We are so close to the end, Idol peeps! Whatever will we talk about once this is over? But why rush toward the moment when the trumpets call, the confetti falls, and another Idol is crowned, very likely to vanish into the mists. Let us gather our rosebuds while we may, and follow Scotty, Lauren and Haley on their home visits.
As you know, the home visits are the same every. Single. Year. And thus I have no interest in recapping them. Last year I used my handy Idol template: [Singer name] visits their hometown of [City] and sees their [parents/child/teacher]. They are celebrated at a [concert/school/fair] with a crowd of [hundreds/many/3]. Tonight's previews bear me out--each visit looks EXACTLY the same. I think this year I'll just make up my own version of what happens.
Our judges come out, and J.Lo has gone with a "mutton dressed as lamb" theme--too-short sequined dress with little puffed/ruched sleeves. It's not good. Ryan begins by reminding us that we are still reeling from the shock of losing James...and then has to wait for the audience to figure out that they're supposed to be upset. And eek--I think we just saw frozen-faced Priscilla Presley in the audience (unsmiling). Could that be possible?
Is this the week when we hear from them three times each? Or is that just for the final 2? I hope the latter...the rainy weather is making my wrists ache. #bloggerproblems :) Nope, I'm out of luck--three rounds tonight. Round 1: Contestant's choice. Round 2: Jimmy Iovine's choice. Round 3: Judges' choice. Who's going to get stuck with Steven's pick? But now we're getting an intro package about Beyonce, going all the way back to her childhood home movies. Ah...she is our mentor this week. Her longevity suggests that she might actually have good input!
Non-Idol interlude! Wally appears to think he is Paul Revere this week. He's taken to galloping from room to room, caterwauling all the way. I keep trying to tell him we don't have an Old North Church in our kitchen, but he remains steadfast. Anyone know where I can find a tiny tricorn hat?
Scotty is our first contestant, and he will be singing Lone Star's "Amazed." Beyonce says, "Scotty, that's my boy!" in a way that makes me think she may not be entirely impartial. She tells him she loves Lone Star, which also surprises me. Although in an interview she wonders if Scotty is fully confident in his upper register, in person she tells him it sounded effortless. (It did not.) But this song will be a Scotty Usual.
For performance, I swear he's wearing something he's worn before...plaid shirt, jean jacket. He's leaning against a grand piano, creating some terrifying mashup of honkytonk cabaret. He sounds fine, but this is a pretty boring performance, and he still sounds tight up top. It didn't do him any harm, but this wasn't a moment, despite the long glory note he holds at the end of the song. Judges? Steven thinks he just keeps getting better and better, and claims he "saw him get angry and kick that song into the middle of next week." Scotty denies it, because god forbid he display strong emotion of any kind. J.Lo loves him and says that he's grown as a performer, and now he uses vibrato all the time. Um...good? Randy loves his glory note and says, "When you looked into the camera...that's MONEY." More true than even he knows.
Non-Idol interlude! So, creepy about Arnold the Gubernator, huh? Bet those women he groped and then discredited aren't exactly surprised.
Lauren is up next, and she's chosen a Faith Hill song, "Wild One." This is an early Faith song that I confess I love. It's peppy and sassy and, as Beyonce notes, it's a good choice for her. Lauren says she's nervous, and Beyonce says that in real life she's actually shy, but before she walks on stage, she tells herself she's a diva. Let's all take that to heart, shall we? When you leave for work in the morning, look in the mirror and say to yourself, "I am strong. I'm a diva."
Oof--Angry Stylist is not voting for Lauren. She's dressed her in a cute red & white tunic, but there are these enormous white flower earrings and white boots, and basically she's wearing mod crossed with Hawaiian. Neither of which says "country." She sounds OK, but there's very little performance--it's super karaoke. Judges agree: J.Lo says she attacked the song, but Randy reminds her that she's at her best when she loosens up, as she did in the auditions by singing with Steven. Steven assures her she's ready for this, but her performance tonight says otherwise.
Non-Idol interlude! That AT&T ad with the guy who misses the flashmob time change is actually kind of meta--is AT&T the last to know that flashmobs are kind of over? And what ever happened to that TV show about the flashmobs? Wasn't I just grumping about that at the beginning of this season? How long has this show been going on? I feel like Rip Van Winkle.
