Multiple Choice Mistakes Mar 'American Idol'

Week No. 2 of How Did These People Make It To the Top 36 round on "American Idol."

(Performance night has been bumped from its regular Tuesday berth, to Wednesday, by President Barack Obama's Not Quite State of the Union Address.)


Contestant Nick "Normund Gentle" Mitchell performs. (Michael Becker -- Fox)

First, show host Ryan Seacrest asks the judges to impart their wisdom to this week's batch of 12 Idolettes - only three of whom will make it through to the next round of the singing competition. They are told to "come on now, bring it on (Randy Jackson), "do the best you can do" (Kara DioGuardi) and "pick the right song" (Paula Abdul), while Simon Cowell - the only judge worth listening to - notes it's too late for advice now because the Idolettes are just a few seconds away from singing. We rest our case.

Jasmine Murray is only chick to have survived Bikini Girl's Scorched Earth march through her group-sing during Hollywood Week. Sadly, Jasmine survives only to sing "Love Song" off-pitch from start to finish. Randy, Kara and Paula all know it, but talk around it, because they like her, instead focusing on how "young," "confident" and "commercial" she is. Simon, though, decides she's a couple years too young for this competition. Bye, bye, Jasmine.

Matt Giraud was the guy who wowed the judges playing "Georgia" on the keyboard during Hollywood Week. So naturally, he decides to play to his strength and imitate Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin singing "Viva la Vida." It is the very best ever demonstration of bad-song choice on "American Idol," which is saying a lot. RanKaraPau remind him there is a difference between singing Ray Charles tunes at the keyboard and imitating Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, while Simon says it verged on being "horrible" which is actually too kind. Matt explains he imitated Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin singing "Viva la Vida" because it's "where I want to be as an artist." Simon tells him to zip it. Matt takes his point and says he needs to get back behind his keyboard "where I'm safe."

Janine Vailes realizes that, having had virtually no air time to date, her chances of winning enough votes to make it through to the next round without making some kind of splash are slim to none. So she plays a dramatic game of hide and seek with the melody of Maroon 5's "This Love." RanKaraPau compliment her on her truly incredible legs and try to ignore the whole singing part. Simon calls it "terrible" and "painful at times."

"Based on their reaction, what did you do to prepare your legs for tonight?" Seacrest asks Jeanine. She resists the urge to smack him into tomorrow night's episode. Jeanine is a better woman than I.

Nick "Normund Gentle" Mitchell tells viewers he doesn't know whether he's going to be Nick or Normund tonight -- which we all know is hooey because he says that every week and he always shows up as Normund - a sort of Paul Lynde cum Jerry Springer. This time Normund vamps, and mugs, and makes love to the "American Idol" logo on the judges desk, to the tune "I Am Telling You." The crowd laps him up and the Vote for the Worst people, having lost their beloved Tatiana Del Toro last week, will be all over him this week with their votes.

"I hope I'm speaking on behalf of America here when I pray you do not go through to the next round," Simon says, calling it "one of the most atrocious performances we've ever had at this stage of the competition." RanKaraPau pronounce it "entertaining," "memorable," and a perfect merging of Olivia Newton John from her "Let's Get Physical" period with, wait for it ... Jerry Lewis. Seacrest notes it's the first time an Idolette has gotten to second base with the "Idol" logo.

Allison Iraheta's version of "Alone" is the night's first promising performance, though RanKaraPau's "you blew it out da box" praise might be overstating things a bit. Paula hands Allison her coveted "you could sing the telephone book" prize - sort of like winning best-of-breed at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

Kris Allen is utterly forgettable singing "Man in the Mirror" and since he too has had virtually no air time to date, he's a goner despite the judges's faint praise in re not being terrible.

Single mom Megan Corkrey is gorgeous and blonde, with an unusual voice, a winning smile, and a silly dance like one of those hula dolls people used to put on their dashboards. Seacrest calls the dance "The Corkrey." Megan sings "Put Your Record On" and all four judges declare her "relevant" which is their highest praise. Did I mention she's beautiful--and blonde? Viewers will put her through to the next round.

