'American Idol' Recap: Eight Is Enough - Rolling Stone
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Eight Is Enough

Remaining contestants move into the mansion

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Heejun Han is elimated on 'American Idol.'

Phil Mcarten / FOX

Welcome to the most time-killing episode of American Idol yet. While you may have thought yesterday’s two-hour, nine-song performance was as far as this show can stretch, you were wrong. Just accept it and move on with your life, because it’s only going to get worse as we move forward in the competition. Plus, it’s always been the results shows where Idol really shines in its ability to fill an hour of primetime television with absolutely nothing.

First time-kill? An announcement of something we already know. Namely, that Nicki Minaj and Scotty McCreery are here and they are going to perform. Separately, of course. While it would be all kinds of awesome to see them play together, that wouldn’t take up nearly enough time. The second time-killing announcement is that Aerosmith is going on tour and tickets will be on sale on the American Idol website. It’s all so beautifully cross-promotional, it’s almost surprising that they don’t have legalese scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

There is still more time to kill, so Ryan Seacrest pulls up a screen showing all the congratulatory and appreciative tweets from the singers who are about to get a sales bump and a major royalty check from the Idol production company after last night’s performances. There’s Lifehouse, Jonny Lang, and even Carrie Underwood. Eric Benet didn’t bother tweeting, because he wanted free date-night tickets to the show. He appears on stage to say hi to Deandre Brackensick, who has a near meltdown and kind of wraps his arms around his idol and it looks like half a leg, too, before Benet unwraps himself and steps gingerly away.

Then we are treated to some hardcore real estate porn as the contestants move into their mansion, complete with a gym, pool, fireplaces, mystifying bidets and their own Hollywood sign. Totally normal, nothing to see here.

Photos: ‘American Idol’ Season 11

As we finally return to the cold harsh reality of the Idol stage, Ryan reminds us that the house is going to have one less occupant after the results. So are they going to rent the extra room on Craigslist? I would put in an application, just to prove that Colton Dixon has Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” as his shower song. Ryan calls Phillip Phillips, Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanaugh to the front of the stage. We can all guess what’s going to happen here, but before we can get to any actual results, Interscope impresario Jimmy Iovine gets to remind us of everyone’s strengths and foibles in their performances last night. Jimmy says that Stevie Nicks believes in Phil-Phil and he personally thought Phillip was flawless. Jimmy thinks Hollie was technically strong but emotionally weak. She needs life, and/or Jimmy, to toughen her up. Ryan quickly calls out Hollie and tells her she is in the bottom three. The other two are safe. This is not really a surprise. What is a surprise is that Hollie’s stylist has put her in yet another remarkably hideous outfit.

Nicki Minaj and her cleavage have about twenty people on stage dancing in a makeshift beach party while she performs her song “Starships” and we wait for the seemingly inevitable nip slip. While the wardrobe malfunction never happens, undoubtedly due to some industrial strength adhesive, what we do get is a rollicking, fun and upbeat performance. The difference between this and Lana Del Rey’s hair-eating number is so vast it doesn’t even matter that Nicki forgets to lip sync for half the song. Besides, she is having so much fun dancing you can’t get mad at her, you just want to get up and shake it with her. Then Nicki asks Jennifer Lopez to scoot over a little bit so she can be a guest judge, and you fall in love with her forever.

Colton, Joshua Ledet and Heejun Han join Ryan at center stage. Jimmy announces that he thought Colton and Joshua both ruined their performances by getting emotionally involved, which is pretty much the opposite of what the judges usually say about not connecting with their songs. The contestants must spend a lot of their free time scratching their heads over the stellar contradictory advice they get each week. Ryan tells Colton he is safe, saving his usual tomfoolery for the other two. Ryan kills more time by announcing in slo-mo, “Joshua . . . it . . . is you . . . who . . . is . . . safe.” Heejun is in the bottom three again.

Scotty McCreery comes out and sings a song about sweet tea and America, goddamnit (not the official title). Then Jimmy Iovine comes out to surprise Scotty with his platinum record. As much as people love The Voice . . . well, this could never happen on The Voice. Last year’s winner, Javier Colon, was a genuinely good singer, but platinum? No way. More like zinc.

The last three contestants to face judgment are Skylar Laine, Deandre and Jessica Sanchez. Jimmy thinks Skylar is playing to type and needs to try a more melodic and, I’m guessing, less stompy song. He thinks Deandre needs more experience, to work his way up in the biz, unlike Jessica, who is just right. He does note that women have a harder time on this competition, and he calls for a little girl power to support Jessica. Ryan announces that Jessica is safe because, duh. Deandre and Skylar hold hands as Ryan announces that Skylar is in the bottom three. Over in the stools of sadness, she and Hollie hug each other for a long time while Heejun sits there awkwardly.

Heejun, Skylar, and Hollie stand next to Ryan with their heads bowed and their hands clasped. Ryan releases Skylar to freedom and Hollie looks as green as her ugly sleeveless button-up sateen shirt. Does her stylist hate her? Well, she’ll have to hope her stylist gets over it next week, because she will still be here. Heejun, however, has to sing for his supper and hope the judges like him enough to use their save on him. There’s no chance, but he delivers a stirring rendition of “A Song for You” anyway. The judges look slightly sorrowful as they say no. Farewell Heejun!

Come back next week when the top eight contestants try even harder not to get kicked off, because now they are used to living in the mansion.

Last episode: Go Your Own Way


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