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Judges Save Makes its Debut on "American Idol"


Wednesday's "American Idol" results night kicks off with a compendium of "Grindhousean" cliches -- scratchy picture, movie-projector going on the blink, etc. -- in case we forgot Quentin Tarantino, that legendary renegade of cinema, had offered each of the Idolettes cinematic advice on their previous night's performances. Tips like "say the lyrics clearly," and "play an instrument," and "sing in a guttural fashion," and "put your hands in your pockets" -- virtually all of which was ignored.


Contest Matt Giraud (Michael Becker -- Fox)

This week's Ford music video is performed to the tune "Freeze Frame" and the Idolettes are seen singing on faux hot covers of faux hot magazines whose faux advertising has managed not to plunge 20 percent or more. Idolette Matt Giraud leers at the covers like they're porn, buys a few, tosses them into his Ford vehicle and zooms off.

Oh sure, now that Scott's gone, the Idolettes are bustin' some moves in this week's American Idol Group Lip-Synch, to the tune "Maniac."

Because this week is all about movie tunes, the Idolettes were forced to -- I mean, got to -- attend the premiere of a new flick, "17 Again," immediately after Tuesday's "Idol" performance show. If you seen "Freaky Friday" or "Vice Versa" you've seen "17 Again." Only this time it's Matthew Perry -- terrific actor -- who gets asked if he wishes he could do it all over again, and he responds "you betcha," no doubt thinking about his "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" days. Only Perry gets turned into tweener star Zac Efron, who tells the Idolettes it's a movie about second chances.

After watching the flick, the Idolettes weigh in. Anoop Desai gives it two big thumbs up, and Adam Lambert likes its cheerleaders. They're funny, he explains, in answer to your question. But Lil Rounds is put off by the movies' "message," saying she would not want to go back again to being 17. We think Lil is missing the point here. The point being that the flick comes out Friday.

Back at the "Idol" studio, Zac Efron is in the audience, though he couldn't do a thing with his hair. "Thanks for being there, everybody. I really appreciate it," Efron tells the Idolettes.

We're now 15 minutes into the one-hour results show, and finally getting down to the business of naming the Bottom Three vote getters.

Allison Iraheta and Adam are safe. And Adam, who had performed "Born to be Wild" the night before, insists he was not insulted when judge Simon Cowell told him his performance was too "Rocky Horror Show." "I think that's a great movie," Adam says. "Did he mean it as a insult?" he faux-asks show host Ryan Seacrest.

Anoop Desai, dressed in a sort of college baseball jacket, tells Seacrest he's never been more comfortable on stage, so Seacrest sends Anoop to sit on the Stemware of Shame -- he's in the Bottom Three again. Anoop seems genuinely put out.

Jennifer Hudson has returned to "American Idol" this week. Seacrest wants to remind us she's the only Idolette to ever win an Oscar; she'd like to remind us she's the only Oscar-winning Idolette who got booted off the show, back when they hadn't dreamed up the Judge's Save. Hudson sings a tune from her debut CD. Or at least she did a few weeks ago, when her bit was shot, according to news accounts.

Time to cough up more Bottom Three-ers. Kris Allen, who was denied a Simon Cowell critique on performance night, gets one now: Simon says his performance was "brilliant." Not that it does him any good now. But he's safe anyway, which makes this week's new strategy of letting Simon judge just half the Idolettes' performances Tuesday to save time only slightly less annoying.

Lil Rounds makes this week's Bottom three, and heads to the Stemware of Shame, but only after going through her grievances with the judges, point by point.

Only Danny Gokey and Matt Giraud are left and one seat on the Stemware of Shame to fill. To no one's surprise, Matt's the chosen one.

Then Seacrest puts Anoop out of his misery -- again -- and he's sent back to the safe sofa, looking like a guy who just convinced the student council it wasn't him who had ordered that stripper delivered to the dean's house that night.

But, before we learn which of the remaining two is getting the hook this week, Miley Cyrus descends from the tweener movie-star firmament to sing some twangy tune and flap her arms wildly.

Back to the Bottom Two. Simon warns Seacrest they might use the precious Judges Save to spare either Matt or Lil. More than 36 million votes were cast this week. According to those, Lil is safe; Matt's number is up.

At which point "American Idol's" four judges decided to ignore the results of those more than 36 million votes and save Matt from elimination, so he can be one of two Idolettes booted by viewers next week after they watch him struggle through Tuesday's disco-themed performance night.

