Camp Should-A-Been - Season Fifteen
Over? Finished? American Idol?? Bah! The opera ain't over until the fat lady sings...at
CSAB, that is. We don't have any opera divas this year, but we certainly do have a few
very fine singers, including one plus-sized young mom who pitched the first full-season "perfect game" in
WNTS history. Surely LaPorsha Renae has to be considered the favorite just for that feat, but real-life champ
Trent Harmon didn't exactly get knocked around the ballpark himself, falling below 50 just once and tying for the
highest approval rating by any male contestant. And the rest of the field isn't chopped liver either, as it
features...um...so did we mention LaPorsha and Trent will be singing this summer? We did? Well, uh, chopped liver
is still better than our meatloaf, so it could be worse. Let's not say goodbye but au revoir (French for
"until the reboot") as we crown our fifteenth and "final" champ here at Camp Should-A-Been!
Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Semifinals Group One (Solo)
Holy baloney, this place is mobbed! It's been a long time since Camp Should-A-Been
has enjoyed a crowd of this size for an
opening show, but tonight we're packed to the rafters. There are 24 new Season Fifteen contestants,
383 former contestants, three judges, one irrepressible host, one insufferable mentor,
one evil CEO (let's have a big hand for Simon Fuller, folks!),
16 band members, three backup singers, 46 newly hired executive producers, 23 petting zoo animals,
22 paying customers, three head counselors, three disciplinary counselors, two health department inspectors (they
won't last long; we invited them to stay for dinner), twelve 19E bankruptcy lawyers, four real estate agents,
several dozen prospective buyers of the campgrounds, Adam Levine (he got lost again), and of course Idol's longtime
and long-suffering stage manager Debbie Williams whose job is to get everyone where they're supposed to be when they're
supposed to be. She's armed, so don't cross her.
first semifinal, we had a moment of silence in memory of Marque Lynche and Rickey Smith,
both of whom the Idol family lost tragically since we met last summer. Ryan Seacrest took the stage and
introduced our returning judges' panel: the delightfully cheery Keith Urban, the delightfully cheesy Jennifer Lopez,
and, uh, Harry Connick Jr., who's not terribly delightful but who at least knows music reasonably well.
The AI talent machine had unearthed 12 eager and gifted young vocalists who were ready to delight America with
their singing, except they decided to audition for The Voice instead. The 12 last-minute fill-ins...meh, they
weren't all so hot. La'Porshae Renae trotted out the umpteenth version of "Proud Mary" on American Idol and
still managed to crack 70, which we suppose is impressive. She was followed by three real-life finalists, Sonika
Vaid, Avalon Young (who wins this year's Needle In Haystack Award for managing to pick the one good Justin Bieber song
in existence), and MacKenzie Bourg, all of whom reached 3-stars. In a bit of a surprise, Colorado's Jeneve Rose
Mitchell managed to stay mostly on-pitch for an entire song -- a feat she didn't achieve in any of the Hollywood rounds, at
least none that we saw. Coupled with her uniquely interesting vocal style, she earned a well-deserved
59. Stephanie Negrete scored 46. We're going to bed
Oh, okay...duty calls. The other six singers, in a word, were really pretty awful, which is three words, but hell:
when half of the field averages 21, one word just won't do. Gianna Isabella had the audience pining for
Quentin Alexander, Thomas Stringfellow had them pining for Jena Irene, and Jordan Sasser had them pining for the exits.
Jenna Renae finished 49 points behind her stage-surnamesake, while James VIII could only manage a XXIX
(which feels about XII or XIII points overrated to us, honestly.)
As for Emily Brooke, who'd shown some promise in the early rounds, she turned out to be quite vincible after all.
Alas, try as we might, we can't get rid of any of them just yet: we're going to reveal the long-promised Celebrity Duet
ratings tomorrow, which will count for 33% of each contestant's first-round rating. Afterwards, we'll eliminate five
singers from each group, put the highest-scoring quartet through to the finals, have the remaining ten return as
wild cards, and bring mentor Scott Borschetta onstage so the audience can pelt him with eggs. That last bit wasn't part
of the original AI15 schedule, but it should've been.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Semifinals Group One (Duets)
The campgrounds were still teeming with people as far as the eye could see. We commented innocently during dinner that
it looked like someone was shooting a remake of Soylent Green, which caused several nearby campers to eye
their meatloaf suspiciously. Meh, that's nothing new. Oh well, at least we get to reduce the population of
Camp Should-A-Been by five tonight after our Group One Duets replay. Chief mechanic Chris Daughtry has
the Bus Of Shame oiled and lubed and ready for a long cross-country journey. We just have to figure out who's
making the trip.
