Camp Should-A-Been - Season Thirteen
New judges...check. New producers...check. New contestants...check. Original music...wait, for real? Season 13 brought a
raft of changes to American Idol as the series sought to adapt to an evolving television landscape. Fortunately
for we snark-loving head counselors at CSAB, it also brought plenty of old-fashioned boneheaded moments that make this
place so much fun.
Can rocker dude Caleb Johnson defend his real-life crown despite occasionally singing with his foot in his mouth?
Can alt-rocker dudette Jena Irene deliver enough magic at the piano to steal it away?
Maybe the coffeehouse crew of Alex Preston and Jessica Meuse have enough original
material in their back pockets to sneak past both rockers. It's time to find out which of
them would have won had the voters sent
home the contestant who delivered the lowest approval rating every week, which they usually did, which we're not going to
mention again because we're trying to build up the suspense for another summer replay here at Camp Should-A-Been!
Saturday, June 22nd, 2014
Girls' Semifinals (Open)
There they were. Fifteen young ladies, sitting nervously in a backstage holding room, each waiting to learn if her name would
be called. Ryan Seacrest walked in with the first envelope. "Let's begin with...Marrialle Sellars!" Every head in the
room turned to the Indiana teenager, who leaped out of
her seat and screamed. And screamed again. Then she tried to hide behind the mini-refrigerator, but that had no prayer of
working, as our fabled trio of disciplinary counselors, Rocco, Viktor and Serge, took Sellars by the arms and escorted her
to the mess hall, her anguished wails echoing throughout the campground.
Okay, so maybe Meatloaf Rush Week wasn't one of our better ideas. New executive producer Per Blankens misfired on a few too,
you know. But hey, it's a brand new season here at Camp Should-A-Been, and our boss. the inimitable Simon Fuller, had
given us clear marching orders: come up with a way to boost attendance for our nightly replays this summer, or else we'd be
joining the likes of Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick out
on the street. We figured we'd take a page out of the producers' book and
try cruel, sadistic torture right out of the chute, but that met with equally poor results. (Well, actually, we fared a little
better than they did – the five girls who didn't get chosen, Brandy Neely, Kenzie Hall, Austin Wolfe, Jillian Jensen,
and Andrina Brogen, hugged us gratefully and headed off to the Chipotle in town for dinner. Little did they know that
the only type of burrito they serve is meatloaf.)
Oh, the Girls' Semfinal show itself? Meh. Just two contestants reached the 4-star strata: MK
Nobilette, American Idol's first openly gay contestant, and Malaya Watson, AI's first openly geek one. Joining them
in the 2014 finals, just as in real life: Emily Piriz, Majesty Rose York, and Jessica Meuse, the latter albeit with a
sub-50 rating. Earning a callback to Monday's Wild Card show were Kristen O'Connor, Briana Oakley (becoming our first
holdover contestant of the summer in the process), and one J. Irene Asciutto, pianist, whose narrow survival left we head
counselors mopping our brows about avoiding another Haley Reinhart disaster. We dusted off the Bus Of Shame
for Bria Anai Johnson, whose Melanie Fiona cover wound up on the wrong side of 2-stars, and Sellars, who turned the tables
by making us wail in anguish upon hearing "Roar" again. Oh well, we probably deserved it.
Sunday, June 22nd, 2014
Guys' Semifinals (Open)
Where are our manners? In our haste to get the AI13 replay underway last night, we neglected to welcome
all of the many Hollywood VIPs who, upon careful re-reading of their 19E contracts, have graciously
consented to spend their summer here at CSAB. In addition to our 343
former contestants/campground staff, we have judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson, whose sage counseling was an integral
part of many of this year's most, uh, memorable performances. ("Emmanuel, dawg, the competition starts now so
you gotta go out there and sing the phone book to be
in it to win it!") Plus, let's give a big hand to our exorbitantly-paid superstar panel:
something old (returning judge Keith Urban),
something new (hip bandleader Harry Connick, Jr.), something borrowed (from Seasons 10 and 11, the one and only Jennifer
Lopez), and something blue (host Ryan Seacrest, who went swimming in the lake immediately after lunch and got a cramp; head lifeguard
Katie Stevens had to pull him out of the water unconscious and perform CPR, though she drew the line at mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation, which is understandable really.)
OK, now that that's out of the way...the
turned out to be a little better than the Girls were last night, but only a little. They also adeptly avoided any 5-star
ratings, though the top four -- Sam Woolf, Alex Preston, CJ Harris, and real-life champ Caleb Johnson -- were bunched
pretty closely around 70; Ben Briley earned the fifth chair with a 53. For Harris, who had to go through the Wild Card wringer back in February to earn his ticket
to the finals, he'll be able to use "Bring It On Home To Me" as his first projected rating, if need be. His fellow Alabaman
and BFF, Dexter Roberts, will take Harris's spot tomorrow night, and our fifth and final competitor for this season's
three wild-card berths: Malcolm Allen, who'll get a second chance here at CSAB despite his questionable Rush Week song choice.
