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American Idol 2, April 21: The 'Halfway Home' Specialby David Bloomberg -- 04/22/2003
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Because two nights a week of American Idol just isn't enough - and because Fox wanted to give new show Mr. Personality a ratings boost from the get-go - we get an extra hour of looking back and singing on a Monday night! The singing is great. As for the rest, well, ya just can't get enough of that American Idol filler. The writers must have been so excited after having to just keep to show-related stuff because of half-hour results episodes for the past few weeks.
We begin with Ryan Seacrest asking what's the worst that could happen - and answering it by saying Randy Jackson could hula dance naked across the state. Oh, great, thanks for giving us an image we'll never scrub out of our eyes!
But Ryan says that won't happen. Why? For one, because of taste. But more importantly, because there are no judges tonight. Yes, all six remaining finalists will perform without insults, criticism, or pressure, he says. Good thing, because those insults from Paula - hooo-ey!
Anyway, Ryan very quickly recaps the cuts from the first rounds of 70,000, yadda yadda yadda… blah blah blah. Incidentally, that's not just me commenting on Ryan. That's what he actually said. Down they went to 234 to 32 to 12.
Hey, look, it's Vanessa Olivarez! I guess the folks from American Idol at least admit that she exists, even if they have cut her out of everything else without explanation. We are reminded that she was the first to go, followed by Charles and Julia. Then Corey was thrown off. Then Rickey and Kimberly Caldwell were voted home.
Tonight, Ryan says, we will get up close and personal with the remaining contestants. And we begin with Carmen's journey to the point we're at now. After a few clips, she comes out to join Ryan on the couch for a little chat. Ryan says it's been an emotional roller coaster for her and asks how she has recovered when Simon has been harsh. Carmen says you just have to realize you did your best - or even if you think you could have done better, hopefully you will have another week to prove it to yourself and the viewers. Even if not, it's been a great experience.
Ryan says he's got some fan mail with questions for Carmen. First, somebody noticed that Carmen and Clay were doing a little flirting (no, really?). What's the deal with that? Carmen says she'll just let American think what they want. Oh please. Can you say, "Putting on a show"? The second question asks if it is hard being so young in this situation. She says the pressure is extra tough but if you think you can do it, you can do it.
The singers get to pick whatever song they want from earlier in the show to perform. Carmen picked "Can't Hurry Love" from way back in the first of the Top 12 shows. She definitely looks comfortable on the stage these days. And this is a better performance than we've seen in a couple weeks from her. But I have to admit that I'm just not liking it as much as the first time we saw it.
Ryan, who is really far too excited about there not being any judges around, says that the contestants can say anything they want about the judges tonight. Er, Ryan, it's not the judges they need to be careful of - it's us, the viewers. And even if this isn't the "real" competition night, you can bet people are still sitting at home and judging them. And if one of the contestants start slamming the judges, people will remember it.
Next up is Joshua, and we begin by seeing his journey to the final six. Ryan continues his attempts to get somebody in trouble (because getting Vanessa kicked out of the competition just wasn't enough, I guess) by prompting Joshua about what he thinks of Simon. Joshua is at first quiet, but then Ryan asks: "Pompous?" Joshua responds, "Yeah." "Self-absorbed?" "Yeah." "Old?" "Yeah." Etc. Finally Josh gets to speak himself and says that Simon is an honest guy who sometimes is too honest. But he is true to himself and to others. I have to say, that was probably the best way Josh could get himself out of that situation. Well, other than grabbing Ryan and slamming him to the floor. Which I actually kinda would've liked to see.
Now we're on to audience questions for Josh. What are his plans once American Idol is over? Oh, please. Is this a plant or what? It's another situation that allows us to be reminded that Josh is a Marine. And that's what he says - he will go back to the Marines, where he still has a full year left. And he'll also work on his music career and take care of his wife and daughter.
Next question: Once the show is over, what luxury that he's gotten used to will he miss most? He says sleeping later than usual. And also walking on stage to hear the cheers. Yeah, you don't get much of either in the Marines, I would guess.
Unsurprisingly, Josh chooses to sing "Amazed." It's good, like the first time, but we already knew Josh could sing country, so this is not exactly a revelation.
Kimberley Locke and her journey are next, reminding me about when she told Simon, "You suck!" on her night of the semi-finals. You know, I'd pretty much forgotten that and I'm willing to bet she was pretty happy with people focusing more on the here and now than that little gem. I'm sure Ryan was happy to see it again, though.1 2 Next-->
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