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Camp Should-A-Been - Season Eight

Camp Should-A-Been

Personal space is at a premium over in newly-constructed Cabin Eight. Partly that's because we shoehorned 36 people into a building designed for 24, and partly because the contestants themselves voted to sleep 35 in one bunkroom and Tatiana Del Toro in the other. To make matters worse, the producers are here for the summer too, and they're attempting to script every waking moment of the Idols' lives: when to shower, when to eat, when to gag, and especially when to go home. Ah, but when the curtain goes up over the Camp Should-A-Been ampitheater every evening, that's when we camp counselors and our WNTS approval ratings have the final word. Will Kris Allen defend his surprising crown, or might Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, or maybe even an unheralded semifinalist beat him to the wire? Read the full introduction to the Season Eight replay here, and join us daily in the summer of 2009. Heck, you can even spend the night if you want – Tatiana says she has plenty of room.

Results

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Semifinal Group One (Billboard Top 100)

Performance Web Rating Result
Hero0000Hero
79
 
2Safe
I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)0000I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
79
 
2Safe
A Song For You0000A Song For You
72
 
2Safe
Saving All My Love For You0000Saving All My Love For You
62
 
5Wild Card
Angel Of Mine0000Angel Of Mine
59
 
5Wild Card
A Natural Woman0000A Natural Woman
47
 
7Eliminated
I Don't Want To Be0000I Don't Want To Be
41
 
7Eliminated
A Little Less Conversation0000A Little Less Conversation
37
 
7Eliminated
Hicktown0000Hicktown
35
 
7Eliminated
Rock With You0000Rock With You
24
 
7Eliminated
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic0000Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
12
 
7Eliminated
You Belong With Me0000You Belong With Me
11
 
7Eliminated

We're ba-a-ack! And, we have a full house on hand as we kick off the Season Eight Replay tonight with the Group One semifinal. Every past American Idol contestant is in the audience, after having checked a map to convince themselves that they couldn't possibly survive the miles-long hike into town. They'd have to climb another mountain, make it through the pain, weather a hurricane, that sort of stuff. The producers are here too, in a special luxury suite we constructed for them at the top of the theater. (Actually, it's the wooden crate that our new urinals arrived in, with the words "OFFISHUL 19E LUXUЯY BOX" stenciled on the side, but they seem happy with it.)

Nobody hit 5-stars on Opening Night, though Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace barely missed. Just as in the original episode, they won the first two tickets into the Final 13. The third advancer, to no one's surprise, was Ricky Braddy, whose pair of 4-star performances this February weren't good enough for the judges, but which were more than good enough here at Camp. Anoop Desai and Tatiana Del Toro both received invitations to the Wild Card show later this week. A grateful Del Toro stepped to the microphone stand afterwards to say a few words of thanks. Last we looked, at 2am, she was still going. How come there's never a good hailstorm when you need one?

Not so fortunate were the other seven contestants, all of whom went one-and-done. Casey Carlson and Stevie Wright were particularly dreadful, turning in the summer's first 1-star lemons. Joining them on the legendary Bus Of Shame were Ann Marie Boskovich, Stephen Fowler, Brent Keith, Jackie Tohn, and, to the producers' dismay, original 10th-place finisher Michael Sarver. We sent the amiable oil rigger back to the "fourth most dangerous job in America", but not before he declined his choice of the three more hazadarous ones, all of which are here at Camp Should-A-Been. That'd be Meatloaf Taste Tester, Restroom Sanitation Engineer, and Judges' Ego Tamer.

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Semifinal Group Two (Billboard Top 100)

Performance Web Rating Result
Alone0000Alone
82
 
2Safe
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction0000(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
65
 
2Safe
Man In The Mirror0000Man In The Mirror
63
 
2Safe
Put Your Records On0000Put Your Records On
57
 
5Wild Card
Drops Of Jupiter0000Drops Of Jupiter
54
 
5Wild Card
Bette Davis Eyes0000Bette Davis Eyes
48
 
7Eliminated
And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going0000And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going
39
 
7Eliminated
What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted0000What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
35
 
7Eliminated
If You Could Only See0000If You Could Only See
30
 
7Eliminated
Love Song0000Love Song
25
 
7Eliminated
Viva La Vida0000Viva La Vida
21
 
7Eliminated
This Love0000This Love
6
 
7Eliminated

Listen to them. Crying and carrying on like infants!  (*Sigh*)  Look, we know the producers and judges loved Matt Giraud and Jasmine Murray, and we're sure they were huge hits with the focus groups and all that. But this is Camp Should-A-Been, where every bad song choice might be your last. And when the two real-life finalists butchered "Love Song" and "Viva La Vida" to start the Group Two show, that was that. They're outta here, no matter how much Simon Fuller and his lackeys threaten us or squawk about the rules. Viktor, Rocco, Serge, our loyal Disciplinary Counselors: kindly escort Ms. Murray and Mr. Giraud to the Bus Of Shame!

To be honest, most of the other performers tonight weren't exactly world-beaters either. The supposed "Super Group" of Season Eight checked in with the lowest approval rating of the semifinals. Unheralded Allison Iraheta was the big surprise: in what was the 1000th performance in American Idol history (really!), the scarlet-haired teen notched an 82 to advance to the Final 13. Joining her were two guys whose names we didn't catch; they were too busy arguing with one another as to who misplaced their BFF Bottle of black nail polish. Much-criticized original finalist Meghan Corkrey sang well enough to earn a Wild Card invitation, though her sway-dancing was so atrocious that Nigel Lythgoe stopped by her dressing room afterwards to inform her, "Don't even THINK about it." The only other contestant to score above 50 was Mishavonna Henson, who also gets a callback to Wednesday night's show.

