'American Idol': Your 12 Finalists

The final 12 will be revealed on "American Idol" tonight, host Ryan Seacrest says. Four people are going home.

According to our Completely Unscientific "American Idol" Poll, this week it's Luke Menard on the guys' side and Kady Malloy for the chicks by a landslide. Danny Noriega seems a sure thing, but the second chick is less clear -- maybe Kristy Lee Cook, but then she'd never get her best barrel horse back, which would be a shame.


"Idol's" final 12 contestants. (Ray Mickshaw - Fox)

There's a lot of nerves and anxiety, Seacrest says ominously, noting the 12 empty Shiny Tractor Seats of Finalist-dom, which he says will be filled based on this week's 36 million votes.

But first, a song from last season's most annoying Idolette also-ran, Beatbox Boy, Blake Lewis.

Blake is such a tease; he won't reveal which key he plans to sing in for the first several bars of his tune. Judge Paula Abdul is in ecstasy, seat dancing. She's wearing a gray fedora but the brim is so small that, from a distance, it looks like the Tin Man's hat.

Eventually, Blake picks a key and the rest of the song sounds okay-ish. Eventually, he runs out of gas and his legs stop twitching and the song is over.

At Seacrest's suggestion, Blake advises the Idolettes to be true to themselves. Look where it got him. Second place.

He also suggests they listen to the judges' "good criticism." Ah, but how to tell the good from the bad criticism, little Beatbox Boy?

Blake turns to the judges, Paula, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, and tells them patronizingly, "It's been good this year." Who's gonna tell Blake he did not win? But at least he is not ashamed to watch the show, unlike Clay Aiken or Chris Daughtry.

Seacrest plugs Paula's new track on iTunes. Paula plugs Seacrest's radio show. Simon refuses to congratulate Paula, says he literally can't say the word "congratulations" -- no doubt in much the same way Brits can't say "St. John" (It comes out "sinjun"). Finally, he gives her a half-hearted "well done." Thank you, that means so much to me," Paula says, sarcastically. Simon rolls his eyes.

Finally, it's time to use the pruner on the Idolettes.

David Cook is told to stand up. Seacrest says he spoke to Lionel Richie on the phone today and he says he loves Cook's version of "Hello," performed this week. Cook gets all, like, "wow!" easily cutting his cool quotient in half. Even so, you've already voted and you can't take it back, so he's through and is the first to take his place on a Shiny Tractor Seat of Finalist-dom.

David Archuleta, this year's winner, also is given a coveted Shiny Tractor Seat. Ditto Jason Castro.

After the neverending commercial break, it's time to single out the chicks.

Virgin Nanny gets a Shiny Tractor Seat. Syesha Mercado gets a Shiny Tractor Seat.

Next to be made to stand: Kady Malloy. She's toast and we will never get to see her do an entire "Idol" performance as Britney. We are prostrate with grief. So, too, are Asia'H Epperson and Danny Noriega, who are weeping buckets.

So far, our Completely Unscientific Poll is 1 for 1.

Great news! says Seacrest, master of the segue. Starting next week, on results-show nights, they will open up the phone lines and you can talk live on the air. "Sounds fun," Simon sneers.

Back to the guys.

David Hernandez gets a Shiny Tractor Seat, despite the best efforts of the Associated Press's new Prude Bureau, which this week took Fox to task for not exposing Hernandez's "past," which, according to the AP, included working at a strip joint.

Michael Johns gets a Shiny Tractor Seat.

Luke Menard, however, is denied a Shiny Tractor Seat. And we're 2 for 2. Seacrest predicts Luke will not go back to cleaning carpets.

"The truth is -- Stop it!" Paula shouts, that last bit directed at Simon, before continuing with her "this is the first day of the rest of your life -- you are a brilliant singer" speech.

"We're going to get you a catheter," Seacrest tells Paula.

Back to the chicks. Ramiele Malubay gets a Shiny Tractor Seat. Carly Smithson, too. Amanda Overmyer is also safe, except for the animal that has parked itself on top of her head.

