and reacting to last night’s judgments through the world’s smallest TV in the green room. Fox is really cheaping out.

There is a group performance….

It’s a Motown medley!

Ain’t No Moutain High Enough + Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours + Happy Birthday

Lessons:

  • Jacob and Naima start things off right. They’re kicking butt until Paul and Thia show up to wreck the number. It’s downhill from here….
  • James’s wailing ruins everyone else’s singing.
  • Whoever produces the medleys hates Casey because gets maybe 1/5th of the mic time that Mush Mouth gets.
  • When Stevie Wonder is pushed out for a surprise performance, the contestants move off to the sides and sing along, except that all you can hear is the backup singers. I guess the producers don’t trust the contestants with actual singers.
  • Double surprise! It’s Steven Tyler’s birthday! Stevie Wonder vamps it up a little before the birthday singoff, which is kind of sweet.

Ford music video “All This Beauty”

They jacked the melody from Sesame Street! Children’s Television Workshop is going to have to bust some heads, bottle tree or no bottle tree.

Sugarland – “Stuck Like Glue”

I’m not gonna lie, this song is nice and breezy. It has a cute rhythm and the melody is actually pretty catchy. The band’s harmonies are pleasant and the bridge features a kind of rap-singing. I don’t care for the singer’s 80s leotard-over-green pants look. It looks like she’s wearing a black diaper over Poison Ivy tights. Musically I have no complaints. This was a good performance.

“James Is A Wrestling Fan” Montage

This is mean, but part of me would like to see some of these contestants beat the ballad-y bullshit out of each other with metal folding chairs for real. Then Hulk Hogan makes a surprise entrance to tell James and Paul that they made the tour before fake punching Seacrest into the audience, who look genuinely surprise to have to catch the host.

Bottom 3 (Announced in 3 rounds)

  1. Thia Megia (cue Jaws theme)
  2. Stefano Langone (this is what you get for being joyless)
  3. Casey Abrams (The fuck???)

Jennifer Hudson – “Where You At?”

Also, Haley is in! The fuck???

Oh yeah, there’s a performance on….Damn Hudson can sing! Again, the contestants who are still standing can take a lesson from how she knows when to hold back and when to belt it out. This song isn’t my cup of tea, but I dig its gimmick of being a breakup song masquerading as an inspirational gospel song. Also, another former contestant, George Huff (?) is singing backup.

Final results

Casey is out! The fuck??? Will the judges use their save for this guy?

Casey performs “I Don’t Need No Doctor.” Randy cuts him off abruptly. They are using the save! Casey immediately clutches his stomach like he’s about to reenact the signature chest burst scene from Alien. Seriously, dude is so close to passing out onstage….Then he gets a burst of strength to go hug his mom. Awwww. Quote of the night – “It scared the…stuff out of me.”

Also, that has to be a kick in the shins for Lauren the Chosen One, who can no longer hide behind the judges. Thia is also still in the shark tank. Using the save so early in the season is actually pleasing; now we don’t have to endure the tedious “will they, won’t they” week after week. For this I am grateful.

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Thoughts On American Idol Top 11: Motown

March 23, 2011

Finally! An actual theme! Tonight’s theme is the music of Motown. As a native Michigander and lover of hip-hop and electronic music I have a lot of respect for the production output of the great Detroit label, at least for its first 20 years until the core label moved to Los Angeles when Berry Gordy got it in his head to make movies and the music output suffered (“I’m Rick James, bitch!”). Luckily the Idol montage stops around Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).” They sure have a lot of shout outs today. At one point in the show, Randy talks about Berry Gordy like he’s dead when he was on the show maybe 2 weeks ago.

Casey Abrams – “I’m Still Alive I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

Casey kicks things off with a rousing, albeit jerky cover of the Marvin Gaye classic. His little touches in the performance like the musician trail behind the judges and shaking hands with his friends in the audience mid-song were cute and entertaining. His singing was a little off-key to me, but since he went all-out blues it was more important that he conveyed the passion and angst in the song and bring it to the forefront. It’s not his best work, but it is still going to be way better than what a lot of these fools are going to do.

Thia Megia – “Heat Wave”

This was a good choice for Thia. She looked like this was the first time she got to cut loose on stage and she turned out her best performance of the season so far. Of course, cutting loose for Thia is still rote performing. Her voice has the maturity, but not the soul or the emotion. Every time she talks she looks dead behind the eyes, like one of the producers slipped her an Ambien before the show. She’s still underwater, but she’s swimming towards the surface. She just has to not get eaten by sharks on the way up.