Oh, lookee here. Ken Warwick and Kara DioGuardi are lying on the ground in front of the Bus, figuring that'll prevent it from leaving. Heh.

Anyway, the rest of this lot were pretty dreadful. At least Nick Mitchell wasn't trying to be serious, but all of them are going home regardless, because that's how we do things around here, dammit! So it's farewell to Mitchell, Giraud, Murray, Kai Kalama, Matt Brietzke, Jeanine Vailes, and...JESSE LANGSETH??!  Wait a minute! We can't send her home! She's freaking awesome!!! What's that? A 48 approval rating?? Bah! What the hell do these web reviewers have in their ears, cotton? Serge, you big ape, get your hands off her! Who made up these stupid rules anyway?! Waaa-aaa-aaaahhh!!!!

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Semifinal Group Three (Billboard Top 100)

Performance Web Rating Result
Be Without You0000Be Without You
82
 
2Safe
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me0000Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
78
 
2Safe
No One0000No One
76
 
2Safe
Hey There Delilah0000Hey There Delilah
66
 
5Wild Card
Mandolin Rain0000Mandolin Rain
63
 
5Wild Card
Give Me One Reason0000Give Me One Reason
59
 
5Wild Card
You're All I Need To Get By0000You're All I Need To Get By
58
 
5Wild Card
This One's For The Girls0000This One's For The Girls
45
 
7Eliminated
I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)0000I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)
35
 
7Eliminated
If I Ain't Got You0000If I Ain't Got You
25
 
7Eliminated
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues0000I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
20
 
7Eliminated
The Winner Takes It All0000The Winner Takes It All
13
 
7Eliminated

We spent most of the early morning hours bonding with our new drinking buddies, the producers, as we drowned our collective sorrows at seeing so many of our favorite contestants eliminated the evening before. By the end of the night, they told us that although they think we're too snarky and abusive to them sometimes, they know that deep down we're good people and that they appreciate all we do for American Idol. We reciprocated by sneaking under the table and tying their shoelaces together.

Fortunately, the Group Three show wasn't nearly as painful. For one reason, it began with an absolutely beatiful rendition of the National Anthem courtesy of, uh, Jesse Langseth. (Look, we just wanted to hear her sing one more time, okay? We'll put her on the Bus tonight.) For another, hardly anyone went home. Even though the lineup seemed to be comprised mostly of cannon fodder, over half of the contestants came in above 50. Lil Rounds led the way with an excellent 82, though she bristled visibly when the judges kept referring to her as "Little." Puerto Rico's Jorge Nuñez also advanced once more, and they were joined by the "37th" semifinalist, late replacement Felicia Barton. Meanwhile, half of the Wild Card field came from this episode. Scott Macintyre, whom the Idol stylists dressed in a purple polka dot shirt and neon green pants, earned an invite, as did original Wild Card participant Von Smith and two newcomers: Ju'Not Joyner and Kristen McNamara.

Things deteriorated a bit after that. Kendall Beard turned in what we thought was a pretty good performance, but a 45 wasn't quite enough to go through. Nathaniel Marshall made an ill-advised song choice, after which Ryan Seacrest took him by the hand and attempted to humiliate him by having him sit on Simon's lap again and...oh dear. Well, now we know how Marshall spent the past five months: earning a black belt in judo. Who knew Ryan's spine could bend like that? Alex Wagner-Trugman got a little carried away during his performance and knocked over the microphone stand, the judges' table, and the craft shack; when we put him on the Bus Of Shame, he accidentally kicked out two windows. Arianna Afsar and Taylor Vaifanua, thank heavens, left without causing our insurance premiums to rise.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Wild Card (Billboard Hot 100)

Performance Web Rating Result
My Prerogative0000My Prerogative
61
 
2Safe
Hey Paula *0000Hey Paula *
59
 
2Safe
Sharp Dressed Man *0000Sharp Dressed Man *
56
 
2Safe
Tell Me Something Good *0000Tell Me Something Good *
53
 
2Safe
Venus *0000Venus *
48
 
7Eliminated
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree0000Black Horse And The Cherry Tree
35
 
7Eliminated
Saving All My Love For You0000Saving All My Love For YouReprise performance
34
 
7Eliminated
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word0000Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
25
 
7Eliminated

Before tonight's Wild Card episode at Camp Should-A-Been, we asked the judges which of the 27 contestants who hadn't yet advanced to the Finals they felt most deserved to be there. Randy said Anoop Desai because he's cool, Kara said Matt Giraud because he's hot, Simon said Megan Joy because she's different, and Paula said Leah LaBelle, because she's Paula. Well, one out of four ain't bad. Although a 61 doesn't normally lead the list around here, Desai's cover of "My Prerogative" earned him a trip to the Finals on his second chance, just like in the original series.

After that, however, just like on every Wild Card night, things turned weird in a hurry. Take Ju'Not Joyner, for instance. Having sung "Hey There Delilah" for his audition, his Hollywood solo number, and his semifinal performance, Joyner was forced to come up with something new. Aware that a reprise this early in the competition would be utterly laughable, he chose Paul & Paula's 1963 smash "Hey Paula" because the titles were similar and because sucking up to the judges a little never hurt. His was the first projected rating of the season, a 59, which was good enough for the Baltimore native to become the third newcomer into the Final 13. Scott Macintyre also needed a projected rating because he'd advanced directly to the Finals originally. His ZZ Top cover was a pointed message to the stylists to treat him with a little respect for once, but it didn't work: silver cowboy boots, gym shorts, a chartreuse mohair jacket, and a clip-on beard down to his waist. Oh well, at least he advanced once more. But perhaps the biggest surprise of the semifinals was who earned that lucky 13th chair: Kristen McNamara, of all people, thanks to a decent 53 rating on "Tell Me Something Good" featuring Jesse Langseth on backup vocals (we know, we know...soon, we promise.)