Leaving us on the Bus Of Shame were George Lovette, Spencer Lloyd, and the hapless Emmanuel Zidor, who listened to and
acted upon every word
of advice he got from Randy. That'll teach him. Finally, we bid farewell to Jordan Brisbane, Ethan Harris, Briston
Maroney, Casey Thrasher, and Maurice Townsend, who were once again denied the chance to perform after the judges
listened to them singing in the shower this morning.
Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Thanks to the usual short setlist on
night, we had time this afternoon to catch up on our paperwork – namely, sifting through the enormous
pile of resumés on our desks from out-of-work judges of reality singing competitions. What a motley crew: Legend,
Spears, Rzeznik, Lee, Hasselhoff, Nettles, Reid...who are these clowns? Oh geez, get a load of this guy: successful
creator of several television franchises, judge on four hit series in the U.S. and U.K., twelve seasons of
prime-time experience as
lead judge on two Fox TV shows. H1 visa, references upon request. Yeah, right. Well, we do need a new parking lot attendant,
so maybe he's worth a phone call....
As for the Wild Card replay, it was basically a rose among four thorns. Jena Irene York, who had traded surnames with
Majesty Rose as a prank, stole the show at the piano with her original composition, "Unbreakable Me", earning the first
5-star rating of the summer. After that, it was pretty much a snoozefest.
Dexter Roberts barely made it to one-half of Irene's number, but his so-so Steve Miller cover
earned him the twelfth spot in the finals, and the thirteenth Thirteener would be our one and only holdover: Briana Oakley,
who slipped past real-life finalist Kristen O'Connor by eight points. Malcolm Allen accompanied O'Connor home
on the Bus Of Shame.
Thus, to no one's surprise, our lineup for the finals in June of 2014 looks an awful lot like the one that
actually emerged back in February:
- Ben Briley
- Caleb Johnson
- CJ Harris
- Jena Irene
- Jessica Meuse
- MK Nobilette
- Briana Oakley
- Emily Piriz
- Alex Preston
- Dexter Roberts
- Majesty Rose
- Malaya Watson
- Sam Woolf
Oakley in, O'Connor out, all else business as usual. We'll see you back here tomorrow night as Camp Should-A-Been
opens its doors for our thirteenth annual Replay Finals! Be sure to say hi to the new parking lot guy on your way in.
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Final 13 (This Is Me)
We must say that Camp Should-A-Been is running a little bit smoother now that Harry Connick, Jr. is around.
The famously fastidious judge spent the day dishing out no-nonsense but constructive criticism to the staff, with
mostly positive results. For example, he suggested to camp postmaster Vonzell Solomon that she sort the incoming mail
alphabetically rather than by cabin. He helped nurse Amanda Overmyer set up an online appointment system to cut down on
wait times at the dispensary. He even stopped by the kitchen to offer some meatloaf-preparation advice to George Huff
and Kris Allen. ("Try a little more breadcrumbs and a little less eye of newt.")
At least Connick is
earning his paycheck, whereas Randy Jackson's new gig as permanent mentor wasn't working out quite as well. The first six
performances on Opening Night of the finals all scored under 50, leaving the audience fidgety and checking their
watches, and we head counselors feeling a little bit skittish about our job security.
Then, however, Jackson was called away to take an urgent trans-Atlantic phone call from the Swiss Navy (yeah,
we know, we know, but it worked), at which point
This Is Me
Night finally took off. The last seven contestants all broke par, and the final six made it to 4-star territory. Leading the
way was our his-and-hers pair of folkies, Alex Preston and Jessica Meuse, which delighted the crowd because the
coffeehouse in town was offering free Latte Grandes to all ticketholders any time those two both reached 5-stars.
Our lone holdover, Briana Oakley, decided to go with the Kelly Clarkson song that original eliminee Kristen O'Connor sang.
It wasn't exactly a triumph,
but her second projected rating was still good enough to advance. That's because the usually-solid Malaya Watson had
a series of brain cramps tonight, first attempting to sing Bruno Mars's hard-to-cover "Runaway Baby" and then compounding
her mistake by trying to accompany herself on tuba. Sadly, her mouthpiece got stuck in her braces, leading to a
rather awkward scene as her fellow finalists attempted to give her goodbye hugs. We had the Bus Of Shame drop her off
directly at her orthodontist's office in Michigan.
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Final 12 (Home)
"Sorry, Mr. Fuller, but it's just as we projected. Attendance at Camp Should-A-Been is down about 12%
from last season. Um, yes sir, we realize that's unacceptable, but do understand that all the camps around Lake
Trainwreck are struggling this summer. The market for reality talent competitions isn't what it used to be.