Jacob Lusk – “You’re All I Need To Get By”

First off, the man is dressed impeccably. Jacob shows absolute control and power as he sings, taking care not to get overshadowed by the backup singers. Seriously, the man belts as well as he dresses. He’s also taking the energy up a notch in both song choice and his stage presence. Just a notch, but it’s still an improvement from his past performances. Hell, even Steven gave him a hug at the end. And Seacrest is actually letting people up on stage (but he cuts the one dude off like a jackass).

Lauren Alaina – “You Keep Me Hanging On”

Well her opening explanation of the song is all myopic and fucked up, and I doubt her arrangement will be as gutsy as Blake Lewis’s in season 6. Her singing is very solid, but she’d have a better stage presence if she wore a dress that wasn’t in danger of dropping like a towel or causing her to trip all over herself. It undercut the attitude. If she focused more of her energy on the vocal delivery and diva power moves, her performance would have come out immensely better.

Stefano Langone – “Hello”

He should have done “All Night Long (All Night).” Stefano brings a good wail for this kind of music, but it still feels a little too prom night cover band for my taste. From his singing an octave too high, to his Gen-Y lounge singer suit, to the ersatz arrangements, the end product was melodramatic in all the wrong ways. If he said “hello” to someone like he sang “hellOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” he’d get a face full of pepper spray.

Haley Reinhart – “You Really Got A Hold On Me”

When you hear Smokey Robinson sing the song, when you hear The Beatles sing it, when you hear Zooey Deschanel sing it, all three mop the floor with Haley’s version. It’s not as mushy as usual, the mush replaced with twang and some Casey growl. She can’t hit the low notes, but her runs are ok. She’s showing improvements here. Maybe she should stick to the roots-rock/country thing. It won’t make up for Lauren Turner’s elimination, but it will make her less insufferable. Her teeth are too white.

Scotty McCreery – “For Once In My Life”

What, you were expecting something by Mary Jane Girls? Scotty stays true to his performance style, doing a country cover of the song made famous by Stevie Wonder. His W meter is off the charts with all the smirking, pointing and winking like it’s all some big joke (or he’s trying to be a rapper). Seriously dude, dial it down. It’s distracting from your singing, which felt phoned in today. You don’t need to overact the whole song.

Pia Toscano – “All In Love Is Fair”

Pia, ever the top professional, is in full Alicia Keys mode tonight. She had a good build up to her master blaster ending. It was a good mix of restraint and hidden power. Her dress was also an improvement – demure but it had the slit up the leg and had a peekaboo back. It was kind of hot. Randy had a good point in that Pia needs to push the tempo a little bit more. Hey even Celine did “That’s The Way It Is.”

Paul McDonald – “The Tracks Of My Tears”

Paul was more fun when he was stumbling around on stage like Rod Stewart on a bad day. Stuck behind his acoustic guitar, he’s just another low key singer-songwriter with an annoying voice for me to root against. His singing was thin and annoying. It’s a shame, because he was starting to grow on me until he threw out this lukewarm late 90s leftover. His teeth are too white.

Naima Adedapo – “Dancing In The Street”

Her opening montage shows that she has done some research into the material. She’s respectful of the song’s history and finds its connections into other areas, unlike other contestants who treat this catalog like a bunch of museum pieces. The arrangement is in half time for the first part and it’s a nice switchup before the main part of the song. Naima’s pipes are in much finer form tonight. Then she drops out the main song for a drum line and some fine African dancing (right down to her bare feet). She knocks out the last note like she just doesn’t give a shit. If she stays true to herself and keeps taking gutsy risks, we all win.

James Durbin – “Living For The City”

Once again, no soul to be found here. James marches around like Taylor Hicks and wails like a banshee who’s been punched in the solar plexus. Clearly he has forgotten his performance from last week where he used his full range to have valleys and peaks. It was back to the same joyless screaming with a lot of sound and fury and forced smiles. I was disappointed. Kathy was actually angry. In other words, James is lucky the audience hasn’t heard of the Dirtbombs.

Top 3 Performances

  1. Naima Adedapo
  2. Jacob Lusk
  3. Casey Abrams

Bottom 3 Performances

  1. Scotty McCreery
  2. James Durbin
  3. Stefano Langone
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Internet Roundup

March 21, 2011

First in Idol news, here is further verification of the Scotty McCreery/George W. Bush comparison. When Melissa McEwan of Shakesville juxtaposes pics and videos of the two “country boys” with similar smirks and expressions, it kind of reminds me of those old protests signs that put ol’ W’s face with that of a chimp. The end result is just eerie. When McEwan elaborates on what might lie beneath McCreery’s expressions and what his run represents, it makes me rethink what’s going on with the kid who ruined my favorite Josh Turner song. I don’t have the antipathy towards Scotty that I’ve seen on other sites, but I reiterate that my reason is that Scotty has never been in a position of power, so he has never had a chance to say, as Todd Barry would put it, “Fuck you. War!” If that’s how he responds to one of Randy’s wooden complements, all bets are off.