"I didn't think you were as good as last night," Simon says, also speaking for the other three judges, of Matt's re-singing of the movie tune he'd sung the previous night -- a performance so unimpressive viewers had voted to give him the hook this week.

"I don't see that you have really any chance of winning the competition," Simon adds. Which begs the question: why did they save Matt?

It appears this year's Judges Save is the same as the knife introduced in Act 1 of a Broadway play -- absolutely must be used on someone by the end of Act 3.

Likewise, with the "Idol" judges having just two more weeks in which they can use the Judges' Save, and what with the only two Idolettes they really care about this year -- Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert -- having never yet come within shouting distance of getting the old heave ho, the judges apparently could no longer stand the prospect of not using this new toy.

And so, they saved Matt. Even though his performance Wednesday night was worse than Tuesday's and he hasn't any chance of winning this competition.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  April 16, 2009; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  | Tags: american idol  
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Next: Judge Blocks Blago's NBC Debut

Comments

Lisa - loved your comments esp. re Anoop and Miley. Hello, Miley proved once again that she has no talent and that financial success has more to do with marketing/packaging and insider connections than actual talent. (Britney? Tori Spelling? the list goes on.)

I had a feeling that Matt would be last but that producers were pumping him: he was featured in both the group number and Ford commercial.

Simon, per usual, was right:Matt has no chance to win, nor should he, but the judge's save was too exciting a tool not to use. They would have used it on Lil as well, lest they be accused of racism. She was worse than Matt, and clearly is not improving or learning from her time on AI.

I predict that next week's bottom 3 will be the same unless Disco week saves one of them - it could best work for Lil if she effectively does Donna Summers. So will next week's celebrity coach be Summers or a Bee Gee? Hmmm.

Anyone notice how off Dial idol has become? I think text voting has taken over, esp. for younger voters. Based on dialidol, Kris would have gone home - not that he should have - I liked his take, and Lil was 2nd - so her appearance in bottom 2 suggests that text voting, used more by younger voters, is crucial. Who else benefits by this trend? Adam and Alison -fine by me - they are most interesting.

Posted by: MarriedMom | April 16, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh why did they even bother???

Posted by: hodie | April 16, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd say this, but Miley Cyrus made me long for the relatively superior vocal talents of Kellie Pickler from the previous week (who, if you recall, made me long for the relatively superior vocal talents of...Lady Gaga).

Also, why was she wearing a Prom Dress and who turned the Smoke Machine Dial to 11?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who noticed Lil's "headlights" were on last night?

Posted by: RightWinger1 | April 16, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Adam has a great sense of humor! "Did he mean it as an insult"?! Fabulous comeback.

Posted by: barbnc | April 16, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Lisa has it right on this one.

The top four are basically set in stone at this point; Adam, Kris, Danny, and Allison. I personally don't think the Judges would have used the "save" on Anoop or Lil, so with Matt's number up this week it only makes sense to save him.

As a Matt fan, I hope Anoop and Lil go next week. But, who knows. Maybe the "save" will backfire on the judges and we see either Kris or Allison go home.

Posted by: sknyluv | April 16, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

For next week's Disco Night -

I predict Adam will wow the crowd with his rendition of Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out."

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | April 16, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what the big deal is over the save. Since it had to be used before the competition got down to the Top 5, it had virtually no chance of affecting the outcome of the season. Anyway, I'm glad they used it last night.

Of the seven remaining, the CD I would be most likely to buy would be by Matt. (Not to be confused with I think he's the best and deserves to win - it's just that his style appeals to me more than the others.)

Matt is far superior to Lil, and better than Anoop most weeks (maybe not this week though.) I think he's much better than boring Danny as well.

As for the comparisons of Matt to JT, I don't see it - never did. I see Matt developing more into a pop-jazz performer.

My top three haven't changed: Adam, Kris and Allison.

Posted by: brianb27 | April 16, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Double the fun next week - we get to watch a seeming clueless group of kids try and sing "disco" in anticipation of not one but two getting the boot! Kara will be in heaven - she'll get to relive Studio 57! And Paula will undoubtedly come dressed as Lady Miss Kier from Deee-Lite.

Posted by: jpstang | April 16, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

How anti-climactic was that "save" of Matt? This is not the next Daughtry or Jennifer Hudson they've just waved through, that's abundantly clear. If they wanted drama, I think it would have been more dramatic for them not to use it at all this year!

Meanwhile, eBay entrepreneurs are wasting no time -- someone just sent me this link to a customized Adam Lambert doll. Wait a sec, if that's supposed to be Adam, where's the eyeliner?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=170319539836

Posted by: owingsmills | April 16, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

What a waste. I predict Matt and Lil will go home next week - or maybe Matt and Anoop.

