Idolator’s American Idolatry: The Little Girls Are The Only Ones Who Understand Sanjaya

Welcome to Idolator’s American Idolatry, our look at every episode of the American Idol hit-making machine. Last night’s episode boasted the curious theme of “British Invasion,” which resulted in a remake of a song from Oliver!, Jordin breaking the judges’ hearts, Lulu and Peter Noone as coaches, and even some Beatlemania-style crying from the waterworks-equipped young lady above.

WITH DIAMOND DAVE AS PETER NOONE: Okay, let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Sanjaya was terrible. He performed the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” only it was more like the Van Halen version of “You Really Got Me,” only it was really more like what Velvet Revolver’s version of “You Really Got Me” might have been like if Weiland was actually an overexcited teenager who liked to stick out his tongue a lot. Sure, he made that one girl cry (nice homage to the Ed Sullivan days there!), but we didn’t exactly have dry eyes, either, because we know that he’s going to survive for at least another week, thanks to Randy and Paula being charmed by all the “fun” he was having.

AND SPEAKING OF NOONE: How many of the contestants do you think knew who both their celebrity coaches actually were? We’re guessing Chris Sligh, who at first announced he was singing “I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” did (we also wish he’d actually pulled that stunt, as his version of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There” sort of fell apart at the end). As far as everyone else…maybe Melinda, if only because of her professional background, and Gina, because she seems like the type who’d stay up late enough to catch those infomercials Noone starred in.

WE ALMOST THOUGHT MELINDA WAS KINDA SORTA SKATING BY THE “BRITISH INVASION” THING… … until we learned that “As Long As He Needs Me”–yes, from Oliver!, the music of which we are pretty intimately acquainted with–was a UK No. 2 single for Shirley Bassey in 1960. Thank God goodness–her performance, once again, was easily the best of the night. (A side note: When the NASCAR commercial using the BellRays’ “Revolution Get Down” came on, we wished that the Idol producers would invite the band’s lead singer, Lisa Kekaula, on as a coach–sure, the band would need to be radically overhauled, but Melinda would absolutely kill on “Good Luck.”)

SO GOOD, SHE MAKES YOU SUICIDAL: Jordin’s performance of “I, Who Have Nothing” brought her to the next level; she even made Simon want to take a flying leap to his death, the idea of which, naturally, thrilled Paula.

THE CURVE WAS ALL OFF: Sanjaya wasn’t the only one garnering undeserved praise. Why did the judges seem to be charmed by Haley’s performance of “Tell Him”? Her voice was completely wrong for the song–it was thin in all the wrong places, strenuous in all the wrong places, and just blech all around. Maybe everyone was blinded by her short-shorts, even though they were completely unflattering.

AND SPEAKING OF UNFLATTERING: Gina’s shouty “Paint It Black” was not good at all–she surgically removed the nuance from the song, and replaced it with big, splashy yelling. (And let’s not even get into that orgasmy moan she inserted near the end.) However, even worse than her song was her all-black (get it?) outfit, which seemed to have been assembled from the clearance rack at Hot Topic in 2001. At least she kept it real with the pink stripe in her hair, right?

WHO WE VOTED FOR (IN OUR HEARTS): Melinda, Jordin, Chris Richardson, and Lakisha, who we’re worried about because of the “meh” comments from all three judges after her performance of “Diamonds Are Forever.” Sure, actually wearing a lot of diamonds during said performance was a bit gimmicky, but come on–fight the real enemy, guys!

WHO AMERICA WILL PROBABLY CUT: Phil, whose take on “Tobacco Road” seemed more appropriate for a Blueshammer audition, and who was in the bottom three last week; the weird pattern on his shirt made it look like he was sweating bullets. Also, the Axl-mic-stand-dance will probably alienate any frustrated Chinese Democracy flame-keepers out there. But really, Haley needs to go ASAP–we’re sure some cruise ship will hire her straightaway. ( has Stephanie, Chris Sligh, Gina, and Haley clustered near the bottom.)

PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: 8.5/10. From her whacked-out judgments to her telling Simon to “stop it” (what?) to her nearly slumping over the table at the end, she was clearly taking the live broadcast to another level. Then again, so was everyone else–particularly Ryan, whose zinger about Simon’s “self-love” seemed like a half-hearted attempt to get back at him for that closet comment last week.

