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Camp Should-A-Been - Season Four

Camp Should-A-Been

Guitars by every bunk, Hendrix posters plastered on the walls, and hair care products taking up every inch of shelf space in the bathrooms... both bathrooms. Rock & Roll made its debut on American Idol in Season Four with the likes of Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis, and Nadia Turner in the fold. Its breakout star was a sweet country girl from Checotah, OK, who happens to have a guitar in her bunk too. But would Carrie Underwood have won the AI4 crown had American considered only the quality of her performances on the show? Much to the relief of the other residents of Camp Should-A-Been, who've been begging Cabin Four for weeks to keep the noise down, it's time to find out as our Season Four replay begins....

Results

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Top 24 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
Drift Away0000Drift Away
86
 
2Safe
Moon River0000Moon River
71
 
2Safe
Do I Do0000Do I Do
64
 
2Safe
Kiss From A Rose0000Kiss From A Rose
52
 
2Safe
Part-Time Lover0000Part-Time Lover
50
 
2Safe
Travelin' Band0000Travelin' Band
49
 
2Safe
You Are My Lady0000You Are My Lady
46
 
2Safe
How Am I Supposed To Live Without You0000How Am I Supposed To Live Without You
38
 
2Safe
Hold On To The Night0000Hold On To The Night
38
 
2Safe
Never Can Say Goodbye0000Never Can Say Goodbye
35
 
2Safe
My Cherie Amour0000My Cherie Amour
29
 
7Eliminated
How Could I0000How Could I
18
 
7Eliminated

Season Four kicked off tonight, and the audience certainly came dressed for the occasion. There were leather jackets, spiked belts, and purple-streaked hair everywhere you looked. Carly Smithson and her husband stood outside the gates giving tattoos to the concert-goers as they entered (Elliott Yamin got "I ♥ Mom", Melinda Doolittle "I ♥ God", Corey Clark "I ♥ Me".) Two enormous speaker stacks bookended the stage and the crowd waved lit lighters in the air dreamily as the Final 12 Guys emerged from the dry ice fog and rocked out to...

Michael Bolton. And Stevie Wonder and Richard Marx and "Moon River."

Well, in fairness to the Men of Season Four, they probably didn't want to do anything to alienate Middle America on their first night out. Inoffensive pop ballads were the norm, though at least Bo Bice did sing a song about Rock And Roll. Still, the crowd wasn't happy, and the 12 guys were pelted with cigarette lighters and empty hair dye bottles as they left the stage. Judd Harris, who was one of the contestants eliminated from this episode in 2005, earned a reprieve with the one true rock performance of the night; he'll continue with projected ratings starting in the Top 20. As before, Jared Yates earned a spot on the Bus Of Shame. His seatmate was Travis Tucker, a Top 16 contestant originally, whose mediocre version of "My Cherie Amour" proved yet again that you simply cannot rock out in French.

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Top 24 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
Could've Been0000Could've Been
88
 
2Safe
The Power Of Love0000The Power Of Love
86
 
2Safe
Work It Out0000Work It Out
73
 
2Safe
Heat Wave0000Heat Wave
62
 
2Safe
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)0000Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
45
 
2Safe
Standing Right Next To Me0000Standing Right Next To Me
41
 
2Safe
How Am I Supposed To Live Without You0000How Am I Supposed To Live Without You
36
 
2Safe
Get Ready0000Get Ready
31
 
2Safe
I Will Love Again0000I Will Love Again
30
 
2Safe
The Power Of Love0000The Power Of Love
29
 
2Safe
Young Hearts Run Free0000Young Hearts Run Free
28
 
7Eliminated
I Wanna Love You Forever0000I Wanna Love You Forever
12
 
7Eliminated

Homesick Carrie Underwood had a rough first few weeks here at Camp Should-A-Been, living on macaroni and cheese three times a day (that and meatloaf are the only two things on the mess hall's menu) and spending most of her afternoons at the petting zoo. But when it finally came time for her to take the stage for real, she shined; her simple cover of Tiffany's "Could've Been" was the top-rated performance of the night. Just behind her was Nadia Turner's high-powered, non-Celine "The Power Of Love" (like we said, you can't rock out in French.)

Aloha Mischeaux and Vonzell Solomon were the only other two of the Final 12 Girls to come in above average – in fact, half the field didn't even reach 3-stars. The good news for original eliminees Sarah Mather and Melinda Lira is that they both survived for another night; the bad news is that their baseline ratings are so low that a long projected run in the competition a la Suzy Vulaca is simply not happening. Janay Castine, whose dubious Idol claim to fame is being the lowest-rated contestant in the history of the series among those who performed more than once, didn't get a second chance here at Camp: the Bus Of Shame drove directly onto the stage midway through her song and carted her off. Also headed home tonight: original 11th-place finisher Mikalah Gordon! Since she's only going as far as Las Vegas, we put her on a regular Greyhound bus next to a blue-haired grandmother from Long Beach who was headed to Harrah's to play the slots.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Top 20 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
Whipping Post0000Whipping Post
92
 
