Melinda Doolittle eliminated tonight.
THAT is some f*cked up sh*t, peeps.
It’s not that I didn’t realize it could happen. While Melinda Doolittle is certainly an amazing singer and consistent week in and week out, I knew she could be the victim of an OMG!!11!!! shocking boot. It happens every year, doesn’t it? Ask Tamyra Gray, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry, right? I suppose the bettors knew best–they predicted Melinda would go this week.
I, on the other hand, truly felt the contest could be anybody’s game. Particularly after Tuesday night’s episode. Melinda and Blake Lewis both outsang and outperformed Jordin Sparks. For the first time in a few weeks, she appeared vulnerable. Of course, if Jordin were vulnerable, they all were. But still, I found myself thinking that a Melinda/Blake final was in the realm of possibility.
Ah well, that’s how the cookie crumbles in Idol land. I’ve had lots of practice watching favorites get booted off. I’m steely, at this point. Stiff upper lip, y’all. I imagine I’ll get more practice next week when Blake Lewis is finally eliminated. Heh.
Before I start the re-cap, let me fast-forward to the end of last night’s show. Both Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine have reporters on the scene here and here. After the show wrapped, Blake and Jordin tossed a specially made coin with their faces imprinted on either side, to choose next week’s performance order. Blake won the toss, and the chance to choose first or last. Every contestant who has won this toss chose the pimp spot for obvious reasons. Not Blake. First, he deferred to the producers, and then to Jordin. Who of course…picked the pimp spot. She’s no fool.
An animated bit featuring Homer Simpson opens tonight’s show. Who needs Ryan when you have Homer? Good stuff.
Elliott Yamin in the house. YAYYY. Mucho screams for Elliott. Maroon 5 is here. Ohhh Brandon Rogers in the audience!
Re-cap of last night. Hmmm, the clip they include of Melinda has her blowing a note.
Ryan promotes the AI tour–coming to a city near you and me. Are you going? I am. Tickets go on sale this Saturday.
Ryan sits down with the kids. Jordin’s homecoming video is first. She talks about her hectic day. The video rolls. It’s Jordin Sparks day in Glendale, AZ. It looks really really hot there. She’s greeted by some perky cheerleaders and some local sports teams. She drops by her high school (which she doesn’t attend anymore because she’s been home schooled). Jordin is reunited with her BFF and there is much hugging and crying and squealing. She performs “I Who Have Nothing” on an open air stage at a mall. She tells people she loves them. A lot. The Mayor of Glendale announces her judge’s pick. Jordin acts excited and then cries in the car. “Who am I to have this amazing experience?” she asks.
Cut to Jordin standing on the seal. Ryan begins reciting the blah blah judges said blah blah you sang deal. Only 15 minutes in and the eliminations are starting already? Hell to the no! This is American Idol. First, Ryan has to toy with the contestants for a bit. Ryan hams it up–he glares and shakes his head at Simon as he reads his negative reviews of Jordin’s performances.
Jordin…America voted…and…we’ll find out how you did a little later in the show.
Haley Scarnato and Lakisha Jones, (sitting next to Brandon) also in the house.
This week’s Idol Challenge has Elliott Yamin as the answer. Cuz he’s singing tonight! Duh.
Ryan sits down next to Blake and starts singing, “This life has taken it’s toll…” while Blake beatboxes. Who thought that was a good idea? We find out that Blake met Sir Mix a Lot before this weekend and his answer to the question “Do you like big butts?” is “I can’t lie.” Jimi Hendrix sings “All Along the Watchtower” in the background as Blake makes his way to the city. Blake grabs the camera on both sides while he pulls it close to his face. He has much to tell us. Like, “It’s a good day, WOO!” and “WOOO SPACE NEEDLE!” The little girls are sooooo excited. Some of the big girls are too. Blake takes his first trip to the top of the space needle. Who visits the tourist traps in their home town? I don’t.
