American Idol: And Then There Were Five

I’m not going to apologize for the lack of Idol coverage here at It’s Only Bullets.  Try as I might, I can’t get too into Idol this season, especially when there are much better viewing alternatives on TV.

That being said, we are down to the Final Five (a little BSG reference for all my fellow geeks out there), so I thought we should check in with my original predictions and talk about the remaining contestants.

Regarding the judges, I think they’re a huge bore.  When Randy is the “mean” judge, all the other critiques start to blend together into one pile of syrupy sweet, pseudo-criticism that is really getting old.  I long for the days of Simon, who wasn’t opposed to telling contestants they looked like Brazilian rainforest wildlife.

I don’t really understand all the flowers and rainbows that the judges constantly pile on all of the contestants.  I watch and watch, and try as I might, there’s hardly anything critical said at all.  I’ve sat at home and literally cringed watching some of these performances, only to choke on my ice cream a few minutes later when the judges lavish heaps of praise on a performance that made me want to perforate my eardrum.

The biggest issues the judges seem to have is with contestants playing it “safe” – by doing what?  Picking songs that they think best showcase their vocal talents?  Not everyone wants to hear quirky, artistic interpretations of this or that song.  Sometimes we just want to hear someone sing a song well!

So in descending order:

How in God’s holy name is Haley Reinhart, the Incredible Shrieking Harpy, still on this show?  When did growling and hiccuping make someone a good singer?  Isn’t she in the bottom three pretty much every week?  Everyone creamed themselves over her rendition of “Benny and the Jets”, but it’s her brutal destruction of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” that caught my attention.  It was atrocious.  And yet all the judges did their typical sugarcoating and tap dancing around the awfulness of it.

I participate in an American Idol pool, and every week we have to e-mail in our picks for the contestant who is going home.  Every week I send in Haley’s name.  She has to go home sometime, right?  For everyone’s ears’ sake, I hope it’s sooner than later.

Report Card: Haley apparently didn’t rank high enough on anything except my Hate-O-Meter, so I failed this one.  Unfortunately.

I’m still not sold on Jacob.  He’s an adorable guy, and you can tell he really feels the music.  But like Haley up there, he’s got a bit of a Banshee problem at times, and the judges not only like it, but encourage it.  I do think he has a really beautiful voice (and high five for singing the Space Jam song!!), but he’s been in the bottom a couple/a few times, too, so if America loves us, it’ll send Haley packing first.  I don’t have strong feelings either way on Jacob – he’s good but doesn’t blow me away.

Report Card:  I predicted Jacob would make it into the Top 10, and he did.  Aside from that, I had no predictions.  Solid B I’d say.

I’m also ambivalent towards James Durbin.  Some weeks I think he’s mostly a one-trick pony (screeching, high-note rocker), but then other weeks he comes out and kills it with something like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.  Similar to Jacob, James doesn’t elicit strong feelings either way for me.  He has a nice voice, but nothing that really knocks my socks off.  However, he has proven that he can do more than one genre, which is why I put him over Jacob.

Report Card:  Also predicted James would make the Top 10.  Another B.

Oh, Scotty, Scotty, Scotty.  Part of me is surprised that he made it this far, but part of me isn’t.  I’ve got to agree with my aunt on this one: I like listen to Scotty sing, but I don’t like to watch him.  That weird way he holds the microphone.  The strange way he sings out of the side of his mouth.  The facial contortions – all the winking and eyebrow raising and UGH.  Scotty, please stop!  He has a lovely voice, and I’m predicting he’ll make the top two because the tweeners and the grandmas alike all love him.  Is he better vocally thank Jacob or James?  I think a comparison is difficult, as their voices are so different, but Scotty definitely has the vocal ability.  Now if someone could just put a paper bag over his head.

Report Card: Predicted Scotty would make the Top 10.  So, another B?

Lauren Alaina is my pick for the winner.  Has she ever even been in the bottom 3?  (I don’t think she has, but I only did some cursory internet research.)  I love her voice, I love her performance, and I think she delivers consistently good performances.  It might be because I’m biased, but I think the judges are a little harsh on her sometimes.  For someone they really seem to love and who was an early frontrunner, they seem to criticize her a lot.  That being said, she has a great attitude, and I’m really pulling for her.

Report Card: Predicted a Top 10 spot for her as well.  Another B.

We’ll revisit this Final Five predictions at the end of the season!

A Note on Pia
As a female and an Idol watcher, I feel compelled to address a couple articles I read about Pia’s shocking elimination.  Like most viewers, I was pretty surprised when she was voted off.  I was not sad about it at all, and you could tell the judges were completely shocked and even perhaps regretted using their save on Casey (who I’m glad is gone – he and Haley can go make some growling babies together).

I don’t think I’ve ever voted in Idol, but there was an article in EW and also on another entertainment site that implied that Pia was voted off a) because she was a female and b) because she was too pretty.

While I can buy a little into the notion that the tweeners who flood Idol’s call lines and website are more prone to voting for cute guys, you’re talking about the same age bracket that worship and idolize brainless [expletive]s like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, so I can’t get on board with the fact that Pia was voted off just because she was a female.

Additionally, the “too pretty” excuse has to be the original #humblebrag, right?  Maybe Pia was voted off because big belting voices aren’t really on trend right now.  Maybe she was voted off because she’s a boring robot who showed no diversity in what she could do.  We’ve already got Whitney, Mariah, Celine, and Christina.  Idol has produced some really strong female voices – Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood (and yes, Jennifer Hudson, but I don’t like talking about her because she needs to stop shoving her new bobbleheaded weight loss in my face every five seconds) – so it’s not as if Idol viewers are completely clueless.  I for one couldn’t care less what Pia looked like (well, except for the Rachel Bilson part) – I was sick of hearing her sing huge, sweeping ballads every week.

There were rumors swirling that the producers would bring her back, a rumor they quickly debunked.  But don’t worry Pia fans – she’ll be back during the finale, I’m sure, and you can listen to her grandiose stylings on tour this summer.  So don’t feel too bad for the poor, pretty girl.

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