American Idol
Finalists Compete

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B- | 1 USERS: B+
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Back in Bacharach

Before the credits, we get a replay of Burnell's emotional (especially for the judges) exit and his farewells to the other contestants. Presumably this is all to warn us what happens if we fail to vote. Well, I never vote and something like this always seems to happen every week anyway.

The judges enter, and someone in the control booth is so jazzed about finding Sir Anthony Hopkins in the audience that they miss their cue for Ryan's entrance, zooming out while he's checking his mark instead of zooming in while he's grinning at the camera. Looks like Jimmy Iovine might get to fire someone after all. We're reintroduced to the top six by their first names, and Ryan dismisses them from the stage to let us know that there are two rounds tonight: songs from Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis, and songs the contestants wish they had written. We're starting to run out of new information to share about the contestants, so we're going with things not many people know about them. We start by learning that Angie and her best friend have a habit of making embarrassing videos of themselves set to hardcore music and posting them on YouTube. Angie claims to be glad those videos don't have such a big following, which is not something you tell a viewing audience of thousands. Her Burt Bacharach song is "Anyone Who Had a Heart," and she sounds okay despite looking like Hannah Montana. Keith loves her voice, but advises her not to rely on it alone -- basically the opposite of what everyone always told Paul Jolley. Basically he wants more passion and wants her to stop making it look so easy. Nicki agrees that she seems to be coasting, as does Randy, who advises her to perform the song like she wrote it, which is how Randy performs most of his catchphrases, so he knows whereof he speaks. Mariah makes it all about herself as a warm-up to the hard truth that Angie... sometimes over-enunciates, which makes her performances seem passionless. You could tell it cost Mariah a lot to have to shit in Angie's face like that.

We come back with Ryan brandishing a trophy from the National Association of Broadcaster's Hall of Fame, which he assures us is a big deal before he hands it off to a random audience member. Amber's about-to-be-formerly-little-known fact about herself? She sometimes eats frozen cooked shrimp right out of the bag. That's a girl who's into instant gratification. She comes out to disco up "I Say a Little Prayer for You" complete with a strapless denim pantsuit. Yeah, I don't know either. Maybe they're just a pair of jeans that are so high-waisted they go halfway up her ribcage. Anyway, her performances is pretty smooth but soulful, as she finds a way to throw in some big note runs wherever she can. Nicki is amazed at what she just saw, and gushes inarticulately until she manages to conclude that Amber just became her favorite. She also says something about being able to focus more in the absence of one's boyfriend, and Randy reacts to that remark like a kindergartner who just heard his teacher say "booger." Utterly unmanned by Nicki's nimble wit, he manages to string together some of his catchphrases, mentions some of the technical stuff, and says she's arrived. Mariah liked how Amber decided to be Amber as opposed to all those, you know, "beyond divas" (read: mini-Mariahs) out there. Keith also likes how she never overperforms, even though she totally could. So it's a good night for Amber so far. Maybe she'll go backstage and celebrate with a few shrimp-sicles.

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American Idol

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