I moved this week so I didn't get to see any of the performances (my TV is in a box somewhere). Based on everyone's comments, I'd say the bottom 3 was well-deserved?

Why do people vote for Danny Gokey?

I think the final episode should consist of a competition for viewers to vote off one of the judges. It would come down to Paula and Kara - but I would vote Randy off. Seriously, how hard is it to stay within an hour????

Posted by: raquel2 | April 16, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Hang on, I just got sent another Adam Lambert doll makeover link -- this one is almost uncanny:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=220392676450

Posted by: owingsmills | April 16, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"I predict Adam will wow the crowd with his rendition of Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out."

---

At risk of drawing the ire of certain posters around here, I've made an effort not to make fun of Adam this week, but I couldn't resist just this once...

If Adam doesn't do "It's Raining Men" next week, there's no justice in this world.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"I predict Adam will wow the crowd with his rendition of Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out."

If Adam doesn't do "It's Raining Men" next week, there's no justice in this world.


LMAO - I haven't watched Idol for about 6 weeks now (too painful), but I do read Lisa's blog and everyone's comments. They're too much fun. You guys crack me up.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | April 16, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Matt should sing "Never Can Say Goodbye"

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | April 16, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

It should have been Lil going home last night.

Posted by: MILW | April 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather see/hear Adam perform a song by Sylvester...with a similar hairstyle. Or rather than "It's Raining Men", how 'bout "So Many Men, So Little Time"? Or is '80s Hi N-R-G not considered disco? Maybe he could sing Gloria Gaynor's version of "I Am What I Am".

Danny could sing "Disco Duck".

Lil, if she doesn't sing "Lady Marmelade", should sing "Ring My Bell". I've got ideas for the others, but they'd be rather obscure.

Posted by: SheldonAlexandria | April 16, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Where to start?

As the most vocal predictor/poster of the save being used THIS week I will meekly say "told you" and then listen to all the "me too's" who will climb out of the woodwork. The save last night was NOT about Matt (Simon said as much, "you're not going to win") but about FOX / AI promoting the double-elimination hard for a week. I did couch my prediction by saying late yesterday "except Lil" b/c the judges have given up on her. Simon is on record saying "a guy" will win, and Lil's terrible performance + talk-back Tue sealed her fate. Waiting til the last chance (next week) to invoke the save would've been drama-less. They would've used it on ANYONE ('cept Lil) last night purely as drama. If not, anyone booted next week would've just been the lucky loser by rote.

You're too hard on Miley. There's a strong tinge of jealousy to carp on too easy of a target. I agree, she's got fair vocals at best, but put her in perspective of her target audience and not a career performer. Anyone would want her success for their own daughter and regardless of how you managed her, tutored her, and marketed her, you would STILL hear the inevitable attacks on your daughter's age, perceived lack of talent, and not paying dues, etc. Not many 16 year olds have that much on their plate, are that stage savvy, and can handle the ridiculously large bubble she is in. (Allison maybe?) If you don't like her, then don't watch. Pick another celeb. But she is current and her fan base overlaps AI's so she is qualified to perform on the show.

Adam's response to Ryan was VERY smart (i.e., to play it for laughs, not for spite).

Is there anyone who DOESN'T think that Lil will sing "Last Dance", a perennial cover?

Posted by: redrocket | April 16, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

My theory about their idiotic save: they’re not getting record-breaking voting numbers anymore (cuz you can bet Seacrest would proclaim it at the top of the results show every week if they were), and they’ve figured out that the Judges’ Save might be the cause.

And it’s sort of true—I knew they’d save Adam or Allison if either of them were the lowest vote-getter, so I’ve been pretty remiss about voting for them (especially Allison) even though their performances have moved me week after week. As a result, we’ve seen Allison, at least, dangling in the bottom, and Adam only beating Gokey’s vote-getting once or twice this entire season despite deserving to be #1 every week. The difference is Gokey’s voting public are obsessive and clannish and will vote whether they know their guy’s a sure Judges’ Save or not.