Matt Breitzke, who's been billed all along as humble welder guy, sings "If You Could Only See" competently. RanKaraPau tell him it was the wrong tune. Simon tells him it was the wrong tune. Matt says he doesn't care what they think. Bye bye formerly humble welder guy.

Jesse Langseth, another single mom, says she's going to sing "Bette Davis Eyes" because it's "one of the greatest songs ever written." She's lost us -- lost the judges too. She also needs to stop talking back at the judges, which never plays well with viewers.

Kai Kalama gives another lukewarm retro performance, this time with "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted." The judges try to find nice things to say and the best they've got is Simon's observation Kai would make a good back-up singer.

Teen Mishavonna Henson, who has one of the night's better voices, delivers a very old-school performance of "Drops of Jupiter." RanKaraPau tell her she's good but where does she fit in to the music industry? Simon tells Mishavonna to young it up. Mishavonna promises Seacrest she really is crazy and says the other Idolettes can vouch for that.

Once again, "Idol" has saved the best performer for last, this time Adam Lambert who has been doing musical theater since he was 10, which has lead to the judges to nick him for sounding too musical theater.

This week, Adam chooses to do his interpretation of Mick Jagger performing "Satisfaction" in "Cats." RanKaraPau love it, while Simon declares some bits "excruciatingly bad" and other bits "brilliant." He predicts Adam will be voted through to the next round by voters. He's right, as usual.

Based on what you saw last night:

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 26, 2009; 6:00 AM ET "American Idol"
Previous: Tatiana's Dreams Dashed on "American Idol" | Next: Nick/Normund Licked on "American Idol"

Comments

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Am I the only person not drinking the Adam Lambert Kool-Aid? That atrocity of a performance was second only to He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named's butchering of Jennifer HOLLIDAY's "And I Am Telling You" as worst ever in 8 seasons of Idol. It sounded like that alien singer in "Star Wars" being trampled by a bantha. William Hung would have done a better job.

Posted by: nachobizness | February 26, 2009 7:41 AM

FWIW, apparently Adam had to pick a new song on Monday. His first choice was nixed at the last minute. Rumor has it he was doing some sort of diva song (rumored to be along the lines of Lady Marmalade, or some Celine tune).

Allison was over-praised. She had some issues that were hidden by the back-up "singers".

Posted by: jljardon2 | February 26, 2009 8:13 AM

After two weeks of this, I can say the best part of the competition is reading what LdeM has to say about it. DVR is unquestionably the only way to watch this mess.
As some have noted, the format not only penalizes those who have haven't had face time, the groupings also seem to penalize the okay singers. There were at least two or three who didn't make it from last week that were miles better than anyone in this week's group.
At least the producers seem to be watching the blogs and message boards and got rid of the awful post-song family interviews. Chalk one up for the viewers!

Posted by: otdoc321 | February 26, 2009 8:23 AM

I'm not drinking the Adam Kool-Aid either. That was annoying at best. Dude can sing, no doubt. But he can take his act to Broadway and get the hell off this show. Now.

Megan's retard dance is too weird for me. I like her voice, but it was awkward at times to watch.

I like Jesse too, but I don't see her making it.

Posted by: MaltyCharacter | February 26, 2009 8:38 AM

I thought that Matt's singing of If You Could Only See was FAR better than the butcher job the band did with it.

And WOW, was Love Song bad...

Posted by: franchiseinATL | February 26, 2009 8:42 AM

As always, Lisa, I enjoy your recap! This week's was right on. First I have to mention the judging -- with all the money these folks are making, you would think they would have something worthy to say. Year after year, they use the same cliches like they are reading from a list. When Paula made the phone book comment, I could not believe it - she says that every year. And Kara adds nothing and just prolongs the critique agony. Simon was spot on last night.

As for the singing, I seriously thought something was wrong with the mic for the first three performances - they were that bad.

I was especially disappointed with Matt and Kai as I thought they showed much promise in previous shows.

Welder man sealed his fate when he remained resolute in his song choice in spite of the fact that all 4 judges told him it was the wrong one. And Jesse was irritating along the same lines as Brooke White in her talking back to the judges.

