American Idol – Episode 9-12 Review

They have only one hour to expose the final 17 kids that are part of the 24 semi-finalists that will lead to the 12 finalists and finally the 10 kids that go on tour this summer. Get it? They shouldn’t celebrate too much since hurdle is merely a marker in their progress and not an actual achievement. Of course it took them nearly an hour to go through 9 contestants last night. How will they stretch it out to give us the 37 remaining kids getting told if they live or die? Lots of flashbacks and plenty of hyperbole from Ryan.

Ryan takes us into the agonizing holding room. We get a summary of who was picked last night. The tensions are high since 20 of them are marked as losers. There appears to be no sing offs this year as a last chance. Janell Wheeler gets a recap of her original audition. Simon was more into her shorts than her voice. Simon likes her even when she wears long jeans in Hollywood. She does a lukewarm solo song. She enters the auditorium with a really short blue dress. Ellen gets her to admit that she’s a wine sales rep. With that dress, I’d peg her for a pharmaceutical rep. Ellen gives the whole things about how hard it is to tells someone with a great voice that they aren’t going through so she won’t since Janell is going through. She doesn’t care what happens to her wine gig. Tyler Grady was a ‘70s “rocker” even though his main song was a Marvin Gaye tune. His big solo was Daughtry’s “Going Home.” That’s the loser song. Is that smart? Kara keeps asking him about the ‘70s with him. He’s all about classic rock icons. He watches old rock DVDs. He promises to bring his moves if he’s on the show. She’s flirting with him. She puts him through. She’s going to be busy with Tyler and Casey. This also means 9 slots are filled. We’re supposed to get the most emotional show. Come on. So far there’s been so few people cut that it’s unnerving. Are they just going to have the 20 losers left in the holding room and send the production crew home without letting them know their fate?

Lacey Brown was eliminated for season 8 during this stage. She understands that people tell her no. Simon reminds her that he gave her a no. He thinks the girls are tougher this year. He gives her good news. She’s through. Now they give us her solo song. Why? Couldn’t they tease us earlier. Now we get montage of Ashley Rodriguez, Alex Lambert, Joe Munoz getting the news that they’re in the 24. Now 13 are picked with only 2 people told “Go Home.” Krystal Bowersox is told by Simon that this might not be the right platform for someone like her. She got a 4-0 vote that she’s in the Top 24. She’ll have to get a new tattoo. She shows off a photo of her baby to the judges. Her husband has the baby waiting with Ryan. Ryan has already offered the baby a reality show on E! where he’ll play a new Kardashian. If I’m doing the math right, there’s 20 losers and 10 winners in the holding room.

The women’s downhill is on the Olympics. Hard to resist not wanting to see Lindsey Vonn’s big run since this took place earlier in the day. I won’t spoil the ending in case you DVRed the moment and don’t plan on watching until after Easter dinner.

It’s 8 p.m. in Hollywood at the time of this taping. They’ve spent 11 hours in the holding room. Katie Stevens returns to us with the tale of her ailing grandmother. She did have a good Hollywood week. She’s wearing a really short skirt as she heads toward final judgement. That’s always a good omen. Ellen does the tease with how she hates hurting people’s feelings and being negative. She gives the long pause before letting Katie know she’s going through. Simon asks how grandma’s doing. Katie winces.

Now we get a montage of people getting slaughtered. They don’t even get names. They only have a Radiohead song ushering them away. Angela Martin was jinxed in her last two attempts of the show. She’s got a sob story that could get her a house on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. She’s crying on the way down the aisle. Kara sits in her seat and has her sit on her lap. It’s like a Santa moment. Why do they have to repeat how difficult it has been to pick 12 girls? Kara gives her the bad news. She’s toast. Kara gives her encouragement to keep going. Ryan wants her to use being cut as a promise to keep going. Is there really any future in the music business for anyone that is a “normal” singer that isn’t on American Idol? Sure the Lady Gaga and Kei$ha are hits without Randy’s approval. But would Kelly Pickler be buying a million dollar house in Nashville if she had been cut in before the final 12? Of course not.