2Safe
What's Going On0000What's Going On
76
 
2Safe
Let's Get It On0000Let's Get It On
71
 
2Safe
I Love Music0000I Love Music
56
 
2Safe
I Want To Know What Love Is0000I Want To Know What Love Is
47
 
2Safe
Summertime Blues *0000Summertime Blues *
44
 
2Safe
Let's Stay Together0000Let's Stay Together
41
 
2Safe
Hard To Handle0000Hard To Handle
30
 
2Safe
Never Too Much0000Never Too Much
28
 
7Eliminated
All In Love Is Fair0000All In Love Is Fair
15
 
7Eliminated

The gloves of inoffensiveness came off for the Final 10 Guys tonight. Bo Bice's legendary showstopping performance of "Whipping Post" was the highlight, though Bice was surprised to be issued a citation afterwards by the local police for unlawful public acts with a microphone stand. Nikko Smith and Anwar Robinson delivered hot covers of two of Marvin Gaye's signature songs, and Mario Vasquez put a clever Latin twist on the O'Jays "I Love Music." Not faring as well, however, was Constantine Maroulis, who just barely survived an unconvincing performance of "Hard To Handle." We told him not to sing the chorus in French, but did he listen?...

Judd Harris's first projected rating held in the 3-star range and allowed him to advance another day. Joseph Murena's so-so cover of "Let's Stay Together" got him sent home in AI4, but this time he managed to squeak through. Not so fortunate was Scott Savol, whose Camp tenure lasted nowhere near as long as his unlikely (and occasionally unlistenable) run to fifth place in the original competition. He and New Orleans resident David Brown got to play cards on a long cross-country journey on the Bus Of Shame.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Top 20 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
A Broken Wing0000A Broken Wing
68
 
2Safe
Piece Of My Heart0000Piece Of My Heart
57
 
2Safe
If I Ain't Got You0000If I Ain't Got You
56
 
2Safe
My Love0000My Love
56
 
2Safe
Turn The Beat Around0000Turn The Beat Around
53
 
2Safe
I Try To Think About Elvis0000I Try To Think About Elvis
42
 
2Safe
How Can I Go On *0000How Can I Go On *
28
 
2Safe
Homeward Bound *0000Homeward Bound *
26
 
2Safe
You Don't Know My Name0000You Don't Know My Name
22
 
7Eliminated
When The Lights Go Down0000When The Lights Go Down
19
 
7Eliminated

Sarah Mather and Melinda Lira weren't happy campers today. Two nights earlier, Simon Cowell told both young ladies, in no uncertain terms, that they may as well just stay in bed rather than show up for the Final 10 Girls episode. Their projected ratings would be so low that they'd only be embarrassing themselves. The dejected girls both chose songs expressing the fatalism of their situation, then spent the day in the craft shack making little stuffed dolls of Simon and distributing them, along with hatpins, to all of their fellow campers....

Surprise! Neither Mather nor Lira exactly lit the stage on fire, but their projected performance ratings were still good enough to advance over the dreadful ones turned in by Aloha Mischeaux and Celina Rae. In fact, this was one of the lowest-rated semifinal episodes ever. Jessica Sierra's "A Broken Wing" was the night's high scorer, earning the Floridian a standing ovation from her parole officer and attorney but just lukewarm applause from everyone else. The other five contestants all turned in decent but unremarkable 3-star numbers. As for Simon, he didn't offer a whole lot of his usual trenchant commentary on the performances tonight because he spent most of the show leaping from his seat and yelping in pain.

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Top 16 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
What A Wonderful World0000What A Wonderful World
86
 
2Safe
I'll Be0000I'll Be
72
 
2Safe
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart0000How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
60
 
2Safe
Georgia On My Mind0000Georgia On My Mind
59
 
2Safe
I've Got You0000I've Got You
51
 
2Safe
Psycho Killer *0000Psycho Killer *
40
 
2Safe
Once In A Lifetime *0000Once In A Lifetime *
36
 
7Eliminated
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic0000Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
26
 
7Eliminated

Ever since the unlamented demise of the Wild Card format, few episodes on the AI calendar offer more drama than Top 16 week. Who would make the all-important Final 12 and be awarded a song on the annual American Idol Greatest Showstopping Classic Masterpieces of Genius Performances CD (oh, those zany 19E marketers), and who'd be sent back to the void of singing jingles and country fairs forever?

Anwar Robinson's tender cover of "What A Wonderful World" easily took high point honors on the night and earned the New Jersey music teacher the first chair in the Finals. Quickly joining him were Bo Bice, Mario Vazquez, Nikko Smith, and Anthony Fedorov, all of whom produced above-average ratings. (For Fedorov, it was his first journey above 50 and it came at the right moment.) Constantine Maroulis was certain that his clever, hard-rocking rearrangement of "Tout Les Petites Choses Qu'Elle Fait Est Magique" would earn him the final guys' spot, but he was in for a shock: Judd Harris took the sixth seat with a classic Talking Heads rocker that proved, OK, maybe there is a song or two that you can rock out in French.