When they announced that Adam was singing Satisfaction, I thought that was going to be the kiss of death, but I thought he did a great job. He's definitely one of my faves. For the girls, I liked the jiggy, "flapping hand/arm girl" (a.k.a. seal dancer). I'm surprised the judges did not comment on her dance moves. It was very uncomfortable to watch -- but she is gorgeous and has a terrific voice.

I also really liked Mishavonna and was surprised the judges were as hard on her as they were. Well - that's my two cents for the week. Sis, bro -- your thoughts??

Posted by: majorjasoncastrofan | February 26, 2009 8:51 AM

Oh Adam ... where to start? First, you're 27 ... not 15. You're whole "scenester", west coast look comes off like a complete joke. He's gonna kill with the 12 - 16 emo girl demographic but anyone older than that won't take him seriously unless he dresses more contemporary.

And if we go by last week, there's no reason to believe that Matt has a chance to go through. Heck, the oil-rigger guy had a so-so performance and still made it through.

Meh, and finally about all the bad performances ... what do we expect? In past seasons the first few weeks are usually marred by poor performances until the kids get a feel for the stage. This is the first time singing on TV for most of these kids, and we expect them to be seasoned veterans worthy of our vote? Please.

Posted by: sknyluv | February 26, 2009 9:04 AM

I do like Adam's voice but his performance last night was awful. I really liked Megan but agree her moves were awkward. Here's hoping that vamp Nick goes home.

Posted by: MILW | February 26, 2009 9:11 AM

As for Adam Lambert -- no doubt spawned from the DNA of Liza Minelli and Rick Springfield, and then birthed by Urban Outfitters. I ain't buying his schtick.

Posted by: molsonmich | February 26, 2009 9:25 AM

Bamboo shoots stuck under my fingernails would have been less painful than watching that terrible show last night. I hate the new vote-for-three,-the-rest-go-home format. There were quite a few "losers" from last week who were better than the best of this week.

I toggled back and forth between channels during the two hours, hoping it would get better. But it didn't. And the judges, with the exception of Simon, were worse than the singers.

UGH!

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 26, 2009 9:32 AM

With each passing week, AI becomes more and more the raison d'etre for the DVR. Contestant, commercials; contestant, commercials. I think only twice did two performers go consecutively without a break. The two-hour format is bloated to the junk-food level, with lots of empty calories (the repeated backstories along with the ads) and little nutrition (how much time was actually spent -- oh, I dunno -- singing?).

Although I thought Alison was good, nobody blew me away. Several times I found myself wondering whether the judges, even Simon, were kidding with either praise or denouncement.

Norman was hilarious even if his singing was subpar last night.

Megan is a tall Reese Witherspoon, but she looked like a washing machine agitator on state and she seemed a little off-key to me.

Was the welder guy that bad? Kai wasn't great, either, but why is "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" irrelevant and "Satisfaction" is? There's no question that Adam can sing, but I could have lived without the primal scream. I was waiting for him to utter this line from the song:

"He can't be a man cuz he doesn't wear the same guyliner as me. . ."

Posted by: jd121 | February 26, 2009 9:39 AM

I agree there were multiple idolettes sent home last week that were better than almost all of last night. I'm so bummed by this season already I did the only rational thing I could do. Using 2 cell phones and the land line, we voted for Norman as many times as possible. The 12 best singers are not going to be in the top 12 so why care anymore?

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | February 26, 2009 9:53 AM

Holy crap...Doogie Howser in the audience again. Two weeks in a row?! Wow. Boy has an addiction.

Posted by: breitz | February 26, 2009 10:27 AM

Is it just me, or does Adam Lambert remind anyone else of a Joe-Jonas-gone-emo with a touch of Billy Idol sneer (I swear I saw him curl his upper lip last night!) with a dash of Gene-Simmons-and-my-big-tongue thrown in for good measure?

Posted by: jpstang | February 26, 2009 10:35 AM

MaltyCharacter wrote:

Megan's retard dance is too weird for me. I like her voice, but it was awkward at times to watch.