Who didn't make it? Well, Megan Joy for one, who changed her stage name at least six times between her dress rehearsal and her performance. In exasperation, we had Ryan Seacrest introduce her as Raymond Luxury-Yacht (and if you don't know how to pronounce that properly, see any Monty Python fan for instructions.) Von Smith, for another, whose 25-rated Elton John cover went over no better at Camp than it did in real life. Mishavonna Henson for a third; her Idol journey ended after visiting just two planets. And joining that trio on the Bus Of Shame: none other than Tatiana Del Toro, who obviously missed the briefing about "utterly laughable." We should point out though that Del Toro was the only person actually on the Bus when it left camp. The other three departed on foot, deciding they'd take their chances with the mountains and the pain and the hurricanes, thank you very much.

And that left us with this baker's dozen of finalists for our Season Eight replay:

  • Kris Allen
  • Felicia Barton
  • Ricky Braddy
  • Anoop Desai
  • Danny Gokey
  • Alexis Grace
  • Ju'Not Joyner
  • Allison Iraheta
  • Adam Lambert
  • Scott Macintyre
  • Kristen McNamara
  • Jorge Nuñez
  • Lil Rounds

Newcomers in italics. Failing to qualify: Matt Giraud, Megan Joy, Jasmine Murray, and Michael Sarver. Join us tomorrow night when we get the Finals underway.

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Final 13 (Michael Jackson)

Performance Web Rating Result
Give In To Me0000Give In To Me
82
 
2Safe
Black Or White0000Black Or White
81
 
2Safe
Dirty Diana0000Dirty Diana
77
 
2Safe
The Way You Make Me Feel0000The Way You Make Me Feel
74
 
2Safe
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)0000P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
72
 
2Safe
ABC *0000ABC *
68
 
2Safe
Superstition *0000Superstition *
65
 
2Safe
Remember The Time0000Remember The Time
56
 
2Safe
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' *0000Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' *
53
 
2Safe
Butterflies *0000Butterflies *
47
 
2Safe
Keep The Faith0000Keep The Faith
39
 
4Bottom Group
Beat It0000Beat It
25
 
7Eliminated
Never Can Say Goodbye0000Never Can Say Goodbye
24
 
7Eliminated

The producers summoned us to their R.V. camp earlier this afternoon and demanded to know: how did we plan to support the new Judges' Save rule here at Camp Should-A-Been? Simon Fuller explained personally that 19E had made, ah, certain strategic investments in several of their most promising plants finalists, and management wanted to feel certain that their marketing plans wouldn't be thwarted by one little untimely train wreck. Not to worry, we assured them, we were on it. The CSAB team had developed a set of objective mathematical criteria as to when an eliminee was eligible to be saved, which we'd sealed in a special gold envelope. If the judges' chose to exercise their option any time before the Final Five, all they had to do was open it and see if the contestant qualified. If so, the save would be permitted. Then, before we left, we snuck under the table and tied their shoelaces together again. We love this job.

Thankfully, there would be little reason to save anyone this soon in the Finals. The Michael Jackson Night replay turned out to be one of the strongest nights we'd ever had at Camp. No fewer than seven Idols came in at 4-stars or better, with three more, including defending champ Kris Allen, solidly in the 3-star range. Allison Iraheta led the way again with another 82 rating, though we thought her hair looked a little funny. We learned later that she'd lost her bottle of red hair dye, so she had to improvise with the closest thing she could find: a packet of macaroni-and-cheese mix from the mess hall. Adam Lambert was right behind with a high-energy, highly polarizing "Black Or White". Still, there were some awkward moments: Alexis Grace seemed puzzled when Kara DioGuardi advised her to "dirty up" her look a little after what was otherwise a very strong performance. Felicia Barton led the way among the holdover contestants with a solid 68 on a Jackson 5 song she says she often sings to her toddler son. Baby Barton might never learn his alphabet properly, but you just know the kid is going to rock. Finally, in a bit of perfect serendipity, Ricky Braddy was able to recycle his Stevie Wonder performance from the Wild Card show without any accusations of theme-skirting, because it happens to be a song that Michael Jackson actually sang.

The show was so strong that Scott Macintyre, who missed a 3-star rating by just one point, nevertheless wound up in the Bottom Three. In an attempt to foil the sadistic Idol stylists, he sang at the piano clad only in a beach towel; we didn't have the heart to tell him they'd handed him a Care Bears one. Dismissed tonight on a pair of most ironic song choices were Jorge Nuñez, who finished thirteenth once more, and original sixth-place finisher Anoop Desai. The judges all bit their lips and stared at the gold envelope on their table when Desai's name was called. But in the end, they decided it was much too early to risk using the Save. We sent the two guys off in the Bus Of Shame with a DVD of the North Carolina Tar Heels' hoops victory in the NCAA Championships this spring, which ought to make the cross-country ride happier for at least one of them.

