The Top 11 Are Done Giving Us Something New

I love Motown music. It’s really hard not to love Motown music. Everything about it is insanely fun and downright happy. Why then was everything that happened last night so determinedly boring and snooze-worthy? Why do these contestants insist that we have, in fact, seen all they have to offer? I don’t want to believe that I’ve seen everything Jacob and Pia can do, but after four weeks of the exact same performance (sometimes with different lyrics), I’m inclined to give in to the harsh reality. These contestants aren’t actually people. They are, in fact, 2D characters that exist in a 2 hour vacuum on Wednesday nights.

And though nearly every contestant bored me with predictability (or offended me with straight-up fail), the overall episode gave quite a few interesting moments. Ryan managed to get the entire front row to actually come on stage and hug Jacob Lusk. (Like, what? How? They just kept coming. Like to actually go on stage. And hug Jacob Lusk. Except the guy. No hug for you, guy.) Randy Jackson admitted to writing Ryan Seacrest/Stefano Langone fan fiction in his spare time. J. Lo continued her efforts to look as unflattering as possible. (Which is still quite flattering.) Ryan ate carbs on television and of course drank a Coca-Cola while driving a Ford. Really, it was a night where loony host and judge antics were the heart of the program and the performances were tired filler that made us wish we were watching the show forty minutes delayed so we could fast-forward through them.

Honestly, I was so indifferent towards the whole ordeal that I don’t think I can actually comment on each individual performance. I don’t think anyone wants to read varying degrees of “this person has already done this before” eleven times. So here are thoughts as they come to me, in bullet point form!

  • I was surprised that Thia singing “Heat Wave” did not fail as I would have expected. The BK flames disappointed a little, though.
  • Lauren Alaina needs to stay away from the judges table. Girl, Randy does not keep you hanging on. And if he does, maybe we should alert the authorities.
  • I watched the show with Lee DeWyze fan Viv (yeah, that’s how you get mentioned), who before Lauren performed said, “I bet Lauren does the – what was that girl’s name? Kady? – Katie Stevens “I’ve got attitude” neck snap during her performance.” So, props. Because attitude-neck-snap she did.
  • I’m sorry, but if you need a performer to keep their eyes open to connect with them during a song then you are stupid and/or a twelve year old. Do you need them to look you in the eyes (you know, through the television screen, along with 21 million other people) to believe what they’re saying? Is that really how you connect with someone? By seeing them awkwardly squint their eyes like a slightly visually impaired person attempting to pass the vision test at the DMV without corrective lenses so they don’t have that you-are-blind-as-a-bat stamp on their driver’s license? Do you also write letters containing marriage proposals to celebrities and then check the mail every day for a ring in return?
  • When Casey Abrams growls, he gives off “deranged psychopath” vibes. When Haley Reinhart growls, she gives off “maybe they want me to growl more” vibes.
  • Paul, your smile looked out of place. I don’t think, however, that counts as properly conveying the emotion of the song.
  • I never want to hear any Motown song “countrified” ever again. It is a heinous crime against good taste and common decency. I will not accept any outcome other than the immediate termination of this process.
  • Did you know Scotty plays baseball? And likes sports in general? And loves Jesus and apple pie and watchin’ the young’ns while  ma’s gone? (For real, though, how many takes do you think they shot before they got the balcony shot? Also, was I the only one thinking “psshhh, do it from a plane“?)
  • “Hello” is a terrible song. Absolutely terrible. It never once has sounded remotely palatable.
  • BOOM FIYAH IS BACK! Naima, Naima, Naima. I love Naima. She’s insane. She also proved that she can sing on key, which is a nice reminder for most of us. I don’t care if she’s using the African dance thing as a gimmick or a crutch for an otherwise average performance. SHE GAVE US A *DANCE SOLO* FLANKED BY AFRICAN DRUMMERS (who appeared out of nowhere). Girl can dance in the street on the stage any time in my book. Naima needs to stay around. She’s wholly entertaining in a field of contestants where entertainment takes a back seat to odd facial expressions and played-out song choices.
  • Talking about African drummers reminded me of all the random placements of backup singers and musicians on various parts of the stage. What was wrong with keeping the band all together in one place? Is that too conventional for this crowd (who gave us yet another rendition of “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” and “Heat Wave”?)
  • Oh yeah, most of the contestants managed to sing well. Whatever. (No, but seriously, this is important and what keeps this season head-and-shoulders above last year’s debacle.)

For the first time this year, I’m having trouble pegging a bottom three. But here goes:

Bottom 3: Haley, Thia, Stefano
Missing the tour: Haley

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