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Camp Should-A-Been - Season One

Camp Should-A-Been

So did Tamyra Gray deserve that stunning elimination in the Final Four? If she'd advanced instead, would she have become first breakout superstar of American Idol while Kelly Clarkson did the guest slots on Boston Public? Nikki McKibbin survived a billion straight weeks in the Bottom Three, but where would she have finished had America voted on merit? It's time to find out, as the inaugural competition at Camp Should-A-Been gets underway....

Results

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Semifinals Group One

Performance Web Rating Result
And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going0000And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going
88
 
2Safe
The Frim-Fram Sauce0000The Frim-Fram Sauce
61
 
2Safe
I'll Be0000I'll Be
58
 
2Safe
I Will Always Love You0000I Will Always Love You
54
 
5Wild Card
Still In Love0000Still In Love
49
 
5Wild Card
Crazy0000Crazy
42
 
5Wild Card
When I Fall In Love0000When I Fall In Love
26
 
7Eliminated
When A Man Loves A Woman0000When A Man Loves A Woman
18
 
7Eliminated
Daydream Believer0000Daydream Believer
8
 
7Eliminated
Just Once0000Just Once
7
 
7Eliminated

What a great turnout! Not only do we have our first 10 Idols ready to sing, but the other 184 campers are all seated anxiously in the audience. Perhaps this is because they want to get a feel for how the Camp Should-A-Been competition would work. Or perhaps it's because the only alternative entertainment tonight is From Justin To Kelly playing in the mess hall.

To no one's surprise, Tamyra Gray won the Group One replay handily. She and Ryan Starr took the first two chairs in the Final 10, just as they did six years prior. Jim Verraros tried to sneak into the third seat, but he was intercepted by the camp's Disciplinary Counselors, Viktor, Rocco, and Serge, and was escorted to the waiting bus outside. Instead, long-forgotten Adriel Herrera earned the Finals slot that had been denied to him.

As before, Kelly Glover and Christopher Aaron received invitations to the Wild Card Episode in three days, as did Natalie Burge. (Burge, in fact, wound up in a three-way tie for the final two Wild Card slots; we chose to advance all three because we had no fair way to break the tie, and because it allowed us to bill her parents for a few more nights' room and board. You didn't think we were running this camp for purely altruistic reasons, did you?) Joining Verraros on the Bus Of Shame were one-star performers Justinn "Two-Ns" Waddell, Brad Estrin, and Rodesia Eaves.

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Semifinals Group Two

Performance Web Rating Result
Respect0000Respect
85
 
2Safe
Ribbon In The Sky0000Ribbon In The Sky
62
 
2Safe
Run To You0000Run To You
61
 
2Safe
I Will Survive0000I Will Survive
55
 
5Wild Card
Ribbon In The Sky0000Ribbon In The Sky
42
 
5Wild Card
You Put A Move On My Heart0000You Put A Move On My Heart
38
 
7Eliminated
The Greatest Love Of All0000The Greatest Love Of All
23
 
7Eliminated
Save The Best For Last0000Save The Best For Last
15
 
7Eliminated
Careless Whisper0000Careless Whisper
14
 
7Eliminated
All Or Nothing0000All Or Nothing
13
 
7Eliminated

Day Two at Camp Should-A-Been saw our first crisis of the summer – a certain twosome refused to take the stage until we assured them there wouldn't be a From Justin To Kelly II if they happened to make it to the Finale. A visit from the camp attorneys, on loan from 19E, quickly convinced Miss Clarkson and Mr. Guarini that a holdout would not be in their best interests. You'd have thought those two would've learned to read the fine print of any contract they signed, but no-o-o. At any rate, the reluctant movie stars once again took the first two chairs from the Group Two replay into the Final 10, but for the second straight night, the third seat went to a new face: Angela Peel.

Alexis Lopez and Gil Sinuet earned callbacks to the Wild Card Show, so they'll have to endure the heat and mosquitoes for at least two more days. Boarding the Bus Of Shame: Jazmin Lowery, Tenia Taylor, Alexander Bachelier, Jamar (tragically, a camp search party failed to locate his missing last name), and bringing up the rear, none other than original 8th-place finisher A.J. Gil.

