The 'America's Got Talent' judge continues to stir the pot and slam egos
Howard even dragged "American Idol" into his critical tangent, adding, “I think [Britney]’s going to sit there like J.Lo and [say], ‘Oh, you’re wonderful. You’re terrific. Do you think I could get a perfume endorsement out of this? You think I could perform on the show?’ I think that’s what it’s about."
Gotta love Howard's careful, self-acquitting emphasis on the words "I think" throughout his accusations. Love him or merely put up with the guy, his honesty is what's has always led people to champion Stern's career, and it's been missed by those of us without satellite radio.
No rebuttal yet from either Brit-Brit or Ms. Lopez, although we suspect this did not give Jennifer "goosies."
As we head into the finale, here's what you need to know about those crazy castaways
In 24 seasons, the CBS hit "Survivor" has been known for some inane antics, especially in recent history. There was the time Rob Mariano got voted off -- with an immunity idol in his pocket. There was the time Parvati duped Russell with double idol drama on "Heroes vs. Villains." And of course, there was that time when Russell got voted off after four episodes!
And this season's "Survivor: One World" will be no exception. We've got our fair share of crazies, a villain we loved to hate, and a guaranteed all-female final three -- which is a first in the show's 12-year run.
Missed a minute? Here's what you need to know to hold your own for Sunday night’s finale.
Girls vs. Boys
The chaos began quickly this season as host Jeff Probst divided the players into two tribes. The twist? Boys vs. girls -- which put a major wrench into the game for many, including one Colton Cumbie, who was this season' only openly gay castaway.
Colton's Villainous Ways
Once he'd ingratiated himself to the ladies -- and scored their coveted immunity idol -- Colton was running the show on the men's Manono tribe. His first order of duty? Voting out lawyer-turned-leader Matt, who'd hoped to be in charge. Then he insisted his alliance throw a challenge -- letting the ladies win --so that he could get rid of nemesis, stand-up comic Bill. With puppeteering and scheming on the level of a Russell Hantz, he elevated himself straight up to uber-villain levels.
That week's tribal council got particularly heated as Colton pushed forward his plan to eliminate funny guy Bill. He called the Venice Beach-based comic "ghetto trash," before adding that "he's obnoxious, he's loud. He's a struggling stand-up comic. Like, get a real job." But Bill wasn't the only one the bigoted Alabama boy took shots at. He called his fellow teammate Leif "an annoying Oompa-Loompa," and a "little Munchkin."
Mid-season, many were betting that cunning Colton would be in the final three. But even he admits, "I thought I was the biggest bitch. Turns out karma is a bigger bitch than me!" He was carried off on a stretcher mid-season, when a severe bacterial infection in his stomach and intestines made quick work of his master plan.
Troyzan's a Target
Calling out Kim on her puppetmastery amongst the ladies, Troyzan found himself fighting solo against the remaining Salani tribe members, with his only fellow male, Tarzan, throwing in his vote with the ladies. "Kim seems sweet and unassuming, but she's really the one with all the power, the one pulling all the strings," Troyzan told MSN TV. "And the way she does it is just insidious and deceitful. She's a good talker and she makes people feel calm and comforted. Meanwhile, she's manipulating them the whole time, plotting their demise."
Last Man Standing
Despite a few eccentric habits, Greg "Tarzan" Smith, 64, managed to maintain a relatively low profile. The Houston plastic surgeon admits that his crazier moments were all strategy. "I was subliminal on purpose," Tarzan told MSN TV. "They couldn't even tell I was plotting the whole time. They didn't really realize it until the end." Uh, neither did we. Still, when he started playing the ladies of the final five against each other, they quickly foiled his plans and sent him packing.
College kid Kat, 22, thought she had the final three in the bag, thanks to her pals Kim and Chelsea. Which is why she was as surprised as the rest of us when they decided to dismiss her, locking her out of the top six, despite some unpopular moves she made that week. "I can't believe Chelsea would say that I didn’t deserve to be in the top three," says Kat. "I was really, truly so upset about that. I know she was mad about the lunch and Christina and Tarzan, but she wouldn’t have been mad if I had taken her instead of Alicia. Vote me out because I’m a strong competitor, not because you're mad."
