This week was a different kind of results show from the start on “American Idol,” from Jennifer Lopez choosing sleek gray trousers and red blouse for her look, to the eclectic, even eccentric, gaggle of talents assembled to pepper the proceedings, there was an unusual flavor in the air. Host Ryan Seacrest even insinuated that it was “kind of your fault” for sending anyone home to the millions watching and voting, but no one knew yet how much he meant that! The Top 9 did an old-school hit medley in honor of the week’s Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame theme, spanning the Box Tops to Joan Jett, and had a jolly time, but the joy level soon took a plunge!
Casey Abrams, Stefano Langone, and Lauren Alaina were the first trio on the block, and Casey was quickly relieved to return to the security of the sofas. Lauren had a strong performance Wednesday, and Stefano had his big cheerleader in Jennifer Lopez, but it was his turn again to take a stool! Season 4 favorite son Constantine Maroulis served up a way too stylized “Unchained Melody,” before showing off his beautiful baby daughter, and his current road tour with “Rock of Ages.” Next up were Paul McDonald, Scott McCreery, and Pia Toscano facing that dreaded silence, but Scotty got quick relief to the couches, before it came down to Paul and Pia. Paul had the look of expectation, but it was Pia who got a seat on the stool! Russell Brand tried his best to lend rock star levity to the talents, and he has credibility to speak about both sides of the fame monster, reflecting on his own rises and falls with the beast. Harvey Levin provided some TMZ tutoring for the Top 9, and got busted for standing on his own platform! The final threesome was James Durbin, Haley Reinhart, and Jacob Lusk. Jacob was the one to take final seat on the stools.
Much more at home at CBGB than the Idol stage, underground icon Iggy Pop strutted and stretched his best for the Top 9 talents and anyone else willing to watch, for his “Wild One” performance. Iggy’s one of the few performers left who’s older than some of my records, and I’ve got to say, he’s got great abs for all those decades, but it was obvious from her face that Jennifer Lopez cared not for his “in her face” serenade moment to the diva!
The moment for the final vote finally came, and as Pia Toscano’s name was called as the departing one, the hush of complete disbelief and the horror on the judges’ faces fell and flashed across America. Jennifer Lopez said she was “shocked, stunned, and angry”, and Randy Jackson admonished that this vote was a lesson to never assume safety for any favorite. Many felt her Wednesday performance of “River Deep Mountain High” was her breakthrough, particularly after breaking her habit with ballads. Clearly shaken, but standing for her final song of “I’ll Stand by You,” Pia performed her parting solo to an ovation and final embrace. Stages will still await to embrace her, too.
Tune in to see how well the Top 8 boogie to their own “Safety Dance” next week! “American Idol” airs Wednesday and Thursday at 8 PM ET on FOX TV.
“American Idol” telecast, April 7, 2011 FOX TV.