Tuesday, March 03, 2009

American Idol: Semi-finals, week three

Brief spoilers for tonight's "American Idol" coming up just as soon as I listen again to that "Flight of the Conchords" song about the perils of having too many, uh, men on the dance floor (link NSFW)...

Are there no women left in America who can sing? Other than Lil Rounds, I mean?

I thought Lil was overhyped during the Hollywood episodes, where she got massive praise for what sounded like shouting, but she was terrific tonight, not oversinging Mary J. Blige (on a song where she sure could've gotten away with some oversinging) and looking so in command of the stage that she made all the other contestants, male or female, seem like they were there for karaoke night and she was there for a professional audition.

Between the pimp spot, the performance, one of the best "Idol" semi-finals makeovers ever and the judge worship, Lil's a lock to advance, but it's looking like we're once again going to get a two guys and a girl situation, with the other two finalists coming from the trio of Ju'Not Joyner, Scott MacIntyre and Jorge Nunez. Ju'Not's my favorite of the bunch for his understated, extremely pretty take on "Hey There, Delilah," but unfortunately "Idol" rarely rewards people for understated, and I imagine Jorge's flashier take on "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and/or Scott's pleasant but unremarkable Bruce Hornsby cover, coupled with some sympathy votes, will top him.

The other contestants, male or female, are barely worth discussing. Alex Wagner-Truman and Felicia Barton both had several moments where I thought PETA was going to step on stage to investigate whether an animal was being strangled, several other performances were competent but completely forgettable, and Nathaniel Marshall's Meatloaf cover was as blandly vocalized as it was campy. Feh.

So here's my concern: if I'm right that it's gonna be a 6/3 bro/ho ratio (to again quote the Conchords) going into the wild-card, then there's going to be one spot, at most, that a guy has a chance of getting. And as an Anoop rooter, that's gonna be rough -- especially if Ju'Not doesn't go through tomorrow and another guy does. Meanwhile, Megan Corkrey and her weird arm movements can already start packing her bags for the finals, I'm guessing.

What did everybody else think?


Hal Incandenza said...

Sounds about right, Alan--though I thought Felicia was a bit better than you may be giving her credit for.

As for the WC round, do you have any idea how it's going to be structured? The judges keep intimating that not all 27 will be back--which makes sense, since you'd probably need four hours for all of them to perform--but are they going to select the (say) 12 contestants that will vie for the remaining 3 spots? America? (Taking finishers 4 through 6 in terms of call volume in each of the three weeks...) Some other method? I'm a bit surprised they haven't been more candid about this.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree, Alan. Lil was better than I anticipated in light of the shouting that occurred in Hollywood. I wasn't crazy about Jorge, but I wouldn't be upset about him making the top 12. I thought that Ju'not was better than him. But I suspect that Scott gets through, because that was some seriously potent pimpage.

Hal Incandenza said...

Clarification (c/o the always reliable Wikipedia):

"In the Wild Card round, the fourth-place finishers from each of the three semifinal rounds will return, along with other eliminated semifinalists who are chosen by the judges. Around 9 or 10 previously-eliminated contestants will be chosen to compete in the Wild Card round. The judges will pick the 3 performers left that they consider the best. No voting by the public will be done at this stage"

Taking just the 4th place finisher seems kind of arbitrary, but whatever.

Jennifer said...

I wasn't under the impression they were committed to a six-male, six-female Top 12 this year. Was that stated somewhere?

In past seasons when they held the semi-finals in this format, the Top 12 ended up leaning heavily male or female, not half of each.

Alan Sepinwall said...

They're not committed to 6-6, but I imagine the most they'll let it get to is 7-5. They went 8-4, in favor of women, in season three, and they hated it.

Adam said...

Also, three of the four men in season three were dreadful.

Should be: Ju'Not, Lil, (Jorge or Felicia).
Will be: Lil, Scott, (Country Singer)

John said...

I'd like to say that I thought Felicia was a little better than you gave her credit for. I'd be willing to give her another chance. Still, I hope it's Rounds, Joyner and someone who make it through.

King Killer Dave said...

