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Camp Should-A-Been - Season Three

Camp Should-A-Been

You'd have no trouble identifying Cabin Three here at Camp Should-A-Been. It's the one with the enormous swingset and sandbox outside, and the colorful fingerpaintings Scotch-taped to every wall. American Idol lowered the audition age to 16 for AI3, and the result was the youngest group of semifinalists ever. Let's see how the little tykes would've fared in the cold, cruel world where only performance quality matters, as we raise the curtain on the Season Three replay....

Results

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Semifinals Group One

Performance Web Rating Result
I've Got The Music In Me0000I've Got The Music In Me
85
 
2Safe
Something To Talk About0000Something To Talk About
76
 
2Safe
Orange Colored Sky0000Orange Colored Sky
60
 
5Wild Card
Imagine0000Imagine
53
 
5Wild Card
Wind Beneath My Wings0000Wind Beneath My Wings
38
 
7Eliminated
Open Arms0000Open Arms
37
 
7Eliminated
Walking In Memphis0000Walking In Memphis
35
 
7Eliminated
Crazy0000Crazy
24
 
7Eliminated

They were the last two standing in the original competition, and they were the first two out of the gate in the replay. It took a little bit of time for our camp counselors to persuade teen sensations Diana DeGarmo and Fantasia Barrino to put down their jumpropes and come sing, but when they did, their strong performances in the Group One Semifinals comfortably advanced them to the Final 12. Afterwards, DeGarmo skipped off to the snack bar for some ice cream, while Barrino grabbed our reporting staff by the throat and reminded us that she was an adult single mother, and that if we thought she was going to cheerfully spend the next two weeks listening to kiddie gags about her age, then we were sadly mistaken. When we regained consciousness, we promised to take the matter under advisement.

Flash, bam, ala-kazaam! Katie Webber's throwback performance of "Orange Colored Sky" earned her an invitation to the Wild Card Show, along with Jennifer Hudson, who cradled a funny-looking little gold-plated doll as she sang, perhaps believing that it would somehow impress the judges. The remaining four contestants, including original Wild Card performer Matthew Metzger, failed to reach even the 3-star plateau and were told to go stand in the corner while they waited for the Bus Of Shame to take them home.

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Semifinals Group Two

Performance Web Rating Result
Sweet Thing0000Sweet Thing
61
 
2Safe
One Last Cry0000One Last Cry
50
 
2Safe
What You Won't Do For Love0000What You Won't Do For Love
42
 
5Wild Card
Some Kind Of Wonderful0000Some Kind Of Wonderful
40
 
7Eliminated
Don't Know Why0000Don't Know Why
26
 
7Eliminated
I'm Outta Love0000I'm Outta Love
18
 
7Eliminated
This I Promise You0000This I Promise You
5
 
7Eliminated
Back At One0000Back At One
4
 
7Eliminated

Rotten tomatoes. Water balloons. Stink bombs. As the perpetrators of the lowest-rated episode (by a billion miles) of the first seven seasons, the Group Two semifinalists expected that they'd be dodging a few projectiles. What they didn't realize was that the barrage would begin during breakfast and never let up. And not just from their fellow campers, either: busloads of Idol fans stopped by the camp all day to chuck things at them, then headed back to town to buy more.

The evening's show was staged behind chicken wire, a la The Blues Brothers. Lisa Leuschner's 4-star rating earned her a spot in the Final 12, at which point things got ugly. Camile Velasco was tarred and feathered by the audience before someone noticed that her mediocre cover of "One Last Cry" was, astoundingly, good enough for the second ticket into the Finals. Ex-football lineman Matt Rogers snagged a ticket to the Wild Card show – look, would you want to tell him he was eliminated? As for the rest, we left the Bus Of Shame in the garage on the grounds that it was too good for them. Thus, Marisa Joy rode the Yugo Of Shame home, Briana Ramirez-Rial got the Tricycle Of Shame, and Kara Master the Floating Garbage Barge Of Malodorous Shame. We saved the worst for the Roman brothers though: they got the Hummer Of Shame, which delighted them briefly until we told them that the gas tank was empty and that they were responsible for all fuel costs. It's never easy watching grown men cry.

