Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Lisa's Favorite Sites

"Idol," Put Us Out Of Our Misery!

Guest blogger Tamara Jones fills in this week for Washington Post television columnist Lisa de Moraes.

We have just two words for former American Idol winner Ruben Studdard: Head deodorant.

Seriously, hasn't anyone invented Ban for baldies yet? Because as Studdard so vividly demonstrates upon his return to the Idol stage, dome sweat is an affliction no one should have to endure, least of all those forced to watch it on live television.

Even the Velvet Teddy Bear's eyelids are drenched by the time he finishes his otherwise unremarkable single, prompting host Ryan Seacrest to reach way, way up on his tippy-toes to wipe at Ruben's dripping brow with his (ick) bare hand.

This bit of torture comes after the pre-recorded "live" group sing, which seems to have been arranged to showcase Lil Rounds, an early frontrunner and judges' darling who wobbled more than she warbled during Wednesday night's tribute to Motown.

We get the not-so-subliminal message that Lil is not going to be eliminated.

But before we get down to business, Ryan wonders aloud whether judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul have gotten down to business, given their slap-tickle-giggle display of Drama Club lust.

"Get a room," Ryan suggests.

"We did," murmurs Simon, and we admit we wonder for a nanosecond whether it might be true, because Simon has, in fact, actually changed his t-shirt.

That's as much speculation as we can muster for a results show destined to be a no-brainer.

But first, off we go to the Idolette's commercial for Ford, which shows us that a parked car has more charisma than this bunch. There's also something very suspicious about the vocals on "Pocketful of Sunshine," and only teen powerhouse Allison Iraheta sounds even remotely recognizable in the chorus.

Now Ryan approaches the 10 cowering finalists to start the weekly slice-dice Benihana routine. He immediately pronounces Adam Lambert safe. (Why do we feel Adam's likeability rising in perfect correlation to disposable judge Kara Dio Guardi's dislikability?)

Ryan sends Matt Giraud over to take one of the dreaded Stemware of Shame seats. Next, tweeny-bopper heartthrob Kris Allen feigns surprise that he's a keeper. Lil pulls off a much-better show of anxiety when she's told to stand up with oil roughneck Michael Sarver. Michael wears the same happy, hopeful expression no matter what you tell him. We love you, Ol' Yeller.

Sure enough, Michael is still grinning as he trots over to the loser stools. He gives miserable Matt an encouraging man-hug but stops short of licking him in the face.

When we hear that 21-year-old Joss Stone is going to perform a duet with Smokey Robinson, we're so excited that we break into a headsweat. We lurve Joss! We bow to Smokey! Though...together? We're skeptical but game. This pairing could be very avocado martini.

Joss appears right out of a Midsummer Night's Dream, in blond tendrils and blue nymph gown, singing Smokey's new song, "You're the One for Me." But when 69-year-old Smokey comes slinking up to her, with a Jack Nicholson grin and those glittery green jaguar eyes, we have to wonder what the personal space rules are for duets. Smokey may be singing his (pretty but too wordy) new tune, but he's telegraphing "Get ready, cause here I come..." and we're not surprised that Joss sings with her eyes mostly closed.

Back to the waiting Idolettes, Allison, Anoop Desai and Dorky Danny Gokey are spared, leaving Scott Muzak MacIntyre and Megan Joy MacWeirdweird to cling to each other like doomed Titanic lovers. Pretty trumps pity, and Megan is left alone on the life raft.

Ryan asks the judges which of the three lowest vote-getters doesn't deserve to be there, and Simon graduates to Who Wants To Be a Sixth- Grader by correctly answering: "Well, they're there because the public don't like them much."

Zing, oof, KA-POW, Batman.

Michael looks pleased. Scott looks oblivious. Matt looks nauseous, even though his performance of "Get Ready" makes him the most-obvious choice when Ryan says someone gets to go back to the life rafts.

Obvious, except the highly organized treacle industry clearly cast a good portion of last night's record 36 million votes, and it turns out that Scott is immunized. Ryan leads him back to the safety zone without cracking any blind jokes, which leads us to conclude not that Ryan has matured overnight, but that special guest star Stevie Wonder is ready to come on. We're ashamed to admit that we would very much like to see Stevie smack the sunshine right off Ryan's face.

