American Idol, Season 10: Top 11 Results – “I’m crazy James and I’m…AWESOME.”

American Idol, Season 10: Top 11 Results – “I’m crazy James and I’m…AWESOME.”

After a performance show packed with Motown hits, it was time to whittle the top 11 down to the top 10 – and set the roster for this summer’s American Idol tour.  The show started with a quick video intro (and I have to say – the intro videos have been noticeably better this year), with the tag included – “Expect the Unexpected”.  For a moment I thought I had tuned in to “Big Brother”, then I wondered – would tonight be the first “shocking” elimination of the season?  Ryan certainly teased us with shocking results – but the last time he did that this season, it wasn’t shocking at all.  Would tonight be different?  Let’s see what happened.

  • Marc Anthony came by to teach the contestants how to use the “in ear” monitors they have been sporting for the last few weeks.  I was right in my earlier observation – the show had them start using the monitors early this year – and evidently without any coaching.  Marc gave them a crash course in performing live with the monitors and – based on last night’s performances – it worked.  Marc also sat with the contestants and watched the show, critiquing as he went (agreeing with Jennifer some of the time, disagreeing with her at others).
  • The group number this week was “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.  (And for those playing along at home, my inner monologue just added – “Hey pal, ain’t no f@*#ing dance floor wide enough”.  Bonus points for anyone who can cite the reference…) The contestants where decked out in their Prom best for the number.  Casey sounded great.  Hailey reminded me why I don’t like her.  James got saddled with Thia – and Pia again showed why she is a force to be reckoned with this year.  Beyond that – it was a boring performance, worthy of seasons 1-9.
  • Just when my eyes had started to glaze over – out came Stevie Wonder to perform “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours”.  What a great reveal and surprise.  The contestants were, mercifully, reduced to back-up singers for Stevie.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better – Stevie led the crowd in recognizing Steven Tyler’s birthday.  It was cool beyond measure.  Steven looked really surprised.  I don’t know what has gotten in to them this year, but Idol producers have really stepped up their game.  I hope they can maintain the momentum for the rest of the season.
  • After the break, Ryan teased the surprising results again, and then threw it to the Ford commercial.  Look – they made a tree out of recycled garbage.  Yeah!  (I just threw up in my mouth a little…)  Moving on.
  • It was finally time to get to the results.  Lauren, Pia, and Scotty were called down to the stage first.  Ryan tried to fake them out with his delivery, (evidently getting to Steven who said something worthy of 3 seconds of network silence), before confirming that all three were safe and set for the summer tour.  No surprises there.
  • After another break, we came back to a performance from Sugarland.  Jennifer Nettles sounded great as usual, and Kristian Bush was doing his best Elvis Costello impersonation, sans the glasses.  (I still miss Kristian’s other group, Billy Pilgrim, but I’m glad to see he’s had so much success with Sugarland).  I hadn’t heard “Stuck Like Glue” before but I really enjoyed it.  Guess I need to pick up their last album.
  • From there, we were treated to a video clip detailing James Durbin’s obsession with professional wrestling.  He and Paul have evidently bonded over wrestling – while Naima felt compelled to point out that it was all fake.  (Really?  I had no idea it was fake…) James, Stefano, Paul, and Pia then put on a spectacular display of wrestling moves from the Idol mansion, complete with a cookie sheet to bash each other over the head with (I guess there were no folding chairs available).  Bonus points to Pia for jumping in and beating the stuffing out of Paul.  The clip ended with James doing a very passable pro wrestling outro – “Eat your heart out Hulk Hogan, cause I’m Crazy James and I’m…..AWESOME.  Back to you Ryan.”  (Hey, The Miz started out on “The Real World” – maybe there’s something there for James if the whole singing thing doesn’t pan out…)
  • The wrestling clip was fun, but then James and Paul were called down to the stage.  Uh-oh, was one of them in danger this week?  After showcasing their wrestling skills for the America, would this tag team be split up?  They shared a handshake, then Ryan got down to the results.  He drew it out for a moment, then told them both they were not safe – really not safe.  The entire crowd gasped.  Then – “Eye of the Tiger” started to play over the sound system.  The video wall on stage parted – and out walked Hulk Hogan.  Wow.  James looked like a kid a Christmas – he was so surprised and so excited, I thought he was going to pass out.  He looked like he might have had tears in his eyes.  Hulk revealed that both of them were safe and going on tour.  Then Hulk smashed Ryan in the face, sending his flying into the front row of the audience.  Best. Results. Show. Ever.
  • Back from the break again, and already five of the eventual top 10 had been declared safe.  It was time to start building the bottom three.  Ryan called Jacob, Thia, and Stefano down to the stage.  In very short order, Jacob was sent back to the couches and on to the tour.  Ryan revealed that both Thia and Stefano were in the bottom three.  Again, nothing shocking there.
  • Ryan then called the remaining three contestants down to the stage – Naima, Casey, and Hailey.  He cautioned everyone to stay tuned until the end of the show.  Was it really going to be shocking, or was Ryan just pumping up the audience?  While Naima was pointing to Casey as the safe one, Ryan told her she was heading back to the couches.  She was very shocked.  Ryan then revealed that Casey was the last member of the bottom three.  Okay – at that point you could officially call me shocked.  Well, maybe not shocked, but definitely disappointed.   I guess it wasn’t just hype from Ryan after all.  I’ve said all along that Casey is unique and America might not get him.  Was this just a wake-up call for his fan base, or was it a sign of things to come?
  • Jennifer Hudson performed after the next break.  She looked incredible (Weight Watchers really works folks), and also sounded great.  I didn’t really care for the song, but then again – it’s really not my kind of music.  It was interesting to see George Huff from season 3 singing back up.  Props to Jennifer for giving a gig to another Idol alum.
  • Ryan made his way over to the bottom three and sent Thia back to the safety of the couches.  Really America?  Thia?  It was my second big shock of the night, and gave me an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
  • Finally, it was time to get down to the nitty gritty.  Ryan brought both Stefano and Casey to the center of the stage.  The lights dimmed and Ryan revealed – Casey had the lowest vote total.  He and Stefano hugged and both the contestants and the judges looked shocked.  Ryan handed Casey the mic and he began to sing “I Don’t Need No Doctor” for the judges’ save.  He only got a few measures into the song when Ryan interrupted.  Randy told Casey they didn’t need to hear him sing, they already knew who he was.  Steven then told him this was the wrong result, and they were using the judges save to keep him in the competition.  For a moment, I truly thought Casey was going to collapse.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone so overcome with emotion outside of the finale.  He walked out to thank the judges, hands visibly shaking, then went into the crowd to hug his mom.  He was genuinely shocked, humbled, and thankful for the save.  If you didn’t like Casey before, based on his talent, I don’t know how you could not like him now, based on his reaction.

