Before I get to the abomination that was last night’s episode, let me just apologize for missing the past couple weeks. I was on paternity leave, I guess, which is something that feels completely ridiculous to type, but completely awesome to be on, especially when it gets you out of having to write about Idol Gives Back.
During my time away, we lost Andrew, Katie and Tim, and as much as I’d grown to like them, they were never real contenders anyway. If there’s a gripe to be had right now, it’s that Aaron Kelly continues to stick around, consistently reminding us that, even with a move toward “real artists” as the judges like to put it or “people who play instruments” as the rest of us like to put it, this is still the show that gave us Clay Aiken.
But ok, onto last night…
I was shocked when I heard that Shania Twain would be serving as mentor to the six remaining contestants, because, well, who the fuck cares about Shania Twain right now? But I was absolutely dumbfounded when I heard that they’d actually have to perform songs chosen exclusively from her catalog. It would be one thing to have Shania on the show for a country-themed episode where the contestants were allowed to sing any country song. But it’s quite another, especially this far into the competition, to limit them to the sixty or so songs she’s recorded, only a third (tops) of which most people have ever heard. And to make matters worse, I can’t even figure out why it happened: she doesn’t seem to have a new record to sell or a new sitcom to push or anything. I’ve decided that it must have something to do with Fox scratching the back of Twain’s label, Mercury Records, which also happens to be the label that recently signed Matthew Morrison, who plays Will Schuester on Glee. I admit that this seems unlikely, but it’s the best explanation I’ve got, and I’m sticking to it.
Honestly, I can’t even say too much about the performances. It was all bullshit, big-money power ballads, for the most part, with almost every contestant putting forth the worst possible version of themselves: Mike did some ridiculous cheeseball crap, and Simon told him he was acting like a girl. Aaron did “You’ve Got a Way,” which he said he was singing to his mom, even though it’s totally about doin’ it. Lee did the best he possibly could have done with “Still the One,” which wasn’t actually all that good. Crystal went full-on country with a likable enough but still terribly boring version of “No One Needs to Know,” which the judges didn’t love. Casey James put in a completely forgettable performance of a terrible song called “Don’t!” from Twain’s 2005 Greatest Hits CD. Siobhan closed things out with her best performance in weeks the night’s obvious high point: a lighthearted, technically impeccable version of “Any Man of MIne.”
So who’s going home? I have no idea. Aaron? For fuck’s sake? Please? Doubtful, though. I’m gonna go with Casey.