Category Archives: American Idol


American Idol XIII: Top 10 “Top Ten Since 2010″

Are you one of those Idol watchers that complained about the “old” theme nights? Are you looking for the contestants to sing something that’s on the radio right now?

Hello, this is 2014. You still listen to the radio? How old fashioned are you?

Relevance is not operating as a factor tonight. Dear everyone: selfies peaked with the Oscars. This is now a trend on the downside on its way out. Please stop hurrying it along by overdoing it. Interesting footnote: the contestant’s media training was not at TMZ this year. Now that I’ve noticed that, I realise there’s been a dearth of Idol planted gossip at TMZ so far this season. Was that purely a Nigel relationship? Did that go out the window with the new producers? Evidence suggests so. Perhaps TMZ’s relevance is waning? Or perhaps this is why more people are assuming Idol’s is?

All sarcasm aside about relevance, this is a necessary theme to see how our Idol sound when matched against the landscape they’ll be dropped into. It’s also a moment to showcase that they know what they need to sound like in order to be dropped into the landscape. These contestants haven’t shown a lot of savvy yet (except for Dexter, bless his lowest common denominator heart) and I’m curious to see what happens when they are forced to think modern. How many can recognize where they fit the way Philip Phillips did? How many will try to force themselves into a box that doesn’t fit?

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American Idol XIII: Top 11 Elimination

I don’t think we can sugar coat the moving of the elimination episode to 9pm. Its’ not a good sign.

It’s not the end of the world–after all, Idol elimination episodes at 9pm were once a thing. (They were also only thirty minutes, and apparently that is coming.) But in its later years, FOX has tried to force Idol into a set schedule. No more allowing the performance episodes to shorten as contestants are eliminated–performance shows fill two hours. Some how. Any how. (Personally, I don’t mind the duets that came of this, or the years where two songs a night came earlier.) Results shows are an hour at 8pm to work as a solid lead in for other programming.

But Idol is no longer that lead in apparently. Instead now it is the program lead into, by the tried and true Volunteer To Be Yelled At By Gordon Ramsey. Well that’s fine. Now let’s get back to 30 minutes or my next eliminated contestant is free.

Mean, Ryan is already crying shock!boot tonight. Huzzah, that must mean MK is safe.

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American Idol XIII: Top 11″Songs From the Cinema”

This is the final major elimination milestone week. After tonight it doesn’t matter who goes home, because they’ll all be going on tour.

Though the ratings are weaker than they’ve ever been and the last couple of years have been so anemic they’ve had to cancel shows, the Idol Tour is on, promises Ryan. They’ll be playing all summer to sold out crowds…. Oh, will they? Did you not just read my last sentence Ryan? Are you reading the prompter instead? Why must you turn this Idol Stage into a House of Lies?

Harry would like you to know he invented a new catch phrase: “In It To Win It.” Harry’s dislike of Randy continues to be a palatable thing, especially after last week when Randy (ever the producer mouthpiece) tried to tell him he was too mean to the contestants. Like we at home would think these kids were somehow doing a great job if the judges lied to us. We tried that Randy–that’s why you’re not on the judging panel anymore.

Last week this theme was introduced as “Songs From The Soundtrack of My Life.” They’ve dropped the self help guru talk and have renamed it the slightly hoity-toity “Songs from the Cinema.” This is all a way of saying it is the tried and true Movie Night Theme. Gods help us if someone sings Against All Odds though. Know your Idol History kids!

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American Idol XIII: Top 12 Elimination

What is going on with this season? How frustrating is this? Harry and Jennifer were clearly upset last night with the bulk of the performances, and I was too.

The painful thing is all the tools are THERE. All the changes we as Idol fans have been begging for have come to pass–the expanded song lists, the well edited packages that don’t feel hamfisted. Have I coo’d over the smart use of backstage with Ryan? Not to mention, this judging panel is fantastic. Harry’s laser-like, intelligent critiques put all those years of “It was a bit cabaret” to shame. Jennifer has stepped up her game to keep pace. Even Keith–our weakest link–gives good feedback. This should be the season where the show rights itself.