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Final 11 (Grand Ole Opry)

Performance Web Rating Result
To Make You Feel My Love0000To Make You Feel My Love
76
 
2Safe
Blame It On Your Heart0000Blame It On Your Heart
69
 
2Safe
Summertime Blues *0000Summertime Blues *
61
 
2Safe
Friends In Low Places *0000Friends In Low Places *
61
 
2Safe
Jesus, Take The Wheel0000Jesus, Take The Wheel
58
 
2Safe
Ring Of Fire0000Ring Of Fire
51
 
2Safe
Shameless *0000Shameless *
47
 
2Safe
Jolene0000Jolene
44
 
2Safe
Poor Poor Pitiful Me *0000Poor Poor Pitiful Me *
42
 
4Bottom Group
Independence Day0000Independence Day
37
 
4Bottom Group
Wild Angels0000Wild Angels
34
 
7Eliminated

Things were now getting very fishy. First Adam Lambert's nail polish, then Allison Iraheta's hair dye, and today, Danny Gokey's entire collection of designer eyeglasses (okay, so Milwaukee isn't exactly the fashion capital of the world) disappeared from Cabin Eight. Did we have a kleptomaniac in our midst? A search of all eight cabins turned up nothing, save for the fact that a remarkable number of American Idol contestants are slobs. We mean, seriously, would it be that hard for Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson to stack up their gold records neatly by their bunks?

Anyway, tonight's Grand Ole Opry show wasn't bad, but it was a bit of a comedown from the night before particularly since Matt Giraud and Anoop Desai were nowhere to be found. (From the Producers' Box: "We told you so!!!") Kris Allen wound up high man on the night with his Bob Dylan-via-Garth Brooks cover of "To Make You Feel My Love". Gokey soldiered on by singing "Jesus Take The Wheel (Because I Sure As Heck Can't See Where I'm Going)" to a reasonable 58. The most talked about performance, of course, was Adam Lambert's sitar-infused "Ring Of Fire", which left half the audience retching and the other half...well, they were retching too; dinner at the mess hall was particularly rancid tonight. But they at least were trying to applaud at the same time.

Alexis Grace mussed up her hair and ripped her sleeves a bit, but it wasn't enough to satisfy Kara who advised her to "dirty it up even more". On the bright side, her 44 rating on "Jolene" was good enough to satisfy our formulas, and so she became the first real-life finalist to advance further at Camp Should-A-Been than on TV. Leaving instead for Arizona was original eighth-place finisher Scott Macintyre, who took his dismissal in stride. He said he certainly wouldn't miss Fremantle's annoying stylists (tonight's outfit involved mauve body paint and a thong), but he did say he was grateful to have had the opportunity to prove that he belonged in the AI8 Finals. Moreover, he thanked we camp counselors for being sensitive to his disability and not playing any cruel pranks at his expense, before taking up his cane and heading off to board the Bus Of Shame. The young man's sense of humor and grace almost made us feel guilty that we parked the Bus in the middle of the poison ivy patch. Almost.

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Final 10 (Motown)

Performance Web Rating Result
The Tracks Of My Tears0000The Tracks Of My Tears
85
 
2Safe
Papa Was A Rolling Stone0000Papa Was A Rolling Stone
80
 
2Safe
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)0000How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
68
 
2Safe
Shop Around *0000Shop Around *
60
 
2Safe
It Takes Two *0000It Takes Two *
55
 
2Safe
It Takes Two *0000It Takes Two *
55
 
2Safe
Get Ready0000Get Ready
54
 
2Safe
Do You Love Me *0000Do You Love Me *
42
 
4Bottom Group
Heat Wave0000Heat Wave
42
 
4Bottom Group
When I'm Gone *0000When I'm Gone *
38
 
7Eliminated

More of the contestants' personal items vanished out of Cabin Eight today. This time it was Lil Rounds's hair dryer, Felicia Barton's frequent-flyer card, and Kris Allen's elevator shoes. We had our Disciplinary Counselors – Viktor, Rocco, Serge, and Jesse – question every camper individually, though we instructed them to go easy on the meatloafboarding for the time being. But by curtain time tonight, the mystery still hadn't been solved.

As for the show itself, a Motown theme usually works out pretty well for American Idol and tonight was no exception. We couldn't afford Smokey Robinson's mentoring fee, so we dressed Randy Jackson in a Smokey The Bear costume instead. ("That was hot as a forest fire, dawg!") Adam Lambert posted the finest rating of the replay thus far, an 85 for "The Tracks Of My Tears", though the media seemed strangely preoccupied on other matters at the post-show press conference. ("So, uh, Adam, do you like gladiator movies?") Also reaching 5-stars once more was ketchup-haired Allison Iraheta, while Alexis Grace's first projected rating was a solid 60 despite Kara's continued kvetching that her look still wasn't "dirty" enough. Recognizing that their projected rating curves were almost identical, Ricky Braddy and Felicia Barton decided to stage Camp Should-A-Been's first duet a few weeks early, aptly choosing the classic Marvin Gaye-Kim Weston number. Which one was fractionally ahead? We're not saying yet.

Finishing in tenth place tonight was Kristen McNamara, the first of our four holdover semifinalists to fall. Seeing as she's now been a contestant on Nashville Star, American Idol, and Camp Should-A-Been, we didn't exactly send her straight home. We had the Bus Of Shame drop her off at the casting call for Fox's newest TV talent series: Sooner Or Later I've Got To Win One Of These Things!