Stevie Wonder takes over, and takes off, performing a Motown medley that makes us wish for the first time ever that the results show could be three hours long. Everybody is dancing away, and even the condemned Idolettes light up. Anoop's face registers the most emotion we've seen from him all season -- pure delight -- and it's fun to see a teenager like Allison absorbing what she clearly realizes will become one of the most memorable moments of her life.

We can only hope that egomaniacs Kara and Paula are mouthing the lyrics and not actually believing Stevie Wonder needs them for backup. Ryan dances from the chin up only, like a goose that accidentally flew into a mosh pit. Stevie gives a mid-"Overjoyed" shout-out to the president -- "I love you, Barack Obama!" -- followed a few seconds later by a dutiful, "I love you, American Idol!" Hey, so do we! What's not to love about a live mini-concert by Stevie Wonder?

Even when it's over, the good feeling lingers, and we're smiling right along with Michael Sarver when he learns he's the biggest loser tonight. He's given one last chance to earn the judges' sole "free" vote.

"I have to sing after Stevie, oh crap," Michael says in one of the all-time best understatements in Idol history.

He puts more muscle into "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" than he did on performance night, and the judges actually consider keeping him. Ryan reminds them that "there's another show coming up soon," and Simon invokes his autocratic authority to break an impasse and puts Ol' Yeller down.

"You're going home, sorry," he tells Michael.

Michael can't help but smile.

By Libby Copeland  |  March 27, 2009; 8:09 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A Little Slow, A Lot of Weird in Idol's Motown
Next: "American Idol" Digs Deep and Comes Up...Eh


Stevie Wonder's few minutes demonstrated better than anything I've seen the difference between entertainers as commodities and entertainers as artists. Masterful.

Posted by: mgavaghen1 | March 27, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Stevie Wonder was great until he did the shout out to Obama.

Posted by: chrisWI | March 27, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't someone have handed poor Ruben a towel? Geez! And, yes, I,too, was creeped out by Smokey's leering with Joss--but she handled it well. Now to the Idols--yep, the right one went home, baby. Next, Megan Joy!

Posted by: ccherylannv | March 27, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I tuned in for the last three minutes waiting for Hell's Kitchen to come on and caught the bit where the judges were "deciding" whether Michael should stay or go.

It's so-o-o obvious that the fix is in, I hit the mute button until it was over.

It's not "American Idol."

It's "Producers' Idol."

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 27, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh, but wait, Ryan has not matured! Didn't you hear him say, "What did Scott think about the gold steps?" when Allison (I think) said that taking the private plane to Detroit was cool and there were even gold steps for them to walk down out of it? I even guffawed.

I agree with you ChrisWI. In fact, I must have walked out of the room and missed it.

The Joss Stone/Smokey Robinson thing was creepy. I don't know how she controlled herself from backing away from him - she's good!

Posted by: highceediva | March 27, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Loved your analysis, Tamara, except I like Danny, you obviously don't. Liked Michael but there are much better singers in this group. Next to go: Scott and Megan. Then it will be a competition!

Posted by: MILW | March 27, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

My question Tamar---when Lisa asked you to guest blog, was it required that you start with the premise that the show sucks and you hate it? Because you have the same tone she does. It amazes me every week that you review a show you hate so much. Review Hell's Kitchen or Lost instead of making the same bad jokes every week. Clearly the show is popular for a reason. There must be something good about it!

Posted by: happydad3 | March 27, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Anti-perspirant rather than deodorant, maybe? Ruben used to always perform with a towel or, like Barry White, with a hanky. But I'm guessing someone said it looked a little too 'Bama. He should have been prepared and had Seacrest bring him a towel at the end, though.

I was prepared to scream when I saw Matt in the bottom 3. Who'd've thunk that Megan Joy had more fans for that lame performance than Matt?

Posted by: SheldonAlexandria | March 27, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Was Matt really in the bottom three? Or even two? Smells fishy. Maybe his line was too busy.

The right person went home. Scott will hopefully go next, then Megan assuming no one else tanks.

Posted by: MaltyCharacter | March 27, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for identifying what seemed really weird about the Joss Stone - Smokey Robinson performance last night. I couldn't figure out who Smokey Reminded me of until I read your blog today. Jack Nicholson grin is right!

