'American Idol' Recap: Lucky 13 - Rolling Stone
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Lucky 13

Guest critic Jimmy Iovine has a bit of clout

The Final 13

The Final 13

Michael Becker / FOX

It’s the first results show of the 11th season of American Idol. Because the show is whittling the Top 25 to a much more manageable Top 13, we are being forced to watch two hours of Ryan Seacrest killing time between eliminations.  Sounds like fun, right? Right.

To drag things out, Ryan invites Interscope/Geffen/A&M exec Jimmy Iovine to review the contestants one by one, from an undisclosed location, obviously. Jimmy doesn’t mingle with the riff raff. While the appearance of Jimmy Iovine could be seen as a bad thing, in fact, it is the best thing ever. Jimmy provides the sorely missed actual criticism that used to be provided by Simon Cowell. Jimmy has sass.  We like Jimmy. He tells Jeremy Rosado that being a nice guy with a nice voice will get you nowhere. He thinks Chase Likens has a pretty face but has nothing “fresh, original and exciting” about him. Ouch! Jimmy saves his highest praise for Phillip Phillips, claiming he would sign him on the spot, you know, if he had the power to do such things. Which he does, just saying. He thinks Phillip has the originality that the show desperately needs. So who makes it? Phillip Phillips is moving on. Jeremy and Chase go pray that the judges will give them a wild card spot.

Ryan then surrounds himself with ladies. Hallie Day, Brielle Von Hugel, Jessica Sanchez and Hollie Cavanagh, who let her hair down, per the judges’ instructions. Jimmy notes that Hollie is a little girl with a big voice and that Brielle has charisma but needs to sing modern songs. Jimmy thinks Hallie is composed and restrained and that her name is Hollie. He realizes he is confused by all the blondes on this show, but he shrugs, because no one cares. So who makes it? Jessica and Hollie. Brielle’s mom is going to cut a bitch.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Josh Lidet can really sing, and Jimmy claims he can’t wait to work with him. But Jimmy is unimpressed with Adam Brock and the large black woman who supposedly resides inside of him. He is also wildly unimpressed with Heejun Han. He thinks Heejun isn’t taking the competition seriously enough and reminds him, and America, that this is American Idol, not American Comedian. Ryan asks Heejun what he thinks of such criticism from one of the most powerful men in the music business and Heejun replies, “Who?” The audience (and even Randy Jackson) loves it, while Jimmy picks up a big red phone and blackballs Heejun. Josh and Heejun are both in the top ten.

The judges then pit the three country girls against each other in some sort of American Gladiators: Idol Edition. They add Shannon Magrane because she’s so tall that she really doesn’t fit in anywhere. Skylar Laine wins Jimmy’s seal of approval with her blend of country and soul, charisma and song choice. He would vote for her. When the judges told Baylie Brown she was beautiful it was a bad sign, so when Jimmy repeats that she’s a beautiful girl, you know she’s doomed. Jimmy concedes that Chelsea Sorrell has a good voice, but he thinks she needs more than Carrie Underwood karaoke (Carrie-oke?) to survive in this competition. Shannon Magrane is in, so we can get down to the business of seeing which country girl will survive. Ryan blurts it out: “Skylar Laine!”

Reed Grimm is way too kitschy, way too cabaret for Jimmy. Also me, but I guess Jimmy’s opinion matters more. Aaron Marcellus just stands there, and as for Creighton Fraker, Jimmy sums it up: “Judges loved him, I didn’t.” Ryan wants to know what the judges think of that. J.Lo says she respects Jimmy, because she is contractually obligated to say that. Then Steven says something, and either my sound drops out or he is bleeped. Then Ryan turns into a giant ass and announces, Surprise! They’re all out. The crowd boos him. And he deserves it.

Ryan summons the remaining women: Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Hayley Johnsen and Jen Hirsh. Jimmy accuses Jen of having “vocal pyrotechnics instead of soul.” He also admires Erika’s restraint. Jimmy thinks Elise has character, and he’s normally scared of women singing Adele songs. Presumably women who aren’t Adele, but who knows? Jimmy is Jimmy, after all. There is only one spot left, and Elise Testone will be taking it. Luckily Jen has all that free wine to fall back on.

Deandre Brackensick, Eben Franckewitz, Colton Dixon, and Jermaine Jones are all called up, and if Jermaine faints, he’s going to crush them all, but especially Colton. Kind of hoping he falls! Jimmy loves Jermaine. He would listen to an entire album by him. Hey Jimmy, what’s an album?

Jimmy doesn’t think Deandre was ready for an Earth Wind & Fire song and he worries that Colton isn’t pacing himself. He should have danced on the piano next week! Eben has a lot of potential, but he’s not ready for primetime. Jimmy wants Eben to be able to come back, but the Idol rules won’t let him. They’ve got to change the rules so that Eben can come back! And because Jimmy says.

Deandre is out. Then Ryan does that evil thing where he tells Colton he is not . . . Colton dies . . . going to be disappointed, because you are in the Top Ten! But it doesn’t matter, because Colton is dead. The last men standing are Eben and Jermaine. And Jermaine takes the last chair.

With all the chairs in the Top Ten filled, it’s time for the wild card competition, where the judges pick six singers to vie for the remaining three spots. First choice is Jen Hirsh, who opts to sing “Oh Darling.” Randy says they like when the contestants sing for their life, giving an extra push to my idea of a Running Man-inspired singing reality show. Jeremy Rosado is next, and he makes Jennifer cry, also himself. Brielle sings next, and while the crowd (and her mom) love it, the judges are disappointed. Brielle’s mom is going to have WORDS for them later.

Deandre opts to sing “Georgia on My Mind” and wows the judges and his competitors. Erika Van Pelt pins her dreams on Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.” The last spot goes to Reed Grimm, because the judges are trying to kill me personally. He doesn’t make J.Lo cry, but he does make me cry. So who will the judges choose? Erika Van Pelt and Jeremy Rosado are in. And the last spot goes to? Deandre Brackensick. Guess I better add him to my spell-check dictionary.

See you next week, when the boys sing Stevie Wonder and the women tackle Whitney Houston, but not literally. Don’t be creepy.

Last episode: Cheerleaders, Debs and Country Girls


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