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Semifinals Group Three

Performance Web Rating Result
At Last0000At Last
61
 
2Safe
Total Eclipse Of The Heart0000Total Eclipse Of The Heart
57
 
2Safe
And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going0000And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going
53
 
2Safe
I'll Be There0000I'll Be There
42
 
5Wild Card
I'll Be0000I'll Be
41
 
7Eliminated
Fallin'0000Fallin'
27
 
7Eliminated
I Swear0000I Swear
24
 
7Eliminated
Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)0000Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)
20
 
7Eliminated
My Cherie Amour0000My Cherie Amour
19
 
7Eliminated
My Girl0000My Girl
19
 
7Eliminated

The big story out of Camp Should-A-Been on Day Three was the sudden removal of all tomatoes from the camp kitchen. A result of the recent nationwide salmonella outbreak? No, the audience merely wanted to be prepared and well-armed for the Group Three replay, the second-lowest-rated episode in our database. Just three contestants beat par on the night, all earning a spot in the Final 10: erstwhile finalists Christina Christian and Nikki McKibbin, plus newcomer Melanie Sanders. RJ Helton, meanwhile, earned a repeat spot in the Wild Card episode, from which he was the sole advancer six years earlier.

Six tomato-stained contestants went home on the Bus Of Shame, including original 9th-place finisher EJay Day who missed a Wild Card slot by just one point. It wasn't a good camp for the "Jays", as A.J. Gil is already out and RJ Helton has a six-way, one-survivor contest for the 10th slot coming up tomorrow. Joining Day this night are Chris Bodano, Kristin Holt, Tanesha Ross, Khaleef Chiles, and Mark Scott. After the show, we noticed that the contestants from AI3's infamous Semi Group Two were looking a little nervous, no doubt wondering what they'd be having hurled at them in a few weeks. They'd probably be well served to clean up any loose bricks lying around the camp.

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Wild Card Group

Performance Web Rating Result
Lately0000Lately
66
 
2Safe
How Am I Supposed To Live Without You0000How Am I Supposed To Live Without You
63
 
7Eliminated
Saving All My Love For You0000Saving All My Love For You
44
 
7Eliminated
Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead *0000Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead *
38
 
7Eliminated
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) *0000Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) *
38
 
7Eliminated
On Bended Knee0000On Bended Knee
30
 
7Eliminated

During his original two month stay on American Idol, RJ Helton delivered just one performance to earn a rating above 50. But, then as now, it came at the right time: his four-star rendition of "Lately" in the Wild Card replay was good enough to slip past Kelly Glover and into the Final 10 here at Camp Should-A-Been. The luckless Glover is thus eliminated from the competition despite having delivered no below-average performances. As a consolation prize, the camp directors rented the Limo Of Shame to take her home in style. She deserves it.

Our other four performers weren't so fortunate; they'll be boarding the usual Bus. Per camp rules, Alexis Lopez and Christopher Aaron duplicated their original song choices, but Natalie Burge and Gil Sinuet, who weren't invited to the original Wild Card episode, had to come up with new ones. Burge was tipped off by several of her fellow campers that a certain song from The Wizard Of Oz has been enormously successful on Idol over the years. Sadly, nobody told her precisely which song it was, leaving her to make a most unfortunate guess. Meanwhile, Sinuet decided that "Against All Odds" would make for a good number, but he underestimated how much the judges and audience were totally sick of hearing that song on AI. He was pelted with leftover tomatoes, and when that supply was exhausted, Simon and Randy chased him out the camp gates and down the road in a produce delivery truck.

So the Final 10 of Camp Should-A-Been's AI1 replay is set, and they are:

  • Christina Christian
  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Tamyra Gray
  • Justin Guarini
  • RJ Helton
  • Adriel Herrera
  • Nikki McKibbin
  • Angela Peel
  • Melanie Sanders
  • Ryan Starr

Newcomers in italics. Failing to qualify: Jim Verraros, EJay Day, and A.J. Gil

(Ed. note: — Both Burge's and Sinuet's ratings tonight were calculated as a function of their original performance rating of 42, following the average contestant's "decay curve" of the first seven seasons. This is the first time we've had to use a projected score, but you'll be seeing a lot more of them as the competition progresses.)

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Final 10 (Motown)

Performance Web Rating Result
Touch Me In The Morning0000Touch Me In The Morning
79
 
2Safe
You're All I Need To Get By0000You're All I Need To Get By
77
 
2Safe
For Once In My Life0000For Once In My Life
73
 
2Safe
My Girl *0000My Girl *
52
 
2Safe
My Guy *0000My Guy *
48
 
2Safe
Ain't No Mountain High Enough0000Ain't No Mountain High Enough
48
 
2Safe
If You Really Love Me0000If You Really Love Me
47
 
2Safe
My Humps *0000My Humps *
42
 
4Bottom Group
I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)0000I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)
40
 
7Eliminated
Ben0000Ben
25
 
7Eliminated

The campers took a well-deserved break from the competition on Saturday. They spent the rainy day inside the mess hall making crafts out of paper maché and dried macaroni, which they then presented to the judges for their critiques. ("Dawg, you could make pretty flowers out of the phone book", "Your elbow noodles look beautiful today", "An absolutely appalling piece that I'd expect to find hanging on the wall of a Portuguese cabaret", etc.) OK, so inviting the judges probably wasn't one of our better ideas. Nonetheless, our ten remaining Season One contestants were back on the camp stage Sunday night for the opening round of the first Camp Should-A-Been finals.

