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'American Idol': And then there were three

Because we suffered through Jamie Foxx's return as "American Idol" mentor for movie tunes week, Wednesday's results show starts like it's a trailer for an old 1940s movie in which Jamie Foxx stars as "The Mentor." Each of the remaining four Idolettes is seen against a sepia-toned background, making "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille"-ish remarks -- like "This is what I was born to do!"


It's Michael Lynche's turn to sing farewell as he gets voted off on Wednesday night. (Michael Becker -- Fox)

Fortunately, it appears it will be the only reference to Foxx, who upped his mentor game this season with the Insult T-shirts he brought to bribe the Idolettes. Somehow Foxx knew that winning a $1 million recording contract and a future like Kelly Clarkson's or Carrie Underwood's just wouldn't motivate these kids like getting a T-shirt from Actual Jamie Foxx on which had been printed the word "Artist."

Show host Ryan Seacrest notes 37 million votes were cast Tuesday night for the four contestants which, by our math, is nearly 30 million fewer than the 65 million that had been cast the same week last season (which was, at that time, the most votes ever in the show's eight seasons except during finale weeks).

In honor of there being four Idolettes who will be winnowed down to three tonight, Chris Daughtry is performing. He got the hook when they were down to four singers in the show's fifth season, after which he went on to become far more successful than the guy who won -- Taylor Hicks.

But first, we hear from Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino -- another advertisement for coming in out of the money in the 'Idol' race. Fantasia reminds us of the high-personality quotient days of 'Idol' back in Season 3. She also reminds she hasn't cut an album in three years; and we can't help but remember that she got passed over for the "Dreamgirls" role that went to Jennifer Hudson -- who'd been booted early that same season Fantasia won.

So far it's been a ringing endorsement for "American Idol" tonight.

Time for the Ford marketing video. This week, the Idolettes keep running around this tiny red Fiesta, switching places, but Michael keeps ending up in the driver seat, or so we're led to believe, though in real life it's hard to imagine he could drive something that small without squeezing the sides so hard he'd detonate the airbags.

Seabiscuit reminds us that once they cull the crop to three Idolettes, we're subjected to Going Home Week, in which each of the Idolettes will receive a hero's welcome. "There's a parade, an appearance at a local AT&T store, there's a mini-concert and so much more," he gushes. That's followed by an extended, time-filler video of Idol finalists from years past returning home. Idolettes in limos. Idolettes getting keys to the city. Idolettes mentioned on local TV news. Idolettes weeping from the sheer honest adoration of those simple folks back home.

Ryan asks each one of the Top-4 what they are looking forward to in their return home.

Mike: "Smelling that beach salty sea air in St. Pete" and seeing his puppy. Are we to understand that this man walked out on a puppy AND a baby to be on 'Idol'?

Crystal: "I really want to play a gig" with "my bass player" and visit her favorite clubs like The Village Idiot and Papa's Tavern.

Lee: "I want that to be me" (in re hero's welcome video)... And to get a chance to go back and say thank you to all the people that have been supportive of me".

Casey: "See my friends and family... smelling the Texas air, seeing my puppy dogs."

Tonight, family, friends, and commitment-phobic boyfriends of the remaining Idolettes are seated up on stage: Team Mike, Team Casey, Team Lee, and Team Crystal. Seabiscuit asks them what it's like being up on the "American Idol" stage looking out at the large studio audience. Having neglected to elect a spokesman among them, no one volunteers much, so Seabiscuit checks the palm of Michael's wife and discovers, to his surprise, it is "comfortable" and not sweaty.

Dim The Lights: Casey is safe.

Time for Daughtry and band to do a number, after which he advises the Top-4 to "stay hungry" and "stick with what's true to you."

Dim The Lights: Lee is safe.

Time for Bon Jovi to perform, because apparently Foxx isn't coming back tonight (hooray!) -- after which Seabiscuit conducts one of his searing interviews in which he asks a pop musician:

*How do you continue to be so fabulous?

*How do you stand it when you encounter throngs of adoring fans who have paid ridiculous sums to come see you at some uncomfortable arena?

*What's the best way to congratulate you on your success?

Seabiscuit zeroes in on the two safe Idolettes, demanding to know what Casey and Lee have been thinking about while he was interviewing Jon Bon Jovi. Lee and Casey assure him they are filled with concern for the two remaining Idolettes waiting to hear their fate. This seems to appease Seabiscuit.

Dim The Lights: Crystal is safe.

Michael begins to do that Toddler Wave thing he does, then sings the Michael Jackson anthem that sunk him. After that he does the Judges Hug, during which Ellen The Generous gets in yet another "I'll see you tomorrow on the show" plug for her syndicated talk show.

