No one left the cake out in the rain during Thursday’s American Idol semifinal results show, but producers may have yanked it out of the oven when it was still making the transition from lukewarm batter to delicious baked good.
Look, I’m not one to complain about the idea of Idol all-stars returning to the show — even putting aside my fury that my exquisite Reality Check cohost Melinda Doolittle has not once performed on the Idol stage since her shocking Season 6 exit — but this may have been a case of too early, too unbalanced and too unprepared.
Thin about it: For the 12 Farewell Season finalists who took the stage this week, it was only their second performance since the Green Mile “Top 24” announcement. And while there’s no denying the overall talent level of these kids, the truth is that very few of ’em — at this moment in time — have the stage presence or vocal confidence to go toe-to-toe with ‘Tasia or Ruben or even the verrrry flirty Lauren Alaina.
Would you judge me harshly if I told you I kinda fell for the Lauren-MacKenzie love-at-first-sight edit? I know, I know… I should be forced to revoke my Idoloonie card and be sent directly to the SwayBot pit. But there’s only so much producer manipulation a fella can resist over the course of 15 seasons — I had to break somewhere!
Anyhow, I have to go get my How to Get Away With Murder recap on, so let me offer my letter grades for the episode’s duets — then get to the business of results.
Letter Grades (for Contestants — Not All-Stars)
Emily Brooke (with All-Star Lauren Alaina), “Flat on the Floor” — Grade: C-
Thomas Stringfellow (with All-Star Nick Fradiani), “Man in the Mirror” — Grade: C-
Stephany Negrete (with All-Star Ruben Studdard), “Superstar” — Grade: B
Sonika Vaid (with All-Star Caleb Johnson), “Skyfall” — Grade: C+
Jenna Renae (with All-Star Scotty McCreery), “See You Tonight” — Grade: C
La’Porsha Renae (with All-Star Fantasia), “Summertime” — Grade: A-
MacKenzie Bourg (with All-Star Lauren Alaina), “I Hope You Dance” — Grade: B-
Gianna Isabella (with All-Star Nick Fradiani), “Beautiful Life” — Grade: D+
Avalon Young (with All-Star Ruben Studdard), “Flying Without Wings” — Grade: B
James VIII (with All-Star Caleb Johnson), “Gimme Shelter” — Grade: B-
Jeneve Rose Mitchell (with All-Star Scotty McCreery), “Gone” — Grade: B
Jordan Sasser (with All-Star Fantasia), “I Believe” — Grade: B-
Advancing to the Top 14 (By Judges’ Decision Alone)
Biggest Outrage: Squeaky Thomas over Jessica Cabral (eliminated at the Green Mile)
Runner-Up: Gianna over Stephany