------

Thank you for my snort-induced laugh this morning!

Posted by: jpstang | February 26, 2009 10:37 AM

Hey guys! Love the blog more than Idol. First, the judges--Kara has two positions as she sits on the bench of idiots (except Simon) she is either shoulders to her ears or shoulders up and hands clasped. I think her job is to hold the table top down. She seldomly removes her elbows from the table--very annoying and distracting. And I loved how Simon moved to the other end of the judge bench because the light is better there :) I enjoyed Allison, Megan (although someone needs to help with the hurky/jerky moves and wardrobe)& Misha, Matt & Jesse were OK, Adam was a bit too much--was waiting for him to hiss. Props sis.

Posted by: amanda3200 | February 26, 2009 10:49 AM

worst week of Idol ever...no one in this group has any potential to even sniff the top 8... it's a shame anyone from this group even gets to move forward. Every song was under-pitch...

Posted by: cdiasmd | February 26, 2009 11:03 AM

jd121 wonders: "why is "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" irrelevant and "Satisfaction" is?"

When Seacrest announced that's what he'd be singing, at first I thought the same thing, but at the end of 2 hours of singers of wildly varying quality, heavily padded with commercials, the lyrics to "Satisfaction" were sounding extremely relevant to me!

For reasons I cannot completely explain, I was thoroughly entertained by the Nick/Norman performance. It's all about song choice, and he definitely made it his own, dawg ;-). I wouldn't exactly say he deserves to move on, but some part of me would love to see what he comes up with next.

Biggest disappointment of the night: Matt Giraud. One of the best judges comments made last night was by Randy, when he said to him that Coldplay's lead singer writes song that fit his limitations, and if you can sing Ray Charles, you don't need to sing Coldplay!

I love a good makeover, and wow, what the stylists did with Tattooed Mom.

Posted by: owingsmills | February 26, 2009 11:28 AM

JPSTANG: Loved your description of Adam...Yes, you totally saw Adam curl his upper lip and yes, he did the tongue thing! I could have lived without either.

MOLSONMICH: Also loved your description of Adam..."no doubt spawned from the DNA of Liza Minelli and Rick Springfield, and then birthed by Urban Outfitters."

Sis - I'm going to have to check out the Kara elbow thing. That I missed. Thanks for making a bad start to Idol much more fun everybody!!

Posted by: majorjasoncastrofan | February 26, 2009 11:44 AM

Megan's performance was the only one I had to fast forward through. I couldn't bear to watch the dancing.
I guess I must be the only Kai Kalama fan...

Posted by: earlysun | February 26, 2009 11:59 AM

As someone who not only loves AI but defends it to all my friends that it's a good singing competition.....I hate to admit this, but I love Nick/Normand! He's extremely entertaining in a intentional way, he makes Simon's skin crawl, which is fun to watch and he's single-handedly confused the judges since want to make this all about singing but they can not hide the fact that they like him and his shtick. I hope he stays alittle longer since the rest of the competition is BORING this season.

Posted by: k-gotham | February 26, 2009 12:03 PM

Dang I am in my 40's and i thought ADAM NAILED it.

For the first part of the show, I only heard the singing and couldn't see and I thought Allison did great.
Cannot take the blonde single mom.

Kind of liked the guy who sang Man in the Mirror, Kai and the welder. nbr11 - how bad is this getting, I don't remember many of their names, was prett good.

But at the beginning, ouch my ears, it was so uncomfortable. The band/background seems off time, slow, and weak.

Posted by: Justice26 | February 26, 2009 12:47 PM

Ha Ha Ha. Count how many people wrote something along the lines of "that show was terrible." My advice, freely given, is TURN IT OFF!! Otherwise, you're like the person who eats the entire dinner and says "I really didn't like that at all." You love AI but you hate yourself for loving it so you overcompensate by telling everybody you hate it but you end up watching it again and talking about it again and you can't avert your eyes and . . . . Oh well, you get the picture.

Posted by: observer23 | February 26, 2009 1:03 PM

I LOVE it that Nick/Norman has gotten so far in the competition, since he is basically lampooning it every time he performs. Brilliant.

