“American Idol” Limps To The Finish Line

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Posted by on 05/20/2011 at 9:26 AM News, Recaps

The Popdust Files: american idol, haley reinhart

So American Idol has its all-twangy-teen finale, which, judging by the press release immediately sent out after Haley Reinhart’s elimination last night, the powers that be are pretty excited over:

IT’S TEEN VS. TEEN WITH YOUNGEST “AMERICAN IDOL” TOP 2 EVER! 16-YEAR-OLD LAUREN ALAINA AND 17-YEAR-OLD SCOTTY MCCREERY TO COMPETE FOR “AMERICAN IDOL” CROWN TUESDAY, MAY 24, ON FOX
HALEY REINHART IS ELIMINATED FROM THE COMPETITION

Translation: “We did it! Our lowering the age limit worked! Also: Americaaaaaaaa!”

Haley Reinhart’s elimination from last night’s show was probably divined from the moment that Scotty was chosen as the first finalist—you know that if either of the kids had been the one to go home, Idol would have milked that surprise for as long as it could have. Let’s say that Haley had a pretty good run, because she did—it wasn’t quite worst-to-first, but it was impressive given that five of her lady-contestant compatriots got the boot during the first five weeks of this season’s finals, and especially given that she was somewhat anonymous at the outset of the competition’s last leg. She got screamy and growly way too often during her songs, but she at least seemed like she knew what she was singing about, which is something you can’t really say about the two kids left standing.

I should note that Haley’s bitchface as she started her final sing-out of “Bennie And The Jets” was pretty impressive—clearly she was disappointed, and she should have been since last night she was a lot better than the two people who will be tormenting us competing for America’s affection next week. She kicked into “professional performer” mode pretty quickly, but damn.

Oh and there was a coin toss and Scotty won, and he let Lauren choose whether she wanted to perform first or second next week. She picked second. Home-field advantage! Or something, since I suspect there’s no way Scotty doesn’t win this thing.

Otherwise the episode was packed with filler—the Ford ad, an appearance by the newly minted Italian boy band Il Volo that had my Twitter feed wondering if Jimmy Iovine had somehow poached Il Divo from Simon Cowell’s clutches (for the record, Il Divo is older and a four-piece; Il Volo, however, will be all over TV for the rest of the week, so get ready), footage from the hometown visits that included Lauren surveying tornado damage near her Georgia birthplace, which was teased by a couple of awkward promo shots of her looking distressed while surveying the rubble yesterday. Also, the a feather-epaulet-sporting Nicole Scherzinger came out to sing her new single, which was definitely not made for live performance; she was accompanied by 50 Cent, which made me wonder if Lost creator J.J. Abrams’ appearance in a Super 8-promoting segment had somehow triggered the opening of a time-wormhole that had put us back in 2008. Oh, wait, there’s no way that could have been the case, because if it had been 2008, the last two contestants competing on the Idol stage would have shown some sort of growth over the past few months, instead of essentially being sort of more professionally styled versions of the people we’d seen at the auditions back in January. And Lauren would still look like a teenager, too. Oh well!

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