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Nick/Normund Licked on "American Idol"

Simon finds religion.

Kara uses up all her minutes.

My favorite ad airs again.

Is this the best-ever "American Idol" results show or what?

"The foundation of this show has always been The Power of The Vote," show host Ryan Seacrest intones at the top of Thursday's "Idol" results show, like he's Tom Brokaw on some Greatest Generation reality show.

Contestant Allison Iraheta advances to the "Final 12." (Michael Becker -- Fox)

"The shape of this programs depends on The Decisions You Make," Seacrest continues.

"What Have You Done?" he says, stopping and turning melodramatically to stare at camptastic Nick "Normund Gentle" Mitchell -- the Idolette the show producers fear most.

A "staggering" 25 million votes were cast among this week's 12 Idolettes, only three of whom will be sent to the survivor stools at night's end. This year's stools are more sophisticated than last year's tractor seats, resembling stemware martini glasses to symbolize the "massive opportunity," as some Idolette put it, that each singer gets simply by being on this show.

Because they have, mercifully, killed the Seacrest Chats Up Idolette Parents gag on this season's "Idol" (just one week after its horrifying introduction), the show producers appear to have some time to kill, because Seacrest starts vamping about how in awe he is of "Idol" judge Simon Cowell this season.

Simon at first plays along, telling Seacrest it's kind of him to say so, but when Seacrest continues in the your-so-brilliant vein, Simon tells him to put a sock in it and get on with the show.

Queue the aspirational How They Got here video, and then it's time for The Group Sing. The 12 Idolettes sing "Closer" while walking around stage and posing for the camera like they're the cast of a new CW drama making a promo. Jeanine Vailes is wearing short shorts to show off her great gams; pretty Megan Corkrey's hair has grown four inches overnight; Nick/Normund is trying hard to keep the camp in check.

It's time for a commercial break, but Seacrest promises us if we're very good and don't fast forward through the ads, we will see some super-special "American Idol" material in the ad break. Turns out to be some chick hacking away at "It's In His Kiss" and "Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi singing the last line. It's an unforgivable trick to play on "Idol" fans, but, by not fast forwarding through the ad break, it means we get to see that E Trade ad in which one of the babies sings "Take These Broken Wings." Best ad ever.

Time to remember The Way We Were the Previous Night. Please, oh please show us Matt Girard doing Pretend Coldplay, Kris Allen as Carnival Cruise Ship Michael Jackson, Nick "Normund Gentle" Mitchell making love to the judge desk's "American Idol" logo, Megan Corkrey's Hot-Whites-Regular-Wash-Cycle Dance, and Adam Lambert doing Andrew Lloyd Weber's version of Mick Jagger's "Satisfaction." Good times.

"Let's start with Nick," Seacrest says once that trip down video memory lane is over.

"Hypothetically if you don't make it through, what can we expect from you?"

"I'm looking for employment always," Nick responds. Someone give this guy a talk show.

Matt Breitzke is worried, and rightfully so, that viewers will not have liked that he dissed Simon for telling him his song choice was all wrong. Now Matt's singing a different tune -- an "at this stage we all have a lot to learn...I don't know it's ever to the point where it's too late for advice" tune. But of course, it's too late; the votes are in. And Simon's not accepting the apology, though he rejects Seacrest's hopeful suggestion there is animosity between the two men.

Jesse Langseth confides that song choice is very hard, but that she picked the perfect song for her. She can't vouch for the others. Jeanine of the Gorgeous Gams thinks she may have "overcompensated" during her performance and "less could have been more." Seacrest gallantly notes that is not the case when it comes to her lovely legs.

Time to dash some Idolettes's hopes.

Seacrest brings Allison Iraheta to the center of the stage. According to the WaPo TeamTV's Totally Unscientific Poll, Allison should survive tonight - she got 20 percent of the votes.

Seacrest also brings Matt Breitzke and Jesse Langseth to center stage, then demands "Idol" judge Randy Jackson guess which of the three is headed for the Stemware of Massive Opportunity. Randy guesses Allison. Randy called it right! (WaPo TeamTV's Totally Unscientific Poll also called it right!) Allison looks shocked while Jesse and Matt feign being thrilled for her -- just like Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Melissa Leo did a few short days earlier when Kate Winslet won the Oscar for best actress instead of them, only without all the jewels and designer evening gowns.