A dumbfounded Maroulis was escorted to the Bus Of Shame, his shoulders slumped, dropping copies of Queen sheet music from his duffel bag as he trudged along. He and Joseph Murena disappeared through the gates of the camp and into the darkness. But up on the stage, in Chair #3, Mario Vasquez was looking a little fidgety. We might not have heard the last of this story....

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Top 16 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
Try A Little Tenderness0000Try A Little Tenderness
82
 
2Safe
Boys Are Back In Town0000Boys Are Back In Town
72
 
2Safe
Respect0000Respect
63
 
2Safe
Because You Love Me0000Because You Love Me
59
 
2Safe
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing0000I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
42
 
2Safe
River Deep - Mountain High0000River Deep - Mountain High
36
 
2Safe
Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah *0000Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah *
25
 
7Eliminated
Kumbaya *0000Kumbaya *
24
 
7Eliminated

There were only six chairs for eight contestants, and young Jessica Sierra was determined to have one of them. Knowing that sometimes a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do, she traded in her orange jumpsuit for an extremely-low-cut top that sent testoserone levels at the ampitheater to red alert levels. Randy panted, Simon swooned, and Ryan quietly made a mental note to ask Sierra where she bought that cute eye shadow. Meanwhile in the audience, paramedics had to be summoned to treat several teenaged boys who had fainted. It's said that poor David Archuleta was never the same again.

But, Sierra's plan worked to perfection: "Boys Are Back In Town" was the evening's second-highest rated performance behind Nadia Turner's twist on Otis Redding. Also advancing from the Top 16 (Girls) episode with above-average numbers were Vonzell Solomon and Carrie Underwood, the latter having sung "Because You Love Me" while cuddling a baby bunny rabbit. (Maybe she's not the type to come out on stage half-naked, but even Underwood knows that sometimes a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do.) Chronically underachieving Lindsey Cardinale was still good enough to earn chair #5, and the 12th and last spot in the Finals went to a Las Vegas woman as before, except this time it was Amanda Avila rather than Mikalah Gordon. Leaving camp tonight, a few days later than everyone expected, were Sarah Mather and Melinda Lira, both of whom tried their hand at a classic summer camp tune without much success.

Thus, the Final 12 in the Season Four replay at Camp Should-A-Been are:...

...Wait, what's this? Mario Vazquez has just emerged from the Head Counselor's office with a serious expression on his face. He's hastily called a press conference – all of two guys from the local newspaper showed up, and one was only there to ask us if we wanted to renew our subscription. And...Vasquez is dropping out of the competition! We're not exactly sure why. First he cited personal reasons, then professional issues, and finally grave concerns about the announcement that marine biologists had just discovered a new subspecies of halibut off the coast of Norway. Okay, so forthcomingness isn't his strong suit. But, he's hailing the Bus Of Shame and riding off into the sunset. The girl campers here are all in tears; the guys are just relieved that they no longer have to peer nervously around the corners of the stalls when using the men's room. But, now what? This leaves us with only 11 finalists!

Hearing his cue, Constantine Maroulis, who'd been circling the camp in a helicopter all day, just parachuted in triumphantly. Hold on there, Soul-Of-Betty-boy: we follow the rules of the original AI competition around these parts. When Vasquez dropped out in 2005, the male contestant invited back wasn't the one with the best hair, strongest potential, or biggest fan base. It was the one with the seventh-highest vote total among the Final 8 Guys. Since we're using ratings instead of votes at Camp Should-A-Been, that means Joseph Murena is the one we'll bring back! Murena, who was recording a jingle for a used-car company in his native Long Island, was surprised when we told him the news, but not nearly as surprised as Maroulis, who had to be escorted from the Campground by our ever-amiable Disciplinary Counselors, Viktor, Rocco, and Serge. Those three love their jobs.

So when the dust finally settled, these were your AI4 Replay Final 12:

  • Amanda Avila
  • Bo Bice
  • Lindsey Cardinale
  • Anthony Fedorov
  • Judd Harris
  • Joseph Murena
  • Anwar Robinson
  • Jessica Sierra
  • Nikko Smith
  • Vonzell Solomon
  • Nadia Turner
  • Carrie Underwood

Newcomers in italics. Failing to qualify: Mikalah Gordon, Constantine Maroulis, Scott Savol. (In all seriousness, we were flabbergasted about Maroulis too, but you know what? Next time, he should try delivering better than a 30 and a 26 in back-to-back semifinal episodes.)

