American Idol: "1 Of 13 Voted Off"
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American Idol: "1 Of 13 Voted Off"

Although I have seen almost every season of American Idol, I consider myself a “selective viewer.” To preserve my sanity, I come in after the initial audition rounds and never, ever watch the results shows unless something important is happening (like a Kelly Clarkson performance; I have standards to uphold, here). Tonight was my first results show in at least three seasons, and it did nothing but reinforce my choice to normally give them a pass. This is one egregiously boring and bloated hour of television, folks.

The hour starts out with enough bombast and manufactured drama to make you believe that something exciting is about to happen. That’s not so much the case. Instead, we get lots of filler and three middling to terrible live performances. This is not news to those of you who regularly watch these shows, but I am astounded to see just how little they’ve evolved since I last watched. I will say, though, that Idol is better at making a spectacle out of absolutely nothing than almost anything else on television.

I’m actually happy to see they are still doing cheesetastic group numbers, and the Michael Jackson one tonight definitely didn’t disappoint. The only jarring thing was to learn they are now lip syncing these performances, and still somehow they are out of tune. How does that work, exactly? The entire thing is ridiculous and genuinely awful, in a strangely comforting way. It could have been salvaged into so-bad-it's-good territory if they’d had the balls to give someone the Macaulay Culkin rap from the “Black or White” video, but alas. They did not. The whole thing ends on “Man in the Mirror,” because it is some sort of law that if you do a Michael Jackson medley, you must sing that song.

The second musical performance of the night was former Idol Adam Lambert, doing an unplugged version of one of his songs I’ve never heard before. (Stay tuned: This is going to become a theme.) I haven’t warmed to Adam’s solo work, but he was a welcome presence on the show during his season. Someone who thinks out of the box and enjoys being over the top is very welcome in a show usually populated with milquetoast singers. Also, he has great hair. His performance is perfectly serviceable, and features the signature Lambert wailing. After that performance, it’s even more obvious James Durbin is basically Lambert 2.0: The Lesser Bert.

Then, randomly, everyone does the Dougie, and talks about doing the Dougie, and starts teaching each other the Dougie. Gotta be honest, I wouldn’t mind having J. Lo teach me how to Dougie.

The final performance of the night is Diddy Dirty Money featuring Skylar Grey, once again singing a song I’ve never heard. It is an inspirational rap song about dead people, or something, so I assume it is popular. P. Diddy Daddy Dirty Money is a great mogul and producer and was relatively amusing in Get Him to the Greek, but he is a terrible performer. If Ryan had forced Diddy and J. Lo to have an awkward conversation, it all would have been worth it. Ryan isn’t good at courting the controversy, though, so he does not. Booooo, Ryan.

Finally, it’s time for the elimination. Nothing about this process is changed, except perhaps Seacrest being even more ruthless with his misdirection than in the past. He seems like an affable guy overall, but I think that’s just because he gets to indulge his evil side each and every week by making teenagers cry. Karen, Haley, and Ashthon are in the bottom three, which I think is pretty much the right choice. Good job, America!

After playing with their emotions early in the hour, Ryan cuts to the chase at the end and quickly eliminates Ashthon, which is again probably the right call. Honestly, she really shouldn’t have made it on the show as a judges’ choice, as the Other Lauren was much more talented. Still, Ashthon gets her chance to sing for her life, and just like last night, she doesn’t have any breath support and is out of tune and generally all over the place. Jennifer Lopez has to deliver the final news that they won’t be saving her. I hope they make her do it every week, just for torture purposes, as she quite obviously hates it so, so much.

Stray observations:

  • Casey is in the hospital again. Poor kid.
  • I don’t have to recap that music video/Ford Focus commercial, do I? All I’ll say is I’ve never heard the song they were singing before in my life. Surprising, I know.
  • Apparently, the idols are living together in a palace made up entirely of bowling-alley sized rooms. Cue the typical screaming, running, gallivanting, and exploring. As you do.
  • The idols all attend the Red Riding Hood premiere and get to meet the stars. Lauren Alaina is so excited to see Shiloh Fernandez, she inadvertently hand rapes him. People know who Shiloh Fernandez is? Color me shocked.

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