Well, now that the Save has been squandered on Mr. Leery (noooo!! We *almost* got rid of that freak...!!), I have no choice but to vote repeatedly for my A&A next week… See? Simon and the producers are smarter than we thought… =__=

P.S. “They're funny, he explains, in answer to your question.” –Yeah, that was the first question to come to my mind too, because unlike Clay Aiken and David Hernandez, Adam’s not a coward about the (undeserved and bigoted) public backlash that comes with being an out and proud performer and isn’t pretending to be straight (though, of course, he wisely is not going out of his way to flaunt his flamingness either—smart man!). But about that comment—it’s so adorable to hear a guy appreciating girls for their humorous acting/skills rather than just the usual (i.e. “yeah, they were totally hot”). The cheerleaders must have been thrilled—appreciation from a hot guy that doesn’t involve objectification~

Posted by: Kureno | April 16, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone would want her success for their own daughter"

[Sigh, I know you and I get into alot, but...]

I wouldn't. Not when my daughter was still a child. If she were an adult? Certianly. But child stars almost invariably end up with a whole host of issues later in life.

Child stars are weird and their parents are creepy. The only thing Miley Cyrus is proof of is the fact that the people at Disney are Geniuses.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I had twenty on the Miley head toss over under. Really disappointed when she started out in ballad mode. Still came close though.
It seemed like Seacrest was really hyping the judges save during the show and then-Surprise-they used it. Simon's attitude seemed to be "I wouldn't have voted for this, but the producers made me do it." The save would lose its credibility for next year if they didn't use it this year. Ironic that they justify it by pointing to Hudson and Daughtrey, both of whom made it to the top five.

Posted by: huskerkernel | April 16, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree with VTD - I had never seen Miley before last night (way out of her demographic). She sang through her nose and looked totally disinterested while going through motions. Sort of felt sorry for her -shouldn't she be home decorating for prom or something with friends?

Posted by: kirstenpaulson | April 16, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Sheldon! How obscure could your references be? "In the Bush"?

Some of us have been there . . . and done that.

But, oh brother, how hackneyed after umpteen years - Disco Night - again.

Even DWTS has introduced some "new" dances to pique viewer interest.

Since the "Judges' Save" proved so utterly boring - how about spice it up with - Spice Girl Week (and definitely ask Mel B. to coach - including stage movement). Make the contestants perform in small (not so same-sex) groups.

Or if they insist on the Bee Gees, make them do it in group, and in harmony.

Or, speaking of harmony, how about Barbershop Quartet/Sweet Adelines Night?

Or Seriously Folkie Night (Pete Seeger is alive - even though I think he's 90)?

Or, Songs in Foreign Languages That Made the US Radio - wouldn't you like to hear someone try "J'taime (moi non plus)" or "Sukiyaki"? Or anything by Julio Iglesias or Ricky Martin (and yes, I can definitely see Adam taking on the latter - um - pun intended).

I know the swabots wouldn't understand the latter theme (or the lyrics/languages) - but wouldn't that be part of the hoot?

Let's hear from the rest of you. What's a completely new and different genre that would be one million times more interesting than yet another Disco Night? And who would you have performing which number in it?

Since the show is so boring - let's entertain one another with those thoughts!

Posted by: jqw3827 | April 16, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

RR- You have been stalwart in predicting Judge's save this week, but I think many of us posters have agreed or said something similar. I think it would have been used for Lil as well, so as not to lose the remaining African-American contestant before the top 5.

Too tough on Miley? I thought Lisa got it completely right in her review. Everything about that performance was wrong. I feel sorry for her per VTD's comments. It is very difficult to transition from teen star to adult. Most can't, though they may be permanently wealthy due to royalties (Olsen twins?) When she is no longer cute, then what? Sorry, but she lacks talent but doesn't lack promotion, and I think her parents are creepy. Cannot figure how Billy Ray maneuvered this. Actually, the most frustrated audience are young teen males, with my 14 yr. old as prime example. He prefers old Iron Maiden and other classic rock to anything commercial. His older siblings, my husband, and I agree.

In addition to having teen and young adult children, I also teach this age group (substitute in many schools, and tutor). While Miley (like Olson twins) dominate a market share, there is an audience of parents and kids who would like something else. The problem seems to be that no company wants to invest in a real talent, or multiple talents -- they want one winner takes all and promote her/him to death, shoving it down our throats with every media opportunity.

I've been on the fence about Adam. I think he is talented and enjoy most of his performances, though at times weirded out when he is really flaming. But I continue to be impressed with his courtesy - very professional, and I thought he handled Ryan's ? about Simon with perfect PR aplomb. I was impressed again by his personal savvy.

I know Kris seems blah to many, but I loved his take on "Falling Slowly" from Once. That was a brave choice and incredibly challenging song. Glad to hear Simon call it "brilliant."

Posted by: MarriedMom | April 16, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"Or, speaking of harmony, how about Barbershop Quartet/Sweet Adelines Night?"