Except the contestants aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. I don’t know if this is because the producers misunderstood what it takes to handle the show when they cast it, or if there’s something happening backstage during the week that somehow steering them wrong. CIt could be the casting–consider their overpimpage (and then rapid drop) of Marrialle Sellers. Nigel backed wrong horses all over the place in his decade with the show, but he never so misjudged someone that by the time they hit the live show we already knew we had a dud. Can it be that our new producers have everything going for them…except the one ability they really need, which is to cast this production properly?

Do we have time for them to learn on the fly? I believe wholehearted FOX won’t cancel Idol at the end of this season–not after just cancelling XFactor, and with ratings that are mostly on par with NBC’s “smash hit” The Voice. (Smash hit ratings are relative.) Yes, Idol will lose money for the first time this year, but they also lost AT&T’s sponsorship in order to reign in unlimited voting (a necessity.) Plus they built this brand spanking new set. Not to mention paid too much to bring back Randy and his mentoring crew…. Is that it? Can we blame Randy and his mentoring crew for steering these kids wrong? Did the producers count on him too much, when he’s never given any of these kids useful feedback in 11 years of the show?

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American Idol XIII: Top 12 “Home”

It’s time for Idol. Have you voted already? After all, the numbers all stayed the same from last week, so you don’t have to wait and find out what order people are singing in. Are you even waiting or the performances? Remember, you have until 10am PST to vote–why would you vote early? You have so much time to think!

Silly me, the producers don’t want us to think. They want us to vote early and often. Remember, starting this week, the results will be checked during the show. Another year I might have found this weird. But after watching XFactor do an entire season of rankings reveals to drum up interest in their results show, and Idol’s pale imitation, this seems a far better solution.

I’m starting to love the new open ended themes. Some of the song choices are off the wall. That’s another small upgrade that’s making a difference. Ryan promises this will be “an emotional theme” since its about “What Home Means To Them.”

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American Idol XIII: Top 13 Elimination

Thirty minute results or your contestant is free!….

Whaddya mean the result show is an hour? *kicks dirt*

Well, the group number was good anyway. Taking a page from opening Broadway numbers and an Oscar opening number or two, this was a full scale production number. The old cheese laden pointy pose number is long gone. Now it’s long tracking shots of contestants singing mash ups of “Counting Stars” and “Radioactive” backstage as they gather for the final pose on stage. The singing isn’t there because none of these guys are at the level yet to do this (let alone do it live) but it’s a glimpse at the direction the producers are going.

Yes, this was shot ahead of time and not done live. I’m sure live would have been a trainwreck.

The new voting system (which takes into account people who time shift the show) is apparently working, as Ryan announces 71 million votes. The big question–will it make any difference or will we have an all female bottom three?

One piece of news: the Judges Save is on, and it will expire Top 6 week. I didn’t see the show dropping it, but it’s good to know. Unfortunately, this does mean we’ll have the double elimination week to make up for it once it’s used, unless I’ve done my math wrong.

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American Idol XIII: Top 13 “Who I Am”

There’s something comforting about Ryan yelling “THIS……is American Idol!” Even though I suppose he should now add the addendum “…SO GET VOTING.”

Yes, voting has changed. Now we can start voting from the Top of the show, before anyone has sung a note. I’m still weirded out by that. What I do like is that the voting window is much longer. Since text and phone voting is not unlimited anymore (50 votes per contestant per method), it means that voting doesn’t have to be limited to a frantic post show two-hour window. Instead voting lasts until 10am PST (much like The Voice.) I personally love this fact because it means voting hasn’t been over for hours when I post my next morning recap. One can also vote in a variety of ways–including googling “Idol voting” and having a handy 50-at-a-blow Supervote appear at the top of the page.

Idol knows their audience doesn’t do change well, so they crafted a handy video to explain.

It’s telling that they’ve abolished the multiple numbers that were put in place after the Clay/Reuben debacle–a tacit admission that the dialing to vote method is dead. Also, does this mean they’ll always perform in this order?