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Final 9 (Top iTunes Downloads)

Performance Web Rating Result
Ain't No Sunshine0000Ain't No Sunshine
85
 
2Safe
Play That Funky Music0000Play That Funky Music
69
 
2Safe
Don't Speak0000Don't Speak
55
 
2Safe
What Hurts The Most0000What Hurts The Most
55
 
2Safe
Dirty *0000Dirty *
53
 
2Safe
Let's Stay Together *0000Let's Stay Together *
49
 
4Bottom Group
Let's Stay Together *0000Let's Stay Together *
49
 
4Bottom Group
Hey There Delilah *0000Hey There Delilah *
38
 
4Bottom Group
I Surrender0000I Surrender
36
 
7Eliminated

Kris Allen had been keeping a low profile thus far at Camp Should-A-Been...in more ways than one, of course. The diminutive defending champ had been patiently waiting for Top Downloads Night as his first big chance to shine. But when he awoke this morning, he was shaken to discover that someone had stolen his electric piano from under his bunk! His fellow AI8 contestants, however, were fed up with of all the thievery, and they soon hatched a plan. All nine of them spent the day in the woodworking shack, building a piano-like instrument out of whatever spare parts they could find around camp. The resulting contraption consisted of packing crates, glue, baling wire, wooden blocks, and 88 partly-filled red Coke glasses. But Allen somehow managed to play it masterfully during his performance of "Ain't No Sunshine", for a superb 85 rating. He earned a standing ovation from his fellow campers for the effort, but oddly subdued reviews from the judges... particularly Paula, who was far more interested in sampling what was in those glasses.

Alas, the Idols' selfless act in assisting their friend seemed to take a toll on their own approval ratings. Well, actually, no: they merely made a boatload of lousy song choices; we were just trying to be nice. Adam Lambert earned a puzzling 4-stars on what we counselors felt was a rather silly "Play That Funky Music", and almost everyone else kind of congregated around 50. Alexis Grace tried doing her Christina Aguilera cover in a leather bustier and fishnet stockings, but Kara said she was still coming off as too squeaky-clean. Felicia Barton and Ricky Braddy did another duet, but they wound up in the Bottom Three along with Ju'Not Joyner, who went back to basics. But bringing up the rear was Lil Rounds, whose ratings had tailed off dramatically since her excellent debut. Simon glanced momentarily at the gold envelope on the table, shook his head sadly, and sighed, "Little, I feel we've lost you." Quite literally, in fact, since nobody knew where the heck she was. Turns out the mother of three had snuck out of camp when the results were announced and was at the day spa in town, enjoying a relaxing facial and massage before she got shipped back home to Memphis. Not a mom on earth could blame her.

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Final 8 (Year You Were Born)

Performance Web Rating Result
Mad World0000Mad World
92
 
2Safe
I Can't Make You Love Me0000I Can't Make You Love Me
83
 
2Safe
All She Wants To Do Is Dance0000All She Wants To Do Is Dance
49
 
2Safe
Naughty Girls (Need Love Too) *0000Naughty Girls (Need Love Too) *
48
 
2Safe
Stand By Me0000Stand By Me
44
 
4Bottom Group
Leather And Lace *0000Leather And Lace *
44
 
4Bottom Group
Leather And Lace *0000Leather And Lace *
44
 
4Bottom Group
Oh No *0000Oh No *
34
 
7Eliminated

Our eight remaining contestants awoke this morning to find that all of their remaining personal items had been removed from their cabin overnight. Did this faze them? Not at all. In solidarity, they joined hands around the camp's flagpole and began joyously singing that Whoville song from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, which seemed awfully out of place for the last day of June but it turns out none of them knew the lyrics to "Kumbaya".

They were still in their pajamas when the Year You Were Born episode got underway. Needless to say, Adam Lambert's spectacular "Mad World" was the highlight of the show. We didn't have any blue stage lights for his performance, so the other seven contestants chipped in by illuminating him with their cell phones and MP3 players, then applauded wildly when he finished. This finally brought Simon Cowell to the breaking point. "What is wrong with you people!?" he shouted, lighting a cigarette in frustration. "What more do I have to do to get you to hate one another?" Simon, you mean you're the one who's been stealing their stuff? "Precisely. TV ratings are down 15% since I became an executive producer and made backstage drama a priority, but I still say one good catfight will change all that. But all this lot does is be nice to one another. Next season I'm going to hold all the auditions in biker bars," he grumbled. Honestly, we expected that the Grinch would be greener and have a better haircut. But what did you do with all the stuff you took?

Moments later, Ryan Seacrest came onstage in red-dyed hair, black nail polish, and thick-framed eyeglasses to announce the results. Danny Gokey fell under 50 for the first time and wound up in the Bottom Three, joined by our serial duetists, Felicia Barton and Ricky Braddy. Leaving us tonight, however, was Ju'Not Joyner, whose lone real-life performance was good enough for an eighth-place finish on merit at Camp Should-A-Been. We gave him a cortisone shot for the road, then sent him home to Baltimore on the Bus Of Shame, but only after he promised to send us back some crabcakes.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Final 7 (Songs From The Cinema)

Performance Web Rating Result
Born To Be Wild0000Born To Be Wild
68
 
2Safe
Falling Slowly0000Falling Slowly
64
 
2Safe
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing0000I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
47
 
2Safe
Grease *0000Grease *
43
 
2Safe
Summer Nights *0000Summer Nights *
39
 
4Bottom Group
Summer Nights *0000Summer Nights *
39
 
4Bottom Group
Endless Love0000Endless Love
35
 
7Eliminated

Problem: the shows here at Camp Should-A-Been were running later and later every night. Like, six hours later. The judges insisted on delivering measure-by-measure critiques to each singer – literally. ("Allison, just keepin' it real, you were a little pitchy on the second note of the fourth measure, but the third note was hot and the fourth one was smokin'! Now, on the fifth measure...") The Fearsome Foursome arrived at their table for tonight's Songs From The Cinema episode fully expecting that we'd have them judge the singers in pairs, same as before. They were quite surprised then when we had Viktor, Rocco and Serge strap them to their chairs and duct-tape their mouths shut for the evening. The show still ran past 9pm, but that was mainly because it started late – the audience didn't stop celebrating and pelting the judges with popcorn for almost an hour.

