Camp Should-A-Been - Season Eleven
Sigh...there goes the neighborhood. It appears that the glut of American Idol knock-offs has
extended from the TV airwaves to the shores of Lake Trainwreck, which now looks more like the Vegas strip.
In addition to our DWTS buddies at Camp Hoofin' It, we're now sharing the forest with
Camp Singin'-Off, Camp Chairs-A-Spinnin', Camp All! American! Talent!, Camp
X-Marks-The-Spot (a Simon Cowell® Production™), and probably a few other replay resorts
we haven't even
noticed yet. Well, if it's a competition they want, bring it on! Heck, we've got the best talent of all
of them, including reigning champ Phillip Phillips, strong runner-up Jessica Sanchez, booming-voiced Josh Ledet, sweet
but funny-talking Hollie Cavanagh and the rest of the deep AI11 crew vying to see who would have won
this season if only week-to-week performance mattered.
Plus, we've got the best group of former contestants, the best host,
the best format, the best musicians, the best judg--...er, did we mention our great former contestants?
Let's show these Johnny-Come-Latelys how it's done as we get the Season Eleven replay started here at
Camp Should-A-Been! Accept no substitutes.
Thursday, June 21st, 2012
Top 25 - Guys (Open)
Thanks to the James Durbin urban renewal program at the conclusion of last summer's replay, we were able to rebuild
Camp Should-A-Been back to our highest, most exacting sub-standards. In other words, the
place is a dump again,
none the worse for wear except that our leftover meatloaf is glowing a pale shade of green. Normally it's blue, so
we'll have to look into that.
We're also happy to welcome back 277 of our 278 former campers! The only one missing is Kelly Clarkson,
who's serving as a judge over at Camp Duets, which is totally ridiculous considering their first season
hasn't even finished yet! Well, we'll address her truancy later, because now it's time to introduce our baker's dozen of
as they vie for the first five tickets into the AI11 Replay Finals.
Win, place and show on the night were no surprise: Josh Ledet, Phil Phillips and Colton Dixon, the three highest-finishing
guys in real life, were also the only ones to reach four stars on their debut performances. Next came a foursome
separated by a scant 1.7 ratings points. Earning the fourth chair into the Final 13, and becoming our first holdover
contestant of 2012 in the process: Aaron Marcellus! Rounding out the advancers was
Jeremy Rosado, who was so overcome by emotion at the news that he broke down and cried onstage. Actually, he's been
crying ever since the moment this afternoon that his parents dropped him off and drove away. Overnight camp can be so
tough on these young-'uns.
Marcellus's and Rosado's skin-of-their-teeth advancement consigned Jermaine Jones and Creighton Fraker, the only other guys to
break 50 on the night, to singing for their lives on the Wild Card Show three days hence. True to his "gentle giant"
nature, Jones only smiled broadly and politely thanked the judges when they broke the news that he'd just missed the Finals.
Fraker, on the other hand, flew into a homicidal rage and beat Steven Tyler senseless with a canoe oar. We sort of liked his
reaction better, to be honest. Heejun Han also earned a wild card callback which came as a mild disappointment because it
meant he had to cancel a gig as the opening act at Camp Last-Comic-A-Standin' on Sunday. Heading home on the newly
de-renovated Bus Of Shame this evening was original 8th-place finisher DeAndre Brackensick and his extensive assortment of
hair care products, along with Reed Grimm, Adam Brock, Chase Likens, and wide-eyed Eben Franckewitz, who unfortunately might
have scored better if he'd set fire to his hair.
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Top 25 - Girls (Open)
One of the most popular game shows in the late 40's and early 50's was
You Bet Your Life,
in which everyday contestants could win
$100 if they happened to say the Secret Word of the Day as they conversed with host Groucho Marx. Today, kiddies,
in an homage to our grandparents' idea of reality TV, we're going to play a variation of YBYL here at
CSAB. The secret word is...well, you'll know it when you hear it.
turned out to be a logistical nightmare. Whose bright idea was
it to have a Hollie, a Haley, a Baylie and a Hallie on the same
show?! "Hollie, you're on next!" "Me?" "No, Hallie, Hollie!" "I am Hollie!" "Oh...then we meant Haley's up."
"I already went!" "Wait, aren't you Baylie?..." We tried to solve the problem by having all four of them go out on
stage together and sing a quartet, but for some odd reason that didn't go over well with the audience. We think we eventually
got it all straightened out, except Baylie accidentally sang Haley's song, Hollie sang Baylie's, and Hallie sang
"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" because, what the heck, everyone else has.
Speaking of singers of that unspeakable song, Jessica Sanchez took top honors on the night by channeling her inner Jennifer Hudson
to an 85 approval rating. One point behind her was Elise Testone singing "One And Only", and the judges
were particularly impressed. "That was beautiful, Elise!," shouted Jennifer Lopez. "Why, you sounded almost
exactly like Adele..." PFFFFT!!! A poison dart zipped out from backstage and planted squarely in J-Lo's neck;
she thudded face-first
onto the table, unconscious. Now you know the secret word, kiddies, and rest assured we
have no intention of listening to the judges repeat it all damn summer. Kayleigh Cavanagh, or whatever she's called,
earned the third chair into the Finals and country girl Skylar Laine was fourth. The fifth and final berth went to
Shannon Magrane, thank heavens, because we're playing Camp Hoofin'-It tomorrow in basketball and we need someone
to guard Clyde Drexler. The audience at the ampitheater gave a hearty ovation to the voters when it was all through;
they went a perfect 5-for-5 in selecting the female finalists this year.
