“I need to apologize. I wasn’t myself last night, and I’ll think about that when I’m making a record.” Colton Dixon, who is no longer on this show, is making a record. As the target audience for a Colton Dixon record–because American Idol is supposed to produce target audiences for American Idol records, and let us not shatter the fantasy yet–which of these things sounds more appealing?
A) “Bad Romance,” the biggest and baddest of the 4/4 pop songs and the point where Lady Gaga became massive, whose music video will probably become classic in five years, and which jn its un-bowderlized form has all sorts of fun stuff like Alfred Hitchcock innuendo–a phrase that itself is Alfred Hitchcock innuendo–and French interludes and utter gibberish.
B) Lifehouse, who exist. Wikipedia says they have made 12 music videos. I have seen none of them. If they’re reading, they might still be figuring out that “Alfred Hitchcock innuendo” bit.
Or suppose that’s an unfair comparison. Which would you rather watch on Idol? A performance that takes risks and rocks and rearranges and sounds something like current music, or sonic wallpaper? Colton Dixon, who for a while there was looking like a future Patrick Stump or guy-from-fun. or whatnot–sorta alternative folks, folks making bank or at least making interesting songs–chose the former. It bummed him out so much that there’s virtually guaranteed to be nothing interesting on his upcoming record. And you know why? His fanbase penalized him for taking risks. America!
(There’s probably some narrative about “Bad Romance” being sinful and Colton transgressing by singing it and retreating into the wholesome arms of Lifehouse’s inspiro-rock, but we aren’t going there. We will simply note that the B-roll during his final performance looked like a certain documentary.)
(If you need a conspiracy theory, how’s this: maybe Idol mucked with the tallies after Colton said “I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I don’t care.” They almost certainly didn’t. But it’s plausible, correct?)
Anyway. Other things that happened:
The bottom three was filled out by exactly who you think it was.
Hollie Cavanagh was the first person in the bottom three, as Ryan noted. (He also noted that two others would be the first person in the bottom three, so maybe we should stop noting what he notes.) She was safe, and good for her! It means yesterday’s recap was accurate and not just our own identity crisis poorly put to text and thrust upon Hollie. Last week really was a breakout moment for her; she really did find her personality. And if our epiphanies must be scored to Adele, it’s not as if millions of newly single people don’t know that already.
The other person in the bottom three, as should be obvious, was Elise Testone. Elise Testone, whose expression at this point wasn’t upset, wasn’t even surprised, just this: (-_-). Elise Testone, who muttered “God.” half-audibly before Ryan started the patter: “You’re not not triple not double dog dare you to think you’re not getting what I’m saying because I’m sorry… America has not not decided… to send you… to… the place… called… oh whatever you’re safe.” That wasn’t the only time Idol invoked God–Colton invoked him about ten times in the last minutes–but it made the most sense, didn’t it?
Because Elise can’t win. Vocally, she can and should win, but she’s at heart a real person, a hardworking beach-music singer, trapped in a sound-bite turbine where any flicker of genuine emotion, genuine dismay or confusion, gets chopped up and flung out as Attitude. Elise is still posting pictures of herself smiling on Twitter every day because the judges told her she was too sulky. They told her something else, too, as Elise slyly referenced: “Maybe [the judges are harder on me] because they think I can take it. …Because I’m older.”
Elise Testone is 28. OH MY GOD SHE IS ONLY 28. You want some context for how old 28 isn’t? Nicki Minaj is fucking 29 years old. That’s Idol ancient! And she’s possibly the most vibrant pop/rap star we’ve got now! And hey, look at the Hot 100, which is topped by a bloody 31-year-old geezer with the bloody geezer (also awesome) name of Wally De Backer, and yet everyone, including Idol, fucking loves Gotye, as they should. You don’t have to be a boy-band larva to chart; you don’t even need to be young to make teen pop. You like Carly Rae Jepsen, right? Everybody likes Carly Rae Jepsen. Carly Rae Jepsen’s made the greatest teen-pop song, and possibly the greatest pop song, of this year. She’s 26. On Idol, she’d be a festering corpse. Possibly. American Idol isn’t even really consistent about age, see. It tells Jessica Sanchez to stop singing age-inappropriate songs–you know, songs about things like stuttering around your crush and being anxious and scared and infatuated and not knowing what’s up with some boy–yet trashes the people who do. It’s almost as if age is a red herring, and Idol doles out its likes and dislikes thanks to a capricious, inconsistent, real-time-addled A&R process that fails half the time, like when Colton left. Just a thought.
LMFAO–whose frontman is 36–performed.
There was a dubstep breakdown and three separate three-second delays. Redfoo’s flow was also on a three-second delay. The screen flashed a hashtag while Shufflebot and a Trojan-horse zebra tried to upstage or degrade one another. Idol doesn’t have video of this, for some reason. It does, however, have video of Kris Allen’s “The Vision of Love.” So watch the video below and imagine the exact opposite.
The contestants performed “Dancing in the Street.” Amid an onslaught of balloons, because that is what always happens when we go dancing in the street. The backup dancers are 500% more interesting than any note sung. They got no camera time.
Phillip Phillips said this: “Hi! What’s your number? Does your daddy let you date?” Idol‘s obsession with youth suddenly makes a lot more sense. Phillip was born in 1990 and even that’s too old for this.
Jimmy Iovine was both correct and incorrect.
CORRECT: As a record executive, he wants to find Joshua Ledet a song as good as “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Don’t they all.
INCORRECT: Phillip Phillips could have written “U Got It Bad.” Only by the logic that makes everybody on Idol a singer-songwriter without writing songs.
CORRECT: There was no baby boom when Elise Testone sang “Let’s Get It On,” because nobody uses American Idol as foreplay. (Jimmy also used this opportunity to screw Elise over one more time, saying that Skylar Laine was better at Marvin Gaye than Elise, and–this part was only implied, but boy, was it ever implied–that because Elise was supposedly the inferior Marvin and the inferior Alicia, she was in trouble. You know our stance on this.)
INCORRECT: Jessica Sanchez’s “Try a Little Tenderness” was age-inappropriate. But I’m the only recapper who seems to think this, so maybe not.
Taylor Hicks isn’t dead. No! In fact, he’s doing Vegas this summer. From his contribution to the show, his time in Vegas will probably consist of a lot of shouting. Which does happen. (Supposedly Elliott Yamin was also there. That’s either really sweet or really buttering people up.)
Ford staged another music video, in which Angie Zeiderman, Deandre Brackensick, David Bowie from Labyrinth and Steven Tyler played the Zodiac signs. Everyone looked really interesting! The concept was fun and creative! Good thing Idol put the kibosh on this last night. Enjoy your victory ballads. There’ll be a lot more of those from here on out.