American Idol: The Final Four

Well, the flox is in full bloom, the lawnmowers are buzzing, the kids have stopped doing their homework, and people are canceling their beach vacations due to the oil gusher in the gulf. That can only mean two things — we’re midway through spring, and American Idol has narrowed the field down to the Final Four. After all, no one wants to be watching amateurs sing on television after Memorial Day, so we’d better get this thing wrapped up pronto.

If this were Survivor instead of American Idol, Michael Lynche would be the dude to beat. He appears to be forming alliances not with the other contestants but with Satan himself. How else to explain how this guy has made it this long when no one seems to be supporting him. He’s already been voted off once, and he’s narrowly escaped almost every week, including finishing just ahead of Little Aaron, who left us last week. How about that bearhug Mike gave Aaron when Ryan lowered the boom? It was like watching the Death Star swallow up the Millennium Falcon. Some reports are suggesting that if Michael is eliminated this week that Mike and Aaron will join forces for a musical version of Of Mice and Men. Then again, another source reported that it was a musical tribute to Laurel and Hardy. Maybe I dreamed that.

Jamie Foxx totally dorked out as this week’s mentor, as the first mentor in the show’s history to hold a possible insult over the singers’ heads with those absurd “Artist” and “Contestant” shirts. Foxx is also the worst singer in Idol history to serve as a mentor; this dude coaching a singing contest is like Sandra Bullock offering advice on how to choose a husband. This week’s theme was songs from movies, which really narrows it down. Here’s where it went:

Lee wasn’t great on his pitch-plagued, warbly, ill-considered version of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose”. LD came off as lazy and half-assed this week, after improbably overcoming his slacker mojo over the past two months. Randy said he should’ve sang Jon Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory”, only because Randy played bass on that song. Kara seemed afraid to pick on Lee too much, as the judges clearly want him around for the finale. Simon, to his credit, let him have it, so we’ll see.

Michael, you have to admit, is a master of audience manipulation. He’s clearly the overall least-popular of the remaining four, so what does he do? In his pre-song interview with Ryan, he announces that his personal goal at the outset was to make it to the Top Three. Awww. I’m surprised he didn’t say that he promised his newborn child he’d make to the Top Three. In any case, it was a wily move aimed at an electorate driven by sympathy votes, which has been Mike’s bread and butter ever since getting voted off a few weeks ago. Next, he picks the most nostalgia-stoking artist on earth at the moment, Michael Jackson, as if to say, “Just remember one word, voters: Michael”.

Crystal sang Kenny Loggins’ “I’m Alright”, and we just don’t get enough soul-mama Janis-Joplin-channeling versions of Kenny Loggins songs these days. It was nice of “Tony”—presumably Crystal’s BF—to dress up for the evening’s telecast, by the way. Sox did more shouting tonight than usual, which is a good thing, so her performance was easily more electric than any of the others’. As Kenny Loggins would say, Crystal was in her danger zone this week: “Revvin’ up your engine/Listen to her howlin’ roar”.

Casey played the mandolin and sang “Mrs. Robinson”, looking and sounding and vibing like a laid-back star, rocking a sea-foam-green, leather Members Only jacket. I’d like his look much better if he were singing hair-metal screamers, but Casey backed way off the vocals this week after last week’s stinging indictment of his vibrato. The Kara-is-Mrs. Robinson jokes among the judges were cute. I’ve got two words for you, Casey: She’s plastic.

Wednesday night: Somebody gets voted home. But who cares! They’re gonna have Bon Jovi! I hope they play “Tokyo Road”! No, make that “99 in the Shade”. Wait, no, “Wild in the Street”.