American Idol: "1 of 11 Voted Off"
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American Idol: "1 of 11 Voted Off"

My goodness! That was one of the most entertaining hours in American Idol history, and I would have felt that way even without the crazy-dramatic finish. It was like the producers knew that the results shows have been tedious as hell and, thus, overcompensated in a million different ways, but I was certainly not bored. It’s funny, because at the very beginning of the show, it seemed like Ryan made a sort of sarcastic, “Yep, here we are… again” smirk toward the camera, but what I initially interpreted as boredom was actually hidden Seacrest secrets. Seacrets. Ryan promised us a shocking elimination, which I had heard rumors of earlier today. My secret dream was that Casey would get eliminated, but I figured that would never happen.

The first entry in the celebrity onslaught came when we saw footage of the contestants getting a lesson from Marc Anthony on how to utilize their in-ears, those little earbuds they have so they can hear themselves when they sing. I actually wouldn’t have minded learning more about how they work. I wonder about the relationship between Jennifer and him, as he pointedly disagreed and made light jokes at her expense as he watched last night’s broadcast. Is he the big star for deigning to drop by Idol, or did she very kindly get him time on her show? Regardless, it was a real treat nice to see the guy from Corpse Bride come out and join the living for a night.  

Once again, I didn’t shrink away in disgust at the group number, as the kids sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” My main thoughts from that performance were: I like Naima’s back tattoo; I think she and Paul could potentially make for a entertaining and strangely sexy duet; Casey had one second to sing, and he used it to growl; and Thia looked and sounded better in her one moment tonight than she did in her whole performance last night. 

Then the song transitioned into “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours,” and I thought, “That’s nice, I like this song…OH MY GOD, STEVIE!!!!!!!!!” Stevie Wonder, on a mechanically moving platform, came onstage to sing and play keyboard with the contestants. I don’t know if it was legitimately a surprise to Steven Tyler, but he fell all over Jennifer in the most adorably delirious way when Stevie came out. Aside from the time Prince performed on the show, it was the only occasion where I’ve felt envious of the Idol studio audience. Stevie called out to Steven—his birthday is imminent, and they serenaded him with “Happy Birthday.” It was actually contagiously fun and seemed like a sincerely joyous, at least semi-spontaneous moment.  It made me feel more forgiving of the cheesy Ford video about recycling and the earth being nice.

Before the next musical performance, we learned that Lauren, Pia, and Scotty were all safe and would be going on tour.  Then we heard a tune from the band Sugarland, a country-rock group with which I’m not very familiar. They sang “Stuck Like Glue,” a happy, feel-good song that I probably won’t be downloading, but compared to the Black Eyed Peas, I was happy to see a guest performance on the show from people who actually played instruments and sang straight into the microphone without any robotic assistance.

In one of those time-killy, happy-family moments, we saw clips of everyone talking about James and Paul’s penchant for pro-wrestling, wrasslin’ about in the house. It was kind of cute. Then, Ryan took James and Paul to center stage to announce their fate. I liked how the two of them shook hands before the results were read. Ryan announced that they were both not safe. “Really not safe.” Was this the big surprise results announcement we had been promised? But wait! “Eye of the Tiger” started playing, the stage doors parted once again, and…Hulk Hogan emerged? To a screaming crowd? Yes, that’s right. It was unbelievably cheesy, but James freaking out in excitement like a little boy on Christmas was pretty fun to watch. Hulk announced that both the guys were actually safe and then pretended to throw Ryan Seacrest into the audience with a blow to the head before ripping off his shirt. I was very entertained. See, Chris Brown? Everyone would like you more if you blew off steam this way. 

Ryan then announced that Jacob was safe, but Stefano and Thia were in the bottom two. Naima, Haley, and Casey were all brought out and (yesssss) it was announced that Casey was unsafe. Oh please, oh please … I started thinking to myself. 

Before we got to the results, Jennifer Hudson sang a song called “Where You At” from her new album. The song didn’t do much for me, and I didn’t much care for her dress (show off that Weight Watching you did, girl!), but I still got goosebumps at the end because I just like her so damn much. I can’t help it. I never actively was a fan of hers, but then I just woke up one morning and realized that I am pro-her. After the song, she seemed genuinely happy to be back at Idol, and I thought it was sweet that she had fellow alum Geroge Huff singing backup for her. 

OK, so here we go. Thia was sent back to safety, so it was Stefano and Casey in the bottom two. I actually felt tenser about tonight’s reveal than I probably did about the majority of Idol finales. The contestant with the lowest amount of votes was, yes, Casey. Stefano mumbled a novella into Casey’s shoulder before peeling away from him to head to the couches. I had a sinking feeling that Casey would probably be saved. Unless… the judges declined to use the save so early?

Casey began singing “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” and I thought to myself Don’t save him, judges. He won’t win this show. But then, something different happened. Ryan cut across the stage to interrupt Casey’s performance, because Randy was waving to him. Randy basically said there was no reason for Casey to perform because no matter what, they were going to save him. Casey had a mini-stroke onstage and headed up to the judges’ table with shaking hands to thank them, saying that he didn’t figure the save would be used tonight, so early in the competition. My cable has been acting silly lately so I couldn’t tell if the audio was cutting out or if there was a lot of cursing going on that was getting bleeped out. Casey, amidst chants of his name, ran to embrace his parents. It wasn’t exactly the results I had dreamt of, but it was definitely good TV.

The judges looked a little unexpectedly serious for having delivered this life-changing news. They tried to coach Casey on how to get back into America’s favor: Jennifer advised him “No more antics,” and Randy told him not to growl so much anymore. That’s good advice now, but haven’t they been kissing his ass all this time, congratulating him on being himself? Now all of a sudden, they have constructive criticism?

So next week, two people will be eliminated, but the top 11, not 10 will be going on tour. And from now on, no one is safe.

Stray observations:

  • I was very intrigued by Jennifer’s dress with copper chains on it. As a member of the press, I think I should get the chance to observe her outfits up close and possibly be allowed to hold them up to my own body and imagine what I’d look like in them.
  • Seriously, it’s hard to imagine Marc Anthony as a sex symbol. He makes Steven Tyler look like the Brawny man in comparison.

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