Adam Lambert led the way for the second straight time, albeit with a drop of almost 25 points from the night before. We thought Kris Allen's faithful rendition of "Falling Slowly" went over better here at camp, despite Randy's bulging eyeballs and head shakes in disagreement, though we do feel that the backup singer on the duet had a little something to do with it. For Danny Gokey, however, it was a rough night. He'd requested a harp and a string quartet for "Endless Love"; we gave him Chikezie on harmonica and Allen on viola. When Ryan announced that the Wisconsin choir leader had the show's lowest-rated performance, the judges all shouted "Mmmph!" and gestured with their heads towards the gold envelope on the table. Did they want to try to use their Save option on Gokey? All four of them nodded vigorously. We opened the envelope and announced to the assembled throng the Official Camp Should-A-Been Judges' Save Criteria, which read in full:

"No."

Sorry, but according to the official CSAB By-Laws, the lowest-rated contestant is eliminated each night. Any "Save" rule, no matter how we implemented it, would violate our fundamental premise, because it would mean we'd be sending home someone who'd outsung another. We heard a blood-curdling scream nearby, and for a moment we thought Gokey had decided to do "Dream On" for his sing-out. But in fact, it was just the producers from their Luxury Box. And life went on.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Final 6 (Disco)

Performance Web Rating Result
She Works Hard For The Money0000She Works Hard For The Money
85
 
2Safe
If I Can't Have You0000If I Can't Have You
78
 
2Safe
Hot Stuff0000Hot Stuff
70
 
2Safe
Bad Girls *0000Bad Girls *
38
 
4Bottom Group
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do *0000Breaking Up Is Hard To Do *
35
 
4Bottom Group
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do *0000Breaking Up Is Hard To Do *
35
 
7Eliminated

Ever the good sports, the judges volunteered to be bound and gagged once more for the Final Six's performances, provided we plugged their ears this time, too. No dice, we told them. Disco Night is historically one of the most dismal themes on the Idol calendar. If they have to sing it, you have to judge it.

As it turned out, the contestants didn't really do much in the way of getting down tonight. All of them rearranged everything about their disco numbers, including their own appearances. Thus, Kris Allen came out with bright red hair, Allison Iraheta in black nail polish and guyliner, and Adam Lambert in faded blue jeans that were six inches too short for him. We almost had to agree with Simon: this camaraderie stuff was getting out of hand. Nonetheless, the so-called "Kradison" trio posted the three highest-rated performances of the night for the umpteeth straight episode, led by Allen's imaginative folk-blues take on "She Works Hard For The Money". Alexis Grace tried a punk-rock version of "Bad Girls", falling below 3-stars for the first time. We won't discuss what she wore, save to say that Kara thought it still wasn't dirty enough, and that the state police's Vice Squad investigators paid a visit to her dressing room afterwards.

Fully aware that one of them was going home tonight, Ricky Braddy and Felicia Barton staged their final duet while re-enacting the death scene from Romeo And Juliet. Here comes Ryan Seacrest with the results, to two decimal places. And by a final margin of 0.17 points, the one who was on the short end of their tie the entire way down was...Barton. The Virginia mom nonetheless beamed with satisfaction at her excellent sixth-place finish – arguably the most remarkable feat in our eight replays thus far at Camp Should-A-Been considering not only was she passed over for a Wild Card spot, but the producers didn't want her in the Top 36 to begin with! If that illustrates the quality of their pre-semifinals screening process, then next summer we're going to have to invite all 100,000 auditioners to camp. Guess we'd better start preparing some extra meatloaf.

Tune in tomorrow when our Definitive Final Five – Kris Allen, Ricky Braddy, Alexis Grace, Allison Iraheta, and Adam Lambert – enter the multiple-song phase of the competi—...oh wait, the judges still won't shut up long enough to permit that, will they? (* Sigh *). Where'd we put the duct tape?

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Final 5 (Rat Pack Standards)

Performance Web Rating Result
Someone To Watch Over Me0000Someone To Watch Over Me
75
 
4Bottom Group
Feeling Good0000Feeling Good
70
 
4Bottom Group
The Way You Look Tonight0000The Way You Look Tonight
58
 
4Bottom Group
Summer Wind *0000Summer Wind *
34
 
4Bottom Group
Softly As I Leave You *0000Softly As I Leave You *
31
 
7Eliminated

Sorry, folks, but tonight's Rat Pack Standards show has been postponed. Seems we had an itsy-bitsy little accident at dress rehearsals tonight. See, we needed a big, illuminated mechanical staircase for Adam Lambert to make his dramatic entrance on "Feeling Good". So, our campers were back in the woodworking shack this afternoon building him a 25-foot replica of the one on American Idol, which they fitted to an old lawn tractor. But as Lambert started his descent tonight, something went terribly wrong, and the stairs began careening wildly. Lambert leapt to safety moments before he'd have been brained on the main lighting truss. The out-of-control machine then scraped stage manager Debbie Williams's leg ("Oh crud, not again!"), smashed through the judges' table, sped out the front of the ampitheater, and wound up crashing into Lake Trainwreck. Our bad – we never should have let Jesse Langseth drive.