Three ladies earned a callback to Sunday's wild card show: Erika Van Pelt, Jennifer Hirsh (Steven: "Great job on 'One And
Only', Jen – that's one of my favorite songs by
Haley, Holly...aw, Mrs. Day. Whatever.
There were a couple of surprises towards the end of the show. First, as Randy Jackson was packing up his things, tech buff
David Cook asked him if that was a new iPad he was carrying. "Nah, it's just a Dell."
We owe Cook
ten bucks for that, but it was worth every penny. Second, before departing with fellow eliminees Chelsea Sorrell,
Brielle Van Hugel and Baylie Brown, Haley Johnsen asked us if she could have one more go at "Sweet Dreams." She sang it
in the revised arrangement of her now-famous post-Idol video,
and the breathtaking rendition earned an explosive, three-minute standing ovation from the audience. Johnsen looked at us
eagerly; would her triumphant reprise mean that we'd break our longstanding camp rules and allow her to continue in
the competition? Uh, sorry Haley. But on the bright side, the video of her chasing after the
Bus Of Shame as it left camp has gone viral on YouTube.
Sunday, June 24th, 2012
Wild Card (Open)
To refresh you on the CSAB rules for a
Wild Card Show: if a contestant was in the original episode, he or she
must reprise their performance that night to its original approval rating. Otherwise, the contestant is assigned
their first projected rating of the competition, and it's based only
on their semifinal performance(s) to date. This was the rule that got
Haley Reinhart bounced last summer, but the death threats from her fans have trickled to a crawl lately so
we think it's safe to proceed. We hope.
As it turns out, the Reinhart Rule wasn't a factor this year. Of the two contestants who had real-life performances
to reprise, Erika Van Pelt advanced to the Finals easily with her outstanding Lady Gaga cover. She earned hugs and
kisses from her excited little sister and two little brothers as she left the stage – um, does anyone know why the
older boy was dragging a blanket? Anyway, the other reprise was from Jen Hirsh, but she didn't fare as well as EVP:
the 44 she received for "Oh! Darling" dropped her into fifth place and earned her only a trip home.
What twosome would round out the Final 13? Certainly not Heejun Han, although his cover of Meat Loaf's classic glam-rocker,
which he performed exactly as the title suggests, was entertaining in its own odd way. Ultimately it came down to three contestants
who finished within a point of one other: Jermaine Jones, who chose a They Might Be (Gentle) Giants song; Hallie Day, who
went with a near-homophonic title by Madonna; and Creighton Fraker, who took the stage menacingly wielding his oar and sang a
Beatles song about, among other things, bludgeoning a judge to death. This could turn out to be a really enjoyable night, we
thought. Alas, Ryan Seacrest opened the envelope and announced that the last two through would be...Jones and Fraker! Just
as in real life, the Top 13 would comprise seven guys and six girls even though most analysts (including us) felt that the
ladies as a whole were far stronger throughout the semis this season. Such unexpected results are how things go sometimes
here at Camp Should-A-Been.
Thus, our 11th CSAB Replay Finals will feature this solid cast:
- Hollie Cavanagh
- Colton Dixon
- Creighton Fraker
- Jermaine Jones
- Skylar Laine
- Joshua Ledet
- Shannon Magrane
- Aaron Marcellus
- Phillip Phillips
- Jeremy Rosado
- Jessica Sanchez
- Elise Testone
- Erika Van Pelt
Newcomers in italics. Real-life finalists who failed to qualify here at camp: DeAndre Brackensick and Heejun Han.
Note that Idol got the entire girls' half of the draw correct this year. Try to find that level of
precision at any other campground! See you tomorrow night when the Finals get underway.
Monday, June 25th, 2012
Final 13 (Whitney Houston/Stevie Wonder)
Opening night of the Replay Finals is a big deal around Camp Should-A-Been and thus fitting for a little bit of
pomp and circumstance. Naturally, however, our illustrious panel of judges took it way over the top (and no,
Steven, that's not a good thing.) First, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler gave Randy Jackson a standing ovation.
Then, Randy and Jennifer gave Steven one. Then, you guessed it, Randy and Steven served up a standing "O" to J-Lo.
Next, all three of them stood and saluted Ryan Seacrest, then Simon Fuller, then Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe, and then
they began reading off the names of all 240-plus former contestants alphabetically and giving each one a standing ovation!
Christopher Aaron!...Casey Abrams!...Amy Adams!...J.D. Adams!...Adele Adkins!...
(OK, so maybe it was cruel of us to doctor their list like that, but we really wanted to get this show
started before midnight.)
Whitney Houston's untimely death a week before the original
Final 13 Show
made for a somber tribute episode, but we must say that two-thirds of the ladies rose to the occasion.