"I'm just so friggin' happy right now," Allison gushes as she is sent to the Stemware Stools of Massive Opportunity.

Next, Seacrest brings Megan Corkrey, Kris Allen, Matt Girard, and Jeanine Vailes to center stage. This time, Seacrest makes "Idol" judge Paula Abdul guess which of the four has just bought a ticket to the stools.

Paula can't decide between Megan, Matt and Kris. Seacrest, ever the gentleman, realizes Jeanine has been singled out and not in a good way and sends her back to the bleachers to sit down. Matt is next to get the bad news,

Seacrest asks Kara what she thinks about the remaining two, Kris and Megan. Kara begins to gush over Kris and his fabulousness during Hollywood Week -- which might have been something the "Idol" producers might have wanted to show viewers a glimpse of, so the remarks would be less bewildering.

Kara can't stop talking about Kris and his guitar in Hollywood and the clock is ticking so Simon starts dropping hints she's running long, hints like "she's rambling" and "take your time." But Kara, who apparently did not get the memo that tonight's results show is not three hours long, has fallen so deeply in love with her stream of thought that, instead of taking Simon's hint, snaps at him that she is "actually giving advice" which, she says, is part of what she's been hired to do. Sweet, naïve Kara.

Kara then turns her attention to Megan and begins to fawn all over her and her uniqueness and her with-the-right-song-you-could-be-big-ness."

"Let me take it from here," Seacrest rushes in to say when Kara finally is forced to stop long enough to take a breath.

He sends Kris to the stemware stools, which means Megan is out - at least until the end of next week when the judges can bring back some of the booted Idolettes on Wild Card Night.

We get live Kris as cruise ship Michael Jackson all over again. It never gets old.

Because the producers note there is not one wet eye in the house after Kris's triumph, they wisely decide to re-show the treacly American Idol Over the Years video, while Louis Armstrong sings "It's a Wonderful World." Yup, it does the trick - Crazy Little Girl is weeping over Sanjaya Malakar from last season; Fantasia Barinno is gushing; Jordin Sparks is bawling; Kelly Clarkson is sobbing - even David Cook is choked up.

And then, just when we're at our most vulnerable, the producers bring back last season's scariest Idolette ever, Nanny Brooke!

Nanny Brooke sings a song she says she co-wrote, in which she tries hard to imagine what life would be like were she not as young and hot and blonde as she is now.

Having pulled that dirty trick on us, the producers wisely plow through the remaining five Idolettes still waiting for word of their fate.

Seacrest brings Mishavonna Henson, Kai Kalama, Nick/Normund, Adam Lambert and Jasmine Murray to center stage.

Mishavonna, Kai and Jasmine are quickly put out of their misery, leaving just Adam and Nick/Normund - the Gilbert and Sullivan of "American Idol."

"Simon, did you really go home and pray?" Seacrest asks Simon, who said Wednesday he prays Nick/Normund doesn't make it through to the next round of the competition.

We, of course, know Simon's wish will be granted because the WaPo TeamTV Totally Unscientific Poll had Adam way out in front with 56 percent of the votes. But Simon has not seen the poll and acknowledges he prayed the previous night for about five or six hours. God smiles on Simon and Nick/Normund is indeed sent packing while Adam is headed to the Stemware Stools of Massive Opportunity. Adam pretends he's really surprised for a nanosecond, and then launches into his biggest, campiest "Satisfaction" ever -- at the end of which Simon promises a couple of tonight's rejected Idolettes will be brought back on Wild Card Night. That means you, Megan.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 27, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Next: Judges Patronize on "American Idol"


I just hope group 3 is a lot better than the first two.

The judges need to better explain what everyone is doing wrong this year. It's necessary but not sufficient to have a good voice and sing on key. A lot of them surprisingly don't manage to do that, others sing ok but give a lame performance. Song choice is part of this but it's not all of it. You need to connect emotionally with the audience and with the song itself. You need to have some "it factor" that makes us want to watch you. We should be moved, or awed, or energized, or feel like we want to get up and dance. I don't think any of them this week had "the whole package." I think this is what Randy was getting at several times, but he didn't explain it well. All the Idolettes are now just paranoid about "song choice" and aren't sure how to pick the right song.

