Last night we said good-bye to another American Idol finalist.
Considering it was April Fool's Day, the producers were wise not to engage in any cruel stunts: well, none that were more cruel than usual.
At the head of the show, host Ryan Seacrest announced that the results were based on 36 million votes. First, he asked the judges to talk more about the previous night's show. Randy Jackson admitted that perhaps the selection of songs had been too wide (contestants could sing any song as long as it was a top download on iTunes). Of course, this same thing could be said just about any week where there's a more relaxed theme (next week, they're just performing songs from the year they were born). The best contestants either learn what works with their voice and stick to it or, like Adam Lambert, continually raise the bar by trying new things.
Paula Abdul gave a very coherent assessment, saying that talent only gets you in the door, and then you've got to prove you deserve to stay. Is it just me, or is Paula upping her game now that she's got another female, and potential rival, on the judges' panel?
Put on the spot to choose who should be going home that night, Simon Cowell said that Anoop, Matt and Megan should be worried (video of opening here).
Next up was the Ford music commercial to the song "Mixed Up." The video mixed and matched portions of the nine finalists' faces. The commercial wasn't terribly well done. It sort of looked like a student editing project.
Then came the group performance, this time to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," one of biggest downloads ever. Unlike the previous week's prerecorded lip-synched number, this one was at least performed live.
After a video showing the finalists on a typical week, Ryan encouraged them to do imitations of each other. Anoop's imitation of Kris showed just how different their voices are, but Allison's of Danny was very good (video).
Time for eliminations. This time, Ryan mixed it up a bit, creating three groups. Group one held Matt Giraud, Megan Joy Corkrey and Kris Allen. Group two had Adam Lambert, Lil Rounds, and Allison Iraheta. Group three had Scott MacIntyre, Danny Gokey, and Anoop Desai. I fully expected that this would mean that one of those groups was the bottom three, and I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out which one.
While the audience tried to figure out what the heck was going on, David Cook performed a single from his new album, "Come Back to Me." Incidentally, this performance had been prerecorded, in part because Cook is dealing with an undisclosed family emergency, possibly involving his brother, who is suffering from brain cancer.
After the performance, Ryan worked down the line, declaring Kris safe but not his entire group. Hmm. He said to Matt, "Last week you were in the bottom three. This week you also have to take a seat..." and as Matt was moving towards the tulip chairs, he gestured to the safety of the couches, "... over there!" Kris greeted him, "April Fools'!" Oh, yes, so funny Ryan. Please pull something like that every week.
As Megan was sent to the bottom three, she cawed and flapped her arms, a reference to her saying "Caw! Caw!" at the end of "Rockin' Robin" several weeks ago. Say what you want about Megan, but she's uninaginably cute.
Much to many people's surprise, Lil was declared safe while Allison was in bottom three (again!). Adam, Danny, and Scott were safe. Anoop was in the bottom three, but he said he understood.
Then came the performance that really seemed like an April Fools' special: Lady Gaga doing her song, "Poker Face," playing a see-through pink piano filled with plastic bubbles and wearing a weird black zipper over one eye. A lot of her singing was tuneless, and I found myself wondering why she was being featured on a singing contest show. She did do the requisite pop star dancing thang very well, though.
Ryan pointed to the bottom three and asked Simon how many were worth saving. "One," said Simon, and I think everyone knew he meant Allison. No worries, though. Allison was declared safe.
When Ryan declared that Megan was at the bottom, she said, "It's OK." Then to Anoop, she said, "Don't forget to call."
Ryan asked if the judges would save Megan, and Simon replied, "With the greatest respect, when you said you don't care, nor do we. So I'm not going to pretend that we're even going to contemplate saving you. So this is your swan song. Enjoy it." Well, at least she knew where she stood. I will say, though, that I'm not sure Megan said she didn't care. I think she just didn't want her fans to feel sorry for her. But whatev.
Maybe Megan didn't expect to go home, because she wore chunky bracelets that clicked together, making lots of noise during her last performance.
So why was it Megan's turn to go? She certainly had some things going for her: with her jazzy voice, her tattooed arm and her unique style, she was far from forgettable. She did, however, get hammered week after week for song choice, as she chose songs that didn't always showcase her unique vocal qualities.
Megan was a polarizing figure: people loved her or hated her. As far as the judges were concerned, she hadn't had rave reviews since the first week of the competition. Her dance moves were awkward at best, which probably also worked against her.
I think that Megan is a diamond in the rough. If she spends enough time with vocal coaches and choreographers, her true talent will shine. Maybe by the end of the summer tour, she'll be more comfortable on-stage.
Changing her name probably didn't help her either. While other contestants in the past (such as Mandisa) have opted to drop their surnames, she initially used her last name, Corkrey, and then tried to reinvent herself as Megan Joy. I don't think that sort of confusion can help when viewers are trying to get a sense of a contestant.
Still, Megan brought exuberance and a refreshingly different sound to the stage. When her eventual album comes up, I'll be looking for it. Until then, I'll be playing "Rockin' Robin" and cawing along.
All video clips come from mjsbigblog.
Standing out isn't always a good thing.