Besides, anyone these days can just DVR all the performances, or watch them online. YouTube doesn't have mosquitos the size
of J-Lo's jewelry.
"Well, sir, one place we think we can improve a bit is in Customer Relations. The new guy you recommended for the parking lot
job is kind of crusty. He keeps telling visitors, 'I don't mean to be rude, but that sedan is a complete and utter
mess.' Plus, maybe it wasn't a good idea to have Caleb Johnson work the ticket booth. You know: 'Here you are,
enjoy the show you #%^&*s!' Yes sir, the production crew is making changes too.
Per Blankens rented some swaybots from the
community college for Sam Woolf's performances to try to appeal to the younger set. You can also order
meatloaf during the show via Twitter and Facebook and have Kellie Pickler deliver it right to your seat. No, sir, none
of it is helping much.
"To be honest. what we need most are some better shows. Tonight's
replay pretty much made everyone in the audience wish they'd stayed there. Dexter Roberts won the night with a 64;
that's one of the lowest episode-leading ratings in our history. Johnson and Majesty Rose also reached 4-stars, but after
that it was bleak. Even Jess Meuse, Alex Preston, and Jena Whatshername fell below 50. Emily Piriz became our
second holdover contestant of the summer despite a 26 rating, because MK Nobilette was like a deer in headlights
again. The only reason she outscored Ace Young on "Drops Of Jupiter" was because she at least didn't show the audience
any scars. Yes, sir, we know you're disappointed that she's leaving so soon, but you're not half as sorry as the
hat store in town. As soon as the result was announced, they declared bankruptcy.
"OK, sir, we'll let you go. We know you've got a lot of things on your mind – sagging ratings, the upcoming
tour, AI14 auditions. Evil is a 24-by-7 job. Well, we'll do everything
we can to liven things up here. Yep, take care, Mr. Fuller. Bye."
Thursday, June 26th, 2014
Final 11 (Songs From The Cinema)
The suits at Fox evidently decided that our slumping attendance here at Camp Should-A-Been could be
rectified with just a little bit of star power. So, they dispatched pretty much every poor slob under contract
to the network to make cameo appearances at tonight's
replay. Demi Lovato was here, as was Zooey Deschanel, Terry Bradshaw (who quarterbacked our touch football
team to a win over Camp Outwit, Outlast, Outplay – it was the only time we beat those guys head-to-head
at anything this year), Ariana Grande, Jason Mraz, and Grumpy Cat (funny, he was smiling before we fed him dinner).
Too bad they didn't send us Malaya Watson and MK Nobilette back, because without those two, there was a huge
dropoff between the fourth and fifth best performances of the night. Still, there were some very fine highlights.
Caleb Johnson notched his first 5-star performance
by covering she-who-shall-not-be-named. CJ Harris stayed in tune long enough for once to post his highest career
rating, a 72. Camp mentor Randy Jackson nearly talked Alex Preston out of "Falling Slowly" ("Dawg, that's just not
a good song and nobody's ever covered it decently on this show") when he was suddenly flattened by
the International Space Station falling from the sky. Well, okay, that didn't happen, but we kind of wish it did.
Anyway, Preston stood firm on his song choice and was rewarded with an excellent 79. But, the highlight of the night
of course was Jen Iren, who couldn't stop shortening her name, at the piano performing Paramore's "Decode", which
turned into the first showst--...
...uhh, thanks, Mr. Blankens, for that candid reaction shot. It certainly helped set the mood. Where were we? "Decode"
turned into the first 90 rating of our summer replay, which needed a kick-start like that in the worst way.
Speaking of worst, there were plenty of candidates this evening. Briana Oakley's projected ratings were getting into
the dismal territory, yet she wasn't even in the bottom three. Ben Briley, decked out in a rented tuxedo
and cummerbund, managed to survive a 1-star flop. That's because Majesty Rose made what was arguably the lamest song
choice of the season by (a) attempting to out-sing Idina Menzel on (b) a Disney song that (c) every girl on earth
under the age of 25 has covered on YouTube. The one bright spot for the departing
Rose is that she at least enjoyed a bit of anonymity:
cameo host John Travolta accidently introduced her as
Adele Dazeem York. (PFFFFT!–*thud*)
Friday, June 27th, 2014
Final 10 (Billboard Top 10)
Harry Connick Jr.'s penchant for constructive criticism seems to be wearing a bit thin among our campers. He spent
the morning critiquing our softball team's batting stances until Nikko Smith whacked him in the forehead with
a foul ball. Later, he stopped by the petting zoo to work with Carrie Underwood on her animal husbandry
skills, frustrating her to the point that she sicced a sheep on him.
