American Idol
Season 7: Top 11 Performances

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Another Day In The Life

"Tonight...because we're suddenly really needy and petrified of audience erosion and we heard you guys liked it so OH GOD DON'T CHANGE THE CHANNEL WE'VE GOT MORE BEATLES SONGS WE PROMISE! This...is American Idol."

So instead of having the Top 11 parade across the stage like they do during semifinals, the show instead had them descend the two staircases on the Starship Enterprise stage of theirs, then stand perfectly and awkwardly still for the cameras. It's like they're being auctioned off for nefarious purposes, and lord knows David Archuleta doesn't need another reason to look freaked out right now. (Though, seriously, I don't know what he's worried about. If Beatles Night II isn't the perfect opportunity for a redemption arc after We-Can-Blurph-It-Blah-gate, nothing is.) Anyway, David Cook's got some sort of orange rubber band around his fist, Carly still needs to get a makeover (I'm sure Tyra has a ratty blonde weave lying around somewhere), and Ramiele is dressed like such a moron that I mistook her for Asia'h. Let's get this started!

Ryan introduces the judges, then tries to sell us on the bullshit that while last week the theme was "Lennon/McCartney," this week the theme is "The Beatles." Totally different! Randy's wearing this powder-blue sweater (probably because he's a fan of the hateful Tar Heels), and Paula is dressed like a shot of Goldschlager, and they prattle on about the contestants learning from their mistakes last week. Simon and Ryan embark upon their annual discussion about whether this is a talent competition or a popularity contest and their answer, as ever is, "uh, both, I guess."

Video package telling us all about who The Beatles were. Hey, you don't have to tell me. I saw Across the Universe.

Amanda is up first, and we're reminded how she southern fried "You Can't Do That" to (I thought) great effect. Tonight she'll be singing "Back In The U.S.S.R." (wow, two weeks and she didn't go for "Helter Skelter" once, huh?), because it has a "blues element." She also promises to "tease it up real high and throw some eyeliner on it," which had to have been given with something of a wink to her own image, because when we see her onstage she has definitely taken Paula's advice to heart (...I know) about toning down the fright-night stuff. It starts out kind of shaky -- she's getting lost amid the band and stage and lights and song -- but she pulls out of it and gives a good performance. The reason I like Amanda, when I do, is her absolute boundless joy at being able to get up on a stage and sing these songs. That's why it killed me those two weeks when it seemed like she wanted to shrink away and die. This is a girl who loves to sing and perform and strut around and throw a stray "child" on the end of a lyric and she does it well enough that she got this big, giant stage to perform on. And I finally think she's loving that, which makes me love her. When she's not butchering Kansas songs, that is. Randy and Paula both agree the beginning was off, but they ultimately liked it, and her. Simon found it predictable and messy and says Amanda's getting "boring." As he so often is, Simon's right and wrong. Yes, it's the same every week, but no, I don't think we, as an audience with hearing capabilities, would be better served by Amanda stepping out of that box. Does that mean that she's too one-dimensional and shouldn't win? Uh, yeah, probably. Sorry, hon. Of course, she goes and ruins it all by scoffing "Ballads are boring." Sigh. She does make a valid point, though, in saying that her performances are designed to show the audience the type of show they'd get if they paid to see her. Simon's all, "You're not selling out arenas yet," but Amanda evenly says that she means any show, down to a bar in Louisiana. Fair enough, say Simon and I. Huh, that went from a potential pissy tirade to a pretty cool moment (whenever you can get Simon Cowell to relate to you as an equal, you win -- which is why I still love Danny Noriega).

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American Idol

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