American Idol – Episode 8-19 Review

This season’s fixation with Michael Jackson continues with all the songs being plucked from the Jacko songbook. They are angling for Jacko to pop up on the finale show to hype his 10 gigs in London at the O2 arena. Simon lets us know that the bottom two of the 13 finalists will be going home at the end of tomorrow. Guess Fox didn’t want an extra two shows this season. Or maybe Simon needs to spend more time posing in front of STK with his ex-girlfriend.

Lil Rounds goes first with “The Way You Make Me Feel.” She gives the good stuff on the stage. The crowd goes completely nuts. She’s the superstar. “This is the way we kick off season 8,” Randy declares. He loves how she made the song hers. Kara hopes she gets to hear Lil on the radio. The end note was sick. Paula compliments her look and swears she’s a force to be reckoned with. “It’s like angels singing.” Simon gets nasty. He thinks its a weak song choice, the second half was better than the first and hated her outfit. Guess Simon can’t be too happy out of the gate.

Ryan informs the crowd that you have to be extra careful when voting for the last contestant. Turns out a phone sex company bought the “13″ number used by the show. Whoops. Don’t let your kids call.

Scott MacIntyre gets his background story shared again. Turns out his sister is also visually impaired. He can’t wait to sing and share his story with America. He’s pumping “Keep the Faith” from Dangerous. It sounds like really sedate Michael McDonald song. Lyrically it tries too hard to be an inspirational song. Scott should have honky tonked it up instead of playing it so sappy. Kara asks if he just learned it on piano this week. Of course. She liked that he sent a hopeful message through the song. Paula thinks it’s magical to see him play. She also introduces the writer of the song in the peanut gallery. Simon hated the song because nobody knows it. “It’s fine being artistic, but not on this show,” Simon declares. Isn’t that a shocking revelation. Randy thinks “Man in the Mirror” is better. He denounces it as a safe performance. 

Danny Gokey talks about growing up in Milwaukee with lots of love in his house. If I grew up in Milwaukee, I’d have plenty of Schlitz and Old Milwaukee in my house. I’d have a shrine to Lenny and Squiggy. No mention of his late wife. He has decided on a sultry urban version of “PYT.” He busts into an Isaac Hayes funk beat. This is a performance that Corey Feldman would steal. Even with a short time on stage, he goes for the call and response with the audience. He’s entertaining on that stage. Kinda feel winded after watching that song. Paula says the true mark of the artist is when you can hear somebody with your eyes closed and know who they are. She predicts him for the finals. Simon thinks the vocals were brilliant. He references Michael McDonald. He hated the dancing. He volunteers Paula to show him moves. Randy thinks he’s got it. He liked the dancing and the singing because the moves showed he was passionate about the song. Kara talks about the joy she gets from Gokey. It’s a hit.

Michael Sarver takes us out to the oil well except he’s dressed fancier. We learn that he grew up without a dad. And in this lonely set up we get him crooning “You Are Not Alone.” This song creeps me out since it’s easy to see it being entered as evidence at Michael Jackson’s trial. Sarver sounds smooth on the stage. No real glitches. Simon says he’s not the best singer in the competition, but made up for it with passion and heart. Randy thinks Sarver was right to go back to the R&B chops. Kara says this shows he can sing and isn’t merely a crowd pleaser. Paula likes him and thinks he’s a regular guy with extraordinary talent.

Jasmine Murray takes us down to Mississippi to see her high school and home. Her family is watching the show, but the sun is shining through the window. It doesn’t get dark until really late in that town. She goes to really old Jacko with “I’ll Be There.” I’m not feeling it. Randy talks about remaking it with Mariah Carey. He thinks she did a pretty good job. “It wasn’t that bad.” Kara was surprised too. Thinks it would have better a half key down. She does talk about stage presence. Paula didn’t think the chorus part worked since she went under. Simon thinks it was a good attempt and robotic at times. He wants her to lighten up. “Start acting your age. You’re a little girl pretending to be a grown up.” Hmmmm.

Kris Allen reminds us how much his wife means to us. If you don’t vote for him, she’ll be mad. Kris Allen straps on the acoustic guitar to rework “Remember the Time.” It sounds like a Jason Mraz arrangement. His guitar is mixed down. We get more volume from the electric guitar from the band. Kara lets us know that the girls love Kris. Ladies, he’s married. She thinks a few notes were off, but she likes his playing and singing. Paula claims Ryan is trying to undress her. What about a sexual harassment lawsuit? Paula likes him and sees him as adorable sexy. Simon doesn’t think it’s a song that suits the guitar. He’s not sure about Kris bringing the wife out. What the hell? Randy likes the wife and the guitar. He drops the Jason Mraz reference. 

Allison Iraheta lets us know that she’s Salvadoran. She performs at a major furniture warehouse. She’s wanted to audition since she was 9. She’s teased up her hair to look like Cheryl Ladd. She’s going hard rock with “Give In to Me.” This was from the Dangerous album and originally featured Slash. She’s got a Lita Ford harshness to her voice. Sticks the big note at the end. Paula swears she’s a rock star on the stage. She likes her hair. Simon thinks it was a good performance. He wants her to lighten up a bit. Randy thinks that she’s got it and was born with it. He thinks she’s the one to watch. Kara wants her to keep being a rocker. Odds are good that Kara’s already putting together songs for Allison’s first album. Nobody mentioned Lita Ford. 