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Semifinals Group Three

Performance Web Rating Result
All By Myself0000All By Myself
94
 
2Safe
The Power Of Love0000The Power Of Love
73
 
2Safe
In The Still Of The Nite0000In The Still Of The Nite
46
 
5Wild Card
I Have Nothing0000I Have Nothing
44
 
5Wild Card
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)0000I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
41
 
7Eliminated
Chain Of Fools0000Chain Of Fools
40
 
7Eliminated
Tiny Dancer0000Tiny Dancer
31
 
7Eliminated
I Wish0000I Wish
8
 
7Eliminated

As the eldest Season Three semifinalist, LaToya London was getting a little tired of sitting around a cabin where the primary forms of entertainment were Teletubbies videos and Dora The Explorer coloring books. Channeling her feelings of alienation into a showstopping rendition of "All By Myself", the Oakland wedding singer cruised out of Group Three and into the Final 12, joined once more by pink-haired Amy Adams.

There was a major falloff after the top two, as none of the other six contestants broke 50. Eric Yoder earned a Wild Card invitation, leaving young Leah LaBelle in tears, not because she was upset at having failed to advance but because Jon Peter Lewis was pulling her pigtails. Still, a sympathetic Paula Abdul gave the sobbing LaBelle a Wild Card ticket as well, with a whispered promise that she'd put her through to the finals, too. JPL, meanwhile, became the first original finalist eliminated. The ersatz pen salesman was shipped back to Idaho on the Bus Of Shame along with Charly Lowery and Jonah Moananu, which was doubly disappointing for the latter two because neither was from Idaho originally. Lastly, original Wild Carder Elizabeth LeTendre got three notes into the infamous AI Death Song when the Trap Door Of Shame opened beneath her feet. Fully anticipating this, she jumped to safety and looked smug about it...until the 16-Ton Weight Of Shame fell from the rafters onto her head, that is. These kids never learn.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Semifinals Group Four

Performance Web Rating Result
Un-Break My Heart0000Un-Break My Heart
80
 
2Safe
Run To You0000Run To You
78
 
2Safe
Always And Forever0000Always And Forever
66
 
5Wild Card
She's Always A Woman0000She's Always A Woman
52
 
5Wild Card
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)0000I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
42
 
5Wild Card
New Attitude0000New Attitude
28
 
7Eliminated
That's What Love Is All About0000That's What Love Is All About
17
 
7Eliminated
Come To My Window0000Come To My Window
5
 
7Eliminated

There was no shortage of American Idol fans who screamed "Get off my TV!" at Jasmine Trias and John Stevens throughout the spring of 2004. The much-maligned teens came to Camp Should-A-Been determined to prove that they belonged, at least in the early going. Trias succeeded admirably: her rendition of "Run To You" was the highest-rated performance of Group Four and it earned her a direct ticket into the Final 12. Stevens's respectable Billy Joel cover scored 52 and earned him a spot in the Wild Card show, alongside fan favorite George Huff.

Tiara Purifoy was the latest misguided soul to trot out the AI Death Song. Not as light on her feet as Elizabeth LeTendre the night before, she fell through the Trap Door Of Shame into the Starving Hyenas Pit Of Shame, whereupon the Water Cannons Of Shame were unleashed just before the 16-Ton Weight Of Shame came crashing through the ceiling. It wasn't until much later, when we added up the scores, that we realized Purifoy's 42 rating actually qualified her for the final spot in the Wild Card Show! We gave her the good news at the camp dispensary. A good sport, she cheerfully blinked her eyelids twice from her body cast to accept the invitation. Not so lucky were Heather Piccinini, John Preator, and future Miss Georgia Lisa Wilson, all of whom took seats on the Bus Of Shame.

Early the next morning, Suzy Vulaca was found huddled in the middle of the ampitheatre stage, shivering in the cool pre-dawn air while awaiting her results. Whoops! Did the judges forget about her again?