Led by Jessica Sanchez's showstopping 92, the top four girls all broke 70 – indeed, they were
so strong that Erika Van Pelt once again wound up in the Bottom Three on the distaff side of the stage. The guys,
meanwhile, were more tightly bunched around 50 while taking on Stevie Wonder's songbook, with Joshua Ledet
tops among them with one of the few uptempo performances of the night. Both of our
holdover contestants posted respectable projected ratings. (Remember, Creighton Fraker had to use his first
to advance out of the Wild Card round, so he's now two steps down his decay curve.)
Bringing up the rear tonight for the guys was a typically
tearful Jeremy Rosado; for the girls, Shannon Magrane. The moment of high drama had arrived: Which one would
the judges choose to save? Well, neither actually, they were all still unconscious. We like it that way. At
any rate, here at CSAB, low score of the night goes home regardless of sex, singing genre or free throw percentage.
Magrane thus became the first finalist of the summer to board the Bus Of Shame, but at least we got her dad to autograph
a couple of baseballs before they left.
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Final 12 (Year You Were Born)
Fighting? Disturbing the peace? Giving false names to the authorities? Bah! We're not concerned about such
penny-ante mischief by our contestants here at Camp Should-A-Been. Heck, we do all of that ourselves whenever the health inspector
visits. But, there are some indiscretions that we simply cannot forgive. So, when Jermaine Jones went 0-for-5 this
afternoon in our big softball grudge match against Camp X-Marks-The-Spot, including a popout in
the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the winning runs on base, he was toast. Mind you, we did offer him a chance to
earn a Counselors' Save of sorts if he gave Simon Cowell a wedgie in the postgame handshake line. The so-called
"Gentle Giant" declined however, sealing his fate. (On the bright side, Skylar Laine took us up on the offer, and
the photograph of Simon's facial expression is to die for!)
But afterwards, when we'd returned to our cabin, we realized that Jones's disqualification saddled us
with a procedural dilemma. Back in the Season Two Replay, Corey Clark had long since been eliminated before the
night he would have been DQ'ed. We handled that show just as we would any other. But here, we had only eleven
contestants for twelve slots. Should we skip the entire episode? Send someone home tonight anyway and eventually
wrap up a week early? Invite Shannon Magrane back? Have Laine give Cowell another wedgie, which wouldn't
solve our problem of course, but this time we'd be sure to use the telephoto lens? Ultimately, we decided that Jones
was fated to finish 12th this season, and that would be that. Unlike the producers, however, we at least had the decency to
give our South Jersey homeboy the chance to sing the song he'd rehearsed, "Somewhere Out There", to a projected
rating before shipping him out on the Bus Of Shame. In return, he promised to send us some Wawa hoagies and a box
of Tastykakes when he arrived home.
All of this resulted in a drama-challenged episode, though it was not without its highlights. For starters, all twelve
contestants, including Jones and our three holdovers, reached three stars on the night! It's only the third time that's
happened here at CSAB. Josh Ledet (2-for-4, walk, double and two RBIs) notched the second 90+ rating of the season,
while Hollie Cavanagh (81 balls faced, 29 runs, 2 fours, no sixes, out Leg Before Wicket) added her second straight
5-star rating. In the end, although Jones's departure was preordained, he wound up tied for the lowest rating of the night
with Creighton Fraker. Who would have been the actual eliminee on decimal points? We'll never tell – not while
Fraker's still carrying that oar, anyway.
Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Final 11 (Billy Joel)
Ah, summer camp pranks! Several of our Camp Should-A-Been regulars decided to have some fun today
at the expense of our rival campgrounds, with mixed results. For example, the guys from Season Six decided to stage
a panty raid on Camp Hoofin' It, but alas, they were a little vague on the concept. Evidently no one
ever explained to them that you're supposed to sneak into the girls' bunkroom rather than try to get the
underwear directly off...um (*blush*), yeah. It also didn't help that they chose Laila Ali and Hope Solo as their
presumptive "victims". If you're interested in donating blood to help in their recovery, stop by the infirmary. The
AI10 crew fared much better in their scavenger hunt – they returned to CSAB with the welcome sign
from Camp Singin'-Off, the tribe flags from Camp Outwit-Outplay-'n'-Outlast, and Kelly Clarkson,
kicking and screaming.
The afternoon hijinks set a festive mood for tonight's
replay, which was a success even if most of the Season Eleven contestants still had no clue who Billy Joel was.
(Colton Dixon: "Um, he invented the piano, right?") Elise Testone and Jessica Sanchez pulled a pair of deep cuts
off The Stranger album to win the night, with Testone's "Vienna" becoming one of the five highest-rated performances
of the season. Defending champ Phil Phillips, the rugged individualist he is, once again sang his heavily rearranged
version of "Movin' Out" with his guitar (ignoring Jimmy Iovine's advice) and in a gray shirt (ignoring Tommy Hilfilger's.)
That was well and good, we suppose, but his "$%^&* You Jimmy & Tommy" button was probably going a bit too far.
Hollie Cavanagh and Joshua Ledet dropped below 50 for the first time, but neither reached the Bottom Three.
That was reserved for our three holdover contestants, with Creighton "Killer" Fraker leaving us in 11th place.
For some strange reason, the judges locked themselves in the craft shack just before Ryan made the final announcement.
Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Final 10 (Personal Idol)
Today was a rough day. First, Kelly Clarkson snuck away at dawn and tried to swim back to Camp Duets,
but fortunately we spotted her before she'd even gotten past the fishing pier.
We sighed and sent Katie Stevens, our head lifeguard and three-time Camp Should-A-Been
swim champion, out to retrieve her, carrying a waterproof copy of Clarkson's 19E contract
that forbid, among many other prohibited activities, drowning. Then, the judges volunteered to act as servers at the Mess
Hall, which meant that with all the standing ovations it took an hour and fifteen minutes to get through the
lunch line. In the afternoon, we lost badly to Camp X-Marks The Spot at darts, mainly because the entire CSAB
team kept aiming for Simon Cowell. It was enough to make us depressed, so we stopped by new Camp Psychologist
Erika Van Pelt's booth ("Psychiatric Help, 5¢ - The Doctor Is
We explained that this summer had been kind of disappointing so far, and what would she recommend to improve our moods?
She said that the mid-season blues at sleepaway camp were a common malady, but a good night at the ampitheater should be
all that we needed. Then she slugged us.
Well, Dr. Van Pelt was right on the money. The triumphant
Personal Idol Night
became the highest-rated episode in American Idol history this winter, and with a 62.0 average despite
two deep holdover contestants, it was surely near the top in CSAB annals as well. Elise Testone's "Whole Lotta Love"
was the performance of the season – even Adam Lambert couldn't stop applauding. Jessica Sanchez wasn't far
behind her, and Phil Phillips broke 70 for the first time this summer. Skylar Laine snarled "Gunpowder And Lead"
with such ferocity that most of the male members of the audience locked themselves in the craft shack before she finished.
Even EVP herself got into the act – although we're not sure why The Royal Guardsmen are her personal idols, her
first projected rating was a solid 4-star 60.
Hollie Cavanagh fell just one point below average, but it was enough to land her in the Bottom 3. She was in no
danger of leaving though, because Aaron Marcellus (who knew he was a headbanger?) and Jeremy Rosado were well down
their decay curves. Rosado was the trailer by about two-tenths of a point, and as expected he broke down and bawled when the
final results were announced. We tried our best to cheer him up as he boarded the Bus Of Shame, saying he'd done very well
to finish in the Top 10 – three spots higher than he did in real life! He replied that that's not why he's been
crying since the moment he arrived. Like countless young campers before him, it was because he was afraid his parents
would move away while he was off at camp and forget to tell him. Turns out, they did.
Friday, June 29th, 2012
Final 9 (1980s)
You want duets? You got 'em! Like most American Idol fans, your CSAB head counselors got sick
and tired of the incessant group
time-killers performances that the producers foisted on us this season. However,
as our charter is to replay each episode in exactly the format that was used in real life, we arrived at the
show knowing that duets would have to be on the program. Well, if you can't beat them, and you would rather chew an entire
roll of aluminum foil than join them, then there's only option left: aggravate them beyond human comprehension.
Thus, we welcome you to Cartesian Pairs Night at Camp Should-A-Been! That's right, Mr. Fuller and Friends: this
evening, we're going to have every possible combination of the remaining nine contestants sing a duet for you – all
36 of them! And, you're going
to have to stay and watch the entire show, because as you've surely noticed, we had our loyal trio of Disciplinary
Counselors – let's have a big hand for Rocco, Viktor and Serge, folks – duct-tape you to your seats. Please
stop screaming; you're interfering with the band's sound check.
Although she just missed 5 stars, Skylar Laine took high honors on the night by
doing things in the time-honored, old-school AI fashion:
picking a crappy song and then singing the hell out of it. Second place went to, go figure, a duet, with Jessica Sanchez
playing the role of Aretha Franklin and Josh Ledet as George Michael. In fact, of the four re-staged duets, only one
fell below 50, and that by a single point. We had Erika Van Pelt take DeAndre Brackensick's place singing
with Hollie Cavanagh (it will cost her one-half step down her decay curve), but we needed someone to pair with Aaron
Marcellus for his "scored" duet. Well, who better than our wannabe-AWOL Season One champion, who
fancies herself an expert on duets these days, we hear. (As it turned out, the two-song format saved Cavanagh from
elimination because Marcellus finished behind her on combined average.)
But as the night went on, and the duets piled up, serious fatigue set
in. Hollie Cavanagh and Joshua Ledet singing, "I've Never Been To Me." Jessica Sanchez and Erika Van Pelt crooning
"I"ve Never Been To Me". Phillip Phillips and Colton Dixon rearranging "I've Never Been--"... What's that, Mr. Fuller?
Why, yes, the other 30-some duets are all going to be of the same godawful 1980's song – the worst one we could dig up,
sung over and over and over again,
because that too is the time-honored, old-school AI way! Didn't we mention that part? Sit back and relax, sir –
just 28 more to go!
(Note: Several eagle-eyed CSAB guests, beginning with our longtime correspondent Phan, noticed something funny about
Jeremy Rosado's projected approval ratings this summer. To make a long story short, when we wrote this week's installments,
we forgot to use Rosado's real-life Wild Card performance as his first projected rating. We corrected that error, but
it was too late to change the fact that his Top 11 rating was two steps down his decay curve rather than one, etc.