Posted by: StuckatWork | March 27, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Matt sang "Let's Get it On," not "Get Ready." (That was Danny.) But either way, he shouldn't have been in the bottom three, and no way should Scott still be there at all. I'm just waiting for him to pull a John Ashcroft and break into "Let the Eagle Soar." Maybe on "Inspirational" week. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: breitz | March 27, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I love Kara and Paula dancing like there's nothing to pay attention to during Michael's final "proud to beg". Randy and Simon look like they're actually trying to decide whether to send him home or not, but the girls are clearly having none of it.

Song ends, Ryan demands we end this bout of yelling for another, and the judges look obviously conflicted - talk about a lack of focus.

Posted by: PoochyKurosawa | March 27, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

scott is clearly getting the pity vote. he is not a good singer or a good performer. meghan has stayed because she's gorgeous. finally...and this is important....the judges are supposed to decide whether to save someone WHILE said contestant is singing for their lives...instead of deliberating their fate WHILE they're singing for their lives, shouldn't they be, um, PAYING ATTENTION to the performance????

Posted by: lazygirl | March 27, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Poor Matt looked like he was about to cry from the moment Seabiscuit sent him over to the silver stools of shame.

Agree with many that the Smokey/Joss Stone duet was just creepy. Inappropriate came to mind as well.

PoochyK is absolutely right - Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Paula and Kara) were off in their own little Solid Gold moment dancing at their table while Michael was singing. Rarely did they break free from their Fly Girl moves to deliberate on Ol' Yeller's fate.

Posted by: jpstang | March 27, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Stevie the singer: as good as it gets.

Stevie the political pundit: as good as his eyesight.

Posted by: DreamOutLoud | March 27, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The right person went home, but not really. I kind of like that Michael obviously didn't care. He knew he wasn't going to win, but he made the top ten and he's going on tour, so no more oil rigger for him! That was his personal goal from the beginning, so good for him.

I also enjoyed watching the Idolettes enjoying the moment watching Stevie's miniconcert. Anoop and Danny were dancing together at one point, looking like a round of Dance, Dance Revolution and I noticed that Kris was singing along and clearly knew all the words to the songs Stevie was singing.

As for Matt, I think the comments above prove why he was in the bottom: He was good, but forgettable. By the end of the show I found myself having to struggle to remember what he sang ("Sexual Healing?" No, but something like that...). Maybe part of the problem was going first, but he needs to figure out how to stand out. Scott stands out b/c he's blind and Megan stands out b/c she's quirky. Generic doesn't win AI.

Did anyone catch what's up next week?

Posted by: inkydog | March 27, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I suppose I am not the only one questioning the 'live' part of that medley. Do you guys agree it is pure lip synch? Who blew the lip synch the worst? I suppose that is a relevant test of your star quality.

Matt in the bottom 3? Scandalous. Scott better than Matt? Even more unbelievable. Megan is the vote-for-the-worst-dot-com candidate? Oh it all makes sense now. Execept for Scott being better than Matt. I suppose what we have here is Matt taking Kara's advice of going more soulful and less Coldplay, and the tweeners voting for more Coldplay and less soulful. Oh well, Kara needs to season for a few seasons of Idol before she fully understands the nuances of the tweener vote.

OK we all liked Michael, but really how long did it take to debate the save vote? My DVR cut off before Michael's response to the rejection. I will never know if he lost gracefully because Simon dilly dallied over his decision.

Posted by: Wiggan | March 27, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Fast night's execution was well-deserved, although it came one week too late. Oil Rig had already helped 'ruin' AI8 by hanging on last week while Alexis unfathomably got the boot (with help from the judges and the idiot voters). This summer fools can shell out $150 to watch Oil Rigger stumble around the stage while one of the most intriguing performers and bluesy singers stays home. Do the producers really believe they helped the show by arranging to get her the boot? Maybe they were afraid she'd win and couldn't sell multi-millions of CD's from her blues niche.

My favorites from the last 2 years have each comitted virtual suicide by singing "Jolene". As the AI1 winner would say, "never again!". Don't touch that song. Don't even think about it.

Stevie Wonder's performance was one of the most magical moments in AI history. Period.

