What do Tom Hanks and Snooki have in common?
Sure, he won an Oscar for playing someone of below-average intelligence and she's the idiot du jour. But they were also among thousands of Americans - from celebrities and politicians to our own readers - who threatened to stop watching American Idol after Pia Toscano was unjustly eliminated last week.
And if they stuck with their threats... they didn't miss much.
But I couldn't help but think that if Snooki were a judge on Idol, viewers could finally hear some opinions coming from the dais. Of course the blood-alcohol level of her gibberish opinions would rank somewhere between Paula Abdul's incoherent ramblings from past Idol seasons and a drunken frat boy trying to explain what a Twinkie is made out of. But they would be opinions nonetheless, which this season's judges seem to be allergic to.
But anyway, onto the show.
Maybe I'm still recovering from the loss of Toscano - I still can't believe Sanjaya finished higher than her - but as contestants performed "Songs from the Movies" I had a hard time really being impressed with anyone. Next to "the one that got away," most of them seemed to range between boring and just plain awful.
In my eyes, Scotty McCreary is now the one to beat. He once again killed it with a country performance - George Strait's "I Cross My Heart" from the movie "Pure Country." The kid just needs some lessons in stage presence and he'll be ready for Nashville. My only regret is that he didn't try his original song choice, which was Harry Nilsson's "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City." The clips of his rehearsal of the song were intriguing and it would have been nice to see him try something a little less country. But with Toscano leaving, I can't blame him for sticking to his comfort zone.
Stefano Langone and James Durbin also had decent performances, with covers of Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" and Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal," respectively. Langone hit some solid notes near the end of his performance, even though it was another ballad. And I loved Durbin's stubbornness in refusing Jimmy Iovine's suggestion - for the second time in three weeks - to sing a different song. It's nice to see contestants pushing back, showing that they aren't completely intimidated by their surroundings.
Lauren Alaina also turned in a good cover of the Miley Cyrus ballad "The Climb." During rehearsals, Iovine explained that this was Alaina's chance to capture all the "Pia fans" now up for grabs. I can't say I blame the strategy, but comparing Alaina to Toscano is like comparing the McRib to filet mignon - both tasty but in very different leagues.
I enjoyed Casey Abrams' jazzy performance of Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy," even though he did fall back into that creepy vibe midway through. What I didn't enjoy was the standing ovation from the judges as they fell over themselves praising him. The performance wasn't that great, but they felt the need to prove to America that they didn't make a mistake saving him earlier on, thus preventing them from saving Toscano.
Rather than starting with my Bottom 3, I'll cut straight to my pick to go home. Haley Reinhart's performance of Blondie's "Call Me," was a horrible, karaoke cover. Reinhart was flat and had pitch issues throughout the song, and her attempts to cover it with growling and screeching just made it worse. Face it judges - she isn't unique. She's just bad.
My other picks for the bottom are Paul McDonald ("Old Time Rock and Roll") and Jacob Lusk ("Bridge over Troubled Water"). Lusk still can't seem to get out of the rafters and his choices of inspirational gospel-infused songs are getting old. And as much as I've loved some of McDonald's performances this season, I just don't think America is feeling his quirky vibe.
Hey Snooks, call Seacrest pronto!