What a results show.  As the time wound down, Steven told Casey to, “Look to the horizon.  There’s a nice big wave of well earned good fortune coming your way.”  I hope he’s right.  Jennifer encouraged him to be the musician that he is – to connect with the audience and show them what he can do.  Ryan revealed that two contestants will go home next week (can I vote now that those two be Hailey and Thia?) – but he also confirmed that the tour this year would be the top 11, not the top 10.

As the contestants hit the stage and congratulated Casey, I have to admit that my sarcastic and hardened heart almost led me to shed a tear.  Casey deserved to be saved, and deserves to go further in the competition.  From the auditions where he felt compelled to hug and comfort those that didn’t make it, all the way to this week where he was overwhelmed by the judges’ save – Casey is a class act.  And – he’s an incredible musician and singer.  Vote for Casey, America.  Vote often.  Don’t let him slip through the cracks again.  (Remember that last year, Michael Lynche was saved during the top 9, and then went on to finish in 4th place.)

And that’s a wrap.  It was a truly shocking and exciting week.  Performances from Sugarland, Jennifer Hudson, and Stevie Wonder.  Happy Birthday Steven Tyler.  A special appearance from Hulk Hogan.  Casey eliminated and saved.  I’ll say it again.  Best. Results. Show. Ever.

© 2011, The Word Zombie. All rights reserved.

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