I've come to the conclusion that the Kara phenomenon is part of a nefarious plot by the AI producers to resurrect Paula. They managed to find a woman so truly awful that she makes Paula look good by juxtaposition. Next year they'll dump Kara and re-sign the rehabilitated Paula, who can swap paint (or whatever) with Simon to entertain us next year.

Danny Dorky should sing Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" on '90's week. He would add a whole new dimension to the Carrie Underwood concept of "Shania Kareoke".

Posted by: Brookelover | March 27, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Great job Tamara. You improved my morning.

Ruben proved why he has been the least successful A.I. I did not begin watching show until season 4, but this guy wouldn't have made it through Hollywood week given that (and previous)performance(s). It was obviously awkward for Ryan, et al. BORING song, weak singing, horrible stage presence, and I feel sorry for him with the profuse sweating. The producers, judges, and others must have been cringing.

Stevie Wonder? Best part of show. Joss and Smokey? AWKWARD, and also a boring song. I could have fallen asleep. Also loved that some of idolettes seemed to really get Stevie's music. Good for them.

While I was glad Michael was first to go, I was impressed with his attitude. He knew he had been hanging on by a thread and was ready for the heave ho. Nevertheless, he his gratitude for the opportunity, and empathic affection for his idol mates was pretty impressive. His smiling reaction to his "journey" was a pleasure to watch. I hated his Tues. night performance, but give him props for actually improving in his sing for his supper repeat. He was having a great time singing because he was at peace with the vote. I think he is just so glad to be in top 10, that everything else is gravy. I also appreciated throughout show his comfort and congratulations to others. The guy may be a weak candidate at this point, but he is a classy, kind person, and I'm glad to have witnessed it.

Posted by: MarriedMom | March 27, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Jones,

If I wanted to put up with someone trashing this show I would confess to my friends and co-workers that I watch this goofy show (I know it's goofy, and I still love it.)

I know that Lisa loves it too, so I usually think it's funny when she chooses to bash the show. You clearly do not like the show and as a result, I do not like your blog and cannot wait until the return of Lisa.

Posted by: jsetlock | March 27, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

So glad that Megan Weirdfun Joy was safe. She's one of the few left (along with Adam, Allison and maybe Kris) who makes AI8 worth watching. Want her to go back to hippy and jazzy persona next week and do her wash cycle routine, spreading joy to us all.

Ones who should go very soon: Scott is a mediocre bore and should put us out of our misery by going pronto. Lil (Little) makes Melinda Dolittle look like a star. She has Little nuance, indeed. Danny Dorky is so awful he's almost fun to watch now, if you can groove on mocking the excrutiating.

Bring back Alexis Grace! Somehow, someway! Just do it! Sudden "illness" or scandal forcing withrawal of one of the remaining 9 would do the trick. Then substitute her back in! Call it the "Producers' Save".

Posted by: Brookelover | March 27, 2009 12:20 PM

Posted by: Brookelover | March 27, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse


"Kara needs to season for a few seasons"

Geez, I almost bit off my own tongue after reading this! Kara does not need to "season," she needs to disappear. If there is a god in heaven, Kara will be unceremoniously booted from the show after this season's finale and never heard from again!

Posted by: AmuseMe | March 27, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Lazygirl - I think you miss the point about the "save" thing.

It's preordained. They already know at this point who, if necessary, they would "save". Michael S. was never on the list - as Simon's performance night comment clearly indicated ("You cannot win this.") You cannot win this = We would never waste our one "save" on you, Bubba.

No - the one "save" (if required by "stupid American voters") will only be used for someone the producers preordained before the Final 12 actually started to compete. BTW "stupid American voters" = "The public who disagree with us."

We think we know who they preordained. they can't stop talking about it in the press at every chance.

What remains to be seen is whether one of the chosen few can consistently be so disappointingly weak - or an UNordained contestant can consistently so unexpectedly WOW that they have to backpedal and change their minds.

That leads us to "wiggle room" - or the "waffle factor". The producers have allowed wiggle room (or a waffle) to Matt and Megan. Matt received the "wiggle room" when someone or other pronounced him "Now a real contender." Megal got the wiggle room when they kept saying "We need you in this competition."

Those two may have some control over their fates. So far, I'd say Matt is maximizing the wiggle (or the waffle) - whereas, this week poor Megan poured some syrup on her own waffle. Last week, she actually impressed me for the first time. This week, I actually think the judges actually critiqued her correctly - her range is lower and more limited, so she would have done better with a different song (done better = probably hit fewer offkey notes).

