Special thanks to Mr. Luna, who so generously sacrificed his computer to record American Idol for me. Funnily enough, when I went to open the recording, the little thumbnail that came up made the American Idol stage look like a sonogram…I guess you had to see it.
Ryan welcomes everyone to the new set and new stage, which looks like the opening credits brought to life. Ryan then gets the obligatory Mario Vazquez obituary out of the way and mentions that Nikko is his replacement. And since this is my recap, I can put in my personal opinions, so let me just say that I’m happy Mario is gone. Something about him bugged the carp out of me from the get go. See ya, Mario.
Now that we’re down to the final 12, guess what it’s time for, America? If you said Theme Weeks, go ahead and pat yourself on the back! We’re then treated to a cheesy clip of the top 12 sitting in the Coke room at the end of last week’s show. And they’re all putting the lime in the Coke, you nuts! Ryan tells the kids he’s going to give them clues for the theme. “Let’s Twist, Chubby Checker, that would fit into the theme.” Unfortunately, having a music teacher in the top 12 kind of ruins the point of Ryan’s little game, as Anwar quickly shouts out “That’s the 60s!” So 60s night it is! Bo asks if he can do a rock song from the 60s and before I know what’s happening, he and Constantine are twisting on my computer screen. Please don’t ever subject me to that torture again.
Opening the show is Jessica Sierra performing “Shop Around.” Can someone explain to me why the judges declared her last two performances so great? I feel like I’m channeling Randy – she was just okay. Not bad, not great, not gonna win. Randy says his favorite word – Pitchy. Paula is a big, huge fan. Simon thinks it was boring.
Next is Anwar Robinson singing “A House is Not a Home.” Dude, I’m still buzzing over Tamyra’s performance of this song from the first season (she did sing this, right?), so this better be good. I adore Anwar, just so you know. Maybe it’s the whole middle school teacher thing. Anwar really lights it up near the end of the song. A safe performance for him, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing this early in the competition. Randy says it wasn’t great for him. Paula is a big, huge fan. Simon wants Anwar to be more fun.
“She was working in a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens...” Okay, no more Nanny jokes. Sorry. Mikalah Gordon is going to perform Dusty Springfield’s “Son of Preacher Man.” Um, no. You know, I liked Mikalah a lot in the early rounds, but her voice seems less and less memorable each time she sings. Randy says it was rough, baby. Paula is a big, huge fan. Simon hits the nail on the head – her confidence exceeds her ability.
Constantine Maroulis has chosen to sing “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.” Does anyone listen when the judges lecture on and on about song choice? Constantine is another contestant that seemed a lot better in the early rounds. Maybe filming cheesy Ford commercials and preparing not-so-great medleys is not allowing the Idols enough time to focus on their actual performances. Randy declares it Constantine’s best performance. We must have heard different songs. Paula is a big, huge fan. Simon says Constantine would win “Smoldering Idol.” Not on my planet, babe.
Louisiana’s Lindsey Cardinale decides to sing “Knock on Wood.” Song choice. Song choice! SONG CHOICE! This was just excruciating to my ears. Of course, she’s another performer I didn’t think should have made it to the finals. Props to the effects department for the cheesy thunder and lightning added in, though. Randy doesn’t know what’s wrong. Paula is a big, huge fan. Simon thinks 30 million TV sets had their volume turned down. Ryan tries to give Lindsey an excuse because songs from the 60s are new to her. Pathetic.
Clay Aiken…oops, I mean Anthony Federov channels Neil Sedaka to sing “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” Dude, only Clay can be Clay. Stop trying to be Clay-lite. This song is about as boring as you’d expect it to be, made worse by the fact that Anthony pulls out the seated-on-a-stool-to-croon trick. Randy felt he was in a bad hotel. I say high school dance in 1962. Paula is a big, huge fan. Simon compares Anthony to your drunken coworker at the office Christmas party.
Nadia Turner brings us the second Dusty Springfield song of the evening with “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” And damn, does she bring it! Girl blows her competition out of the water. Near the end of the performance, I told Mr. Luna that I wish Nadia’s rendition was on iTunes so I could download it with my last free Pepsi song. Randy says the show finally started. Paula is a big, huge fan. Simon says she is a steak in a competition full of hamburgers. Paula squeals “Oh, that’s perfect!” in the background.
Bo Bice is put in the unfortunate position of following Nadia. He will be performing “Spinning Wheel” by Blood, Sweat and Tears. During his interview, Bo mentions that his band used to perform this song a lot and it shows in his performance. Bo also becomes the first stage jumper of the season, as he moves into the audience to sing. For the last few weeks, I’ve been telling Mr. Luna that I think Nadia and Bo are leading this competition and they’re continuing to do so in the finals. Randy loves Bo. Paula is a big, huge fan. Simon says Bo looks like a seasoned performer.