Then during tonight's
Billboard Top 10
replay, he told Jessica Meuse that she was getting too predictable and "stuck in a box"
after she rearranged Foster The People's familiar "Pumped Up Kicks" into a sly and edgy country ballad.
You don't believe us? It's true. The sheep even chased Connick up a tree.
To be honest, everything about tonight's show was a little weird, as is often the case when Idol trots out a theme of,
in essence, "Sing Something Current." The contestants and judges mostly seemed to be off
their games. One who wasn't: New Hampshire college student Alex Preston, whose acoustic cover of
"Story Of My Life" easily won the night. Meuse, Caleb Johnson, and Sam Woolf also managed to post above-average
ratings. Alas for Jena Irene, the shipment of glowsticks she ordered from Amazon didn't get here in time, leaving
her to scramble madly just before the curtain rose. ("Everybody get those jars of fireflies up!") Our three holdover
contestants observed that nobody has reached the Billboard Top 10 singing solo since roughly 1997, so they rapped
on each others' performances, to mostly mediocre results.
Alabama besties Dexter Roberts and CJ Harris were the Bottom Two tonight, separated by just six-tenths of a point.
They stood shoulder-to-shoulder on stage while we tallied the results, and it turned out that Harris was the one who'd
be headed back to the Heart Of Dixie on the Bus Of Shame.
When we got back to the head cabin, there was an urgent voicemail message waiting for us from Simon Fuller. Aw, it's
late and tonight's show was so dull that it can't be that important. We'll return his call tomorrow.
Sunday, June 29th, 2014
Final 9 (I'm With The Band)
"Oh, hello Mr. Fuller! Sorry we forgot to call you back yesterday. It's been a busy weekend. We had our annual craft
show on Saturday, plus a big tug-of-war match with Camp Hoofin'-It, and
then...um, yes sir, we realize you're a busy man. If
you're calling about tonight's
replay – well, we're getting to the part of the summer where the frontrunners step it up,
and the contestants who are in their projected ratings
start running out of gas. Exactly four singers broke 50 tonight, and you won't have any
trouble guessing which four. Caleb Johnson blew off the roof of the ampitheater with...
"...er, hang on a second Mr. Fuller. (Hey, Per! Stay off our Skype feed, would you please? Thanks!)
Sorry about that, sir, where
were we? Oh yeah, Johnson. His Led Zeppelin cover was terrific, and
Je Ire – um, yes sir, she shortened it again – anyway, she was really good singing "Bring Me To Life", even without
a piano. Everyone else had little experience fronting a band, so there were some awkward moments, such as when Alex
Preston tried playing his acoustic guitar behind his head like Jimi Hendrix. But, he and Jessica Meuse did quite well
and Sam Woolf was OK, just a little lackluster. Oh, and our three holdovers didn't
quite comprehend the 'I'm With The Band' theme, we guess – they all sang famous songs about groupies.
"Well, yes sir, now that you mention it, it's a little strange that four touring cast members
got sent home first. No, sir,
we're certainly not claiming that Ben Briley and Emily Piriz are better singers than Malaya Watson or Majesty Rose.
That's just how the nightly ratings shook out this year. Heck, Briana Oakley went home tonight in ninth place despite
posting just one 44-rated performance. It's funny, because we doubt most Idol fans would recognize
Oakley if they tripped over her in the mall tomorrow.
"What's that, sir? Of course not! We can't alter the results here at Camp Should-A-Been just to help you market the tour
more effectively. We've played by the same rules for thirteen seasons now! It's not our fault that two girls made
lousy song choices, a third had terminal stage fright, and one guy had a penchant for singing so sharp that the Met
Life blimp was in constant peril. Besides, everybody and their grandmothers already know who the Final Four is going to be.
It'll be interesting to see which one wins, but until then, we're mostly just killing time.
"Mr. Fuller, calm down! You're getting hysterical! No sir, you're not paying us just to kill time. Heck, you're
not paying us at all! Excuse us, sir? We're impertinent? We're insubordinate? We're....um, what
was that again sir? We're...we're...........
Monday, June 30th, 2014
Final 8 (Audition Songs)
Greetings. Cowell speaking. I shall be taking over administration of this horrid campsite, effective immediately.
As Fuller noted when he offered me the position, I perfected the use of what you Americans term "snark"
on American Idol, making me an ideal replacement. Should you visit us before the end of the season, please
be sure to say hello to our three new parking lot attendants on your way through the gate.
Earlier this morning, I assembled the resident staff and assured them that camp operations would continue as usual.
I also informed the eight surviving contestants that I found them to be uniformly dreadful, and that if I were still
a judge, none would have lasted past the aeroplane hangar in Los Angeles, had they made it
to Hollywood at all. However, they are the hand I have been dealt, and I will persevere.