Nice

I'm thinking I'd like to see Don Ho night.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | April 16, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Oooh jqw3827! What a fun idea.

How about punk rock? (My family and I love the stuff)

Britney Spears or Madonna? I loathe them both, but wtf. Their mentoring would certainly be entertaining.

I think rap should seriously be considered given its income generation.

Hip hop? Great idea.

Now that's entertainment!

Posted by: MarriedMom | April 16, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Grateful Dead night!

Danny Gokey - the old guy of the group - could sing either "Touch of Grey" or "See That My Grave is Kept Clean"

I also had a rude comment about the Dead song "Born Cross-eyed" - but I think that might be too harsh.......

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | April 16, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Agree with others, this was totally anti climatic, and will be prove useless when Matt gets eliminated next week.

I think the save should only be used for stunning and undeserved eliminations. How often does that come up? Perhaps once every 4 seasons (Consider in the prior 8 seasons, the two saves would be Daughtry and Hudson). Certainly Matt does not rise to this level.

I think the 'save' should be based on all of the singer's prior work, and should have little to do with the singer's Wednesday night performance.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | April 16, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Mom - like Sex Pistols punk? Now you're talking. If only Adam would add a spit, spritz or something!!! But then, I've argued all along that he's too nice for that.

Groovis - unfortunately I think Don Ho is actually dead, so he couldn't appear as a mentor. So how about this? Sing Along with a Dead Star Night. Each contestant has to sing along with one of those holograms (which I think Idol already did with Elvis) - and yes - someone could do "Tiny Bubbles" along with Don Ho - but then Adam could actually do "Pretty Woman" with Roy Orison and we could rate him on how well he did the growl. Buddy Holly (for Danny), Janis Joplin (for Allison) - hey Dead Star gives everyone a chance.

As for the musicians in the crowd - why not require them to Play Along with a Star (dead or otherwise). Have piano-playing Matt duke it out with Jerry Lee Lewis. Or guitar-strumming Kris take on - oh, I don't know - BB King.

Posted by: jqw3827 | April 16, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

--"Child stars are weird and their parents are creepy"

[VT . . sigh, . . right back at you]

Um, . . . so there is NO market for kids' shows, NO music, NO TV, NO Broadway, and obviously NO cause for ANY show/tour/stage/TV to hold auditions? We can only dress 18-yr olds as 9 and 10 in sitcoms. I guess Disney, Sesame Street, Radio Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, and thousands of productions of Peter Pan don't need child actors, voices and songs? Kids talent shows and pagents are obviously akin to the skin trade and child labor, the scholarships and confidence-building notwithstanding? And any past, current or future Mileys are no-talent lucky products of Disney-like machines? Oh, . . and let's not forget to paint ALL their parents as creepy (and altogether ooky) to boot! Certainly the most notorious are -- by definition -- notorious! and make the rest look bad. But that exists in sports (steroids, role models) politics (crooks, baby-kissers) and whatever else. Miley is lucky she didn't have either one of you for parents/managers for she would still be sittig in her school uniform in the dining room singing for the relatives. MMom, tell me, what would've made that performance "right?" Please tell me who, in the kids' genre music biz, is "real" talent, but don't forget that he/she must be promoted (obviously a dirty word) b/c w/out that, I/we would never know. I'm not elevating Miley as great, #1, or even the most talented. But I believe that if she were surly, tone-deaf, uncoachable as an actor, and derelict as a person, she would not be where she is. Someone else would. And you would be tearing that person down all over again.

VT, If child acting is not for you and yours, so be it. God luv ya! But to denigrate an entire culture of actors and their families is petty. I get the feeling you are an unhappy person who feels better dissing on anyone enjoying more success than you. (The phrase "who p***ed in your cornflakes" comes to mind.) Hard to R-E-ALLY imagine that you wouldn't want Miley-sized success for a son or daughter, in lieu of protecting him/her to a life of unremarkable (but albeit unquestionably!!) happier circumstance . . but that's your call and you're entitled to it. Glad to know my dreams would be quelled in your house. A good parent can enable (or not) one's kids by example, mentorship, and guidance. There must be an equal amount of child successes that have gone-on to normalness, college, careers, families, and enrichment. Oh wait, I'm sorry. They are (were) no-talent wastes and their parents are creeps.

We shoot at the easy and convenient targets because they are visible, large, and they obviously deserve it for accepting to be in the limelight.

Posted by: redrocket | April 16, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"I think the save should only be used for stunning and undeserved eliminations. How often does that come up? Perhaps once every 4 seasons (Consider in the prior 8 seasons, the two saves would be Daughtry and Hudson). Certainly Matt does not rise to this level."