The Final Five
In the end, the ladies have it. Sunday's final five features Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina, Alicia and Christina. Need to know who's who? Here's the rundown: The final three could go several ways, but our money's on Kim, Chelsea and Sabrina. Still, feisty Alicia could still have a few tricks planned.
- Kim Spradlin: Quiet and even-keeled, this bridal shop owner from San Antonio, Texas, is the one to beat. She's long been running the show behind-the-scenes, but doing it in a low key way that keeps her victims from even realizing they’re being played.
- Chelsea Meisnner: She's sweet and relatively unassuming, but that doesn't mean this Southern belle's a pushover. A medical sales rep from Charleston, Chelsea's all about playing fair, and when she spies injustice, well, she votes it off. As long as Kim agrees, of course.
- Sabrina Thompson: This high school teacher from Brooklyn is about as no-nonsense as they come. Still, she managed to get in with the cool clique in the first few weeks, and held her own, despite some bullying from Alicia and Kat.
- Alicia Rosa: She may portray a feisty and fiery Latina stereotype on the show, but it's landed her in the top five. And if her backstabbing and double-dealing have anything to do with it, she’ll make it to the final three, too.
- Christina Cha: L.A.-based career consultant Cha, 29, was known as the Salani tribe’s resident slacker -- and a player without strategy. Which is why all the others are scratching their heads as to why she’s still there. But we know why. Take her to the final three, and you look all the better.
Who are you betting on to make it to the final three? And whom would you like to see win the title of sole "Survivor"?
The "Survivor: One World" season finale airs Sunday, May 13, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
True to form, Hollie Cavanagh exits the contest as the top 3 ready for hometown visits
By Carla Patton
Two girls. Two bros. Three stay. One goes! Imagine that little rhyme in cut-out magazine letters, and you've got yourself a serial killer.
The top 4 perform "California Dreamin.'" And Hollie actually sounds good on it. Very comfortable. Phillip groaned and slid all over it because he just doesn't care. If I had to declare a winner of this group performance, it would be Hollie -- for not over-singing it. I'm still not "getting" this red carpet thing they've set up on stage.
Oh, lucky us. We will not only be treated to a Ford music video in this episode, but now we get a peek behind the scenes! This one is about the Ford electric car, and Joshua is excited to "drive" it. It's about "greening" up a rough area and having hot, muggy breath. Hollie reveals that they are actually lip-syncing for the video! I don't want to believe it. Immediately after, we are treated to the real thing, which is sans Phillip, who I guess was "sick" that day. I would be, too.
So who's going home? Who's going hometown? Phillip Phillips is up first. I had forgotten how stupid it was that they had surfers in the background of that CCR song he sang. Jimmy thought Phillip's choice not to play the guitar and add a saxophone was a demonstration of his coming into his own. Sure, Jimmy. Let's talk about "Volcano," though, which was sexy and very well-shot. Jimmy thought it all came together and was all magnificent. But what did America think? We'll have to wait and see.
Hollie Cavanagh is up next not to get any results. Jimmy thought "Faithfully" worked for Hollie and "I Can't Make You Love Me" didn't. No new information from Jimmy! Or from Ryan, as Hollie goes back to the couch.
Now David Cook performs, and it's nice to see a familiar face, despite the haircut being too short on the sides. It's sticking out funny.
Aaaaaaand Jessica Sanchez! Jimmy thought "Steal Away" was not so great, with too much growling (I agree). Save all that growling for never again. But on to the real performance now: Jimmy thought her second one was awesome. He has "no idea" who will win this season. I don't know about that statement, Jimmy. We don't even know who is facing elimination on this night, though.
Ryan, are you ready to tell us anything yet? No. First, we are going to ask the judges some pointless questions. Steven tells us Phillip has gone from "I don't care" to "finding out who he is and still not caring." He thinks Phillip will be successful no matter what. I agree: He doesn't need this competition.
The first person in the top 3 is Jessica Sanchez. The second is Joshua Ledet.
What do you think of Thursday night's results? Did America get it right?
