The Week in Idol: Some Questions About the Remaining 8 Contestants

After a shockingly tight Top 9 competition, in which our hopefuls were masterfully mentored by noted shawl-jockey Stevie Nicks (who is awesome and I wish would replace Randy Jackson, who continues to be the worst for a record eleven years running), we lost Heejun Han last night on American Idol. The sacrificial ritual was overseen by Steven Tyler, who declared that Heejun had foreseen his own fate, then aimed a bony finger directly at the Sad Clown of White Soul and turned him into a smoldering pile of ash. And then there were eight. And we have questions. (For which we will attempt to provide answers.) How did Milli Falsetti escape the Bottom 3? This is perhaps the greatest mystery of last night’s results show, as Heejun was accompanied on the Stools of Doom by none other than gnome-sized power-diva Hollie Cavanagh and high-energy country fritter Skylar Laine—two of the most appealing contestants still remaining. And yet Deandre Brackensick, who adheres to no identifiable pop music genre beyond “that one song on that Prince album where he coos about taking a bath inside his lover’s vagina,” was safe. How? Who is voting for him? Is it teen girls? Is androgyny back in a big way? Are people sick of big-breasted carnival sideshows like Nicki Minaj, and just want to go back to the good ol’ gender-jumbled 1980s, when Joan Jett was the man and Boy George was the lady, and everything was right with the world? I’m tempted to say yes, except … Is there anything more depressing than Scotty McCreery’s music? Just in time to throw a bucket of cold water on that theory was last year’s big winner, Scott McCreery, singing his newest Top 40 hit about how great it is to be heterosexual and Christian in America, where everyone fits in and no one makes waves and everything is perfect and no one dares to entertain individual thoughts or complex emotions or harbor a dark side or face real-world problems, until of course your neighbor takes out the local Wal-Mart with a semi-automatic weapon and you suddenly realize maybe everything isn’t as dandy in the Heartland as Scotty McCreery would like you to believe it is. These are the actual lyrics of “Water Tower Town”: Friday night football is king Sweet tea goes good with anything The fireflies come out when the sun goes down. Nobody eats ’til you say amen Where your friend’s a friend and your word’s your word And our pickup trucks, they ain’t for looks, they’re made for work Corn grows high, crime stays low Is that a song or a Sarah Palin stump speech? Good lord. And speaking of ... What is with all the God stuff from Colton? Can you imagine if Colton Dixon was a devout Muslim, and went on about how great Muhammad is and that’s why he chose Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” for “Idols Sing Their Idols” week? There would be death threats! Massive protests! It would unearth the ugliest side of human nature! So why should it be any different with the Jesus talk? Jesus talk makes me uncomfortable. Leave it outside the karaokedome. All we want to know is if Colton can sing good. And he can, so just keep singing good and leave the rest out of it, Co-Dix. And while I’m all for love songs sung by men to other men, the Lifehouse song “Everything” that Colton dedicated to Jesus this week was one of his most boring performances. I’m just trying to help you out here, Colton. Try to remain interesting, which brings us to... Do we genuinely love Phillip Phillips’ music? Here’s what we know: America is in love with Phillip Phillips. I know I am. He’s so cool and chill and he never talks about God and he doesn’t wink leeringly at young girls and he doesn’t try to brown nose J-Lo and he doesn’t listen to Tommy Hilfiger’s terrible advice and he’s just so handsome and Stevie Nicks was practically ready to eat him up like a bean-and-cheese burrito. But is his music good? Well, it’s definitely good, but is it GREAT? Jimmy Iovine seems to think it is, but then Jimmy Iovine is also presenting giant plaques to Scotty McCreery for musical accomplishment, so as far as I’m concerned, Jimmy’s opinion is really besides the point. I would say this: There’s very little variety to what Phillip does. He a blues man through and through, and he doesn’t make you want to run in the opposite direction when he growls the way Casey Abrams so often did last season, but I’m having trouble actually saying that I love it. The most common critique of Phillip is that he mimics Dave Matthews. Let’s check out a Dave Matthews live performance for comparison’s sake. Here's Dave: And here’s Phillip: I guess I see the similarities? But I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a rip-off. Next question: Is Elise Testone on borrowed time? I think so. Elise sang “Whole Lotta Love” this week, which was a breath of filthy-fresh air next to Colton’s “Everything.” Elise is going to give us every inch of her love, everybody! What’s more, she didn’t “Testonify” it. She just sang it, the way you already know it. And it was good, and people liked it, but I’m just not getting “Grammy-winning star” off Elise, no matter how hard I try. But we’re happy she’s around, yes? To dirty up the girls’ side? Elise ain’t no sparkly-faced teenager; she’s a woman. She’s lived. When she tells us that “way, way down inside honey, you need it,” we find ourselves nodding emphatically, if not a little bit confused. Does Jessica Sanchez have soul, like Jimmy says she does? Jessica did something pretty ballsy this week. She sang Beyonce, but not just Beyonce, but sloooowed-down Beyonce. With harps and magical red door portals like out of Dr. Who or The Little Prince or 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’ve listened to this performance several times now, and I would say it’s definitely her best since “I Will Always Love You.” It’s more than just that, though. It was excellent. It was the kind of performance that makes more established stars nervous, because they think, “Shit. There wasn’t any autotune on that, was there? I hate this Jessica Sanchez bitch!” Jessica does indeed have soul. A budding superstar, we’re glimpsing... Which brings us, finally, to ... Did Joshua’s blazer fit? No. It definitely did not fit, and the pattern on it made it all the more obvious that it didn’t fit. HOWEVER, [terrible, Randy Jackson-caliber pun ahead:] the song “Without You” fit him like a glove. Can I just say, Mariah Carey, I know you’re a big shot and everything, but I had no idea you sang this song, so back off. This song has been covered so many times it belongs to the universe now, and I’ve never quite heard an over-the-top gospelized version like Joshua’s. Who are the top two? What’s amazing about this year’s Idol is that there are genuinely five possible winners. Colton, Phillip, Skylar, Jessica, and Joshua all, it seems, have a legitimate claim to the crown, and it’s sad to think we’ll be picking them off, one by one, in the coming weeks. But the big question is who are the top two who will face off in the finale. Idol voting patterns suggest Colton and Phillip both are shoo-ins, yet Jessica and Joshua are such remarkable natural talents, it seems impossible that not at least one of them should make it to the final showdown. So who? Who who who? I think Phillip just has too much momentum and goodwill behind him right now, so I’ll say he’ll go all the way. Joshua, as amazing as he is, unfortunately sings in a style that never makes it to the finale. Jessica seems primed for one of those Shocking Idol Eliminations, the ones that struck down Jennifer Hudson far too soon. So that leaves Skylar, who was in the bottom three this week and therefore shows signs of vulnerability, and Colton. So is it to be a Battle of the Pretty Boys? I’m going to say yes.
Comments (21)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
While I agree with some of your points, I think you are WAY out of line with what you said about Colton. Why attack him just because he isn't afraid to stand for what he believes in? He isn't doing any harm in any form. This is America. A free country. He's allowed to express his beliefs. He's setting a good example for kids. What's so wrong about that? Sheesh. I think Colton is doing a fine job whether I agree with his beliefs or not. That's who Colton is, deal with it. Accept it. And it wouldn't harm you to respect him for what he believes in.
Reply
Flag
I just read the comments and it seems that this is not a place for a 30-year-old atheist who lives in NYC and can't stand religious bullshit. But maybe I shouldn't be watching American Idol either...

