The Best of Idol’s Season 10

Well, we’ve come to the end of another season of American Idol. While I won’t be screaming, “best season ever!!” about it anytime soon, it definitely had its moments. (None of which involved “In It [But Most Definitely Not To Win It]” Randy Jackson or either of his failed sound bite generator associates.) So, without further ado, here are my top tens of Season 10:
Top 10 “Idol Moments”:

10. Losers Group Sing On Performance Night
Group performances on American Idol results show are typically some of the most cheese-filled, horrifically delicious three minutes of entertainment on television every week. So how, exactly, are you supposed to improve on that formula? Well, keep the pointy-poses, clunky choreography and broken harmonies and have it performed by the six people America felt were more offensive to the eyes and ears than Casey Abrams. For added bonus points, have it performed on a performance show night where contestants are supposed to show themselves as serious musicians. That recipe created “So What” performed by Ashthon Jones, Karen Rodriguez, Naima Adedapo, Thia Megia, Pia Toscano and Paul McDonald on the top 7 performance show. It was a brilliantly dazzling display of high-kicks, twirls and atonal gasping performed with gusto and pizazz. Paul, in particular, sounded delightfully terrible and provided a little extra garnish to the spectacle in the form of his flower-patterned suit. Truly an Idol moment. If you didn’t openly weep tears of joy at this magnificent creation, you aren’t really a fan of the reality TV juggernaut.

9. Scotty McCreery Leaps To Victory
Repeats are nearly always worse than originals on the Idol stage. Scotty McCreery’s rehash of Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone” was no different. While it rivaled the original in its energetic haphazardness, Scotty left out the key ingredient which pushed his top 5 week rendition of the song over the edge: his running hop towards the judge’s table. Drawing from a page in Tim Urban’s how-to guide on conquering Idol with minimal vocal ability, he adapted Little Timmy’s slide into his own confusing stage antic. Scotty loses points for not being fully committed; he easily could’ve cleared his way straight on to Randy Jackson’s lap if he had put a little more elbow grease into it. However, he gains all those points back for never once breaking out of his ridiculous character. I can do nothing but applaud an effort so Herculean.

8. Gravity & Stairs Beat Haley Reinhart
Haley Reinhart was riding one of the largest waves of momentum in the history of the show. Perceived producer and judge injustice and a slew of show-stoppers catapulted the early bottom three dweller into the top three, within spitting distance of the Idol crown. What could stop such an unbeatable combination of  talent and drive? Well, apparently, a pair of heels, a few stairs and a little extra push by good ol’ gravity were enough to make the #SaveTheGrowler movement come crashing back down to Earth. (Pardon the pun, it was a necessary evil.) Yes, Haley Reinhart was plagued by awkward performing quirks all season long and it seems that those quirks got the last laugh. In the midst of a busy, twirl-flourished family Led Zeppelin performance, Haley managed to trip up stairs. And unlike Kristin Holt or Jeanine Vailes before her (there’s my obligatory obscure reference for the blog), her fall was during a live performance. Haley Reinhart truly brought the most spectacular moments this season. What. A. Fall.

7. Hulk Hogan Is Hulk Hogan
At the start of this year, Idol amped up its results shows with outrageous filler that actually filled the full sixty minutes of drawn out after-the-break reveals. It was a glorious, if brief, reprieve from the usual deadly awkward questions from the audience segments or ill-formed clips of the contestants at various premieres and events no one cared about in the first place.  The pinnacle of this filler began with an in-mansion clip of the Idol guys faux-wrestling (or I guess that’s just called “wrestling”) which ultimately led into Hulk Hogan appearing from behind the trusty American Idol screensaver. Everyone lost their minds, myself included. It was spectacular in its ridiculousness and brought shock-and-awe like Pia can only wish her elimination did. Hulk Hogan’s immense stage presence was captivating. I’m pretty sure he was the first of about fifteen hundred things that brought James Durbin to tears on the Idol stage this season. For that alone, this moment has earned its spot on this list among the season’s best.

6. Self-Reflection, Just What The Lusky Stank Ordered
I’ll let Jacob take this one. “I can’t get on stage and sing something that’s not me. [Let’s Get It On] is very blunt and says, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s do the nasty.’ So I went and I changed my song. Tonight, I am singing ‘Man In The Mirror’ by Michael Jackson. Let me say this: If I am in the bottom three, it won’t be because I sang the song bad. It won’t be because I sang the song wrong. It will be because everybody in America wasn’t ready to look at themselves in the mirror.” You heard the man, America. Jacob and his Siedah Garrett-loving hips are perfect and any assertion otherwise is a failure on your part to recognize greatness. If such an occurrence of rare flawlessness wasn’t represented on this list, I know what Jacob would say. As such, I am obligated to give his Stankiness his due.