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Wild Card

Performance Web Rating Result
I Believe In You And Me0000I Believe In You And Me
72
 
2Safe
Lean On Me0000Lean On Me
70
 
2Safe
You Shook Me All Night Long *0000You Shook Me All Night Long *
47
 
2Safe
Creep *0000Creep *
42
 
2Safe
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) *0000I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) *Reprise performance
38
 
7Eliminated
Pencil-Neck Geek *0000Pencil-Neck Geek *
38
 
7Eliminated
Let's Stay Together0000Let's Stay Together
26
 
7Eliminated
So Emotional0000So Emotional
23
 
7Eliminated

If you're wondering why the producers dropped the Wild Card Episode from the American Idol calendar after Season Three, look no further than tonight's replay. Things started out OK: Jennifer Hudson's solid Whitney Houston cover took the night's top honors, and George Huff again produced a spirited "Lean On Me." But after that, things took a turn for the weird.

Having watched subsequent contestants like Blake Lewis and David Cook cleverly adapt old songs to new genres, John Stevens decided to have a go at it himself. Alas, to coin a word, the song he chose was eminently uncroonable. Next, Tiara Purifoy was released from the camp hospital only moments before she had to take the stage again. Having had no chance to rehearse a new number, she could only reprise her previous night's song choice and...um, yeah. You don't want to know what happened next, except to say that NASA estimates she'll re-enter Earth's atmosphere no later than 2013. Matt Rogers dedicated his Dr. Demento classic to a visibly nervous Simon, while Leah LaBelle and Katie Webber re-enacted their underwhelming performances from four years prior.

Hudson, still clutching her favorite golden doll, earned the Viewers' Choice spot in the Final 12, while Huff again earned Simon's nod. Simon declined to stick around for the remainder of the show, instead choosing to disappear into the forest posthaste with Rogers close at his heels. Despite the questionable song choice, Stevens came in third on the night. And for the twelfth and last slot, Paula Abdul winked at the camera and began, "I choose Leah La—"...at which point, the Trap Door Of Shame opened beneath her chair, sending her tumbling into oblivion. The audience is still cheering wildly. In fact, and astoundingly, the last spot in the Finals went to long-forgotten Eric Yoder, despite his never producing a performance rating above 50!. As his song choice tonight aptly put it, "What the hell am I doing here?"

Thus we present your Final 12 of the Season Three replay here at Camp Should-A-Been:

  • Amy Adams
  • Fantasia Barrino
  • Diana DeGarmo
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • George Huff
  • Lisa Leuschner
  • LaToya London
  • John Stevens
  • Jasmine Trias
  • Camile Velasco
  • Suzy Vulaca
  • Eric Yoder

Newcomers in italics. Failing to qualify: Leah LaBelle, Jon Peter Lewis, Matt Rogers

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Final 12 (Soul)

Performance Web Rating Result
Inseparable0000Inseparable
88
 
2Safe
Ain't Nobody0000Ain't Nobody
86
 
2Safe
Think0000Think
85
 
2Safe
(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay0000(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
81
 
2Safe
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)0000Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)
77
 
2Safe
I Will Survive *0000I Will Survive *
73
 
2Safe
Baby I Love You0000Baby I Love You
56
 
2Safe
Overjoyed *0000Overjoyed *
55
 
2Safe
You Make Me Feel Brand New0000You Make Me Feel Brand New
38
 
2Safe
Am I Really Here *0000Am I Really Here *
37
 
4Bottom Group
Lately0000Lately
30
 
4Bottom Group
Son Of A Preacher Man0000Son Of A Preacher Man
26
 
7Eliminated

Say what you will about American Idol Season Three...and most of us have...but when that notoriously inconsistent group was good, they were very good. So it went tonight as the Finals replay got underway with Soul Night. The 12 contestants sang to an average rating of 61, featuring four 5-star performances and two others above 70. Suzy Vulaca in particular looked overwhelmed and proud at finally earning that spot in The Big Show that had been unjustly denied to her in 2004...or at least she did until Simon, mistaking her for a minimum-wage 19E flunky, told her to go backstage and bring him a bottle of mineral water.

Even the dregs of the night weren't all that dreggy. Eric Yoder's projected ratings already landed him in the Bottom Three, though he didn't miss 4-stars by all that much. John Stevens fell to a 30. Both survived for another week, however, as ultra-nervous Camile Velasco brought up the rear with her croaked cover of Dusty Springfield's classic. For her efforts, Velasco earned a starboard-side cabin on the Steamship Freighter Of Shame, because the Bus can't make it all the way to Hawaii.

