American Idol – Season 12, Episode 10: Final Hollywood Round

A dreamily short entry tonight, and thank God for it, since I feel like I’ve been recapping this show for twenty years now. I’m not sure what tonight is supposed to accomplish, but then I am reminded that (a) this is the final night of Hollywood Week, where Idol treats everyone like discarded Kleenex, and (b) it has indeed been six years since a woman won the competition. Will that be rectified tonight? Of course not, silly, there are still six billion episodes to go before they pick a winner. But we will lose a bunch of people, which is lucky for me, because I can barely even remember my parents’ names anymore.

Tonight, Mariah Carey is wearing a red dress from a 1980s low-budget comedy; Keith Urban is in his usual cheap ‘graphics’ tee; Nicki Minaj is a Private First Class stationed at Fort Bazonga; and Randy Jackson is wearing the same thing Randy always wears in my mind, which is a dunce cap reading “POTATO CHIPS”. Angela Miller is first up, and takes the big risk of choosing to sing her own material — a song about “being separated from your baggage”, which all of us who have flown commercial airlines can relate to. It’s really not that great a song, but it’s pretty damn amazing for a kid her age to have that kind of piano and compositional skills, so she earns a standing O from the judges. I wouldn’t buy the thing, but there’s a lot of people who would, so that makes her a contender. She’s also immediately the kid-or-animal that no one wants to follow, but Candice Glover buckles down and singles “This Girl is On Fire” like a girl who is actually on fire, and also has purple hair. She can’t help but fade a bit next to Angela, but she still absolutely smokes the vocal, and that counts for a lot. Finally, Janelle Arthur, the least annoying of the country-fried crooners, delivers pretty nicely, and all of them make it through.

So far, the most interesting contestant in season 12 is Zoanette Johnson, the human grenade, tearing people apart with shards of filthy charisma and inconsistent nail polish. Tonight, she goes into full Chaka Khan mode, drumming her way through a self-penned number with murderously bad lyrics; it’s an explosive mess, but she exudes that crazy James Brown force-of-nature charismatic insanity that just kills me. She makes it through, as does master of the power bomb Jet Hermano, but Kiara Lanier gets sent packing. Shubha Vedula sucks up to Mariah, but actually makes her cover slightly more interesting by adding some grit to the out-of-control melisma. Juliana Chahayed, who I don’t think we’ve ever seen before, baby-bops through a Fleetwood Mac song. Finally, Kez Ban sings an original song while prettied up in a hotcha outfit chosen for her by the all-purpose Zoanette, but her voice is still shot, she seems narcotized, and her guitar playing is kind of crap, probably from handling all that fire. She gets sent back home, but at the last minute, Ryan Toothpaste offers her a job as a boom mic operator, after which she is savagely beaten by union reps.

In the next round, we learn that Ashlee Feliciano has dragged her family along to watch her auditions, so it will be extra fun when she fails. Claiming illness, she starts out all loosey-goosey and then completely falls apart on the falsetto, crashing loudly on each note like a drunk falling off the end of your couch and onto your end table. So long, Ashlee. Randy is bummed out because everyone is so serious. Ha ha, it’s almost as if their entire careers are on the line because of the arbitrary judgment of an ex-Journey bass player! I guess he wants more songs about hot dogs or something, and he lets Melinda Adeni’s perky performance get a free pass even though she’s not very good. Cree Harrison: “sob story genuine authenticity sincerity performer heart superstar before our eyes”, according to Nicki Minaj. I may have fallen asleep at this point, because Cree’s alleged star power is still invisible to me. Serena-Joi Crowe and hyper-freaky human mood swing Janel Stinney also get their walking papers.

It turns out that Randy is bad at math, so in order to get to a fat 42 contestants for the actual competitive rounds, we have to lose a bunch more people. Lauren, Holly and Marie all get tossed for no reason; I’m not sure who any of them are, but now I never have to find out. There’s still one left to lose, so bottle-blonde Stephanie Schimel and trout-mushed Rachel Hale have to sing themselves on or off of the show. Stephanie does an unimpressive but competent version of that Phillip Phillips song they play when someone on a prime time soap opera is sad, and Rachel sounds exactly like she always has on every other song she’s done, but she’s the one who gets to stay. Back to selling discounted peignoirs at the mall for you, Stephanie. Next, the guys have to be winnowed down because Randy thinks twenty-four is the highest number; we lose Peter Garrett, the kid who looks like a lesbian who works at Pottery Barn, as well as Marvin Calderon, Devin Jones, Kenny Harrison, Will White, Tony Foster, David Leathers, and a bunch of other people I can’t remember hearing in the first place. In the end, it comes down to a showdown between Adam “Sings Like a Girl” Sanders and Josh “Nondescript” Holliday. Adam knows his shit musically, but he’s also a jerk, and he blows it by pulling a Kurt Hummel and requesting a song that, even dropped down an octave, is out of his vocal range. Josh wants to sing gospel songs to a God that has ill equipped him to do such a thing, but he still sounds better than hearing Adam’s voice crack, so he stays, and also splits his pants, which seems to excite Keith Urban a little more than it should.

Next week, we finally move on to the actual voting rounds and individual performances, so I better haul ass and figure out all these peoples’ names. Be there or grow hair!

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