Next week, pop star Gwen Stefani coaches the Idol contestants. On Wednesday, Akon joins her to perform Stefani’s hit “The Sweet Escape.” This week’s theme–the kids get to pick their favorite pop songs. In other words, they pretty much get to pick what ever they want.
Check out the HOT (and I don’t use that word lightly) portraits of the Top 12 posted at Getty images. Nice!
People magazine explains what we didn’t see during Tuesday night’s performance show. Funniest bit: Chris Sligh nearly poked Simon Cowell’s eye out with his microphone stand. People also posted bits from Wednesday’s show. The LA Times and Pop Watch both continue with blog reports from inside the CBS studios during American Idol tapings. I particularly like Richard Rushfield’s insightful reports from the LA Times:
The friendship between the cast members is constantly on display on stage, as they practically walk around in a giant group hug. The Chrises (Sligh and Richardson), Phil Stacey and Blake Lewis seem to form the core of the group. Family and friends tell of how close they’ve all become, of how the group goes to dinner together every night. Unthinkably, in the midst of all this, two of them sneaked out to bowl after the performance show Tuesday.
Away from the cameras after Wednesday’s show, the contestants rushed to crowd around the window of singer Lulu’s car to say goodbye, like bidding farewell to a favorite counselor, before heading to dinner. The whirlwind does have a way perhaps of binding everyone together and making them forget that only one can win. One contestant said that while he was in terror during the elimination shows, he just feels numb now, weary from the blur of the week.
The LA Times was the first news organization to break the identity of Tuesday night’s crying girl. As you all know by now, she’s 13 year-old Ashley Ferl, currently making the rounds of the usual media suspects. The producers chose to quickly write her into Tuesday night’s story arc. For her trouble she got to see the live show and meet the Idols. Can’t blame her. Ten years from now she might look back at that video and cringe, but she seems like a very sweet albeit emotional girl. For a funny, but very cynical take on the “crying girl” check out the piece Keith Olbermann did on his MSNBC news show.
Some, including Ashley’s mom, think Ashley’s crying helped Sanjaya Malakar last another week. Some think it’s the doing of Vote for the Worst and Howard Stern. Others cite wild conspiracy theories. I think it’s simple. He’s got PEOPLE, that’s all–fans who like him for whatever reason. Sanjaya advanced quite nicely through the semis without outside help. There’s no big mystery.
As long time Idol-watchers know, every year sees a contestant like Sanjaya outlast contestants who are considered better singers. You’ve got Nikki McKibbon, Carmen Rasmussen, John Stevens (oh, poor Jennifer Hudson, her life is ruined *snort*), Scott Savol and Kevin Covais. So why, year after year, is there a collective twisting of the panties when it happens again like clockwork?
As Peter Noone astutely put it Tuesday night, American Idol is not a singing competition, it’s a voting competition. Contestants who capture the viewers imaginations advance. Period. Only sometimes is singing involved.
Sanjaya’s performance on Tuesday was not a trainwreck. On the contrary, he came out of his shell and performed quite fearlessly. I’ve stopped viewing him as a victim. And now, I can’t wait to see what Sanjaya does next. For a reasoned and sober take on the Sanjy phenom, check out this post from blogcritics.org.
Make sure you watch the You Tube of Sanjaya performing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” He sings it nearly acapella and it’s beautiful. He can sing peeps, even if his full talent has not been evident on Idol.
Now, I’ll leave you with this. No, Vote For the Worst is NOT the end of Western civilisation as we know it. Hardly. Look under the Idol rock, peeps. It’s kinda wormy under there…
A big ole shout-out to Team Plaid! Whoo hoo! Heh.
thanks lisab, kirsten and madabout