Downtown, there’s a massive crowd, and Blake holds up a sign that says, “Simon was wrong, Seattle rocks!” Afterward, Blake gets to ride a sea-plane home to Bothell. Sweet! The music switches to Keane’s “Somewhere only We Know.” Aww. There’s a sweet reunion with his parents. Papa Lewis cries, Blake hugs him and says, “I love you daddy.” The whole family takes part in a town parade. Blake films the crowd. Keane and Blake become one as he sings “Somewhere only We Know.” The day ends with Blake singing the national anthem at Safeco Field before the Mariners game. “Best day ever!” says Blake.
Back to the studio. Blake stands on the seal with his Dad. Ryan tells Blake’s dad to take a seat. But he’s so psyched to be there, he doesn’t hear. Finally, Ryan says, “Seriously sir, you have to take a seat, I can’t torture your son with you standing here.” Ok, I made that up. But, with all the time wasting they do on this show, Ryan sure seemed to be in a hurry to get dad off the stage.
Ryan says… Ahhh you know the drill. I’m not going to repeat it. Ryan asks Blake if he knows what’s coming next, and Blake says, all smarmy, “And we’ll cut to a commercial break!” Wrong. Have a seat, Blake. “We’re not that predictable here are we?” Uhh, does Simon need a bra?
Hooray hooray hooray. Elliott Yamin is next. Ain’t this sweet? Elliott returns to the exact place and time he was eliminated a year ago, with a brand new album to promote. “Open Arms” would not defeat Elliott Yamin. Nope. Elliott’s hair is long and curly. And his teeth are…well they are huge. And very white. It’s a little startling. But he looks good. Elliott squeezes his eyes shut as he sings. Cut to the kids who are jammin’ to the tune.
After the song, Ryan says, “You know how it works Elliott, step up here…let’s go to the judges on that…” “No judges! This isn’t that kind of party!” Elliott laughs. Randy says, “Welcome home dawg!” Paula is all misty eyed, “I, I …ghai…I’m speechless! I’m so proud of you, I’m so proud of you, I can’t even stand it! I love you!” No Paula meltdown tonight. I’m disappointed. “Not great, ” jokes Simon, “Kidding, kidding it was great.” he says unconvincingly. “Nice to have you back, Elliott, ” he adds a little more convincingly.
Does Elliott have any advice for the kids? “Hope and pray you get the boot tonight, ” he says, “Otherwise you’ll be forced to make a crap album with Clive.” Kidding, of course. Elliott congratulates them and says, “I promise you, this is only the beginning of great things to come.” Elliott takes the opportunity to thank his fans and plug his tour. It’s a list of things to mention, and afterward Ryan says, “You wanna thank Coca-Cola? Ford?” Elliott says, “Sure, Coke, Ford, PORSCHE, I love Porches….” Har. Ryan looks like he’s about to have a stroke at the mention of a sponsor competitor. Good job, Elliott!
After the break, it’s Maroon 5, and Melinda goes home! Wait, she WHAT? Oh, you know. It’s her video package silly! She’s not going home. Yet.
This week’s Ford commercial. We see the Idols as little kids, and then grown up. That’s it.
It’s Melinda’s turn. The kids are all holding hands. Melinda says she was glad to have the opportunity to look people in the eye and thank them. Ryan asks Simon a question and catches him not paying attention. Cut to the video. Melinda can’t wait to be interviewed on the Fox morning show. Melinda meets her peeps. Melinda is greeted by the governor of Tennessee, cause she rates. No mayors for her! The governor declares it “Melinda Doolittle Day” in the state of Tennessee.
Melinda heads to Belmont University, her Alma Mater. Melinda’s parents are there when the school officially renames a street “Melinda Doolittle Way.” She sings “Since You Been Gone” to the crowd. Later, she visits her church. “Home” is the backdrop for an emotional reunion with the congregation. There’s lots of hugging and tears. Melinda reflects on the plane back to LA, “There was true and honest support in the air, and it just kind of lifted me off the ground and I got overwhelmed and it just gave me a little extra to keep going with this…and to really come through for Nashville–make it work out.”
