American Idol Top 24, Live Voting: The Superstars Return

Photo: Ray Mickshaw/FOX.
Thursday’s blast from the past was a far cry from Wednesday’s Twilight Zone-esque “off night.” All-stars Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, Constantine Maroulis, and the dreamiest contestant ever, Haley Reinhart, returned to blaze up that shadowy stage, determined to lend Idol some last-minute legitimacy despite Fox’s express wishes to let it sputter out and die, ASAP. Ryan Seacrest even went off script long enough to get goaded by the judges into both twerking and rapping “Ignition.” THIS! Was American Idol in its heyday...ish.

J.Lo lied her ass off, claiming to “phenomenal vocalist” Haley’s face that she and the other judges had thought Haley was a shoo-in to win season 10. I’m guessing Jenny just forgot to finish the sentence: “…so we couldn’t let THAT happen, you uber-talented bitch!” Then, in a final eff you to the spiral-haired crooner, the judges unceremoniously dumped both of Haley’s duet partners, fully grown artists with souls who might make great music someday. What a hideous thought! Trot out the commercially viable teens at once!

So it’s farewell to Kory Wheeler, C.J. Johnson, Adam Lasher, Amelia Eisenhauer, and Shelbie Z, the Heart-esque, country-singing hairdresser inexplicably saddled with a “Bohemian Rhapsody” duet with freaking Constantine. (“Doesn’t really matter…” J.Lo mouthed along.) Here’s my ranking of the seven moving through, from the least likely to the sure things:

Tristan McIntosh and Kellie Pickler, Kellie Pickler’s “Best Days of Your Life” Aw. “Pickles.” The walking, talking platter of comfort food from season 5 brought out the “happier, sassier side” of genetically engineered Idol-bot Tristan, who struggled to keep up with the pro via perfectly timed head bops and off-key singing. J.Lo called the 15-year-old “one of the very special ones,” which I believe best translates to “pretty and malleable.”

Lee Jean and Chris Daughtry, Daughtry’s “Home” Season 5’s fourth-place finisher (who’s sold 16 million albums worldwide, according to a giant plaque, thank you very much) pinpointed the problem with 15-year-old Lee: “If you look nervous, you’re nervous.” Despite their cute, big-bro-little-bro vibe, the performance only served to highlight Lee’s shakiness and Daughtry’s prowess. "You were singing with him, and you’re a baby still," J.Lo cooed to Lee while foaming at the mouth.
Photo: Ray Mickshaw/FOX.
Advertisement
Manny Torres and Jordin Sparks, Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks’ “No Air” Jordin won this thing NINE seasons ago! I’ve aged 25 years since then, but she is looking amazing. Like Daughtry, she zeroed in right away on her partner’s major flaw: a lack of authentic feels: “I don’t believe you,” she lovingly snapped as he aped the lyrics in a spoken-word confessional of sorts. “You have to put yourself into that situation, even though it makes you uncomfortable.” Manny’s vocals are not much to gasp for no air about, so Harry threw some subtle shade into a makeshift compliment: “The fact that my eye was going back and forth from you to Jordin is a testament to how much charisma you have on stage.” SNORE. (Other eye: closed.)

Olivia Rox and David Cook, David Cook’s “Light On” Gah! In this new age of glitchy teen machines, I’m struck by how much I appreciate the stripped-down yet totally passionate consistency of the season 7 winner. No one is as believably emo as the Cookie! Once again, the all-star’s advice was just what the doctor ordered for the 17-year-old Jem doll: “If you can pinpoint when you go in for the jab, as opposed to just singing wildly, it makes for a better performance.” Still, David claimed he was “just trying to keep up” with Olivia all week. I guess she is pretty tall.

Dalton Rapattoni and Chris Daughtry, Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” The band overpowered their vocal performance, but from what we could hear, Dalton — who “vomited in his brain, in a good way” upon learning he’d be paired with Daughtry — kept up well enough with his childhood hero. Once Seacrest finished his audition for J.Lo’s Vegas show, she called the judges’ clear favorite from day one, “kind of this dark horse coming to the surface at the right time, with amazing blue eyes.” VOMIT. NOT JUST IN THE BRAIN.

Jenn Blosil and Constantine Maroulis, “My Funny Valentine” Season 15’s affected alien lady, meet season 4’s theatrical wonder man (and former love object of Paula Abdul). Harry felt a duty to knock the way they injected so much energy into an old standard, but I didn’t find their eye-locked duet to be a “shouting match” at all. (Isn’t Harry the one who lauded the Fantasia/La Porsha “battle of the runs” last week?) Jenn can be a loose cannon, but I have a soft spot for anyone who admits to Googling “how to flirt.” Been there, girl. That’s how I discovered I’d been exclusively flirting with everyone I’d ever met. Whew!

Trent Harmon and Jordin Sparks, the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody” “He’s so good I don’t want to siiiiiiing!” the season 6 winner squirmed. OMG. Tone it down. And that’s exactly what Jordin wisely suggested Trent do in his performances — pull back a little bit, so he can “hit ‘em with it a bit later” and let his vibrato go. The hat fanatic who gets watery eyes and a wrenched face every time he sings a vowel is a lot to take on his own, but the pair’s vocals balanced each other out pretty well. Their faces almost touched! Keith Urban mouthed the lyrics in a painful reverie. Harry even shifted in his seat a little. Honestly? It was nice.

Your votes start counting next Wednesday, so it MIGHT be time to tune in! Or not!
Advertisement

More from TV

The Pfeffermans are back! To quickly get up to speed, check out our Binge Club for season 2. Already set? Let's get this started. Episode 1: "Elizah" ...
It's been over 12 years since Friends ended. And we still miss the shit out of that show. Luckily, every once in a while we're blessed with a nostalgic ...
Wait, what? American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy just dropped a bomb on viewers — who are currently caught up in AHS season six, My Roanoke ...
The 2016 Emmy Awards were off to a great start when a surprising announcement came over the loudspeaker. A voiceover announced the next presenter: none ...
Glee's cast sounds as dramatic as the characters they played. Ryan Murphy recently told Entertainment Weekly that all the fights and relationships ...
In a move that made Big Brother history, female contestant Nicole Franzel beat Paul Abrahamian in Wednesday night's finale, Buzzfeed reports. While this ...
It's no secret that Eleven on Stranger Things was the little-less-conversation-little-bit-more-action sort — minus the sexual Ariana Grande overtones. We...
Kimmy Schmidt lives in her own world. It's a cross between middle school, the year 1999, and present-day New York. Mix in the fact that she was held ...
There’s a certain feeling that wells up when you’ve just entered a room you were never supposed to be in. These rooms never have an overt warning sign; ...
Grey's Anatomy is back, and Alex is maybe a felon! The hospital's most lovable hothead finally snapped in a criminal way, beating the hell out of DeLuca ...
Amazing news, TV lovers of the world: Since we first published this story in 2013, there have been leaps and bounds in the number of streaming platforms ...
Awkward school photos, we've taken a few. That's why we can't help but sympathize with the doozy Kristen Bell pulled out on The Late Late Show Wednesday ...
The second season of How To Get Away With Murder ended with a lot of shocking twists. Caleb Hapstall (Kendrick Sampson) was found responsible for the ...
Margot Robbie will have another feather in her cap as she's been tapped to host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. The Weeknd, new hairdo and ...