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'American Idol' Recap: Elise Testone Goes Home + Final 5 Power Rankings

April 27th, 2012 9:10am EDT
Elise Testone is eliminated on AMERICAN IDOL
It’s rare that a contestant commits the three mortal sins of ‘Idol’. In the world of shilling for America’s votes, there are three ways to fall into the doghouse. Three separate kisses of death that have seen many an ‘Idol’ contestant along their melancholy way to the strains of whatever former contestant the producers have chosen for that season.

They are:

Talk back to the judges – Time and time again we’ve seen those that complain go home. It’s always best to just smile and nod.

Pick the wrong song – A surefire way to get voted off. Picking an obscure song, one that doesn’t match your ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Joshua Ledet Brings His 'A' Game On Queen Night

April 26th, 2012 11:00am EDT
Josh Ledet performs on AMERICAN IDOL
Wither Jimmy? If there’s one thing about this ‘Idol’ season that’s been universally great, it’s been anything involving Jimmy Iovine. He may have been getting his sealegs ready last year, but this year he can almost walk on water with his insightful criticisms, the boffo mentoring segments and his ability to make everybody better.

So why take him out? Why leave him off the show in favor of the ‘Idols’ cracking on each other? I don’t understand it at all. Maybe we’ll find out tomorrow that he was previously committed. And if not, I think the producers need to be committed for taking him off...
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'American Idol' Recap: Colton Dixon Goes Home In A Mild Upset

April 20th, 2012 9:30am EDT
Colton Dixon American Idol
When is a surprise not actually a surprise?

Last night’s "American Idol" elimination was a shocker on paper: A seemingly popular contestant with a big following goes home after never being in the bottom three before. Colton Dixon had the look, the girl voters, the piano, and all you’d expect to make a deep run and then he’s out at seventh.

Yes, this should have been a major upset. Except for the fact that he was horrible last night. Yes, nobody is truly safe on ‘Idol’ (Unless you have same first and last name this season) and Colton proved with his early elimination that voters always see...
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'American Idol' Recap: Some Ups And Downs As Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez And Phillip Phillips Standout

April 19th, 2012 7:16am EDT
Hollie Cavanaugh performs on AMERICAN IDOL
14 songs. 14 songs! By my count, that’s a record for ‘Idol’. Granted, my count includes no research, no basis and really no thought. Just Ryan’s telling me that it’s so.

Still. 14 songs! Not even time for a guest mentor. Not even time for any pre-packaged videos. Not much time for anything other than singing and a cool ‘Soul Train’ tribute. Thankfully.

And We don’t have any time to waste. Let’s just get right to it, shall we?

Hollie Cavanagh’s First Song: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

Steven Said: You finally did what all of America wanted you to do.

J-Lo Said: You felt every word of ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Jessica Sanchez Gets The Judges' Save

April 13th, 2012 9:19am EDT
Jessica Sanchez get saved by judges
This is the reason the judges’ save was invented. I’ve been piping all year that big-voiced singers like Jessica Sanchez always go home in a “shocker.” Every single year we have some major contender who ostensibly steals most shows only to go home early. It always happens and Jessica was the prime candidate in this age of young texting girls not voting for young singing girls.

She was spared though. Gloriously spared. She barely had to sing a note. Now we all get to wait for that moment where she goes home too early again, thanks to the texting girls.

Yes, Jessica’s unfair ouster was the ...
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'American Idol' Recap: The Idols Shine With Songs From The Last 3 Years

April 12th, 2012 9:39am EDT
Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez
Let’s get one thing straight. I can’t stand these duets and trios and whatever it is they’re doing. ‘Idol’ is bloated enough with its pre-taped packages, product placements and other nonsense that two hours is becoming drudgery. Now that they’ve added these non-judged little showcases to what is supposed to be a singing competition is a bit of a bloat too far.

So here’s the deal: We’re not talking about them anymore. We’re not mentioning them. Not discussing them. Not spending any time on them.

No, we’re not going to mention Phillip and Elise tarnishing that Gotye song we all love. We’re ...
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'American Idol' Recap: DeAndre Goes Home + Power Rankings

April 6th, 2012 9:00am EDT
DeAndre Brackensick eliminated
When I don’t predict it, I get it right. All year I’ve been saying that each results show would be DeAndre’s last. He never seemed to get traction, he was never very good, and he just didn’t stand out. I never saw him sticking around, yet, every week, he kept surviving.

Well, no more.

Fake Terence Trent D’Arby is finally hitting the road. Which means we no longer have to struggle to understand why J-Lo loves him so much and the other judges tolerate him. I never got DeAndre. I thought he was too young. Too inexperienced. Like he was a kid impersonating a soul singer. Because that’s what h...
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'American Idol' Recap: 80s Night Is All About Song Choice

April 5th, 2012 9:56am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL: Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet
Tonight the theme seemed to be song selection. Steve hammered it home. Jimmy was very concerned with it. It was on everybody’s minds. You’d think with the entire decade of the 80s to choose a song from, it’d be pretty easy to come up with the correct song.

Yet, it never seems to happen. It just never seems to happen. And when it does, it’s an exception to what should be a rule. I’m going to offer an easy primer on how to pick the right song.