As we leave Michael, he is holding his adorable baby, who is squawling.

Never miss another "American Idol" after-show analysis. Text "IDOL"
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By Lisa de Moraes  |  May 13, 2010; 6:57 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Comments

Tough to have to see any of these kids go. Big Mike has been the most comfortable, consistent, and professional quality performer for the last 8 weeks or so. He is the "performer" of them all. Lee is the one who we will hear on the radio as he is the most contemporary. Crystal will make a place for herself as she is true quality. Casey, if he really wants to could pound out a career in this business. Not sure if he has the interest to make this his path. All will make a record or records. Look for the producer/judges to pick them up and begin working with them. Look for Cara to be involved in an affair/nasty divorce after fling Casey, haha!

Posted by: davemichelle09 | May 13, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I was very relieved that Lee did not get sacked.
I have to comment on Fantasia. Did she have surgery to double the length of her legs?
She seemed all out of proportion. And let's have a moment of silence for the dead cat draped about her head. Poor thing; must have died of oxygen deprivation.

Posted by: disposall | May 13, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I loved how Ryan joked that Simon was as tall as Fantasia's now-9-year-old daughter, while he, himself, stood about 4 inches shorter than Fantasia.

Posted by: PostReader4 | May 13, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

It was way past time for Mike to go. His wailing style was pretty limited, and his preening personality was irritating.

Harry Connick JR was spot on when he told him to stop whoring his baby for sympathy votes.

Posted by: Hillman1 | May 13, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Let's listen & compare Keith Urban's "You'll Think of Me" and Daughtry's "September"

Keith: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeiFvP2o_g4&feature=related

Chris: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQJXdzg8Kbk&feature=related

Is it just me?

Posted by: molsonmich | May 13, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think this blog/review is just plain mean? The show is light and fluffy... we all know it. Some winners prove to be big stars, some don't... we all know it. This season isn't as strong as past seasons (loved Adam Lambert last season and was disappointed he didn't take the crown). My vote this season is for Lee - hope he wins!

Posted by: bella_mariposa | May 13, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who thought the producers took all of the suspense out of the night by naming Casey as one of the top three,right off the top? I mean everyone KNEW Lee and Crystal would make it. The only suspense was whether it was Casey or Mike who was going home. They also telegraphed the ending by announcing the results were in "no particular order".
Did anyone really believe Crystal was going to lose out to Mike? No.

Posted by: LisaFan1 | May 13, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Love reading these articles and the comments the next day and today's summary of Seabiscuit's interivewing style was amusingly on point.

How about when Seacrest was talking about what was at stake tonight -- the hero's welcome, the parades, and... a personal appearance at an AT&T store! I had to giggle -- a personal appearances at your hometown cell phone store? Now THAT's living the dream!

@disposall: No, Fantasia is just the latest fashion victim who is teetering around in spike heels that force her onto her tippy toes. She used to move around a lot on stage but last night she didn't dare -- the one time she stepped forward, she kept one hand on the microphone stand to steady her. Between that and that hairstyle that covered her expressive eyes, she should fire her stylist.

This year the field has been really weak. Think about last year when there were four memorable contestants, all of whom had charisma and were not pitch challenged. (Which reminds me: what do you people see in Lee? Granted he has a nice Joe-Cockerish tone to his voice, but week after week he veers off key for significant portions of the song and to me he has all the personality of a deer in the headlights.) Though I can't blame only the producers -- the public voted off some of the more interesting contestants, some quite early: Todrick, Lilly, Siobhan, Lacey.

Posted by: owingsmills | May 13, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and while usually I find those Ford music videos dopey, I got a kick out of the fact that they used an old World Party song -- that was cool! Here's the original of "Put a Message in the Box":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDQeXpIaPpE

Posted by: owingsmills | May 13, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Big Mike was boring almost every week, they should never have saved him, they should have saved the save for Shavbon. Casey is just there because of his looks, really has not alot of talent.
Crystal and Lee are the ones that deserve to be the last 2.

Posted by: highwaybluesoccer | May 13, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Lee? Close your eyes while listening to one of his Idol performances at ITunes. Does anyone really think this guy has a string of hits forthcoming?

The contestants look tired, Seabiscuit looks tired, the judges look really, really tired not to mention flat and half-out-the-door.

Quick, crown a winner and put this dog out of its misery. Not seeing any future for Idol except in the digital archives.