Actually, Daughtry went out Top 4, so he would not have been eligible for the Judges' Save. Current rules say the Save can only be used through Top 5. But Michael Johns would have been eligble (whether or not it was deserved, I think he peaked early and didn't live up to potential once Top 12 started).

Posted by: jljardon2 | April 16, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Weird Al night

Posted by: kuku2 | April 16, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Holy Cow Rocket, what's your problem?

That's quite a spirited of defense of...Miley Cyrus. Really?

Yeah, given the choice, I'd want my children to have a real childhood. They'll have plenty of times to chase their "dreams" when they're adults.

But the long and the short of it is that Child Stars creep me out, and they're parents creep me out because they act like...well...you.

I gotta be honest, you're kind of a lunatic.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Also, If Miley Cyrus were my child, she wouldn't be dating a 20 year old man.

But, that's probably just a testament to how normal, mature, and well-adjusted she is...right, rocket?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, Red - which child in show business had real talent? Shirley Temple, that's who. At age 4 she was a triple threat (singer/dancer/actress) - and won an Academy Award for achievement as a child.

I've actually seen her mini-sized statuette - and can't agree more that she throughly deserved it - as no other child has since.

She, too, had some difficulties transitioning from child star to young adult, and isn't it wonderful that she was bright and found fulfillment and success in a completely unrelated professional career as an adult.

She's now a great-grandmother, but for my money, Shirley Temple remains one of the all time most talented people (of any age) in the whole US.

Posted by: jqw3827 | April 16, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Weird Al night - great idea! but who gets to sing "White and Nerdy?"

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | April 16, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

One-Hit Wonder Night. Covers many, many decades.

If you want to spice it up and make it a hybrid Foreign Language One-Hit Wonder Night, I'd love to see Adam's take on "99 Luftballons."

Or maybe Allison doing a punk version of the German version of "Major Tom".

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: AmericanIdolHoopla | April 16, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

VT, you think mine was a spirited defense of . . Miley? To paraphrase Chris Tucker "do you . . understand . .the words . . that are coming out . . of my mouth?"

thanks jq - that's, um, one example. Hard to believe one has to go back 70 years to make a point.

Posted by: redrocket | April 16, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"VT, you think mine was a spirited defense of . . Miley?"

Child actors everywhere by proxy of Miley Cyrus, yes. You come off an an unhinged, wackadoo stage parent who pressures their kids into acting, singing, and whatnot so they can live out *their* deams.

You probably don't even think those creepy pagent parents who put their little girls into those creepy "beauty pagents" are creepy.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Groovis:

Anoop, perhaps? Well he's not white... Matt Giraud?

Posted by: kuku2 | April 16, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Does Miley Cyrus (or Allison Iraheta, for that matter) really look or act like she's sixteen? That's the problem with child stars. They grow up too fast.

Posted by: kuku2 | April 16, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Red -

No, it's not hard to believe at all that you might have to go back 70 years to find "real" talent (I think that was your phrase).

That's because the "artistry" word that is thrown around so freely on AI is actually applicable to the few and far between.

If you think of musical composers, for example, how many in the entire 20th century would you actually credit with genius - or "all time" talent? You can look at the 16th, 17th, 18th, or 19th centuries for the answer. How many of those "tunes" could we identify in Name That Tune? We only currently know and revere maybe hundreds of composers from 400 years - not thousands or millions of 'em.

So, to me "real" talent is that which stands the test of time - a loooooong time. Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" is a masterpiece - still - today - in 2009. That's 85 years, so don't get a nosebleed. And if you listen to even an old crackly recording or Caruso, I think it would still give you chills.

Will the accolades so often being thrown around on AI remain true of those performers 85 years from now? Well, I guess you can see I think not. So when it comes to that show, I don't think that discussions of "real" talent and it necessarily belong in the same room.

Just my 2 yen.

Posted by: jqw3827 | April 16, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm one of the small minority who likes Matt well enough; don't know if I'd buy a CD from him, but wouldn't change the station if he showed up on the radio. The instant Anoop went back to the safe couch, I knew the Save would be used on Matt -- especially since Simon said they would use it, but we might be surprised on whom. No way those judges are going to save Lil.

Kudos on the blog to whoever first mentioned that Lil has to noodle her way through songs in a (fake) R&B style because she simply cannot get a note on key -- and frankly, I don't think we *want* her to hold a note too long, because it's always painfully flat (and it would make my dogs start howling).

Love Kris, love his style.