Only Kristy Lee Cook and Asia'H Epperson are left. After the neverending commercial break, Seacrest asks Simon which of the two chicks is toast. "It doesn't really matter," Simon says to facilitate the two chicks feeling as bad as possible. He then guesses Asia'H. He's right. We're now 2 for 3.

Asia'H sings her last tune as an Idolette while Noriega weeps.

Only two guys -- Noriega and Chikezie Eze, are left, and just one Shiny Tractor Seat. Chikezie is comforting Danny, who is picking at his fingers. Chikezie gets the Shiny Tractor Seat; Danny is out. Seacrest calls him "one of our most courageous performers ever on 'American Idol.'" And we wind up the night 3 for 4 -- not bad!

We've seen our last of Kady Malloy's incredible shoes. Luke Menard's falsetto has passed into the range only dogs can hear. Asia'H Epperson has learned the hard way a death in the family only gets you so far. And Danny Noriega can go back to hating Santa on MySpace. Because you, America, have given them the old heave-ho from "American Idol."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 7, 2008; 7:14 AM ET "American Idol"
Previous: 'American Idol': Eight Chicks on Embarrassment | Next: 'American Idol': Best 12 Ever

Comments

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First!

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 7, 2008 7:50 AM

Props to my husband, who created the best drink-spitting moment of the night when he described Paula as an escapee from the Keebler factory.

Good lord, I certainly hope that Kathy Griffin is taking notes for her next stand-up act; Ms. Abdul is a gold-mine.

I can't believe I'm viewing this dreck (bless you, TiVo... bless you).

Posted by: con-e | March 7, 2008 7:59 AM

Okay, I just want to say that I never cease to be amazed at the fantastic things I learn from Ms. De Moraes. I "read" Jane Eyre by listening to it on cd, and until this chat I had not realized that Jane Eyre's cousin was named ST. JOHN Rivers. I really thought his name was Sinjun. Thank you!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 8:14 AM

Where did anyone get the idea this was a "contest"??? "Cause the Producers said so? It's a TV SHOW. The Producers decide the direction of the SHOW, who stays or goes...how they're portrayed in the video clips. Is there really anyone out there that thinks the votes decide? Heard the Brooklyn Bridge is back on the market.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 8:33 AM

sameold insults lisa. At least be creative and come up with something new. If not there are 3 other networks and a whole lot of cable stations you can watch.

B-bye!

Posted by: idolonfox | March 7, 2008 8:50 AM

Shiny tractor seats. Luv it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 9:18 AM

Danny needed to go. He wasn't 'expressing his personality'. He was being a whiney little twit.

He needs to go ahead and have the surgery and actually become a girl. We all know it's only a matter of time.

And I say this as one gay man talking about another obviously gay man. Danny needs to stop confusing being effeminate with being 'special'. It's not. Tons of guys are effeminate. Not all are annoying little twits.

Posted by: Hillman | March 7, 2008 9:27 AM

Danny's gay? No way. HA HA HA

Posted by: huh? | March 7, 2008 9:31 AM

You're right, Lisa. Kady was definitely packing some shoes last nite. They'll/she'll be sorely missed.

Posted by: Washington, DC | March 7, 2008 9:34 AM

Danny will have a career as a Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana impersonator. Giving new meaning to the song "The Best of Both World."

Posted by: Au Bon | March 7, 2008 9:36 AM

Hillman, Amen, brother! on the important need for Noriega to break the link between effeminate and "annoying little twit." He has made me so uncomfortable and I was afraid that I was being bigoted. But you nailed it--his ridiculous horselike back-kick is simply graceless, not effeminate per se. No girl worth her salts would do that anyway. I look forward to a time when someone is on that stage who crosses genders with grace.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 9:36 AM

I think the David Hernandez discussion should be over. Wasn't Diablo Cody a stripper? Didn't she just win an Oscar?

Posted by: Silver Sprung | March 7, 2008 9:47 AM

Some would argue that there IS someone on that stage who crosses genders with grace, and that someone is the host.

