American Idol: Semi-Finals.2: What is the Law?

“Where else can you find a welder, a bartender, a font designer, and a comedian?” Don’t miss Watchmen, in theaters March 6th! Seacrest is obviously talking about tonight’s batch of semi-finalists. Minus the obvious part. I mean, who the hell knows what these people do for a living? Most of them haven’t received more than five minutes of screen time since January. We barely know what they look like. This is American Idol. Reconstructing myself after the subtraction of my intrinsic field was the first trick I learned.

This week works the same as last week, with the exciting bonus of containing even more “suck.” Twelve people sing. The guy with the most votes moves on, the girl with the most votes moves on, and the person with the second highest number of votes moves on. Nine people will vanish into obscurity and/or a career as a server at Fridays. The judges want everyone to “bring it” and “pick the right song.” And “there’s no second chances.” Aside from Wild Card Night. If you’re even vaguely confused by this information, I suggest you avoid watching Lost.

Jasmine Murray is the girl who looks like a skinny Mo’Nique. She never really watched Idol, on account of how she has taste, but her mother was like, “Jasmine, stop scrapbooking and go be on this show!” So here she is, singing “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles. Jasmine is a big mess in her lower register, then sings from the back of her throat (which I think she did in earlier weeks), creating what I call the Kermit Effect. She basically just stands and sings, lacking any presence and being pretty. I say meh. The judges say meh, but using more words.

Matt Giraud is the dueling pianist. We don’t know much more about him, aside from that he sang some Ray Charles in Hollywood. So tonight, the show helps us out by letting us know that Matt is a dueling pianist who sang some Ray Charles in Hollywood. This show is such a good helper! Matt sings a Coldplay song I’ve never before heard, because I find Coldplay to be a whirlwind of audible tedium. But he sounds pretty good. He bounces about, seeming to have a good time, even though I have no idea what this song is about. Something about Jerusalem bells and pillars of salt. It sounds holy. Does Coldplay have the Jesus? Whatever, Matt is likable in a Jason Segel kind of way. I wish him well. The judges piss on him for not singing like Ray Charles. Their theme tonight is “Sing the type of songs we want you to sing based on that one song you sang that one time and the clothes you wore to your second audition which helped us decide what box you belong in, regardless of your personal dreams, desires, or life-goals.” Idol Law #1: Stay in your box!!

Jeanine Vailes is some random Never-Seen who thinks she has a chance of winning this show. Idol Law #2: Coverage equals votes. Jeanine will be lucky if even thirty non-family members pick up the phone. She is the bartender from tonight’s introduction. Riveting! In the Hollywood Throne Room, she tripped over a table. Tell me more!! Jeanine sings “This Love” by Maroon 5, wearing high heels and short-shorts. She’s so bad that across the nation, karaoke bars close down, shamed by the beast they have created. Jasmine is all hair and lips and legs and notes falling to the ground like candy from a piñata. Yuck. The judges comments are best summed up by Paula: “Great legs. It’s Season 8.”

Nick “Norman Gentle” Mitchell is the shiny-shirt-wearing, head-banded idiot I’ve been calling Disco Assclown for the last few weeks. You know how every year, some person auditions in a costume and the judges call them an asshole and throw them out? Well, Nick is the one who made it through. All the way through. To the Semi-Finals. Nick talks about creating the Norman character “just to be funny.” He should have created him just to be annoying, because he’s really excelling at that. Nick performs as Norman tonight, singing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” creeping around the stage, writhing against the logo on the judges table, and crawling all over the place. Wailing. Howling. The highlight: he spots Neil Patrick Harris in the audience and shouts out “Doogie!” Which I would totally do, myself, except I’d also touch him. In the bad place. The audience goes crazy. The judges (except for Simon) love him. And part of me now wants Nick to win. It would serve them frickin’ right.