The Big Three of Tamyra Gray, Kelly Clarkson, and Justin Guarini turned in the top three performances of the Final 10 replay, but there was a sizable dropoff after that. All three of our "newcomers" advanced to the next round: Adriel Herrera and Melanie Sanders chose the classic duo of "My Girl" and "My Guy", while Angela Peel, we felt, went a little bit off-theme, though she argued to the producers that the Black-Eyed Peas once played a concert in Detroit. Still, the oft-described "worst rap song ever" was still good enough to get Peel past original fifth-place finisher RJ Helton and into the next round. (Note: Peel's rating was that of her original Wild Card performance, while Herrera's and Sanders's were projected.)

As in the original episode, two contestants were sent home tonight. Joining Helton on the Bus Of Shame: none other than Nikki McKibbin! The red-haired rocker's rendition of, essentially, "My Rat" was the only performance that failed to reach the 3-star level. Note that McKibbon survived five trips to the Bottom Three in 2002, but here at Camp Should-A-Been, one was enough. (Incidentally, tonight's show averaged a 53.1 in our replay, an enormous improvement over the original episode's miserable 44.2. See what could happen to the quality of American Idol if only we voted for performance over popularity?)

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Final 8 (1960s)

Performance Web Rating Result
A Natural Woman0000A Natural Woman
90
 
2Safe
Fool In Love0000Fool In Love
82
 
2Safe
All Day And All Of The Night *0000All Day And All Of The Night *
47
 
2Safe
Sunny0000Sunny
46
 
2Safe
Father Christmas *0000Father Christmas *
46
 
2Safe
When A Man Loves A Woman0000When A Man Loves A Woman
45
 
4Bottom Group
Lola *0000Lola *
42
 
4Bottom Group
You Really Got Me0000You Really Got Me
8
 
7Eliminated

The Final 8 replay brought the first two showstoppers of Camp Should-A-Been. There was Kelly Clarkson's "A Natural Woman", the first performance to reach the rarified 90s. And then there was Ryan Starr's infamous railway vehicle crash, "You Really Got Me," which stopped the show in a wholly unexpected way. Starr's Bus Of Shame effort was interrupted several times by loud, uncontrollable howling, which our cameras eventually traced to a well-coiffed camper from the Season Six cabin. The Laughing Boy was eventually escorted out of the ampitheater by the camp's Disciplinary Counselors, Viktor, Rocco, and Serge, but not before yelling over his shoulder, "And you thought my cover of that song was bad??!"

Clarkson and Tamyra Gray were the only two contestants who rated above 50 tonight. Nonetheless, the Final 8 replay came in at a 50.8 average, an improvement of more than three points over the original. In an attempt to demonstrate that songs by The Kinks can indeed be sung on Idol without a disaster ensuing, and to avoid having Ray Davies sue us for mental anguish, our three "newcomers" all chose a song by the legendary British band. Adriel Herrera's rocker fared better than Angela Peel's Christmas-In-June choice, and both beat Melanie Sanders' gender-bending attempt at the all-time gender-bending classic. But, despite their ever sliding approval ratings, all three advanced safely to the next round.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Final 7 (1970s)

Performance Web Rating Result
If I Were Your Woman0000If I Were Your Woman
77
 
2Safe
Don't Play That Song0000Don't Play That Song
72
 
2Safe
Ain't No Sunshine0000Ain't No Sunshine
66
 
2Safe
Having My Baby *0000Having My Baby *
43
 
2Safe
Seasons In The Sun *0000Seasons In The Sun *
42
 
4Bottom Group
Afternoon Delight *0000Afternoon Delight *
39
 
4Bottom Group
Someday We'll All Be Free0000Someday We'll All Be Free
28
 
7Eliminated

The first shocking elimination of the Season One Replay is upon us. Even his fans concede that Justin Guarini's Final 7 cover of "Someday We'll All Be Free" was never anything to write home about. But unfortunately for the former Final Two crooner, he won't have to send a letter home to Pennsylvania; he can deliver the news in person when the Bus Of Shame drops him off at his doorstep. Surely the happiest campers tonight are Tamyra Gray, who has now seen the elimination of two of the three competitors who knocked her out from the original Final Four, and Kelly Clarkson, who figures there's no way the producers would ever try From Tamyra To Kelly. She's in for a rude surprise.

