If watching American Idol season after season teaches you one thing, it's how easily a person can skate by on sheer cuteness before facing their inevitable ouster. This week is the final installment of separate boy and girl performances before the sexes combine into a Top Twelve, ten of whom are wasting their time trying to top Lakisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle. Especially the fellas, who continue to plunder the tiny strip of land between mind-numbing mediocrity and outright suckage.
Last night, in the prerecorded segments before their performances, the guys were supposed to share something about themselves that might surprise the Idol viewership. Half of 'em regaled us with unfunny, self-conscious remarks about their most prominent physical characteristic (Sundance Head joked that he's not really fat; Phil Stacey -- gasp! -- hasn't always been bald; and so on), while the other four found alternate ways to be boring and predictable. Except for Lewis, Sligh and Chris Richardson, whose vocals were solid, it's anybody's guess who blew it colossally enough last night to get sent home. But it's our job to predict, and so here's who we think is in the gravest danger:
- Jared Cotter: Cotter has the blandest personality out of the eight remaining male contestants, and no likable quirks to save him when he needs it most. And he'll need it this week, following an unconvincing rendition of Stevie Wonder's "If You Really Love Me." His voice faltered early on, and though he pulled it out of the toilet from a technical standpoint, his performance was as soulless as his argyle sweater. Even Paula couldn't muster up a compliment, telling Cotter he needs to "work on coloring up" the way he sings. Simon rolled his eyes, but agreed, saying Cotter's delivery lacked the "wow factor." Funny, I found myself "wow"-ing at how lame it was.
- Sanjaya Malakar: The best that can be said about Malakar's performance last night is that it wasn't nearly as embarrassing as his preceding video clip. "People may be surprised to know that I can actually hula," said the teenaged singer, and then demonstrated his hip-swiveling technique, yielding Idol's fruitiest moment since Clay starred on Season Two. Then came Malakar's white-bread interpretation of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change," which briefly rendered Paula speechless. "I'm having a hard time because I'm trying not to be rude," Abdul said. Thankfully, Simon made no such effort: "I'm just finding the whole hula-hooping, Paula-hairstyle thing a bit weird...It wasn't a very good vocal. Maybe it's your hair that's keeping you in." I want to root for the kid, but this performance was even flatter than his ironed-straight locks.