Thoughts On American Idol: Top 9 Results

March 29, 2012

Image from Mike Licht, Notionscapital.com via Flickr, used under Creative Commons

This week we were back to the vague themes and questionable tastes as the Top 9 sang songs from their “personal idols.” About half of it was ok. Let’s see who heads home tonight.

Here are the musical performances in order they were on the show.

1. Ford Music Video: You know, an 80s pop metal theme night might not be such a bad thing, especially if the contestants all had to all dress up in neon, spandex, and hairspray. It might motivate some of these jerks into being entertaining.

2. Nicki Minaj – “Starships” Well, Nicki isn’t even trying to lip sync and it shows in her lack of energy in the performance. This is in spite of a decent melody and perfectly danceable beat (along with a completely different-sounding hook a la “Party Rock Anthem.”) The realistically-dressed beach bum backup dancers were refreshing and enthusiastic as well. It’s just a shame that Nicki didn’t bring the fire she has in her studio recordings. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind if she bumped Steven off the judging panel.

3. Scotty McCreery – “Water Tower Town” The season 10 winner’s performance has a few things going for it. One, Scotty lost that performance tic where he holds his microphone like a flute. Two, his singing is quite on pitch. Three, the melody is upbeat and breezy for a pop country song. It’s just that I can’t get behind that small-town whitewashing and as Robot Chicken Charlie Brown might say “Strong Christian Overtones!” Those themes will resonate with a big audience, but I wasn’t feeling them.

Bottom 3
1. Hollie Cavanagh: It was only a matter of time. Hollie seems stuck in pageant mode almost every time she gets on stage. She executes like a great technician, but the only spark of life I have seen from her was in the Madonna medley. Maybe the music of Madge will inspire her, should she stick around. What she needs to remember is that 66% of her competition whips out vocal acrobatic ballads on a weekly basis. She can win by doing different things. Remember, performing the same thing week after week is what got Erika the boot.

2. Heejun Han: I’m tired of alternately being disappointed by and feeling sorry for the comedian. His caving into producer pressure to be boring drained every last drop of goodwill I had for him. I’d tell him to be more upbeat, charming/awkward, and self-aware, but he embodied those qualities during Billy Joel week and he was in the bottom three then. If only he put a little more thought into his song choices or tried to embody more of a party spirit like he did offstage, he could have been more of a contender.

3. Skylar Laine: OK, so Skylar didn’t bring her A-game this week but COME ON PEOPLE! Skylar balances the masculine and feminine in her stage presence, sings like she gives a damn about what’s going on, and knows how to engage the audience like a seasoned professional. I’m normally down on the teen contestants but Skylar, like Jessica, blasts that away with attitude and true talent. If she’s out I’ll be disappointed.

The Loser
First, it’s a good thing that Skylar is quickly sent back to the chairs. Otherwise I’m ok with the Bottom 3. I would have been disappointed about this a few weeks ago, but it looks like the comedian gets the big cane-yank offstage. Heejun followed the trajectory of contestants who seemed interesting but had terrible taste in music. I had hopes for him after he performed “My Life,” but it was an aberration instead of a sign of change. Maybe he’ll find his groove in another setting.



  1. Nicki Minaj lip sang practically the whole song. I am not even sure if she can even really sing without a computer helping her. Why would American Idol, which is a show about REAL singing talent, highlight someone who is just a good performer and sex icon and not actually a person with a real, raw, good voice? Dumb move American Idol. She would never have made it to the top 9.

    I like Heejun Han. I loved his performance during Billy Joel, it was entertaining, AND the vocals were good, in my opinion. I thought his unique vibrato was awesome this week.I have always felt like the judges didn’t give him enough credit. He was better than Colton this week. DO I think he is the best on the show? No! Do I think he would have won? No! But I felt like Hollie should have gone home. She was pitchy and lack luster.

  2. I never really clicked with Heejun, so I’m kind of glad he’s gone. I just wish it had been last week so that Erika Van Pelt would’ve had another chance to shine. She could have made America warm to her, though she was a direct competitor for Elise Testone.

    Prediction for this week, before anybody even sings a note? Hollie Cavanagh. You’re completely right, she’s a great singer, but utterly lifeless.

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