Mostly just people singing quite well with a minimum of fuss. Thank God for Ashley Sullivan.
Ashley Sullivan : After the ups and downs of the group round, Ashley finally got it together and delivered a calm, confident, assured and strikingly professional performance. Kidding! I’m totally kidding. No, she was an absolute mess yet again, God love her. She attempted to sing…whatever it was, I can’t even remember at this point, and it’s not like it really matters either way, but she screeched and scraped her way through it and had to restart a couple of times, and basically sobbed her way to the end, and ran out into the arms of her slightly intense boyfriend who told her that she’d done well and she screamed “YOU’RE LYING!” and it was all very funny and then…she got through to the next round? Seriously: the fuck?
CARSON VS CHRIS! : CLASH OF THE CENTURY! To be honest I’m not sure I gave this BATTLE OF THE AGES the full respect that the programme expected me to. Sure there was a pleasing contrast of personalities, a neat “friends turned foe” riff, and some cool performances, but really the whole thing was predicated on how crazy and wacky it was for two young middle-class white guys to be performing “My Prerogative”. I mean…Britney Spears did it. Kris Allen won by basically doing this sort of thing like Chris Medina did it. This is not new under the sun. Anywho, in this particular clash, it was implied that Chris Medina had in fact lost by doing the song acoustic style, and Carson Higgins had won by just doing it straight up, which is a novelty for this era of American Idol. Which hopefully bodes well after the acoustic mess that was last year. I still say Carson and Ashley Sullivan need to hook up. He could give her the stability she surely needs. Just think how this could have worked as a duet. Amazing isn’t it?
Casey Abrams : I feel it’s very fortunate for Casey that Rory McGrath isn’t famous at all in America because trust me, if he were, this guy wouldn’t be getting compared to Seth Rogan any more. In the round of a thousand instruments, Casey decided to play the double bass, and once again we skated along that very thin line between brilliant, groundbreaking audition and baffling, terrible audition. Personally I’m very much of the latter opinion, because he howled like a wild animal, went disturbingly red in the face and basically looked like that guy you avoid sitting next to on the train at all costs. There seems to have been a fair bit of positive reception to this performance as well though, so maybe I’m just totally square, man.
Chelsee Oaks : I feel for Chelsee. I genuinely believe that she’s had the kind of life so tragic that it must one day be turned into an opera. I mean, not only did her ex-boyfriend whom she didn’t like get eliminated yesterday, but then her newfound BFF who joined her in the Contrived Couples Alliance suddenly got taken ill in a very telegenic way and had to withdraw from the competition. The editing monkeys would have us believe this happened immediately before Chelsee took to the stage; I have my suspicions that it happened somewhat less dramatically than that in reality. Whatever the truth of the matter, Chelsee went out and pretty much biffed her way through ‘Because Of You’, and thus the last of the Contrived Couples Alliance fell out of the competition. A sad day for us all, I feel.
Clint Jun Gamboa : Poor Clint Jun Gamboa. He was just doing what he had to do. In building that amazing Haunted House variation on “Get Ready”, hauling all his children, including the hideously one note (in one song) Scott McReary through to the promised land of THE ROOMS, sacrifices had to be made. The sacrifice of chubby angelic children (which is always how it used to work in the Greek tragedies as well, and Lord knows did they always get theirs afterwards) with sweet but very definitely solo voices. Someone had to do it. Scott was too passive, that girl with the glasses too needy (and Lord knows we saw this week what happened to her when left without the strong hand of Clint Jun Gamboa guiding her). It had to be Clint Jun Gamboa. And now, for that, he is the villain. He made a young boy cry, it doesn’t matter how amazingly he did Georgia (for the record, kind of amazing, but not as amazing as Sophia Shorai’s) he’s not going much further. I mean let’s face it, he’s not really hot/not annoying looking for it to be so anyway, but I feel for him.
Jacob Lusk : OH MY GOD, WHERE DID THIS ANGEL COME FROM? To be fair, the panel seemed as surprised and delighted as I was by the sudden outbreak of scatting, diva maneouvres, awesome improv and pure leather lunged BELTING that came flying out of Jacob Lusk like bats in Santa hats out of a particularly dark but festive (possibly strewn with fairy lights and housing a family of friendly raccoons) cave. For which reason I am left to conclude that Jacob Lusk has perfect timing, and hit exactly as hard as he needed to in each round to get through without wearing himself out or peaking too soon.. Until this glorious moment, which was followed by him collapsing and weeping outside, weak-kneed, like he had in a very real way been exorcised. Audition of the Season. Audition of the Series. AUDITION OF MY LIFE.
Lauren Alaina : One of the rules that seems to prove true in all singing-based reality shows worldwide is that it’s not a good idea to show your limitations too soon. As with Scott (see below), I suspect Lauren may yet regret returning to the Aerosmith well quite so soon in the competition. After all, ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ is rather overdone on shows like this to begin with, and when the original singer of that song is one of the judges, it does tend to look a little bit gross. Especially when you also take into consideration the fact that she gave him a lapdance during group round. I just want to send her a video of Tatianna Del Toro and go “THIS IS WHY IT IS A BAD IDEA”. Not that Lauren’s as much fun as Tatianna was. She’s probably got a good three performances of that damn song left in her anyway.
Scott McReary : If I hear that bloody song again it’ll be too soon. I appreciate that he’s only actually sung it twice, beyond when he went round the room begging with it, practically with a cloth cap in hand, but if he doesn’t know more than one song (or to be kind, one artist), then what’s the point? I mean, there’s a certain charm in him improvising by just singing about his junk instead of the actual words (nuts of wonder, wang filled jeans, whatever) but seriously, pop him back in the oven, or at least give him a radio, before you pull him all the way to the live shows – the point where he can’t audition again in future. Because at the moment all he’s going to be able to do is that one song and also possibly My Ding-A-Ling.