Haley's song choice is "What Is and What Should Never Be" by Led Zeppelin. Man, she has just said "Screw you" to the Idol producers, hasn't she? She's figured out that she's not going to win, so this is just going to be the biggest audition she's ever had. (And maybe she's rubbing James' nose in it a bit?) She tells Beyonce that she's hoping her dad, who introduced her to classic rock, will be able to sit in with her.
She starts at the top of the Idol stairs, leaning on the safety gate that keeps fans from tumbling onstage. Wow, that was a lot of stairs to manage in those heels. I was worried for her. Oops...she bites it later on her lap around the judges' stand and falls to her knees--good recovery, though! I don't know this song at all, but I suppose she's doing well. The camera is paying a lot of attention to her guitarist, so I'm guessing that's her dad? OK, this song is endless and kind of dull. I guess it was good, but this was also not "a moment." The audience is going nuts for her, though--they're finally awake. Randy agrees, and says Haley "is slaying it." Steven says, "Haley, did you fall for me?" Ew. Steven, put it away. He loved it, though. J.Lo sweetly tells her that everybody falls, including her and Beyonce. (It's true! Remember J.Lo wiping out in her Louboutins? Anyway, J.Lo loved her too.
Non-Idol interlude! An incredibly long trailer for an upcoming TV show that looks like Jurassic Park? Jeez, this commercial lasted longer than the entire run of "Mad Love."
It's time for Jimmy's picks...but first we have to watch Scotty's entire audition again. It makes me miss his low voice, which he hasn't used in a while. Jimmy gives him "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?" by Thompson Square. What by what? But Scotty's happy, so I'm assuming it's another country mainstay. No rehearsal footage, we go right into performance. Thanks for coming by, Beyonce! Scotty's playing guitar for this one, and it's a big help, because it stops him from making creepy mike faces and Van Dude poses. Song's a little dull, but flirty and wholesome, so it'll work fine for him. Crowd loves it, judges love it. Steven thinks it was great, and J.Lo seems almost undone by Scotty's passion and his comfort onstage. And she asks him to buzz his hair for the finale, because seeing his audition tape reminded her how cute he was then! Randy teases her a bit, and praises Jimmy's song choice. I liked it better when Simon picked songs because they would challenge the contestants a bit. But Randy says Scotty is...throw to Ryan who says "in it to win it?" Yes, of course.
Non-Idol interlude! Twitter is recommending I follow...Twitter. I feel like if I did that, I would slip into an internet black hole.
We come back from break to find Lauren still backstage, getting makeup put on her legs because her stockings ripped. Ryan throws us to tie-dyed Lauren's audition, singing Steven's song with him. For Lauren, Jimmy tells her that "songs are very strange animals" as a lead-in to a song he thinks is perfect for her: "If I Die Young," by Parody. [Parody? Parity? Perigee?] Angry Stylist has gone with a fashion mashup--top half is Madonna circa "Borderline," bottom half is six-year-old's Easter dress. Lauren does actually sound quite nice on this song, and because it's softer and a little more somber in its lyrics, she's not required to dance. There's a glory note section at the end for her, and she goes up, though she gets a little screamy at the end. She can sing, but she doesn't have the performance maturity yet to take it all, I think.
Do the judges agree? J.Lo says Lauren has the most beautiful tone of the performers, and then says she has "an honest moment" in the middle of the song, which I think means her voice broke? But where J.Lo was tactful, Randy follows up by totally outing her--she modulated too early and then had to pop back up to catch up with the band. Tells her to "stay in it!" That doesn't sound like winning to me. Steven loves it (surprise) and doesn't care about the misstep. Ryan shores her up by cutting to her (preternaturally youthful) mom and reminding us that Lauren is kittens and rainbows and apple pie.
Non-Idol interlude! So, what should be my next recapping project, once Idol is over? I think it's too late for The Voice, since we're halfway through, but both So You Think You Can Dance and X Factor are starting up. Or something else? MasterChef? I welcome suggestions in the comments!
Haley's audition reminds us that she needed two tries to get onto Idol, and now in her pre-song interview, she tells us that her biggest challenge will be remembering the words. Jimmy chose "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac, and Haley's delighted, because she grew up listening to Stevie Nicks. Jimmy reminds Haley to pay attention to dynamics. For the performance, Haley starts out slow and soft, a la "Rising Sun" from the other week. Her rasp is in full effect, but I think she gets squeaky on the high notes. When she opens up to the faster part of the song, she actually gets a wind machine. A wind machine, people! She looks like a Halston ad. She sounds good, but either her earlier fall made her nervous, or she's afraid to lose her wind effects, because she doesn't move from that spot. It's starting to look like a Bonnie Tyler video.