I actually love jazz - and Megan when she's in that "pocket" - but this week's choice for her was a mismatch. Not a Hot Pocket - a waffle!!!

Posted by: jqw3827 | March 27, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else notice Megan trying to dance and trying to snap her fingers to the beat? No rhythm whatsoever.

Also, that would be "Idolettes' commercial for Ford," actually, and yes, he needs anti-persperant for his head, unless you could actually smell his head through your TV (now that's hi-def).

Posted by: Shuffles | March 27, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

OK, anti-perspirant. That's what I get for trying to correct someone else's mistake :)

Posted by: Shuffles | March 27, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

MarriedMom: Michael Sarver was not "first to go." Three others (Jasmine, Jorge, and Alexis) have been voted off so far.

How can anyone listen to Megan Joy? She makes my ears bleed. Seriously she cannot hear herself go sharp and flat like that? Or does she do it on purpose?? My dogs howl in tune better than she does.

I think they are lip-synching on every "live" group sing because of Scott. They did it off and on in the past but usually for some reason like someone was sick. I am sure they will go back to live group singing once Scott is gone. I look forward to the improved choreography in the group performances too. Stomping in place is not dancing. You know, his image could be improved 100% if some stylist would spend 15 minutes on him: dark Ray Ban glasses, retro haircut with short sides, those cool Gap jeans, and a t-shirt underneath a "Charlie Sheen" (bowling/Mexican wedding) shirt worn open over it. Instead they let HIM pick his outfits??

The Judges' save is being kept for Adam Lambert. It's already been decided. Even if Matt had been the lowest score, he would have been gone. Dead like Marley. No debate.

Posted by: a68comeback | March 27, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

My stupid DVR already cut off BEFORE Simon told Michael the result! Hate Cox. Hate the DVR. There must be some tool / software / whatever to fix this problem! That said, I knew anyway they wouldn't save him but I still would have liked to see his "journey".

Kara is simply annoying. So far I have been thinking that producers hired her to slowly phase out Paula because she is kinda the same type (regarding the look), now that I've read "Brookelover"'s post I am actually starting to think she could be right. With being so annoying Kara definitely makes Paula look good. And I am sure Paula only plays whatever games with Simon during the show because she likes to show Kara that she is not part of their secret club and never will be.

Enjoyed Stevie Wonder, too.

Posted by: anjacarolin | March 27, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh, Megan Joy McWeirdWeird. Too funny.

Had to crack up at the "she makes my ears bleed" comment, too!

I loved when she sang "Black Horse" for the Wild Card show, but she just isn't qualified.

Little Rounds bores the snot out of me, personally.

I almost barfed when Seacrest rubbed the sweaty bald head. He did that to Chikeze (spelling?) last year, too. Remember?

Posted by: Iteachmusic | March 27, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"no way should Scott still be there at all. I'm just waiting for him to pull a John Ashcroft and break into "Let the Eagle Soar." Maybe on "Inspirational" week. Fingers crossed." - breitz

teeheehee! :)

half the fun of reading this column is everyone's snarky comments! keep it up people, you're making my mornings delightful! :)

Posted by: raquel2 | March 30, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

hey missed last week completely, glad you all are here to fill me in. Also glad my fav (Allison Cherry-Bomb Iraheta) is still doing well.
Disappointed Lil did not do well on what one would think should have been her show, but many of you have correctly called her out early. Too bad Lil, we had high hopes.
Wish I could have seen Adam's new look. I always thought he would be quite stunning without the makeup.
Scott is sweet but it's time to go now. However, he could be a good cure for my insomnia.

Posted by: hodie | March 30, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

hodie, try this link to get a view of clean-cut Adam:

Posted by: raquel2 | March 30, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

My stupid DVR already cut off BEFORE Simon told Michael the result! Hate Cox. Hate the DVR. There must be some tool / software / whatever to fix this problem!

Posted by: anjacarolin | March 27, 2009 3:53 PM


The simplest way to work-around the problem is to schedule to record the hour following an AI show. You can always delete the following show after you watch AI and it doesn't have anything you want on it. But why not just schedule the extra hour just in case?

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 31, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company