The theme for the evening was
Evidently that git Lythgoe has completely run out of sensible ideas. Two of the contestants – the lad who
looks like his bladder might give out at any moment, and the purple-haired girl who speaks as though she has
a mouthful of porridge –
sang self-penned material. I am told that these so-called "ratings" of 89 and 86 indicate
that viewers actually found them to be outstanding. I can only presume that the entire lot of you have never
been to a Portuguese coffeehouse. The rude fellow with the unkempt hair wailed something
that sounded vaguely like an Aretha Franklin song. I don't recall the rest; it was all indulgent rubbish.
There were also a series of duets on the schedule. In an attempt to instill some competence into the proceedings,
I had several of my protégés fill in for departed contestants. Sadly, the chubby man and the Florida
lad were beyond repair. When it came time to dismiss someone, I chose the bearded fellow in the worn tuxedo, though any
of the other seven would have done just as well. I also fired the entire judging panel; Paula is in transit
and should arrive by tomorrow. Cheers.
(What did you say, Randy? A "save"? You cannot be serious. Which of this horrific group did Connick and his cohorts
believe worth saving? Sam Woolf? I see. Well, he's still in the competition, so there is hardly a problem. No, I do
not see how having an 'extra' show on the docket causes any logisitical issues
whatsoever. We will continue sending one
contestant home each night until...ah, wait. We would have only one person remaining for the Finale, wouldn't we? Well, it's not
worth fretting over. I'll speak to Fuller, and no doubt it will work itself out. Good night, and I shall see you in the morning.)
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Final 8 II (80's)
Greetings. At an early morning teleconference of the top minds at 19 Entertainment and Fox
Television, we discussed how best to handle the issue of the "extra" episode in this summer's schedule.
Had the rank amateurs that Fuller hired over the winter to produce the show simply dismissed two contestants
episode, as I specified when I invented the Save rule in 2009, there would be no difficulty. Instead, we are forced
to improvise. Moreover, the previous head counselors provided no guidance whatsoever as
to the proper course of action. When I consulted the camp rulebook for the established
procedure to follow, I found only a handwritten scrawl which childishly stated, quote, "Fat chance, X-Boy! You're on
your $%^&* own here."
Very well then. I decree, in keeping with the spirit of this feature's title, that tonight's episode "shouldn't-a"
happened. Instead, we shall stage a non-competitive exhibition entitled Simon Cowell: His Favorite
Critiques. I instructed eight members of the staff to reprise performances on which my sparkling wit and
repartee were in best form over the years. Among the
memorable commentary that I shall reproduce will be jabs about chocolate ice cream and onions, TVs flying through
Las Vegas hotel windows, and numerous references to country fairs and theme parks.
No doubt the paying audience will be most entertained.
Incidentally, I believe that there is a ratings "deduction" of some sort involved with reprises,
which I shall leave to Randy to compute. We have a capacity crowd here tonight, and I look forward to reminding
them of how excellent American Idol used to be when I was casting the talent. Off we go....
• • •
(NEWS FLASH: Police and SWAT teams have been dispatched to Camp Should-A-Been in the north woods, where
there are reports of a major public disturbance taking place. Film at 11.)
• • •
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Final 7 (Competitors' Picks)
Well, we're back. Too bad, really, because we never realized until now how much money parking valets raked in.
On the bright side, our chief maintenance man, Ace Young, reports that most of the damage to the campground from
last night's riot is repairable, though it might take a few days before the smell of tear gas fully dissipates.
Apparently, charging visitors forty bucks a head to sit through those eight performances again was not one of
Simon's better ideas. We'll discuss it with him further if he makes bail today.
Anyway, regarding the second Top Eight show.... Simon got one thing right, at least: That show "shouldn't-a"
happened by the bylaws of CSAB. However, its performances indeed took place last April, so they count towards a contestant's
season average. Moreover, just like when an Idol is able to skip his real-life appearance on the wild card show
because he or she made it directly into the finals on merit, those "unused" performances are queued up for the next
time a contestant needs a projected rating. (Yes, even the blasted duets.) Finally, we've approved Scott Macintyre's
and Jesse Langseth's
applications to take over as Camp Should-A-Been's parking lot valets, which has nothing whatsoever to do with
last night's non-show, of course, but we figured we'd better warn you in case you decided to drop by.
As for tonight's
replay...well, the highlight of course was Irene, at the piano, performing Radiohead's "Creep"
(*sigh*)...As we were saying, "Creep" achieved the second 90 rating of the season, and it punctuated a very fine
evening when all of the Big Four broke 70. If Mr. Show-Freaking-J-Lo-At-Every-Opportunity Blankens thought that
the contestants would sabotage each other on Competitors' Picks Night, he was very much mistaken. Well, the surviving
six probably got a little over-snarky when choosing Emily Piriz's number, but her time was obviously up, and the Orlando
native had finished a full five places higher here at CSAB than she did in L.A. this spring. By way of congratulations,
we let her sing her final duet with her #1 hero. (Incidentally, the final score tonight between Piriz and Dexter Roberts
wasn't all that much; after the duets and trios were weighed in properly, Roberts had 33.8 to Piriz's 30.3.)