Posted by: kim4 | May 13, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Bella dear, don't confused "mean" with "snark." Lisa is a genius with words and, really, she says what many many many many of us are thinking, just much wittier. I stopped watching Idol when they got to the top ten and just stick with Lisa's summaries. She's much better than the show. Agree with Kim that this needs to hurry on up and end. I'm curious is this show is going to last more than one season without Simon. I can't stand to listen to Kara and I prefer Ellen on her show. Randy is just ... repetitive and lame.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | May 13, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Enough will all the HATING on Fantasia. Folks have been trashing her unfairly since she first appeared on Idol - with racial remarks and unwed mother digs etc etc etc. Fantasia does not deserve your vaciousness. She has had two successful R&B albums and several popular singles. Her debut single and album went to #1. She had a highly rated biographical movie on cable and a bestselling autobiographical book. He was just renewed for a 2nd season of her top rated VH1 series. She was a smash on Broadway and on tour with the Color Purple. She is slated to star in the film version of that musical. She is in no way a failure or a disappointment. She is an honest, sincere, down to earth , good hearted person and a very fine soul singer. You feel the need to dis her because ?????

Show some LOVE....

Posted by: ckeener20005 | May 13, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The judges have shoveled praise on Lee from the beginning and I don't get it. He's not nearly as talented as Crystal or Mike. For some reason, Lee's "tone" and "what could be" (once he gets over some self consciousness) seems to be more important to the judges than anything else. He's only had one or two really good performances - the rest have been average.

Crystal performs exceptionally week after week -- she knows her craft and who she is. Love her voice and every single one of her arrangements.

Mike has had several exceptional performances, but more above average than Lee -- great range, smooth soulful sound and a wonderful stage presence.

Casey is just Casey -- love his country/bluesy rock sound. Not too hard on the eyes, either.

They all do what they do very well and will all be successful doing what they do. Hard to compare apples to oranges to bananas to coconuts. Don't care who wins (even though IMHO, it should be Crystal). Just looking forward to watching each of their careers take off.

Posted by: LikeOMGWTF | May 13, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

On a purpose.

The light
of a sunshine
invents in a
moment a
luminous care:
inside my
heart, in a little
desire, with
simplicity....

Francesco Sinibaldi

Posted by: Frasin66 | May 13, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe Casey out lasted Big Mike...although I am glad to see Big Mike go...that hand way thingy was ANNOYING as hell...his personality comes off as irritating and a bit arrogant...his performance style remained one dimensional week after week....and I got tired of seeing his wifes crazy "cry face" and that glittery eye shadow (are the stylist allowed to work on family memebers??)...TEAM Crystal right here!!!!!!!

Posted by: LadyT1 | May 13, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

First of all Jamie Foxx is a talentless, pompous arse. Second of all Fantasia had on ten inch heels. Third of all, thank GOD she wasn't picked for Dreamgirls! Two or more hours of her annoying screaming would have been horrid. They totally picked the right girl for it. Jennifer is AMAZING!

Posted by: avacado | May 13, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

There is only one logical choice for the next great American Idol judge: Wayne Brady.

Posted by: ShovelPlease | May 13, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Exactly as I predicted. Michael goes home. Just being honest here; he would have never made it in the soul music genre...not unless he changed wives. I think Casey did the best this week with "Mrs. Robinson."

Posted by: forgetthis | May 13, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

When Casey started singing on Tuesday, all I could think of was Tiny Tim singing Tiptoe through the Tulips. The quivering voice, the hair, everything. Have no idea how he's survived this long - can't hold a note for more than a second if that.
Lee is off key half the time. At least Big Mike can sing on key but nothing really special. Crystal is the only reason I've kept on watching this season.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | May 13, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Why have the producers decided they want Lee to win? The judges have been shoving him down our throats for weeks, and he couldn't sing on key if you held a gun to his head and told him to mix up 5 gallons of Pantone 235.
Good riddance to that big bully Mike. That "if you don't think my 2-year-old wave is adorable I will crush and eat you" thing got really old, really fast. I feel sorry for that little baby, who may end up being treated (if not carried around) like a football. What a waste of a save.
It really doesn't matter who wins--there's almost no point in watching anymore, since they will all get contracts. Some of them will actually get to make the records they want, but not the ones who'll be forced to sign with Clive Davis. Look at what happened when Kelly Clarkson tried to do her own thing and called him a dottering old geezer in the press? She had to come crawling back and fast.
As far as the show itself, it's over. Ellen was a huge mistake, Seabiscuit thinks people tune in to watch him (that creepy smile is really unnerving), Simon's been phoning it in for months, Kara's a waste of precious oxygen and Randy could easily be replaced with a robot. Unless that happened last season and we just haven't noticed yet.

