When Ryan opened the “American Idol” Top 6 results show, he told us that some people were going to be very upset about who was going home. I suspect everyone at home collectively thought, “It’s not Jacob?” Even Jimmy Iovine put Jacob on “banana peel” status. My first thought was Haley was going home, and her demeanor all night seemed to indicate she figured she was a goner, too. Lo and behold, the growling jazz singer Casey had his final curtain tonight, and his final performance was sweet, amusing and terrifying all at once.
The opening group number of Carole King tunes was all kinds of bad, but in an enjoyably bad B-movie kind of way. The Top 6 contestants fully embraced the corny choreography and played it up to euphorically ridiculous heights, with James even tilting his head until it touched Casey’s as they sang a duet. Haley and James opened the number and neither one seemed completely on pitch, but Haley did a lot better blending with Lauren later on. “American Idol” once again went to extremes to highlight their favorite, Scotty, surrounding him with faux-adoring swaybot girls.
Next was the Ford video, with a rendition of “Our House” that at least sounded less tinny than usual. It seemed a variation on a theme used previously, with the Top 6 using “magic” markers to draw themselves a cool house to hang out in. Of course they also drew a garage so they could drive their Ford cars out of it.
The first performance of the night was returning “American Idol” alum Crystal Bowersox. I confess that Crystal’s music really isn’t my thing, and like her “AI” run, her voice is a little weak in some of the verses. The song, “Ridin’ with the Radio,” was a decently catchy tune and Crystal belted out some nice notes on the chorus. She also seemed more comfortable on the stage, jamming with her back-up band and getting into the song. Definitely one of the better “AI” guest performances this season, and it was cute seeing her look of pleased surprise as all of the Top 6 contestants excitedly hugged her after she was done singing.
It’s Filler Time on “American Idol.” Ryan gave each contestant a question sent in from a fan. We found out that Casey would love to duet with jazz musician Oscar Peterson, because of his way with “chord structure, musicality and musical genius.” Jacob discovered his vocal range at age “6 or 7,” when he sang at church with his mother and tackled every part from soprano to tenor. Lauren said the hardest part of the show was missing her friends and family, and she sent good wishes to everyone in the south suffering from the extreme weather. Scotty and Ryan both added their good thoughts as well.
Haley named Adam Lambert as one of her favorite “American Idol” contestants ever, no doubt returning the favor for his Twitter shout-outs in the last couple of weeks. She also mentioned Siobhan Magnus and Kelly Clarkson, and said she liked the Lee/Crystal match-up last year and their bluesy style. When Ryan teased her, “No Taylor Hicks?” Haley wisely took the high road and said, “Yes, him too! See, there are so many!” Ha. Nice try, Ryan.
Fifty extra points for Haley now, for finally expressing her true feelings–though unfortunately had to be bleeped out. “American Idol” showed a video of each contestant, including Jimmy giving his frank opinion of their chances. Jimmy once again trotted out the “she doesn’t know who she is,” mantra, and said if she went home tonight, that would be the reason. After her censored reply, Haley asked Ryan in an exasperated tone, “Who am I? Somebody please tell me! I know who I am.” Like many an “AI” contestant before her, Haley wonders why showing versatility is a bad thing. Guess she’ll have to ask frontrunner “stay in your lane” Scotty.
After all of that, Ryan actually sent Haley to the couches. No bottom three for Haley tonight, although several times Ryan said “in no particular order,” so there might not be any way to tell how the remaining five contestants ranked. Whatever the story, Haley is safe, and that’s a good thing.
Speaking of “stay in your lane,” Jimmy Iovine showed his prejudice for Scotty even more by comparing him to Johnny Cash, whom no one would ever tell to “spread their wings” and try something different. He praised Scotty’s “subtlety,” but said that it can get lost against the bigger numbers that “AI” fans supposedly expect. Because Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” never interested anybody (insert deep sarcasm here).
The powers that be once again trotted out the “oh, poor Lauren only hears the negative criticism” excuse for Lauren’s failings. Yes, that’s right, the contestants should ignore the criticisms and just listen to Steven’s ramblings about his scalp–that will help them succeed in the music industry. Jimmy praised Lauren’s poise when she managed to be confident, and said “she’s here for the long run.”
One thing Jimmy did get right was saying Casey had amazing potential as a musician and singer/songwriter, but he had to pull back on the growl. “The family dog doesn’t vote,” he chastised. In response, Casey said perhaps he had some pent-up aggression, but he really thought it was pent-up passion “that has a tiny hole it has to get through.” Okay, Casey.
James might be a little miffed at Jimmy’s assessment that he isn’t “believable” when doing hard rock. Jimmy followed it up with praise, however, saying James did better with songs with a great melody and a rock feel. James probably isn’t hardcore heavy metal, but 80s hair band metal, which is okay, too. Jimmy is right that he does well with melodic songs, which bring out the nicer tones of his voice. Jimmy said with the right song choices, James had a chance to win. Ryan noted that James still had that chance, and he was sent to the safe couches.
Oh, snap. Jimmy called out Jacob for his plaid jacket ensemble on performance night, saying he thought the contestant had accidentally wandered into the “Dancing with the Stars” dressing room for his wardrobe. If Jacob did that, we’re certain he would have come out with something a lot more fabulous and feathery. Jimmy pretty much put Jacob on the chopping block, and then went into a mini-rant about the contestants needing to be compared to one another at this point in the game, instead of just comparing them to their own past performances. Does this mean Jimmy is as annoyed with the anemic judging as we are?
Next we got a Bruno Mars performance of “The Lazy Song.” Like the “American Idol” contestants, Bruno’s engaging vocals got a little lost in the sound mix with the band. It was an upbeat and toe-tapping style tune, performed with a large band that was dressed for a weekend jam session, complete with worn couches on the stage. I get that it was a theme, but it’s harder for me to get into a performance when the wardrobe consists of white t-shirts and stocking caps. It seems like if you’re going to be on TV, you should dress up in real clothes–or at least a cool witchy ensemble like Steven Tyler.
Next we found out that Jacob was safe, and he was as surprised as many voters probably were. When it was down to Scotty and Casey, I had a futile hope that it might be teacher’s pet Scotty, who no doubt has a record deal lined up anyway. It was Casey’s time to go, however, and after all that growling, it was a fair time for him to go. Jazz is a hard sell to a general audience, anyway, and I think many of us wondered if Casey was taking the competition seriously.
Some may still wonder after Casey’s insane final performance of “I put a spell on you.” Casey aggressively marched around the stage, kissed both Steven and J-Lo on the cheek, put his head on Randy’s shoulder, and then went and smooched the cheeks of several front row swaybots with a lout “MWAH” sound into the mic. He then rolled onto the stage, goofed off with the remaining contestants, and “American Idol” quickly began rolling the credits before he went completely off the rails. Casey finished with a longing gaze into Haley’s eyes, ending on the words, “You’re mine.” Awww…
What do you thing, “AI” fans? Did the right person go home? How shocked were you that it was Casey?
Watch “American Idol” every Wednesday and Thursday night on Fox, at 8/7c.
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