Were the proper numbers used, Rosado and Aaron Marcellus would have flip-flopped the order in which they finished:
Marcellus would have gone home yesterday in 10th place, Rosado [who'd have scored 37 on his solo and 34 on
his duet] would have left today in 9th. To rectify this, we sent Phan and the other guests out on the Bus Of Shame to
pick up the two contestants, bring them back to Camp Should-A-Been, and then drive them home in the proper order. Gas
and tolls not included. Thank you for your support. – Eds.)
Sunday, July 1st, 2012
Final 8 (2010s)
Arrrgghhh! We had them! This afternoon, we were right on the doorstep of our first inter-camp sports victory
of the summer. With three seconds to play, the Camp Should-A-Been touch football team trailed
Camp Singin'-Off by a score of 21 to 20. We had the ball on their six yard line, fourth and goal,
so naturally we sent out the field goal unit. Our offensive line was massive: Michael Sarver, Ruben Studdard, Matt Rogers,
Big Mike Lynche, and Jordin Sparks. Our kicker: the reliable Hollie Cavanagh, high school soccer star. (Hollie:
"That's 'football', mate!") What could go wrong? We'll tell you what – just as Cavanagh began her kick, our
holder pulled the ball away! That sent the BriTexan flying head over heels until she landed flat on her back with a
loud "Whump!". Curse you, Erika Van Pelt!
Feelings were still raw this evening when the contestants took the stage for the
replay. Once again, nobody reached 5 stars, but with a whopping six singers in 4-star territory, nobody
in the audience was complaining about quality. For the sixth time in seven outings, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez
was among the Top 2 on the night, and unlike in April she didn't need any silly Judges' Save to advance on her
79-rated "Stuttering." (Well, J-Lo did try charging the stage again to grab the mic, but with Rogers and
Lynche blocking for her, Sanchez was never in any danger.) Colton Dixon, Skylar Laine, and Joshua Ledet were also
over 70, while Cavanagh, wearing a neck brace, bounced back from a couple of sub-par performances with a 60
on "Perfect". Of the seven contestants who sang in the original show, only Phillip Phillips, singing a Maroon²
25 song, came in below average.
Van Pelt, our lone holdover, posted a 47 on her solo number, but she still earned a standing ovation from the judges
who said that they were thrilled she'd chosen an
Tee-hee...those three will never learn, but that's why we love them. Anyway, EVP took another half-step hit to her projected
rating while singing with Miss Highfalutin' Duets Judge, leaving us with just one burning question: Who the hell do
we send home??!
In the end, we decided to score the night the same way we calculate contestants' average approval ratings here in the
Duets-Every-Blasted-Week Era. That is, each singer's group performance counts one-half (or one-third) as much
as their solo rating. So, for example, Sanchez's score tonight is:
(79 + 28 / 3) / 1.333 = 66.3
Enlisting the aid of two professional actuaries and a Cray supercomputer, we came up with these numbers:
- Sanchez: 66.3
- Dixon: 65.0
- Laine: 64.3
- Testone: 63.7
- Ledet: 61.8
- Cavanagh: 52.0
- Phillips: 46.37
- Van Pelt: 46.29
We had to dive into the database to look up P²'s and EVP's approval ratings to decimal points, but it turned
out that the defending champ would advance by the skin of his teeth. Van Pelt ends her CSAB run in eighth place,
two spots higher than in real life. She and her siblings boarded the Bus of Shame for the long drive back to
Rhode Island. Good thing, too – that kid with the blanket was really creeping us out.
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Final 7 (Now and Then)
Well, we finally earned our first intramural sports win today, though it was a bit tainted. Our volleyball team
beat Camp Chairs-A-Spinnin' by forfeit. See, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine got
into this bitter argument over whose serve it was, Chris Mann's or Tony Lucca's, and both stormed
off the court leaving them with too few players. Well, we're not proud – we'll take the 'W', particularly
since with Shannon Magrane and Jermaine Jones gone, our frontcourt consisted of Jessica Sanchez and David Archuleta.
The early finish was probably just as well, because tonight's
show was a long one – an Idol-record
fourteen performances, none of them duets! Phil Phillips bounced back from his near-elimination scare the night
before to post his first 5-star rating of the season, on an Usher cover. He was still second on the night, however, behind
Hollie Cavanagh's 82 on "Rolling In The Deep." The judges tried expressing their glee at the artist choice
using American Sign Language, but no dice: Viktor's parole officer is deaf, so he knew exactly what
As for the rest of the performances – well, no one was terrible, but it was still a bit of a comedown from
the previous two nights. Skylar Laine, who gave Blake Shelton a wedgie in today's post-game handshake line, bless her, had
two above-average ratings, as did Sanchez and Cavanagh. Joshua Ledet went with a pair of well-worn singles on
American Idol; his Sam Cooke classic scored reasonably well, but his other one...ah, let's just say Mantasia
suffered an aphasia when he chose to cover Fantasia. He and Elise Testone found themselves in the Bottom Three,
but they held on for another day. Leaving us tonight in seventh place, just as he did last spring,
was Colton Dixon, master song rearranger, who misfired on both his Lady Gaga and Earth Wind & Fire numbers (though
your Head Counselors still say defiantly that they really liked the latter. Ptthh-h-h!) Dixon departed on
the Bus Of Shame, though by the time it reached Tennessee, he had converted it into a luxury RV that slept six
comfortably. That kid just can't leave well enough alone.
