With the last male contestant “gone, gone, gone,” Season 12 of “American Idol” is officially a girl’s year, with five weeks still left in the competition and a foregone conclusion.
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Lazaro Arbos finally got the boot Thursday night, weeks after he should have, but not too late to have done irreparable damage to the lineup. That means that every week since finals began, a guy has been eliminated, with all five girls safe—for now.
The show kicked off with a medley of Burt Bacharach-Hal David hits that was pretty much dead on arrival until Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb teamed up for “One Less Bell to Answer” and “A House is Not a Home.” Amber was mostly in a backup role to Candice, but when they sang in unison on “when I climb the stairs,” it was some gorgeous powerhouse stuff.
Then there was a so-called Ford Fiesta Mission, in which the Idols don’t make a music video but have to complete some sort of challenge, like teaching kids to sing, or in this case, driving recklessly. The purpose was to literally drive their cars into giant soccer balls and try to score goals without killing themselves.
Jimmy Iovine did his usual recap, albeit more truncated than usual. About Kree Harrison, he said she needs to put more personality into her vocals. Angie Miller didn’t do well enough to win the night. And Lazaro Arbos belongs in 10th place. He said his “Close to You” was like an “Ambien milkshake,” which got a chuckle from Lazaro himself. Ryan Seacrest splits the three into separate spots on the stage.
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So what’s new with Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery? He’s touring, won an ACM, and going to school at NC State. Otherwise, not much else, including his new single that sounds like every other country song, “See You Tonight.”
Ryan then tells us we can vote on what an upcoming “Idol” theme night should be, and among them are unplugged, guilty pleasures, and—get this—one-hit wonders. I don’t know, but it were me on the producing side of things, I might try to keep the association of “one-hit wonders” and “Idol” contestants as far apart as possible.
Jimmy then gives his take on the remaining three. About Janelle, he said she was doing well with her own interpretations in past weeks, but last night went too literal. Ryan places her with Angie. Candice, Jimmy says, is in the lead, and Ryan places her with Kree. Jimmy says he doesn’t understand why America doesn’t get Amber, who looked like the entire package. Ryan sends her next to Lazaro.
But before elimination, we get a delightful little video package from the first season of auditions, as a baby Ryan Seacrest gives young Kelly Clarkson fashion advice. Kelly calls him “the guy outside” the audition room and Brian Dunkleman is just standing there. Remember back when BOTH of those hosts were nobodies?
Kelly does a great, very Kelly Clarkson summer dance anthem, “People Like Us,” and it’s all glow paint and black lights. Scrawled on her arm I can see a hastag and a P and for a moment, I’m like, oh no, Mariah Carey’s #POW thing has caught on? How is this possible? But then I see it’s actually #PLU, which is just Kelly using her body to advertise for her own song while she’s singing it.
There’s a long, meandering and awkwardly cute gushfest between Kelly and Mariah afterward, in which Ryan uses the phrase “Tweetversation” and I can’t decide if that is more sickening than “hashtag pow.” The cameras probably should have cut before Kelly told Mariah, “I’m so glad you’re not mean,” but I feel very lucky that they didn’t.
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So back to results. Kree and Candice are the Top 2, Angie and Janelle are also safe, and Amber and Lazaro are on the bottom.
Then another break! But not really, because they keep the cameras rolling throughout the next commercials, forcing us to pay attention to an orange juice advertisement so we don’t miss Angie looking at herself in the mirror, and Lazaro gesticulating wildly to no one in particular.
We’re back, and in last place is Lazaro! He sings “Feeling Good,” and everybody’s feeling good about this vote. Not good enough for the judges to use the save, of course. Lazaro waved it all off. “Ok, sounds good, no problem guys,” he tells the judges. I mean, he’s set, right? This kid has got to have a future in “Glee” at the very least.
So that’s a wrap. Ryan thanks us home viewers for watching. “We appreciate all of your input in following the show,” he says, which I find awfully specific and sort of odd, but I’ll take it.