You have to feel sorry for Erika Van Pelt. She sang her heart out and even got a strange haircut for American Idol. But it wasn’t enough. America sent her home, favoring even class clown Heejun Han over her.
Here’s how it happened:
Erika always had to battle to keep up with the tiny teens and it seems like she missed her chance again, probably for the final time.
Heejun Han and DeAndre Brackenstick joined Erika in the bottom three, so at least I was right about two of them, and didn’t stick my neck out to name a third. If I had done, it probably wouldn’t have been Erika.
Oh come on, we all know I would have sent home Heejun Han. Don’t get me wrong: I like him, and I partly blame American Idol for staging him as the comic relief rather than a serious singer. But still, he doesn’t stand up to most of these performers. He even looked like he had given up on the results show last night. What was with those track pants!
Jimmy Iovine hammered home Steven Tyler’s “wake up call” remarks to Heejun from Wednesday in his taped comments, comparing Heejun’s clownish performance of My Life to “four minutes of a bad Adam Sandler movie that goes straight to DVD.” Heejun, shown in the corner of the screen during Jimmy’s rant, was clearly unconcerned.
But Jimmy threw it down. “Interscope has to spend a lot of money on someone who wins the show, and that’s not it.”
Ryan Seacrest offered Heejun a chance to respond, but I admit to being baffled by what he said:
1) “When I was ripping the clothes off, it was a metaphor for who I really am,” and
2) “I’m not trying to be a star. I’m just really happy where I am, so….”
I haven’t often felt sorry for Erika but I did right then. Would American Idol have wasted this whole segment on Heejun if he were the one going home? No, of course not. Erika knew that as well as we did and here was the guy announcing he wasn’t all that interested in being a singing star when she would give her eye teeth to cling on to a Top 9 spot instead of him.
Jennifer Lopez did her best to talk some ambition into Heejun, perhaps feeling an affinity with him because he works with kids in her native Brnx (boy has she come a long way since then!).
“You shouldn’t sell yourself short. You should teach those kids they can be stars, too,” Jenny from the block sweetly reminded Heejun.
Note to Jennifer: Heejun really isn’t “a star” and even I am really over him now.
We tortured the bottom three a little longer with the new Haley Reinhart single, Free. She was good and typical Haley. I’m not going to turncoat now and tell you I’m buying her single, because I’m not. But I think a lot of people will. But you know Haley annoys me with the dreamy head tilt.
We got a chance to compare Haley to Lana Del Ray who has exploded on to the scene. I admit I like her studio work and she intrigues me. But from this performance I can say she is about a million times better in the studio than she is live.
Meanwhile, Steven Tyler’s birthday is coming up, so the Top 10 sang him an awkward version of Happy Birthday with Joe Perry. It was clear that no one near the front of the audience had a clue who Joe Perry is. Cue another awkward moment.
Anyway, the surprise appearance was a big deal because Aerosmith’s lead guitarist had been pretty vocally anti-Idol back when Steven first decided to do the show. Nice that he could put that aside for Steven’s birthday, even though he was clearly cringing and imagining his credibility diminishing by the millisecond.
So we said goodbye to Erika Van Pelt and now the American Idol 2012 Top 9 are Colton, Jessica, Phillip, Hollie, Elise, Skylar, Joshua, DeAndre and Heejun.
They are all moving in to the American Idol mansion, so hopefully this one won’t flood or have ghosts. Oh and beware of the stairs. Lauren Alaina can testify that they are tricky things!
So what do you think to Erika’s elimination? Do you think the judges should have used their save on Erika even though voters clearly weren’t connecting with her?