American Idol is the one competition where the closer you get to the end the less suspenseful it is. When there's twelve it's fun. You still have the psychos, the fake Rolex Arethas, tattooed beauty queens, nerds from other lands, sad sacks, and teenage Joe Cockers vying for your affection.
But once you get to the final four, they're all excellent singers, they're all going to get recording contracts and careers and the worst that can happen is one'll end up on the Celebrity Fit Club.
So with no real drama and no one to make ass-fun of, it makes it hard for snarky bloggers to find something to write about. Fortunately, the caring producers have come to our rescue with a goofy format change worthy of our scorn and lampooning.
Instead of each contestant singing two numbers they had them sing one and then pair off and do duets. Huh? Was this a pilot for a spinoff? Who will be the next American Peaches & Herb? So instead of hearing eight songs we only got six and yet the hour was still filled with so much useless balloon juice (do we really care that Allison went to Adam's hair stylist?) that it went past its hour deadline anyway.
And the height of absurdity was that the judges actually critiqued the duets. They had no bearing on the competition. Why not just critique the Ford videos too?
Apparently there had been real excitement earlier in the day when one of the giant Idol orbs that flank the set became unhinged and almost crashed to the stage. Hey, where was Kara to review the clean-up effort? "I wanted to see more artistry in that sweeping." Kara, by the way, with her hair severely piled on her head looked like Misty of Chincoteague.
Anyway, on with what little show there was.
Having survived Rat Pack week (I'm still sorry Adam didn't sing a Joey Bishop hit), the theme last night was "Rock n' Roll". The minute Ryan flitted down the stairs in a tailored grey suit you knew we were in for some righteous HEAD BANGING TONIGHT!! The guest mentor was Slash. No, he didn't provide any real vocal coaching but who knew? He was lucid!
Adam Lambert kicked off the night with "Whole Lotta Love". He killed. As always. I appreciate that he stuck to the original Led Zeppelin version and for the sake of originality didn't turn it into a Hawaiian song. Although, he's so good I'm sure he could've pulled it off.
Allison Iraheta was Janis-lite screaming "Cry Baby". If she really wanted to blow away the audience she might've tried Janis Joplin's "Woman Left Lonely". Just my opinion but it could have been one of those truly thrilling Idol moments. Instead it was a first act number in the Vegas "Rock n' Roll Heaven" revue.
Kris Allen sang the Beatles' "Come Together". I rather enjoyed watching this sweet kid with the angelic face singing lyrics like "He got joo-joo eyeballs", "He got toe jam football", "He got walrus gumboot", "He one spinal cracker", and the hauntingly beautiful: "Hold you in his armchair/You can feel his disease".
Danny Gokey did Aerosmith's rock chestnut "Dream On", hitting the famous last note and sounding like a cat who got its tail stuck in a mop squeezer.
The duets don't count so why bother? Adam is going to win so why bother?
But what I want to see are performances. Not profiles. Not chit-chats with Ryan. Not parades in Hootervile or Pixley or wherever the contestants are from. I want to see them sing. I want to hear them be great. The set started collapsing last night under its own weight. Let that be a metaphor.