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American Idol Recap: Rock-and-Roll Homicide

AMERICAN IDOL: Music Superstar Carrie Underwood performs live on AMERICAN IDOL Thursday, April 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright: FOX.

Have you all recovered from rock night? Did you start your day with a sack of McGriddles and take a nap in the office bathroom with your forehead on the toilet-paper roll, or was that just me at 23 the morning after every show I went to? Tonight’s show opens with the top seven “continuing to honor last night’s rock theme” by singing Queen’s “Somebody to Love” — or should I say, listlessly miming along to a track of Queen’s “Somebody to Love”; the group harmony parts are so Auto-Tuned I caught it, and I am deaf from every show I went to at 23. But at least they’re smiling all the way through the sad lyrics.

Honest question: Do they have rehearsals for this show at all?

The Ford Fiesta Missions continue! Whereas last week their mission was to teach some impoverished schoolchildren to sing, tonight they are tasked with going through a giant wardrobe room and creating looks inspired by their own musical idols. American Idol’s social conscience kind of comes and goes is what I’m saying. The whole thing builds up to a group shot in which they all lean on a Ford Fiesta. It is not another wack-ass music video, so I accept it willingly into my heart.

And then it’s time for the day-old loaves of truth, courtesy of Jimmy Iovine. He agrees that most of the top seven picked the wrong song, and most of his critiques go along those lines. Here’s a fun idea that might save time and money: How about instead of him killing time on the night after the performance shows with his on-the-money opinions, what if we get him in there a day or two before the performance shows to say some of those opinions directly to the contestants’ faces, to make the performance shows less shitty and awkward? He thinks that Lazaro should be going home, but if he knows anything about how this whole thing works, he must know that’s not going to happen.

One thing the recap package reminded me of is how often Mariah ends her criticisms with just a “Yay.” One solitary, mirthless “Yay.” It’s kind of the theme song of the season, when you get down to it.

And then it is time for an IDOL UPDATE, which is apparently a thing they’re doing when they bring back the non-winners from past seasons, except they didn’t do it when Casey Abrams or Colton Dixon came by, but let’s not think too hard about it. Tonight, Casey James visits! Jesus, do you remember when Kara DioGuardi made him remove his shirt and expose his little boy chest? (Jesus, do you remember Kara DioGuardi?) Anyway, since that time he’s become a big country star and I hope he’s been doing some pushups. His song “Good Times” sounds like something you’d hear in a pharmaceutical ad, he still looks like a young Gretchen Mol, he plays a guitar solo, and his guitar is actually plugged in. Plus, he got all of the top seven something to remind them of their hometowns. So I officially approve of Casey James. 

Ooh — here’s a fun twist: Tonight, each judge must reveal his or her top three! Keith’s are Angie, Amber, and Kree. So are Nicki’s! So are everyone’s, I would assume. Nicki: “I don’t know if Amber is turning America on with the votes and stuff,” and then we cut to Amber, who is in mid-grimace, “but she is young a Whitney Houston, I don’t care what you got to say about it.” I have one thing to say: Can we take better care of this Whitney Houston? Randy’s are the same, because even a stopped clock that’s been turned into a man-brooch tells the right time twice a day. Mariah’s is slightly different: Amber, Kree, and Candice. Ryan says “Mariah threw a change-up pitch!” It is the least-convincing sports talk I have ever heard, and I have been to gay sports bars.

And the actual voters’ top three is ... Kree! Angie! And ... Lazaro? Candice is not having it. Candice’s “not having it” faces are a real highlight of the results shows. And I agree with her here. I feel like the “awww cute boy” voting bloc is colluding with the “vote with the worst” bloc and now we’re stuck with this guy who doesn’t even have the wisdom to be an entertaining car crash.

(By the way, many commenters have mentioned the three potatoes Lazaro’s been stuffing down the front of his trousers, and I don’t want to get into it. Between this and Jon Hamm, there is suddenly too much dick talk for me, and I have been to gay sports bars.)

Carrie Underwood comes to perform! Her skin, lip, and dress color are all a light orange. Did you know she got her start on American Idol? You guys, it’s true.

Back to the results. Candice is safe! As is Amber, making our bottom two Janelle and Burnell. Nicki points out — accurately — that going home at this stage “is not a failure by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a win. Win win win.” (Especially since winning is no guarantee of success, and losing can be an awesome stepping stone. I mean, look at Casey James. No, seriously: Get a good look at him; does he appear to have adult muscle tone yet?)

Anyway, on the bottom and forced to sing for the save is ... Burnell Taylor. Okay: The guy’s got a beautiful voice and a heartbreaker of a backstory, but MY GOD MAN, if you want to succeed at American Idol, get yourself a free trial of Rdio and familiarize yourself with some popular songs. It’s the least you can do. Still, he seems to have been a popular character. The other finalists are crying. Mariah is crying so ugly she can’t face the camera. The whole judges table is crying, in fact. One thing they are not doing is talking to each other, which would seem to be a thing you would want to do when you’re collectively deciding whether to use the save on somebody. Which they don’t do here. (Burnell does sing the final line of “Ready for Love” right at Amber. RIGHT AT HER FACE, so maybe he was season twelve’s one heterosexual exception.)

Now the judges have one week left to use the save, so there’s really no reason for them not to. Get ready for nobody to go home next week. In next week’s results show, officially nothing will happen. See you there.