First, let’s have a moment of silence, or something, to ponder the things you could have done during the hour it took American Idol to eliminate Shannon Magrane like it was always going to. Homework. Dance parties in your room. Unfucking your habitat. Weird benders on the interstate. Literally anything at all would have been more eventful.
Anyway, none of you actually did that, or maybe you really did that considering you’re here, but in either case, let’s just get through the results at the speed they require. The bottom three were Shannon, Elise and Erika, and only one person deserved to be there. You don’t even to speculate on why this is the case–Idol is unkind to female artists, particularly older artists, particularly female rockers. This is unfair. It has absolutely zero relation to how good or shittily people sang. It isn’t new at all, either, and isn’t all that different from the patterns by which mundane musicians get fans or don’t. So we won’t whine anymore except HI THERE! IF YOU’RE READING THIS PLEASE JUST THROW OUT A COURTESY VOTE FOR ERIKA OR ELISE.
Now that we’ve gotten our bold going, and considering that the rest of the episode was an anticlimax, start to finish (Who’s in the bottom three? Well, Ryan called up one group with Elise, another with Erika and another with Shannon. Who’s safe first? Well, Elise is slightly more popular than either of those other two.), let’s continue with some superlatives. In bold.
LEAST CORRECT STATEMENT: Randy: “Good singers can sing anything.” No they can’t. Good singers know what they’re best at. The thing about this year’s top 10 is that none of the singers are bad. Even Shannon did pretty well during her final song. The problem is that their song choices top out at OK, are frequently terrible, and only once or twice per season has anything truly been a standout (Erika’s “The Edge of Glory,” Skylar’s “Stay With Me,” maaaaaaybe something by Elise Colton or Phillip if they had standouts instead of just being consistently pretty good.”) This is how we get people trying the same Mariah and Whitney and Celine songs over and over again, because by this logic, if you’re a good singer, you see those songs as vocal hurdles to clear rather than stories to tell or styles to demonstrate.
WORST ATTITUDE: Jimmy Iovine. Contestants didn’t follow your advice. We’ve been over this. Don’t use your face time to complain about this, man, or blame the artists for botching or rejecting your ideas; it just comes off as petty.
NOT-WORST ATTITUDE: Elise does not have an attitude problem. Put yourself in her shoes: you’re consistently one of the best vocalists on the show, and you’ve gigged long enough (shows per week in the double digits!) to know this, and the judges have praised you consistently. Then, week after week, you end up in the bottom three–then, to cap this, everyone talks about how you don’t smile enough. Frustration is actually the most appropriate reaction here! And Elise has earned that right since that one glorious note of screentime during auditions.
BIGGEST MISMATCH BETWEEN STYLE AND PRESENTATION: Tommy Hilfiger, the show’s image consultant. There are certain kinds of music you associate with the Tommy brand. None of them are dubstep.
MOST TRANSPARENT ATTEMPT TO GLOM ONTO MUSICAL FADS: Jimmy Iovine again. He comments upon the resurgence of “blue-eyed soul” and “Asian pop music,” by which he means Adele and K-pop. This is where it would make more sense to have dubstep, but maybe that’s the territory of Simon Cowell’s DJ show.
GREATEST MISMATCH IN GENERAL: Demi Lovato and Daughtry’s performances, compared to everything last night. See, Idol audience? Rock exists outside Richard Marx and Michael Bolton’s bearskin-rugged domains! And sure, they might be on the blander side of rock, but on Idol? The stage is in tatters. Rat-tat-tat-tat-tatters.
LEAST ENTHUSIASTIC PROMOTIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Jennifer Lopez’s new single and video, for which Jeremy Rosado, Heejun Han and whatever Shannon Magrane produced more visible excitement.
BIGGEST MISSED OPPORTUNITY: The Ford music video / ghost house / Super Mario World green-bubble-izer. See, if you’re going to CGI people green, you could probably CGI up some green gas, right? Or maybe it’d take a bigger budget, but you are Ford and advertising on Idol so this shouldn’t be an issue. Anyway, you get people to just ram the ghost gas with your Ford. Ford: the car for people who aren’t afraid of no ghosts. We’re just suggesting.
OPPORTUNITY THAT MIGHT’VE BEEN MISSED: Ryan’s two separate fakeouts, one only 15 minutes into the show, about non-eliminations: “Pack your bags. …For the summer tour!” and “Unfortunately, [singing an obscure song] has cost you. …Seeing your family this summer–you’re going on tour!”
MOST PLAUSIBLE CONSPIRACY THEORY: Bear with us. So you know how Richard Lawson thinks Colton’s a demented demon fucking with people? This would be plausible if we didn’t like Colton so much. Our theory is that Camille Von Hugel is mucking with contestants’ souls from past the filming. Why else would Fox devote so much time to developing a stage mom character? Stage moms are liabilities on these things! Anyway. She noticed Phillip Phillips was a frontrunner, and she’s already undermined his energy so much that in every interview he seems half-asleep. It’s how “Turn the Beat Around” was chosen for Jessica Sanchez, then the frontrunner. It’s why Erika and Elise, the two best all-around female contestants, are constantly where they don’t belong in the bottom three. Next week will probably be Hollie’s turn.