The Washington Post

‘American Idol’ 2011: Casey out, cause dogs can’t vote

Casey Abrams sings for the judges on performance night. (Michael Becker/Fox)

A lot of fans are going to be disappointed with tonight’s result,” show host Ryan Seacrest says ominously at the top of Carole King Week results night.

This mean’s neither Jacob Lusk nor Haley Reinhart will get the hook, because they’re perennial Bottom 3 dwellers.

In keeping with the somber mood set by Seacrest, judge Jennfier Lopez has chosen a designer dress that modestly covers her knees, though we’re seeing more of her shoes than usual.

Randy Jackson was in such a rush to get to the studio he did not have time to change his crisp white shirt, which now has a large red stain on the front after he sustained a nasty chest wound – which may be explained by the fact that Steven Tyler has come dressed as Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Because “Idol” is nothing if not up on current events, we see the remaining six Idolettes being dragged to a party at the digs of the British consul general in Los Angeles to commemorate the town’s fifth annual BritWeek which this year is piggybacking on Friday’s Royal Wedding. We see the other guests toasting Prince William and Kate Middleton and the Idolettes are seen helping themselves to the fish and chips, mocking the British accents, and showing zero interest in anything around them.

Next, we learn that Carol King Group Sing is even worse than a Carol King duet with Jacob and James Durbin.

This week’s [automotive company] music video shows the Idolettes making furniture with special pens; they draw a house, with a garage in which are the company’s cars, and they all live happily ever after.

Crystal Bowersox, last year’s off-brand Idolette, is back, looking slimmer and more country-fied. She’s brought her Lucky Bong Microphone.

Idol tour tickets go on sale May 13.

It’s question time, from AT&T subscribers. Casey Abrams gets asked with whom he’d like to duet most, living or dead, and says he’d like to duet with the great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson because he admired “his chord structure” and “musicality.” He doesn’t mention that Peterson was also an occasional growler. Randy nods approvingly while the audience, reflecting viewers at home, seem mystified as to who this Peterson guy is.

Jacob gets asked when he discovered the range in his voice and says it happened in church choir practice when he was about six years old.

Another AT&T customer wants to know what’s the hardest thing, for Lauren Alaina, about being an Idol finalist. Lauren, a southern girl, says the hardest part was not being able to reach family in the tornado zone this week. She says she is “sending out love to everyone who lost someone” in the tornadoes this week.

(In the nation’s deadliest natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina, the death toll had soared to nearly 300 at press time and it may go down in history as the most destructive “tornado outbreak” in eight decades, according to The Post reports.)

Seacrest mumbles something about all their thoughts being with the families of victims, as though he was embarrassed he’d forgotten to mention it at the top of the show when he was blah, blah, blah-ing about the royal wedding being the Big News.

Back to AT&T questions: Scotty McCreery has had a job: he’s worked at a grocery store and helped out his mom at the local tanning salon. And, yes, James Durbin has played in bands before “Idol.” And Haley’s past “Idol” favorite was Adam Lambert, though she also mentions several others, including Siobhan Magnus and Kelly Clarkson.

Really, people –is this how you use the awesome power of texting?

Question time over, Seacrest will “call out the top six in random order,” by which he means, “in a carefully chosen order calculated to keep the audience anticipation high.” As he calls each Idolette, we’ll see a taped critique of each performer by record mogul/in-house mentor Jimmy Iovine.

First, Haley. “Haley’s problem is she really doesn’t know who she is yet,” Iovine says. See, our impression of Haley is that she knows exactly who she is, but is struggling to reconcile that with being on “American Idol.” Haley has something to say in response to Iovine’s comments, but the American Idol Decency Police decide it’s not fit for primetime and Seacrest tells Haley to watch her mouth. Oh yes, he did.

Haley is safe.

Scotty McCreery could be in jeopardy because he’s too “subtle,” Iovine says. This is surprising because Scotty had been the most straight-ahead unsubtle country singer type, until last night when Iovine convinced him to try something more subtle. But hey, Iovine’s a music industry oracle and you don’t see AT&T offering its customers the chance to cross-examine him by text, so there it is.

Seacrest leaves Scotty hanging.

Lauren Alaina is “here for the long haul,” Iovine says, though she “only hears the negative” after every performance.

Seacrest leaves Haley hanging.

Iovine is disappointed because “Casey felt he had to growl” again this week during his performance. “He’s got to realize that the family dog does not vote in this show,” Iovine says, in the best line of “Idol” this entire season. But Iovine predicts Casey is safe this week.

Seacrest leaves Casey hanging.

James Durbin is not believable when he’s doing a heavy metal number, but much more believable when he’s singing a tune with a melody, Iovine observes.

James is safe.

In his borrowed Gene Kelly costume from the “Broadway Melody” number in “Singing with the Rain,” and his dance steps, Jacob Lusk should’ve been next door on the “Dancing with the Stars” studio this week instead of the “American Idol” studio Iovine says testily. He predicts Jacob could go home, saying, “He’s still on banana peel status.”

“We’ve got to stop comparing the Idolettes to themselves and whether they’re progressing every week,” Iovine continues, peevishly.

“We’ve got to compare them to each other. There is only one winner -- one American Idol.”

Ryan tells Lauren she’s safe.

Bruno Mars sings a tune.

Jacob, Casey and Scotty still need to find out if they’re safe or out. Seacrest tells Jacob he’s safe. We know how this story ends.

“This is what talent looks like, ladies and gentlemen,” Seacrest says of Casey to the studio audience and viewers at home, who did the voting, like he means it to sting.

Casey, the guy for whom the Judges Save was played this season, sings his swansong, “I Put a Spell On You” as he kisses all three judges and nearly every chick in the front row.

Casey’s “Idol” career has been cut short because dogs don’t vote. Was the growl really so bad? No, to paraphrase the old line about the singing dog, the wonder was that Casey could sing his eclectic, jazzy style and last so long on “American Idol,” where you must be genre specific to win.

It’s hard to say whether Casey is one of those Idolettes who will have a better music career for having not won the competition, but he’s certainly a talented guy with interesting musical taste. And he is the only actual showman among this season’s finalists -- someone who could own a stage without marching drummers or flaming pianos.

(Photo Gallery: “American Idol”)


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