Are those finalist seats something to aspire to? Not only do they look icy, but they also look like the ideal setting for a root canal.

Kudos to the overwhelming "No" votes on whether being a stripper is grounds for getting booted. How about a follow-up question: How would you vote if that stripper was Amanda or David Cook?

Posted by: JD | March 7, 2008 9:49 AM

The only one I'm really upset about is Asia'H leaving. I thought she was better than Kristy and Brooke. Oh well.

Posted by: WI | March 7, 2008 9:56 AM

I monitor worldwide media as part of a website (which I'm not going to plug), meaning that I regularly read A LOT of news, and I just have to step in here to say that Lisa de Moraes is possibly the best writer now living on planet Earth. These posts about AI have about 10 LOL events each, which is remarkable and means the WaPo should pay her in Euros and gold. Ms. de Moraes, we love you. I'm going to logon to Amazon and see if you have any books out.

Now, about that poll question -- should strippers be eliminated? It's not that Hernandez was a stripper, it's that he was a sex worker/lap dancer. Perhaps the word "stripper" implies all that, but he's too creepy to continue on. As Noriega sang out the show last night, Hernandez could be seen in the background, dancing for all he was worth, and my wife and I wanted to call Child Protective Services to get Archuleta outta there.

Posted by: AI fan | March 7, 2008 9:57 AM

Nude pics on the web is grounds for dismissal...but working a sex club is fine with the Producers. Sorry...I just don't get it!

Posted by: Confused | March 7, 2008 10:03 AM

Is it just me or is Amanda Overmyer a great stand-in for Morticia Adams of "The Adams Family?"

Posted by: BDWESQTM | March 7, 2008 10:11 AM

I don't watch Idol. I just read Lisa's blogs and laugh my arse off. God Bless You Lisa deMoraes! And God Bless America!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 10:13 AM

Try to remember a few years ago when Frenchie, the zoftig Howard University student with short bleached hair was booted from AI early on when it was revealed that she had made some kind of soft porn photos/movies.
How is this any different than Mr. Hernandez and his gay lapdancing?
Double standard??

Posted by: Contrarian | March 7, 2008 10:15 AM

I don't know which I love most... Lisa's column or the comments!

I was glad to see Kady and especially Danny go last night. Skunk punk (who toned the hair down the night before) was back in almost all her former skunky glory last night.

Tattoo girl may be proud of her body art and goth appearance, but it really is a turn off - looks like she hasn't washed her hair in a couple of weeks. She needs to tone it down or she's going to go the way of Noriega.

And somebody please hide Paula's happy pills. Simon deserves combat pay for sitting next to her.

Con-e... your husband is a disgrace. He just insulted all the Keebler elves. wink wink

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 7, 2008 10:16 AM

I'm actually kinda cheesed off that Asia'H (A'siah...AsH'ia...Eurasia...whatever...)got eliminated. Amanjaya and the Pony Pimper definitely deserved the axe more than she.

Posted by: Earl Hofert | March 7, 2008 10:19 AM

It's not the stripping, it's the lap dancing that bothers me. You're on stage where people can look but not touch when you strip. Lap dancing is practically having sex. Big difference.

If I were Frenchie I would be seriously pissed.

Posted by: hangin in herndon | March 7, 2008 10:21 AM

Lisa deMoraes is the most entertaining (make that Bust a Gut Funny!) writer in many years. Insightful, too.
How is it that the WP never runs a photo of Pookie? I like to be able to put a face with a name. In any event, Pookie for President!

Posted by: Pookie Fan | March 7, 2008 10:23 AM

I will definitely miss Kady's shoes.

Posted by: Poor Kady | March 7, 2008 10:27 AM

"I can't believe I'm viewing this dreck (bless you, TiVo... bless you)."

Not only do you watch it. But you read blogs about the show and comment on them.

Admitting you're an addict is the first step.