Alan, while I agree that some the higher notes in Felicia's performance did sound a bit like a drowning feline, the rest of the song showcased her vocals pretty well, and I think she showed decided control on a pretty tough and rangy song.

That said, Lil Rounds completely ruled everyone else's face, with both her vocals and her comfort level.

I have to say I agree with Simon's observation about all these young kids choosing these crappy older adult contempo tunes. What is going on with that?

Hyde said...

Assuming that the people going through tonight are Lil, Scott, and Jorge, my guess is that the wild cards will be Anoop, Megan, and Felicia. I didn't think Felicia was all that great tonight either, but the judges all really seemed to like her, and it's their choice all the way.

Colin Fast said...

I'm with the others in thinking that Felicia was better than you said. A couple of rough notes, but overall she was solid and looked great.

On the other hand, I didn't like Ju'Not's Delilah arrangement (although I appear to be in the online minority on that one). And sorry, but Scott just doesn't have the pipes to move on. Advancing him would just be patronizing.

Anonymous said...

Just watching it in Aust. Nathanial song was so bad it was hilarious.

I thought most of the singers were ordinary. Lil will get through but who gets the other two positions is anyones guess.

What was with the Elton John and Abba covers?

Unknown said...

There was a past idol contestant who just put out a youtube video (can't remember his name right now) who stated that the producers put out a list of possible songs, the singers get to pick a few that they would like to sing, and then the producers then tell them what they will sing.

Then the judges sit and tell them how bad their song selection was because it "didn't fit their voice" or it was "too old fashioned".

Obvious way to get those you like in.

Dan Jameson said...

You guys are crazy if you think the top 3 tonight are going to be anyone but Lil, Jorge and Scott.

Ju'Not did a great job and I really liked him, but no way was he better or will he steal more votes than Jorge and Scott.

No one else has a chance.

I bet the Wild Cards will be Megan, Anoop and another girl that is surprising...maybe the country girl from last night.

Anonymous said...

For the first time last night, I found a couple of singers I could actually root for this season, whereas the previous two weeks had contestants that made it into the Top 12 that I thought were just alright at best, coasting into the Top 12 at worst.

Lil Rounds, Ju'Not, and Jorge seemed the best last night to me, while I think Scott is overrated (but I did agree with Simon that he seems to have more confidence now at least). I'd watch out for Nathaniel though. He's a kid with a rough homelife (based on his pre-package interviews during the audition fazes) that could do much better if he reigned it in a bit and people looked past his quirky style. A lot of gay guys and gals might feel sorry for him and vote him through.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm with the others in thinking that Felicia was better than you said. A couple of rough notes, but overall she was solid and looked great.

Some parts were good, and she certainly looked the part (looked almost like Alicia Keys herself at some angles), but the bad notes were hideously, Alex Wagner-Trugman-level bad.

Now, we've had good finalists in the past who occasionally made my ears bleed (I liked Kat McPhee most of the time, but get her on a power ballad and prepare for the pain), and she was more promising than most of the other women. But when she was bad, she was awful.

kchertu said...

I don't like Scott at all. The O-N-L-Y reason that he made it through Hollywood week and the only reason he is being pimped is because he is blind. As far as vocals go, I feel like he's in the bottom 2 or 3 of all 36 of them.

I don't really like Jorge all that much either... he's ok, but nothing spectacular like they are all raving about.

I haven't liked Lil nor have I liked the pimping of her all along. In fact I have been so tired of the show pimping her that I was hoping that she'd be terrible last night so that now that it's in the public's hands we'd be done with her... however I stand corrected. She's WAY better than I thought, way better than she's shown previously. Good luck to her, I think now she might just be the front runner!

Personally, I hope that Lil, Ju'Not, and either Kristen or Felicia make it through. Poor Kristen with the huge voice and bad clothing taste!

But I think that the actual three who make it through will be Lil, Scott, and either Jorge or (in a shocker) Nathaniel.

Anonymous said...

I'm rooting for Lil Rounds, Ju'Not Joyner, and Jorge Nunez to make it to the final 12. I love Ju'Not's voice and style, but I have the feeling I'm going to be disappointed tonight on the reveal.

Anonymous said...