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Final 11 (Country)

Performance Web Rating Result
Sin Wagon0000Sin Wagon
90
 
2Safe
Ain't Goin' Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)0000Ain't Goin' Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)
82
 
2Safe
A Broken Wing0000A Broken Wing
69
 
2Safe
Forever And For Always *0000Forever And For Always *
69
 
2Safe
Always On My Mind0000Always On My Mind
68
 
2Safe
I Can Love You Like That0000I Can Love You Like That
64
 
2Safe
King Of The Road0000King Of The Road
50
 
2Safe
Looks Like We Made It *0000Looks Like We Made It *
50
 
2Safe
No One Else On Earth0000No One Else On Earth
38
 
4Bottom Group
Man! I Feel Like A Woman *0000Man! I Feel Like A Woman *
34
 
4Bottom Group
Breathe0000Breathe
20
 
7Eliminated

The latest Nielsen ratings are out, and they're not pretty. Telecasts from Camp Should-A-Been rated 2,534th for the week, ahead of only This Week In Cribbage, Uzbekistan's Got Talent, and Improve Your Vocabulary With Randy Jackson. As such, a guest mentor for Country Night was called for. Carrie Underwood was reluctant to join the panel at first, until we reminded her of the contract she signed that granted 19E exclusive rights to her career throughout the universe and for all eternity, including the afterlife. What, did she think Lucifer Satan was the name of one of Simon Fuller's lawyers?

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition: Amy Adams's brilliant ride on the "Sin Wagon" became the second showstopper of the AI3 replay. There was the expected outrage and uproar when Jennifer Hudson fell into the bottom three instead of John Stevens, but critics were directed to the original performance clips on YouTube, at which point all objections ceased: this was not Hudson's best night, to say the least. Meanwhile, to honor Miss Underwood's biggest hit, our newcomer contestants all went the Shania Karaoke route. Sadly for Eric Yoder, only three songs were cleared by the staff, and he chose last and...well, it was ugly. But man!, it was original third-place finisher Jasmine Trias who went home tonight in a tearful goodbye, long before her nightmarish run of late-season performances ever took place. No one cried harder than the camp counselors, who had to pay for two Freighter Of Shame trips to Hawaii in consecutive weeks.

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Final 10 (Motown)

Performance Web Rating Result
Ain't Too Proud To Beg0000Ain't Too Proud To Beg
86
 
2Safe
I Heard It Through The Grapevine0000I Heard It Through The Grapevine
76
 
2Safe
Ooh Baby Baby0000Ooh Baby Baby
67
 
2Safe
I Second That Emotion *0000I Second That Emotion *
62
 
2Safe
Do You Love Me0000Do You Love Me
54
 
2Safe
Heat Wave0000Heat Wave
47
 
2Safe
Dancing In The Street0000Dancing In The Street
45
 
2Safe
Tears Of A Clown *0000Tears Of A Clown *
45
 
4Bottom Group
Papa Was A Rolling Stone *0000Papa Was A Rolling Stone *
31
 
4Bottom Group
My Girl0000My Girl
4
 
7Eliminated

No contestant ever went home a happier man than John Stevens IV did tonight. Yes, his way-off-key rendition of "My Girl" was a train wreck, but everyone expected it this time around. More significantly for the redheaded teen, he'd finished in a very respectable 10th place on merit, and he was spared the later embarrassment of having to redo "Crocodile Rock" and "Music Of My Heart." A relieved Stevens smiled broadly when the results were announced, did "As Time Goes By" for his sing-out, and waved cheerfully from the Bus Of Shame as it pulled away. But not to worry, Camp Should-A-Been fans, because we got the last laugh: we'd instructed the bus driver to take him directly to an Elton John-Gloria Estefan fan festival in downtown Miami, where we'd booked Stevens as the opening act. You can check out of this camp any time you'd like, but you can't really leave until we've humiliated you to our satisfaction.

The rest of Motown Night was, quite honestly, kind of dull. As before, The Temptations provided both the top-rated and lowest-rated performances of the night, with George Huff leading the way. Our newcomer contestants kept with the Smokey theme, and everyone else was just OK. A more pressing issue: the first three eliminees in the Finals were all teenagers, and the remaining contestants were beginning to feel kind of...old. Were they ready to ditch their Hannah Montana tapes in favor of Lawrence Welk? Tune in tomorrow as the AI3 replay continues....