Finally, seeming fake, cheesy, or insincere is a deal breaker for me. It seems the judges don't mind too much though. This is why I couldn't stand Archuleta and why I can't stand Adam and Danny.

Posted by: pinkstate | February 27, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

"Megan Corkrey's Hot-Whites-Regular-Wash-Cycle Dance"


I don't know why there is even a thought by anybody that Kara doesn't have enough time to talk. It's an hour results show that could be done in 5 minutes! Let Kara talk as long as she likes. (Disclaimer: I'm drunk off the Kara Kool-Aid and heading back for another cup.)

pinkstate, this next group has to be just as bad or worse. We've got a lot of wild cards to choose from, so I want just three good ones next week. How else is there going to be room for Tatiana and Norman! :) Also, I think Randy did explain it perfectly...if you speak Randy. That language requires a four year undergraduate program, plus two years of grad school to understand. Dawg U, represent!

Posted by: MaltyCharacter | February 27, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I didn't watch last night - too painful to sit through all of those commercials. I'm sorry Nick/Norm didn't make it through. At least he added some interest to an otherwise dull show. And he's not boring like the judges, except for Simon, of course.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 27, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Sanjaya was two seasons ago, season 6, not last season.

And pinkstate, you are exactly correct -- but the show has been on now for 8 years. If the kids need the judges to recap all you just did, they're too stupid to be on Idol (or to make it in any business, including the music business).

And, ahem, whether you liked Archuleta or not, millions did and he came in 2nd, which I doubt either Adam or Danny will manage. By this stage of the competition, little David A. had already belted out "Imagine," and was the clear frontrunner. This year, no clear frontrunner is in sight.

Posted by: Booklover1 | February 27, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

You're right, Booklover1. There are really no frontrunners, compared to last year. Nor do I see any darkhorses, a la David Cook (squee! Oops, sorry that slipped out).

The interwebs are already predicting a Danny/Adam saint/sinner Top 2, so we'll see if either can maintain any sort of momentum. I think Danny has tremendous backlash against him right now.

Looking forward to more OTT performances next week (Von, Nathaniel Headband, etc.). And and overpimped performance by judge-favorite Lil Rounds (yawn).

Posted by: jljardon2 | February 27, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

What's up WPAIB's? (Washington Post American Idol Bloggers). Seems like most of you got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. I'm feeling a lot of negative energy.

I loved Lisa's washing machine description of Megan's dance. I agree - Classic! What's up with Allison's hair? Was that a wig she had on?? It looked huge on her youthful head. Like some medium sized animal was lodging there.

What backlash is Danny getting?

At this point my faves are Danny, pink haired girl and Adam. I was actually surprised that Kris made it, but he looks like he has potential. I hope they bring Matt back and Megan -- I think they have huge potential too.

One person I wish they'd vote off is Kara. God knows I wanted to like her, but she is annoying at best. Oddly enough she makes Paula look good -- and whoever would have thought that was possible?

Have a great day everybody!!! Be careful out there! Hey bro & Sis - let's hear from you! And Stacy if you're reading this, I want to hear some Kentucky redneck on this blog! You go girl!

Posted by: majorjasoncastrofan | February 27, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

How about that repeating refrain in Nanny Brooke's song: "Like a picture on the wall/ I knew I had to fall." Since she said she co-wrote the song, I was wondering if in her experience pictures typically fall off walls. If so, I suggest she use a thicker gauge wire. It's also a good idea to use two hooks instead of one. Not only will they stay on the walls where they belong, they're less likely to become crooked.

Martha Stewart

Posted by: owingsmills | February 27, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Ya'll! O.K. This is my very first time to blog.(I can't even believe I just typed that) Anyway, so go easy on me, I truly hate to pull out my can of redneck day 1. So here we go. First introductions, sort of. I've watched every season of AI, it's one of the safe things to watch with your kids on t.v.

I'd like to start with something postive......................................................................... I reallly do like that commercial with the babies....................................................I thought it interesting the night Ryan did not wear a jacket.........................................................