Randy says she's in the zone, finds her funny (for reasons he doesn't clearly express), but says she's pitch perfect. And then he laughs at the wind machine and says he's going to grow his hair out. Steven says "you sang that song so beautiful it reminded me why I fell in love with Stevie Nicks to begin with." I thought it was because she let Steven raid her closet! J.Lo thought it was "very pretty," but thought she was going to take it further. They all sound surprised by her restraint, but not displeased.
Ryan comes to the judges to see who they think won the round, and they give us two Scotties and a Lauren. Sorry, Haley. They're over you.
Sort-of Idol interlude! We watch Beyonce's new video. She would like us to know that Girls Run the World.
Judges' Pick round! Who will pick for whom? They don't specify, but they show Scotty standing on the conveyor belt at Whole Foods receiving that all-important text. He'll be singing "She Believes in Me," by Kenny Rogers. Wow, they are not at all invested in stretching him, huh? At least Angry Stylist put him in a sport coat for this one. (But over a t-shirt and jeans. He's still a Real Man, after all.) He's sitting on a stool next to his friend the honkytonk cabaret piano player, and the sex-offender eyes are back. Cut to J.Lo, who is singing along with him. I will roll my eyes enough for all of us, never fear.
The judges love him. I confess I wasn't listening closely, because Gordon came in to discuss the merits of chocolate rice krispy treat vs. donut with me. Let's just assume that they all adored him and think he's ready to fill stadiums already.
Non-Idol interlude! I followed a link from Gawker today that took you to the Seychelles resort where Prince William and Kate honeymooned (at $6000/night). The front page is a gorgeous photo of private villas and one little link saying, "Click here." I clicked, hoping for lavish photos of room after room, but nothing happened. I think the website knew I would never be in a position to stay at that resort, and decided it was better that I don't see it. The website was probably right.
Lauren's judges' pick is "I Hope You Dance" by Leanne Womack. Another straight-down-the-middle pitch. (Oh, wait, baseball metaphors should be Scotty's.) I don't think she's going to win Idol, but she's won the Angry Stylist trifecta! This time she's in a turquoise spangly floor length ball gown and looks like a guest star on "Solid Gold." Or "Hee Haw." But she does get a fog machine! She sings the song very nicely, hits a high note or two, but this song is dull. However, the crowd and J.Lo disagree with me and give her a standing O. J.Lo tells her that Lauren's song "gave her goosies all over." Randy loved it, says she's IITWI, and she looks beautiful. Steven says she sang the song perfectly, and he's "so happy." I'd say we're definitely looking at a countrylicious final two.
Non-Idol interlude! I think I'm going to attend my 20th college reunion this year. I'm interested to see how it's possible that I graduated 20 years ago, considering I'm only 29 now. My old roommates are all coming, too, so it should be fun--especially as we'll try to all stay in the same place! This appeals to me greatly, because if I had my druthers all of my friends and I would live in one apartment building, like Melrose Place without the inter-apartment sex, fights and murder.
What's Haley's song? "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrisette. OK, that's actually a great choice. And Haley looks fierce! Kind of Olivia Newton-John at the end of "Grease." She rides the stairs onto the stage (she's sitting on them while they roll out). But wow...Haley is losing her voice. Or she started so low that she can't actually sing all the notes in the verses. She sounds great on the choruses, but of course, this is the time that she's supposed to be screaming. And she does. I seriously think the show has it in for Haley--her songs were the hardest of the night, and she didn't even get to receive her text in front of a hometown crowd! They just showed her riding in a car getting the text. Not cool, show. You were so uneven you forced me to refer to the home visits! The judges are awfully guarded in their praise--trying not to set off her rabid fan base?--but they loved the choruses and acknowledged the flaws with the verses.
Whew! That's it, and just in time. My hands are tired. I don't think tonight did anything to cast doubt on Scotty's inevitable supremacy. Of course, I'm almost always wrong when it comes down to final 2, so could we see a Lauren upset? Who do you think will be our Idol? Can't wait to talk about it with you all next week! (Let's all dress up.)