American Idling | 09.08

american-idol_sm.jpg""This wasn’t a unanimous decision…but we have advertisers and they need to be fed." 







Congratulations to the Top 36!

I want to commend the producers of the show for keeping their word with following more hopefuls from the ground up this season. The hard-luck stories, the evolutions and the meltdowns paid off with what looks like a promising and buzzworthy (certainly eclectic) group. 

The Individual Round saw 72 candidates laying it all out there, fretting, praying, making deals with their god, that they at the very least remember the words to their songs, close out with enough notes in tune to sense they have a fighting chance, and walk off the stage without having soiled themselves. At the end of the day, they were divided into four groups, and unlike previous years—shock, shock—only one room was given the axe.  

I would have made damn sure that Danny Gokey was in the same room with me. With Happy Widower in sight, hell, I can catch a few Z’s, maybe order room service, play a round of plastic-cup golf… 

It dismays me that India Morrison and Laneshe Young have reached the end of their American Idol journey. Laneshe, who was raised hand-to-mouth by a single mother, who wrote her own songs, deserved the brass ring more so than bizarro Nick Mitchell (aka Norman Gentle), Tatiana del Toro and emotional jellyfish Nathaniel Marshall combined. You don’t have to be smarter than a fifth-grader to understand why Michael Castro was sent packing: on what seems to be a flighty decision to ride on Jason’s success: There wasn’t much at stake for him. We know it, he knows it. Or he should know it.  

Tatiana and Nathaniel worry me. I can appreciate the freedom that an eccentric alter-ego allows—I mean, Beyonce Knowles has Sasha Fierce; David Bowie has a few; even Garth Brooks tried one on for size—so I haven’t ruled Nick/Norman out. But Tat and Nat? Is there room for both these drama queens? Honestly, Vote-For-the-Worst is either staging a launch party or imploding from indecision. If I was Sophie Zawistowski and I had to make a choice between these two, I would choose Freight Car #3. 

Of the Top 36 selected at "The Judges’ Mansion," Danny Gokey seems to be the odds-on favorite. (For now.) That his buddy Jamar Rogers didn’t make the cut was a flabbergasting blind-side. Whoa, I didn’t see that coming, nope! Holy mackerel, who would have thought that? OK, I’m lying. Of course I saw it coming! Yeah, the man has a good set of pipes, but, come on… He was the Goose to Danny’s Maverick. I know it, you know it! Or you should know it. 

I was a bit exasperated with American Idol pulling a couple of shell games with its new sing-off curveball. Adorable stay-at-home mom Frankie Jordan losing out to pasty non-entity Jessie Langseth? This entire time, I was under the impression Frankie was a favorite; then Simon goes all snarky on her, out of nowhere: "If it’s a consolation to you, you wouldn’t have won anyway." What-the-foccacia?!! Had the same thing gone down with the Nathaniel Marshall vs. Jackie Midkiff showdown, it would salved my indignation; instead, the overexposed weirdo wormed himself to next week’s first semifinal round. He doesn’t need this contest to better his sad-sack life, he needs family counseling. And a job with the circus. 

Welder Matt Breitzke and oil-fielder Michael Sarver were the last two hopefuls pitted in a musical face-off. In a smart move by Simkarpauldy, they both get to wrestle it out in the Top 36, which all but secures their bromance—and isn’t that what we all wanted in the end? And by we, I’m talking to the weekend-warrior set who like to tackle each other a little too much, Ohhhh yeahhhh… 

Joanna Pacitti, you’re in; Felicia Barton, you’re out. No wait, Felicia Barton, you’re back in! Joanna Pacitti, you’ve been disqualified, and toyed for PR purposes; thank you, you’ve been great! 

The rest of the Top 36 are: 

  • Arianna Afsar  
  • Kris Allen—iPod sales to 13-year-old girls across the country spike to an all-time high!  
  • Kendall Beard—Carrie Underwood, watch your back! 
  • Anne Marie Boskovich  
  • Ricky Braddy—Who? 
  • Casey Carlson—Who?  
  • Megan Corkrey—Who?!!  
  • Tatiana del Toro—"I love your jewelry on me, Paula. By the way, you should get the lock on your back door fixed." 
  • Anoop Desai proved to overworked IT guys across America that they, too, can turn those pathetic after-work karaoke trips into Golden Tickets to Hollywood.  
  • Stephen Fowler  
  • Matt Giraud, who still does not remind me anything closely resembling Elliott Yamin. Whatcha-talkin’ ’bout, Simon? 
  • Alexis Grace 
  • Mishavonna Henson 
  • Allison Iraheta—The "dark horse," ooooooooo… 
  • Ju’Not Joyner 
  • Kai Kalama 
  • Brent Keith
  • Adam Lambert—Three words: Goo Goo Dolls.
  • Scott McIntyre—High five, buddy! Oh! … Try again. No, over here… Over here, I said…
  • Kristen McNamara—Two words: House Bunny.
  • Nick Mitchell—I’m telling you, I think there’s more to this Norman Gentle character. No, I’m not on crack.
  • Jasmine Murray
  • Jorge Nunez-Mendez
  • Lil Rounds
  • Von Smith who will sing softly…now LOUDLY…now softly again…LOUDLY…softly…LOUDLY aaaand…he’s stuck there.
  • Jackie Tohn
  • Taylor Vaifuna
  • Jeanine Vailes
  • Alex Wagner-Trugman—Nonentity destined for the annual Clay Aiken makeover. 
  • Stevie Wright

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