Meanwhile, all three of our "newcomers" are, shockingly enough, still in the competition. Tonight, however, they probably wished they'd have taken the Bus home earlier when they saw the list of pre-cleared songs from the notoriously awful 1970s available to choose from. In fact, owing to the producers' stinginess and the camp counselors' sick sense of humor, only four songs were on the list. Nobody chose "Disco Duck." (Just to make them feel even worse, we cruelly told them we were going to clear "Don't Fear The Reaper" until we learned that the camp's only cowbell was broken.)

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Final 6 (Big Band)

Performance Web Rating Result
Stuff Like That There0000Stuff Like That There
97
 
2Safe
Minnie The Moocher0000Minnie The Moocher
85
 
2Safe
The Glory Of Love0000The Glory Of Love
57
 
2Safe
It Must Be Jelly ('Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That) *0000It Must Be Jelly ('Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That) *
39
 
4Bottom Group
Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me) *0000Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me) *
38
 
4Bottom Group
How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life*0000How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life*
35
 
7Eliminated

Given that AI1's Big Band Night is the American Idol episode with the highest approval rating ever, the staff at Camp Should-A-Been decided that we'd better bring in a full orchestra for tonight's replay as well. Unfortunately, our rare act of generosity merely led to problems. First, the only orchestra whose rates we could afford was that of the local fifth grade's. (The sixth-graders wanted two scoops of ice cream apiece, if you can imagine.) Second, what with all the kids and their beaming, camcorder-wielding parents filling every seat in the camp's dining hall, there was no room for the audience. So, the rest of the campers had to stand outside in the rain and listen through the open windows. That's show biz.

Of course, even if we'd hired two kazoo players from a nursery school, Kelly Clarkson's "Stuff Like That There" was always going to be the performance of the season. She and Tamyra Gray advanced easily, while Christina Christian became the first "real" finalist to survive beyond her original expiration date. Boarding the Bus Of Shame tonight is Melanie Sanders, who was done in by a very ill-advised song choice. Her 90-second time limit expired before she even finished singing the song title.

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Final 5 (Burt Bacharach Love Songs)

Performance Web Rating Result
A House Is Not A Home0000A House Is Not A Home
94
 
2Safe
Walk On By0000Walk On By
74
 
2Safe
I Say A Little Prayer *0000I Say A Little Prayer *
50
 
2Safe
Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head *0000Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head *
35
 
4Bottom Group
The Blob *0000The Blob *
34
 
7Eliminated

Not that we're complaining, but the utter dominance of Kelly Clarkson and Tamyra Gray is starting to get a big monotonous. For the umpteenth consecutive episode, they took down the top two spots on the Final 5 replay. Christina Christian chose what was surely the most aptly titled Bacharach song for her name. And, her first projected rating was still fractionally above 50 – not that we want to editorialize, but Christian was surely one of the most underrated contestants in the series' history.

We bid adieu to the second of our three "newcomer" contestants this evening. Adriel Herrera's "Raindrops" wasn't well received at all, though that was mostly because his fellow campers, who were still a bit damp and perturbed from the events of the previous evening, believed that he was mocking them. But Angela Peel's choice, that of an obscure Bacharach movie theme (yes, it's a real song by him; look it up) became doubly unwise when she dedicated it to the 2002-vintage Randy Jackson.

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Final 4 (1980s & 1990s)

Performance Web Rating Result
I Surrender0000I Surrender
81
 
2Safe
Feel The Fire0000Feel The Fire
60
 
4Bottom Group
It's Raining Men0000It's Raining Men
48
 
2Safe
I've Never Been To Me *0000I've Never Been To Me *
45
 
2Safe
Achy Breaky Heart *0000Achy Breaky Heart *
41
 
2Safe
Pass The Dutchie *0000Pass The Dutchie *
31
 
7Eliminated
Baby Got Back *0000Baby Got Back *
28
 
7Eliminated
New Attitude0000New Attitude
18
 
4Bottom Group

She begged us to allow her to change songs. She'd sing rap, country, the Meow Mix jingle, anything but "New Attitude," she pleaded. But as our Disciplinary Counselors escorted her to the door, leaving two unsightly heel marks on our office floorboards, we coolly informed Tamyra Gray that the rules of Camp Should-A-Been were plain: a surviving constestant must replicate their original performance, to the original approval rating. And that brings us to the most dramatic evening in the camp's brief history. Could Gray, despite delivering a one-star disaster, beat out any of the other three remaining contestants in the Final 4 replay? Let's go to the ampitheater to find out.