Now for the rest of the story. What is up with the lameness factor? Bad singers, bad lighting,even the sound seems low budget. The new judge...let me get a trash can I might vomit. She is horrible. I can do a hilarious impression of her (who couldn't?) I don't find her sideways looking, side of the mouth talking way at all entertaining or do I take her serious. I bet she will be a "mean Mom" when she grows up. Too many hens in the house. Poor Simon, I really am praying for him. Randy, bless his little heart,I think he is the only one who takes his job serious and at least tries to give some sort of "judgment". As far as the contestants go it will get better after we get through group 3. (I hope)

I heard there are some dollars in the stimulus package for American Idol. I vote we use that trillion for the following: *Buy Kyra out of her contract and help her get a job with Martha Stewart, they will love each other.*Add a drop dead gorgeous girl to the staff who will give a massage, say hundreds of compliments and do whatever else needed to Simon so he will be happy when he is on camera*Make a commercial promoting Paula line of jewelry*Hire a speech specialists help Randy with some new adjectives, nouns and verbs.*Therapy for Ryan, Lord know he needs it after dealing with that crew.

Well, that's it for now.

Posted by: KYJAM | February 27, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Yes Archuleta made it to the final two, as will either Adam or Danny almost certainly, but he didn't win. And that restored my faith in America.

I actually correctly predicted that Obama would win the primary and election based on Cook beating Archuleta. I'm telling you, America is with me on this: "homespun pseudo-earnestness" is out, "cerebral sincerity" is in.

The problem for Adam and Danny is you can't fake sincerity. So they end up being "Broadway David Cook" and Danny "Send in the Clowns" Gokey despite their admittedly great voices. I predict that neither will ultimately win, unless they change up their schtick.

Posted by: pinkstate | February 27, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Kara makes Paula look good only because Paula doesn't have as much time to prattle on and on and on and on. Go Kara! I hope Megan gets another chance - I do like her voice!

Posted by: MILW | February 27, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Enough with the petty snarkiness.

Allison is a very good singer. She's got a powerful voice and performs well. She's only going to get better.

Adam has got amazing vocal control. He's very showy, but there's a place for showy singers. He could be a Rock Star in the classic sense of the word.

Kris was the correct third choice. I didn't see or hear anything wrong with his performance, and I like the song.

They were absolutely the best 3 this week, and deserved to go forward. I don't think any of the rest were good enough this week, even for a wildcard.

Posted by: GentlemanFarmer | February 27, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Lisa, How could you miss mentioning that red raccoon hat Allison was wearing? And how bout when old Kara told Simon to just shut up? Wow her 15 minutes could be sifting quickly thru the hour glass my pretty.
Too bad crazy Norman didn't win. It would have been the first time we got to see him perform as normal Nick in his normal clothing. That would have been pretty cool. Oh to dream.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 27, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one that had to turn the channel when Adam did the Charles Nelson Riley version of Satisfaction? If anybody DVR-d the show, check out the facial expressions of the welder in the background when anyone was singing... hilarious. And finally I was disturbed that the last image I saw on my dvr last night (when it asks if you want to save or delete the program) was Nathaniel giving me the "I smell poo" face waving himself off... Try going to sleep after that image being on your big screen for more than 3 seconds...

Posted by: pyozzo | February 27, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"Hot-Whites-Regular-Wash-Cycle Dance", "Stemware of Massive Opportunity," this is why one turns on the computer. How has LdeM not gotten a Pulitzer when that car guy in California has? WaPo's loss.
I also have to say the E-Trade "Take These Broken Wings" is excellent, although I still laugh every time I see the (original?) one in which he rents a clown with all the coin he made on his account.
I just can't imbibe the Adam Kool-Aid. I also can't understand why the other guy made it in ahead of Megan. Then again, I never liked David A from last season, and couldn't understand how he made it to the finals except for all the 'tweens texting incessantly. I think the 9-13 y.o. female demographic is actually running things, which makes it very hard for a woman to win (notice how many guys have won and how many all guy finals there have been?).

Posted by: otdoc321 | February 27, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Hated all of last night's winners. AI is going full-on High School Musical this year.

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 27, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with GentlemanFarmer on all points, including especially "stop the snarkiness". No one is all things to everyone but our challenge is to pick the best candidate, warts and all. How would YOU stand up to such scrutiny in front of 30 million critics? I can just imagine how we would've picked on Amy 'Fun'house, Lily F'Allen, Lady GagMe, Katy Puhlease-Perry, FloStupida and any other flavors of the month if/when they were unknown to us prior to the music biz and critics telling us they were relevant.