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Bravo's dynamic big shot and host discusses his career and coming out
By Leah Rozen
Andy Cohen, 43, is missing one thing from his life: “I would like a boyfriend,” the Bravo TV exec and host of the network’s "Watch What Happens Live" tells PARADE in this Sunday’s issue. “I’m a very happy person and it is the final, final piece of the puzzle.” His mom, Evelyn, 75, worries that he’s too busy to meet Mr. Right. “Is life passing him by because he’s working so hard?” she asks. “Maybe I just haven’t met the right person,” Andy tells her.
Evelyn, silver-haired and diminutive, proves that big personalities can come in small packages. “She texts me a review of my show every night,” says Andy. “She’ll say, ‘Fantastic.’ ‘You seem drunk.’ ‘Funny one.’” Evelyn may be critical of individual episodes of her son’s show, but she’s his biggest supporter. “Andy was a magnetic personality from the time he was a little boy,” she says. “He brings this energy with him and makes people happy.”
After a career spent behind the scenes as a TV news producer and programming executive, Cohen has in recent years become a recognizable face himself, as the host — or, more accurately, referee — of the "Real Housewives" reunions as well as "Watch What Happens Live."
Cohen grew up in Clayton, Mo., glued to "All My Children" (a passion his mother came to share), "Battle of the Network Stars" and "CHiPs" (he had an early crush on Erik Estrada). During college, Cohen began telling good friends that he was gay. Not long after, he told his parents.
“I cried for six months,” Evelyn says, explaining that back then she knew almost no other gay people; she also worried about AIDS and thought that Andy would have career trouble. But she agreed when a neighbor told her, “Andy is Andy. He’s still the same today as he was yesterday.” So Evelyn, who had always been involved in community work, turned activist: She helped establish Doorways, an organization in St. Louis that provides housing for individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. “That really speaks volumes as to who she is,” says Andy. “I love her for it.”
This month, Cohen published a breezy memoir, "Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture." Mixed in with the boldface names are warm family tales and memories of growing up Jewish, gay, and TV-obsessed in the Midwest. Why a book now? “I’ve been working in TV for 22 years, so I don’t want anyone to think that I just showed up and all this happened,” he says of his newfound fame. “Besides, I had good stories and I love to write. I just needed a deadline.”
Read more from Andy and Evelyn's interview in this weekend’s issue of PARADE.
We catch up with Phillip, Hollie, Joshua and Jessica between rehearsals
By Minh Nguyen
Special to MSN TV
MSN TV had the chance to speak to the final four "American Idol" contestants during rehearsals earlier this week. While we wish no one had to go home, we know that someone will be heading home on Thursday as we near the finale.
This week's theme is around songs from California singers and bands and songs the contestants wished they'd written.
MSN TV: How does the song selection process work?
Hollie Cavanaugh: If it's a category, we get a list and we pick off that list. If it's a song that we think about that we like that's not on the list, we can ask to get it cleared. If we go in the mentor sessions and they give us a song that we don't know, we have to learn it there and then. You can pick whatever song you want at the end but we usually go with what the mentors advise.
Joshua Ledet: We normally pick our songs before the show ends out this week for next week. Wednesday, I would have my songs. They give us a short amount of time, and we have to be on our "A" game, be up to par and studying a lot of songs to know what you want to do.
Phillip Phillips: I go through a bunch of songs. Sometimes I get my brother-in law to help me out. I'll say, "Can you send me some songs to make me sound good?" while I'm searching for songs, too. It's a long process, and I have to keep on narrowing them down. It's pretty tough.
What's your favorite song you've performed?
Hollie: I really loved last week when I did "River Deep, Mountain High." It was a calm song. Also "Rolling in the Deep" and "Son of a Preacher Man." I loved "Bleeding Love." That wasn't my favorite song, but it's becoming one of my favorites
Joshua: Mariah Carey's "Without You."
Phillip: Probably "Superstition" or "Movin' Out." "The Letter" was really fun.
Jessica Sanchez: "Stuttering" by Jazmine Sullivan was my all-time favorite song. I feel like that was my stand-out performance even though, that week, I was about to go home. That song I poured out my gut. I have a story behind it, too. I am a girl, and I do have crushes. I really related to it. I am so happy people know the song and the artist now.
Who would you root for if you were eliminated?
Hollie: If it was Phillip, I'd love to have Phillip win. If it was Jessica, I'd love to see Jessica win. If it was Josh, I'd love to see Josh win. Everyone deserves it at this point.