Going into the final 12 last year, there were 6 people I thought had a legit shot of winning, and 5 that I would be inclined to buy their record (now down to 4, sorry Brooke). This year, not so much.

I'll watch, but I doubt I'll care enough to vote for anybody.

Brian said...

God I hope Scott doesn't make it. Sure it's a feel-good-story, but let's be honest. If he wasn't blind, there's no way he would have even made it this far.

I don't remember her name, but nobody's giving any love to the country girl. I thought she could really sing.

Anonymous said...

That said, Lil Rounds completely ruled everyone else's face, with both her vocals and her comfort level.

Heh. Lil was awesome and she looked fabulous. I can't see her going away. The judges love her really love her.

I've been complaining about Nathaniel's behavior all season, because all the drama and the crying has driven me nuts. But I thought he was adorable last night. Good voice, really awful song. And he needs to lose the headband. Still...kind of adorable.

I have to give Felicia credit for doing as well as she did with the song she chose. It seems like a hard one to sing, and she was more good than bad. But, as Alan said, the bad stuff was horrendous. I think she's better than Kat McPhee though. That girl usually made my ears bleed.

Ju'not needs to call me up and sing to me every once in a while. Loved him.

Von Smith is not good enough to sing Marvin Gaye.

Apparently, this group paid attention at least a little bit. It wasn't the trainwreck the last two weeks have been.

Kathleen Taylor said...

Don't count out Tatiana. I will not be surprised if she reappears in the Wild Card Round, and truly, she does have a good voice. It's the rest of her that is terrible.

Anonymous said...

Country girl from Texas (gorgeous and can sing), Lil (who i didn't like all that much up to this point, but damn did she kill that Mary J. song!), and Juno would be my choices. I thought the blind dude was ok, and Jorge was good, but not fantastic.

Interested to see what happens tonight...I'll be on the blog at 6 PM Pacific to see the results!

Anonymous said...

I normally enjoy Paula's insanity (or inanity) but her comment last night about Nathaniel doing "the Boy George version" of the song? Hell to the no. Boy George is my beloved gay husband and I will defend him to the death. He has a beautiful, rich, soulful voice. Nathaniel dressing weird, dancing around awkwardly and singing a poorly chosen song does not equal "the Boy George version" of anything. I wish he had performed last so Paula would've already been slumped onto Simon's shoulder and incapable of commenting.

Unknown said...

I thought Paula's comment to Nathaniel about being a "Boy George" version of the Meatloaf Song was insulting.

I don't care if the boy is gay, straight or a turkey. But there was nothing "Boy Georgey" about the song besides the fact that Nathaniel is a bit flamboyant. And even if it had been, so what?

She didn't say to Lil Rounds her song was a little too Mary J, or to Scott that his song was a little too Bruce Hornsby.

Just a flat-out stupid comment on her part.

Al said...

Re: nathanial. I've always joke-wondered why AI has never done a Jim Steinman night, since all his high-low, stop-start, bombastic melodrama songs seem perfect for the Idol-ers.

I've also called for "new Wave" night whihc I could see Nathaniel rockin' --

I liked Ju-not but fear he will lose his spot to the blind guy and the inspirational votes (I'd never listened to the words of "Madolin Rain" before and have to agree with Simon ...whaaat?) -- or to Jorge, who had fantastic (and fantastical) eyebrows.

The bottle-blonde in the pink&orange dress looked like she'd wandered over from NASHVILLE the movie.

But I give props to the other poor kid who got ripped on by the judges for looking all mixed up "style-wise." One, she told the truth: Uh, this mess IS my style, I'm just a kid; and two, even with on-deck stylists, what's up with the hot tired mess the judges bring every week?

Anonymous said...

Lil, Scott and either Ju'Not, Jorge or Felicia are advancing. I hope it's Felicia. Even if she bungled a couple notes in her performance last night, she was really good more often than bad. PLUS, I honestly can't believe she wasn't chosen to be a top 36 -- she was way better than several of the women who had made it (including the disqualified Joanna "I forget my words" Pacitti). Anyway, I'd love America to vote in Felicia just to stick it to the judges...LOL