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TV Column
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 03/23/2012

‘American Idol’ 2012: Top 9 named

It’s results night on “American Idol” – otherwise known as Jimmy Iovine Explains It All.

Since it’s the Songbook of Billy Joel week on the singing competition, the remaining 10 Idolettes have been assigned to perform his “The Longest Time, and doo-wop the sweat out of it, as show judge Steven Tyler might say, followed by one of the most cryptic Ford “music videos” we’ve ever seen on “Idol” -- and we’ve seen them all. The Idolettes go looking for a car inside a house but it turns out the car is OUTSIDE the house.

The prize tonight: The surviving Idolettes will move into Palazzo Foreclozzo, located on Charming Short Sale Drive, in the Hollywood Hills.

“It’s a cool mansion,” Seacrest says. “All mansions are cool,” he adds. Hopefully, it won’t have a leaky roof like last year’s Palazzo Foreclozzo.

First group to hear the results of “the nationwide vote”: Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, and Elise Testone. But only after Interscope honcho/Chief Mentor/Second Guesser/Voice of Reason Jimmy Iovine has his say on each of their performances the previous night.

Re Hollie: “A sweet diva caught in the headlights” but with a “great track record with the audience so I believe she stays.”

Re Skylar: “Instead of moving forward, she’s starting to stall and possibly move backward. Skylar has got to grow, and do it now!”

Re Elise: “A confidence I’ve not seen so far…Hey Jennifer, I got goosies. I’m not sure what ‘goosies’ are, but I felt something!”

They’re all safe, announces show host Ryan Seacrest

Tonight’s first guest star: The impassive Lana Del Ray singing her hit “Video Games”. She under-sings the sweat out of it, as Tyler might say. Cover your eyes, Idolettes, this delivery is not the way to win on “Idol.” The usually demonstrative Idol audience bears silent witness.
Contestant Erika Van Pelt with host Ryan Seacrest on the singing competition series "American Idol," Thursday, March 22, 2012. (Michael Becker - AP)

It’s Tyler’s birthday this weekend and the other Aerosmith Toxic Twin, Joe Perry comes out to present him with his first Medicare card! Actually, that’ll be next year’s surprise. Seriously. Joe and the Idolettes sing a rockin’ Happy Birthday. Tyler seems moved. “I’m a Rip Van Winkle, so I’m told. I’m much too young to be this old,” Tyler observes.

Next up: DeAndre Brackensick, Joshua Ledet, and Jessica Sanchez.

Iovine: “I told DeAndre to try to have a good time but don’t go out there and frolic.”

Re Joshua: “he didn’t understand (the song)…He was like Darth Vader. How does Joshua win ‘American Idol’? He’s got to figure that out. “

Re Jessica: “Took a simple song and really expanded it… A’s across the board.”

Ryan says to Jessica “Billy Joel himself said he enjoyed your rendition of the song.”

Shes’ heading to Palazzo Foreclozzo.

Ditto Joshua. But it’s to the Stools of Perdition for DeAndre.

Here to debut her new single, one of Season 10’s faves, Haley Reinhardt, the smoky voiced little fireplug. Still love Haley. And had she performed during competition in the vivid red negligee she’s now wearing, while standing in a large gold bird cage, like she is tonight, she might have won that season.

Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han, Philip Phillips and Colton Dixon are the next to find out their fate.

“Billy Joel emailed and said Colton did a great job,” Iovine says. “I agree…We got Jessica , we got Joshua, maybe Colton’s that third horse (in the race).”

Iovine seems most offended that Phillip so stoutly refused to listen to music mentor Diddy and fashion mentor Tommy Hillfiger; “There’s a feeling that seeped into this show that collaboration is a bad thing. You think that the Beatles walked in into [their record producer] George Martin’s office with velvet collars on their suits? No, there was a stylist involved. When you’re out there in the real world and you’re doing your own material be who you are. In this competition, young man, take all the advice you can get.”

Or, you can listen to the judges, who keep telling you to be yourself and do your own thing.

In contrast, Iovine loves Erika who, last nigh, was all about taking advice. At Hillfigers direction, she cut and dyed her hair black. “Tommy bold, Erika brave…How you got a girl the day before a show to cut her hair and sing in front of 20 million people, I’ve never seen that in 40 years in the record business. As far as Erika’s singing last night, she deserves to be in the top of the batch. What confused me is what Randy said.”

Cut to clip of Randy complimenting Erika last night: “Those that can, should, and those who can’t, shouldn’t, right?”

And there’s more to be said by Iovine on disrespectful youth.

Exhibit A: Heejun Han, who’s performance the previous night Tyler savaged, telling him he should take the competition more seriously.

“Steven got pretty angry last night…I felt that he was right,” Iovine says. “Heejun came out and disrespected the entire process. ..His performance was more like four minutes of a bad Adam Sandler movie that goes straight to DVD…At the end of the day, Interscope has to spend a lot of money on somebody who wins this show. And that’s not it.”

All this because Heejun started his number with a staged change-up, tearing off a tuxedo to appear in jeans? Music must be serious business!

Ryan gives Heejun time to rebut. Feeling cornered, Heejun throws everything he’s got at it:

“When I was ripping those clothes off, it was a metaphor…It was literally saying ‘this is who I really am. I’m just the guy after god’s own heart, trying to help the (disabled) kids organization back home. I’m not trying to be a star, I’m just happy being who I am.”

Press 9 if you want to vote for god and disabled children!

Colton and Phillip are safe. Erika and Heejun are sent to The Stools to join DeAndre in the Bottom Three.

JLo thinks she has to buck up Heejun: “I think you are a star and you shouldn’t sell yourself short -- ever.”

Anyway, the threat to Heejun is short-lived. He and DeAndre are saved, leaving Erika as the Dumped One.

She has a chance. The judges can use their one and only Save of the Season and keep her in the show.

They owe her a save for throwing her into the clutches of Tommy Hilfigger who sent her out to face 20 million people with bootblack helmut hair on Billy Joel night!

But there is no remorse at the judge’s table. “Unfortunately, Ryan, no, sorry,” Randy says.

Related reading:

Last night: Top 10 perform Billy Joel songs

Last Thursday: Top 10 Idolettes make summer tour, Shannon Magrane is sent packing

Last Wednesday: Producers toss Jermaine Jones; survivors perform songs from the year they were born

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 03/23/2012

Tags:  American Idol, American Idol 2012

 
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