Adam IS talented, but in the wrong place; someone on the blog mentioned he is a good producer, and they're right -- he's really great at producing his numbers. And for those who like that sort of thing, good on you. I just don't care for it. Good kid with a great family, though, no doubt about it.

As for disco -- are they kidding?? There's a reason why disco is dead, and now we're going to torture the contestants and us with DISCO??? Gag.

I don't know who's running the AI show this season, but this really is getting to be a caricature of its former self. Dump Randy, end on time or else keep the show at 90 minutes until down to the final 5, and someone please get Anoop some help with his wardrobe.

Posted by: lanehatcher | April 16, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Lisa, your writing is so good...just one tiny thing: it raises the question, it doesn't beg the question.

Posted by: jlane1 | April 16, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

jq- I think there are MANY 20th-C artists that are brilliant. Kennedy Center honoreess would be a fine starting point for discussion. The old masters are terrific too! Variety is what makes the world go round!

VT - I'm not a stage parent. (No kids in pageants, theatre, etc.) Kids are not living out my dream -- unless my dream peaked at being best Wii player ever or batting .250. None of them plays guitar like Eddie Van Halen either so THAT dream is busted! By same token, I don't expect to see them on TMZ or YouTube tomorrow, if that's what you're getting at. (We are not the Osbournes, Lohans or Kardashians)

kuku2 - Agree, sort'a, but I think kids grow up too fast today in general, not just child stars. If they are probelematic, its beyond just "growing up"; its induced by choices, circumstances, family culture, or character. I think M and Al are doing fine in context of the VASTLY different fishbowls they are in. Each chose (to some degree) to be there, so I won't pin a label on them until they earn it.

Posted by: redrocket | April 17, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Glad I see in today's column that you now realize that Matt Giraud is Justin Timberlake-lite. You made fun of Kara (or was it Paula?) for saying that he looked like Justin Timberlake earlier in the season, but I guess you've realized she was right.

Posted by: rlalumiere | April 17, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Anoop: "Kung Fu Fighting" with matching choreography.

Posted by: SheldonAlexandria | April 17, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Metallica Night, if only to see Adam sing Enter Sandman.

I also wasn't surprised by the save. I like Matt better than Anoop and Lil if only because the latter two showed early promise, only to really disappoint. I don't get Danny but agree the final three are likely Danny, Adam, and Allison.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | April 17, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Anoop: "Kung Fu Fighting" with matching choreography."

I would give redrocket's first born child to see this.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 17, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Parrothead Night! You knew someone would have to suggest it...

Danny could piss off his entire constituency by singing, "My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don't Love Jesus." Or "A Pirate Looks At Forty."

Adam: Fruitcakes
Alison: Fins
L'il: Jolly Mon or maybe Coconut Telegraph
Matt: Pascagoula Run
Kris: He Went to Paris
Anoop: Why Don't We Get Drunk? Or, if the censors actually listen to the lyrics to that one, One Particular Harbor

Posted by: inkydog | April 17, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Disco Night...

If Adam doesn't sing Don't Leave Me This Way - Communards version, I'll be shocked.

If Lil sings a big name like Donna Summer -they'll kill her for not being big enough for that artist. If she doesn't go for a big song, they'll kill her for that.

Tha answer - Maxine Nightingale's Get Right Back. Big song, not a big name.

For group sing, I want them to do the Village People...

This could be fun (in a sadistic kind of way of course...)

Posted by: brianb27 | April 17, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

At this point, I feel terribly sorry for the idolettes whom, week after week, are given mind-numbing or rudderless theme weeks and hapless coaches (there have been a few good ones in past, but not yet this season).

We are essentially watching mostly raw talent from unassuming backgrounds, with varying levels of vocal training and development. I'm not saying this as a criticism, but both Danny and Adam, who are older contestants as well, have had far more professional development than say Anoop or Lil.

I have been increasingly disappointed in Lil and thought she was definitely at bottom this week, but see that as compared to other R&B and diva singers of previous seasons (Melinda, Lakisha, etc.), Lil lacks development and coaching. She seems to be genuinely confused and flailing each week, I think because she is a struggling amateur with a big voice and no mentoring. Melinda Doolittle was already a professional singer (back-up) and church choir stalwart. She was very professional in her approach to everything and was sheer pleasure to listen to.

I don't think idolettes really have time during the week to get any solid professional tune-up - they are too busy fulfilling the Fox pr machine doing appearances and shooting commercials. Then you add 10 minutes of nonconsequential feedback from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, and they get exactly what? NOTHING!

