13 Unlucky for "American Idol"
Back when Fox executives were high-fiving each other for deciding to turn "American Idol's" traditional top-12 finalists into the top-13 finalists, to really shake things up on the singing competition this year, no one thought to send a memo to the Senior Executive Vice President for Reality Series Viewer Voting Phone Number Checking.
This is too bad, because then they might have found out earlier that 1-866-Idols13 is a porn number. And, given how bad Tuesday's performance by the 13th Idolette was, they might have reconsidered that whole Let's Shake Things Up With 13 Finalists thing.
"On the back of that performance, yes, I do (regret it)," judge Simon Cowell tells show host Ryan Seacrest Tuesday night when Seacrest ask him if he regrets the Top-13 decision after watching Anoop Desai turn up his collar and go into a really bad impersonation of Michael Jackson singing "Beat It."
In Anoop's defense, everyone had to sing a Michael Jackson tune Tuesday night.
Simon accuses Anoop of not knowing who he is. Then again, Simon didn't really know who he was when he put Anoop through last week, so Anoop's in good company.
Tonight is one of the many shaken up nights we've enjoyed already and one of what are sure to be many shaken up nights to come on "Idol" -- all part of an effort to shore up the show's ratings, which took a dip last year, though "Idol" remains far and away the biggest thing going on U.S. television.
The evening kicks off with a Shake Things Up Voiceover Guy introducing the "American Idol" judges, who walk out on stage and down to their seats, then introducing Seacrest. Seacrest is dressed as a banker for the occasion and judge Paula Abdul has brought out the leopard prints, the feathers, the diamond encrusted dog tag bracelet and all her glittery eyeshadow. Judges Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell did not realize it is a costume party.
Over the next two hours, the Idolettes engage in some competitive hard luck storying and some singing competition too.
Lil Rounds may have lost her Memphis home in a tornado, but anyway the important thing is that she and her husband and three adorable children wound up moving into an extended-stay hotel. From Lil we learn that having someone in nurse pants sing "The Way You Turn Me On" sends a very mixed and slightly creepy message.
"You know what's great about you?" Randy asks Lil, rhetorically, while Kara notes Lil's end note was sick and Paula compliments her on the softness of her palette. Simon thinks it a lazy song choice and he hates the nurse pants gag.
Scott MacIntyre ups the ante, revealing that not only has he been almost completely blind since birth, so has his sister. His performance of "Keep the Faith" produced the bravest comment in the show's history, delivered by Cowell. To a blind man: "It's fine being artistic -- just not on this show."
Danny Gokey decides to rest his "I Just Lost My Wife" tragic story for the first time since we were introduced to him in Kansas City eight long weeks ago, for which we are grateful. He sings "Pretty Young Thing" and the judges mostly make fun of his spastic dancing. He does too, which is charming.
Michael Sarver grew up without a father. Michael's bad-note-to-good-note ratio Tuesday night: 10/1. But the judges continue to love that he is an oil rigger.
Little Jasmine Murray staggers under the weight of the Jackson tune "I'll be There" and her eyeshadow. Too old, too flat, the judges complain to her yet again -- and yet they brought her back into the competition, after you voted her out, under their wild-card option.
Kris Allen says he struggles with not being able to be with his new wife while he's competing on "Idol." Kris sings "Remember the Time." At least he starts off singing -- he winds up screaming, while playing the guitar and dancing. There's a lot going on. Kara notes little girls love it. Paula notes Simon is trying to undress her and then tells Kris that seeing him with his guitar is kind of adorable sexy. The American Idol Decency Police are brought back from shore leave. Simon notes he would not have brought out "the wife" so early in the competition. "Keep her hidden a couple of weeks," Simon advises. Seacrest looks bewildered and Kris looks wounded. Simon says he was kidding. Not.
Allison Iraheta has to sing at a shopping mall regularly for some reason. After her performance of "Give In To Me," Simone tells her she knows who she is, but then tells her to lighten up. On the other hand, this confusing advice produces the best comeback line ever delivered to Simon by an Idolette: "I'm not dark -- it's not like I'm cutting myself."
Anoop has no siblings. "As an only child I think he was spoiled," confides his mother. The less said about his Jackson tune performance the better. Anoop says he's looking forward to next week when he can sing something else.
Since his grandpa died, Jorge Nunez's family has drifted apart -- until he became an Idolette, which has brought them back together. This week should have been a great opportunity for Jorge to do a Latin version of a tune, but the judges have intimidated him about not being white enough -- this year's new judge Kara DioGuardi is still bringing up the "language' issue, then tells him he's not being true to himself.
Megan Joy Corkrey, who had a hard time deciding to get divorced and who really misses her little son, tries out for "The Girls Next Door" with a very blonde, very busty, very lace-strapped rendition of "Rockin' Robin" at the end of which she screeches "Caw! Caw!" The judges aren't sure the song "let Megan be Megan." She screeched "Caw! Caw!" people. How much more Megan do you want her to be?
Adam Lambert has been struggling to make it in Los Angeles as a singer ever since high school, his parents explain. He does this wonderful Norma Desmond take on "Black and White" which, Simon notes, is "in a totally different league" and the only performance "we're going to be talking about -- well done."
"What can I say?" adds Kara, pretty much summing up her contribution to "Idol" so far this season. She has not said anything new or particularly interesting all season -- just more clutter in an already overcrowded show.
Seacrest notes it's the first time he's seen Paula "do a herkie" from her seat. What's a herkie? Glad you asked. Turns out it's a cheerleading jump very similar to the side-hurdler except one leg bent towards the ground while the other is out to the side in "toe touch" position.
Poor Matt Giraud has to follow Adam and we've forgotten his performance by the time it's over.
For all the above Idolettes, the show continues to assign the traditional 1-866-IDOLS01 through 1-866-IDOLS12 phone numbers tonight which viewers will use to vote for their fave.
The night's 13th and final performer, lucky Alexis Grace, gets a distinct phone number.
"Grab a pen and paper and make sure you jot down her number -- trust me," show host Ryan Seacrest says before Alexis performs "Dirty Diana."
Alexis no doubt chose the tune chose "Dirty Diana" because weeks ago the judges told her to dirty up her performance. But stomping around the stage and screaming, dressed in a black baby-doll suit, black platform shoes and cheap costume jewelry, delicate little Alexis looks a little like her baby girl pretending to be Bette Midler performing at a New York bathhouse in the 70s.
"You're a naughty girl and I like it," Kara says, though Simon, the only judge worth listening to, tells Alexis "it was probably not as good as you thought it was" and Paula and Randy seem to agree.
Speaking of "Dirty Diana," if you phone 1-866-IDOLS13 to vote for Alexis, you will be greeted by a chick saying:
"Hey there, sexy guy. Welcome to an exciting new way to go live, one-on-one, with hot horny girls waiting right now to talk to you" and making other suggestions too interesting to mention here.
In fact, Fox suits had fairly recently discovered, some enterprising pornographer has not only called "Dibs" on 1-866-IDOLS13, he/she has also planted his/her flag, so to speak, in 1-866-IDOLS00 and 1-866-IDOLS14 through around 1-866-IDOLS20 or something close to it, just in case the braintrust at Fox ever decides to continue shaking things up in future seasons.
So Alexis's phone number is 1-866-IDOLS-36 because, Seacrest explains, "We had to find an available number and we had a Top 36 so we made it 36." Tonight, he says, "make sure you dial carefully. Very carefully."
Usually, the Idolette who sings last has the advantage of being freshest in viewers' minds as they pick up their cellphones to begin voting. But, of course, you could argue the whole phone number debacle put Alexis at a disadvantage this week.
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