7:53: Good evening, darling b-rollers! How’s everyone this evening? Ready to crack open the Sinatra songbook, are we? Here’s hoping Crystal, Lee and Casey kill it in the good way and Aaron and Michael kill it in the bad way. I’m rooting for a Crystal-Lee-Casey final three and I will not be denied, so let’s make this easy for the speed-dialers of America. Back in 7 minutes!
7:58: I just finished watching a Law and Order: SVU episode in which a woman who went undercover at a meat processing plant was murdered. It may have turned me into a vegetarian. Does anyone know if tofu burgers are any good?
8:00: The new episode of Glee is much more exciting to me than the Shrek sneak peek, gotta say.
8:01: Nice of Ryan to cede his intro to Harry Connick, Jr. (who was wearing a suit so identical to Ryan’s it took me a minute to figure out what the hell was going on). Although Ry clearly refuses to give up the staircase. God forbid.
8:02: Wait, was that Sir Anthony Hopkins in the audience? Who knew Hannibal was a fan? Color me surprised.
8:03: The boys look suitably swanky for Sinatra Week. As they should.
8:04: No wonder Harry Connick (I’m going to skip the “Jr.” for the rest of the evening, okay?) seems ageless. He’s not that old. He did When Harry Met Sally when he was 22?!
8:05: My goal for this evening is that all of Michael Buble’s fans realize that the vast majority of his music is not, in fact, original. Every time I hear a standard referred to as “that Michael Buble song” it makes me want to break things.
8:06: Whoa, just kidding – Harry Connick DOES get to walk down the Seacrest Memorial Staircase. That’s a huge honor. I think Ryan was reserving it for the guest artist who looked the most like him.
8:07: Official update from the b-roll Mom: “I would like Harry Connick, Jr. for Mother’s Day.” Sure, Mom. I’ll get right on that…
8:10: In case you’re curious (I’m sure you’re not), I’ll be spending commercial breaks sorting and rolling the vast quantity of coins that I’ve somehow acquired despite hardly ever carrying cash. Just so you know.
8:11: That segue could’ve been smoother. b-roll roomie Jen and I both thought that these would be Harry Connick, Jr.’s daughters, and were a bit surprised at the age of his daughters before going, “Oh, Sinatra’s daughters. Right. Okay.”
8:12: Isn’t it refreshing to have a mentor who’s both friendly and totally knowledgeable? One video segment in and I’m hooked. Can we invite Harry (I’m charmed enough to move forward to a first-name basis) to take Simon’s seat next season?
8:14: While Aaron looks totally adorable (love the parted hair), this started wobbly and hasn’t gotten much better. In a related story, “this song started wobbly” could be Aaron’s nickname.
8:15: Really, dawg? “Wow, wow!” It wasn’t heinous or anything, but it had some pitchy moments.
8:16: Wait, Kara’s wearing a black dress that is totally without sparkle? Somebody send over a bedazzler, stat!
8:17: I don’t know if you can call it “constructive criticism” when your critique is “be more charismatic.” Sure, honey. Go work on that. I’m totally with Kara and Simon, though.
8:18: Re: Prince of Persia – I’m so over “OMG, the world will end!” movies, even if Jake Gyllenhaal has rippling abs. I have standards.
8:22: Poor Casey. I mean, he is gorgeous, but no need to introduce him as “Casey James, ladies…”
8:23: I wonder how much Harry loves late-20s Casey saying he’s been a Connick fan “his whole life.” No wonder he was cracking jokes.
8:25: I feel like Casey needs his guitar. He looks kinda awkward without it. And these high notes are not quite within his range. Damn. I wanted to totally love it.
8:26: These piano jokes are going to wear old at some point, Ellen.
8:27: When “at least you held some notes” is the high point – and a comparison to a lamb is the definite low – you know it’s been an off-night for Casey.
8:28: Which was more uncomfortable – Casey’s body language or the judges’ critiques? b-roll poll!
8:29: Barring a disastrous Big Mike performance it’ll probably be Casey’s time to go this week, yeah? I mean, if he couldn’t escape the bottom two last week with a great performance, I don’t see him surviving a lousy one. Sad.
8:33: Apparently I was not hallucinating (good to know) and Anthony Hopkins is in the audience (in the back row? Really, Idol producers?). Huh. And Ryan pimps Coke mercilessly to drain the class right back out of the proceedings.
8:34: Good call in starting the song sitting next to Harry Connick, Crystal. I would do that too, if given the opportunity.
8:35: Wow, she sounds great tonight. She looks fantastic, too (loving the gown). Totally impressed. I didn’t think she’d stink, but I didn’t know she’d nail it.
8:37: It is a little sleepy – I’ll give them that – but I thought she was great. And Kara’s got a good point in that her strength was in the phrasing. Astute (!) point, Kara.
8:38: I can’t disagree with Simon that you need to really kill it at this point. But I think she did better than they gave her credit for.
8:39: Crystal, I love you, but simmer down. No need to get that defensive. It’s off-putting.
8:40: Hey, remember when the Top 5 would sing two songs apiece? Good times. Highly entertaining. Of course, that was pre-Glee. Now you’d have to wrench that extra hour out of Fox’s cold dead hands.
8:41: I love commercials for medicine. I take Claritin too, but it doesn’t take me from “I’m suffering, the world is out of focus, Sweet Jesus” to “Let’s go biking in Colonial Williamsburg!”
8:44: Big Mike has a twelve-piece band? What in the hell is he doing here then?!
8:45: I love Harry telling Big Mike to “think about your girl.” I’m pretty sure that’s not Big Mike’s problem. Hasn’t every performance been an ode to “My wife just had a baby”?
8:46: Big Mike’s nailing this. Of course he is. This is exactly his wheelhouse: crooning.
8:48: I wouldn’t say Mike moves “easier” than everyone else. Tonight, sure. But in general, his stage presence is – to put this politely – smothered in cheese.
8:49: I wish that, on Sinatra night, Simon had at least worn a shirt that kinda sorta fit. This one has the “too many trips through the washer” look about it.
8:53: Official coin count through the final commercial break: $52.50 (with approximately $3 more to roll). How did I get this many coins (said my incredulous roommates)? Not a clue in the world.
8:54: “He looks like a new and improved version of me.” He kinda does! Excellent connection, Harry. Except for Lee’s pitch problems. Those are his own. And they may persist. Standby…
8:55: I really like this song. And I’m digging this version of it. Lee seems to have (thus far) tamed his pitch issues, and this is a seriously cool arrangement (hat tip, Harry).
8:56: b-roll roomie Jen: “That was the best of the night.” I concur.
8:57: Nice of Randy to wait for the end of the evening to name drop. “Ellen! Harry! New Orleans! Oh, and Lee, you were really good.” Say wha, dawg?!
8:58: Simon agrees with Jen and I! Well, duh.
8:59: As we go through the evening, I’d like to reiterate my position: SIGN HARRY CONNICK, JR. UP FOR SIMON’S JUDGING SEAT NEXT SEASON. Make this happen, Idol execs.
9:00: So, as Lee pulls about even with Crystal in the Season 9 Sweepstakes, and Casey probably punches his ticket home, I bid you all goodnight! Back tomorrow with the results show, in which Harry Connick, Jr. and Lady Gaga will officially make up the most incongruous performance tandem in the history of ever. Enjoy Glee, b-rollers!