Joshua: I don't think I would root for a particular person. Everybody's like family here. They're all so amazing so it'd have to be everyone here.
Phillip: I would root for myself or Jennifer Lopez. Probably Steven, he's done all he can. He's already awesome.
Jessica: I love everybody here but Joshua doesn't get enough credits from the fans. He's been in the bottom already, and that should never have happened. He's so crazy good, humble and sweet.
Who would you have saved if you could?
Hollie: I wish I could have saved all of top 10 or all of top 24. It was crazy because, when the saved did get used, there's nothing to save anyone so you have to bring it all week.
Joshua: If not Jessica, I would save Erica Van Pelt or Deandre Brackensickbecause they were amazing. I didn't think they deserved to go home. I don't think anyone deserved to go home. The save with Jessica they did the right thing because she did not deserve to go home.
Phillip: I honestly think Jessica deserved the save. She's an amazing singer. She's sweet, one of the best singers in my opinion to come through in a long time.
Jessica: I definitely felt guilty after taking the save. When Colton got eliminated, I felt tragic because I don't feel like he should have gone home, especially after me. He is an amazing artist, and I felt he knows what to do for his career. I feel like he should be in this competition.
What do you like to do during time off?
Hollie: At this point, most of us like to sleep, as soon as we get home. We almost never see Phillip because he's in his room sleeping but then he has been feeling under the weather. All of us don't have that excuse but we just fall asleep.
Joshua: I like to eat, Twitter and Facebook -- a lot of things -- have a normal life, go shopping and hang out.
Phillip: I like to rest, eat and sleep. There's a good place called Tart that has good southern cooking. I miss Southern cooking so much, but that's the closest I've come to it.
Jessica: I love to shop.
Are you able to go to the Grove or a mall and not be recognized?
Joshua: No. Sometimes I walk around with my head down so no one knows it's me but if I look up the Paparazzi come and it's tough.
Jessica: In certain places, it does get crazy. People do come up to you and ask for pictures. I don't mind it at all. It's so different than when I was back at home. I'd be comfortable singing softly inside a store. Nobody would care.
Who do you think is your biggest competition?
Hollie: To me, your biggest competition is yourself. I can't worry what the others are doing and (need to) stay focused on me.
Phillip: They're all my biggest competition at this point. They're a lot better singer than I am. I just have to bring what I can to the table.
Jessica: Phillip has this laid back, raspy kind of genre. Hollie is a big belter. Josh is just an alien. All of them are my competition. It's hard to compete with each other because we're all different genres. We all have to sing for our lives.
Any bits of advice along your "Idol" journey that stuck out?
Hollie: The best advice would be when people tell me not to worry about what people are thinking. Just get onstage and perform as if nobody's watching because if you think there are 23 million people watching it'll just mess with your head.
Joshua: They told me to stay true to myself from the beginning and I've stuck to that.
Phillip Phillips: Randy Johnson told me off camera, "Man, I like what you're doing. Don't try to feel like you've got to fit into something. Keep doing what you do 'cause it's working and I respect you. It's awesome 'cause a lot of people aren't like that." I really take that to heart.
Jessica Sanchez: "Don't ever expect the applause" is what Jimmy Iovine said one time.
Josh, how does it feel to be praised non-stop by the judges?
Joshua: I don't think I can describe how I feel about that besides the standing ovation they give me is amazing. It's the best ever.
Jessica, we haven't spoken to you since your surprise elimination. What did you learn from that day to take into your future performances?
Jessica: From that day a lot went through my mind. I felt I needed to push harder and I needed to get my heart out there. I felt that helped me but also hurt me a little bit because I was focusing more but trying too hard. This week I'm trying to take myself out of the competition mode and think this doesn't matter. I should just sing for America and my fans. I did my best.
Jessica, how are you handling schoolwork and "Idol"?
Jessica: My teacher is cool. We talk in there and she gives me advice. We're friends. I love being in there even though I have to do my homework. It keeps me grounded.
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Could Phillip Phillips and Joshua Ledet be headed for a finale showdown?