Posted by: Justin | March 7, 2008 10:35 AM

Brooke is going all the was (how intriguing): American Idol #7. Looking forward to seeing a little Dark along the way. Whatever "it" is, Brooke has
"it". Knew she had it from her 1st inimitable song: "We want to eat, eat, eat ... apples and bananas".

Posted by: Christin | March 7, 2008 10:46 AM

I know I'm in the minority here, but I am actually sad that Danny was eliminated. Like him or not, he was at least interesting, which is more than I can say for the highly overrated Jason Castro. I'm also really disappointed that Asia'h was sent home--now we have to listen to skunkhead Amanda growl and screech for at least another week--YUCK!

Posted by: Amanda | March 7, 2008 11:32 AM

Lisa de

Funny.Love your humor.

Posted by: I love Pookie | March 7, 2008 11:37 AM

Why does it bother people that David H was a stripper? In Arizona, it is legal and they have licenses and he was licensed to strip. He did nothing wrong. I think if people are going to give Amanda O a pass for her DUI (which *IS* illegal and dangerous) then David H's stripping and/or lapdancing is far less of a problem. And stars have been made of far less honorable stuff in the past. He hasn't broken the law and he hasn't used illegal substances which are rampant among stars. What does this have to do with whether he should be allowed to continue in a singing and popularity contest?

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 7, 2008 11:58 AM

DadWannaBe:
I don't care what he has done in the past, but AI seems to have a morality clause, or at least they did in the past. If Frenchie was kicked off for her alleged "transgressions", then Hernandez should be also. It is not just a matter of legal vs. illegal. Soft porn is not illegal, but Frenchie lost her shot at AI fame. And she had real talent.

Posted by: Contrarian | March 7, 2008 12:11 PM

Did Seacrist call Danny one of our most "courageous" contestants, or most "outrageous" contestants? Better check the tape, Lisa. Definitely one of the "mostgayist" contestants. He'll be on CNN for shooting up a school now that he's got free time on his hands.

Posted by: Chicken | March 7, 2008 12:15 PM

Correction to my 10:46: Brooke is going all the WAY (not 'was').

As for Carly, I have just one word of advice: SLEEVES

Posted by: Christin | March 7, 2008 12:33 PM

Frenchie is not the right comparison. Nikki M from season 1 who was also a former stripper is the right comparison. Nikki was allowed to continue and made it to third in Season 1. To disqualify David H for stripping when they allowed Nikki to continue would be unfair.

The real comparison for Frenchie D was how they treated Antonella B differently last season. Antonella was basically allowed to continue for the same reason that Frenchie was disqualified. That's the injustice.

But, again, that should not be held against David H. Two different situations. Frenchie herself commented that she approved of the way that Antonella was handled, but that she felt that she was mishandled and deserved an apology (see the Wikipedia entry for Frenchie).

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 7, 2008 12:50 PM

Cady completely sucked - she was only brought to Hollywood because she is hot, and it finally caught up with her.

Posted by: Southside FFX | March 7, 2008 1:51 PM

Frenchie and Hernadez is exactly the correct comparison. Antonella Barba's photos, while risque', did not rise to the level of porn or anything like it. Hernandez is more than a stripper. Lap dancing is SEX, plain and simple, without penetration, just like soft porn. Maybe the difference is that there is no photographic proof of his actions to embarrass AI.

Posted by: Contrarian | March 7, 2008 1:56 PM

No, apparently the reason that Frenchie was disqualified was that the site that her photos were distributed by was a hard-core porn site that advertised among other things under-age (and illegal) girls. It wasn't just that there were scandalous pictures, but the site that her photos were distributed by that broke the camel's back.

As I've said before, whatever you may think, stripping is legal in Arizona and David H was licensed to do so. To hold him to a different standard than Nikki M is wrong. Contrarian may think that the Frenchie Davis and David Hernandez cases are the same, but they are very different.