Does anyone actually believe that Tarantino's body of directorial work is tops on the list of AI watchers? I don't think so..The director of High School Musical would seriously have been a better choice. Actually, for movie themes, the producers could have approached any number of great movie music composers, including someone as contemporary as Diane Warren (6 time nominee for Academy Best Song and a songbook the size of the WP classifieds - okay that's exaggeration, but she is an icon amongst songwriters).

The bottomline for me is that I can't really fault the contestants - they were selected and have advanced. Do I believe they were all the top tier of the full auditions? Absolutely not. Some were, but I believe they initially filled niches with the most universal one being a good personal story or ability to screen interesting for reality tv.

The two things most worthy of snark are the judges/Ryan (except Simon- the only one worth listening to) and the AI production machine. Simon was the only reason I began watching this show. If he leaves, I leave. I think of the idolettes as Everest climbers who encounter poorly set ropes and ladders at various portions of their climbs.

Disco week - God help them.

Posted by: MarriedMom | April 17, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

A belated post - Thank you, Lisa, your columns are always a treat. If this is truly a singing competition, as the judges keep saying, why not a week of standards...Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Cahn, etc. Many of these songs are timeless and would more easily weed out the dead wood because a lot of them are difficult to sing. For instance, Kelly Clarkson sang the 40's-era "Some of That There" and knocked everyone's socks off. OK, so the average 13 y/o female voter won't necessarily get it, but look at the established pop singers who have put out standards CDs in the past few years and it's obvious why these songs are called "timeless." Problem is, with this crop of talent, even the simplest Gershwin tune would probably be over most of their heads. As for this coming week, I'll be scrambling for the mute button if Lil picks Gloria Gaynor.

Posted by: msmanatee | April 19, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

MsManatee, I know that in at least one past season, the Idols have performed standards. In Season 6, Rod Stewart was their mentor, and Katharine McPhee was outstanding singing "Someone To Watch Over Me".

Posted by: katillac | April 19, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

MsManatee, I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, Red Rocket's citing the Kennedy Center Awards prompted me to do a little research.

While music represents a slightly higher percentage of the awards over the years (about 36%) - the vast majority have been for classical music stars (composers and conductors in addition to performers). I looked at the genre the others fell into - and there's a smatter of country artists, and those from jazz, and those from what I call "show" (such as Richard Rodgers or Lerner & Lowe, Kander & Ebb - or even Streisand).

But "pop" performers? Few and far between. A couple from Motown (who have actually been mentors) and just this year the first two rockers (Pete Townshend & Roger Daltry). And - this is notable - most all of the non-classical honorees are not simply solo performers - they also compose (such as Dolly Parton).

Furthermore, those non-classical performers have generally distinguished themselves by successfully crossing genres (including Willy Nelson on "Stardust Memories" or Barbra Streisand from B'way to Top 40).

So it seems that the "brilliant 20th century artists" Red Rocket wrote about have proven their versatility over time.

Consequently, I agree with you, MsManatee - nothing like a song with an actual melody to test whether a singer can sing in tune or keep time. Linda Ronstadt's "What's New?" and "Lush Life" vintage torch songs demonstrated the Queen of Rock was a BEAUTIFUL and wonderful singer. And then she followed it up with a couple of very successful albums featuring Mexican songs in Spanish.

It was actually on one of those nights, when forced to go way outside her box, that I decided Kelly Pickler really did have a pretty voice - even though she had no clue what she was singing. Too bad that she didn't get the mentoring to keep up exploring and developing a more traditional song book.

Instead, you get these kids forced into the quick fix immediate gratification "package" box - no muss, no fuss - because investing time and effort into further "artistic" development would just be a sunk cost affecting short-term profits.

So, yeah, I'd vote any day for the contestants who can pull off a classic (and I'll add the following to your list started with Kelly Clarkson) - from Clay Aikin, to Katherine McPhee, to Fantasia, to Melinda Dolittle - if it really were a "singing competition" - and not a "who'll be the best quickest profit package" - they would have all finished in first place.

The consolation is that they are also the ones with hints of possibly true artistry whose careers will hopefully stay the course - last the test of time - not prove to be one hit wonders. And in 50 years time, they may be the only ones with a bat's chance in h*** to be sitting in one of those Kennedy Center Honoree chairs.

I think Allison and Adam fall into that category - but I am doubtful about the other remaining contestants - we could easily weed them out right now with such a challenge.

Posted by: jqw3827 | April 20, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Here's an idea. Jimmy Buffett night?

Posted by: HaydenJ | April 20, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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