By Carla Patton
I'm still upset about Skylar Laine. My colleague, John Kubicek, covered "American Idol" last week so that I could cry privately and curl up next to a bottle of wine after the results show. Eventually the wine and tears tasted the same. This is my shocking result/devastation for the season. I understand that only one can win, but I thought it would be more of an interesting race to the finish. Phillip Phillips is practically lapping three equally deserving contestants in the votes now, and these last three weeks are just a courtesy. I guess I'm rooting for the Joshua upset now? Or have I just been brainwashed by the standing ovations? Skylaaaaaarrrrrr.
"Who do you love?" Ryan Seacrest asks the audience. They scream uncontrollably, creating sounds that pervade this life and channel the dead. California songs are up first! Let's learn more about the top 4's journeys.
Phillip Phillips is but a lowly pawn shop worker! Apparently, his brother told him that "Time of the Season" was "pretty rough." I'm glad someone is being real with him. And gosh darn it, it makes me really like Phillip Phillips the person again. He's singing "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, sans guitar, plus Saxophone Lady. He seems more relaxed, less constipated/sickly/out of breath this week. And hey, there's the melody! It's sort of the same old thing from Phillip -- not particularly thrilling. But he's just such a dude hanging out. Too much gravelly sliding for my taste, but not for America's!
The crowd goes absolutely ape. Jennifer Lopez cut Steven off at the pass and said he added a nice, new "Joe Cocker" quality to the song. Randy said Phillip's smile made the song work. The coveted "YO" pin is back, affixed to the lapel of Randy's red plaid jacket.
Hollie's in the dreaded second spot, which has sent its contestant home three weeks in a row now. Her journey to this almost forced elimination has been a rocky one. She made it much farther this time than last year. And look where she is now! She chose "Faithfully" by Journey, which was a great choice, I think. It starts out rocky, maybe a little low for her. A little pitchy, dawg! But they gave her the benefit of the wind machine, and she pulled it together with her signature clarity for the big moment at the end. I don't know, though. Not my favorite performance from Hollie. It seemed kind of crusty.
Randy takes this as yet another opportunity to mention that he worked with Journey. Hollie is "peaking at just the right time," in Randy's estimation. Jennifer called it "all of it." And Steven is wearing his hair back but still letting the layers fall forward for facial framing. Hollie confessed to Ryan that she didn't really know what the song meant. Just listen to the words next time!
Oh, Jason Derulo and his bejeweled neck brace! I cannot take him seriously. I seriously hope that 75% or more of the submitted lyrics for this bogus song are about being "undefeated" by a neck brace.
Joshua Ledet sings next, and he's taking on Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." Big song! Joshua also came back after rejection last season. He didn't even make it past the audition. I like Joshua -- as a singer and a person. This song works for him because it is already very churchy. It will surely raise the judges up for his 16th standing ovation. It started out well, and it ended spectacularly. I mean: Joshua, a churchy song, the choir -- it's a recipe for success! The judges loved it, of course. They love everyone and everything. Randy thought it was a surprising combination, but that is silly.
As a side note, to those of you who complain about Joshua Ledet sounding too similar every week, I think we would have the same complaint about any successful popular artist today if we had to listen to them for 12 weeks in a row. I mean, can you imagine having to hear Katy Perry sing someone else's music every week for eight to 10 consecutive weeks? So yeah, I like Joshua, and I'd love to see him win for the sake of something different.
Jessica Sanchez is singing an Etta James song. I mean, what is that about? We cannot reconcile her voice with her age, and the wardrobe department is struggling to bridge the gap for us -- struggling and failing. Instead of dressing a performing artist or a 16-year-old, they are dressing an alien from space, who went to Space Kohl's with 100 U.S. dollars in hand/flipper.
The song is short, torchy, jazzy and really just OK. I think this California theme was sort of a throwaway, with the real competition coming at us from "Songs You Wish You'd Written." That being said, Jessica is amazing and could absolutely perform at Divas Live! The judges loved it, and Randy loves the mashup of a 16-year-old girl singing this song about heartache and pain and all sorts of incomprehensible pains for a 16-year-old. Haha, it's funny!
Oh, gosh, no. Another Phillip and Joshua duet! Last week's was so awkward. They're taking on a dueling-piano bar version of Maroon 5's "This Love." May I just say, in the words of Kevin regarding Buzz's girlfriend, "Woof." Ever since Elise left, there hasn't been an appropriate vocal pairing for Phillip Phillips. As expected, Joshua was comfortable slaying the song to bits, and Phillip sounded out of breath and just under each note. Was it worse than last week's comedic rendition of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"? Survey says, "Yes." Oh, but the judges just loved it. You know what I don't understand? The pairing of a man's cowl-neck shirt with a jacket. It's all kinds of Space Kohl's.
