The semifinals this year are so peculiar, in large part because the bulk of the really memorable singers from Hollywood Week were all jam-packed into the first group. After last week's who-the-hell-cares also-ran brigade swept through, we were left with the funky gay kid with the headband and a creature named Lil' Rounds, who I believe is a distant descendant of the Snorks. Oddly the be-headbanded fellow, Nathaniel (video at left), was my favorite of the evening. Now, before you get all hopping mad about it, consider this: Who was more entertaining? Who was more current? Who was sillier and better in line with what this show is actually about? I'd wager no one. Good for him. Yes he's completely ridiculous, but he's emo-pop-High School Musical boiled down to its bare gay essence. And it's hilarious and wonderful. Too bad he's just too gay for this Idol world and won't make it through and won't be asked back for the Wild Card.
My other favorites were the blonde girl who sang the Tracy Chapman song, and Felicia Barton (at left), she of the "you're cut! Oh wait, that other girl has a recording contract, you're back in!" fate. (May we now take a moment to remember poor Joanna Pacitti, who's had so many sad musical miseries befall her in life. From the Annie debacle of her youth to the Idol debacle of her current late-20's. A terrible tale.) Felicia was raspy and growly, but appropriately so. She sang with character. Which is more than you can say for some of the other wan brunettes (Arianna maybe? Maybe one was named Taylor or McKenzie?) who stumbled through. She was certainly more alive-of-voice than Lil' Rounds, who I used to like. But her only so-so performance was so pumped up and foisted upon us by the embarrassingly slobbery judges that it made me hate her. They aren't even bothering to use fishing wire to hide their string pulling this year. I won't go into detail about the girl who sang that horrible, thinly-veiled threat about abstinence country song. She knows she did poorly.
As for the gents, well... Look. Scott the Blind Guy sang well. He sings well! And he plays the piano well. But, again with the slobbery praise. Whereas one girl got from Kara: "What's it like to go shopping with you? I mean, I just want to know more about who you are as a person" (because that's how you can tell, Kara! By shopping!), Scott got paragraphs of gooey your-singing-has-saved-the-world. He'll undoubtedly go through, even though he doesn't deserve to. Ah well. It's just a TV show. Ohhh who else. Juno or whatever. Meh. Von? Better, but still ridiculous. He's almost as arrogant as Adam Lambert, and that just cannot stand. The Alex with his bushy hair and bird face was cute, and sang OK, and Ryan had a crush on him (On Alex's weightlifting: "We could spot each other."), so people seemed to like him in a he'll-never-win kinda way. But he only has one lil' round (stole your joke, Paula!) to make a Kevin Covaisy impression. Will it be enough? Last and sorta least, Jorge seemed nice, but was just so, so forgettable.
Who Should Go Through: Nathaniel, Felicia, and Kristen McNamara (Tracy Chapman).
Who Will Go Through: Lil' Rounds, Scott, and Alex, maybe.
All told, though? Now that we've seen every possible winner, I don't really like ANY of them. If Kris Allen could somehow switch voices and personalities (but maintain his looks) with Nathaniel, and then put on a Felicia Barton wig, I think I'd have my winner right there. But barring that strange experiment being done in Paula's secret laboratory, situated at the top of Simon Fuller's gloomy castle, I guess I'll just have to muddle through somehow. Hoping for something to change.