So, Piriz is out, but now Roberts becomes a holdover contestant. Hmm...Roberts already had to use a projected rating
for the Wild Card show...but, he's got one full and one duet performance from the second Top 8 show available...and the phase
of the moon is 'waxing gibbous'...aw, we'll figure it all out tomorrow. We hope.
Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Final 6 (Country/Rock)
We had a long talk with executive producer Per Blankens this afternoon to express our, ah, chagrin at having
cutaway shots of Jennifer Lopez constantly intruding on this summer's best performances.
Since he's new here, we were patient. We explained that American Idol is all about the contestants
and their journeys rather than the celebrity judges, and Camp Should-A-Been is all about the performances rather than the critiques and voting.
Thus, the focus must always remain on the stage. We asked him, please, stop showing J-Lo bopping and dancing in her chair,
because nobody gives a whit and it interrupts the flow of our narrative. He eagerly promised to take the matter under
advisement with his staff.
With that little matter out of the way, we turned to our next headache: figuring out what the heck Dexter Roberts's
scores would be for this evening's
Rock + Country
replay. It was a foregone conclusion that he'd be leaving us tonight, to the
point where Roberts spent the day painting the Bus Of Shame crimson and plastering it with "Roll, Tide, Roll" bumper stickers.
However, the calculations were what mattered, because whatever formula we used tonight, we would be ethically bound
to duplicate later in the competition should, say, Jessica Meuse or Alex Preston need projected ratings when it really
consultation with the CSAB Math, Science, and Other Nerdy Stuff Committee (consisting of David Cook and an old HP scientific
calculator), here's what we came up with.
- First priority at CSAB is always 'unused' performances. Roberts had one solo on the Top 8 II show,
"Keep Your Hands To Yourself",
which serendipitously could've been used tonight for either his "country" or his "rock" song, but we digress. That scored
a 35, and that's projected rating #1.
- Now, for #2, Roberts had a 36-rated duet that night with Jess Meuse on "Islands In The Stream". He needs a
second full rating, however, and a duet counts for only half a performance. His other half comes from his average
contestant rating of 39.0, decayed one-and-a-half steps (because he already used the first step for his
Wild Card show.) That works out to 34, and averaged with the unused duet rating, gives him...another 35
Got all that? Before we submit it to the Nobel Mathematics board in Stockholm, let's briefly run down
what else happened on tonight's
replay. Basically: not much. Folkie Alex Preston's foray into rock & roll turned out about as poorly as expected,
and his foot movements were even more jerky than usual because a spider had crawled up his pants leg. Still, he had
no trouble advancing on the strength of his, we think, very underrated 76 for "Always On My Mind".
Jess Meuse introduced the
other "Somebody To Love" to the AI stage, while Jena (yeah, it's just "Jena" now) blessedly chose a Heart song
that wasn't either "Alone" or "What About Love" for the umpteenth time. Reluctant heartthrob Sam Woolf limped along once
more accompanied by the wails and screams of the teenage girls in the audience, though we're pretty sure they were reacting
mostly to the spider. But, with an outstanding combined 151 covering The Black Crowes and Carrie Underwood,
the night belonged to rocker Caleb Joh--...
........(*sigh*) Very funny, Mr. Blankens. Very funny.
Friday, July 4th, 2014
Final 5 (America's Requests)
Happy Fourth of July! Despite the annual barbecue and festivities, a
palpable sense of dread fell over our five remaining AI13 Replay contestants today. Tonight's
episode was, after all, the one where the Idol production staff, in the sort of spectacular miscalculation
normally associated with flaming dirigibles and reformulated cola recipes, decided to offer a group-save
option in the hopes of keeping swaybot-swooning Sam Woolf
around one more week. Naturally, it backfired live on national TV. Surviving that embarrassing ordeal was difficult
enough for the Final Five in real time, but now they had to spend all day wondering: what did the snarkmeisters at
Camp Should-A-Been have up their sleeves to top it? Let's go to the video...
Except for a couple of misfires, it was quite a good show, headlined by a pair of five-star performances from
...ns-s-s-son and Alex Pr--...
.......FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MR. BLANKENS, KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY!!! Sheesh!
Anyway, while the boys were
1-2 on the setlist, the runaway winner of the night was Jessica Meuse. She earned
a 76 on her very literal presentation of "Summertime Sadness", even singing with a red dress on and her hair up,
and topped that with a 77 on Christina Perri's "Human".
Meanwhile, "J.I.", who was served
copyright infringement papers from rapper T.I. just before showtime, had a bit of an off-night, but two above-average
performances saw her advance easily into the Top Four.
