~April 15, 2009~

There were only two weeks left for the judges to use their save. The crowd raucously screamed, "SAVE! SAVE! SAVE!" while the judges deliberated. Would Simon ultimately bow to the appeal of popular opinion or hold off one more week?

In a nod to the week's theme, the night began with an opening that looked like a movie trailer. A dramatic Quentin Tarantino interspersed with Idol comments--it had the right feel and look to set the evening.

The Ford Music Video was a lot of fun this week. The Idols sang "Freeze Frame" and appeared as models who moved on the cover of magazines. The mix was a little off--they could have boosted the girls more on the harmonies. They might even have sounded better on Def Leppard's "Photograph" but "Freeze Frame" provided a more peppy feel.

Group Sing!
The twenty and under somethings sang the surprising choice "Maniac". While I never would have thought to go with that song, they sounded really good on it.
Classic moment: Allison is trying to interact with Simon whose back is turned to her, completely oblivious. She brazenly swings his chair around. It was a fun moment and showed a bit of her personality.

The Idols got to attend the premiere of "17 Again" with Matthew Perry and Zach Efron and another red carpet walk was part of that experience. It's amazing the doors opened by this competition and none of them seem to take it for granted.

Allison was the first to stand and in true Idol style this season, the first to stand is the first to be safe. No worries for her. Adam stood next and Ryan informed him he may also take a seat on the couch. That left Anoop who headed to the Bottom Three once again this week.

The newly-engaged Jennifer Hudson returned to her Idol roots for the first time since she got voted off the stage. I remember clearly then her saying, "This is a talent competition and I got gypped." She had no way of knowing God's plan for her by letting her out of the competition at that point and it could be argued that she might not have delved into the movies had she won. She sang "If This Isn't Love" off of her debut album. She looked fabulous and sounded amazing. I wouldn't term this song R&B though. It's more pop with a groove. She brought it off flawlessly, even with having ear monitor issues.

Ryan talked to Anoop afterwards about the fact he was surprised to be there. He said he thought he did a really good job the night before and hadn't expected it. Paula chimed in that she was surprised as well and thought he had his groove in the last few weeks. When Ryan asked Simon if Anoop deserved to be in the Bottom Three, he cuttingly said "Yes". Sometimes Simon's responses are shocking due to their lack of diplomacy. But I wasn't surprised at Anoop being there either. It's no longer weighed solely on how well a person does, but also on how well they compare to everyone else. There are only seven now and there are less people to hide behind when you have a less than stellar night. If you don't know for a fact you're number one, you could just as easily be in the Bottom Three and that's only going to get worse as the numbers diminish.

Next to stand
Kris and Lil stood together next with Ryan saying one of them would be heading to the stools. Simon interjected that Kris the night before was brilliant. America agreed with Simon and Kris was safe. Meanwhile, Lil took the now familiar walk across the stage. Matt and Danny then stood together. Ryan pulled the switch-up with Danny, pointing out he had never been in the Bottom Three before. With that lead-up, Ryan implied Danny was headed for the Stools of Doom. But the truth was, Matt would be the one making that walk for only the second time.

Anoop was quickly put out of his misery and told he could return to the safety of the comfy couches. It was the right decision--Anoop was way better than Matt last night and Lil deserved to be in the Bottom Two regardless.

Miley Cyrus sang "The Climb". I could use your insights on her performance. Is it me or did she look terrified at the beginning? Starting out, the timbre of her voice was actually annoying and it didn't get better until the band kicked-in. But even after that, there was something really wrong with her performance that I couldn't put my finger on. It wasn't the song--it was typical sugar pop. Not great, but okay. But there was something missing, some sort of disconnect with her performance. Any thoughts?

Before the judges got into the Bottom Three results, Simon cryptically said there was one person he would consider saving and that would be a surprise to that person. Ryan asked the question we were all wondering, "Would that be Lil?" and he said, "We'll see." I say between these two, Lil has far outstayed her welcome.

Ryan brought the two center stage and said over 36 million people had voted. He then continued saying, "Lil...(with finality followed by an interminable pause)...you're going to have to endure the competition at least one more week." Lil and Matt hugged and then Matt was left to sing for his life. He sang better than last night, until he got to the bridge. That part of the song was the same trainwreck as the night before. No idea what it's supposed to sound like but I am certain he didn't hit it either time. I figured with that he was sunk.

I have never seen the crowd whipped up into such a frenzy. Before the judges gave their answer, they were chanting "SAVE! SAVE! SAVE!" Even then, with Simon's set-up, it didn't look like it was going to go his way. Simon started-out by saying Matt didn't do as well as last night. He went on to say he has no chance of winning the competition which caused the other judges to beg to save him. Simon, with his stern, no nonsense look said, "Matt...it's good news" to which Matt dissolved into tears. It was a sweet moment as the pressure released. Simon later said this seemed like the first time the audience cared and they wanted to use the save when the time was right. I'm not sure I agree this was the right time but then I don't agree that Matt should have been the one to be voted off this week. Lil is close to a month overdue and it's not affectionately when I say she has nine lives. To her credit, last night's performance showed glimmers of her former self. There were moments when you could see why she was ever chosen in the first place. But pitted against all of the other performances, she was once again the one who should be going home.

Any bit of pleasantness makes Simon uncomfortable
Simon can't handle happiness or sweet, pure emotion like that which was shown in Matt's tears so he had to try to quash it as quickly as possible. He told people to not get too happy since Matt's staying meant two people would head home last week. The other bad news he said is that next week is disco week. Be prepared for Simon to be disgruntled all...night...long.

Mirrorballs, white polyester and platforms. Hang 'em, don 'em and let's meet again Tuesday!