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Final 9 (Elton John)

Performance Web Rating Result
Circle Of Life0000Circle Of Life
90
 
2Safe
Take Me To The Pilot0000Take Me To The Pilot
87
 
2Safe
Someone Saved My Life Tonight0000Someone Saved My Life Tonight
82
 
2Safe
Something About The Way You Look Tonight0000Something About The Way You Look Tonight
64
 
2Safe
Hakuna Matata *0000Hakuna Matata *
56
 
2Safe
The Bitch Is Back *0000The Bitch Is Back *
56
 
2Safe
I'm Still Standing0000I'm Still Standing
42
 
4Bottom Group
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road *0000Goodbye Yellow Brick Road *
41
 
4Bottom Group
Crocodile Rock *0000Crocodile Rock *
28
 
7Eliminated

When it was announced that the theme for the AI3 Final Nine episode would be the music of Elton John, Jennifer Hudson thought she'd died and gone to heaven. Hadn't she just spent months as a singer on the Disney Cruise Line, where her standout solo number was "Circle Of Life"? She felt a warm glow of triumph spread across her body...until the 6am strains of reveille awakened her to the horrible truth: she hadn't died, she was still in the hell of Camp Should-A-Been, and that glow she'd experienced was because her bunkmates had played on her the classic prank of immersing her hand in a bowl of warm water as she slept, causing her to...ah, you know the rest.

A few hours and several showers later, Hudson got her revenge: despite strong performances from George Huff and LaToya London, the girl with the golden doll outshone them all by delivering the replay's third 90+ showstopper. At the other end of the spectrum, Lisa Leuschner and Eric Yoder chose the songs that had produced single-digit disasters in the original competition. They improved on John Stevens's and Camile Velasco's ratings by a lot, but not enough to keep them out of the Bottom Two. Yoder was sent back to oblivion on the Bus Of Shame after an improbably long run and a ninth-place finish. Finally, holdover Amy Adams decided to have some fun: she chose Sir Elton's edgiest song title of all and mischeviously announced that it was dedicated to someone in the audience, but she wouldn't say who. In hindsight, this was a miscalculation on her part – that night, after lights-out time, every female camper was seen sneaking towards Cabin Three carrying a bowl of warm water....

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Final 8 (Movie Songs)

Performance Web Rating Result
Summertime0000Summertime
95
 
2Safe
Somewhere0000Somewhere
90
 
2Safe
I Have Nothing0000I Have Nothing
74
 
2Safe
The Time Warp *0000The Time Warp *
51
 
2Safe
Hot Patootie Bless My Soul *0000Hot Patootie Bless My Soul *
50
 
2Safe
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)0000Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
38
 
4Bottom Group
Sweet Transvestite *0000Sweet Transvestite *
37
 
4Bottom Group
My Heart Will Go On0000My Heart Will Go On
20
 
7Eliminated

What could be more appropriate than hearing "Summertime" at a summer camp? Fantasia Barrino was confident that her signature number would not only be the top performance of the Season Three replay, but that it would send a message to fellow divas LaToya London and Jennifer Hudson that the champ wouldn't give up her crown without a fight. Unfortunately, the outdoor venue posed some unanticipated problems. A circling hawk, mistaking Barrino's dreamy, arm-waving motions for a mating dance, swooped down in a frenzy of passion and...um, look, the rest of the story would only get us in hot water with the FCC and the Audubon Society, so just figure it out yourself.

In other news from Movie Night, London delivered her second showstopper of the competition. Huff, whose summer allergies were kicking in, slipped into the Bottom Three for the first time. The three holdover ladies all decided to kick it up a notch by choosing songs from the same certain movie. Their fellow campers in the audience did their part by dressing up in outrageous costumes and throwing toast, rice, hot dogs, underwear, and even a few lit firecrackers towards the stage. Oddly enough, most of the items fell a bit short and landed on the judges' heads. Purely accidental, we're sure. But the big surprise tonight was the identity of the Bus Of Shame passenger: none other than the original runner-up! "My Heart Will Go On" sunk Diana DeGarmo's ship here at Camp Should-A-Been.

