Jordin Sparks is SAFE.
Melinda Doolittle is SAFE
LaKisha Jones and Blake Lewis: Last two standing.
LaKisha Jones: Eliminated tonight
No Top 4 surprise boot this year, kids. LaKisha Jones, who has been teetering on the edge for awhile now, is sent home. She’s a talented singer, but without any training or musical exposure she had a tough time navigating the theme nights. Any song outside of the big-voiced R&B box tripped her up. And her penchant for picking songs by beloved Idol winners didn’t help her much either.
With the right producer picking songs for her, Lakisha could do really well in the R&B or gospel market. She has a powerhouse voice, she just needs a little polishing and some good people guiding her career.
There is SO much time to waste in tonight’s hour-long show, with the cast cut down to only 4 contestants. Ryan lingers at the judges table, drawing out the conversation. I imagine the stage manager constantly motioning Ryan to “stretch…it…out.” We get last night’s re-cap, the lame Farmers Market interviews with “fans, ” a really inane product placement bit promoting the movie “Fantastic Four” (that includes an opportunity for Simon to leer at Jessica Alba, who’s in the audience) and an announcement about a new show from the producers of Idol. (Oh. So this is why they aren’t producing the Emmys. Much more important that Ken and Nigel attempt to save Fox’s craptastic fall ratings than save the Emmys. Maybe next year.)
The only bit I don’t mind is Pink’s pre-recorded performance. The song, “Who Knew” totally rocks. Though, it would have been funny if she sang “Dear Mr. President” just to watch some people’s heads explode. Ryan is pretty amusing as he pretends that Pink is actually in the studio. Pink and Ryan “nod” to each other! Good stuff.
Awesome Ford commercial this week. It’s a cute take off of the Beatles’ “A Hard Days Night.” The kids, dressed in black and white, run down the street with fans in hot pursuit. They strike a few iconic Beatle poses along the way.
This week’s win-a-trip-to-see-the-show-and-some-other-stuff contest question: Which American Idol went to Africa to benefit the Idols Gives Back Charity Special? Ruben? Carrie? Bo? Duh. Is it Bo? Do I win? I don’t?
Holy carp, the group number is a total trainwreck. It’s a medley of Barry Gibb songs that leans heavily on the adult contemporary songs he wrote for other artists, like “Islands in the Stream” and “Guilty” (Dolly/Kenny and Babs respectively). It could be subtitled “The crappiest songs Barry Gibb ever wrote, ” but that’s not the worst of it. There are some heavy-duty tech problems, starting with Melinda’s mic not working initially. The sound mix is off. The kids know something’s amiss and it makes them unsure and tentative. They don’t seem to be having fun, so neither are we.
Up next: A video segment featuring the contestants sharing childhood memories. They talk about their families. Family photos are flashed. If only TPTB had featured the Top 12 like this. Maybe we would have known the contestants a little better. Did you know that Lakisha, Melinda and Blake are all only children? Neither did I. LaKisha and Melinda both had single moms. Melinda was the inventor of the Afro-puff. Ha. Blake’s mom is a singer. LaKisha hints at a hard-scrabble upbringing and tough times for her and her daughter.
In years past, they did this sort of thing earlier, and came back to it several times in the season. If they want to rope us in and make us crazy fanatics, they need to do more of this stuff. I think this year has proven how personality-driven this show is. Season six is chock-full of great singing talent, but the contestants are mostly ciphers. Viewers need compelling personalities in order to become invested. Hopefully, the producers learned their lesson this year. Less stupid pre-recorded hits of crap we could watch on MTV and more attention paid to the contestants. Don’t wander off the formula that works guys. Ditch the pointless interviews at Farmer’s Market–interview the contestant’s families and friends instead.
The results finally start at 20 before the hour. Intermidable.
Back from a break. The kids are all huddled in a group hug. Ryan asks them to line up. He asks, “Are you ready?” And they all say, “No!” and stay huddled. Cute. “But, that’s how the show works, ” explains Ryan. “No, no not gonna do it!” say the kids. Awww. Ryan begins the elimination with the kids still huddled. The lights dim, and they break their huddle, but still keep their arms around each other. Ryan starts the whole “You sang, Simon said, blah blah blah” spiel first with Lakisha Jones, then Melinda Doolittle, on to Blake Lewis, and finally Jordin Sparks. Ryan says, “Jordin, after the nationwide vote, you are safe, you may have a seat.” There’s a big group hug before Jordin goes back to the couches. (I can’t believe it, I heard she’s only 17!)
Next, Ryan introduces a new show, “If you play an instrument, if your band is ready to break out, the producers of American Idol want to hear from you. They are looking for the best undiscovered group in America. Any style, any sound, any age, anything goes. We are accepting submissions right now, send us your DVDs, band tapes, you can send them all to Band Show Casting….” WTF? More will be revealed, I’m sure.
Barry Gibb takes the stage next. He sings “To Love Somebody.” Age has taken its toll on his voice. There’s nothing new to pimp, but he’s probably hoping for a spike in sales for the Bee Gees catalog, which no doubt he’ll get.
With only six or so minutes to spare, Ryan gets back to the three–Melinda, Blake and LaKisha–left standing on the stage. Ryan says, “We already have one person in the final three, we need two more. Which means, one of you is going home…it won’t be you, Melinda. You are safe, you can have a seat.”
“Now, we have LaKisha and Blake, ” says Ryan. He asks the judges what they think. Randy says, “It was a tough night for both of them last night, I don’t know dude.” Simon, as usual, is more forthcoming, “I don’t know, but I could make a guess…I think LaKisha is going to go home.”
Ryan asks Paula if she has something to say to the contestants, and she goes all puppies and rainbows as only Paula can, “You are both tremendous talents, I’ve enjoyed every single one of your performances, and I’ve also enjoyed the ones that weren’t so great because, what it does, is that it shows me you get and rise above adversity and come back winners each time. It’s hard what you do, it’s exhausting, you deserve a big big career ahead of you, and I can’t wait to be there watching you on stage.” Paula’s a keeper.
Dim the lights, here we go…After the vote, over 45 million votes, Blake…you are safe…you may have a seat.
That means we lose LaKisha tonight, ladies and gentlemen.”
She cries through her goodbye video. In it she says, “I think people have more confidence in ‘Kisha than ‘Kisha has in herself…” She sings out, sassy and proud. Blake leaps off the couch to help her find her way down the dark stairway to the audience. She winds her way through the audience. She sounds tired and hoarse. Kiki didn’t win, but I don’t think she has to worry about going back to work at the bank. She and her daughter will be fine.