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- American Idol 12 Recaps
Another night of semi-final performances! Tonight we’ll find out who the other half of the 12 pre-finalists will be. Yes, there’s a round after the semi-finals and before the finals. Maybe they got a discount adding an extra couple of weeks on the contract for the rented furniture in the Snapple All-Natural Talent Suite.
Tonight’s performers include color-coded country singers Jimmy Rose and Marty Brown, frightening child singer Anna Christine, the soldier-wife choir, shirtless acrobat Timber Brown, the other set of kid dancers, the other gay operatic singer, the other comedian, neato dancer Kenichi Ebina, Howard’s wildcard illusionists, and kid acrobatic team Chicago Boyz. The KriStef Brothers, one of whom sustained a head injury last week, are back to try not to completely paralyze themselves.
After a lot of talking-head judge comments that include “set the bar, “A game,” “amazing acts,” “level of excitement,” and “stakes are high,” the show begins. Nick is dressed like a funeral director after a bender.
We start off with D’Angelo and Amanda, the kid dance team. They seem to think we are entertained by hearing yet how guilty he feels that his little sister Ruby, from the younger kid dance team, did not make it. D’Angelo and Amanda’s dance tonight is performed to a Michael Jackson song, perhaps not the most appropriate choice. It includes a segment where they splash around in water on the floor, which just makes you worry they’ll be electrocuted. Howard yells at Howie for interrupting him while he complains they weren’t that good. Heidi’s accent makes it sound like she called the last part a “fleshdance.” The kids are miniature adults and the adults are overgrown children.
Now for the first country singer. Marty Brown pulled a Peter Brady last time, but America voted for him because–we don’t know why they voted for him. Maybe they confused him with Timber Brown. Marty provides a critical analysis of the Rocky movies to explain how he will recover through this performance. He does kind of look like someone punched him the jaw. Singing Bless the Broken Road, which reminds me of the severe pothole problem on the Long Island Expressway, he sits among dozens and dozens of little candles on the floor, which reminds me of the administration of George H.W. Bush (“a thousand points of light!” HA!). Everyone liked the performance. Howard wants his hat, possibly to smother Howie with.
We now have to watch footage of the Chicago Boyz kid getting injured again, and then him struggling along on crutches and looking sadly into the distance. But the rest of the Boyz come out to perform with the same pep, vigor, and rainbow jump ropes. They leap around and climb on each other and flip across the stage. Everybody screams hysterically when they finish, making the rest of the acts nervous.
Next is the illusionist team of Leon and Romy that Howard picked for wild card. There’s a lot of appearing and disappearing ladies, along with hand-pointing, strutting, and a yellow bowling bowl. Mel is mystified by how they do it. Meaning make a bowling ball yellow. Howie congratulates Howard for picking them, so Howard comes over for a kiss. Hey, we want to see talent, not horror.
Anna Christine follows. She’s a very serious 11-year-old and seems high-maintenance, so she should do fine in the music business. She sings Wild Horses in Susan Boyle style, right down to the ill-fitting dress on a chubby figure. After the angsty drama of the performance, she gives a little self-satisfied smile, the same one she probably uses when she sasses her mother. The judges keep repeating, “Eleven years old!” like she’s a bottle of Scotch. She’s kind of shaped like one.
Yay for Kenichi Ebina. He’s the thinking man’s dancer. This time, he performs with himself in front of what at first appears to be a mirror, like an interactive Marx Brothers routine. Then it turns out to be a video. His precision is remarkable. The man is clever, agile, and charming. Plus, it’s fun to say his name. Howie rants his approval. The nagging issue remains, however, that while Kenichi has got talent, he is not American. Maybe at least he has a green card?
And now for the comedian John Wing. His fans can be called Wingnuts. His set is your basic “beleaguered husband” routine, told with love so it does not offend. Howard says he doesn’t have standard one-liners like a hack comic. Yes, jokes about wives who nag and refuse sex are really fresh.
Branden James, who looks like Chandler from Friends with a pompadour, is next to gaze pensively at the horizon in his opening package. His experience on AGT has taught America’s parents to re-establish relationships with their kids, although it’ll be challenging for all those estranged kids to land singing gigs on national TV shows. Branden’s cobalt blue suit and white tee-shirt make him look like a superhero’s best man. He sings the first part of Alone in Spanish or Italian or some damn romance language, so the crowd will presume it’s hearing an aria and be impressed with themselves for liking it.
Now we’ll see if the KriStef Brother that got injured is in good enough shape to perform tonight. We see the two of them practice with the curly-headed one wearing a neck brace while the blond lifts his entire body on his hands. They’ve added sword swallowing to their campy routine, but I suspect the blades are retractable. Oh, look, they are. They should close the act with a performance of their hit song “She’s Gone.” Heidi likes their tight pants, and for once I agree with her.
The excitement mounts like an ibex up an Alp with the appearance of the American Military Spouses Choir. They received a letter from the Vice President’s wife congratulating them. Michelle Obama would have written if they’d made it on The Voice. They sing Angel in flowy purple gowns. Are we putting our young men in harm’s way for cheap chiffon and rhinestones? The lead singer has cape sleeves, I suppose because flabby upper arms are unAmerican.
Timber Brown once again reminds us of the difficult upbringing that compelled him not to educate himself or help others through charity work, but to strip off his shirt and slide down a pole. More water in tonight’s act. He’s hanging off a rope and repeatedly wraps himself up in it, swings from it, and dunks himself in the tank. He gets tangled at one point, but the whole thing is confusing since the bright flashing background graphics caused me to seize like that woman in The Andromeda Strain.
The night closes with the countriest of country singers, Jimmy Rose, the coal-mining, ATV-riding, deer-head-mounting veteran from a small town. In front of an odd background of silhouetted water towers, he warbles If Tomorrow Never Comes, the song every country-star hopeful must perform to prevent the IRS from auditing him. Howard and Heidi thought it maybe wasn’t good enough on a night of greats, while Mel thought it was “well bloody done.” Jimmy was just glad to be there. I’ll be glad when he sees a decent barber.
We’ll all see which six of these acts go on to the pre-finals. Will it be mostly singers? Dancers? Acrobats? Surely all will be let-downs. Til tomorrow!
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