Feb. 28, 2012 at 11:26 PM ET
The problem with the two-hour “American Idol” semifinal shows is that every performance runs together. Thirteen singers in two hours, combined with nonstop compliments from the judges and poignant home videos to serve as campaign advertisements make the whole night a festival where everyone is declared awesome and you can just vote for whoever you want.
It’s on nights like Tuesday that the producers have to shake their heads and say, “Thank heaven for Steven Tyler.”
The rocker is not Simon Cowell. Simon would have ripped singers such as Eben Franckewitz and Chase Likens to shreds. Steven said both were awesome, along with everyone else. It isn’t his job to crush dreams, or to be honest.
It’s his job to entertain, and that’s what he does so well. Sure, it all seems scripted, especially with jokes such as “I’m as confused as a baby in a topless bar?” Come on. Is Oscar host Billy Crystal writing the jokes for this show now too?
And speaking of Billy Crystal ...
Judge Jennifer Lopez was one of the trending topics on Oscar night this past Sunday, as she may or may not have had a wardrobe malfunction while serving as a presenter. Think that “Idol” wouldn’t go down that road? Think again.
“Who am I?” Tyler said, as he sneezed and ripped open his shirt to reveal his chest.
“That was an Oscar reenactment, ladies and gentlemen,” host Ryan Seacrest said, in case anyone had forgotten.
“There was no nipple!” J.Lo swore to the audience as the show went right into the Aaron Marcellus video clip.
Believe her or not, at least it got some energy into the show. How important was that? Those of you who watched it, think back. What else do you remember?
OK, you probably remember Colton Dixon. Dixon made it to the very last cut before being sent home a year ago, and was the most confident of the final 13 guys. He owned the stage with his cover of Paramore’s “Decode” and will almost certainly make it to the finals.
Similarly, Joshua Ledet was memorable taking the next-to-last spot of the night and powering through Jennifer Hudson’s “You Pulled Me Through.” J.Lo said she loved him so much she wanted to punch him. Keep that danger in mind, all you people who dream of having her fall in love with you.
And Jermaine Jones not only got a second chance in the competition, he also got to close the show. Even that might not be enough, but “Dance With My Father” was very good and at least he got that showcase for his mother to brag about.
But it’s anyone’s guess who will be the top five vote-getters who earn the automatic spots in the final 13. The three singers to get criticized – though very gently – were Heejun Han, Phillip Phillips and Franckewitz, and it wouldn’t be a shock if all three made it anyway given the audience response and the amount of screen time each got during the auditions.
Han got song-choice criticism, Phillips didn’t sing a judge-approved melody, and Franckewitz ... well, he may look a little like Justin Bieber, but he sure doesn’t sing like him. Han probably has the best chance of the three because he’s the funniest, his mom’s a cool dancer (based on the video clips) and Tyler loves singing “Hey-Jun” to the tune of “Hey Jude” every time he sees him.
Watch out for Aaron Marcellus. He went in the middle of the show, which means some of his fans may have fallen asleep before the voting started, but he put on a show with “Never Can Say Goodbye” and the audience seemed to get into it. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Reed Grimm either, especially those with fond memories of the Bill Murray lounge singer sketches from those classic “Saturday Night Live” episodes. He jazzed up “Moves Like Jagger,” which at least may have gotten the attention of the folks on “The Voice.”
Adam Brock and Deandre Brackensick went retro with Aretha Franklin and Earth, Wind & Fire. They were both fine, but did they resonate with the viewers as well as with the judges? We’ll see.
Jeremy Rosado is so likable. That’s what all of his co-workers and all the judges said. He also sang well, but it fed into the “he has a nice personality” vibe that’s usually the kiss of death. Creighton Fraker’s in a similar boat, though he did really well with his “True Colors” cover. Likens was very forgettable and it’s tough to see him moving forward.
But who knows? The judges liked everybody, and made it clear that everyone was awesome but that the voters had better make the right choice anyway. Good luck with that, America!
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