Allison Iraheta, I think, might have briefly passed across our screens before. She’s 16 years old, with braces on her bottom teeth and hair vaguely reminiscent of Poison Ivy. She sings some awful Heart song, but hey, the girl is good! Not fantastic, but relative to what we’ve seen tonight, she pops. Nice vocal control, appealing voice, some soft-to-powerful range. There’s a Kelly Clarkson thing bubbling under the surface, which could help or hurt Allison, should she continue. The judges like her, and I ditto them.

Kris Allen is a little hottie. We haven’t seen much of him before, with his first “big” appearance as part of White Chocolate on Group Night. He can play a guitar and he wears what might be a wedding ring. That is all we know. And probably all we ever will know. He sings MJ’s “Man in the Mirror,” and the beginning is “How the hell did he get to Semi-Finals” degrees of shaky. But then, all of a sudden, things turn around. Kris’s voice gets good. He starts performing the hell of the song (which technically only serves to mask his mostly-average voice). This was a nice surprise. Not a surprise? When he goes home tomorrow night.

Megan Joy Corkrey (the “Joy” is new, by the way) auditioned a few weeks ago, and I remember being a little put off by her weird, vibrato-heavy voice and strange retro delivery. But maybe I was wrong. She sings “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae adorably. She shakes and wiggles like she’s got an itch she can’t scratch, doing a move like she’s drying off her ass with a towel. Still sounds old-fashioned, but when applied to this song it works, and she’s clearly having a good time. Megan could be this year’s Brooke White. The judges heart her.

Matt Breitzke is the welder who has been made redundant by Oil Rig Sarver. He also has a wife, kids, tough job, etc. He doesn’t have the same Red State vibe as Sarver, nor the All-American looks. So thanks for trying, Matt. He sings a song by Tonic and while his voice is lovely, really, and I prefer it over Oil Rig’s, Breitzke is a little boring and just looks old and sweaty. The judges did not enjoy.

Jesse Langseth is yet another single mother. She’s got a Lauren Ambrose by way of Buffy the Vampire Slayer vampire face. I only recall her from Hollywood’s Throne Room, where she got stuck in a sing-off with that Frankie chick. Jesse, for reasons we’ll never understand, chooses to sing “Bette Davis Eyes.” And…I guess it’s good. But it’s such a strange choice. It’s too pop-y for something as important as this. Jesse should have done a little Carly Simon. Maybe some Carole King. But “Bette Davis Eyes”? Why not “Hey, Mickey,” for that matter? The judges are like, “Nice voice, but are you high with this song choice?”

Kai Kalama is the guy with the jacked up hair who takes care of his sick mother. He sings “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted,” looking and sounding like a 45-year-old subway beggar. I throw two quarters and a nickel at my TV, but they bounce off. It’s hard to watch Kai. He looks awkward and sounds so ordinary. I don’t understand how he got this far. Simon: “I think you’ll be a very good back-up singer.” Burn!

Mishovanna Henson is the girl who auditioned last year and either didn’t make air or was forgotten completely. She’s back again to remind us how either one of those things was just fine. Singing “Drops of Jupiter,” she’s vocally fine, but a sinkhole of dull. And the bubble skirt with leggings isn’t helping her, either. As Mystery Meat, I doubt she’ll make it past tomorrow night.

I used to call Adam Lambert “Pretty Goth.” But I’ve changed that. He’s now Poseur-Rock. (And only because I’m holding back from what I’d really like to call him.) Adam shows up with the stones to sing “Satisfaction” by the Stones. He’s dressed head-to-toe in black, accented by about a dozen gold chains around his neck. His hair is dyed black and flat-ironed into a “sloppy” style. Fingernails: black. Also: disgusting. Studded leather bracelet on one wrist. Fingerless glove on one hand. Making sexy-eyes at the fucking camera. Shrieking like a mouse scampered across his kitchen floor. I’ve seen butch-er, more subtle performances on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The audience loses its collective shit. Paula gives him a standing ovation. The judges lick his armpits, they love him so much. Except Simon. I’d like to say Adam will go home tomorrow, that America will see through this crap and behave accordingly. But let us not forget Idol Law #3: Americans who vote for Idol are, generally, half-wits. And so, I resign myself to seeing more of this guy in the coming weeks.