Well, the live show would've been just a formality tonight anyway, since there was no great suspense as to how it would end. The same Three Amigos had the top three ratings as usual, with Allison Iraheta taking her turn to lead the way. Alexis Grace was fourth, her projected ratings still hanging tough after all this time. And, Ricky Braddy's clock finally struck midnight. Braddy, whose two fine real-life performances resulted in his finishing fifth on merit, dedicated his final song choice to his pal Felicia Barton before boarding the Bus Of Shame with his laptop to work on his website.

To honor one of the more absurd "twists" that the producers' orchestrated this year, we elected to list all five contestants in the Bottom Three. The way we look at it, if those scheming suits can announce a Bottom Majority, we can announce a Bottom Entirety.

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Final 4 (Rock)

Performance Web Rating Result
Slow Ride0000Slow RideDuet performance
86
 
8Group performance
Whole Lotta Love0000Whole Lotta Love
82
 
2Safe
Cry Baby0000Cry Baby
68
 
2Safe
Come Together0000Come Together
46
 
4Bottom Group
Come Sail Away *0000Come Sail Away *Duet performance
35
 
8Group performance
You Oughta Know *0000You Oughta Know *
31
 
7Eliminated

Guitar legend Slash arrived for his mentoring gig on Rock Night in a convoy of three enormous tractor trailers. If we were going to stage a rock concert at Camp Should-A-Been under his watch, he explained, he was going to make dead certain we did it right. We shrugged and "volunteered" Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis, Gina Glocksen, and a few other past Idol rockers to serve as roadies. They spent all day unloading and setting up equipment throughout the ampitheater. There were speaker stacks, instruments, spotlights, more speakers, sparkler tubes, dry ice machines, lasers, sound boards, still more speakers, and cabling everywhere. It all fed into a master power plug roughly the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Slash asked us where the electrical outlet was, and we handed him a frayed extension cord that led directly into Simon Fuller's R.V. When he plugged it in...wow, now that was one fantastic pyrotechnic effect! We don't think Mr. Fuller would've been quite so angry if he hadn't been in the shower at the time.

Anyway, much like last night, the outcome of the show was never in doubt. Adam Lambert fired off a 5-star number by himself, then teamed with Allison Iraheta for another – "Slow Ride" became the second-highest rated performance of the replay to date. As for Kris Allen, it wasn't his best night by any means, but he was never in any danger of elimination. He and Alexis Grace teamed on a different Styx song for their duet, and if you're wondering how we camp counselors arrived at its 35 rating...don't. It involved Allen's average rating, Grace's projected rating, Danny Gokey's final rating, the original rating for "Renegade", and any other rating we could get our hands on; we are grateful beyond words that it made no difference in the grand scheme of things.

As for Grace, she finished seven spots higher in Camp than she did on the show. After her sing-out, the competition's other mom from Memphis marched up to the judges table and demanded to know what she possibly could've worn that would have satisfied Kara's oblique advice to "dirty it up". "This!" shouted the new judge, ripping off her dress to reveal...a bikini? All Kara wanted was another Bikini Girl to abuse? A furious Grace decided that perhaps Ms. DioGuardi needed some fashion advice of her own, so she "escorted" her to the tidal mud flats by Lake Trainwreck. Now that's how to dirty it up, Kara!

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Final 3 (Judges' Choice / Contestant's Choice)

Performance Web Rating Result
Heartless0000Heartless
85
 
2Safe
Somebody To Love *0000Somebody To Love *
66
 
2Safe
Cryin'0000Cryin'
65
 
7Eliminated
Piece Of My Heart *0000Piece Of My Heart *
59
 
2Safe
One0000One
47
 
7Eliminated
Apologize0000Apologize
45
 
2Safe

Was there ever any doubt that it would come down to these three? Having blown away the field at Camp Should-A-Been for two solid weeks, it was finally time for "Kradison" to take on their only real competition: each other. We know everyone's waiting to see how this will play out, so we won't even waste time with any comedic introductions this evening. Let's get straight down to business.

The judges would not be denied at having Allison Iraheta sing Janis Joplin's "Piece Of My Heart", just as they incomprehensibly suggested to her the week before. That came in at a 59, giving her an early, small lead over the two guys. (By special dispensation of the Camp Should-A-Been Competition Committee, we swapped the projected ratings for Iraheta's two performances tonight, on the theory that the Judges' Choice round this year was universally less-liked among web reviewers than the Contestant's Choice round.) Adam Lambert, meanwhile, held a slim 2-point lead over Kris Allen; it's anyone's guess what "One" would have scored had Simon not chosen to meddle with Lambert's arrangement.

In round two, Iraheta went with her alternate pick from a week prior, "Somebody To Love". (Memo to Simon: that'd be Jefferson Airplane's of course, not Queen's. Sheesh.) Her 66 rating was just ahead of Lambert's "Cryin'", which featured another horrible sound mix with a background vocalist. This time it was Paula, who forgot to turn off her microphone at the judge's table and was singing along. Meanwhile, Allen pulled out his acoustic guitar and repeated his tour de force, "Heartless", notching his third 85 score of the competition. Ryan pulled out his calculator to sum the approval ratings, and twenty minutes later he arrived at these figures:

Kris Allen — 130
Allison Iraheta — 125
Adam Lambert — 112

It really wasn't all that close: Lambert, who'd picked the wrong night to deliver two of his lower-rated performances of the season, was heading home to L.A. after a stellar run. Roughly two hundred media members followed him to the Bus Of Shame, asking him if there was anything he wanted to mention to America before he left. "Well, I guess there's one thing everyone wants to know," he sighed, leaning out of the window as the Bus pulled away. "And the answer is, as you all suspected, yes – it was Kris's nail polish all along. I only wear the clear-coat stuff!"

