American Idol Top 7: Outwit, Outplay…Inspire?

With “Idol Gives Back” looming over us like a starving, malaria-ridden guillotine, tonight’s musical theme is “inspirational songs,” which for the contestants, roughly translates as “something I heard on the radio at some point.” But there are only seven of them now, so the experience is…ah, who am I kidding? It’s agony. This is American Idol. “Vampirism is not a disease, Julia. Vampires are the living dead.”

Our guest-mentor this week is Alicia Keys, an R&B singer who is famous to fans of her music. We’re told that Alicia is appropriate for this week’s humanitarian theme because she plays the piano and went to Africa at some point or other. She doesn’t contribute much, aside from asking each Idol what he or she will sing, and telling us what a good song it is, then telling them to connect with the song.

Casey James is singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” which is inspirational because Stevie Nicks is a witch. He continues to sound like Bob Seger, which is not my cup of coffee, that’s for damn sure. So boring, people, listening to him sing like an old dude from the past, strumming his guitar. And he’s unnervingly tan. The judges are like, “Good, but not great. So you best bring it, if you live.” Kara is frustrated with Casey, but that’s just because she can’t see his nipples.

Dweezil is singing Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” which is inspirational because it talks about the whores on Seventh Avenue. Dweezil sounds like Bob Seger, too, except like a Bob Seger who can sing better. Nice arrangement. Much less dainty-soft than the original. The judges approve of this contemporary take on such a dusty relic.

Tim Urban is singing “Better Days” by the Goo Goo Dolls, which is inspirational because Tim has pretty eyes, doesn’t he? Have you ever been on the bus or the subway, and there’s some guy listening to his iPod and he’s all, “LooLOOOlooLOO-LAaaAaAAH,” not realizing that (a) he can’t sing and (b) the whole world is listening? That’s Tim, who has decided to turn a deaf ear to his own performance. Would that we all could. Meanwhile, in Crazy-Pants News, the judges…sort of like it? A little? Crack kills, my brothers.

Aaron Kelly will sing R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” which is inspirational both because they dropped all 14 counts of R.’s child pornography charges and because R. sang the hook on the classic romantic ballad “Fuckin You Tonight.” You know, when little Aaron gets going, the boy can sing. This starts off shaky, but Aaron gets his legs under him and it’s quite good. Not Archuleta good. Let’s not lose our minds here. But solid. Simon is like, “Here, that was fantastic. On the actual radio? That’s shit.”

Siobhan Magnus is singing “When You Believe,” from the film The Prince of Egypt, which is a cartoon, and which is inspirational because Beauty and the Beast still makes me cry when I watch it. Siobhan looks like a crazy-homeless, with fake butterflies all over herself and her hair looking like she styled it with a toilet brush. Her voice sounds terribly forced and — aaaggh! Too close, cameraman! Too close!! Back it up. Thank you. I’ll get my horrors on Elm Street in a couple of weeks. Don’t need ’em here. The judges are like, “What are you? Why are you? Who are you?” And then Siobhan gives us the whole history of What This Song Means To Her without ever actually telling us what this song means to her, aside from that she likes it and wants to sing it and there may be several cats living in her hair.

Big Mike will perform Nickelback’s “Hero,” which is inspirational because it was the theme tune to the first Spider-Man film and Spider-Man fucking rules your face. So…Big Mike, strumming his guitar, acoustically, then the band coming in, and him being nasally and mega-boring, and me hoping the Green Goblin glides in and throws a pumpkin bomb at the stage. Why is this guy still here? Ah, I shouldn’t complain. We’re rid of Katie Stevens, aren’t we? And Big Mike is showing some Spidey-love. Life is good. Simon is like, “Why did you sing that song about Spider-Man?” Simon, read the first sentence of this paragraph is why. Big Mike could have shown up and talked about Spider-Man and it would get a pass. Still: time to go home, Gigantor.

Crystal Bowersox is singing “People Get Ready” by the Impressions, which is inspirational because everybody else in creation, including Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, and Miss Dionne Warwick has sung it, and consumers keep buying it, even though it’s a bit crap, although it is, I think, about death and, possibly, Armageddon, which is kinda cool. Crystal is awesome, as (almost) always, and while I still think she’s going home sooner than expected, she buys herself a week of safety by losing her shit at the end of the performance. Yes, folks, we have tears. Flowing rivers of tears and an inability to finish the song properly. It’s yummy like pudding. The judges…who the hell knows. Randy loved it. I’m sure the others loved it. My DVR cut off on account of it’s time for Glee, which I love far more than this dippy program.

Tomorrow night is “Idol Gives Back,” during which we’re supposed to lose an Idol, but I’m not sure it’ll happen. I think, in the past, evictees have been given a free pass because Africa is hungry, and it wouldn’t be fair to be eliminated from a reality show under such a dire circumstance.

But if anybody is going home, I think it’ll be Siobhan or Aaron.


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