Well after tonight's show, somewhere there are sixteen very talented young people singing: "We almost made it, didn't we?" And the mom in me wants to pat them on the shoulder and say "yes you did, dear", and "there is always next year". But truthfully, the pool of Idol wannabees was very deep this year. Contestants generally had to be on their game at every stage. Some of those eliminated would definitely have made it during the first three or four years where contestants were inexperienced and were literally taught to sing. Today's contestants are more knowledgeable and quite often experienced performers. AI has become a legitimate way to advance one's career.
Last night, the forty finalists were gathered at the Pasadena auditorium where, one by one, they were sent to the elevator which would take them to the judging room. There they were subjected to pure torture. Were the three judges trying to drag it out to fill in time? In every way imaginable they were told either to go home or stay. Sentence structure was put through every twist possible to build suspense. "I am sorry but....you will have to put up with seeing us again." "You know we had some very good entrants and every one had to be on their game. How do you feel you did? Well we have decided that....you are through to the next round."
Next, Simon tried to apologize to Anna Kearns for the giraffe remark, but she had none of it because giraffes are beautiful animals. Duh! You missed your chance girl to make Simon squirm!
So one by one they came (until the final four). Some of our favorites were eliminated and some contestants that we had never seen before were put through. First up was Sanjaya Malakar who, not surprisingly, is going through. He has a beautiful voice and will be interesting to watch.
Next Anna Kearns completely misses a chance to diss Simon and continues to flabbergast me because she doesn't believe that she has been eliminated. "How could this body be eliminated?" It's a singing contest!
Bernard Williams doesn't make it but Paula encourages him to come back please. I expect she rooted for him.
Erick Davis (Who? We've never seen him before) is eliminated as is Tami Gosnell, our Pedi cab driver...my first heartbreak of the season. I really liked her. Next, our two back-up singers, Melinda Dolittle and Brandon Rogers, are brought to the next round. I immediately cheer up. Gina Glocksen, minus tattoos, moves to the next round. Her reaction: "Shut up!" was hilarious. Jimmy McNeal doesn't make it and I am totally shocked. Another young man who we have never met before is ejected before I can even catch his name. Whoever you are, you deserve better. Come back next year so we can get a good look at you. Our wedding band singer, Haley Scarnato, and our new dad, Phil Stacey, make it. Phil did a fantastic version of "Have You Ever Loved a Woman?" Thanks, American Idol, for the Valentine's gift.
During a little break in the tension we are shown the boys from yesterday being treated to a preview of the Simpson's movie and a visit to the studio.
Next up was our fabulous quartet from last night. Chris Sligh made the only interesting entrance of the show. "I guess you are wondering why I called this meeting." Simon informs him that he has a lot of people interested in him and he moves forward. Our beat boxer, Blake Lewis, and Rudy Cardenas, a band member, make it safely through. Thomas Lowe, the fourth in their group, didn't. Awww!
Paul Kim moves forward with bare feet and his favorite jockeys. He seems to have a good sense of humor, which will add to our enjoyment of the show. He is joined by Jordin Sparkes, our 17 year old natural from Seattle.
Next we lose two girls that we haven't seen before: Olivia and Monique. Sorry girls, I wish we had had a chance to meet you. Titania McConnico, who sang "A House is Not a Home" beautifully during the auditions, is eliminated.
We are then introduced for the first time to three contestants who made the final twenty-four: A.J. Tabaldo, Stephanie Edwards and Leslie Hunt. All sound terrific and I look forward to getting to know them. Unfortunately they may be late off the starting block. Nicholas Pedro flashes his great smile when he is rewarded for returning to Hollywood.
Alaina Alexander is thrilled with the judges' decision and immediately starts to cry. She seems to be a very nice person and a hard worker. She asks how she can improve and Simon tells her to blow her nose.
Next we lose Jerome Chism, Joelle James, Matthew Bucksten (our cowboy), and Princess Johnson. I can only think "Kiss you? Why I hardly know you!"
Our single mom, Lakisha Jones, is safe and I am happy. She has a tremendous talent that should be used. She will work out the problem of her child with the help of her family. It takes a village to raise a child. Simon tells her she is a great singer, which is very high praise from him.
Now we are down to the last two girls: Marisa Rhodes and Antonella Barba (whose name I have spelled wrong for week) meet head to head before the judges. In what has to be shocking news to most, Antonella goes through and Marissa is rejected. Marissa can hardly believe it. It must be hard to sit there all day in that suspense to finally be told no. She is devastated and bewildered.
Then the last two boys, Tommy Daniels and Sundance Head, sit before the judges. I thought the judges' decision would be in favor of Tommy, who did very well at all stages of the competition.
Book your comfortable armchair and the television for next week. The game is on!
That's a rap folks....and as my grandmother used to say....whip your juniper legs across... (Please don't ask me what it means but the junipers are whipping around here in a one hundred and fifty mile hour blizzard today).