Jessica Sanchez and Hollie Cavanagh sing "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles next. They're in strange rope/silk swings that must be difficult to sing in, let alone to synchronize. They didn't seem like they cared about it very much, just sort of swinging then sauntering around with the microphones wherever they felt like holding them. The harmony worked most of the time. So, good for them. I hope this duet doesn't make a comeback for finale night. Hilariously, Joshua and Phillip steal the show by swinging on the swings behind Hollie and Jessica during the crit -- right when Randy was saying he didn't like it and thought it was weird! This competition is about a whole lot more than singing, and Phillip Phillips is nailing the personality angle.
Thank God Adam Shankman stopped by to promote "Rock of Ages"! It was so important that it couldn't even wait for the results show. Julianne Hough has kind of a plastic-surgery face on this night, no? Or is that just the face that all those older women ask for when they go in? Adam Shankman made Phillip kiss a framed poster of Jennifer Lopez, then showed them a preview of "Rock of Ages." Lucky them. I'm not sure why Adam Shankman keeps putting Phillip in all of these uncomfortable situations, pimping him out to female celebrities. Then, cruelly, Ryan Seacrest pretended to propose to Julianne (she wasn't buying it) and ended with a lame joke. Hilarious, Ryan. Women love that! What is going on in this episode?
In this "Rock of Ages" promotional medley from the top 4, which also should have been reserved for results night, one thing is clear: The ladies love Phillip Phillips. They just scream their lungs inside out whenever he sings a note. It's just as well: It will cover up how he can't hit the same notes as his competitors. I'm only being mean to him on this night because I know he will win, and I don't want it to be so easy.
It's finally time for "songs whey wish they'd written." But first, how is Phillip Phillips feeling? We will never actually know. But thankfully, Jimmy Iovine is back in play for these clip packages. Phillip is singing "Volcano" by Damien Rice. Mmm, nice. Good artist choice for him. Jimmy says we'll finally hear the real Phillip on this night. Oh, yes, and it is working. The audience just exploded with female desire, I'm sure, because this song is all kinds of sexy. I really liked it, even right after I had resolved to be harder on Phillip. This musical performance is his best so far, and I say that without wanting to kiss him on the mouth. The staging really helped it, too -- not a lot of extras, just ambience and a sexy co-star. Great job, very sincere. The judges loved it, naturally, and in a very cool way.
Hollie Cavanagh chose "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt. Really? Is this one you like but don't actually relate to, too? Maybe it's how she feels about the voters, though. Jimmy tells her not to give into temptation to oversing it. She's still the dark horse, though! She pronounced "patronize" differently than Bonnie Raitt does in the song, which bothered me for some reason. I also think she oversang it a bit, despite Jimmy's warning. It seemed like she was acting the emotion of the song but not really feeling it, because she was leading up to the build they'd added into the song for her. This song, like her last one, seemed a bit too low for her. The judges agreed that the song didn't really fit her and that it was too heavy and emotional. I don't like Jennifer's hair on this night. Randy said there were no moments in it. I think she's dead in the water now.
I kind of like that Joshua Ledet still seems nervous, after all this, just waving at the camera before a commercial break. It's endearing how shy he is. He's playing a different personality game than Phillip, a more nuanced one. I really hate Jennifer Lopez's hair on this night. Anyway, Joshua Ledet is going to slay "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown, and it will be absolutely spectacular. We all know that. Jimmy Iovine told Joshua to give him a call, and Joshua laughed and said, "I ain't got your phone number!" Oh, my goodness. It was so cute.
Oh my goodness. It is so perfect. It gave me goose bumps. You can tell he is really feeling the song to the core and thinking about what it means to sing everything. I love that about him. He is so nuanced. He had just the right amount of manic depression in him to make this song work to its fullest. This is the closest I have ever come to buying an "American Idol" contestant recording. But the performance was such a huge part of what made it great. Standing ovation from the judges, of course. But well deserved this time. Joshua is so full of passion and musical artistry, and he's so unassuming!