Adam is undeniably the best technical talent in some time. (And it is NOT screaming if one actually hits the note in the context of the song!) I like Allison too this round. Kris is a fine singer also but so too have a few been in recent years, but not deserving of star quality (the "it" factor, per Simon). Kris is too vanilla. Not even sure he would hold my attention in a club.

Thank heaven no Norman the nimcompoop or Tati'y'all-must-love-me's in the chosen one's so far. PLEASE do NOT bring them back in the wild card!!

Finally, judges, ENOUGH of the incongruous statements "it doesn't matter, you can sing the phone book" followed by "song choice is everything". C'mon! Either they sing the song well or they don't. Are they in pitch? Do they phrase well? Can they cover the range? Why not schedule "phone book theme night" and see once and for all?!

Posted by: redrocket | February 27, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Redrocket, you're on to something. Maybe Norman will try that one. Pick a letter and start singing. Someone else can take the yellowpages.

Love the washing-machine dance description. Glad to know I wasn't the only one bothered by it. Very distracting. More accurately it is the washing-machine that goes off balance and starts thumping. I hate that!

I kind of like Adam but that "I'm smoldering hot" look he gave the camera in the beginning of the song on Wednesday really was kind of skeevy. He's just a touch too pretty for me. Suprised roughneck or welder guy hasn't kicked his....yet.

I do like Danny. Hope they can quit reminding him (and us) of his poor dead wife so we can concentrate on his singing and know if we like him because he is good or we because feel sorry for him.

I liked Allison too. My prediction is it will be between her and Danny.

Posted by: hodie | February 27, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Last night was the first time I actually watched the show. I just know what is going from reading this column. Thank you so I can sound relevant witout the pain of watching.

That said, Allison got somes pipes on her. Wow. That girl could go places -- if she got that dead bright red animal off her head.

Oh and to the poster who said that guys usually win because of the tweener girl voting. My roommates I actually looked it up last night. It is 4 females (Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks) winners to 3 guys. So, girls are actually ahead. But, this year will probably be a guy winner.

Posted by: epjd | February 27, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Pookie, thanks for watching so I didn't have to. I was out last night but was able to enjoy the show in 5 minutes, rather than an hour, by reading your blog...much nicer.

Just for the record, although there have been 4 female and 3 male winners to date, there have been 6 female and 8 male finalists to date. There has been only one female-female final (Season 3) and two male-male finals (Season 2 and 7). The other four have been female-male finals.

It's interesting to note that originally the gender-balance thing was created after season 3 when the girls significantly outshone the boys. It hurt the girls in season 6 when the boys were pretty weak. But it helped the girls in season 7 and this year when the boys significantly outshine the girls. There are a few girls that are decent, but there are significantly more than 6 boys that are worthy and significantly less (maybe 2 or 3?) girls that are worthy of the finals. That may be why they came up with this year's one of each and then next highest vote-getter. It looks like there will be 3 out of 9 girls from the SF rounds...and then who knows what will come out of the wild card. Methinks we'll only have 4 out of 12 girls in the finals this year.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | February 27, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

dadwannabe - how do you know so much?? I'm amazed at your AI knowledge -- very impressive. Gentlemanfarmer, you're kind. That's a rare commodity these days. Hope you come back to the blog....

Posted by: majorjasoncastrofan | February 27, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Megan is indeed lovely and blonde but can we please not give up a coveted spot to a token lovely, blonde girl with a wretched voice? Please? Just one season? The 3 wild cards should go to those truly worthy.

Being from Kentucky, I'd just like to say to everyone, "Be careful." In a very non-threatening way. Because that's just the way we roll.

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | February 27, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I remember some details, but it's amazing how easy it is to look things up in Wikipedia. :-)

The gender balance thing is something that you get from reading the AI blogs. My wife and I have only been watching AI since season 6 but I've done a lot of catching up on the web.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 1, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Lisa has repeatedly said that this year's stools of opportunity are different from last year's. That is, they look like sophiticated martini stemware instead of tractor seats.

Ok, what am I missing here? They look exactly the same to me -- still tractor seats.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 1, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

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