Idol is never a show to shy away from controversy, and drama. While we had to wait to see just how they would kick Jermaine Jones out of the competition, the other singers had to chose songs from the year they were born, and get stupid advice from Jimmy Iovine and Will.i.am, whom I’ll be referring to as Gumby throughout the recap. Oh Jermaine, you’re the lucky one here.
First up was Phil Phillips with The Black Crowes‘ version of “Hard To Handle” from 1990. Poor Phil has been sick and dealing with kidney problems, but he pulled through it to kick off the show with a rockin start. I like that he went without the guitar for this and his voice perfectly fit the song. Randy even thinks that when the show is over it would be a great song for him to cover. I have to agree.
Jessica Sanchez made me feel old by picking Gloria Estefan‘s version of “Turn The Beat Around,” which came out in 1995. Not that I don’t love Gloria, but there are way better songs Jessica could have chosen from 95 if she wanted to do something upbeat. Will.i.am encouraged her to do a totally unnecessary stop in the middle of the song, it ended up being not that exciting and didn’t add much to her performance. He also called her a “swaggernaut.” Please stop this man. So Jessica did okay and she looked cute, loved the pants, but the performance didn’t make me feel anything. The judges all thought she could have picked a better song, and Randy said she needs to control her vibrato more.
My dear Heejun Han chose Richard Marx‘s “Right Here Waiting For You” from 1989. I couldn’t help but sigh at the choice, why does he keep picking these sappy ballads? Iovine and Gumby told him to work on his pronunciation of the word “chance” in the song, with Heejun acknowledging that sometimes he accent is a problem when he’s singing. He also asked Will for his autograph and Fergie‘s phone number after his session. So it was another boring performance from someone who is anything but. He did tell Ryan that he was thinking about his cute girlfriend during the song, who was in the audience, and 25% thinking about Jennifer.
Elise Testone chose “Let’s Stay Together,” the Tina Turner version from 1983. I honestly would have rather heard President Obama do the full version of this than her. [Editor’s Note: Cut to DivaJulia swooooning over the very idea of POTUS singing the entire song. UNF.] She did promise that when she was on stage “people would be making babies.” Eh, not quite. The beginning with just the piano was okay, but Elise’s voice just doesn’t do it for me, although Steven loves her rasp.
Deandre Brackensick and his fabulous hair were born in 1994, again making me feel old. He originally picked Elton John‘s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from The Lion King soundtrack, which was already kind of a wonky song choice but then Iovine and Gumby made him sing “Endless Love.” WHY?! Will.i.Need.To.Be.Punched actually had the nerve to say that Deandre doesn’t know how to pick songs. So far, he has done a great job of picking songs that he’s comfortable with, and that he can sing the hell out of. But you two might have sent Deandre home too early with this, maybe on purpose? Why not tell Jessica that her song wasn’t good enough? Ugh, anyways. He did his best, even though he obviously wasn’t comfortable with the song, his notes at the end were great. The judges noted that it was just the wrong song, and luckily didn’t hold it against him.
Shannon Magrane was brave enough to try Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men‘s “One Sweet Day,” which came out in 1995. I still don’t get Shannon, she’s a teen but comes off like she’s 48 and is sending her last kid off to college. This was just some white bread karaoke version of this song, but she got through it okay. I know she thinks she has the voice for these big songs, but she is trying a bit too hard for me. Ironically, Steven thinks she does better when she isn’t trying so hard.
Colton Dixon made an interesting pick with a song called “Broken Heart” by a band you’ve probably never heard of called White Lion. In fact, as Gumby pointed out, the band didn’t even know the song. It was a risk to chose a song that’s not as well known, but he knew it and maybe it gave him an edge. I’m still not really feeling Colton, but Jennifer sure is. She noted that Colton looks pretty when he sings, but Steven thought it was a bad choice. Perhaps he should have gone with some Aerosmith.
“Heaven” by Bryan Adams from 1985 was Erika Van Pelt‘s choice. Again, Iovine and Gumby screw over another singer by making them do something unnecessary. They tell her to do a break in the song, when they should have been focusing on how she was hitting the notes. On stage it wasn’t anything to write home about, Steven didn’t like the arrangement, Randy gave it an 8 out of 10. Jennifer, giving the critique of the night, told her that she didn’t have to do what Jimmy told her to do, especially because it didn’t help her at all. I’d like to think she was saying this to all the other singers as well.
