Thursday evening’s “American Idol” Top 12 results show began with a reminder that the show was helping support Japan Relief (for the victims and survivors of the Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami that struck the Japanese mainland on March 11) through the Red Cross via text and through donating part of the proceeds of the downloads from the “American Idol” finalists. After that somber note, the producers decided to really depress the viewing audience by allowing the Top 12, whose theme was “Year You Were Born,” to do a mash-up of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Could it have gotten any worse? As only an “American Idol” results show can…
The opening number, which was fraught with microphone problems and frenetic pitch issues from the finalists, was followed by a plug of the new 10th Anniversary CD and the almost always atrocious Ford Focus commercial, which continued to disappoint. After taking the viewing audience as low as they could, host Ryan Seacrest then began the elimination process. Incongruous as it might sound, the results process where someone ultimately gets told they are voted off the show was a step up and far more exciting than what had preceded it.
Ryan called up Casey Abrams, Jacob Lusk, and Lauren Alaina to center stage and drew out the drama (although there really isn’t any because one of those guys being in the Bottom 3 would have been a shocker). All three got to go back to the safety of the sofa.
Haley Reinhart and Paul McDonald were called out next. Given Paul’s cold the night before and Haley’s “red lipstick massacre” during her performance (not to mention being the odds-on favorite to not win the competition), there was a little drama in this duo. But when Ryan said only one of them was safe, it is doubtful anyone thought the finalist in jeopardy would be Paul McDonald. And it wasn’t.
So Haley Reinhart was positioned to the viewing audience’s left, seated in one of the trio of silver stools (of uncertainty). And there she remained alone until after Lee DeWyze performed his latest single, “Beautiful Like You.” When Seacrest asked if he had any advice for the contestants, he said that they should remember what brought them to “American Idol” and that none of them had anything to worry about no matter what happened. (And he’s probably correct in that assessment.)
Afterward, Ryan called out Scotty McCreery, Pia Toscano, and James Durbin. It wasn’t difficult to see that Ryan was about to repeat the same scenario as when he brought the first three finalists to center stage. And he did.
Then it was Naima Adedapo and Stefano Langone’s turn. Naima knew (telling Stefano jokingly, “I wonder who” when Ryan says only one of them are safe) and joins Haley on the silver stools.
The last two finalists, Thia Megia and Karen Rodriguez, then hit the stage. After Thia’s lackluster reviews from the judges the night before, it was difficult to say which would be the last person to join the Bottom 3. Thia begged that if given another chance, she will show a different side of her singing. (She should be careful; this is the second time she has begged the audience to let her through and it could backfire on her.) But Karen Rodriguez, who got good remarks from the judges on Wednesday evening, made the Bottom 3.
The Black Eyed Peas performed their new single “Just Can’t Get Enough,” which, up to that moment, became the biggest surprise of the night. It was overproduced and terrible, something that television viewers of Black Eyed Peas performances are not used to. Perhaps they were trying extra hard because they dedicated the song to Japan, where they filmed the video for the song.
The Bottom 3 were brought out. The first person told she was safe (first contestant shocker alert) was Naima Adedapo. Given her performance on Wednesday, one might have thought she was a goner. Then the second surprise of the night — Karen was told she had been voted off and would have to sing for the judges’ save. Haley Reinhart got to join the Top 11 on the sofa.
After performing Mariah Carey’s “Hero,” Karen was told by judge Randy Jackson that a non-unanimous vote had ruled against her.
Although Karen was probably destined to fall by the wayside in the next few weeks, her performances should not have condemned her to such an early elimination. Those more deserving, like Naima Adedapo, continue.
Next week, the most important cut (besides the finale) of the season — “American Idol” names its Top 10, those who participate in the annual tour.
“American Idol,” Fox Television
“Top 12 results,” AmericanIdol.com