If you're late to the party, the semifinal
duets shows caused us all sorts of headaches last February. The problem wasn't
whether or not they qualified as true competition nights (surely they did, even if only half of the performers were
supposedly being judged.) Rather, it was the fact that the Idolsphere by and large treated them the same way
ZZ Top treated their barbers: by pretending they didn't exist. We managed to scrape together precisely sixteen
web reviews for tonight's show. Using those plus a handful of WNTS Review Crew ballots, we produced approval ratings
that are slightly more accurate than had we used a dartboard, and way less fun, particularly if Simon Fuller happened
to be standing nearby. But, they are what they are,
and you can see the results to the right.
To absolutely no one's surprise, the pairing of La'Porsha Renae and Fantasia Barrino led the way by a wide margin,
though the performance perhaps didn't finish as high as some thought it might.
Season Two's fabled Velvet Teddy Bear helped both of his singing partners to right around 70. In fact, the
top six from last night were the top six tonight. The seventh and final ticket forward would go to whichever
remaining contestant could rise to the occasion and deliver a strong, memorable performance with his or her
professional partner. Which, as it happened, was nobody.
However, James VIII at least managed to get within shouting distance of III-stars. Along with his
29 carryover, it was
good enough for him to make it to Sunday's wildcard show, where he'll be eliminated roughly eleven milliseconds
after the curtain rises. We'd prefer to build some suspense about his fate, but who would we be kidding?
Joining the Mississippi Queen in earning a bye to the Top 10 was Sonika Vaid, who edged out Avalon Young by 0.14
points when the final numbers were tallied. (The overall rankings comprised both semifinal groups; Vaid was
fourth overall and Young was fifth.) We said farewell to Gianna Isabella, Jenna Renae, Jordan Sasser, Gianna Isabella
(Hmm? We said her already? Well, heck, she kept singing the same song over and over, so we're even),
Thomas Stringfellow, and Emily Brooke. We think one or two of them might have been real-life finalists, but the
undercard this season was so forgettable that we're not entirely certain.
Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
Semifinals Group Two (Solo)
By order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles County, all material
assets of Core Media Group Inc., parent company of 19 Entertainment and American Idol, must henceforth and
herewith be liquidated in a timely and organized manner. This includes the real estate trust known forthhence and
postpartum as Camp Should-A-Been, LLC. At first, we thought they were only referring to our meatloaf,
which can be a little runny on some days. But no, they meant everything: the grounds, the buildings, the ampitheater,
the sound equipment, the zoo animals, the whole nine yards. Geez! Have you ever tried to liquidate a sheep?
Anyway, today's prospective buyer was some big Arizona syndicate who thought they could turn the place into a ritzy
tennis and racquetball retreat for executive vacationers. We told them that was a swell idea -- heck, if they ever run out
of tennis balls, they can just use the local mosquitos. Our real estate agent was not amused. She
promptly had Rocco, Viktor and Serge lock us in the Head Cabin. Oh well, it was worth it.
They let us out just in time for tonight's
second semifinal show. Truth be told, we'd just as soon have stayed in jail. Whereas
Group One at least had five solid performances before their approval ratings off a cliff, this bunch hit the skids
after only three. Olivia Rox and defending champ Trent Harmon both reached the seventies, and third-place finisher
Dalton Rapattoni delivered a highly polarizing, 28-s.d. deconstruction of Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell".
(For the record, we really liked it, though we're still a little shaky on how a contestant who
produced precisely three (3) performances above 50 all season somehow made it to the Finale, however briefly.)
duet catastrophes, and maybe not even then, that trio would seem to be locks to make it to the weekend.
Not so for the other nine singers, we're afraid. Just 20 points separated fourth from twelfth place. Shelby Z
and Adam Lasher will take a small lead into tomorrow's Duets Night
over a septet of two-star performers, whose comically ironic song titles even
our hallowed Snark Department couldn't have made up on their best day. "Sorry", "Wake Me Up", "Run Away", "Let It
only someone had thought to sing Jimmy Buffett's "Changing Channels." The audience showed their appreciation
for the 43-rated episode by lobbing mosquitos at the three veteran judges who so brilliantly casted
this year's Top 24.
Anyway, the final seven spots in the wild card lineup will be decided tomorrow night -- see you then.
Friday, June 24th, 2016
Semifinals Group Two (Duets)
Despite all the hubbub surrounding the final season of Camp Should-A-Been, we've been able to squeeze in most
of our traditional summer activities. This afternoon we won our annual grudge touch football match with
Camp Hoofin'-It, the replay camp for Dancing With The Stars. It wasn't particularly close.
