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TV Column
Posted at 08:28 AM ET, 03/25/2011

‘American Idol’ 2011 results night: Shocker


Haley Reinhart miraculously did not wind up in the Bottom 3 this week on “Idol.” (Michael Becker - Fox)

Show host Ryan Seacrest promises a night of surprises on “American Idol’s” Motown Week Results Night.

First surprise: judge Randy Jackson has come dressed as a French sailor in a striped shirt.

Judge Jennifer Lopez in an apparent tribute to Liz Taylor has come in a Cleopatra-esque dress with a bronze breastplate. Judge Steven Tyler is ready to ride again, in his duster coat, Spring Collection, with the sleeves removed.

More than 30 million votes were cast this week. “But the outcome…may shock you!” Seabiscuit cackles.

Tonight’s a particularly big results night because only the Top 10 Idolettes get to go on the American Idol Tour, which is considered a career booster even for non-winners.

Second surprise: Marc Anthony, Mr. JenPez to you, turns out to have been a backstage coach to the Idolettes, teaching them how to use those in-ear earpieces that let them hear themselves over the band, an alleged cause of this season’s pitchiness, a technical fix apparently un-dreamed of by Jimmy Iovine, the record mogul/”Idol” in-house mentor and leader of this year’s Band of Genius Hit Maker Producers.

We see Marc from last night reacting to the judges’s reactions, and he is, we feel, speaking for millions of Americans when he says “I don’t know what they expect from them. It’s ballads, then it’s this….Push what?” So it wasn’t just us who couldn’t follow Randy’s “push” advice to one of the Idolettes.

Marc wisely says he doesn’t agree with one of his wife’s judgments “100 percent” he says, adding that he thinks it’s best to just leave it at that.”

Back to Motown songs, the theme of the week, as the Top 11 group-sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”


"Sugarland" performs. (Michael Becker - Fox)
Another surprise: Stevie Wonder is propelled out from backstage sitting on a moving platform with his keyboard, to sing “Signed, Sealed Delivered.” Steven Tyler is so happy he nestles his head in JeLop’s neck. Then Stevie Wonder delivers his own surprise, launching into his “Happy Birthday” tune n honor of Tyler, who looks really surprised because his birthday is still two days off, according to his bio, anyway. “I’m speechless,” Tyler says. The Idolettes chicks bear forward a big birthday cake and framed portrait of Tyler to present to him, creating a striking May-November tableau.

No surprise here: Ford music video/commercial.

Seabiscuit calls Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, and Pia Toscano to center stage. He tells them he’s sorry but they all have to pack their bags – because they’re all going on the American Idol Tour this summer! Safe!

Up next country duo Sugarland performing “Stuck Like Glue.” Jennifer Nettles does all the singing, dressed in her shopping-at-K-Mart-on-St. Patrick’s-Day outfit with bright green leggings

Another reason we wouldn’t watch a series called “Real World: American Idol.” We see the Idolettes stage a wrestling match in their allegedly Beverly Hills-located dormitory, Palazzo Foreclozzo, because James Durbin is a pro wrestling fan. They bang each other over the head with cookie sheets and throw each other around, landing on some cushions arranged in the bus station/living room. This turns out to be an elaborate setup for:

The next surprise: Seabiscuit calls James and Paul to the stage and tells them, “You’re not safe tonight. I mean you’re really not safe.” Cue the sliding door stage rear, and out comes Hulk Hogan. Hogan puts his arms around the two Idolettes like he’s going to knock their heads together. He tells them there’s good news and bad news. The good: They’re safe. The bad: Seabiscuit is not safe! He gives Seabiscuit a faux slam to the head which sends him faux reeling to the audience and into the arms of several fat men who we assume do this kind of thing for a living.

Hogan then announces that he is the real American Idol. He rips open his shirt revealing a chest that’s a monument to clean living.

So far, the Parrot Perches of Purgatory have sat vacant. But that can’t last. Seabiscuit calls Jacob Lusk, Thia Megia, and Stefano Langone to center stage. Jacob, who made a career save last night, returned to the Sofas of Safety -- no surprise there. And Thia and Stefano, who each gave mediocre performances, each in their way, are told “both of you to the stools,” by Seabiscuit.

Naima Adepapo, Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams are summoned. Naima looks genuinely surprised to be reprieved, though her performance last night was also a career save. That leaves Haley, who’s been struggling to find identity among the contestants, and Casey, who’s Mr. Identity, with his growling delivery and offbeat musical choices.

Hang on to your beards: It’s Casey who must take a seat on the Triple P’s, with Thia and Stefano.

Next, a song from “Idol” non-winnner success story Jennifer Hudson. Hudson looks terrific (check), sounds terrific (check),has chosen an exciting song (no check).

A little bit of unofficial Idol history: Jennifer is presumed to be a big reason the show cooked up its Judges Save, the once-a-season opportunity for the judges to over-rule the popular vote and keep a contestant on the show. Hudson, you see, wasn’t even in the final three the season she competed, and the show was embarrassed into re-writing the rules when she started winning accolades – and an Oscar.

Back to Casey, Thia, and Stefano languishing on the stools. Hard to believe we are writing this, but Thia then Stefano are saved. Then, again, the Idol audience is known for bad choices – see Jennifer Hudson, above.

Casey now has to, as Seabiscuit likes to say, sing for his life.

Casey’s going to re-sing I “Don’t Need No Doctor.” Boy, is he wrong -- because in about 15 seconds he’s going to need one bad.

About 15 seconds into the tune, Randy begins waving his arms and tells Casey to stop singing. “We know who you are,” Randy says.

“This is crazy wrong. We made the decision to keep you on,” adds Tyler.

That’s right — the judges have used their Jennifer Hudson Save!


Casey Abrams is saved! (Michael Becker - Fox)
“Oh, my [expletive] God!” Casey cries as he begins to turn blue at the gills, and shake, and look like he’s going to be ill, or die on the spot. Given his recent health scares – he’s been to the hospital twice with colitis since he began competing on the show – we may need a new rule, Judges CPR, STAT!

Casey alternately clutches Seabiscuit for support, collapses in a heap at Seabiscuit’s feet, runs out to the audience to kiss his mother – all the while gushing bleepy profanity in his excitement.

And the studio audience begins to chant, “Casey! Casey! Casey!”.

“Are you really? Are you kidding?” Cassey squeaks at the judges.

“I knew…they wouldn’t use The Save because there’s 11 people!” he tries to explain to Seabiscuit.

“So the fact that – oh, my God, it’s unreal! I started singing and the fact that you cut it off scared the stuff out of me!” Casey babbles at the judges, still shaking.

The judges see no reason why Casey should get all the best lines during this poignant moment on-camera.

“There’s a nice big wave of hard-earned good fortune for you,” Tyler gushes, meaning we don’t know what.

Then JePe tells him to knock off the “antics” and get back to being a musician. And Randy wraps things up with “You don’t need to growl! You can be anything!”

Seabiscuit sees no reason why the judges should get all the best lines either. He jumps in with the last surprise of the night: Because the judges used the Jennifer Hudson Save, two Idolettes will get the hook next week.

On the bright side, TeamIdol has decided to send all 11 on the American Idol Tour!

Marc Anthony! Stevie Wonder! Steven Tyler’s birthday cake! Jennifer Nettles’ hideous green leggings! Hulk Hogan! The judges play the Jennifer Hudson Save! Casey doesn’t die! What a great, goofy hour of television.

By  |  08:28 AM ET, 03/25/2011

 
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