The early results are in for American Idol‘s Great Gender Experiment of 2013!
Conducted by Mad Scientist Nigel Lythgoe, the controversial study was built around the following premise: If we stack the deck for the nation’s most popular singing competition with first-rate female vocalists and a quintet of guys with the charisma of empty tomato cans, will the speed-dialing hordes finally hand a win to a woman?
Some might argue the whole hypothesis is really nothing more than Idol shooting itself in the junk in the name of gender parity, but in a world that gives us Rihanna’s goat bleat and Ke$ha’s battery-acid gargle and calls them music, I can’t be too angry over any effort — no matter how transparent — to foist a chica with actual talent onto the charts.
Anyhow, tonight’s Top 10 results telecast — the first elimination based on viewer votes in which the Season 12 guys and gals were competing together — was a crucial signpost as to whether voters were hopping aboard the Girl Power train. If Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Angie Miller or Amber Holcomb landed in the Bottom 3, then the show might as well change its name to American Boy Heartthrob. And if Janelle Arthur was sent packing before the likes of Curtis Finch Jr. or Lazaro Arbos, then the message would be similar — if not quite as dire.
Oh, and speaking of dire…poor Ryan Seacrest spent much of the hour sharing demographic info — Devin got 25% of the vote from Puerto Rico! Janelle placed first in the state of Tennessee! The Croods is coming to theaters on March 22! — that won’t make a blind bit of difference to anyone anywhere ever. On the flip side, however, the show doled out usually closely guarded intel on which contestants had landed in the Top 3, and the ranking of contestants Nos. 4-10. But before we get to those stats, let’s check in on the Season 12 Special Twist (TM): A singoff between the No. 6 vote-getter among the men and the women (aka the two contestants who fell just short of the Top 10) for a spot on the Idols Live! Summer Tour.
Charlie Askew: An original tune called “Sky Blue Diamond” | Charlie’s piano ballad was no “Azure Sky,” and I’ll admit I grimaced when he told Ryan he’d written it about having to choose between the show and “a two-and-a-half year relationship” (child, please!), but his vocal sounded less terrified than during the Top 40 or Top 20 rounds. Still, after last week’s emotional breakdown, are his parents really going to let him spend his summer in the national spotlight? If I was his dad, Charlie’s “Idol journey” would’ve ended last Thursday. #RealTalkMmmmkay Grade: C
Aubrey Cleland: Irene Cara’s “Out Here on My Own” | She’s got a pretty voice, but I’m not sure I could’ve been more bored if she’d taught three minutes’ worth of high-school trigonometry. Grade: C
Verdict: Give the 11th tour slot to BREANNA FREAKIN STEER! (Or maybe even Kez Ban.) That is all. Okay,
Okay, okay let’s cut to the critical shenanigans.
TOP 3 VOTE-GETTERS (in no particular order)
Wait, America got it right? Srsly? Okay, I’ll drop my incredulity and give the nation’s speed-dialing hordes a tip of the hat!
THE REMAINING CONTESTANT RANKINGS
4. Lazaro Arbos (okay, there’s the absurdity we all know and love!)
5. Amber Holcomb (she shoulda been 4th!)
6. Janelle Arthur
7. Burnell Taylor
8. Paul Jolley
Curtis Finch Jr.
SINGING FOR HIS LIFE
Curtis Finch, Jr.: R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” | I still can’t deal with R.Kelly’s OTT inspirational anthem, but if I’m being honest, Curtis seemed far more emotionally connected, far less ridiculous, and far more in tune than he did during last week’s Top 10 guys performance show. Still, methinks Nicki’s threat to quit the show if Curtis went home was too dramatic by half. I’d give him a B+, but (brace for subtle Kree shoutout) that ain’t evidence he deserved the sole Judges’ Save of Season 12. Not by any stretch of the imagination. And not considering how DREADFUL he was on “I Believe” Wednesday night. In fact, the only acceptable choices for elimination this week were Curtis and/or Lazaro, right?
Oh, and before I turn things over to you, a few more points of discussion:
* Phillip Phillips showed up and gave a very fine rendition of his latest single “Gone Gone Gone” (although I have to admit I wish somebody had powdered his forehead a bit before he took the stage) (I know, I’m a nightmare).
* Side note: Phillip showing up at the top of the show with the Top 10 contestants was a moment of unexpected hilarity.
* Bon Jovi sang, too, as their portraits in the attic continued to age. Can’t really say the song made an impact on me, though.
* If we have to endure group numbers, could they maybe not be an extended advertisement for a movie I don’t have any interest in seeing? Sheesh.
* How in the hell was Jimmy Iovine “completely sold” on Janelle after her lackluster Wednesday-night vocal? As long as the main mentor (and the judges) continue to drop utterly ridiculous comments like that, I’ll always hold my suspicions that none of ‘em are anything more than producer mouthpieces.
Okay, I’ve yapped enough for this week. What did you think of Top 10 results night? Did the right people end up in the bottom three? Did the right singer go home? And what did you make of the Sing-Off? Sound off below, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!
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