Anoop Desai gets asked by Ryan about making the Top 13. He admits to walking off the stage before Ryan grabbed him. He’s going to bring energy to the crowd. We’re taken to Chapel Hill to meet Anoop’s folks. He’s an only child. We see pics of him as a kid. Why no footage of Annop and UNC’s Tyler Hansborough?  Anoop goes all in with “Beat It.” He’s looking fierce. He slaps hands with the crowd to avoid busting too many dance moves. Shame Nick Mitchell couldn’t have guested on this vocal. It’s not really working for me. He would have been better off doing Weird Al’s “Eat It.” Simon forces Paula to go out of turn. She doesn’t think anyone can cover the song without it sounding karaoke. Simon hates it. He says Anoop looked stupid. Randy thinks it was the wrong choice. It didn’t work. Kara’s biggest problem was that he didn’t go up or do any riffs. He didn’t feel connected. Anoop is looking forward to coming back. Simon now regrets making it a Top 13. Anoop has the Simon haters calling.

Tim Roth is moving to a new time of 8 p.m. on Wednesdays before the American Idol result shows. Set your DVRs to 9 p.m.

An old woman wants to ask Randy out on a date. Ryan points out that Randy is married. 

Jorge Nunez shows off his loud and happy family in Puerto Rico. He talks about how being on American Idol has helped bring his extended family together to cheer from him. “Never Can Say Goodbye” is his slow jam pick. He’s soaring on the up notes. He’s got to work on his microphone holding technique. He’s got a Fifth Dimension vibe going with the backup singers. Randy has mad love for him, but he thinks the song was old fashioned. He was pitchy. Kara didn’t feel emotional connection. Paula wants to know what compelled him to the song. He had no choice for the week. Simon thought it was corny and out of his depth. “It was so old fashioned and I couldn’t wait for it to end.”

Osbournes Reloaded looks like a telethon meant raise cash to spread a disease. 

Megan Joy Corkrey wears a red dress that looks like a bridesmaid from a Slime-a-rama Wedding. It shows off her tattoos that Simon adores. We get picture of Megan with a bucket on her head. We get divorce story and her child giving her meaning in life. She’s crying about being away from him. And then she unloads “Rockin’ Robin.” This is cheese-tastic. She’s really weird waving her hands and arms like wings. This is the drunk relative singing at a wedding to a song nobody else demanded. She does a “Caw! Caw!” at the end. Kara talks about putting her signature on it. “That’s so Megan.” What? Paula liked the quirky and unique tone to her voice, but felt disconnected. Simon declares it as a stupid song choice. He hated the vocals and dancing. Randy didn’t like the song choice. Gordon Ramsay is asked his opinion. The chef doesn’t have a microphone. 

Adam Lambert talks about his struggles to make it as an artist in Hollywood. He has supportive parents. “Black Or White” is his challenge. This is another song that I can’t even enjoy on a kitsch level. Paula bounces to the falsetto. Adam does a few Jacko leg moves, but no moonwalk. He gets an Axl Rose shrill working. Paula wants him to take in the crowd going nuts. She thinks he’s the greatest performer on that stage. He’s got the package. She’s making the guy cry. She also sees him in the finals. Simon thinks it was in a totally different league from the other performers. Simon even smiles at the end. Randy swears he can make a record right now and sail straight to the top of the charts. Kara was amazed at his note range. She hopes Jacko is watching at home. Silly Kara, Lambert’s too old for the Gloved One.

Matt Giraud keeps wearing that dorky hat. We get video of him playing ping pong with his dad. Now we get dad crying. He gets behind the grand piano to plunk away “Human Nature.” The arrangement sounds really ‘80s. You almost imagine Crockett and Tubbs strolling across the set looking for Izzy. Paula is singing along with him. Shouldn’t she be listening? Randy goes for the Justin Timberlake rave. Kara thinks he’s a talented guy. Paula was blown away. Simon thinks it was a meat and potatoes good. Hmmmm. No old fashioned slur?

Alexis Grace is cursed by having the special Lucky 13 phone number. People are expected to write this down. After having to take a shot everytime Randy says, “pitchy,” literacy isn’t my strong suit. Did the Smashing Pumpkins just sell out to Visa?

Alexis Grace takes us to her home in Memphis. Where’s the ribs? She’d rather cry about her baby. I want to know about her favorite rib joints. That’s all I ate in Memphis. Marlowes is the best. She’s dirtying up “Dirty Diana.” She’s getting nasty on the notes with the extra short skirt, high heels and black hose. She’s going for the crowd pleasing. Kara declares that she’s back. “You’re a naughty girl and I liked it.” Paula warns her for over singer. Simon trashes it by saying, “Very over the top.” Randy liked it. You have to dial 36 at the end for her. Remember anyone who dials the 13 will get a nasty surprise.

They won’t tell us what the new rule change is going to be. This is starting to get to be pro wrestling with changing up the game. So much for this being about people calling their favorite and the least loved getting bumped. They don’t pull this on The Price Is Right or Jeopardy.

The really safe folks: Lil Rounds, Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert

The safe folks: Scott MacIntyre, Michael Sarver, Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta and Matt Giraud. 

The folks who need to sweat in their sleep: Jasmine Murray, Anoop Desai, Jorge Nunez and Megan Joy Corkrey.

Alexis Grace might suffer from having the strange phone number.

Sad to say, but Anoop is probably gone. The ultimate worst performance was Megan Joy Corkrey, but there’s a “fix is on” smell about that woman. She could arm fart the phone book and Simon would smile. Jorge might be sent home if Alexis folks remember to not call “13.”