Let Them Eat Cake Night on "American Idol"
Because these are hard times for so many "American Idol" viewers, the producers turned Final Judgment Wednesday - aka Chair Night - into Let Them Eat Cake Night.
This year, for the first time, the Idolettes did sit on some dumpy chair in some ugly conference room while the "Idol" judges told them whether they would become one of the singing competition's 36 semi-semi finalists.
This year the whole scene moved to Madame de Pompadour's bedroom in what is being called The Judges' Mansion, but which looks like something 19 Entertainment, the company that produces "Idol," picked up cheap on a foreclosure deal from a busted hedge fund manager.
Each Idolette had to make their way through the mansion's extensive grounds and gawd-awful interior to sit in the Faux Chippendale Chair of the Rest of Your Life and await a reading of their fate.
The judges are seated in four oversized wingback chairs, parts of which have been covered in some kind of whore-house- red plush fabric, other parts of which are covered in white damask by an interior decorator who clearly had trouble making up his mind -- kind of like the "Idol' judges this year, which has necessitated the addition of the Sing-Off For Your Life in this year's competition.
The Sing-Off For Your Life is simple: two Idolettes who are similar types - both might be blondes, both might be blue-collar workers, etc - will be called up in front of the judges, and asked to sing something on the spot. The better of the two survives while the other will be tossed into the Great Tumbril of Too Bad. Not every Idolette will be asked to Sing Off For Your Life. Just the unluckiest ones.
"If I lose today, I lose everything," Tatiana the Terrible wails the morning of Let Them Eat Cake Final Judgment Wednesday
Anoopo Desai sails through to the semi-semi finals, as does Von Smith - which is a lucky thing, given he told viewers beforehand, "This is why I'm alive...that's all I'll say."
Amateur horror filmmaker/singer Cody Sheldon will be the first Idolette subjected to the Sing-Off For Your Life. Then Alex Wagner-Truman, Cody's new BFF, is pitted against him. While Alex becomes a semi-semi finalist Cody gets the hook, and Alex looks stricken. Nicely done, judges.
Adam Lambert, who miraculously survived singing Cher's "Believe" in Hollywood Week, compliments the judges on their chairs.
"We're holding court," judge Paula Abdul says cheerily.
"It's not good news," judge Simon Cowell tells Adam. Adam is devastated.
"It's great news!" Simon says.
Sadism: It never gets old for "Idol" judges.
Taylor Viafanua becomes one of the chosen 36, even though she forgot lyrics during Hollywood Week which Simon had sworn would get any Idolette booted immediately.
A mess of Idolettes get pushed through the sausage factory of semi-semi-finaldom.
Then, much time is spent on Joanna Pacitti, who admits she forgot lyrics in every one of her performances in Hollywood. But Simon should not make good on his threat because, she pleads, they haven't seen her best yet. Nor, apparently, did the head of the record label at which she once had a deal. Judge Kara DioGuardi wonders when it will be Joanna's time. It's apparently a rhetorical question because Joanna is named a semi-semi finalist.
In the face of so much happiness, it's time to whack a few Idolettes we can't remember. Like Reggi Beasley and T.K. Hash.
"One by one they exit with their dreams crushed," show host Ryan Seacrest says, earnestly.
Kendall of Texas, by way of Puerto Rico, realizes she blew it in Hollywood Week when she wore black which, the judges tell her from Madame de Pompadour's boudoir, got them totally re-thinking whether Kendall was "commercial" and "the whole package" despite her inherent blondeness.
"I'm afraid answer isn't great," Paula tells Kendall.
Again, Kendall -- devastated.
"It's fantastic!" Paula says.
Yes, the judges have a limited repertoire.
Speaking of inherent blondeness, the night's second "Sing-Off For Your Life" involves Blonde Chicks Jenn Korbee and Kristen "Blonde on Top" McNamara. Since we've never seen Jenn before, we're guessing Kristen is the one who makes it to the semi-semi finals.
