Nine Songs -- One Hour

John Maynard is guest blogging in place of Lisa de Moraes who is in New York this week at the annual network upfront presentations where executives are promising her fabulous TV entertainment for next fall. Don't worry folks -- Lisa will be back next week for the final round.

Welcome to a no-fluff edition of "American Idol!" At least it better be. The three finalists each have to belt out three songs. That's a total of, um, nine songs. So no fluff, right?

Wrong. Off we go to Glendale, Ariz. for a taped piece where Jordin gets big props from the mayor, who seems very excited, in front of huge sun-soaked crowd.

We're back live in Hollywood where Jordin, looking classy, belts out "Wishing On a Star" picked for her by Simon. Randy makes the Beyonce comparison, Paula's cool with it but Simon "didn't like the arrangement" prompting Ryan to take the first swipe in the weekly Ryan vs. Simon battle. "You didn't like your own song?" Ryan asks.

Back to the videotape where Blake stands on stage in his hometown next to a mayor who looks about the same age as Blake. Blake sings the Paula-chosen "Roxanne" which seems a little more fast-paced than the original. After Simon criticizes him for trying to sound like Sting, he hears it from the crowd.

No big crowds for Melinda in her taped piece from Nashville -- just a stiff-looking Tennessee governor and an even stiffer governor's wife as they reveal Randy Jackson's song choice for Melinda -- Whitney Houston's "I Believe in You and Me."

After a unanimous rave from the judges, Ryan gets a little goofy with Randy mocking his propensity to say "yo yo yo." Simon appropriately asks if Ryan is "drunk." Ryan promises us he's not.

We're back with Jordin who tells us in the pre-song interview that her favorite song is "Mmm Bop" by Hanson. After some groaning from the audience, Jordin defends herself saying, "I'm 17!"

That's no excuse, Jordin.

After Jordin nails "She Works Hard for the Money," Paula makes a funny in her critique saying, "You worked hard for the money." Hee hee.

Blake's beat-boxing returns with his rendition of Maroon 5's "This Love" which gets major love all around.

Melinda gives a gritty version of Ike and Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits" which sounds so unlike the sweet thing who said minutes earlier in her talk with Ryan that her idol is her "mommy."

More videotaped fluff as Jordin gets a huge honor in her hometown: her own Hollywood-like star... on the floor of a mall where she used to the bottom of an escalator.

Hey, it's a start.

Her rendition of "I (Who Have Nothing)" blows everyone away -- except Simon who thinks it's too darned old.

Blake mixes it up with Sir-Mix-A-Lot in a taped piece from "Sea-town" singing about how much they enjoy big butts. His live performance back in Hollywood of "When I Get You Alone" may just propel him into the finals.

Melinda gets big honors in her hometown, It's not a star... in a mall... at the bottom of an escalator. No, she gets a street named after her! Now, that's cool. She cries and cries at the honor.

But when we're back live, it's all grittiness again from Melinda with her live performance of "I'm a Woman."

And, now we wait and endure a lot more fluff tonight.

Editor's note:
For more on last night's "American Idol," read Eugene Robinson's story, A Melinda-Jordin Final? Not So Fast, Sings Blake

By John Maynard  |  May 16, 2007; 11:10 AM ET "American Idol"
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

For the AI finale, I respectfully submit that Wash Post give us three or four essays/blogs from deMoraes, Mr. Maynard, Maura McCarthy and the noble Gene Robinson. Did I miss any of the AI writers? We must have global coverage!

Posted by: Inspector Oh | May 16, 2007 11:50 AM

Second darn it!!

Posted by: Second | May 16, 2007 12:03 PM

Second darn it!!

Posted by: Second | May 16, 2007 12:03 PM

Jordin's final song was CHEESY!!! AGAIN (since she already sang it before)! Walking around bowing her head, as if sad and devistated. I dislike her more and more every week to the point where I don't even want to watch the finale if she is a finalist.

Melinda will win no matter who is in the final, but I at least want it to be halfway interesting.

Posted by: VA AI Watcher | May 16, 2007 12:07 PM

Blake's cover of Sting made me wish Blake was as sexy and could sing as well as Sting. Melinda's raw cover of "Nutbush City Limits" made me wish she'd throw down the mike and tear up the floor dancing like Tina Turner. Jordin's "I Who have Nothing" made me wish that I don't hear the song "I Who have Nothing" for another 60 years!

Posted by: Jean | May 16, 2007 12:10 PM

What is wrong with Tennessee?

First they wouldn't honor Justin Timberlake because of "Sexy back"; now, no crowds for Melinda just the stiff Governor and his wife. They will probably take the street sign back.

Melinda wins AI

Posted by: Lisa1 | May 16, 2007 2:14 PM

did anyone else notice that when melinda was told what song randy picked for her she responding by saying thanks to RANDY JOHNSON?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 16, 2007 2:15 PM

Its because you can barely hear off camera that the Governor has referred to him as Randy Johnson, and then been corrected. Melinda laughs and then jokingly thanks Randy "Johnson".

It freaked me out too...until i rewound and watched again.

Posted by: matt in DC | May 16, 2007 3:37 PM

Why is it Jordin is stuck with two undistinguished disco tunes pushed on her by two Brits, Simon and producer Nigel, who seem to be the last two people on the planet that find the disco era worth revisiting?

They make her sing two crappy songs and then criticize her for doing so!

Simon makes her sing a forgettable song by Rose Royce from 1977, then rags on her for singing "I Who Have Nothing" from 1970, only we're supposed to believe that selection is ancient while his is modern.

He can pick a song for her that's 30 years old, but when she sings one that is 37 years old, she's forgetting she is 17!

Arrrggghhh! This show is getting so dumb.

Posted by: filmex | May 16, 2007 4:21 PM

Man, I cannot believe that no one has mentioned that Melinda totally botched the words to I'm a Woman. It was near the beginning, and you can very clearly see her look toward the judges to see if they noticed. I mean, I'm not a Melinda-hater, but still, someone should have mentioned it.

Posted by: stef | May 16, 2007 6:21 PM

Oh, John, please try to add a little more snark. More like Simon (and Lisa) and less like Paula.

I wasn't wowed by Jordin or Melinda last night. I've said it over and over, Melinda can sing but Blake can entertain! He's talented and far more marketable.

Will Jordin and Blake split the 'teen vote or will Jordin and Melinda split the Diva vote?

Posted by: Dac | May 16, 2007 6:40 PM

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