American Idling | 09.12

american-idol_sm.jpg"Never Can Say Good-bye"? How about "Adios!"







It was nice knowing you, Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez (not really), but as MJ puts it rather efficiently (and as Anoop translates with errant bravura): Beat it!

What exactly prompted Kara DioGuardi to label Jasmine as a "raw talent" at the Jacksonville auditions still makes my scalp itch; that Jasmine was pulled back into the fray by Simkarpauldy after the Wild Cards—totally kicking dirt into the faces of the more-deserving Jesse Langseth and Ricky Braddy—sends me into a trichotillomaniacal pique. The girl knows how to sing one song that we know about—"Big Girls Don’t Cry"—and she probably rehearsed it ad nauseum in front of perhaps the many mirrors that wall her bedroom, crafting it just-so that she would be compared to Fergie at the tryouts. News flash! Jasmine is a beauty queen, ladies and gentlemen! That’s what beauty queens do: perfect a song or a baton twirl with robotic zealotry so the sash and crown lands in their vicinity. Her talent is as raw as rugburn.

Jorge, at least, can sing. Would anyone have kissed 15 Washingtons goodbye for his CD? If they appreciate kitsch, definitely! Would he have made a fortune? The fondue industry has waited long for its god. Don’t cry for Jorge Nunez, Puerto Rico—he will never leave you. You can keep him.

Enough viewer votes pulled Anoop Desai out of the fire. Would he otherwise have been spared by the unanimous thumbs-up from Simkarpauldy, per new rules—the very rules that would have spared Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry from premature elimination during their respective seasons, and also spared the producers from washing egg off their faces? Possibly. Quite possibly. Anoop is not the most gifted vocalist this season (some would say "at all"), but he entertains and he lends the show a semblance of diversity. Choosing to perform "Beat It" was ballsy, and I appreciate ballsy as long as you’re confident you got the b—… baritone for it.

Now that we know what to expect for the season, I am offering the following always-unsolicited quick takes of the remaining players, including what I hope is sage advice. In pecking order, from good to bad, in my opinion, based on Tuesday night’s show:

Adam Lambert. There is no one in the history of American Idol that I recall who is in it to win as much as this cat. It is as obvious as the five-layer cake on his face. I was electrified by his performance of "Black and White," but it was highly theatrical and situates everybody else in the delicious roles of underdogs.

Advice: Mellow out—this isn’t Rent.

Danny Gokey. Shameless opportunist? The backlash triggered by the on-air parading of his deceased wife’s photographs to gain sympathy votes could work to his advantage. Like those pesky snapshots of Adam Lambert in liplock with (gasp!) another man, riding out the turbulence early in the game only frees Danny from worrying about controversy later in the competition when it matters. He is a favorite, and the "brilliant vocals" comment from Simon didn’t hurt.

Advice: The "urban" vibe confuses me, especially when you can’t dance. Convene with yourself and let it go.

Allison Iraheta. She’s only 16, she held her own against Simon’s snarky "lighten up" remark and she turned a furniture liquidation store into a concert stage. With little fanfare, she has the best chance to threaten the advantage that Lambert, Gokey and Lil Rounds have had by far. She is the genuine dark horse.

Advice: I don’t have one for you right now. But what kind of deal can you get me in the way of a leather recliner?

Lil Rounds. She either had an off night, or she’s holding back for a meaner fight. It didn’t do her any favors that the microphone caused her to sound like she was singing in another room. Nevertheless, she is shaping up to be a combination of Fantasia and LaToya London, two great tastes that taste great together. But…

Advice: Honey, that top. It looked like it was feeding off your left shoulder. I already have my hands full defending that Corkrey chick.

Matt Giraud. I’m yet to be bowled over. "Human Nature" was close, but not close enough. In retrospect, I felt similarly about David Cook at this time last year; and then he had me at "Hello."

ADVICE: Find a corny ’80s ballad and make it relevant. Ooooh, "Careless Whispers!" Yeah…

Alexis Grace. Suspiciously, she gave a performance that matched the drama and intensity that Adam offered not a few minutes beforehand a less vulgar one, and yet she gets dinged by Simon! She deserved more credit for bringing a sexy, smoldering, carnal "Dirty Diana" that lit flames under Kara than the brusque sound-bites produced by the judges due to the show running overtime.

Advice: You’re "Naughty"’s only hope.

Kris Allen. Simon is right: Why prance the wife out so early? Unless she’s dying or cold-stone six feet under, keep the old lady under wraps until you’ve got a sizeable fan base that will do anything to watch your lips move. Sacrifice large mammals at your shrine, drink the Kool-Aid, ululate at dawn. You know, things I would do for you now…

Advice: Repeat after me: "Wife? Did I say ‘wife’? I meant ‘personal assistant who cooks for me, shops for me, cleans up after me, does my laundry, makes me feel like a man three, sometimes four times a week…’"

Megan Joy Corkrey. She hit all her notes. If there was anything to criticize, it was her song choice: "Rockin’ Robin" just does not translate well outside of the sunny delight of the ’70s. Okay, and her limited physical range. Leave her tats alone.

Advice: Learn a new dance move a week. The nickname Quirky Corkrey is not cute. Trust me.

Anoop Desai. See above.

Advice: Shoot the first stylist that suggests a faux-hawk.

Michael Sarver. Under all that bouncy plumpness is a boy-band member longing for fame and fortune. I would even say two. No, three.

Advice: Cut the burger and fries. Cut the meat and potatoes. In the meantime, use your size like you mean it. Handle the mic like a man. Maybe get a cowboy hat. And a scar. Scars are cool, especially with a cowboy hat. And an eyepatch.

Scott MacIntyre. Bland vocals. Safe song choices. The Rod-and-Tod Flanders hair. Wrong, wrong, wrong. They are sabotaging your chances at tenth place.

Advice: Ignore Simon. There is plenty room for artistic choices on American Idol. So when you’re ready to make one, don’t hold back. | Alan Quisimorio

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