The low point of the evening was when a visibly upset Johnson was
forced to cover "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" for the eighth time on AI.
Backstage afterwards, the Carolina rocker let loose a volley of epithets, calling
the Aerosmith song "vile ratsbane", his fans "scalawags" for choosing it, and the producers "unctuous rogues"
for their attempted twist.
The anger management classes obviously aren't helping very much, but at least the Shakespeare course is broadening his vocabulary.
Just as on the original episode, all of this left Sam Woolf the odd man out. We distributed ballots to each
contestant asking whether or not we should save Woolf. The results: one vote for "yes", two votes for "no",
one vote for "printed on recycled paper", and one "what was the question again?" Then we brought out legendary
Let's Make A Deal host Monty Hall to see if Woolf wanted to trade his one-way ticket on the Bus Of Shame for what was
behind Door #1. And that, dear reader, completes the saga of how we spent the first two weeks at camp to reach the most
obvious Final Four in CSAB history, and it also explains why our petting zoo is one goat short. See you Sunday
when the real S13 competition finally begins!
Sunday, July 6th, 2014
Final 4 (Break-Ups & Make-Ups)
Together they produced an astounding 20 of the 21 five-star performances of 2014, and they pretty much carried Season 13
on their four-headed, eight-legged back. Which also kind of describes the spider that crawled up Alex Preston's
leg a few nights ago. Except these four are much better singers than it was. Though then again, the spider at least had enough
sense not to insult its fans or make corny call-outs for glowsticks. So, yeah, that's where we stand – we're down to
a most deserving Final Four that everyone expected. Now it's time to see which one of Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse, Alex
Preston, and The Artist Formerly Known As Jena Irene Asciutto, will take home the thirteenth
championship of Camp Should-A-Been!
Needless to say, the highlight of tonight's
Breakups And Makeups
show was Irene's "Can't Help Falling In Love", which at 93.4 was the eighth-highest rated...
(...Don't start this #$%^&* again, Mr. Blankens, or we'll...)
Monday, July 7th, 2014
Final 3 (Randy's / Judges' / Hometown Choices)
In Edward Everett Hale's timeless novella The Man Without A Country, a court-martialed Army officer angrily
wishes he "...may never hear of the United States again!" His tribunal grants his request by condemning him to serve a
life sentence at sea, transferred from one Navy ship to another, with their crews forbidden to mention anything about the U.S.
in his presence. As with most of our literary allusions, this has next to nothing to do with Camp Should-A-Been.
We just wanted a suitable segue into telling you that, early this morning, we had Rocco, Viktor and Serge drag Per Blankens
out of his bunk and take him in a rowboat to the middle of Lake Trainwreck, where we left him without any oars.
With Mr. A.D.D. blessedly out of our hair, we were able to stage an uninterrupted
replay. As usual, we didn't have the budget to send our remaining contestants home overnight to a hero's welcome,
but we did manage to scrape up $3.75 so that they could share a couple scoops of ice cream after
dinner at the Baskin-Robbins in town.
We also had camp nurse Amanda Overmyer come onstage before the show and explain that, while Caleb Johnson's vocal cords
had healed nicely since last spring, he was suffering from a debilitating brain freeze from eating dessert too fast.
Thus, he would be singing tonight using cue cards and a magic marker that he borrowed from Syesha Mercado.
The audience soon learned that (a) one cannot adequately cover Led Zeppelin with ink and
cardboard, and (b) Johnson is a really atrocious speller.
("Bin dayzed and confyoosed for so long...")
The judges again tried their best to put a positive spin on the luckless real-life champ's vocal struggles.
(Keith: "You showed an awesome amount of heart by ordering the
chocolate mint!") But, while the voters gave Johnson a pass last May based on his full body of work, here at CSAB we
cannot and do not
grade on a curve. Johnson's cumulative 119 put him lightyears behind both Alex Preston (whose 175
headed by "Stay" wound up winning the night) and
(169, including a spectacular 5-star reprise). Thus, our Season Thirteen Finale will pit the original runner-up
vs. the third-place finisher for the title of 2014 Replay Champion!
(And, while a holdover contestant usually is at
a disadvantage in the Finale, keep in mind that Preston has
one-and-a-half unused performances from the second Top Eight show. That
makes tomorrow's outcome truly anyone's guess...including ours.)
Oh yeah, we also learned that Randy Jackson can't choose material for his pupils to save his life. Well, perhaps that's
not fair, because quite honestly all three of his picks.....er, well, if we're being honest.......they
really weren't half-bad. The fact that they
all wound up with approval ratings approximating January temperatures in Chicago seemed more a case of poor execution
rather than poor selection. But, shh-h-h.....don't tell that to our three disciplinary counselors. They're on their way to
the middle of the lake with Randy. See you tomorrow for the conclusion!
Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
We've staged twelve Replay Finales previously at Camp Should-A-Been, and, let's be honest,
most of them were about as one-sided as a windshield vs. a bug.
But, thanks to the serendipity of Fox replacing the old American Idol production staff with the only other
TV crew on the face of the earth unable to read a calendar, Alex Preston has one-and-a-half unused performances
left over from the
second Final 8
show. And, that makes the outcome of tonight's
wide open. Even though he's up against the Queen of Reprises, Preston has real-live, honest-to-goodness
approval ratings to use instead of a decaying projection. You can cut the tension around camp with a knife,
unlike our meatloaf, which requires a chisel, plus it's a really stupid cliché anyway, but we digress.
As usual, the VIPs started arriving early this morning. 19E don Simon Fuller drove up in his Bentley, which
Scott Macintyre promptly parked in the lake. The usual collection of Fox celebrities were on hand, including
Grumpy Cat, who bit Ryan Seacrest, earning him forever a place in our hearts.
Rehearsals went smoothly, notwithstanding the part when Per Blankens
ran on stage and offered our two contestants the chance for a group-save into tomorrow night's show, when we'd send
two people home. Bear with him, folks; he's still getting the hang of this.
Soon enough, it was showtime. Round one was the usual Favorite Performance reprise. This year's projected deduction was
15.6 points, which left Preston trailing his rival by 17 points. Next came the Producers' Choice segment, and here's
where Preston's unused solo rating came into play: "Every Breath You Take" scored 67 (12 points better than his
first projected rating would otherwise have been), which was 20 points higher than "Dog Days Are Over".
Thus, instead of being down nine points, the New Hampshire folkie had pulled into a three point lead!
It would all come down to the Original Winners Song™.
Preston's duet rating from Final Eight II Night was a 43 for "The Girl Is Mine", which was a truly remarkable
achievement considering no rendition of that song in galactic history had ever before topped zero.
That counted for half of his final round score; the other half would be a
1.5-step drop from his season average (because, recall, if one's first
projected rating is on an OWS, it's a two-step deduction.) Confused yet? So are we. Anyhow, it
all added up to a very respectable 48, and that would
have been enough to win most years. But, not this one. Not only was she terrific at reprises, but she also turned in
one of the better ratings for a coronation song on AI. In one of the highest-scoring CSAB Finales ever, by
a margin of 194 to 185, our Season Thirteen replay winner is......is.........
(Psst...look, dear, you're gonna have to let us call you something or we'll be here all night. Just this once?
Camp Should-A-Been Finale Results
Kelly Clarkson 215
, Tamyra Gray 174
Clay Aiken 180
, Ruben Studdard 144
LaToya London 174
, Fantasia Barrino 173
Bo Bice 155
, Carrie Underwood 131
Elliott Yamin 184
, Chris Daughtry 182
Melinda Doolittle 208
, LaKisha Jones 142
David Cook 168
, Syesha Mercado 149
Kris Allen & Allison Iraheta 164
Crystal Bowersox 216
, Lee DeWyze 125
Lauren Alaina 179
, James Durbin 160
Joshua Ledet 171
, Hollie Cavanagh 148
Candice Glover 194
, Angela Miller 163
Jena Irene 194
, Alex Preston 185
.......Jena Irene! The real-life runner-up had an inconsistent season to be sure, but when she was good she was very
good, and her skill at the piano allowed her to outrace a small battalion of guitarists to take home this summer's crown,
which ought to go nicely with her prom dress if we do say so ourselves. The hapless Preston did earn one respectable
consolation prize though: his was the highest runner-up score in CSAB history and would have topped eight of the previous
twelve replays (see table at left).
And thus concludes another
season here at Camp Should-A-Been. How about a big round of applause for all the
folks who helped make it happen? Let's bring out our twenty semifinalists from 2014....
...And our 343 ever eager-to-please staff members from previous seasons....
...Our veteran host Ryan Seacrest, and the most excellent judging panel of Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and
Harry Connick Jr.!...
...Let's not forget "the boys", Rocco, Viktor, and Serge, who keep everyone in line...
...And finally.......well, ah, modesty usually forbids, but... maybe just this once...how about some love for
your three loyal webmasters and CSAB head counselors?
........(*sigh*) Very funny, Mr. Blankens. Very funny.
With a huge tip of the cap to
for their free GIF loop maker.
— The End —
Closed For The Winter
Thanks For Visiting!
Reopening Summer, 2015.
Camp Should-A-Been – Season Thirteen Results
- Jena Irene
- Alex Preston
- Caleb Johnson
- Jessica Meuse
- Sam Woolf
- Dexter Roberts
- Emily Piriz
- Ben Briley
- Briana Oakley
- CJ Harris
- Majesty Rose
- MK Nobilette
- Malaya Watson
-- The staff of WNTS.com