American Idol 2, May 14: One for the Money, Two for the Showby Sting7 -- 05/15/2003
Last night, Ruben Studdard, Kimberley Locke, and Clay Aiken put America to work deciding who deserves one more chance to campaign to be the American Idol. What will we say?
Ryan welcomes us to the show, intros the judges (accuses Simon of having man boobs, Paula of finding new love, and Randy having to sleep outside) and the nervous contestants.
We get a recap (that mentions that Clay forgot the words to Vincent. So much for the rumor that he didn't really, that pause was to fill time as requested by the producers. Do not believe the hype, children).
The contestants do a medley of love song duets, including "Up Where We Belong," "Reunited," and "Solid." Well sung. It's so obvious that the right three people are in the game.
Ryan asks for Tamyra Gray fans. There are plenty. Ryan sends it up to Tamyra, looking as beautiful as ever, singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" with a simple guitar accompaniment and soft violins (didn't she do this treatment last year?). It is a beautiful rendition, Tamyra sings it with aplomb, but K-Lo has done this song to death. Ryan greets her warmly when she finishes and promptly gets his sleeve caught in her hair. Suave.
Ryan introduces Justin Guarini (it must be Homecoming!). They chat briefly about Justin's album (drops June 10, and I bet you can order it here! [Indeed you can! Just click here!]), and From Disaster to Catastrophe... er, From Kelly to Justin. Justin says it will be great. Sure it will. Scheduled for release June 13.
Justin sings "Unchained Melody," a bit more subdued (and pitchy) than Clay's, but now we've had Melodies two nights in a row, and a third time this season (remember George Trice? Try.) Justin probably wouldn't have wanted this one in competition, but there is that X factor. He still has it.
The contestants had a chance to fly home to their hometowns for a few hours. Kimberley Locke appears to be on a flurry of appearances and interviews. One DJ predicts next year's movie will be From Kimberley to Ruben! Ruben heads to sweet home Alabama and greets lots of kids and former teachers. The kids are simply starstruck. Ten year old Whitney Okorley gushes, "I've never met a star before... especially one from our country!" Would that be the United States?
Yes, she's ten, but I'm going to be doing American Juniors. No mercy. Prepare yourselves.
Clay heads to North Carolina, he gushes over the plane, heads to the YMCA to receive a 500-foot greeting card, eats some barbecue, throws out the ball and sings the anthem for the Durham Bulls, and back home.
For the results.
Ryan gave critiques before the videos. Now, he one by one calls the remaining three from the couch. Kimberley: she's excited to have made it this far, all three of them were from Group 2 and she's thrilled about that. She is ready for whatever happens next. Clay: He's not nervous, but he knows it could be him that goes. That would only mean his two best friends compete next week. Ruben: he praises God for the opportunity and can't believe he's come this far.
Ryan asks for Simon's comments. Simon says, "I'm very proud of the three of you. You've served us well. And for the two who remain, I can't wait for next week!" He's downright giddy!
Ryan notes that 19 million votes were cast last night, and there was only a 4% differential between the three of them. Wow! that is close! Makes you want to say there are no losers. So, let's say it. No losers here.
Ryan sighs. Says this is the hardest night of the season. No doubt. The departing contestant is...
Kimberley Locke. She smiles graciously as a tearful Clay hugs her, then Ruben. Ruben dashes stage left, big man doesn't want to cry on TV. Clay is clearly emotional. (We see ebullience from Clay's camp, Ruben's brother looks fit to faint.) Kimberley herself dashes stage right. A nice cry is imminent. Ryan calls her back, she said she wanted to get out of the way. Ryan reminds her that she must now be tortured and see her "thing" (goodbye video). Spicy to the end, Kim says she already gave her speech the first time she was in the bottom three! We relive the magic of Simon saying Kim has a 4 for personality and Kimberley telling Simon he sucks. Good times.
Ryan wishes her well, the judges stand up for her, she waves goodbye. She won't go far, she'll be performing on the finale. She probably has a contract to sign too!
To Ruben and Clay, Ryan informs them that there was only a 2% difference between them! "This thing is far from over!" (I expected to hear the theme from Staying Alive crank up.)
More torture to be dished, Kimberley sings "Inseparable." The disappointment in her voice is clear. So's her future. She will record, that voice is too masterful and advanced not to. I'd love to see her broken in with a few duets with established artists, then a Jill Scott-type character album to establish that she is not to be confused with the Britneys and Ashantis. Her thing is her voice, not her cleavage. Then, we can just watch her grow and grow and as we play the 2010 edition of Trivial Pursuit, we can say, "it's so hard to believe K-Lo came from that American Idol show! Remember that? And she didn't even win!"
She was a little too large, a little too brassy, a little too sure of herself, it took us awhile to catch up to her. Now that we have, we'll miss her a little too much.
Sting7 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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