American Idol – Episode 8-18 Review

Wild Card night is finally here. This is going to be the most painful hour of groveling on TV that doesn’t involve PBS pledge week. Don’t worry about reaching for the phone because only your prayers count tonight. Eight singers will have a final song to prove that they deserve to put their butts on the three remaining barstools. This is the most pressure the show has ever applied on contestants because there’s no comeback tomorrow to get the results. At the end of the hour, five dreamers will return to the reality of their favorite karaoke night. And at least one of the three Wild Cards is guaranteed to have a busy summer as part of the American Idol Pop Tart tour. Tonight will be for the brave and the bold. Tonight they can’t sass Simon. His is the deciding vote on who lives and who dies. That means the ladies ought to just show up in wet t-shirt and a pair of Daisy Duke shorts.

Ryan builds up the tension. The eight wild carders stand before the three barstools. It’s with the lights giving that metallic glow, it’s like Extreme Musical Chairs. We see the 9 finalists. Ryan explains tonight the voting goes back to the judges. Paula is wearing a leopard print shirt that looks like it was stolen from a Palm Springs widow. There’s pink in the middle of the spots.

Jesse Langseth swears she’ll show her range this time. She goes for the funky vibe of “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus and Chaka Khan. The band gets into the beat this time. This isn’t the usual lounge arrangements plunked out. She’s wearing a short skirt. Jesse’s dad scares me. Randy doesn’t think she sung it that well. “It was just alright.” Kara loves her swagger. She drops the Sasha Fierce reference. Ick. Paula likes her tenacity and swears she has a lot of soul in her. Simon thought the song and the performance were more indulgent. It was about her. What? Simon doesn’t understand it’s a sexy bring it here song. Has Simon been drinking out of Paula’s cup? 

Matt Giraud is wearing a jacket from The Rocketeer in the pre-tape. He goes soul also with “Who’s Loving You” by the Jackson Five. He works the growl, but has a bad hat and scarf. He looks like a contestant on Top Chef. He whips around the lyrics and howls like he’s getting a Band-Aid ripped off his elbow. It works for the ladies. You can see why he does well with the dueling piano bar action. Kara thinks it’s a great vocal. “You showed us.” Paula thinks its  the perfect song for him. Simon keeps interrupting Paula with weird comments. He’s juiced. Simon thinks it’s a billion times better than the Coldplay. He had a flashback to Taylor Hicks during the performance. Randy thinks Matt has scared the other 9 that he’s going to take it all. Is Simon hitting the ether under the table? He still spooked after getting busted for driving around without a seatbelt? Is Queen Simon on his period?

Megan Joy Corkrey is going back to what made Katharine McPhee rocket in the competion. She’s giving us KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” She doesn’t do the same arrangement. Paula thinks she picked the right song. Simon says he’s always liked her and thinks she’s current. He thinks she’s original and quirky. “It’s not the best vocal we’ve ever heard,” he says. Randy thinks it’s a nice choice. Kara thinks they need her because she’s different and unique. Why? Because she has a tattoo on her arm? Because she did a song from 3 seasons ago she’s considered current? Simon likes her so she’s a lock pick. That means seven folks battling for 2 chairs now.

Von Smith brings the Ed Grimley hairdo back to the stage. He’s unleashing the teary “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” Why another sad Elton John song from these kids? He’s not breaking my heart. It’s coming off more of a “my bad” than an “I’m sorry.” Simon thinks the song didn’t start right. He thinks Von is beginning to become boring. He’s dead. Simon doesn’t remember what he’s sung before. Doesn’t he have an assistant who keeps that in a database? Isn’t there an iPhone application that keeps track of Idol singers? Randy thinks he’s too serious and couldn’t hit the pitch at the start. Kara isn’t crazy about the song. It got dark for her. Really? Kara doesn’t think he’s dialed it in. Paula thinks when he’s too concerned with the technical part, he can’t release the essence of Von Smith. Will she be selling that on QVC next weekend? Von sounds like the Rain Man when self analyzing to Ryan.

