In many ways, this was the week that American Idol got serious. With two contestants being eliminated, the overall vibe was let’s-get-to-business. There were no cute video profiles before performances, and even Ryan kept his babbling to a minimum.
Lil started the show with a good rendition of “I’m Every Woman.” Just one problem: good simply isn’t good enough at this stage. With seven genuinely talented singers (no what-the-hell-is-he-or-she-doing-here in the bunch), you have to wow ’em, and well, Lil didn’t. She hasn’t given us a reason to choose to listen to her when we can just put on Mary J. Blige or Beyonce.
Kris was next, and he emphasized Lil’s weakness–lack of originality–by displaying his individual style in abundance. His “She Works Hard For Her Money” sounded fresh and completely modern. He made it his OWN, as the judges often say. Well done, Kris.
Also solid this week was Danny, whose performance was filled with energy. Up to now, Danny’s followed pretty much the same formula every week: start off slow and sensitive then build things up to a big, husky crescendo. With each succeeding week, that big payoff became less and less effective because you knew exactly what was coming. This week, he changed things around by keeping things uptempo throughout, and the change really helped. The judges seemed to love Alison, but I think she has the exact same problem as Danny. She’s great, but she’s become predictable. She needs to show another side of her, perhaps something softer, something more vulnerable.
As for Adam, no one would ever accuse him of not showing range. Seriously, has he EVER. This week, he just stood there as he sang, but he was simply, in a word, MESMERIZING. There was a moment in the middle when it dawned on me, “He’s going to win,” pure and simple. I started feeling for Kris upon realizing this, but I believe Kris is going to have a solid career as a MUSICIAN regardless. Adam’s destiny is to be a STAR, and as such, it would mean more for his career to win as well.
The final two performers were Matt and Anoop. And they were both good, but similar to Lil, they’re just not at the level of the others. Matt sang and danced up a frenzy–at times looking he was having a seizure–but that something-extra quality was simply not there. I can certainly understand people liking him; but I can’t imagine anyone being awed by him. And ditto for Anoop, who’s again good but not great, at least not yet. And those botched notes at the very end certainly didn’t help.
In the end, it was the end for Lil and Anoop as announced on the result show (For Idol Conspiracy Theorists: Did anyone else catch that it was Danny and Adam who were flashed at the end of the split-screen montage introducing the results show?). I’m certainly going to miss them (more for their personalities than for their performances), but really, it was their time. And next week, I predict it will be Matt’s time. After that, it’s not gonna get good; it’s gonna get GREAT!
So we saw the end of the Michael Scott Paper Company. I guess it couldn’t go on forever; still, I was sorry to see the storyline go. It made for some awesome moments, including the Breakfast Club-style bonding moment shared between Michael, Pam, and Ryan. Things seemed to get wrapped up a bit too neatly, a bit too fast. Regardless of what happens from now, the show needs to put more focus back on all of the supporting characters. How I miss Angela’s bitchery, Toby’s weariness, and Chet’s dementia.
Favorite moments: The Korean church bus gag (I can confirm that the bus read “Scranton Hallelujah Church”) and this yet-to-be-completed quote from Michael: “Oh, how the turntables…”
AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL:
Like I’ve said before, the show is about modeling as much as Superman is about the mechanics of flying, so I don’t exactly concern myself with the actual aspects of modeling when watching the show. Still, I have to mention how much it boggles me that Aminat can look so stunning in interviews and judging then look so downright plain in her photos. With her features, I wouldn’t have thought it possible even if she were trying to do it on purpose. Regardless, she is honest to a fault, and her interviews are far more than interesting than any one else’s.
In the end, Aminat survived and Natalie is now gone, ostensibly for her lack of variety but more probably for the sin of being even more arrogant and full of herself than Queen Tyra. Quite a feat, that.
Favorite moments: During judging, Natalie was trying to shift the blame to Mr. Jay, which brought on Interrogation Time from Officer Tyra. “For fifty frames. Did Jay want you to do the exact same thing for fifty frames?” Natalie brazenly answered “He DID,” which Tyra answered with an “Uh–kay” and a classic oh-you-are-SOOO-going home look on her face. The other moment? This just-a-bit-blunt quote from Aminat: “I want this more than a fat kid wants cake.” She should win for that quote alone.