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Final 6 (Queen / Open)
Brian May and Roger Taylor were supposed to serve as mentors for tonight's
show, but they got stuck at Heathrow Airport due to bad weather. Well, we've got no shortage of White Guys
With Guitars (WGWG) around this place, even if none of them are anything close to May's caliber. So, we had David Cook, Jason
Castro, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Tim Urban, Scotty McCreery, Casey Abrams and Paul McDonald each take turns
giving our six remaining AI11 contestants advice. Finding a WGWD replacement was a lot harder – the
only drummer in camp to our knowledge was Elise Testone, and she's obviously lacking in the G department. But, any
port in a storm, we figured; so we had her mentor herself. (Randy Jackson was a little miffed that there was no call
for a BGWB, but meh, he'll get over it.)
As it turned out, before the night was through, we wound up with one fewer WGWG in camp than when we started. That's
because defending champ Phillip Phillips, as every Camp Should-A-Been fan across the Idolsphere already
figured out, didn't make it
through this episode! His cover of "Fat Bottomed Girls" was a heap big trainwreck, and though we felt his
42 approval rating on "The Stone" was at least 15 points too low, even that wouldn't have been enough for
him to catch his Bottom Three cohorts, Skylar Laine and Josh Ledet. P-Squared thus becomes the eighth real-life champion
who fell short trying to defend his crown at camp. We had the Bus Of Shame take him directly to
the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis for his kidney stone surgery, plus a complete psychiatric evaluation for putting up with that
level of excruciating pain for as long as he did.
Phillips' departure leaves our Season Eleven Replay with a Final Five of Laine, Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh, Jessica Sanchez,
and Elise Testone, with Testone the only holdover. Hmm...Laine, Cavanagh and Testone are W, Ledet is a G, Laine plays the G,
and Sanchez is a NOTA...None Of The Above. Looks like we're going to have a CDKW (Completely Different Kind of Winner)
this year. Join us tomorrow for the CSAB Final Five show, where we promise we'll stop speaking in RFLA (Ridiculous Four-Letter
Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
Final 5 (60s / British)
It's not without irony that tonight's
replay happened to fall on the Fourth of July. Speaking of British Invasions, Simon Fuller stormed into the Head
Cabin this morning and read us the riot act. Our intramural teams were a disgrace, he howled! Losing game after
game to all of these rip-off series' camps. Hadn't we seen the
miserable TV ratings from the real-life Finale? He'd lost face too many times already this year, he bellowed, and he
wasn't going to put up with any more embarrassment at this "...third-rate Yankee tick foundry!" If we didn't
step it up and start winning some matches, including the big Lake Trainwreck Judges' Relay Race on the final Sunday four
days hence, then the Camp Should-A-Been budget for 2013 was going to be slashed to where we'd have
to put on a puppet show at the Pasadena Public Library!
Mr. Fuller was still steaming when the Final 5 replay got underway this evening, though his foul mood could partly be
explained by, ah, an underwear malfunction – seems he didn't realize Skylar Laine had gotten into the dinner line directly behind him until
it was too late. In an All-American spectacular featuring red, white and blue lights and patriotic music,
tonight's show was a doozy. Thanks to Phil Phillips's
timely departure (hardly anyone was looking forward to hearing "Time Of The Season" again) and the strong projected
ratings of Elise Testone, all ten solo performances rated above 50! No matter which side of the Atlantic
you think she belongs to, Hollie Cavanagh had a career night: she posted a superb 80-plus average on her
Ike & Tina and Leona Lewis covers. Joshua Ledet earned a pair of 4-star ratings, and although Glory Note Fatigue
among web reviewers was likely depressing his numbers, his take on the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" was really
something special. Testone pulled out a pair of lesser-known pop gems from the 1960s, though she seemed surprised and mildly
indignant when only a handful of music aficianados in the audience recognized them. "I thought everyone knew those
songs," she grumbled.
Alas, for no particularly good reason, duets were back on the producers' docket tonight, with
a seriously reluctant Kelly Clarkson being forced to fill in twice. All scored poorly, so the show once again
ended with nobody having any clue whatsoever who was going home. We retired to our calculators to figure it out,
eventually producing these cumulative scores: 1. Cavanagh 73.4; 2. Sanchez 60.57; 3. Ledet
60.0; 4. Testone 52.4; and last but not least: Laine, at 50.71. The Mississippi
country teen, done in by the silly Shouldn't-A-Been trio performance, thus duplicated her actual 5th-place finish.
Needless to say, she had to drive herself home on the Bus Of Shame because nobody volunteered to keep their back turned
to her for 2,500 miles.
Afterwards, our campers went down to the beach to watch the annual CSAB fireworks
extravaganza courtesy of the maestro himself, James Durbin. In related news, an errant rocket destroyed
Camp Majors & Minors, but that's okay: nobody was hurt, and quite honestly, hardly anyone
knew it was there in the first place.