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Final 12 (1960s)

Performance Web Rating Result
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me0000You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
92
 
2Safe
Spinning Wheel0000Spinning Wheel
86
 
2Safe
A House Is Not A Home0000A House Is Not A Home
54
 
2Safe
When Will I Be Loved0000When Will I Be Loved
53
 
2Safe
Anyone Who Had A Heart0000Anyone Who Had A Heart
49
 
2Safe
I Want You Back0000I Want You Back
41
 
2Safe
Shop Around0000Shop Around
39
 
2Safe
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida0000In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
38
 
2Safe
Strawberry Fields Forever *0000Strawberry Fields Forever *
36
 
2Safe
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do0000Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
34
 
4Bottom Group
Incense and Peppermints *0000Incense and Peppermints *
32
 
4Bottom Group
Knock On Wood0000Knock On Wood
13
 
7Eliminated

Joseph Murena was starting to feel paranoid. At the archery range this morning, an arrow came out of nowhere and whizzed past his head. That was suspicious. Later, while canoeing on Lake Trainwreck, his boat suddenly sprung a leak and sank, forcing him to swim a quarter mile to shore. That was suspicious too. Then at dinner, after finishing the Meatloaf Surprise, he doubled over in agony and became violently ill. That was perfectly normal. Still, not wanting to take any more chances, the Accidental Finalist of Camp Should-A-Been's AI4 replay hid up a pine tree until the curtain went up on the Final 12 show.

As it happens, Murena's closest call of the day came on stage. He and the other two holdover contestants decided to go psychedelic for Sixties Night, and his take on the Strawberry Alarm Clock classic put him squarely in the Bottom Three. But no one could get below Lindsey Cardinale's vocal catastrophe with "Knock On Wood". (Well, actually Mikalah Gordon would have if she had made the Final 12; "Son Of A Preacher Man" scored just 9. But Gordon was back in Las Vegas enjoying a decent dinner and air conditioning.) Meanwhile at the top of the food chain, Nadia Turner notched one of the highest-rated performances of the season, while Bo Bice enjoyed his third 5-star effort in four tries. Note the gargantuan dropoff between those two and the third-highest rated performance.

Much later, an internal investigation showed that a mysterious masked figure had been stalking Murena all day, perhaps feeling that he had something to gain if his rival was forced to withdraw from the competition before the Finals formally got underway. We can't be 100% sure of his identity, but we have our suspicions...particularly because the one time the mystery man was caught on a camp security camera, he gazed deeply into it and batted his eyelids repeatedly.

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Final 11 (Billboard #1 Hits)

Performance Web Rating Result
Alone0000Alone
90
 
2Safe
Time In A Bottle0000Time In A Bottle
75
 
2Safe
Total Eclipse Of The Heart0000Total Eclipse Of The Heart
74
 
2Safe
Best Of My Love0000Best Of My Love
64
 
2Safe
Incomplete0000Incomplete
59
 
2Safe
Ain't Nobody0000Ain't Nobody
43
 
2Safe
Time After Time0000Time After Time
42
 
2Safe
One *0000One *
34
 
2Safe
The One Thing *0000The One Thing *
33
 
4Bottom Group
I Knew You Were Waiting For Me0000I Knew You Were Waiting For Me
31
 
4Bottom Group
Back At One *0000Back At One *
29
 
7Eliminated

Carrie Underwood was still homesick and still surviving at Camp Should-A-Been exclusively on macaroni and cheese, to the point where she was even starting to eye some of the petting zoo animals hungrily. On this night, however, she put all of her troubles aside for 90 seconds. Dressed like Nancy Wilson and singing like Ann, Underwood's "Alone" became the third performance of the AI4 Replay to reach 90. Even her zoo friends gave her a standing ovation.

Other than that, Billboard #1 Hits night was fairly tame. Both Anwar Robinson and Nadia Turner dropped below 50 for the first time, with Turner's outrageous Fro-hawk drawing hoots and whistles from everyone in the audience except Sanjaya Malakar. Both still remained safely in the 3-star range, however, so they were in no danger of elimination. All three holdovers evidently misunderstood the theme, but at least they all chose decent songs and delivered passable performances. It's a rare contestant indeed who gets two trips home on the Bus Of Shame, but Joseph Murena turned the trick tonight; he was back singing jingles in Long Island by the next morning.

Curiously, as the Bus was pulling away, we heard someone watching from high up in the trees scream, "I would've had a 42! I'd still be in the competition if you had taken me back instead!!" Most campers were unfazed, however. Just like in Deliverance, you never know what kind of wackos you'll meet here in the deep woods.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Final 10 (1990s)

Performance Web Rating Result
I Have Nothing0000I Have Nothing
85
 
2Safe
Independence Day0000Independence Day
76
 
2Safe
I'm The Only One0000I'm The Only One
60
 
2Safe
Can We Talk0000Can We Talk
57
 
2Safe
Remedy0000Remedy
53
 
2Safe
On The Side Of Angels0000On The Side Of Angels
35
 
2Safe
If I Had $1,000,000 *0000If I Had $1,000,000 *
31
 
2Safe
Brian Wilson *0000Brian Wilson *
29
 
4Bottom Group
Something About The Way You Look Tonight0000Something About The Way You Look Tonight
25
 
