American Idol recap: Lacey Brown ejection shows viewer votes may be back on track
After a few weeks of surprise ejections and odd choices, American Idol viewers seemed to get their mojo back this week -- sending shaky-voiced church singer Lacey Brown home Wednesday just two weeks too late.
St. Petersburg-raised Michael Lynche also survived another week, thanks to a powerful rendition of the Rolling Stones' hit Miss You on Tuesday that amped up the song's R&B flavor and gave him plenty of room to work the stage.
At a time when even judge Kara DioGuardi is expressing her affection for the 300-pound singer on the Tonight Show and producers count on him to open or close most every broadcast, Lynche's only remaining problem may be the one faced by every Idol front runner: losing the audience's interest by the contest's end (just ask Danny Gokey).
Still, Lynche managed to add poignancy to his already compelling personal story Tuesday, talking a bit about how the 2004 death of his mother, former St. Petersburg Times community columnist Michele Lynche, inspired him to refocus on music instead of football.
Despite complaints from some fans that the singers are worse than past years or audience votes were sparing the worst vocalists, this week's shows seemed to get back on track. Contestants stepped up their game singing from the Rolling Stones songbook on Tuesday, and the right singers landed in the bottom three on Wednesday -- Brown, inconsistent boy toy Tim Urban and Paige Miles, who struggled with laryngitis.
Unfortunately, Idol's other tradition also returned Wednesday -- a heavily padded results show featuring performances by two pro artists and an ejection announcement paced so slow it felt like a new form of Chinese water torture. (was it me, or did Ke$ha's performance, gyrating with a bunch of dancers wearing costumes shaped like TVs, feel like watching a sorority girl play pop star in her bedroom while taking mescaline?)
And it wouldn't be a true live Idol episode without a bit of uncomfortable banter between host Ryan Seacrest and star judge Simon Cowell -- this time over Cowell's insistence that Seacrest never repeat the cheeky joke from Tuesday's show where the host jumped down from the stage and stood in the judge's face. That no one could tell whether Cowell was joking or not -- including Seacrest, who just kept desperately pretending he was -- only made the moment even more twitchy.
(UPDATE: The song Brown sang was originally incorrect in this post) By the time Brown was forced to croak out another rendition of The Story in a vain hope of getting the judges to use their one save of the season on her -- was it me, or did it look like Cowell was discussing dinner plans with the other judges at this point? -- I was ready to paint my TV black to avoid another excruciating moment.
Maybe there's still a few more kinks Idol has left to work out.