If you're not watching the current we-swear-this-is-the-final-season of American Idol, there's something you need to know: They are really, really into Kelly Clarkson. To hear her discussed on the current show, you would think she is some sort of combination of God and Beyonce, and it is a testament to the great power and wisdom of Idol that they immediately seized on her talent and presented her like a gift to the world.
In fact, the winner of the first season was basically presented as cannon fodder for the first several episodes, to the point where I don't even remember what she sang for her Top 30 song. I guess we'll find out together.
0:06 Second visible appearance of Kelly Clarkson on the show! Still have not heard her speak or sing.
0:07 Justin is here too!
0:53 I just want to take a moment and talk about how young Ryan Seacrest looks here, compared to his appearance on the current season. I mean, yes, I know, I looked younger in 2002 too, and I may have also owned that shirt, but the dude hasn't aged so much as transmogrified. I seriously think that part of the deal for buying Dick Clark's production company was that he had to take on some sort of curse, and now the eldrich forces are slowly turning him into Mr. Clark. Meanwhile, trapped somewhere in a garret, Brian Dunkleman grows ever younger. . .
3:58 Alexis Lopez, seventeen years old and rocking a look that's half jailbait/half elderly-lounge-singer. She sings "I Will Survive" because of course she does.
6:55 Gil Sinuet is the winner of this week's where-are-they-now search, thanks to his easily-Googleable name and the fact that I do not have the slightest recollection of him being on the show. He appears to have sung the national anthem at a Jets game in 2011, backed by the Junior ROTC of Wyandanch High School color guard, as the result of winning some sort of national anthem contest, and his IMDB page asserts that he is Marc Anthony's cousin, which frankly raises more questions than it answers. His "Ribbon in the Sky" is resoundingly average.
10:48 Dunkleman reads comments from the website, with bonus gay panic for Simon!
11:36 Angela Peel looks great, sings the second Whitney cover in two weeks. Remember when corset tops were a thing? I figure we're about three weeks away from a comeback. Angela, not so much.
14:27 AJ Gill is pleasantly nonthreatening and wearing a pukka shell choker. He is also singing the most contemporary song of the night. Pretty sure "All or Nothing" is no more than ten years old. (Acutally, I Googled it and it's from 2001, by O-Town, which could not possibly be more right.)
17:57 I know I'm talking too much about the outfits, but Tenia Taylor is seriously dressed as the Marilyn Monroe character from a high school production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Was the costume department out of elbow-length gloves. (Whitney cover count is now at 3. That is fully 20% of the total performances in this round so far.)
21:31 Alexandra Bachelier, alleged best friend of Tenia and midriff enthusiast is up next. She is learning about online comment sections on live TV, and it's not pretty. In the interest of sparing her further pain, I will refrain on commenting on her performance.
25:07 Jazmin Lowery is the first person in this lot who is not wearing something that she would make someone delete if they posted a Throwback Thursday photo of it on Facebook. (That sentence would not have made any sense in 2002, by the way.)
25:46 Okay, I made that last comment before I realized it was basically a transparent bed jacket and a bra. Looks like we're 0-for-7.
26:31 She sounds nice, but it's not contemporary or showy enough for this show. (I have the advantage of knowing that this is the last we ever see of her.)
28:26 Jamar. Jamar has one name, like Cher. Unlike Cher, he is wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. Also, I don't recall her ever doing a seriously below-average cover of "Careless Whisper." He really doesn't have that much in common with Cher, aside from the one-name thing.
31:17 It appears the last two performers of the night are Justin and Kelly. Maybe the producers aren't so dumb after all.
31:47 Kelly speaks!
32:16 And this is the point in the season when we first hear her sing. Her cover is "Respect" and it is good.
33:57 Simon: "I thought it was good, but I couldn't remember you from the previous rounds." I imagine he is telling that story a little differently these days.
36:04 Justin Guarini gets himself the featured final spot as a follow-up to his big moment from the Pasadena auditions singing "Get Here." (Full disclosure: at this point in the original run I was 100% pro-Justin.) His is our second "Ribbon in the Sky" of the night, which is an interesting choice, on several levels. How bad was the budget for this season anyway?
41:36 Don't forget, these are 866 numbers!