It’s very simple. Listen to the track. Does the vocal stand out? Is it ever more about the rhythm, the instruments or anything like that than it is t...
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'American Idol': Heejun Han Goes Home + Power Rankings

March 30th, 2012 10:00am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL: Heejun Han
And another favorite goes home. I’ve had such a terrible run with my favorites since I picked Kelly Clarkson as my favorite contestant in the first season. It’s been nothing but disaster since.

In my wake you’ll find the Anoops, the Carly Smithsons and the Gina Glockens of the world. Of course, you’ll also find my favorite contestant of all time: Molly DeWolf Swenson, who didn’t even make the live shows.

Yes, being my favorite has been cursed since I helped Kelly to a win in the first season, and now the end has come for my favorite this year: Heejun Han.

It’s kind of odd timing really a...
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'American Idol': The Idols Pay Tribute To Their Idols

March 29th, 2012 9:39am EDT
Elise Testone performs Whole Lotta Love
Stevie Nicks. Singer. Artist. Legend. Creepiest ‘Idol’ mentor of all time. Stevie brought it all to the director’s chairs for her first stint in the ‘Idol’ mentor role. A lot of singing. Some crying. And an inate ability to make every contestants’ performance and song choice about herself. Exactly what you want from a narcissistic mentor.

But she brought an extra weird creep factor to the recording studio as well. She had the presence of a burnt-out college professor talking about how she was “there man” and the instability of that same professor’s mother.

I really didn’t know what she’d ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Erika Van Pelt Goes Home + Power Rankings

March 23rd, 2012 9:30am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL: Erika Van Pelt is eliminated
Really, it all comes down to being memorable. Erika was the most non-descript contestant in this competition. Seriously, I didn’t realize she was on the show until every time she came up. Her being announced never elicited any sort of a response other than, “Oh, her.”

It’s tough to make anything last when vague recognition is your only calling card. Her voice was solid, she chose some good songs, she was certainly never bad. None of that matters though. If you don’t make an impact you’ve got no shot in this competition.

Think of all that came before her. The Sanjayas, the Kristy Lee Cooks...
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'American Idol' Recap: A Whole Lotta Good On Billy Joel Night

March 22nd, 2012 10:00am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL: Phillip Phillips performs on Billy Joel Night
What matters more? The singing or the preparation to sing? On this show, it seems like the latter is king. What is ostensibly America’s biggest singing competition has transformed this season into America’s Biggest Prep for a Singing Competition. Between the 2-minute coaching session with Jimmy Iovine and whatever half-awake superstar he has manning the director’s chair next to him and now Tommy Hilfiger primping the contestants for no apparent reason, this show has dedicated far more energy to the warm up than it does the act.

It gets a little frustrating for a couple of reasons. One: It ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Shannon Goes Home + Power Rankings

March 16th, 2012 10:00am EDT
Shannon Magrane (center) is eliminated on AMERICAN IDOL
America continues to get it right. One of my big problems with ‘Idol’ is that the voters have a tendency to delay the inevitable. Like with Kristy Lee Cook, or the redheaded guy who looked like me, America seems to want to keep around people with no chance at winning.

That hasn’t been the case so far this year.

First, Jeremy Rosado, the overgrown bundle of nerves went home before he just came out and forgot to sing. This week, the girl who can’t sing, Shannon, mercifully got the boot.

This show is best when it becomes unpredictable, and the only way to do that is to start getting rid of ...
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'American Idol' Recap: Joshua Blows Them Away On Birth Year Songs Night

March 15th, 2012 9:33am EDT
AMERICAN IDOL: Josh Ledet performs
For me, the big story of last night was the ouster of Jermaine. Not his actually being voted off, but the fact that the producers decided to show his receiving the news on the show. People have been kicked off the show before, but nobody’s ever been shown getting the news on the show like it’s an episode of ‘Hard Knocks’ and they’re being cut from the team. So…weird.

As strange as that was, it’s even stranger the person who got kicked off the show because of a criminal record. Would you have ever put the gentle giant in your top ten of having a criminal record? I would have put Phillip (Mo...
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'American Idol' Recap: Jeremy Goes Home + Power Rankings

March 9th, 2012 9:16am EST
American Idol - Jeremy Goes Home
Through one show, I’m just about spot on. Maybe I’m good, or maybe it was just an easy week, but, for once, I completely called the bottom two and even this week’s castoff. Jeremy Rosado became the first finalist voted out, and it almost seemed like a mercy killing. This kid was way out of his depth here and appeared to be a nervous mess on stage. There was no reason to prolong the inevitable and America, and the judges, got this one right.

The rest of the results show was pretty much the standard results show. We got a mediocre performance from Lauren Alaina that once again underscored wh...
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'American Idol' Recap: The Top 13 Sing Stevie Wonder And Whitney Houston

March 8th, 2012 9:38am EST
AMERICAN IDOL: Phillip Phillips performs
Last night was ‘American Idol’s’ 400th show, and in honor of that, I’m going to list the top 400 contestants of all time. In order.

No. That’s not going to happen. But I am wondering where this cast of characters fits in with the other contestant pools from year’s past. There’s kind of a smattering of everything here. You’ve got some soul, some country, some rock/alternative, a nice mix. Normally we’ve seen a lot of pop or rock or something as a bit of a theme throughout the contestants. This year, it’s almost a clash of styles as much as it is singers. Something I think will be very inter...
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