5. Gravity Wins, Part 2
Nigel Lythgoe might have been meticulously planning his perfect duo finale of country teens Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, but the real winning 1-2 punch this season was gravity and stairs. They delivered the entertainment on so many levels this year. Now, I know some of you might think this placing is unfair. I mean, the nerve, how could I possibly put Lauren above Haley?!? Haley was steamrolled all season by those stairs! Lauren was mostly given the queen’s treatment by the stairs! Did you see her performance of “The Climb”? Those stairs hardly gave her any trouble at all for that one. Well, while Haley’s tumble was live on the big stage, the producers shafted her again by pulling the camera away for the big moment and then never gave the moment its proper respect. They didn’t replay the fall over and over again, like it clearly deserved. Lauren’s trip down the stairs, however, got the full blown treatment. The camera people caught every glorious thud, complete with copious replays throughout the season. That clunk-clunk-clunk down that staircase will be forever singed in my mind in a tangible way while Haley’s face-meet-floor moment is only an ethereal inkling floating in the void. For failing the hardest in her battle to uphold evolution’s suggestion of bipedal movement, Lauren gets the higher placing on this list.

4. Seacrest Adds Makeup Artist To His Skills
Haley really was the saving grace of Season 10. Whether she was telling Randy Jackson to shut up, falling up stairs or painting her face with her lipstick, she always managed to be entertaining. After Haley finished a flat cover of a midtempo Whitney Houston number, she knew she needed to spice things up and figured a lipstick to microphone back to face maneuver was the right finishing touch. As such, she ended up with firetruck red lipstick smeared across her chin, which was then unceremoniously dealt with by Ryan Seacrest licking his fingers and dabbing her face. Now if that isn’t A+ professionalism on the part of our glorious Sprinkles, I simply do not know what is. It was a showing of skill and intuitiveness that was unparalleled this season. Haley and Ryan had a perfectly choreographed performance that should have effectively killed all talk of Haley Reinhart as a bottom dweller. This was, without a doubt, the turning point in her momentous Idol run.

3. Lady Gaga Tells Scotty To Keep His Mouth On The Hot Dog
I find it hard to believe that Scotty singing the Post-9/11 I Love America Tribute song managed to be overshadowed by another Scotty moment in the same night, but it did. One of the most glorious mentor sessions ever (somehow more outlandish a pairing than Adam Lambert and “What, A Dude With Nailpolish?” Randy Travis) was capable of outshining McCreery’s take on Lee Cook (the horse-riding country singer, not a slash pairing gone wrong). I think everyone knew that Scotty and Gaga would bring it in the entertainment department, but I’m not sure anyone was prepared for just how much it the duo would bring. Before serving up his “Young Blood” with a generous slice of good ol’ American cheese, Scotty got some tips from Lady Gaga about going down on his microphone. Their side-splitting, though supremely uncomfortable, back and forth was full of too much nuanced genius to capture in a summary, but a few gems include Gaga advising Scotty to keep his lips on the mic and shove his tongue down his girlfriend’s throat. The whole thing ended the way I imagine most of Gaga’s interactions end: with the down home Christian boy kissing his cross.

2. A Piano Spontaneously Combusts
You didn’t think I’d get through this entire list without featuring one of the most electrifying and captivating performers to have ever graced the American Idol stage, did you? How could I snub one of the most daringly bold, mesmerizing and eye-catching fixtures of the season? To say this performer stole the night during Elton John week would be a gross understatement, but I don’t have the words to express the magnitude of the domination. Yes, yes, as you all know, I’m talking about the fantastic and charming red piano. It dominated that night and then capped it all off with one of the single greatest moments in the history of the show; it burst into flames! It was brilliant. It was spectacular. It was stunning. It was everything you could ever ask for in an entertainer and more. There is nothing that can compete with setting things ablaze in terms of sheer entertainment value and gimmick shock factor. Oh glorious piano, you left the competition far too soon.

1. Naima Brings The Boom Fiyah!
I would normally say that words cannot capture Naima’s performance of “Umbrella”, but Naima herself provided the perfect words: Boom, Fiyah! Yes, from those two words into the hot like fire reggae rap breakdown interspersed with a short dance solo and some thunderous production value, Naima won all the points. I doubt anything in the future will be able to live up to “Boom, Fiyah!” I don’t think anything should even try. It will pale miserably in comparison. To you, Naima, and to you, boom fiyah, I bow down. You were always going to be #1 on this list and you’ll always be #1 in my heart. Once more with feeling: BOOM, FIYAH!

There was going to be another list of the best performers of Season 10 as well, but this took so much time that I’ll have to fit that one in another blog. (Or perhaps scrap it all together. Or perhaps make a *gasp* serious list of the top performances of the season. But I really still have that top 100 I’m still slowly chugging away on, so maybe not.) Anyway, I hope I brought back some of the fonder memories of this season. It was truly full of them.

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