"American Idol" Digs Deep and Comes Up...Eh
Just when you thought it couldn't be done, "American Idol" producers find a way to squeeze one more drop of product placement out of their show when host Ryan Seacrest announces the theme for this week's performance episode: "Popular Downloads on iTunes."
By "popular" they mean "anything."
Anoop Desai is, for the first time in ages, not dressed as if he's heading to intramurals practice. He's dressed like Michael Jackson. And while singing the Usher tune "Caught Up," he reprises the "rebel" look made famous during his earlier performance of "My Prerogative" -- the lip curling, the jaw clenching,the stage strutting, the lapel caressing -- you remember the drill.
"I'm getting the feeling like a bunch of frat boys dared you to get up and sing Usher," judge Kara DioGuardi says, summing it up perfectly.
Megan Joy Corkrey "absolutely loves" her Bob-Marley-as-performed-by-Lauryn-Hill tune, "Turn Your Lights Down Low." The tons of chains and ropes and faux pearls around her neck weigh her down sufficiently to prevent her from breaking into her Regular Wash Cycle Dance.
Judge Paula Abdul suggests Megan really needs to "dig deep into an area she might not be comfortable with but which is where beauty develops," which appears to involve "sitting on a stool with just a center spotlight with no distractions or movement, singing a sensitive, vulnerable ballad that tugs at everyone's heartstrings." This week, more than ever, Paula sounds like she's delivering a well-rehearsed Academy Awards acceptance speech every time she opens her mouth.
Danny Gokey says he wants to tone it down and sing his heart out to Rascal Flatts's "What Hurts the Most," which judge Simon Cowell says afterwards is, compared to the previous two Idolettes, like two snails competing with a racehorse.
Allison Iraheta is enormously talented but utterly redundant every week, although this week she's saved by her Cyndi-Lauper-cum-Pippi-Longstocking look -- including some hood ornament that's been glue-gunned to her head, which so fascinates the judges they can't talk about anything else.
Simon says it reminds him of "a precocious daughter trying to dress like a rock star." Smart girl.
Scott MacIntyre's been made over, and is now sporting Seacrest's hair from three season's back and a black leather jacket, and singing Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are."
Everyone sings his praises, especially Paula, who says that out of all the contestants who have graced the stage -- oh yes, she did -- she's most proud of Scott and it has nothing to do with his "challenge" (he's nearly blind) but everything to do with what he does that makes her forget about that "challenge."
Matt Giraud ventures into "contemporary" land again, with The Fray's "You Found Me" and while it's not as big of a train wreck as his Coldplay night, it's nearly that bad. Judge Randy Jackson keeps telling Matt he needs to be Justin Timberlake, but Matt's still having none of it.
Lil Rounds tries yet another look -- 1940's nightclub crooner -- and takes a stab at Celine Dion's "I Surrender" to placate the judges, who've told her she should sing something big. They decide it is the wrong "big," and she should have gone with, say, a Mariah Carey tune. But Lil is saved when Seacrest deploys one of her beautiful little children to cling to Randy, creating "Idol's" Cutest. Moment. Ever.
Adam Lambert -- aka The Only Reason to Watch This Season -- has put together a Tim Curry-meets-Little Richard version of Wild Cherry's "Play that Funky Music," which causes Paula to gush he's the next Mick Jagger, and Kara to rave that it was "like Studio 57." Which, presumably, is three better than "Studio 54."
And, finally, Kris Allen demonstrates he can also play piano with "Ain't No Sunshine" and it's a generally fine-ish performance, which means, yes, we are all going to have to learn to tell the difference between Kris and Matt. Unless Matt, last week's Nearly Booted, gets the heave ho Wednesday night.
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