The kids are getting extremely nervous. Lily Scott is next up to learn her fate. Her time with the band on Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl” was a sloppy mess. We didn’t get to see that part of the footage. Kara asks how she was doing. After the tease, she’s put through to the next round. She better learn how to sing with a real band or she’s deadmeat in the semi-finals. Paige Mills, Siobhan Magnus, Micheell Delamor, Jermain Sellers and John Park get the good news without any build up. Why can’t they give us a tease for John Park? He’s my favorite this year. Ryan lets us know that this is a good cry.

Does this mean there’s only 4 winners left in the big room? That place should be turning into a shark tank. Who are the golden children? Only Haley Vaughn and Tori Kelly are left with one spot left for the girls. Have they booted people off without giving us a sob moment? Their interviews are crosscut to make us feel they know only one shall survive. Simon thinks she’s Haeley was up and down. Tori tells Randy she had so much fun in her final song. Randy and Simon whine about how tough their job was. We don’t care. Haeley get the last slot. Tori gets the bad news that it’s not going to happen. They’re teasing us with Andrew Garcia versus Thaddeus Johnson for the final guy’s slot. That’s just wrong. These two guys are more deserving than Aaron Kelly. Turns out Aaron won the “American Idol Experience” at DisneyWorld. So he’s got to go through to promote the ride.

Now we get the fight between Andrew and Thaddeus. Andrew talks about paying tribute to Paula with his acoustic version of “Straight Up.” We’re reminded of Thaddeus’ “Man In the Mirror.” He gets told that he didn’t make it. Simon insists he didn’t do anything wrong. This is just wrong. Did he need to be more flirty with Kara? The kid can’t deal with a rejection that has nothing, but praise attached to it. Thaddeus hides in a bathroom stall with his mother for privacy. That’s just weird. Andrew Garcia enters not knowing that the slot is his. Ellen teases him and puts him into the 24. He gets weepy, but doesn’t hide in a bathroom stall.

Ryan has the Top 24 on stage with him. The montage is given with a version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” Can’t they pick a different Lenny song like “Hey That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.” The kids do a little dance to preview the show.

The Boys in the Top 12 are Michael Lynche, Casey James, Aaron Kelly, Lee Dewyze, Todrick Hall, Tyler Grady, Alex Lambert, Joe Munoz, Jermaine Sellers, John Park, Andrew Garcia and Tim Urbban.

The Girls in the Top 12 are Didi Benami, Katelyn Epperly, Janell Wheeler, Lacey Brown, Ashley Rodriguez, Crystal Bowersox, Lilly Scott, Paige Miles, Michelle Delamor, Siobhan Magnus and Haeley Vaughn

Next week is double major time for Idol. Tuesday is a two hour special with the Top 12 girls battling it out. Wednesday is another two hours featuring the Top 12 boys. The results show on Thursday will ax 4 kids.

The mystery why Ryan’s narration insisted there were 71 contestants while the Closed Captioning read 72 has been solved. The producers had Ryan do a last minute adjustment to his narration after the Closed Captioning was done. Did you notice that Chris Golightly wasn’t mentioned during Hollywood week? He was the guy with the blond kinky hair that had bounced around through foster homes. They videotaped him next to trains to show his hobo-like existence. If you noticed at the end of the episode when Ryan’s on the stage with the Top 24, Chris is amongst the kids. Yet he wasn’t seen dancing during the naming of the semi-finalists. What happened? According to Samantha Musa, the producers found out that Chris had an old management contract. When you go to Hollywood week, you have to sign a year long management contract with Simon Fuller’s company. Simon’s people didn’t want the other management company claiming control of their contestant. Thus Chris was kicked out of the 24 and edited out of Hollywood week. He was replaced with Tim Urban. This is disgusting since Thaddeus should have had the slot since he was supposed to be the last person cut.

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