So who stays? I think Adam might be the male winner of the night, unless the public has been so entranced by the saga of Nick Mitchell that they vote him through for more “hilarious” hijinks and “outrageous” shenanigans. Of the girls, Jasmine Murray got enough play to keep her around, but Allison Iraheta and Megan Corkrey were actually good. Hmm. Okay, here are my three guesses: Adam, Jasmine, and Allison.

Tomorrow, results. Here’s hoping I’m at least partially wrong!


Back to the season guide.


    1. Nick came up small. His past performances were better. He’s probably the only thing that could get me to watch the Top 12 portion of the season. But no, I’m not calling in. I’ll leave it to the Vote for the Worst people to carry the torch.

      “Great legs. It’s Season 8.” Wow, Paula steppin up for a change. Great line. Unlike Simon’s, that seemed genuine and unscripted.

      They should bring in that Simon doppelganger on Top Chef. Toby Something. For some godawful reason, they kicked him out after that boring troll Gail came back from her soon-to-be-doomed nuptials. Or pregnancy. Or both. Who can keep track of these dumbass magazine-editors-turned-reality-show-judges. Toby is mean but predictable. “It’s like (analogy) from (Hollywood reference).” That’s how all his criticism goes. But it’s better than, “So, look, dawg…” which I see even Kara is adopting now. I’m still getting a desperate-to-fit-in vibe from her (doesn’t Babes in Toyland sell one of those?).

    2. God…Adam…I can’t believe the big shit he took on that classic Stones tune. Furthermore I can’t believe the judges actually loved how that shit smelled!!!

      Allison…don’t like her but the girl can sing.
      Megan…I liked her from her initial audition…still like her. She can’t win but I like her.
      Nick/Norman….yeah, I so want to see him make top 12 too…at least then we would be assured to have something interesting to watch. He’s awesome.

      Thats my worthless opinion….not that it means anything. Love reading your Idol blog Frank

    3. Hey, I picked ’em right tonight. I figgered Allison (good performance), Kris (Zac Efron factor) and Adam (judges love).

      Frank, you’re a bit tough on Kris. His performance was one of the better ones of the night.

      The howler of the night, for me, was Randy’s supreme bullshit at describing Adam. What did he say? “[You’re] like a combination of Steven Tyler meets Fall Out Boy meets Robert Patterson from Twilight.”

      First, I like how Randy makes “Fall Out Boy” a person (Simpsons inspirations aside) instead of referencing Pete Wentz. Secondly, I’m amazed how fictional vampires factor into a music competition. Also? Manipulative. “Hey 12 year old Twilight fans… see how cool Adam is? text your vote now!”

      The impossible has happened: Randy is officially more useless than Paula.

    4. FrankiePitt says:

      Dave: Saying Nick’s earlier performances were better is like saying, “The time I had gangrene in my right leg was better than the time I had gangrene in my left leg.” Both are rotten. That said, I finally came around to supporting his continued success. Those judges should reap what they sow. As for Kara, after Simon, she’s the only one (usually) who has anything valuable to say. She doesn’t feel desperate to me as much as impatient, both to say her piece and to fit in.

      Erika: First up, thanks! Second up, as far as Adam goes, yes, exactly!!

      Bill: I guess what I wrote about Kris sounded harsher than I felt. I still think the beginning was all kinds of shaky, and I had a bad here-we-go-again feeling. But as Randy might say, Kris worked it out. And if you can get me to listen to, let alone enjoy, a performance of any MJ song, you’re doing something right. As for Randy…seriously. Twilight? Ugh. I would have appreciated it if someone (Simon?) had said something like, “You have an occasionally decent voice, but this get-up is a joke and you should absolutely not be taken seriously.” And Fall Out Boy…wasn’t he in the Legion of Super-Heroes?

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