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Final 7 (Barry Manilow)

Performance Web Rating Result
All The Time0000All The Time
80
 
2Safe
Weekend In New England0000Weekend In New England
72
 
2Safe
It's A Miracle0000It's A Miracle
56
 
2Safe
Daybreak *0000Daybreak *
46
 
2Safe
Copacabana *0000Copacabana *
45
 
4Bottom Group
Read 'Em And Weep *0000Read 'Em And Weep *
33
 
4Bottom Group
Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again0000Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again
17
 
7Eliminated

Barry Manilow flew in from Vegas in a helicopter with his music director, his vocal coach, six musicians, his publicist, his stylist, and three suitcases full of sheet music. Now this is our kind of mentor: someone who takes his job seriously and provides his own transportation. Of course, the original Manilow-mentored Final Seven episode didn't end well: Fantasia Barrino, LaToya London, and Jennifer Hudson wound up in the most flabbergasting Bottom Three in AI history. Would history repeat itself at Camp Should-A-Been?

At the end of the show, Ryan Seacrest put the Three Divas in one group and the three holdover ladies in another. Just as on that fateful night in 2004, George Huff was then asked to choose which trio was the Bottom Three. Not wishing to be made a fool of for a second time, Huff defiantly stood between the two groups, crossed his arms, and stared angrily at Ryan. Ah, but it was another trick question: neither group was the Bottom Three, because Huff himself was the lowest-rated contestant on the night! An expression of great surprise crossed his face briefly before the Louisianan disappeared through the Trap Door Of Shame.

Incidentally, we thought that the six surviving Idols' reaction to Huff's departure was quite unprofessional. They high-fived and hugged one another gleefully and made no attempt whatsoever to hide their happiness. Was the seemingly affable Huff really that disliked behind the scenes? No, not at all. It was simply that the Final Six were all women, and that meant they could use both bathrooms in Cabin Three instead of having to stand in line for showers every morning.

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Final 6 (Gloria Estefan)

Performance Web Rating Result
Rhythm Is Gonna Get You0000Rhythm Is Gonna Get You
70
 
2Safe
Conga *0000Conga *
57
 
2Safe
Bad Boy *0000Bad Boy *
41
 
2Safe
Words Get In The Way *0000Words Get In The Way *
41
 
2Safe
Get On Your Feet0000Get On Your Feet
38
 
4Bottom Group
Coming Out Of The Dark *0000Coming Out Of The Dark *
30
 
7Eliminated

Salsa! All 295 members of the Miami Sound Machine turned up at Camp Should-A-Been tonight for a Caribbean-fueled extravaganza featuring the music of Gloria Estefan. Unfortunately, our campers were already well aware about what usually happens when the producers try to combine American Idol and Latin music: pretty much the same thing as when you mix Mentos mints with Diet Coke, except the result is even stickier and harder to clean up. Thus, almost all of them decided to skip the show in favor of the camp's alternate entertainment for the evening: a black-and-white health video from 1958 on armpit diseases. In fact, the only person in the audience was Danny Noriega, who lost a bet with Will Makar and either had to sit through the show or eat a bug.

The ladies of the Final Six did the best they could. LaToya London won the night with a solid 70, and Jennifer Hudson's first projected rating was still comfortably above 50. Fantasia Barrino, however, slipped dangerously into the Bottom Two; she was saved only by fact that Lisa Leuschner's ratings had been extrapolated seven times down our hypothetical decay curve. Still, Leuschner finished sixth – a remarkably strong showing for a contestant who wasn't even granted the courtesy of being permitted to sing on the original Wild Card show.

Thus the AI3 Final Five On Merit are: Amy Adams, Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, LaToya London, and Suzy Vulaca. And it's really hard to complain about that quintet, if we do say so ourselves.

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Final 5 (Big Band)

Performance Web Rating Result
Don't Rain On My Parade0000Don't Rain On My Parade
93
 
2Safe
Too Close For Comfort0000Too Close For Comfort
87
 
2Safe
What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?0000What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?
62
 
2Safe
Pennsylvania 6-5000 *0000Pennsylvania 6-5000 *
51
 
2Safe
Stardust *0000Stardust *
46
 
2Safe
Don't Get Around Much Anymore*0000Don't Get Around Much Anymore*
37
 
4Bottom Group
Crazy Little Thing Called Love0000Crazy Little Thing Called Love
37
 