Anyway, I think you're an interesting guy, Seth.

Reply
Flag
Great article!

I agree with almost everything you said. I'm not that big a fan of Jessica, though. Her voice sounds really impeccable sometimes but she has no idea what kind of artist she wants to be.

She would definitely win "Karaoke idol."

WTF is that McCreery's song? I guess he and Colton are targeting the same dumb religious idiots.
Reply
Flag
I completely agree with your top 5, Seth. I tend to think the finale could be Colton and Skylar. As much as I'm not into "pop country" their fan base is crazed and votes. Just look at last year! No question though, Joshua and Jessica are the best pure believable singers by far. Justice would say those two in the finals but sadly Idol doesn't work that way.



And another agreement, lyrics of McCreedy's song is a 10 level for puking! Talk about someone pandering to a specific audience,, sheesh.
Reply
Flag
Just curious if you also hate Carrie Underwood when her first album had a song specific to her hometown? Or is it just country music in general that you have a beef with??
Reply
Flag
"pandering to a specific audience".... Do you mean the country music audience? Cuz he's a country artist and it's a country song. I really just don't get why some are having an issue with the small town lyrics of this song? It's a simple country song about small town life and small town pride. It's classic country style writing. Would anyone take issue with Jayz and Alicia Keys singing about New York?? Doubtful. I think that song is great and such a tribute to his hometown. Some of you guys Are coming off silly and hypocritical.
Reply
Flag
I actually like DeAndre but he probably isn't a fit for this type of competition because his music falls under that underground Neo-soul that rarely gets air play and requires a specific taste. Like Maxwell or DeAngelo...or someone like Joss Stone (the Adele before Adele). For what he does, his falsetto is great.

