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American Idol Recap: Paul F. Tompkins Makes It Through the Final 24 Fake-Outs

PREVIOUSLY ON AMERICAN IDOL:

Jennifer Lopez cried because she had to tell someone whose singing was just okay that he couldn’t stay on the Competition for the Singer Who Is Better Than Average (even though his girlfriend is in a wheelchair). J.Lo was crying like nobody’s business. Randy Jackson gallantly asked if the production could take a five-minute break …

Our story resumes after the five-minute break. I guess that’s all it took. Now we are back to eliminating or accepting more contestants, which we started doing last night, but couldn’t finish. What is this, Nicholas Nickleby?

MySpace’s Karen Rodriguez is the first to walk Spanish down the Idol hall. We are treated to a clip of her private airplane concert, wherein her rendition of a Selena song makes J.Lo cry, perhaps for her former film career. MySpace’s Karen makes it through and misses a tremendous opportunity by not telling the judges, “Thanks for the add.”

Robbie Rosen, the “probable shellfish-avoiding” contestant (you know what I mean), apparently had some childhood ailment? Did we know this before? Was he hiding his human-interest light under a privacy bushel? Robbie gets in after Steven Tyler does another bad fake-out like he did last night. Dude, you are not good at this.

Tatynisa Wilson makes it through even though the judges talked a good while about how much she is not ready for this pressure. So congratulations are possibly in order, maybe! Tim Halperin makes it in, and the producers cut away before we can hear the full version of the torturous Tyler fake-out that begins, “I’m sorry to tell you … ”

Julie Zorilla makes it in, too. But, surely more television exposure means the guerrillas will find her. The guerrillas, Julie! She is so excited she picks up Ryan Seacrest and falls down. Ryan says, “That’s one of those moments that will be on the DVD.” There are not seriously DVDs of this show, are there? Hold on. Okay, I just looked. There are. Wow.

Next, the country dudes are on the chopping block. During a Coca-Confessional in the advertising lounge, Ryan imitates Scotty McCreery singing his one song. Good, I’m not the only one who’s been singing that one line over and over again. However, we see a clip of Scott’s airplaneformance and discover he knows another song (it’s churchy) and plays guitar. Despite the ups and downs of Hollywood Week, Scotty makes it through! Baby, unlock them doors! John Wayne Schulz gets country cut. Personally, I think he needed to mix up the hats a little, like Curt Jun Gamboa did with his glasses. If you’re going to accessorize, don’t half-ass it. Also, I love how these country dudes are supposed to be some echo of noble, “real” men, but they wear their hats indoors. Even Rooster Cogburn took his hat off in court.

As ship-buildin’ Jovany Barreto waits his turn, Ryan rips the price tags out of Jovany’s jacket and makes a big deal out of doing so. Hey, Ryan, not everyone is rich from introducing things, so the kid might have planned on returning that jacket to the store. I hope he wins this thing just so he doesn’t have to sweat the cost of that suit, thanks to you. He might, too, because he makes it in (he probably will not win).

When professional toilet cleaner Lauren Turner makes it through, she gets to celebrate for about three seconds before some brother or cousin of hers steals focus by pretending to faint. Everyone freezes until he springs back up and laughs. I cannot imagine the fury Lauren must feel. If I ever somehow find myself near this guy, I promise to set him on fire.

Rachel Zevita makes it through after another painful Tyler misdirect. Why won’t the producers let Randy and J.Lo take over fake-out duties? Just for the next few rounds, even. I cannot stress enough how poor of a job he is doing with this very simple construct.

Kendra Chantelle makes it through, but this time she does the fake-out to the people in the waiting room! It is not a refreshing change of pace. I am now fully against these fake-outs. My tolerance has been exhausted. I bet there won’t be any more, so, just in time, right?

Jordan Dorsey gets through, and in revisiting his Hollywood Week travails, we see a brief clip of Scotty singing “Baby lock them doors … ” Ah, were we ever so young? I’m assuming that song has a name. But I refuse to look it up. I will not even Shazam it. It’s a mystery I’d like to preserve to keep my life interesting. Thank you. Lauren Alaina wears a special super-sparkly outfit and makes it through after an especially protracted fake-out. I am grinding my teeth to nubs.

As Stefano Langone takes his seat on the dais, we are reminded of the mysterious car accident he endured. And perhaps caused. No further information is available about this accident. Stop asking so many questions. Look, all you need to know is: Accident! Stefano doesn’t make the top 24. FAKE-OUT! Yes he does. I got you! It felt good to do that. I get it now. The POWER. Jackie Wilson does not make it. After a terse “Nice to meet you” to the judges, she leaves. Her Billy-Bob-Thorntonian boyfriend is waiting outside in a new hat to escort her home.

Superhumanly emotive Jacob Lusk makes it through. The judges even dispense with the customary fake-out. Jacob loses his damn mind and run-dances down the aisle and though the airplane hangar like he is wearing fiberglass insulation. If this guy wins this thing, he will achieve the power of flight or perhaps just be assumed into heaven.

Pia Toscano makes it through. The fake-out is brief but does include sound effects. At this point I notice that it looks like Randy Jackson’s eyes are painted on his glasses.

James Durbin makes it through. Good news for his hungry, diaper-less baby! Good news also for fans of high-pitched scream-singing, whether it makes sense in a particular song or not. I am not fond of this style and am not looking forward to hearing more from James. And the scarf-tails. Casey Abrams receives high praise from the judges and jumps up so excitedly he knocks over a chair. This moment was teased all night as if it is perhaps violent in nature. It isn’t. I’m sorry I am even writing about it now.

There is only one spot left for the girls, and it’s down to Thia Magia and Jessica Cunnigham. They keep Thia and lose Jessica, even though it’s Jessica’s 25th birthday and she probably has a better chance of winning than Thia does. Hey, maybe Jessica will come back next year! As long as she doesn’t do something stupid later, like flip off the camera, and tell the judges they deserve it and that they know they deserve it, and hold her extended middle fingers up for a full minute, and tell the viewing audience that although there are American Idol logos floating in front of her, they are only there to hide her extended middle fingers. As long as she doesn’t do anything like that, she has a pretty good shot next season. FAKE-OUT! SHE DOES ALL OF THAT!

Now the only guys left are Brett Loewenstern, Jacee Badeaux, and someone named Colton Dixon, who looks vaguely familiar. I almost want to say I’ve seen him on this season of American Idol. There is only one spot left in the top 24, but not if you ask Brett, who starts an anxious, twitchy argument with Ryan about it, insisting that there are actually two spots left. Brett is so trembly and dogged about there being two spots that I begin to think Ryan might be doing a fake-out. The fake-outs have been substandard anyway, so who knows? Eventually everyone in the room tells Brett there’s only one spot. On the judging dais, Steven Tyler assesses the three guys, talking about Jacee having a hard time, how Brett had a bad upbringing, and how Colton is “just crazy good.” But talent is no match for a bad childhood, because Brett makes it through. As J.Lo hugs poor Jacee, my wife tells me to pause the show so we can gaze for a moment at the golden, sparkly skin of J.Lo’s shoulder. People who are against marriage don’t have one as great as mine. After the boys break the news to their families, Brett makes a little speech: “It doesn’t matter who made it, because we’re all shining stars.” If he is not reminded of this by absolutely everyone within earshot of his inevitable departure from the show, I will consider the experiment that is the human race to be a failure.

See you next week.

Photo: FOX