Melinda is center stage with Ryan. She wears a t-shirt that says, “Death Cheater.” Eep. Blah blah blah time for a break, ” says Ryan.
Ryan promotes the new show from the producers of American Idol. I’m not going to talk about that now. Later, peeps.
Maroon 5 takes the stage. No, they really do. They’re in the studio. It’s not some lame video that Ryan pretends is live. They sing their latest single, “Makes me Wonder.” Adam Levine needs to eat a sandwich. He also probably believes that “nasally” is a style of singing. Har, he turns his mouth away from the microphone to sing the word f*ck. As if we can’t hear it. (as if you can’t figure out the * when I type it.)
“It is the moment of truth, ” intones Ryan. It took long enough. We finally get to the elimination with six minutes to spare.
“Let me start with…Jordin. Would you step forward please.” Blake kisses her hand before he lets it go. “Jordin Sparks, ladies and gentlemen.” The crowd cheers. Jordin smiles and scrunches up her nose. “Almost 60 million votes came in, ” Jordin looks like she smells something bad. Maybe it’s Ryan. He continues, “And I think you’ll be happy with those votes.” Melinda squeaks and puts her hands on her face. Ryan continues, “You have made it through to the American Idol finale!” Blake claps and whoops. Jordin covers her face. “Congratulations Jordin!” says Ryan. Jordin cries while she hugs Melinda. The crowd gives her a standing O. Ryan hugs her. She takes a seat on the couch.
“Now back at the center of the stage, ” Blake and Melinda hold hands. Ryan says, “Who joins Jordin? Will it be girl-girl? Guy-girl? Blake pipes up nervously, “Machine-girl–machine…” Calm down there, skippy.
“Melinda, would you step forward, ” says Ryan. “Almost 60 million votes. An incredible number. Those votes came in. America has decided…that this is the end of the road for you tonight on American Idol.”
A collective “oh no!” rises from the crowd amid screams from the Blaker girls. Cut to Simon who looks REAL pissed. Jordin is hyperventilating. “That means Blake makes it into the Idol finale.” Blake does not celebrate. He’s sad for Melinda. Hell, maybe he’s sad for himself. Take a look at Elliott. He’s doing just fine. Blake tells Melinda that he loves her and gives her a hug. Blake goes back to the couch and gives Jordin a kiss.
“And, here she is, one of our best singers ever, Melinda Doolittle.” Melinda is all smiles. She’s very zen. She waves to the crowd. Her goodbye video plays. Ryan tells her that great things are in her future. He turns to Blake and Jordin and says, “Your finale next week is right over here…” Melinda applauds them. The judges react with the usual plaudits. Not one of them said “This is BULLCRAP, ” not even Simon.
Melinda sings out with “Woman.” Blake (down on one knee) and Jordin present a bouquet of flowers to Melinda. Blake backs away with “I’m not worthy” hands. Melinda walks over to the backup singers and hands them the flowers. She finishes. Beautifully. Just like the pro that she is.
Well. No worries about Melinda. For reals. I hope she and Elliott had a nice chat afterward. These days, coming in third isn’t so bad. Melinda is like that office worker who is so efficient and so good, people take her for granted. I’m thinking there were many who dug her performances, but voted for another contestant who stood out a little more for one reason or another. Certainly, her style puts her squarely in the adult contemporary pocket. Melinda is niche, just like Taylor Hicks. If Melinda had won, and Jordin had come in third, 19 would have signed Jordin anyway, and maybe would have neglected Melinda to concentrate on the kid they wanted to win–the kid they could market to the KISS FM’s of the world.
With the pressure off, Melinda can surround herself with people who appreciate her talent, and thrive. It’s all good.
Still, that Blake/Melinda final sure would have been awesome. The best singer vs. the best performer. Sigh.
Side note: So much for Seattle as the Worst Audition City Evah, as Blake and Jordin both auditioned there. And, for the first time, the winner and runner-up will not hail from the South. There’s that.