Next week, we’ll start having “Facebook statistics” during the show, where Ryan will present how voting is going live on the east coast as the show airs. (They’re Facebook stats because Idol’s website voting is done via FB.) It’s a smart twist on the terrible XFactor idea of revealing the pecking order during the results show the next night that Nigel attempted to steal only to realize what a terrible idea it was. It doesn’t give away who the top three vote getters are, but it does suggest if your favorite is doing well or not and encourages people to vote.

What? You say you want to know how the kids did before you vote? You old fashioned person you! Let’s get to the performances.

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American Idol XIII “Rush Week” Elimination/Top 13 Reveal

As the section formerly known as the semi-finals comes to a close this week, it’s time for our very first results show. Because of the wild card segment tonight, that show will be one hour. But worry not–this is supposedly the only time we will have to suffer such indignities. After tonight, results will run and lean mean 30 minutes or your contestant is free.


One thing that hasn’t been made clear to me–if there’s a Judge’s Save. By the end of Nigel’s time, not only was there a save, but there was an extra week built in so that the next week wouldn’t be a double elimination. Whether or not the new producers kept that adjustment requires a calendar and a bit of math. I count 12 weeks from here to the finale, which means if we do have a save, it will be followed by a double elimination. That’s a small segment of control that Nigel had taken that the producers have unwitting given back. (Is this a lesson we will have to watch them re-learn, much like “contestants need time to adjust every time they move to a bigger stage?”)

It is what it is. Let’s find out who America voted into the Top ten and who the producers will be quietly forcing through.

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American Idol XIII “Rush Week” Top 15 Boys

Last night we watched as whatever good Randy’s bootcamp might have done was washed out by the producer’s choice to not have an intermediate size stage for the semi finals, er I mean, for “Rush Week.” Instead, as Jennifer coined, our contestants were “rushed” to the big stage before they were ready. The ages didn’t help–when the median age of the girls is 19 and your oldest barely 25, it’s going to be all adrenaline and nerves.

Tonight Randy is not feted on stage by Ryan, but stuck in the audience with the girls from last night. Now that the producers have seen that just because he’s out of the judge’s chair doesn’t mean he’s any more useful, we can hope they quietly can him and find a better, more coherent “producer mentor” next season.

We can only hope the boys learned from watching yesterday, and don’t fall prey to the same panicked rush. In general, this group is a little older, so we can hope experience wins the day. Oh and Keith, I don’t appreciate you lying to us saying you were just back in the dressing room deciding cuts last minute. The cut spoilers were up an hour before showtime. We doubt you had much to do with them.

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American Idol XIII “Rush Week” Top 15 Girls

Welcome to what the new producers of American Idol are calling “Rush Week.” The choice of a collegiate frat phrase is deliberate as our contestants “rush” for a place in the club that is “American Idol Finalists.” It’s also a nice way of setting off these three days as something different and Other. Most importantly, it replaces the phrase “Semi-Final.” Once upon a time this period was the semi-finals, but nowadays we have The Voice reminding us twice a year that quarter-final and semi-final rounds should come directly before the finale, and not 10 weeks before the end of the season. Not using the phrase here frees them up to use it later down the line when we only have three or four contestants left standing, instead of 30.

Also–voting starts tonight and it has changed. Idol has brought itself up to the times. No longer is it just phone and texting. The SUPERVOTE of voting fifty times at once still stands. Plus one can vote via Google now as well as through the website (which is Facebook voting.) The number of times one can vote on any platform is (finally) limited, because the window is no longer two measly hours. You can vote until 10am tomorrow.  But the big one? You don’t wait until the end of the show. This is the hardest for me. Since 2002, Ryan has always told me to wait until the end of the program after everyone has sung to vote. But not any more. Now I can start voting at 8pm, before anyone has sung a note. I feel confused.

Yes, that means we can vote now, before we even see which of these 15 get cut before anyone starts singing. It’s so weird. Let’s get to it.

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