Before Skylar Laine took to the stage to sing, when talking with Ryan she said that she thought the judges were being “mean.” They’re not being mean, they’re being right. I’ll add that to another reason why I don’t like you. Okay, so she chose Bonnie Raitt‘s “Love Sneaking Up On You.” which Iovine and Gumby weren’t feeling and went out of their way to try to make her pick another song. Gumby even suggested she do something by Coolio. I can give Skylar her props for sticking to her guns and staying with her original song, but some weird part of me would have loved for her to do “Gangstas Paradise.” The judges decided not to be mean, they actually liked it.
Because Joshua Ledet was feeling a little homesick, he talked with Randy about missing crawfish. This prompted them to bring out a huge bucket of them and show some random white girls how to eat them. Please stop. Josh chose “When A Man Loves A Woman,” the Michael Bolton cover from 1992. By now I think you guys know that I’m a heathen, but Josh took me to church with this one and I enjoyed it! His runs at the end gave me life, as they say. It was almost like he didn’t want to stop singing. He left the judges, who gave him a standing ovation, speechless.
Last up was Hollie Cavanaugh with “Power Of Love.” There have been many covers of this but she went with the Celine Dion version from 1993. Hollie doesn’t do much for me either, but she has one of the better voices from the girls in the competition. The high note at the end was a little off but she did a good job. I think the judges exaggerated a bit with their praise, but I won’t be expecting her in the bottom tonight.
I have to note the much better wardrobe this week. Jessica, Deandre and Josh especially looked great. The judges didn’t really say who would be in trouble, but expect to see Heejun in the bottom. Now to the “controversy” with Jermaine and his criminal past. First of all I was shocked that they filmed this little sit down with him and producers Nigel Barker and Kim Warick. It was just weird, and actually made me feel a bit sorry for Jermaine. We learned the news that he was being eliminated from the show on Tuesday, but he we got to see when he found out. Which makes his tweet about having to leave the show, it’s since been deleted, all the more sad. Nigel and Kim expressed that they were disappointed and asked why he didn’t tell him about his arrest. He tried to explain himself, but he was already getting the boot. He would have sung “Somewhere Out There,” which to make the sting of having to leave early feel even worse, they told him that it was the best he ever sounded.
Well, well, well. If y’all haven’t heard, director Brett Ratner who had signed on as producer of the 84th Academy Awards, due to his stupid homophobic slur on the Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM has stepped down (?) as producer of the upcoming Academy Awards.
Ratner, who is known for being a bit of an a-hole in the industry. Wasn’t he on Entourage portraying, well, himself? I remember being irritated at his arrogance even then. So now Eddie Murphy has quit as the host of the Oscars in alliance for Ratner’s resignation. Oh, did I mention that Murphy is in the Ratner-directed movie Tower Heist?
“It was a dumb way of expressing myself,” he said in a statement. “Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words.
“…”I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents,” he stated. (Read full statement below.)
Dear Colleagues,Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.
As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian, or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.
So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.
As a first step, I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.
I am grateful to GLAAD for engaging me in a dialogue about what we can do together to increase awareness of the important and troubling issues this episode has raised and I look forward to working with them. I am incredibly lucky to have a career in this business that I love with all of my heart and to be able to work alongside so many of my heroes. I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience.
Sincerely, Brett Ratner
You know, I call bullshit on this, and I’m probably not the only one who feels this way. I don’t even believe Ratner wrote his little Cover His Ass Letter of Apology. It’s just a gut feeling, and doesn’t hold up in court…but I tend to trust my instincts.
Once an arrogant jerk, always an arrogant (and homophobic) jerk. Oh, and guess what else? I’m not going to see Tower Heist. Eddie Murphy is also widely known for his extreme homophobic “comedic” routines. You guys can’t have it both ways; if Mel Gibson was reamed a new a-hole for his horrible racist/sexist/anit-semitic rants, (and rightly so), why do Ratner and Murphy think they are above reproach? That’s it dudes–stick together for the sake of making some bucks off that movie of yours.
So now who’s gonna fill in for these two? I vote for Alec Baldwin minus Steve Martin, who has become such a snip the past 10 years or so. His envy of Alec is coming in loud and clear. I loved Jon Stewart as host, but I’d be surprised if he would be asked to return.