Kristen clearly has the better voice, but Jenn is very hot and very leggy and Kristen is very fashion-challenged and stumpy.
Simon and Kara argue a while in re whether they will pick "the very attractive one" or "the other one" and "the other one" prevails. Like we guessed, though, Kristen is warned she is a fashion disaster and needs to fix that fast.
Alexis Grace, role model for single mothers because she stopped at one, receives one of the coveted 36 slots, as does vision-challenged Scott Macintyre, who is told by Kara -- Miss Sensitivity -- "We'll see you again."
Lil Rounds takes another of the 36 spots and we've lost count how many are left.
Three chicks we barely remember do not make the grade.
Two jazzy singers, Frankie Jordan and Jesse Langseth, engage in Sing-Off For Their Lives. Jesse wins. Simon consoles Frankie, telling her "you wouldn't have won anyway" and noting Jesse doesn't have a prayer either.
"Both of you picked songs that would not have saved your lives," Paula chastises. Frankie does not believe there were eight chicks in this competition who are better singers than she is and tells Simon so.
More Idolettes we don't remember do not make it to the semi-semis. Allison Iraheta is this season's dark horse, "Idol" judges forecast.
BFF's Danny "Just Lost My Wife" Gokey and Jamar Rogers are broken up when only Danny makes the cut. Everyone in the waiting room is surprised. So is Jamar. So are we. Particularly given the heap of guys who immediately sail through. Nick Mitchell, aka Norman Gentle, who tells us he will do anything - "even wear a bikini like Bikini Girl" - to me it to the semi-semis. He's not going as Norman today; he's being himself. The judges don't like it. "This is a whole new Norman today..I miss the schtick," Kara says.
Nick tries to explain his reasons for adopting the stage character then realizes he is overestimating their intelligence and gives up when Simon tells him "I'd leave before I could change this lots' mind."
"Can I give you a hug?" Mitchell asks Simon.
"Yes, in a sort of manly way," Simon responds.
Another irksome Idolette gets through - Jackie Tohn. She removes her shoes and races out of the room. Then, the biggest irk of them all, Tatiana, arrives and begins to scream "Oh My God! I'm Alive!"
"Tatiana, just try for once not to be annoying," Simon suggests. She ratchets it down a notch. Paula notices Tatiana is wearing her star good-luck bracelet, part of Paula's jewelry line. Tatiana explains the bracelet is a "message from god" though she would have preferred the star ring, only it was sold out. "I cried," Tatiana tells Paula. Paula stands up, pulls the ring off her own finger and hands it to Tatiana. "Oh, my god, thank you!" Tatiana gushes.
"That was so generous for you to promote your jewelry on television - not many people would do that," Simon sneers.
Tatiana learns she's made the cut, hugs Simon, who tells her Paula is going to want that ring back, then walks down the hall screaming, "ohmygawd,ohmygawd,ohmygawd!!!!!"
"We look forward to seeing what Tatiana will bring to our live shows," Seacrest says as she gets him in a death lock back in the waiting room.
Next Sing-Off for Your Life involves Nathaniel Marshall and Jackie Midkiff. We've not seen Midkiff while Jackie has already starred in some of "Idol's" biggest dramas so far this season. Plus, we learn, Nathaniel's the mess he is as a result of being shuffled around from relative to relative while his mom did time in jail. No drama here: Nathaniel, predictably, wins the Sing-Off.
The final "Sing-Off For Your Life" pits two blue-collar family men, welder Matt Breitzke, and oil rigger Michael Sarver, against each other. Which, Seacrest wants us to know, just goes to show you that no matter what you do in life, you can still aspire to be an Idolette.
That American Idol Moment of Condescension was brought to you by....
Anyway, Michael is the better singer but, because neither has even the remotest chance of winning this competition, the judges put both men through, rounding out the final 36.
Join Lisa for a live discussion every Friday at 1 p.m. ET.
Lisa de Moraes
February 12, 2009; 2:01 AM ET
Categories: "American Idol"
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