Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Gina: Not smiling after that

As a wildly successful program featuring Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and repeated use of the phrase "yo, dawg," "American Idol" consistently defies logic, so I suppose the unfortunate results of Wednesday's elimination show shouldn't have come as a surprise, or a blow, for that matter. Shouldn't have, but nonetheless did, considering a shaken Gina was sent packing after a night when Phil personified morose, Haley didn't so much carry a tune as sell it on a streetcorner, and Sanjaya was, well, Sanjaya. Heck, it was a results show so underwhelming even the guest of honor didn't show up. (Ok, so Tony Bennett had the flu - according to Seacrest - and couldn't perform, but still.)

True, Gina could have bettered her chances by choosing a more upbeat song than Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" and a less extreme wardrobe - speaking of, didn't she look 1000% improved Wednesday? - but that alone shouldn't have been enough to sink her so early in the season. Even though she wasn't always the most consistent, she was interesting, and her voice was good enough to make you think she'd continue improving if she managed to survive. Indeed, she proved that again Wednesday, even as she tearfully sang lyrics all too appropriate for the circumstances: "Smile, though your heart is aching/Smile, even though it's breaking." Ouch. Fellow contestants also looked visibly moved and surprised by the news of her ejection; Jordin and Melinda both appeared to be crying.

Gina's exit - coming just one week after what was probably her best performance of the season, by the way - also takes away more than a bit of the scarce spirit the already personality-challenged Season Six possessed. But there could be at least one unintended benefit: The fact that someone undeserving has gotten the boot - unlike the past three castoffs - may wake people up a bit, thus spelling the end for Sanjaya or some other hilarious/sympathetic/but ultimately unworthy character. If Gina's fellow bottom three-ers Phil or Haley had been kicked off instead, people could have continued feeling secure in the knowledge that all the decent contestants survived, but not anymore - so, we'll see.

Packed only as in "well padded"? "But as always, we have a packed half-hour for you," Seacrest said, introducing a program that, as ever, contained about 29 minutes of filler.

Well, you're still on the show, so maybe that's a start? :-) "I danced with Paula Abdul! How much better can it get?" Sanjaya enthused in a clip filmed after Tuesday's performances.

Seacrest, International Man of Not-Quite-Mystery: You had to know something was up with Tony Bennett's planned performance when Seacrest failed to tout Tony and instead kept mentioning that an unnamed "special guest" was coming up. Before he announced it was his pal (apparently?), young crooner Michael Buble, my imagination - well, didn't exactly run wild, but at least broke into a jog. At first I hoped we'd see a choreographed dance routine featuring the contestants (I mean, one can hope), but then Seacrest said "guest," singular, so I wondered whether we'd see Paula take the stage (with Randy on bass, haha)! But, oh, wait, no. Too bad, though, because that would have been so un-Tony Bennett as to blow viewers' minds.

Although it did crack me up, thinking of Taylor with such a nickname: "I don't come up with the questions," Seacrest said apologetically, after asking viewers to respond to another hopelessly lame piece of "Idol" trivia. (The question, incidentally: "This American Idol finalist was jokingly referred to as 'Chicken Little.'" The choices: Kevin Covais, Bucky Covington and Taylor Hicks. I don't think I'm spoiling it for anyone to mention the correct choice is Kevin.)

Oooh, he totally didn't get the "don't bring her up" memo: Among the "Idol" world's cardinal sins, it seems, is mentioning discarded and, particularly, controversial, yeah, that definitely added to the awkwardness when Michael Buble attempted the following joke after his performance: "Am I wasting my votes by still voting for Antonella Barba?" After stiffly and hurriedly responding "No, I do the same thing," Seacrest helpfully clarified that Barba is "no longer with us" (I think I heard that correctly?) and cut to commercials in record time. Crap, there goes my plan to send shoutouts to Corey Clark, Frenchie Davis and Mario Vasquez!

Hemlines, going up (again): Why yes, the skirt Haley wore over, well, nothing was in fact shorter than the one Gina was wearing over jeans.

Maybe Melinda can give her voice lessons! If I heard Seacrest correctly, next week's guest is Jennifer Lopez. Multifaceted though she may be, as a singer, J.Lo is, er, a great actress.


Anonymous said...

We thought Gina looked great on Tuesday and like a bag-lady on Wednesday. Opinions vary obviously.