4Bottom Group
I Believe I Can Fly0000I Believe I Can Fly
22
 
7Eliminated

During his stay at Camp Should-A-Been, Anthony Fedorov has made a cottage industry out of narrowly surviving elimination. For the third time in as many Finals episodes, the young Pennsylvanian found himself in the Bottom 3. His Elton John cover on 1990s Night actually fell below the rapidly-decaying approval ratings of the two holdover contestants...but not below the regrettably overblown performance that was Anwar Robinson's "I Believe I Can Fly." Thus, the likeable, dreadlocked teacher was sent back to New Jersey on the Bus Of Shame, a journey that took an extraordinarily long time because they got stuck in rush hour traffic on the Turnpike.

Vonzell Solomon had her best night of the competition, checking in with an 85 for "I Have Nothing". Bo Bice took his first dip below 70, while Jessica Sierra, who was sent home on this night during AI4, made it safely through to the Final 9 despite a very mediocre performance. Both holdovers chose a popular tune by the Barenaked Ladies, with Amanda Avila expressing what she planned to do if she won the recording contract awarded for first place. Buying a K-Car and a new green dress were not among them.

As the audience was walking back to their cabins, they saw a masked vandal dashing into the woods, his long hair flapping wildly behind him. The scoundrel had spray-painted these words on the head cabin: "I had a 61 tonight! I'd still be alive if you'd kept me!" Enough was enough – we told Viktor, Rocco, and Serge to find him and bring him back to Camp, dead or alive. Preferably alive, because that way we'd have to fill out less paperwork.

Wednesday, August 11th, 2008

Final 9 (Classic Musicals)

Performance Web Rating Result
As Long As He Needs Me0000As Long As He Needs Me
72
 
2Safe
People0000People
70
 
2Safe
Hello Young Lovers0000Hello Young Lovers
62
 
2Safe
I'm Free *0000I'm Free *
50
 
2Safe
Corner Of The Sky0000Corner Of The Sky
46
 
2Safe
One Hand One Heart0000One Hand One Heart
37
 
2Safe
Pinball Wizard *0000Pinball Wizard *
28
 
4Bottom Group
Sparks *0000Sparks *
27
 
4Bottom Group
Climb Ev'ry Mountain0000Climb Ev'ry Mountain
10
 
7Eliminated

In previous replays here at Camp Should-A-Been, the long projected runs of contestants like Suzy Vulaca and Vanessa Olivarez suggests that America dismissed a few talented singers much sooner than their performances warranted. Here in AI4, however, the long stays of Judd Harris and Amanda Avila can be explained by the fact that at least one "real" contestant laid an egg in virtually every episode. This time around, Anthony Fedorov's long streak of skin-of-his-teeth survival came to an end. "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" provided viewers with the sound of virtually everything but music.

All three holdover contestants were assigned a song from the rock opera Tommy. Yes, we're well aware that "Sparks" is an instrumental, but Harris's rating had fallen to the point where no one really wanted to hear him sing anyway. Jessica Sierra's first projected rating was a very respectable 50, and she has ample incentive to keep it high: the Tampa Board of Corrections informed her via registered letter this morning that the moment she's eliminated from the competition here at Camp, it's straight back to jail with her. Otherwise, Classic Musicals Night was mostly uneventful, with Nadia Turner leading the way, Bo Bice falling under 50 for the first time, and Nikko Smith becoming the latest finalist to advance beyond his original dismissal date (which is particularly good news because the camp softball team would stink without him.) In other news, the mysterious hoodlum who's been terrorizing the camp since the Finals began is still at large; his latest missive read, "I'd have had a 67 tonight, woo-hoo!" Curse you, you fiend!

Thursday, August 12th, 2008

Final 8 (Year You Were Born)

Performance Web Rating Result
Let's Hear It For The Boy0000Let's Hear It For The Boy
72
 
2Safe
Free Bird0000Free Bird
57
 
2Safe
Love Is A Battlefield0000Love Is A Battlefield
53
 
2Safe
Centerfield *0000Centerfield *
48
 
2Safe
One More Night *0000One More Night *
45
 
2Safe
When I Dream0000When I Dream
32
 
4Bottom Group
99 Luftballoons *000099 Luftballoons *
25
 
4Bottom Group
Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band*0000Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band*
24
 
7Eliminated

One has to respect a principled, uncompromising artist like Nadia Turner. Three years earlier, the frizzy-haired Floridian made arguably the most disastrous song choice in the history of American Idol when, on Year You Were Born Night, she opted for an obscure Crystal Gayle ballad over the enormously popular "Go Your Own Way". Turner paid the ultimate AI price for her artistic integrity when America sent her home on the results show. Came tonight's replay at Camp Should-A-Been, and the resolute Turner...well, she caved. Big time. She begged us to let her sing the Fleetwood Mac song instead, to the point where she even snuck into Rickey Minor's cabin and replaced all the sheet music for her performance. But we're an uncompromising lot ourselves: the rules clearly state that all contestants who are not yet into their projected ratings must duplicate their original performances, come hell or high water...which reminds us, the Camp's septic tank overflowed again.