Tomorrow: The long-awaited “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” performance!

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Earlier: Idolator’s American Idolatry archives
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  • Chris Molanphy

    I agree with only some of the comments above (I actually thought going pseudo-punk was a smart move on Sanjaya’s part), but I think your prediction is spot-on: Phil’s going home. “Tobacco Road” is one of those ’60s chestnuts that hasn’t aged well, and once again his attempts to use his upper register came off as shouty. America to Phil: We remember Chris Daughtry. We knew Chris Daughtry. Chris Daughtry was a friend of ours. Mr. Stacey, you’re no Chris Daughtry.

    Also, agreed on LaKisha, and I’d go even further – her performace was just shy of a knockout, I thought. More important, it was a genius song choice for contemporary audiences, given Kanye’s recent semi-hit and the bling resonance. It wasn’t the best of the night, but where is the love?

    Nothing to say about Blake? I thought the choice of “Time of the Season,” with its 1969 proto-beatbox sound effects (boom-chick-AAAH!), was clever.

  • The Gigante

    I want someone to do a background check on that girl. Seems like a plant to me. Too much showing of the braces and the pig tails. Like she is trying to look younger.

  • BillRocksCleveland

    I swear that girl was a Santorum.

  • Pop Cesspool

    She looks more like the naughty Bush twin.

  • cassidy2099

    Why does everyone always refer to Blake’s beatboxing as a device to make a song “current”. Are we in a beatbox renaissance I wasn’t aware of? Timberlake did it on some tracks in 2002, and Matisyahu, well, we all know how that turned out. If anything, the beatboxing is being used to distract from the fact that he’s really boring.

  • Ned Raggett

    Whaddaya know — the LA Times caught up with the crying girl:

    Who’s That Girl?

  • nicoel

    I don’t care how generically okay her voice is: Melinda has Biz Markie face. AND WHAT!

  • Maura Johnston

    Until Blake can perform a song without beatboxing, I am putting him on “ignore.” Why do the divas get the one-trick-pony gripes, but he doesn’t? He’s not even that cute!

  • Hallux Valgus

    For me, Blake went from annoying during his first audition, to ballsy for his beatboxing during the group sing, and now back to epic levels of annoying. I have half a mind to get in the audience, put my hair in pigtails and cry for 20 minutes. That way Seacrest would invite me up onstage and I could hit Blake in the face with a halibut. I have no idea why a halibut- that’s just the way I see it in my head. Don’t you judge me.

  • chrisb

    Last night after the show, I couldn’t wait for Idolator to post a picture and make fun of the crying girl. Couldn’t you just hear the Idol producer screaming, “MORE SHOTS OF THE CRYING GIRL!”

    My thanks, Idolators.

  • brasstax

    Anyone else think it’s weird for Simon to admit being completely unfamiliar with “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying?” It’s not like it’s a long lost b-side or an obscurity of any kind. Even my mom knows that song, and she listens to absolutely no rock music whatsoever.

  • Maura Johnston

    After their “wow, how current!” reaction to 311, I think all bets are off as far as the judges’ musical knowledge goes.

  • Chris Molanphy

    @maura: Also their inability (last week) to remember that the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” has been remade as a techno-dance song, successfully (cf. Kim Wilde), and all three of them chiding Blake for trying it like it was the stupidest, most failure-prone idea ever.

    I still like Blake: his music tastes are beyond questionable, but give the kid a break; he came of age in the era of skacore. And I’ll admit, it’s a regional-pride thing for me. Like Jody Rosen at Slate, I’m rooting for the kid because a northern blue-stater (he’s from Washington state) has to win this thing sometime.

  • Maura Johnston

    @dennisobell: Point well made, and I can’t help but wonder if the Texan Bloc [tm] is keeping Haley around.

    (I missed last week’s episode, thanks to being in Austin; our I’m From Rolling Stone recapper, Kate Richardson, took over Idolatry duties. But I looooooove that Kim Wilde cover — it’s much more successful than Sweet Sensation’s “Lovechild,” that’s for sure.)