My daughter (who has not drunk the Kool-Aid) tells me Adam Lambert is the It Guy for all young teens and tweeners. Oy. From his dyed, David Cook-wannabe hair (and you'd want to be David Cook . . . why?)to his atrocious jewelry and his over-the-top, shamelessly exhibitionist style, I'd say we've got ourselves a winner, folks.

Posted by: chantooz | February 26, 2009 1:23 PM

Producers did Megan a big favor with mostly close ups of the Simon-pleasing blond hair and perfect teeth. The few seconds we saw her dance were painful.

Posted by: fmjk | February 26, 2009 1:44 PM

I voted for the best singer of the night -- Normund Gentle. Even on an off night, he's got the best voice of any in that group. It was funny, though, that his father looked completely appalled at one point.

The girl who sang that same damn Heart song that we always hear sounded like she was being strangled. Adam just sounded corny.

I didn't mind the welder, and I don't think he meant to be in-your-face in his response to the judges, but he was nervous.

I liked Jesse OK, and I thought she was being playful with the judges, not sassing them.

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 26, 2009 4:10 PM

"So she plays a dramatic game of hide and seek with the melody of Maroon 5's 'This Love.' "

LOL!! Poor Janine, but yes--it was a pretty wiggly performance, vocally... (no jiggling at all on those impressive long legs of hers, though! Hot!) I liked her personality, but vocally, she definitely didn't make last night's cut.

@Normund--yes, you're right, VFTW must've died of happiness watching his performance. He was completely playing to them (and was pretty darn entertaining, overall). I had more fun watching his performance than I had during the entire show last week, to be honest. But Paula was right (I'm so happy she's making sense this season! Really makes Kara look extra insipid~

My votes for the night definitely went to the sizzling Adam (well done, hon--you kept the flame under control enough to win the tween vote!), Allison and Kris (yes, I know he's a generic white boy singer, but he was SO darn cute bouncing around like an idiot and enjoying the fun of performing w/o any of the calculated sultry glances that other guys *cough*Cook*cough*Adam&Danny*cough* employ to buy off Tween America--very refreshing!). I doubt Kris will make it, but I had to try in case the tweens were as charmed as I was. ;-)

Posted by: Kureno | February 26, 2009 4:12 PM

Adam is a bit over the top, but he's just doing what you'd see from the lead singer at any decent rock concert. You can't sell out stadiums if you're not interesting.

He's so much more confident than a lot of the others, and it's entertaining to watch him work the stage like a pro. Not to mention his voice, especially his range, is incredible. Anyone who's ever sung for an audience would have to recognize his talent, whether they like him or not.

Posted by: vugirl | February 26, 2009 5:21 PM

Lisa,
Of course I always love your reviews and especially your very colorful comments!!!! So much better in person. Thanks my friend and keep up the great work!!
Colorado hairdresser

Posted by: DianaGD4 | February 26, 2009 5:39 PM

The gender quota and 3-of-12 grouping restrictions are the pits. The result? Better singers go home early. And PLEASE, judges, stop giving extra credit just for being pretty.

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | February 26, 2009 7:34 PM

I like to call Adam "Broadway David Cook" because he'd be perfect to play DC in "American Idol: The Musical!" I admit he has a good voice, but he is so cheesy and annoying. I don't understand how tweeners can like him. He looks like he's 45! I'm 37 and I'm more "relevant" than he is.

My favorite was Kris. I agree with what Kureno said about him. He's charming and fun to watch. I think he's the only one Wednesday night who "took the song and made his own, dawg" in a good way. (Sorry, Nick, you are hilarious but there's only so far this schtick was going to get you.)

For the record, David Cook was sexy when he gave that simmering look, while Adam makes me want to puke when he tries it. Anyhoo, however we feel about DC's simmering look, we can all agree it was so last year. Natural boyish charm is where it's at this year, and while several guys have potential in that arena, Kris has done it best in the top 32 so far.

I also liked Megan, I think she'll be back as a wildcard.

Posted by: pinkstate | February 27, 2009 6:51 AM

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