Jennnifer Lopez premiered a “music” video for her new instrumental single, “Dance Again,” on tonight’s American Idol Top 8 results telecast, and surely it’s a good lesson to the Season 11 finalists that with some digital blips ‘n bleeps, a shirtless fireplug of a backup dancer, and some high-quality sand in which to writhe, you too can have a Top 40 hit!
That’s good news for Idol‘s latest evictee and the seven surviving vocalists, all of whom have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they don’t need no stinkin’ Auto-Tune for an average day on stage or in the studio.
That said, the evening wasn’t without its troubling moments. When Jimmy Iovine astutely pointed out that Phillip Phillips has played it safe with his song choice on Wednesday night and delivered his worst performance of the season, the Georgia guitar-slinger acted as if he was already beyond showing growth or development as an artist. “I’m just bein myself, dude,” he shrugged to Ryan Seacrest. “I’m not tryin’ to walk around the stage and touch people’s hands.”
That’s all well and good, dude, but does “being yourself” mean singing off pitch and making faces like you’re suffering from acute appendicitis? Otherwise, maybe dial back on the smug-o-meter and acknowledge that if you’d already had everything figured out, you wouldn’t need a televised singing competition to get your music to the masses.
Okay, okay. End of rant. I mean, I don’t have a problem if the guy doesn’t want to wear a sequined Hilfiger jacket and cover Ke$ha’s “Blah Blah Blah,” but Jimmy’s advice — that Phillip needs to push himself musically if he wants to win — was exactly what he needed to hear. And if he really thinks “That’s All” was on par with “Hard to Handle” or “Movin’ Out,” then he needs to go back to the Idol Mansion, cue up the DVR, and give his Top 8 performance another listen.
Before we get to results, a few other thoughts on the telecast:
* Anyone notice Tommy Hilfiger relegated to the cheap seats with Season 3 finalist Matt Rogers? I suspect by the time the finale rolls around, he’s going to be stuck at the auditorium door pleading with a junior publicist, “But I don’t need a ticket! I’m the Season 11 style guru!”
* I kinda love that Ryan Seacrest, despite being possibly the busiest man in America, is still willing to play the role of full-service host/concierge/nurse, as evidenced by his message to light-headed, nauseous Joshua Ledet: “If you need anything, let me know!” (Cue Joshua ringing a little bell right before Keiran dims the lights: “Ryan, can you get me a warm ginger-ale and some Saltines?”
* If they’d given him an 866-number, I’d have immediately speed dialed for the kid in the far left of the front row in that video of Vietnamese schoolkids cheering on Joshua.
* I really hope Jimmy’s “Jessica needs bigger songs” critique wasn’t his subtle way of pushing her into an “all ballads, all the time” Thia Megia Ghetto. (Cue Jessica dominating the competition on a steady diet of Disney princess ballads from now till the end of May.)
* “Why are there five vocalists?” –my hubby, making a valid point midway through the Wanted’s performance of “Glad You Came” (Also, Sebastian on Glee sang it better, no?)
* Jimmy’s general disdain for DeAndre seems to be dispoportionate to whatever commercial shortcomings the kid might have at this moment in time, no? Maybe there’s a tiny bit of jealousy over DeAndre’s magnificent mane?
* Honestly, Elise might’ve been better off just agreeing with Jimmy that she’d experienced an “old-fashioned choke” rather than give a convoluted explanation that the more she feels a song, the harder it is for her to stay on pitch. Cute headband, though!
* Kellie Pickler was so solid tonight, I’m not ruling out downloading “Where’s Tammy Wynette?” Then again, I might just play the KLF’s “Justified and Ancient” instead.
And now, let’s talk results.
Sent Immediately to Safety (in Order of Announcement)
First One Sent Back to Safety
Lowest Vote Getter
DeAndre delivered a loose and funky encore of Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster,” which combined with his terrific Wednesday-night “I Like It,” proved he’s starting to figure out what to do with that hypnotizing voice of his. Give the kid a couple years for some emotional growth and increased confidence/stage presence, and you could be looking at Idol‘s next big “voted off too soon” success story. But ultimately, I’ve got to side with Steven and Randy who outvoted J.Lo and decided not to use the Judges’ Save.
And now, I turn things over to you.
Did the right person go home? Should the judges have saved DeAndre? And what did you think of Kellie Pickler’s latest performance? (I rather liked it!) Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol news, interviews, and recaps, do follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!Follow @MichaelSlezakTV