2Safe
Stormy Weather *0000Stormy Weather *
37
 
7Eliminated
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off *0000Let's Call The Whole Thing Off *
34
 
4Bottom Group
On The Sunny Side Of The Street*0000On The Sunny Side Of The Street*
33
 
7Eliminated

To use the popular schoolkids term, LaToya London pwned the field on Big Band Night. Her two performances averaged a showstopping 90, highlighted by one of the most oddly underappreciated masterpieces in AI history: "Don't Rain On My Parade" at 93. No other contestant averaged even 50, though Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia Barrino came close. Barrino, who delivered her second 2-star performance in as many nights, seemed a little melancholy to us, in fact. The original Season Three featured an all-teenager Final Three, while here at Camp Should-A-Been, the sassy Carolina girl had been the Last Teen Standing for several weeks now.

After two months of projected ratings, both Amy Adams and Suzy Vulaca were clearly nearing the end of their runs. Adams, whose ratings had been about three-tenths of a point behind Vulaca's the whole way down, fell first, and she left us tonight on the Bus Of Shame, which we dyed pink for the occasion.

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Final 4 (Disco)

Performance Web Rating Result
Knock On Wood0000Knock On Wood
69
 
2Safe
Don't Leave Me This Way0000Don't Leave Me This Way
61
 
2Safe
Love You Inside Out0000Love You Inside Out
42
 
2Safe
Holding Out For A Hero0000Holding Out For A Hero
42
 
2Safe
Night Fever *0000Night Fever *
42
 
4Bottom Group
Stayin' Alive *0000Stayin' Alive *
38
 
4Bottom Group
I Love The Night Life *0000I Love The Night Life *
30
 
7Eliminated
The Party's Over *0000The Party's Over *
28
 
7Eliminated

Readers, we have a great idea: let's spend this episode of Camp Should-A-Been studying esoteric statistical trends that will make your eyes glaze over by the middle of the first equation. Sounds absolutely dreadful, you say? Look, it's Disco Night; your choices are either to do some math homework with us or to listen to eight disco covers in succession. We knew you'd see it our way.

  • The Top Three — That's where the WNTS.com staff projects that the Three Divas of LaToya London, Fantasia Barrino, and Jennifer Hudson would have placed had the voters in 2004 voted on merit. Usually we like to disprove the conventional wisdom around here; this time, we're happy to have confirmed it for once.
  • Fourth place — That's where Suzy Vulaca would have finished based on our projections if Paula Abdul had used the brains she was born with and chosen the Arizonan instead of Leah LaBelle on Wild Card Night. Vulaca's first two performances were so strong that she was able to survive an outrageous ten steps down our decay curve in the replay before she was finally eliminated. Needless to say, the only passenger on the Bus Of Shame tonight was a certain former Laker Girl.
  • 42 — The famous answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything also happens to be the mediocre rating produced by each of the Three Divas in one performance tonight. Curiously, it was our second three-way tie in as many weeks after never having one before in either real life or here at Camp.

That's about it from the Statistics Department. And you're in luck: the Disco Night show is only halfway over so you can still catch...hey, where are you going? The theater is in the other direction!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Final 3 (Idol's/Judges'/Clive's Choice)

Performance Web Rating Result
Chain Of Fools0000Chain Of Fools
86
 
2Safe
Fool In Love0000Fool In Love
85
 
2Safe
Greatest Love Of All0000Greatest Love Of All
74
 
2Safe
Don't Cry Out Loud *0000Don't Cry Out Loud *
71
 
2Safe
Wheel In The Sky *0000Wheel In The Sky *
64
 
2Safe
I'm Too Sexy *0000I'm Too Sexy *
58
 
2Safe
These Boots Are Made For Walking *0000These Boots Are Made For Walking *
34
 
7Eliminated
I've Never Been To Me *0000I've Never Been To Me *
30
 
7Eliminated
And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going *0000And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going *
27
 
7Eliminated

All day, they arrived. Limousines carrying famous Hollywood celebrities, many still clutching one-day release papers from prestigious rehab clinics. Helicopters carrying entertainment reporters and camera crews, landing on our softball diamond in mid-inning and scaring our campers. Private jets direct from London ferrying ecstatic, and slightly tipsy, 19E executives, who immediately ran to the Head Counselors' cabin to hug us and say thank you for all we've done. Never has there been more excitement over a Camp Should-A-Been show than tonight's Final Three replay, in which the Three Divas of AI3 would finally meet in the showdown that had been denied to America. Mind you, some of the thrill wore off after our visitors had dinner in the mess hall and saw the condition of the camp restrooms. Nonetheless, the ampitheater was packed three hours before curtain time with everyone except the 19E guys, who were still drunk out of their minds and hugging everyone and everything in sight, including the animals from the camp petting zoo. That worried us a little.