Posted by: pookiefan | May 13, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Pookie, you are 100 percent correct. This show is finished. It all started with terrible casting. Not a single one of these finalists would have placed in the top 5 last year. The show can't even hang onto the worst house band on TV. This is fitting payback for the shank-job they gave crazy Paula -- gotta love that Karma. The judges' panel used to be deliciously awful and unpredictable, but now they are hopelessly unwatchable. Thank God for my DVR so I can fast-forward through their meaningless drivel. Someone should explain to Randy what the word "pitchy" means -- he is obviously tone deaf. Kara is, if possible, even stupider than she was last year, and Simon is counting down the seconds until his release from Hell. The corpse may keep on walking for another couple of seasons, but this show is a goner.

The best band on TV? Dancing With the Stars. That band puts this bunch of hacks to shame...

Posted by: jerkhoff | May 13, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

There is no need for and no benefit from putting down Fantasia to prop up Jennifer Hudson. Both of them have tremendous God given talent. There is more than enough room in this world to celebrate them BOTH. Neither of them is so low class as to play the game of trashing other artists to make themselves seem better . BOTH of them will be featured in upcoming episodes of VH1's "Behind the Music". Fantasia came from nothing and has made her way in the world. She pursued learning to read and getting her GED. She has worked hard and given alot back to her fans. She always gives 100%. She deserves our admiration and respect. Not our scorn and derision. Stop it haters. Just STOP.

Posted by: ckeener20005 | May 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

This is not hating on Fantasia, who is admittedly a very accomplished young woma who has done some laudable things. I've just never felt comfortable watching her sing. It's the way she reaches those special notes with her face all strained and contorted while putting her body in a really unattractive squatting position. Having to look at all of that together...it looked like she was doing something else, something not to be discussed here, but best done behind closed doors in a room that has running water and a flushing mechanism. Not pretty. Just sayin'.

Posted by: verybendy | May 13, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I always thought "Big Mike" looked like he was trying to meditate when he did the weird hand thing (both hands up, touching thumb and middle finger with palms up as though he were a "Swami."

Posted by: mommysalami | May 13, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Good comments today.

I am not a big fan of Mike the person. However, I respect his work as a contestant/ pseudo artist. I don't think he should have been eliminated at this point in the competition.

My top 3 would have been Crystal, Mike, and Sioban (sp?), in that order. Crystal has saved the season from being an outright disaster.

I too believe that Lee is overrated and can't sing in tune. The judges have been way to generous in their reviews. He should been voted off by now. I do see how, with post production voice editing, he could sound terrific on a future album.

Casey is a mid level talent, the "Phil Stacey" of the season. :) He has never wowed me, nor has he ever annoyed me.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | May 13, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe no one sees how talented Casey James is. He can play almost any instrument well. Granted he does not have the charisma or voice Adam Lambert has. The reason everyone at my office watched and voted last season. Casey is the only reason me and everyone at my office is watching this year. His laid back style is a breath of fresh air. He has been beat up all season by the Judges, almost. He never speaks out and complains like of some of them have, do I need to mention Crystal. I think the silly thing with Kara that Seacrest keeps alive is harming rather than helping him. It keeps some viewers from taking him seriously. It was fun at first, but give it a rest. Just let him sing and play and let us enjoy it. I don't think Crystal would make a good idol.
All she has going for her is her voice, no charisma, no looks, no personality that it takes to be successful in the business.

Posted by: floritabuchanan | May 13, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I thought the final 3 should have been Crystal, Siobhan, and Lee. Casey is OK, but he is a 28-year old profesional band guitarist who is fully formed and who wanted to be an occasional lead vocalist in a band.
Crystal plays guitar too, so does Lee. Just not as well as Casey, but supposedly the show isn't about instrumental skills. Just as well because Idol "sorta forget" to ever mention that Siobhan Magnus adds "very promising pianist" to her other pile of talents.
Somewhere it was missed that Siobhan was a part-time singer, working other jobs hoping for a music college scholarship..when she went for Idol as a teen contestent. That her talents aren't as polished as contestants 4-9 years older than her and she was bound to make some mistakes.
But when she did get it together, she had many thinking she had talent and ability past what Big Mike, Lee, Casey, even judges favorite Crystal had.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | May 13, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Several days late and a dollar short - put me in the camp of not thinking someone who sings as off key as often as Lee does should end up a Top 3 contestant. And also someone glad that Casey is being rewarded for being a good musician. I don't care how many times anybody tells me "It's a SINGING competition" - I think there should definitely be a reward for musicianship. I was very happy for Casey to survive Movie Night because neither his solo nor duet was in my "bottom 2" this week.

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Posted by: itkonlyyou59 | May 16, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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