The Husband:

Wow. What a crazy-ass roller coaster week. America shows that maybe it can be trusted slightly more with their Top 12 picks (although they still have some ‘splainin’ to do), the Group 3 performances end up being startlingly good, and the judges, while making some strange picks as to who they wanted to see again for the Wild Card round, made some darn good decisions of their own.

But oh man, it’s going to be a heavily male-centric final group, and I can only attribute that, as I did last week, to the show’s main voting constituency — hormonal teenage girls. It’s a sausage fest. A non-threatening, asexual sausage fest.

But, as I was saying, this was the week where the contestants really stood out, and at least half of the 12 performances could actually be classified as “good” or above. Gee, what a concept.

In which case, I don’t really need to tell you who did poorly, since I think it’s quite obvious to everybody, and I need only to mention their names (Taylor Vaifanua, Aianna Afsar, Nathaniel Marshall) and get shudders from you readers.

Actually, I really have to call out Nathaniel Marshall for giving the semifinals one truly awful performance, where he took one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums (“I Would Do Anything For Love” from Meat Loaf’s classic 90s record Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell) and turned it, as I wrote down but also said by TVSquad, into a Donna Summer song. What a trashy undoing of a powerful song. Nathaniel, without question, should be ashamed.

Idol's Group Three runs hot and cold.

Idol's Group Three runs hot and cold.

So who did a good job, and who did a great job?

Good

Ju’not Joyner (“Hey There Delilah”): While I am never big on people reusing songs, it’s completely understandable if it’s their signature song from earlier rounds (much like Kimberley Locke’s version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” that got her into the Top 12 over Clay Aiken pre-Wild Card), and I thought for a moment that I’d really like Ju’not in the Top 12 just to shake things up. Alas, he did not get voted through, nor was he brought back for the Wild Card.

Felicia Barton (“No One”): An interesting selection from an interesting person who, unfortunately, just couldn’t get enough screentime thanks to her being a last-minute replacement in the Top 36. I hate it when contestants sing Alicia Keyes (they’re never going to measure up), and Felicia’s performance definitely got messier at it progressed, but I thought she was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, she did not make it through and, also, was not brought back.

Scott MacIntyre (“Mandolin Rain”): So here’s the deal. I think that if he weren’t legally blind, that voice wouldn’t have been strong enough to really make much of an impression, but he has a story and a “handicap,” and his heart more than made up for some of his vocal shortcomings. He’s a darn good performer, and I appreciate that, and I appreciate that he “sailed on through” to the Top 12.

Lil Rounds (“Be Without You”): I’m kind of sick of this Idol type, even if I’m quite aware that Lil is trying to be her own person. I mean, she’s basically being touted as Tamyra and La Toya and Trenyce and Syesha, and maybe I’m just finally done with that spot that always seems to be open in the Top 12 for eight years now, but I can’t deny the fact that she has a pretty impeccable voice. But she’s not inspiring joy out of me. Just respect.

Kristen McNamara (“Give Me One Reason”): I don’t know why she chose to do such a sped-up version of the song, ended up with some majorly garbled words, but this NorCal resident gave a cool Kimberly Caldwell vibe that I wish had made more of an impression on America.

Great

Jorge Nuñez “(Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”): I think we may be in for something very special with this bilingual singer. We got a small bit of comment huff a few weeks ago for defending Jorge’s accent on this blog, but like Simon we were aware then that it wouldn’t be a problem, and that with the right song and the right amount of heart it doesn’t matter if he says a word differently here or there. He will do wonders for the American Latino/Chicano community merely by his presence in the Top 12, but the best thing is that he’s a great singer to boot. He could demolish the rest of the competition, and I’m fine with that assessment.

So Jorge, Lil and Scott made it through, which unfortunately left some darn good people in the dust, a fact made worse by the fact that no remaining Group 3 contestants were brought back for the Wild Card round. Why? So the judges could put insane people like Tatiana or jokes like Von Smith in their spots. (Come on, we know that those spots could have gone to Kristen McNamara and Felicia Barton easily.)

But I’m more than okay with the judges’ final picks for Wild Card. While I think Jasmine Murray will end up being destroyed by her own nerves and lack of professional know-how in the next few weeks, I’m glad to have her youthful energy around and hope she can recapture some of the magic she had during the auditions. Megan Joy Corkrey and Matt Giraud were no-brainers to move through, honestly, giving the show a more bluesy and adult vibe amidst all the pop shenanigans, and I welcome the variety.

But the greatest part of the week was making the Top 12 into a Top 13 by also accepting Anoop Desai, one of this season’s best performers, into the final group. He needs to tone down some of the overwrought drama in his performances, but he’s now the show’s official underdog, dawg.

The “real” competition is just around the corner, so pick up your phone and start voting with the smart part of you instead of the horny part. Don’t forget, the progression of this show actually does affect mainstream pop culture whether you like it or not, and I don’t want another no-talent, pretty-but-bland personality singing to me on the radio. There’s already enough of that.

The Wife:

This was certainly a rollercoaster week on Idol, and I’m still mad about what Nathaniel did to Meat Loaf. Throughout the entire performance, I was hoping that Mr. Aday himself would burst through the back wall, Eddie in RHPS-style, roar in on a hog and kill Nathaniel with a pick axe as the band started playing “What Ever Happened to Saturday Night?” (Ideally, Meat Loaf would sing that song while murdering Nathaniel and then launch into a triumphant rendition of “I Would Do Anything For Love.”) I wish I could describe the look of abject horror on my face, but alas, it is indescribable.

Like my husband, I was sad to see that Kristen McNamara was passed over for a chance at the Wild Card. Instead, they gave her spot to Jesse Langseth, who has a lovely voice, but I cannot call myself a fan of because of her complete inability to produce consonant sounds. Seriously, she is rarely actually saying a word when she sings. I’d have liked to see McNamara go further in this competition. She’s cute like Anna Faris and has a great, powerful voice. And this week, her outfit wasn’t a problem at all, despite what the judges may have said about it. That dress was adorable, totally made by those little pink rosettes on the shoulders.

I still think a lot of the contestants need help styling themselves, Lil Rounds being a prime example. She went from super hot yellow and black cocktail number for performance night to a dowdy black and white dress that would work, maybe, on Alison Iraheta or some other young white kid who shops at vintage stores and Hot Topic. And I only want to see Anoop in the skinny-tie-and-Rufus Humphrey-cardi combo for the rest of his Idol days. So, so happy they put Anoop through. I think the judges made the right choices with the Wild Card contestants they sent through, thought I agree with my husband that they did make some really weird picks for the Wild Card round.

Competition next week! Let’s see if Megan Joy Corkrey learns to move to music!

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