Neither Adriel Herrera nor Christina Christian did themselves any favors with their song choices, so "It's Raining Men" actually wound up third-ranked on the night, leaving Kelly Clarkson rolling on the ground backstage in fits of laughter. Which pretty much tells you how poorly this night played out. When the Bottom Two were announced, a dejected Gray was in it along with Herrera. Add the ratings, divide by two...well, what do you know. Justin Guarini would've beaten her. Nikki McKibbin would've beaten her. Christina Christian, despite having been eliminated two weeks earlier, did beat her. But Adriel Herrera's projected rating had slid too far. By a margin of 39.0 to 29.5, Gray earned her long hoped-for second chance. She was ecstatic and relieved, at least until we handed her the microphone and informed her that the audience had requested, as an encore, that Meow Mix jingle she promised....

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

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

Performance Web Rating Result
Without You0000Without You
83
 
2Safe
Think Twice0000Think Twice
76
 
2Safe
I'm Alive *0000I'm Alive *
66
 
2Safe
Celebration *0000Celebration *
59
 
2Safe
Don't You (Forget About Me) *0000Don't You (Forget About Me) *
37
 
7Eliminated
Goodbye To You *0000Goodbye To You *
33
 
7Eliminated

Okay, so some episodes at Camp Should-A-Been are less dramatic than others. Kelly Clarkson delivered the top two performances of the Final 3 replay to advance easily to the Final Two, and there was little doubt around the campfire that Tamyra Gray would join her. She chose an apropos song for herself proclaiming the fact that she'd made it beyond the Final Four this time, and the judges chipped in with a song indicating their delight that they'd finally get to see that much-anticipated Kelly-Tamyra Finale.

As for Christina Christian, it was a trying day, what with that stupid Bus following her everywhere she went. Still, she went out gamely. She chose for herself a song that illustrated her defiant spirit and her unwillingness to be cast aside lightly. But the trio at the judges' table, had the final say and their song choice for Christian indeed spoke volumes.

The buzz around camp afterwards was all about the Finale. Gray had made it, but her approval rating had already taken two big hits along the projection curve. Still, we use different formulas in the Finale to account for reprise performances and those ever-loved American Idol Original Winners Songs™, so the outcome isn't a done deal. Tune in tomorrow for the Season One dénouement.

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Finale

Performance Web Rating Result
Before Your Love0000Before Your Love
75
 
2Safe
A House Is Not A Home *0000A House Is Not A Home *Reprise performance
73
 
7Eliminated
A Moment Like This0000A Moment Like This
71
 
2Safe
Respect0000RespectReprise performance
69
 
2Safe
Before Your Love *0000Before Your Love *
53
 
7Eliminated
A Moment Like This *0000A Moment Like This *
48
 
7Eliminated

From near and far, limousines and private planes carrying the world's most celebrated A-List celebrities converged on Camp Should-A-Been for the Season One Finale replay. Squealing fans lined the red carpet to the mess hall to catch a glimpse of stars like Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson, Johnny Depp, Oprah Winfrey, and Tom Brady. Unfortunately, all they actually saw was Brian Dunkelman, who, if we're being honest, was the only celebrity to accept our invitation, and then only because we told him we might give him his old job back. Okay, so we lied. But, we did send the Bus Of Shame to pick up the eight eliminated finalists and bring them back to camp for the evening. They told us they were honored and thrilled to attend, though we expect the thrill to be tempered somewhat when we present them the bill for the bus fare.

Tamyra Gray came out swinging, redoing "A House Is Not A Home" to a 73 rating (projected based on the average drop of all reprise performances on Idol.) That gave her an early 4-point lead on Kelly Clarkson...but then came the Original Winners Songs™. Clarkson is one of the very few Idols who could sing any of those abominations and live to tell the tale. Her pair of four-star ratings easily outpaced Gray, who did well to score around average. An ecstatic, relieved Clarkson was presented the crown in a triumphant shower of pine needles (look, have you ever priced confetti?), and Gray was a gracious runner-up. Both waved happily from the windows of the Bus Of Shame Victory as it drove them down the dirt road and into the night...and directly to the soundstage where From Tamyra To Kelly was to begin shooting the next morning. We told them to read the fine print of the contract!

—   The End   —

Camp Should-A-Been – Season One Results

  1. Kelly Clarkson
  2. Tamyra Gray
  3. Christina Christian
  4. Adriel Herrera
  5. Angela Peel
  6. Melanie Sanders
  7. Justin Guarini
  8. Ryan Starr
  9. RJ Helton
  10. Nikki McKibbin
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