A despondent Turner wound up in the Bottom Three once more, but this time she caught a break. Judd Harris's and Amanda Avila's projected ratings had decayed so far that even "When I Dream" couldn't get below them. Harris was consoled on his Bus ride home by the knowledge that he'd not made it past Opening Night back in '05, but he finished eighth on merit here at Camp. We admit, however, that this was something of an unsatisfying evening all around, because there was no showstopping and unexpectedly brilliant "Bohemian Rhapsody" to close the show. Our masked marauder reminded us of this fact by skywriting "I would have had a NINETY FREAKING TWO, for Pete's sake! Why did you get rid of me?" Nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters to he. But we'll get him yet.

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Final 7 (1970s Dance Music)

Performance Web Rating Result
Vehicle0000Vehicle
90
 
2Safe
I'm Every Woman0000I'm Every Woman
61
 
2Safe
Go Your Own Way *0000Go Your Own Way *
59
 
2Safe
Take Me Out To The Ball Game *0000Take Me Out To The Ball Game *
44
 
2Safe
House Of The Rising Sun *0000House Of The Rising Sun *
41
 
4Bottom Group
MacArthur Park0000MacArthur Park
36
 
4Bottom Group
The Pledge Of Allegiance *0000The Pledge Of Allegiance *
23
 
7Eliminated

We've long felt that Bo Bice got away with a bit of theme-skirting on the original 70s Dance Music episode. Our crack investigators – that'd be Viktor, Rocco, and Serge, taking a brief break from pursuing our masked antagonist – found no evidence of any living person who actually danced to "Vehicle" in the 1970s. Appropriate or not, Bice's outstanding vocals garnered him his second 90+ rating of the replay and easily outpaced the rest of the field tonight.

Nadia Turner, still trembling from her narrow escape the previous evening, went with a peculiar but in some ways understandable choice. When the producers objected that "Go Your Own Way", strictly speaking, wasn't a 70s dance song, she threw a disco ball at them in fury and chased them out of her dressing room. No way was she singing anything else. Our other three holdover contestants decided if nobody else was going to follow the theme, neither were they. Hence, the audience was treated to performances that weren't from the 70s, or weren't dance music, or in the case of the finally-eliminated Amanda Avila, wasn't even a song at all. But the big surprise was the appearance of none other than Carrie Underwood in the Bottom Three for the very first time, either on the real Idol stage or here at camp! Ryan Seacrest quickly sent her back to safety, possibly because the outraged petting zoo animals were advancing on him menacingly with their teeth bared.

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Final 6 (2000s)

Performance Web Rating Result
I Don't Want To Be0000I Don't Want To Be
84
 
2Safe
I Turn To You0000I Turn To You
59
 
2Safe
Go Your Own Way *0000Go Your Own Way *
53
 
2Safe
When God-Fearin' Women Get The Blues0000When God-Fearin' Women Get The Blues
46
 
2Safe
Low *0000Low *
39
 
4Bottom Group
I Kissed A Girl *0000I Kissed A Girl *
37
 
7Eliminated

Success! After several days of hot pursuit across hill and forest, our Disciplinary Staff finally apprehended the mysterious masked maniac who'd been wreaking havoc on Camp Should-A-Been in retaliation for being dismissed unjustly and too soon. We had Viktor, Rocco, and Serge tie him to a chair on the side of the stage, where we'd unmask him at the conclusion of the 2000s Night replay.

Bo Bice's second straight 5-star approval rating led the way, while Vonzell Solomon contributed her fifth straight Top 2 performance of the competition. (Do you suppose that, just maybe, Solomon was one of the more underappreciated contestants ever on Idol?) Nadia Turner clung to what worked, while Nikko Smith and Jessica Sierra unwisely chose a pair of 2000's songs that most campers are absolutely sick to death of hearing on the radio (not to mention that Jill Sobule's "Kissed" is a billion times better - Ed.) After the show, Ryan Seacrest, eying the petting zoo animals warily, decided to announce only a Bottom 2. Sierra fiddled nervously with her ankle monitor, knowing what was in store if hers was the night's lowest-rated performance...and when Ryan called her name, her eyes widened in fear. She did "100 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall" for her sing-out, attempting to delay the inevitable for as long as possible, but six of Tampa's Finest were standing alongside her on stage, singing backup like The Pips and waiting to take her away in the Paddywagon Of Shame.