Alas, the show itself was an anticlimax. Bouncing back from a few off-nights, Fantasia Barrino slammed down three killer performances to win the night by a wide margin. LaToya London did well with her first number but her approval ratings slid as she took on some questionable song choices from Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest (filling in for Clive Davis, who was still at the petting zoo.) As for Jennifer Hudson, her projected ratings had decayed to the point of no return. There was a modicum of suspense as she took the stage for her final, signature song, needing roughly a 126 rating to advance. (Paula was in charge of adding up the scores, so anything was possible.) Regrettably, ten seconds into the performance, a commotion ensued: the zoo animals overran the stage while being chased by the 19E executives, and Hudson tripped over a sheep and sprained her ankle. She was still limping as she boarded the Bus Of Shame.

Afterwards, as we pored over the numbers, we grew depressed. We'd hoped for a close, exciting Finale, but three hits to London's projected ratings had already taken their toll. And, nobody ever sang an American Idol Original Winner's Song™ the way Barrino nailed "I Believe." Did Oakland's most famous wedding singer stand a chance at all? Tune in tomorrow for the final chapter in the story.

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Finale

Performance Web Rating Result
I Believe0000I Believe
84
 
7Eliminated
All By Myself *0000All By Myself *Reprise performance
73
 
2Safe
Summertime0000SummertimeReprise performance
71
 
7Eliminated
It's Not Over *0000It's Not Over *
53
 
2Safe
I Believe *0000I Believe *
48
 
2Safe
All My Life0000All My Life
18
 
7Eliminated

Unlike on the previous night, there were no crowds, no helicopters, and no petting zoo animals requiring psychiatric therapy when it was over. The outcome of the AI3 Finale was a foregone conclusion in everyone's book. Fantasia Barrino had "I Believe" in her back pocket, and LaToya London could only counter with her fourth and fifth projected ratings. And yes, just as expected, one song made all the difference....

..."All My Life."

Did you forget about Barrino's 1-star disaster, overshadowed as it was at the time by "I Believe" and her "Summertime" reprisal? Nothing escapes the counselors' attention here at Camp Should-A-Been. When she was through, Barrino's three performance ratings added up to 173. London redid "All By Myself" to a 73 (a 21-point drop from the original, the historical average for reprises.) She then broke one of the cardinal rules of American Idol by covering a hit song by another contestant, but she wanted to send the message not to count her out. Her version of "I Believe" came in nearly 40 points behind her rival's. We added her scores, rubbed our eyes, added them again, and again, then called the Math department of the local university for confirmation. It was 174. By the utterly implausible margin of one point, LaToya London was the Season Three Replay champion!

The two ladies both appeared shocked when Ryan Seacrest announced the outcome, and indeed neither moved as the pine needles came showering down. As London silently took her seat on the Bus Of Shame Victory, a visiting reporter observed bitterly that there was no need for the Finale to have been that close. By the conditions of contest, London could have reprised two of her earlier performances rather than one, just as Diana DeGarmo did in the original Finale. Had she simply redone "Don't Rain On My Parade" or "Somewhere" instead of the Daughtry song, London would have won by a comfortable margin. We immediately summoned our camp Disciplinary Counselors – Viktor, Rocco, and Serge – to take our cynic aside and explain to him the literary concept of "dramatic effect." They'll never find his body.

—   The End   —

Camp Should-A-Been – Season Three Results

  1. LaToya London
  2. Fantasia Barrino
  3. Jennifer Hudson
  4. Suzy Vulaca
  5. Amy Adams
  6. Lisa Leuschner
  7. George Huff
  8. Diana DeGarmo
  9. Eric Yoder
  10. John Stevens
  11. Jasmine Trias
  12. Camile Velasco

-- The staff of WNTS.com

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