Jasmine Murrray is back. She’s here based completely on cuteness. She’s doing “Reflection.” Why choose a Christina Aguilera song from <i>Mulan</i>? It’s Broadway, but what Simon duck that slur. She gets a little quiver at the end. Randy thinks it’s 100 percent better, but the song was bigger than her voice. Kara is now confused. She didn’t even think she had that big of a voice. She’s impressed. Paula thinks it was a beautiful song even with notes that fell off. Simon doesn’t think Paula gave her enough credit. Paula’s sick of taking his crap. It’s nasty up there. She’s giving him an Indian burn on his forearm. Wow. Simon thinks Jasmine just put herself back in the running. He’s coasting her through on looks. She’s his little Janet Jackson 2.0.

Ricky Braddy goes up tempo “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. He bounces with the soulful beat. Did you know that Jeff Beck helped Stevie come up with this song when he played the drumbeat and Stevie jammed with him in the studio. Paula is up and bouncing. The band once more comes off better than they have during the last three weeks. Forget play to your strengths. Simon says he has good chops. Kara wouldn’t pick that song, but he held his own. Paula likes how he loosened up. Simon is now doing a Paula babble. He thinks it’s karaoke and light weight. Ricky didn’t make an impression on Simon. Randy thinks he has a voice, but it came off self-indulgent. Pop music being self-indulgent? Braddy Bunch isn’t look like a long running series at this moment.

Tatiana Del Toro time! She’s going on about finding love and how much she loves to sing. She’s happy to get a second chance. She is ready to sing for us. She’s giving us “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston. She’s doing well. She’s bringing the beloved talent. I’m feeling love from her. I feel obligated to buy her dinner. Simon has this strange look on her. Paula loves her. It’s all about her power voice. Simon is frustrated because she sang the same song three times. Does she know another song? She’s arguing with Simon. This is disgusting. Simon’s turning into a bitter old queen. Randy also has a problem with the repeat

Anoop Desai returns looking extra collegiate. He promises the Anoop Dog is back. He goes nuts with Bobby Brown’s “My Perogative.” He’s good enough to share a crack pipe with Whitney. He’s chest beating and pointing at the camera. He’s all or nothing tonight. They stare at Simon. He says it’s a very strange night. Randy thinks he slayed it. Kara wanted to dance with the Anoop Dog. Paula thinks he’s the showman and had nasty moves. It looks good. Anoop mentions the anniversary of Eve Carson’s murder at UNC. She was the student body president at the time she was kidnapped and shot. A very classy move that shows Anoop isn’t just about being Simon’s darling.

After the break, it’s time for the slaughter. Jasmine Murray is the first in the spotlight. Randy gives the verdict: She’s in the Top 12. Ricky Braddy gets told by Kara that he’s going home. Megan Joy Corkrey and Tatiana Del Toro are brought up together. Paula points out that they must continue there dream. Although it’ll be easier for Megan since she’s going through. Simon gets his revenge. Tatiana is in tears because Simon is a pain. Tatiana is crying in front of the judges table as Paula assures her that she has a career. 

Another ad break before the final stool gets filled. Jesse Langseth gets shot down. Paula Abdul thinks Von Smith will be a recording artist, but not as an American Idol winner. He’s gone. Anoop Desais and Matt Giraud are brought up together. There’s no tension as Simon says Matt is in. Wow. How nasty and quick. But then Simon tells Anoop that the judges have decided to have a Top 13. Anoop Dog is in the house although he’ll have to wait for his barstool. 

Does this mean the show has an extra week? Or will they just eliminate two folks during one week?  Don’t they have rules on this reality show or is it like NASCAR and Pro Wrestling? I won’t complain too much because Anoop made it through. The rejection of Tatiana Del Toro means the end of trainwrecks. Next week it’s a baker’s dozen begging to be Top 10 so they can tour.