I just don't know how Jessica Sanchez can top that, even with "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls." She's singing it about the Save, but at least she's singing it about something. Jimmy said he has seen a lot of great things in his life but he will remember this moment (the rehearsal). Jessica isn't winning the personality contest, but Jimmy doesn't give two whits about that. This dress, really quickly, isn't helping. It looks like a crazy mish-mash of fabrics and like the wardrobe department just threw their hands up and said, "Well, if we can't please anyone, we might as well just make her look clinically insane." The billowy-ness of those sleeves! But on to the performance.
It's good. It's freaky good. This song is so delightful, so powerful, and Jessica is really feeling it and letting her emotion give her power. She would not make a very good Effie. Not at all. But that does not matter. It was amazing and kind of satisfyingly angry. She really got it. So yeah, she smashed it, and the judges rose to their feet. But I feel like this song is an easy win for a great vocalist like Jessica. And lots of children sing it. I like that she didn't move all over during the performance. The judges were rendered nearly speechless. Randy dropped his jaw in addition to a few names.
That California theme was just stupid, wasn't it? I always feel like they're holding out on us until we get to the second set of solos. Who won the night? Who is going home? Does personality play a bigger part than vocal ability at this point?
What do you think of Wednesday night's performances? Who's in trouble?
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Report: Mario Lopez could lead pack of returning runners-up
Lopez appeared to spill the beans while co-hosting "Live! With Kelly" in April.
"You know what, Kelly? They're doing 'Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars' next season," he said. "They called me to do it."
Neither Lopez, nor ABC, is saying anything further.
All the names mentioned are runners-up, which the TV Guide report notes is intentional.
"It's better if the winners don't come back," an unnamed insider told the magazine, "because then, we have a cast of people who have another shot at the title."
New York's Jermaine Paul takes the Season 2 crown
It began with Jermaine assembling the motley crew of James Massone, Pip, and Jamar Rogers for the Jackson 5 hit "I Want You Back." It was fun and all, and certainly trumped what followed -- the FloRida/Juliet Simms duet and the downright horrible "Chris Mann Trio" (Lindsay Pavao and Katrina Parker in tow) -- but that ain't sayin' much.
After what some producer decided was a blooper reel but really wasn't aired I began watching the clock.
9:43 p.m.: Was that Hall & Oates doing "Rich Girl" with Jermaine, Chris Mann, and Tony Lucca handling background vocals? Why on earth?
9:51 p.m.: Four female cast-offs butcher Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," which has been happening on "Idol" for years.
9:59 p.m.: An admittedly funny but oddly out of place "Parks & Recreation" sketch, features Amy Poehler. Couldn't they have just announced the winner at the outset of this week's episode of that underrated NBC comedy?
10:01 p.m.: Juliet, RaeLynn (yay!), Jamar, and Erin Willett plod through "With a Little Help From My Friends." I begin to worry about Juliet.
10:04 p.m.: Balloons descend from the rafters, a faux finale!
10:09 p.m.: A tribute to Purrfect, Cee Lo's cat. Not kidding. Though I wish I were.
10:21 p.m.: Tony Lucca brings Jordis Unga back and they roar through Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way." I ponder if Lucca pulled this whole thing off after all.
10:30 p.m.: Lethargic "SNL" sketch about Cee Lo. Then Carson plugs this week's "SNL," with Will Ferrell as host. He'd be a sight for sore eyes right about now.
Then there was Justin Bieber, and his performance of new song "Boyfriend" was a nice injection of energy and slickly produced/choreographed. He's merged Usher and Justin Timberlake nicely, and built a sweet bridge with this tune from 8th graders to ... well ... high schoolers.
Off to the Sprint lounge where the pleasant Christina Milian (who'd be a nice replacement for Aguilera, BTW) has gathered the "final four." The tension and anticipation is palpable.
Carson announces 4th place, Chris Mann, and I was actually surprised it wasn't Jermaine, thinking Mann would be 3rd. But, wait, Tony Lucca is ... Stunned! Still, I think, it's obviously Juliet Simms. But, no, Jermaine Paul took the title.
Unexpected. Unbelievable. Hey, America made the calls ... I bet they won't buy his CD, though.
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