-Philip is awesome. I love that guy, he can do no wrong in my book.

-I agree that Jessica does remind today's sorry excuse for singers what singing is all about because she's pure. The problem in the industry now is it doesn't require a modicum of talent.

-I like Joshua and I'm sort of surprised that his Gospel like singing hasn't screwed him yet, but he is like a male Fantasia so maybe that's why.

-I like Colton, he's okay. The religious/republican stuff got lost on me though. What? I do agree that if he were talking about any other religion outside of christianity and judaism it'd be problematic, which is sad and unfair. But I still don't get what the issue is in him brining it up.
Reply
Flag
"Milli Falsetti"

I'm going to give you +10 bonus points for that one. Nice.

But I will subtract -5 points for each of your offensive attacks on other people's religious values. I don't see the point. You didn't seem to have one. And I say this as someone who is also turned off when sports figures and entertainers wear their religion on their sleeves, expecting the rest of us to just buy into it. But I think the best reaction is just silence no matter how hard it is for you to respect other peoples' opinions you don't agree with.

Here is my list of who should win, in rank order of merit:

1. Jessica

2. Phillip

3. Joshua

If anyone else wins it will not quite be a mockery but it will just cement what we already are beginning to understand...this show is turning into Southern Teen Idol.
Reply
Flag
Well, that still puts me 5 points ahead, so I think I'm doing all right!
Reply
Flag
you're definitely in the lead as far as TV.com writers go...peace
Reply
Flag
ALso, NO, Scotty's song is not a stump speech for Palin...she's from Alaska and I hardly think she could relate to Corn crops and sweet tea....but guess what? A big ole chunk of America can relate to those lyrics. And those people aren't thinking about politics... They're just reflecting on the simple things in life. They're are hundreds of songs about enjoying a glass of wine or admiring city lights or appreciating a walk on crowded streets, but most people don't draw a line to politics, democrats, or say... Rudy Giuliani. I like your reviews, but maybe you oughta take a break from CNN a few hours before you sit down to write. (people voted and Scotty and his lyrics WON idol).
Reply
Flag
I enjoyed Scotty's performance but I guess I agree a little with both of you. I was fine with the song until the end when I realized he was writing about his specific home town. When i thought it was generic I liked it. When it became an semi-arrogant brag ... it turned me off. That said, McCreery is a joy to listen to and is an engaging performer.
Reply
Flag
Long live Johnny Cash and TRUE COUNTRY!
Reply
Flag
I love Johnny Cash. Couldn't agree with you more.
Reply
Flag
Agree about Deandre. I can't wait until the show is rid of him (please let it be this week!!!)



But heartily dislike what you said about Colton.
Reply
Flag
I love Phillip!
Reply
Flag
Jessica and Phillip
Reply
Flag
I really don't like how you rip into a person talking about God. Frankly if someone wants to credit their talent or dedicate a song to Jesus, God, Mohammad, Mother Earth or whatever deity they believe in they have every right to. As long as they aren't dedicating violence to a deity I couldn't care less. So how about you leave your bigotry against Christians out of your articles ok?
Reply
Flag
Republican presidential candidates stand behind Christianity to justify denying basic rights to gays and lesbians, plundering the planet and promoting xenophobia. So I should be quiet and not question it? Sorry. I'm going to say what I think, too. Doesn't make me a bigot.
Reply
Flag
That's a cop-out Seth. None of these performers have said anything derogatory about gays or lesbians. AND all Christians aren't equal just as all Muslims aren't terrorists. You need to grow up and stop preaching biggoted nonsense.
Reply
Flag
omG, Seth. What does Colton have to do with Republicans and politics? He's just a kid with faith in something. Besides whatever politicians stand behind or promote doesn't really matter, right, because the people vote. Same as they do on idol. Say what you wanna say, let the Republicans say what they wanna say, let this kid say what he wants to say...and then, the people will vote on it. He's a Christian....he's never commented on his political stance, sheesh. (and btw, Joshua is just as preachy!)
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook