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Camp Should-A-Been - Season Thirteen

Camp Should-A-Been

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!

Results

Saturday, June 22nd, 2014

Girls' Semifinals (Open)

Performance Web Rating Result
All Of Me0000All Of Me
74
 
2Safe
Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)0000Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)
63
 
2Safe
Paris (Ooh La La)0000Paris (Ooh La La)
59
 
2Safe
Happy0000Happy
58
 
2Safe
Drink A Beer0000Drink A Beer
45
 
2Safe
Warrior0000Warrior
44
 
5Wild Card
Paint It Black0000Paint It Black
42
 
5Wild Card
Turning Tables0000Turning Tables
31
 
5Wild Card
Wrong Side of a Love Song0000Wrong Side of a Love Song
16
 
7Eliminated
Roar0000Roar
7
 
7Eliminated

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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Babylon0000Babylon
74
 
2Safe
Volcano0000Volcano
71
 
2Safe
Shelter0000Shelter
71
 
2Safe
Stay With Me0000Stay With Me
66
 
2Safe
Soulshine0000Soulshine
53
 
2Safe
This Ole Boy0000This Ole Boy
46
 
5Wild Card
Comin' From Where I'm From0000Comin' From Where I'm From
33
 
5Wild Card
Grenade0000Grenade
25
 
7Eliminated
Love Don't Die0000Love Don't Die
22
 
7Eliminated
Best Of My Love0000Best Of My Love
4
 
7Eliminated

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 Guys 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

Wild Card

Performance Web Rating Result
Unbreakable Me0000Unbreakable Me
82
 
2Safe
Wild Mountain Honey0000Wild Mountain Honey
42
 
2Safe
Wildfire0000Wildfire
40
 
2Safe
Unconditionally0000Unconditionally
32
 
7Eliminated
Wild Wild Love0000Wild Wild Love
30
 
7Eliminated

Thanks to the usual short setlist on Wild Card 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 A&R executive, 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)

Performance Web Rating Result
A Beautiful Mess0000A Beautiful Mess
84
 
2Safe
The Crow & The Butterfly0000The Crow & The Butterfly
81
 
2Safe
Tightrope0000Tightrope
74
 
2Safe
Pressure And Time0000Pressure And Time
70
 
2Safe
Glitter In The Air0000Glitter In The Air
67
 
2Safe
The Scientist0000The Scientist
60
 
2Safe
Babylon0000Babylon
52
 
2Safe
Satisfaction0000Satisfaction
44
 
2Safe
Folsom Prison Blues0000Folsom Prison Blues
43
 
2Safe
Radio0000Radio
36
 
2Safe
Beautiful Disaster0000Beautiful Disaster
36
 
4Bottom Group
Aw Naw0000Aw Naw
30
 
4Bottom Group
Runaway Baby0000Runaway Baby
14
 
7Eliminated

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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Lucky Man0000Lucky Man
64
 
2Safe
Working Man0000Working Man
63
 
2Safe
Fix You0000Fix You
61
 
2Safe
Just One0000Just One
51
 
2Safe
Turning Home0000Turning Home
50
 
2Safe
White Flag0000White Flag
45
 
2Safe
I Don't Want To Be0000I Don't Want To Be
43
 
2Safe
Suddenly I See0000Suddenly I See
41
 
2Safe
Waiting On The World To Change0000Waiting On The World To Change
37
 
2Safe
California Gurls0000California Gurls
33
 
4Bottom Group
Let's Get Loud0000Let's Get Loud
26
 
4Bottom Group
Drops Of Jupiter0000Drops Of Jupiter
23
 
7Eliminated

"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 Home 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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Decode0000Decode
90
 
2Safe
Skyfall0000Skyfall
84
 
2Safe
Falling Slowly0000Falling Slowly
79
 
2Safe
Can't You See0000Can't You See
72
 
2Safe
The Sound Of Silence0000The Sound Of Silence
49
 
2Safe
Do You Want To Build A Snowman?0000Do You Want To Build A Snowman?
46
 
2Safe
Sweet Home Alabama0000Sweet Home Alabama
44
 
2Safe
Love Is An Open Door0000Love Is An Open Door
29
 
2Safe
Come Together0000Come Together
26
 
4Bottom Group
Bennie And The Jets0000Bennie And The Jets
19
 
4Bottom Group
Let It Go0000Let It Go
15
 
7Eliminated

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 Movie Songs 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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Story Of My Life0000Story Of My Life
74
 
2Safe
Pumped Up Kicks0000Pumped Up Kicks
59
 
2Safe
The Edge Of Glory0000The Edge Of Glory
58
 
2Safe
We Are Young0000We Are Young
51
 
2Safe
Clarity0000Clarity
42
 
2Safe
Fancy0000Fancy
41
 
2Safe
Turn Down For What0000Turn Down For What
37
 
2Safe
Problem0000Problem
27
 
4Bottom Group
Cruise0000Cruise
21
 
4Bottom Group
Invisible0000Invisible
20
 
7Eliminated

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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Dazed And Confused0000Dazed And Confused
88
 
2Safe
Bring Me To Life0000Bring Me To Life
77
 
2Safe
Rhiannon0000Rhiannon
66
 
2Safe
Don't Speak0000Don't Speak
58
 
2Safe
Hey There Delilah0000Hey There Delilah
41
 
2Safe
Superstar0000Superstar
37
 
2Safe
Does Your Mother Know?0000Does Your Mother Know?
34
 
4Bottom Group
Boondocks0000Boondocks
33
 
4Bottom Group
What's Your Name0000What's Your Name
24
 
7Eliminated

"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 Final Nine 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 nonetheless, 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...........

"................FIRED??!"

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Final 8 (Audition Songs)

Performance Web Rating Result
Blue Eyed Lie0000Blue Eyed Lie
89
 
2Safe
Fairytales0000Fairytales
86
 
2Safe
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around0000Stop Draggin' My Heart AroundDuet performance
70
 
9Group performance
Bring Me To Life0000Bring Me To Life
69
 
2Safe
Chain Of Fools0000Chain Of Fools
66
 
2Safe
One Mississippi0000One Mississippi
61
 
2Safe
Lego House0000Lego House
50
 
4Bottom Group
Just Give Me A Reason0000Just Give Me A ReasonDuet performance
46
 
9Group performance
Mama Knows Best0000Mama Knows Best
34
 
4Bottom Group
Bleeding Love0000Bleeding LoveDuet performance
32
 
9Group performance
Arms Of A Woman0000Arms Of A Woman
31
 
7Eliminated
Regresa a mi0000Regresa a miDuet performance
29
 
9Group performance
Alright0000AlrightDuet performance
12
 
9Group performance
Lucky0000LuckyDuet performance
9
 
9Group performance

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 Audition Songs. 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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Music Of My Heart0000Music Of My HeartReprise performance
-8
 
7Eliminated
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road0000Goodbye Yellow Brick RoadReprise performance
-9
 
7Eliminated
Dreaming Of You0000Dreaming Of YouReprise performance
-10
 
7Eliminated
Copacabana0000CopacabanaReprise performance
-11
 
7Eliminated
Last Dance0000Last DanceReprise performance
-13
 
7Eliminated
Eight Days A Week0000Eight Days A WeekReprise performance
-13
 
7Eliminated
Apologize0000ApologizeReprise performance
-14
 
7Eliminated
What About The Children0000What About The ChildrenReprise performance
-15
 
7Eliminated

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 from tonight's 80's 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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Creep0000Creep
90
 
2Safe
Gimme Shelter0000Gimme ShelterDuet performance
79
 
9Group performance
The A Team0000The A Team
73
 
2Safe
Gunpowder And Lead0000Gunpowder And Lead
72
 
2Safe
Family Tree0000Family Tree
70
 
2Safe
Sail Away0000Sail Away
52
 
2Safe
Muckalee Creek Water0000Muckalee Creek Water
40
 
4Bottom Group
See You Later, Alligator0000See You Later, Alligator
31
 
7Eliminated
Let Her Go0000Let Her GoDuet performance
29
 
9Group performance
Straight Up0000Straight UpDuet performance
29
 
9Group performance
Compass0000CompassCompetitive trio (or larger) performance
15
 
9Group performance

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 Top 7 replay...well, the highlight of course was Irene, at the piano, performing Radiohead's "Creep" to ano--... (*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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Sting Me0000Sting Me
82
 
2Safe
Always On My Mind0000Always On My Mind
76
 
2Safe
Barracuda0000Barracuda
76
 
2Safe
Jolene0000Jolene
70
 
2Safe
Undo It0000Undo It
69
 
2Safe
So Small0000So Small
57
 
2Safe
Somebody To Love0000Somebody To Love
57
 
2Safe
It's Time0000It's Time
52
 
4Bottom Group
Keep Your Hands To Yourself0000Keep Your Hands To Yourself
35
 
7Eliminated
Medley: Islands In The Stream / Hell's Bells0000Medley: Islands In The Stream / Hell's Bells
35
 
7Eliminated
You're Still The One0000You're Still The One
32
 
4Bottom Group
Animal0000Animal
23
 
2Safe

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 mattered. Upon 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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Still Of The Night0000Still Of The Night
84
 
2Safe
Say Something0000Say Something
83
 
2Safe
Human0000Human
77
 
2Safe
Summertime Sadness0000Summertime Sadness
76
 
2Safe
My Body0000My Body
64
 
2Safe
Beast of Burden0000Beast of BurdenDuet performance
62
 
9Group performance
Valerie0000Valerie
54
 
2Safe
Sweater Weather0000Sweater Weather
46
 
2Safe
How To Save A Life0000How To Save A Life
39
 
7Eliminated
Best Day Of My Life0000Best Day Of My LifeCompetitive trio (or larger) performance
36
 
9Group performance
Sing0000Sing
27
 
7Eliminated
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing0000I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
27
 
2Safe

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 America's Requests 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 Caleb Joh--... ...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)

Performance Web Rating Result
Can't Help Falling In Love0000Can't Help Falling In Love
93
 
2Safe
You And I0000You And I
86
 
7Eliminated
Maybe I'm Amazed0000Maybe I'm Amazed
82
 
2Safe
Yellow0000Yellow
69
 
2Safe
Too Close0000Too Close
67
 
2Safe
Heartbreaker0000Heartbreaker
66
 
2Safe
Travelin' Band0000Travelin' Band
48
 
2Safe
Bad Romance0000Bad Romance
46
 
2Safe
You Give Love A Bad Name0000You Give Love A Bad Name
41
 
2Safe
I'm Yours0000I'm Yours
38
 
2Safe
So What0000So What
32
 
7Eliminated
Since U Been Gone0000Since U Been Gone
25
 
7Eliminated

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...)

......Um, anyway, Jessica Meuse wasn't far behind with......
(.....uh, Per...please?....)
(*whimper*)...help...anyone...
 
...Caleb Johnson and Alex Preston also did well, and the last four performances averaged 82...
(.....Mr. Blankens!...Have mercy !!!......)

Aaaaarrrgggh!!!
Monday, July 7th, 2014

Final 3 (Randy's / Judges' / Hometown Choices)

Performance Web Rating Result
Creep0000CreepReprise performance
86
 
2Safe
Stay0000Stay
80
 
2Safe
Dazed And Confused0000Dazed And ConfusedReprise performance
65
 
7Eliminated
Story Of My Life0000Story Of My LifeReprise performance
57
 
2Safe
Heart Attack0000Heart Attack
50
 
2Safe
Pompeii0000Pompeii
38
 
2Safe
Never Tear Us Apart0000Never Tear Us Apart
37
 
7Eliminated
Titanium0000Titanium
33
 
2Safe
Demons0000Demons
17
 
7Eliminated

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 Final 3 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

Finale

Performance Web Rating Result
Can't Help Falling In Love0000Can't Help Falling In LoveReprise performance
87
 
2Safe
Fairytales0000FairytalesReprise performance
70
 
7Eliminated
Every Breath You Take0000Every Breath You Take
67
 
7Eliminated
We Are One0000We Are One
60
 
2Safe
As Long As You Sort Of Like Me0000As Long As You Sort Of Like Me
48
 
7Eliminated
Dog Days Are Over0000Dog Days Are Over
47
 
2Safe

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 AI13 Finale 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? Okay, thanks!)

Camp Should-A-Been Finale Results

  AI1: Kelly Clarkson 215,   Tamyra Gray 174
  AI2: Clay Aiken 180,   Ruben Studdard 144
  AI3: LaToya London 174,   Fantasia Barrino 173
  AI4: Bo Bice 155,   Carrie Underwood 131
  AI5: Elliott Yamin 184,   Chris Daughtry 182
  AI6: Melinda Doolittle 208,   LaKisha Jones 142
  AI7: David Cook 168,   Syesha Mercado 149
  AI8: Kris Allen & Allison Iraheta 164 (tie)
  AI9: Crystal Bowersox 216,   Lee DeWyze 125
AI10: Lauren Alaina 179,   James Durbin 160
AI11: Joshua Ledet 171,   Hollie Cavanagh 148
AI12: Candice Glover 194,   Angela Miller 163
AI13: 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 imgflip.com for their free GIF loop maker.

—   The End   —

Camp Should-A-Been
Closed For The Winter

Thanks For Visiting!

Reopening Summer, 2015.

Camp Should-A-Been – Season Thirteen Results

  1. Jena Irene
  2. Alex Preston
  3. Caleb Johnson
  4. Jessica Meuse
  5. Sam Woolf
  6. Dexter Roberts
  7. Emily Piriz
  8. Ben Briley
  9. Briana Oakley
  10. CJ Harris
  11. Majesty Rose
  12. MK Nobilette
  13. Malaya Watson

-- The staff of WNTS.com

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