OK, time for the unmasking. The crowd rose to its feet as Ryan walked up to the bound man and pulled off his hood, revealing...AHA! Just as we suspected. Brian Dunkelman! Still holding a grudge against AI after all these years. We dragged the former Season One co-host in front of the Camp's recently hired tribunal judge, Constantine Maroulis, where he...what's that? Oh, you mean you thought all along it was actually Maroulis who was...? Nah. Besides, he'd have been sent home tonight anyway with a 30 rating had he advanced to the Finals. At any rate, Judge Constantine sentenced Dunkelman to a life term hosting local-access cable TV shows in anonymity for starvation wages. Sometimes this camp is so close to real life, it hurts.

Tune in tomorrow as your AI4 Replay Top 5 enter the multi-song phase of the competition: Bo Bice, Nikko Smith, Vonzell Solomon, Nadia Turner, and Carrie Underwood.

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Final 5 (Lieber & Stoller / This Week)

Performance Web Rating Result
Stand By Me0000Stand By Me
91
 
2Safe
Heaven0000Heaven
83
 
2Safe
Bless The Broken Road0000Bless The Broken Road
68
 
2Safe
Trouble0000Trouble
62
 
2Safe
When You Tell Me That You Love Me0000When You Tell Me That You Love Me
50
 
2Safe
Go Your Own Way *0000Go Your Own Way *
48
 
4Bottom Group
Treat Me Nice0000Treat Me Nice
48
 
2Safe
Go Your Own Way *0000Go Your Own Way *
43
 
4Bottom Group
Kansas City *0000Kansas City *
35
 
7Eliminated
Hit Me With Your Best Shot *0000Hit Me With Your Best Shot *
32
 
7Eliminated

Nikko Smith had a terrific afternoon. Batting cleanup in Camp Should-A-Been's big softball game against Camp Hoofin'-It (comprised of former Dancing With The Stars contestants), our star shortstop went 4-for-5 with two home runs, six RBIs, and he scored the winning run on a bone-jarring collision at home plate that left opposing catcher Marie Osmond unconscious...again. But the Hall-Of-Famer's son didn't fare as well in the Final 5 replay that evening. Randy observed that Smith's coming on stage with a baseball bat for "Best Shot" was corny and hackneyed, while Simon added that he felt Smith had "fumbled a line drive" with his two performances. The latter demonstrated yet again why Brits should be barred by Federal statute from making American sports analogies.

Meanwhile, Bo Bice was in the middle of another 5-star hitting streak. He easily won the night, with "Stand By Me" becoming his third showstopper of the AI4 Replay. Carrie Underwood, cheered by the appearance of Spaghetti-Os on the kitchen menu, bounced back from several very shaky nights with a pair of 4-star numbers. After the show, Smith left camp on the Bullpen Cart Of Shame to a standing ovation. But don't worry, sports fans – we didn't let him get far. Eliminated or not, we've got a big game coming up tomorrow against Camp Amazin' Racers....

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Final 4 (Country / Gamble & Huff)

Performance Web Rating Result
For The Love Of Money0000For The Love Of Money
81
 
2Safe
Sin Wagon0000Sin Wagon
72
 
2Safe
It's A Great Day To Be Alive0000It's A Great Day To Be Alive
61
 
2Safe
Don't Leave Me This Way0000Don't Leave Me This Way
57
 
4Bottom Group
Go Your Own Way *0000Go Your Own Way *
39
 
7Eliminated
Go Your Own Way *0000Go Your Own Way *
35
 
7Eliminated
How Do I Live0000How Do I Live
28
 
4Bottom Group
If You Don't Know Me By Now0000If You Don't Know Me By Now
24
 
2Safe

Needless to say, by this point every Camp Should-A-Been resident had had it up to here with Nadia Turner singing "Go Your Own Way" night after night. During the Final 4 replay, the seating area was empty for her two performances, as most campers chose to spend the time either in the restrooms or at the concession stand. ("Hmm...meatloaf or macaroni-and-cheese...?") Although neither Turner's country arrangement nor her Philly soul arrangement went over well, and although she left on the Bus Of Shame in fourth place, one fact should be noted clearly: even after six hits on our projected decay curve, Turner's last rating for "Go Your Own Way" was still three points higher than she received for "When I Dream" in the Final 8.

Elsewhere, Bo Bice had another strong night, but Vonzell Solomon and Carrie Underwood suffered their lowest approval ratings of the season. Each advanced only because her other number was comfortably above the pair turned in by Turner. Underwood seemed particularly angry when Ryan announced that her cover of "If You Don't Know Me By Now" was the least-liked of the night. Her eyes briefly glowed red, the wind picked up, the petting zoo animals bayed in the distance, and the Coke cups on the judges' table began to rattle. Perhaps her parents knew what they were doing when they named her "Carrie".

Although the first nine eliminations in the AI4 Replay went nothing at all like they did in real life, the voters did seem to get the Final Three right. Tune in tomorrow to see who'll advance to the Finale.

