Idol Thoughts — 02.16.10

Who’s in the Top 24? That’s the question that was 29 percent answered on American Idol tonight. We learned 7 of them. The other 17 will be revealed tomorrow night. And you thought it was a cheesy tease when Ryan Seacrest says, “We’ll find out after the break.” This break is 22 hours long.

Right about 9:15, I realized they weren’t wrapping this up tonight. And in honor of this episode, which was very non-chronological, I’ll be tossing out my observations in whatever order they reach my typing fingers.

BIG MIKE – He made it. Top 24. Simon Cowell wondered if Michael Lynche, the laid-back 26-year old personal trainer and new dad, has the confidence to win…before giving him the good news. As genial as this guy is, he’ll need to really step up his game to make the Top 12. He sings with more conviction than most. And he should emphasize that. But opening up a little more to viewers and letting them get to know him will earn him as many votes.

Vitamin Water cups on the judges table. Orange and white. This is not right. Red and white! Coke! It just doesn’t look right any other way. But go figure. Coke owns Vitamin Water. So for Hollywood Week, they’re using their sponsorship clout to throw some spotlight on this product. Worry not. Coke cups return for the live Top 24 shows. The affects of uncaffeinated judges on who makes the Top 24 remain unclear at this time.

SHELBY DRESSEL – No. Does not make the Top 24. Shelby’s the first to hear bad news of the contestants that remain. Her countrified version of Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” was potentially inspired, started out great, but hit a real bad note going into what was a cheese-ball chorus. The last 45 minutes of tonight’s show were devoted to those scenes where the judges deliver the news, good or bad, to the contestants. They walked down a long aisle at the Kodak Theater to the stage where the judges wait with their fate.

Also not making the Top 24: everybody in Room #2. That was earlier in the show. And not surprising for anybody paying attention. That meant no shot at performing before a live audience and being voted on by viewers for rocker Mary Powers (another Idol cautionary tale about overconfidence, a frequent source of downfall on the show). Also eliminated in this fell swoop: Hope Johnson, who sang a very pitchy version of Daughtry‘s “Home”; Charity Vance, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles being a nice song choice, but some of her phrasing didn’t work: Lloyd Thomas, who the further he made it in this competition revealed more his limitations, was the umpteenth person to sing Michael Jackson‘s “Man In The Mirror”; Christian Spear, who hasn’t been shown much since her audition; And Bryan Walker, the singing cop.

“Performances” tonight were generally small clips–maybe a verse and chorus. Not much. Ryan Seacrest got much more “vocal time” tonight, his dramatic narration attempting to hold together this swerving-all-over-the-place episode.

TODRICK HALL – He made it. But you knew he would. That’s why all episode, Idol producers tried to fake you out by showing the clip several times of Todrick’s reaction: “That’s it?” It was a reaction to a non-drawn out, “Hey, you made it.” Not, “It’s the end of the road.”

KATELYN EPPERLY – Yes. Top 24. Ellen DeGeneres does a bit about how cruel it is to string along a contestant before telling them yes or no…while stringing along the Katelyn. Amusing. But obvious comedic terrain for a long while now.

Oh, Room #1 and #3 advanced. That was earlier in the show. And if you sensed that #2 were the goners, then you know the news was good for the others. Forty six singers survived that cut and they make up the contestants vying for the 24 slots in the judges’ final cut.

CASEY JAMES – Kara’s crush from Cool, Texas (a real place) lands in the Top 24. I never doubted this. Said so here. Simon’s the one that created this guy’s “underdog” storyline by calling his audition boring and voting no while the other judges gave Casey yeses. Seems a lock to make Top 12.

DIDI BENAMI – Top 24. She cries. A lot. Tonight. And just about every other time we’ve seen her. I don’t know if it’s entertaining, like in a hot mess kinda way. Or annoying. But I’m sure the answer will be apparent soon enough.

AARON KELLY – The 16-year old the ‘tweens are gonna love and vote for. Personally, I’m not sure he’s ready. He’s faltered since hitting Hollywood. But I get it. He’s likable, marketable, has potential to grow, and definitely good for ratings with younger viewers. He kind of needs to be in there. So he is.

What do you think about tonight’s show?

Greg Valentine
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