Tune in tomorrow as Camp Should-A-Been brings you the first all-Cannon Fodder Finale in Idol history: Kris Allen vs. Allison Iraheta. Keep in mind that we use different formulas for reprises and, where necessary, Original Winner's Songs™. Will this be a close one? You don't know the half of it.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Finale

Performance Web Rating Result
Ain't No Sunshine0000Ain't No SunshineReprise performance
88
 
1Pending
I Can't Make You Love Me *0000I Can't Make You Love Me *Reprise performance
64
 
1Pending
Who'll Stop The Rain *0000Who'll Stop The Rain *
53
 
1Pending
What's Going On0000What's Going On
51
 
1Pending
No Boundaries *0000No Boundaries *
47
 
1Pending
No Boundaries0000No Boundaries
25
 
1Pending

Confusion. Drama. Turmoil. Pandemonium. (* Sniff *) Our work here is done!

The AI8 Replay here at Camp Should-A-Been couldn't have ended any more diabolically. Go ahead and add up the numbers for Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen tonight while we explain what happened. In the Favorite Performance round, Iraheta chose her 83-rated "I Can't Make You Love Me", but not before a long debate among our camp counselors. We ultimately ruled that she couldn't redo "Slow Ride", which had rated three points higher, because it was a duet and we couldn't account for Adam Lambert's contribution. On the bright side for Iraheta, the deduction for projected reprise performances this year was 19 points off the original rating, rather than the 21 of previous replays. That's because Season Eight's three reprises (don't forget about Tatiana Del Toro's) were relatively strong, improving the historical average a bit. Still, with Allen putting up that monster 88 on "Ain't No Sunshine", Iraheta was in an early 24-point hole.

Both contestants took on a classic 60's protest song in the Producers' Choice segment, with Iraheta's third projected rating coming in two points higher than Allen's. The gap was 22 points heading into "No Boundaries", which we made our final twosome sing as soon as we figured out where they were hiding. (For the record, they were underwater in the lake, breathing through reeds.) Because Iraheta had already taken several steps down her decay curve, her projected rating for an American Idol coronation song – yes, even one this bad – was one normal step down, just as in past seasons. Which put her rendition...are we reading this correctly?... exactly 22 points ahead of Allen's. At 164 points apiece, the Finale was an honest-to-goodness, you-gotta-be-kidding-us, dead heat!

Up in their Producers' Box, the 19E guys were livid. We made them sit in the woods for two and a half weeks, swatting mosquitos the size of golf balls in 95° weather, just to watch a stinking tie?! Between two contestants not named Adam or Danny, no less? Balderdash! Several of the campers in the audience shouted back angrily at them, and some pushing and shoving broke out, and then our ever-vigilant Disciplinary Counselors, Viktor, Rocco, and Serge intervened, and last we looked Viktor had Simon Cowell in a headlock though he occasionally does that just to keep in shape.

After the melee, as the producers' convoy was pulling away, Simon Fuller beckoned us over. "Capital idea!" he whispered to us. "A draw! Why hadn't we thought of that before? Brilliant of you to think of it." "But Mr. Fuller, sir, we didn't plan on..." "We'll have to put that into the script for Season Nine – maybe we'll even make it a three-way bit!" "But sir, honestly,..." "I'll have Ceci's people get on that tomorrow. Well done as always, mates. See you back here next summer!" And with that, he motioned to his driver and they disappeared out the gates of camp. Gee, we suppose Mr. Fuller's not such a bad guy after all. It almost made us feel guilty for plastering all those "I ♥ Dancing With The Stars" bumper stickers on the back of his R.V. Almost.

Are they gone?

Okay, campers, settle down. We didn't spend two weeks in the woods swatting mosquitos just to watch a tie, either. So while we're going to list Allen and Iraheta as co-winners this summer, we took a peek at the database to see who won on decimal points. And the answer is....

Kris Allen! In fact, he won by close to a half point after all the rounding errors were subtracted. The unassuming Allen thus becomes the third person to defend his real-life title at Camp Should-A-Been, and who would have predicted that six months ago? The conventional wisdom is that he will not sell nearly as many albums as some past winners. That might even be true, but personally, we've stopped betting against him.

And that brings the 2009 season of our humble summer camp to a close. American Idol uncovered three very strong artists this year, even if only one of them was in their original script, and they dominated our CSAB replay like no trio before. As our unlikely co-winners boarded the Bus Of Shame Victory, grabbing Adam Lambert by the hand to join them, the other 227 Idols of past and present gave them a jubilant standing ovation. And then, almost as quickly as our season began, it was time for the Bus to leave on its final journey of the year, taking Allen and Iraheta and Lambert down the dusty road out of Camp Should-A-Been and into their bright futures. Drive carefully, Jesse.

—   The End   —

Camp Should-A-Been
Closed For The Winter

Thanks For Visiting!

Reopening Summer, 2010.

Camp Should-A-Been – Season Eight Results

  1. Kris Allen
  2. Allison Iraheta
  3. Adam Lambert
  4. Alexis Grace
  5. Ricky Braddy
  6. Felicia Barton
  7. Danny Gokey
  8. Ju'Not Joyner
  9. Lil Rounds
  10. Kristen McNamara
  11. Scott Macintyre
  12. Anoop Desai
  13. Jorge Nuñez

-- The staff of WNTS.com

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