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Final 3 (Idols' / Clive's / Judges')

Performance Web Rating Result
In A Dream0000In A Dream
96
 
2Safe
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me0000Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
82
 
2Safe
Crying0000Crying
75
 
2Safe
Making Love Out Of Nothing At All0000Making Love Out Of Nothing At All
54
 
2Safe
Chain Of Fools0000Chain Of Fools
52
 
7Eliminated
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction0000(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
49
 
2Safe
On The Radio0000On The Radio
46
 
7Eliminated
Man! I Feel Like A Woman0000Man! I Feel Like A Woman
40
 
2Safe
I'll Never Love This Way Again0000I'll Never Love This Way Again
32
 
7Eliminated

It remains arguably the most dramatic moment in the history of American Idol. Bo Bice doused the house lights, told the band that their services would not be required, and delivered a spine-tingling a capella rendition of Badlands' "In A Dream", to the tune of an unprecedented 96 rating. Many campers here at Camp Should-A-Been anticipated that Bice's replay performance wouldn't pack the same punch, inasmuch as the element of surprise would be missing. They were wrong. In fact, all of the Final 3 performances were done a capella and without lights. That's because we gave the band the night off to cut costs, and we forgot to pay the electric bill again.

Bice's "Dream" was as brilliant as ever, and the Alabama rocker cruised into the Finale with a mean rating of nearly 76. Joining him once more was Carrie Underwood who averaged 56, led by a 75 for "Crying". And that meant the end of the road for Florida's favorite mail carrier, Vonzell Solomon. Baby V's three performances averaged under 50, putting her in third place once more. It was a tearful goodbye for the likeable Solomon, who left camp in the Postal Van Of Shame. A good sport to the end, she did promise to deliver our electric bill payment on her way home. The check's just going to bounce, of course, but we still hate being late with it.

So for the second time in four seasons, the Camp Should-A-Been Finale is a repeat of the original matchup. Will Carrie Underwood repeat as champion, or will Bo Bice steal her crown? We'll find out tomorrow as our Season Four replay concludes....

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Finale

Performance Web Rating Result
Vehicle0000VehicleReprise performance
71
 
2Safe
Independence Day0000Independence DayReprise performance
54
 
7Eliminated
Inside Your Heaven0000Inside Your Heaven
49
 
2Safe
Angels Brought Me Here0000Angels Brought Me Here
48
 
7Eliminated
Long Long Road0000Long Long Road
35
 
2Safe
Inside Your Heaven0000Inside Your Heaven
29
 
7Eliminated

As we sweep the pine needles from the stage after the AI4 Finale, we can only reflect in awe on the latest dramatic, unexpected conclusion to a Camp Should-A-Been Replay. Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood started the show with their "favorite performance" selection, in which Bice jumped out to a 17 point lead. Next came a pair of lesser-known songs from other Idol franchises, and Underwood's "Angels Brought Me Here" outpointed Bice's "Long Long Road" 48 to 35. That meant our finalists were separated by just four points entering the final round, featuring the annual musical emetic known as the American Idol Original Winner's Song™. And it was a doozy this year: the universally-panned "Inside Your Heaven". Whoever could make the tastiest lemonade out of that lemon would be the winner!

To build the suspense, we had Bice and Underwood come onstage together and sing the song simultaneously. At first, it looked like Underwood had the upper hand: Bice begain twitching halfway through the first verse and was in full convulsions by the chorus. But lines like "Naturally my soul surrenders / The sun and the moonlight / All my dreams are in your eyes" soon took their toll on the Oklahoman as well. She dropped to her knees and began retching uncontrollably in the middle of the bridge. Bice, meanwhile, had a brainstorm: he delivered the final chorus in American Sign Language, which allowed him to remain mostly conscious almost to the final note. Both were still lying prone on the stage when the judges announced that Bo Bice, by a margin of 24 points, was the AI4 Replay Champion of Camp Should-A-Been. The audience applauded wildly, and Bice thanked everyone with a weak thumbs-up before passing out for good.

After Bice and Underwood departed on the Ambulance Of Shame Victory, the camp counselors reflected once more on the odd twist of fate that left Constantine Maroulis out of the Final 12. We're sure many of our camp guests are wondering how the competition would have played out had Maroulis made it through instead of Joseph Murena. In fact, the outcome of our replay would have been quite different: Carrie Underwood, for example, wouldn't have survived "Macarthur Park", and Vonzell Solomon would have been computing her projected ratings for the Finale and thinking "maybe...just maybe...." Which brings us to our latest great idea: suppose we invited all the contestants to Camp Would-A-Should-A-Could-A-Been where we ......aw, never mind.

—   The End   —

Camp Should-A-Been – Season Four Results

  1. Bo Bice
  2. Carrie Underwood
  3. Vonzell Solomon
  4. Nadia Turner
  5. Nikko Smith
  6. Jessica Sierra
  7. Amanda Avila
  8. Judd Harris
  9. Anthony Fedorov
  10. Anwar Robinson
  11. Joseph Murena
  12. Lindsey Cardinale

-- The staff of WNTS.com

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