AI understands that they'll get better ratings and more advertising dollars if they leave him alone than if they disqualify him, so they won't do anything.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 7, 2008 2:30 PM

The debate over David H's stripping completely overlooks the fact that his song this week was horribly cheesy. Regardless of his past, he put himself in the company of Celine and Meat Loaf - that alone is enough reason to give him the boot.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 3:29 PM

contrarian -
how can you possibly call antonella's pictures risque' and that's it? did you see ALL the pictures? i mean, the girl was performing oral sex in one...

the only real difference between atonella's pictures and frenchie/david h's acts is that her pictures were taken for personal reasons and "leaked" to the public. the other two were doing it specifically for the money.

and let me be clear on this: i have zero problem with any of them being on the show. i only feel sorry that frenchie was made to leave while the others never seemed to be in real danger.

Posted by: amanda | March 7, 2008 4:44 PM

C'mon, people, let's get off the issues of substance.

Let's get back to the snark!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2008 2:32 PM

Amanda - like you I was sorry to see Danny go, but only because he was interesting. He would have gone in the next week or so anyway because vocally he falls short of many of the others. But I don't agree that Jason Castro is overrated. I think he is brilliant! He and David C are my absolute favorites!

Posted by: idol-ette | March 8, 2008 4:27 PM

I'm sorry to see Danny and Asia'h go because they brought some life to the proceedings. when I think of the Eighties I think of fun spirited stuff -- I forgot about all the earnest ballads. The only ones besides them who made an impression where I can even remember what they sang were David Cook and Amanda. David Cook impressed me because I knew that song he was singing sounded familiar but I couldn't place it until Ryan said something at the end -- anyone who has the wit to make that song sound kinda cool deserves to stay. And I think Amanda was the saving grace of last week's show, roaring onto the stage and waking up the audience. No wonder they were on their feet after a string tasteful and forgettable performances. There are some people with undeniably good voices, but Simon's right on target about their needing to get less old-fashioned and dreary.

Posted by: Earnest Goes to American Idol | March 8, 2008 5:00 PM

lisa, love your comments. always dead-on. i like jason castro... hate the hair but that can go when the stylists kick in. sweet face and twinkling eyes. he's also picked good songs. most of the song choices are terrible. why would you pick a song that wasn't at least a hit. and make it your own, like david cook did with hello. as for mr johns, that WAS karoake, and i guess randy attributed it to the wrong band cuz he never played with either INXS or Simple Minds. every last one of them is better than blake lewis, tho. til next week!

Posted by: ellen705 | March 8, 2008 6:14 PM

Lisa De Moraes is one of the funniest writers around today. Your posts are something to look forward to!

Posted by: A Fan | March 10, 2008 12:19 PM

most of the song choices are terrible. why would you pick a song that wasn't at least a hit. and make it your own, like david cook did with hello.

Posted by: ellen705 | March 8, 2008 06:14 PM

=====

Clearly you weren't alive in the 80's. Hello by Lionel Richie was one of the top songs of the decade. It hit #1 on the AT100 and was #1 in the US, UK, Australia, and several other countries. It was one of Lionel Richie's biggest hits and biggest money makers. It's been featured in 5 movies to date and the video is one of the most remembered videos of the era. Not a hit? Wow.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 11, 2008 11:37 AM

Brooke moves up and moves on inexorably toward the final 2. Not-so-Virgin Nanny is just awesome every week. Simon loves her and so do we. Who could resist such "pure" and inimitable charms? One of these days Brooke will get the chance to sing "Both Sides Now". She'll nail it somewhere between the Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins versions and "will make the song her own", blowing everyone else away. After which time she'll be established as the clear favorite. Just show a little Dark Side, please please please. And it will help keep Simon on your side; he might start getting bored or frustrated otherwise.

Tattoo Girl has good vocals but still needs Sleeves desperately. Otherwise, visual revulsion will catch up with her some night and she'll be gone despite singing well.

I'm getting to like Amanda from Mulberry. Bet she'll last longer than Gina did last year.

The patina on insufferably cute little David A. is starting to tarnish. Thank Goodness! Hope David Cook outlasts him and goes to Finale with Nanny Brooke.

"Forgettable" Kristi or Stripper should be the next to go.

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