Thursday, July 5th, 2012
Final 4 (California / Songs You Wish You Wrote)
Inspired by a pep talk of sorts from Simon Fuller ("Start beating the other camps or I'll make you all sing 'This Is My Now'
and release it as a single!"), our intramural teams are finally starting to get the hang of things. This morning,
Michael Johns and Jennifer Lopez easily won the inaugural Lake Trainwreck Mixed Doubles Tennis Championship, beating
Camp X-Marks-The-Spot's Melanie Amaro and L.A. Reed in the final in straight sets. In baseball,
Scotty McCreery threw a brilliant no-hitter against Camp Chairs-A-Spinnin' – it would have been a
perfect game except he beaned Cee-Lo Green and Blake Shelton on back-to-back pitches in the fourth inning, to no one's
dismay. The highlight of the day came when the CSAB team dramatically won the inter-camp spelling bee over runners-up
Camp All! American! Talent!. Steven Tyler was the hero: he correctly spelled @#$&% for the win just moments after
Howard Stern had misspelled %&@*!#. If this keeps up, maybe we'll have a chance in that relay race on Sunday after all...
In the meantime, we still have three shows to replay. Unlike in previous summers we have no clue whatsoever who's
going to win – if nothing else, the duets and trios are playing havoc with everyone's pre-camp predictions.
episode was no exception. Clearly Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet were in no danger: their pair of matching 85s to
close the show were among the season's best-liked performances, and both broke 50 on their other solo numbers.
It would come down to Hollie Cavanagh or Elise Testone. After three straight nights of topping the standings, Cavanagh
tumbled back to earth this evening. She even managed to draw the first mild criticism of the summer from the judges
during their standing ovation for "I Can't Make You Love Me." However, the multiple-song weeks (and the extra half-step
hits for group performances) had already dragged Testone's projected ratings under 50. She was particularly
miffed when no one recognized either her California song choice, by Warren Zevon, or her Wish You Wrote pick, via Tom Waits.
"I thought everyone knew these songs," the ever-combative Jersey girl scolded the audience. "They're classics! You
want something you've heard before? Fine! C'mere, Kelly – let's give them something to talk about!" Yikes! We had the
Bus Of Shame drive right up on the stage to get her in mid-song.
Friday, July 6th, 2012
Final 3 (Judges'/Idol's/Jimmy's Choice)
Kelly Clarkson's various schemes to escape back to Camp Duets this summer have ranged from the sublime to the
ridiculous. This morning's was one of the latter: she tried stowing away in the back of the meatloaf delivery truck. Didn't
she realize that we'd hear her gagging all across camp? Still, after escorting her back to Cabin One, we reflected
sadly on what it all meant: Clarkson, the first American Idol champion and the face of the franchise for over
a decade, was lost to us. It had been a wonderful run, but her loyalties today clearly lay elsewhere.
Well, we couldn't spend too much time worrying about that, because we had a busy day ahead of us. Priority #1 was to
get our fearsome foursome – Randy, Jennifer, Steven and Ryan – ready for their upcoming relay race. It turns
out that J-Lo is in pretty good shape, but the other three...hoo-boy, let's not go there. On the bright side, our
camp dodgeball team led by Lee DeWyze and Taylor Hicks dominated their tournament, and our swimming and chess
teams won as well. With a victory in the relay Sunday, Camp Should-A-Been would win the trophy – a
beautiful crystal-and-silver reproduction of a locomotive accident – as Best Replay Camp Evah!
Oh yeah, and tomorrow's the Finale, too. We almost forgot. It's been a long summer, and the strain of the grueling
competition can be seen in tonight's
approval ratings: a 3-stars extravaganza, more or less.
With Phil Phillips' gone, nobody came anywhere near 80
and only Jessica Sanchez even managed to crack 60, just barely. Joshua Ledet nearly managed to get all three of
his performances above average to earn one spot in the Finale. The other would go to the winner of the much-anticipated,
head-to-head steel cage match between Sanchez and Hollie Cavanagh. Just the two of them, mano-a-mano...er, more like
niņa-a-niņa, actually...in a battle between a duo unlike any that Idol has ever seen before!
Adorable Teenagers with Unbelievable Pipes? Heck, no. We've had plenty of those over the years. We could start
our own sub-camp if we wanted to. We mean Incomprehensibly Godawful Song Choosers.
It was an epic battle. Sanchez reprised her three real-life performances,
getting next to no help from the judges and Jimmy Iovine before effortlessly shooting herself in the foot with her
Aerosmith selection. Cavanagh, meanwhile, dug down deep to find three songs that have sent a total of eleven
contestants home over the years (counting wild-card callbacks)!
(*Sniff*) It's like watching
Ali and Frazier in their primes. Anyway, with no duets to clog up the pipes, it was simply a matter of adding up
the scores. Ledet 160, Cavanagh 152...and Sanchez 130. For just the third time in CSAB
history, neither real-life finalist would be in the Replay Finale! (AI5 and AI6 were the others,
if you're wondering.)
Join us Sunday as BFF's Joshua Ledet and Hollie Cavanagh take the stage to determine our eleventh camp
Sunday, July 8th, 2012
Boy, what a scene. Every camper and every executive from all the replay camps are here for the big season-ending
Judges' Relay. The course: one lap apiece around the docks of Lake Trainwreck.