On a different note, the Ann Arbor dancethink band My Dear Disco has changed their name to Ella Riot. I think this is a good move on their part. As the band has indicated on their site, it clears up any confusion with the Australian band My Disco as well as any preconceptions that they make disco music (they don’t). I’ve written about the band before on this site and saw them live with their current lineup back in November. They have shown no signs of slowing down in their high-intensity dance-rock rave-ups. Ella Riot is currently touring and I look forward to seeing them when they come to metro DC next month.

Finally from my inbox, I had a chance to listen to the new release Warm Blooded Lizard by San Francisco hip-hop producer Nym. The album focuses on spaghetti western music, like the kind Ennio Morricone composed for Sergio Leone’s movies. It’s a territory you don’t see mined a lot for instrumental hip-hop. It’s also not a whole album of “flute flute flute….wah wah WAH.” I was impressed with the variety of instrumentation and the mix of vocal lines from old movies long forgotten (at least to me). There are a lot of standout tracks. “Redwood’s” simple but effective mix of beats and guitar made me feel like an outlaw badass. “Rats” features the ominous vocal intro, bass, and piano combo-ing that put RJD2 on the map back in the Deadringer era. “Cucko” ambles along leisurely and quirkily like a sepia-toned Wagon Christ track. Oh, and just when you thought you weren’t gonna get any original vocals or Morricone, along comes “Bandida.” There’s this sexy male + female vocal rap duet over a certain iconic melody that for me was the centerpiece of the album. You can pick up Warm Blooded Lizard for a cool $5 at Nym’s Bandcamp page.

Rest In Peace Jet Harris, 1939-2011.

 

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Thoughts On American Idol Top 12: Elimination

March 17, 2011

Notes

Steven Tyler’s sparkly wizard coat looks like something he stole from Ethel Merman’s bedroom closet. The other standout moment came when Seacrest told everyone to look under their chairs. “EVERYONE GETS AN AMERICAN IDOL A 10TH ANNIVERSARY COMPILATION CD!” I don’t believe I’ve seen this show channel Oprah before. Oh, and Pitbull is in the audience. He salvages diamonds from every dance pop lump of coal.

There is a group performance….

It’s a mashup medley!

Born To Be Wild + Born This Way

Lessons:

  • You know, if the producers really wanted to live up to the spirit of either song, they wouldn’t have gender-segregated the vocal parts like they did. Having someone like Lauren cover “Born This Way” just feels wrong to me. And Casey was up there for maybe 3 seconds. He of all people should get some mic time.
  • That said, Paul’s bar room performance style paid off here, as he looked to be the most comfortable guy on stage.
  • The same could be said for Naima. Her free spirit and musical sensibilities give her the feel for modern dance pop.
  • Thus it really fits that the two would be paired off when everyone finally came together to sing the “Born This Way” chorus. Those two looked genuinely happy to be on stage.

Ford music video “Val Kilmer”

Did I read that title right? Like the guy who’s in trouble for not paying taxes? It’s movie themed! Paul totally made sense as the villain with his hand on the remote bomb. Stefano would totally dump Karen for Haley. He has poor taste in music, so he might as well have poor taste in dates.

Lee DeWyze – “Beautiful Like You”

Over some warmed-over Onerepublic reject backing track, the guy who won last season bleats like a goat. The song reaches a moderate crescendo halfway through, but otherwise this sounds like every other pop-rock ballad on the radio, except for the most part it stays in first gear. How the hell did this guy win again?

Bottom 3 (Announced in 5 rounds)

  1. Haley Reinhart (Bahahaha nobody likes her! She’s taking it with sarcastic aplomb)
  2. Naima Adedapo (Pity. She’s the most interesting contestant on the show.)
  3. Karen Rodriguez (No love for the ladies. She had potential but she sang the same song every week.)

Black Eyed Peas – “Just Can’t Get Enough”

Did Fergie quit the band? That singer does not look like her. If that singer is Fergie, what happened? Meanwhile Will.I.Am continues to rock the metallic hairpiece he wore during the Super Bowl. Then Taboo gets mic time – substantial mic time – and he makes the most of it. He showed the most energy of any Pea on that stage. This makes me very happy. Apl.De.Ap gets to jump on the mic after the song abruptly switches to a robotic shuffle backing track that makes no sense in context with the piano+beats slow jam that was most of the song.

Final results

Karen is out! She just kept on doing the same boring song. That she sang 33% of every song en Español kept her interesting, but it was not enough to make her stand out from the sea of saccharine balladeers that make up most of this show’s top 12. Be that as it may, she had a bit of hungry desperation and passion during her final sing off of “Hero” that had me seeing that spark again. She had a good run.