The prize: bragging rights among the biggest and most insufferable egos in
the television industry. The defending real-life champions of every franchise gathered on the main pier
to sing the national anthem, and we're proud to say that if Phillip Phillips didn't quite out-sing the likes of
Melanie Amaro or Jermaine Paul, he at least was able to knock each of them into the water while playing his guitar. Score
one for Camp Should-A-Been!
As the teams took their place at the starting line, we were heartbroken to see Kelly Clarkson on the track as the lead
runner for Camp Duets. Geez, that's going to be a rough team to beat – Clarkson, John Legend, Robin Thicke
and Jennifer Nettles, all of them trim and fit and on the right side of forty. Meanwhile, the CSAB foursome was...um,
wise with life's experiences. In other words, so freaking old that if none of them keel over in mid-race, we'll consider
it a good day. How on earth are we ever going to win this?
And they're off! Our side got off to a great start, mainly because several of our competitors got off to terrible ones.
Paula Abdul, for example, immediately ran off the track and directly to the snack bar!
(See, Mr. Fuller: we told you it would be a good idea to serve all the refreshments in red plastic Coke cups.)
Adam Levine and Christine Aguilera stood at the starting line and argued over which one was supposed to go first.
Howie Mandel turned an ankle, and Len Goodman pulled both quads – geez, you'd think if anyone would know to stretch
his legs first, it'd be him! As for Randy Jackson...well, the Dawg didn't exactly remind anyone of Usain Bolt, but he was
still a comfortable but distant second behind Clarkson at the end of the first leg.
Skillfully avoiding Aguilera and Levine, who were still nose-to-nose, Randy passed the baton to J-Lo. She made up a little
bit of ground on Nettles, but we were still a long way back. Ryan Seacrest handled the third leg of the relay and we were
actually surprised at how fast the little guy could run. It probably helped that we assigned Julianne Hough to chase him
the whole way while asking about "long-term commitment." Anyway, Legend was still a good 40 yards in front when
he passed the baton to Thicke for the final leg, with 64-year-old Steven Tyler needing somehow to run him down. Everyone else
was out of contention by this point – in fact, a furious Simon Cowell fired Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger in mid-race,
but fortunately for us, Demi Lovato and Britney Spears couldn't get here in time to take their places.
The anchor leg was no contest. Thicke took off like a flash
and kept on widening the lead. As he came around the final turn, 80 yards
ahead of Steven and just 20 from the finish line, everyone on Team CSAB knew that we were toast. Just then, however, Clarkson
pushed her way to the front of the crowd lining the track and called out to Thicke, "Hey Robin, who just won the Grammy for
Album Of The Year?"
Thicke collapsed to the track, out cold! He was still too groggy to move when Tyler passed him and broke the tape.
Camp Should-A-Been wins!!! Both Tyler and Clarkson were mobbed by their joyful campmates. The Camp Duets
contingent lodged a formal protest, but it was quickly denied – after all, it was one of their own teammates who
did them in. Way to go, Kelly – we knew you'd always be an Idol girl forever! The only
thing that slightly spoiled the celebration was that
someone from CSAB gave Simon Fuller another wedgie in all the commotion. Nobody admitted to the dirty deed, though
Clarkson did give us a knowing wink as she made her way to the ampitheater for our Finale.
And in the final leg of our replay...which, kiddies, is what really matters around here...it too wasn't much of a contest.
Hollie Cavanagh put up a fight in the first round by reprising her Whitney Houston number, but Joshua Ledet's triumph on
"Man" gave him an early 5-point lead. Mr. Fuller, still royally PO'ed and out of clean underwear, gave Cavanagh the
same nightmare pick he foisted on Jessica Sanchez, but his choice for Ledet wasn't a whole lot better. Then, even with the
double-hit to his projected rating for the Original Winners' Song™ (we docked him for the blasted choir),
the Louisiana native cruised to a 23-point victory.
Soft-speaking, loud-singing, crawfish-loving Josh Ledet was our eleventh Camp Should-A-Been replay champion!
A gracious Cavanagh was the first to congratulate him, in about four different accents, and the young twosome then departed
to cheers and waves on the Bus Of
Shame Victory. And so ends another, um, interesting summer here at CSAB.
Maybe one of those other silly shows will eventually knock American Idol off its mantle, or maybe they'll
oversaturate the market to the point where the whole genre gets sacked. Our money is on the latter. But for now, AI
is still the one and only reigning champion of American televised singing competitions. And, your humble Head Counselors
were happy to help put all those pretenders in their places the past couple of weeks. As we prepared to lock the
gates for another winter, we took one final look around the campground. We'll miss it, as we always do, but
for now all we want to do is get to the airport and catch our plane home to Philadel—...
— The End —
Closed For The Winter
Thanks For Visiting!
Reopening Summer, 2013.
Camp Should-A-Been – Season Eleven Results
- Joshua Ledet
- Hollie Cavanagh
- Jessica Sanchez
- Elise Testone
- Skylar Laine
- Phillip Phillips
- Colton Dixon
- Erika Van Pelt
- Jeremy Rosado
- Aaron Marcellus
- Creighton Fraker
- Jermaine Jones
- Shannon Magrane
-- The staff of WNTS.com