Jordin Sparks returned the opening kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, accompanied by roughly 500 blockers, and it
was all downhill from there. The only downside was that David Cook injured himself while winning the pre-game coin flip,
though that's actually a little longer than he typically lasts each year before being carried off the field
on a stretcher. It's all good.
Later that evening, Sparky and Cookie and four other legendary American Idol alumni lent their talents on
our ampitheater stage. And, what do you know: the second Duets show turned out to be the highest-rated episode of the
semifinals. Not that 48.5 is exactly the stratosphere, mind you, but compared to the two Solo snoozefests it
was a refreshing night indeed. This time we dredged up 25 web reviews, which, along with a few Review Crew ballots,
is almost enough for us to feel reasonably confident about the ordinals, if not the actual ratings.
For the second straight night, Olivia Rox and Trent Harmon finished one-two, helped out by our two gridiron heroes.
Both easily earned a free pass into the Top 10. Amelia Eisenhauer posted the biggest one-day jump of any semifinalist,
teaming with Kellie Pickler for a 67 on "Suds In The Bucket" to snag a wild card berth. That's 35
points higher than Eisenhauer scored on her solo effort...and, ahem, 47 points more than Pickler managed when she
sang that song back in Season Five. You cannot make this stuff up.
Dalton Rapattoni had no trouble hanging on to his spot in
Sunday's show, and the wild card field was rounded out by Jenn Blosil, Adam Lasher, and Shelbie Zed. (WNTS historical
buffs: Note how close Cook came to pulling a McPhee.)
There was a spot of unpleasantness backstage after the Top 14 were announced. It turned out that Kory Wheeler actually
finished fourteenth overall with a combined 35.7 on his two performances (2/3 * 26 plus 1/3 * 55)
-- hardly sterling, but still
four-and-a-half points more than James VIII produced. Lee Jean, who claimed to be an
actual finalist this February (mind you, Jean has claimed to be Ed Sheeran, David Willis, and Richard The Lion-Hearted at
various times too)
also nipped His Highness, as did CJ Johnson. We patiently explained to them
that we were following the longstanding rules of CSAB by mimicking the actual elimination pattern that AI used during
the season. Five singers were eliminated from each group individually, not ten collectively. But, hey, if they wanted
to stay an extra couple of nights here at camp, no problem -- there's plenty of room in Cabin Fifteen even with all
of Trent Harmon's hats and La'Porsha Renae's hair care products.
And, coincidentally, "No Air" also happens to describe the bunkhouses'
climate control amenities. Strangely enough, the trio quickly reconsidered and found seats on the Bus Of Shame alongside
Manny Torres and Tristan McIntosh, who might also have been a real finalist this year. We think.
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Wild Card (Favorite Performances)
"...And we were able to auction off the canoes and rafts for $315.00, and the mess hall furniture went for
$820.00. Yes, sir, that means everyone's going to have to eat standing up this week, but we'll cope. The local elementary
school will take the pottery wheel, so that'll be a tax write-off.
Oh, and we got $4,800.00 for the cleaning supplies. Um, no sir, that's not such a surprising amount really.
Think about it -- they were hardly ever used.
"Hmm? Oh, sorry Mr. Fuller. We were just reminiscing about all of our years here at Camp Should-A-Been.
Selling off this stuff is tougher than it might seem, because it has a lot of sentimental value to us.
Oh, yes sir, we fully understand: the judge said everything
of value has to be liquidated, pronto. Yes, we checked Phillip Phillip's bunk thoroughly for loose change.
We found seventeen cents. You'll have to talk to his attorney about the other $5,999,999.83.
"No, Mr. Fuller, still no sign of a buyer for the campgrounds, but come on sir: you're not going to find
anyone deranged enough to pay good money for this dump. It's basically a Superfund site overrun by
squirrels. Besides, you know as well as we do that American Idol is only going to be off the air long enough for
19E and Core Media to put this whole bankruptcy scam, er, process behind you. Then you'll reboot the series, and you'll
have to buy CSAB back again. Why not just keep it?
"Okay, sir, okay! We'll run the camp and you'll run the business -- got it.
What about the
Wild Card replay?
(*sigh*) Well, we suppose
it was better than the original, but that's not saying much. MacKenzie Bourg, Avalon Young, and Dalton Rapattoni
made it through to the Finals easily, of course. After that...meh. Instead of one trio of overmatched young singers
who perhaps the judges shouldn't have cast as semifinalists in the first place, we have a different trio rounding
out the Top 10. All of the holdover contestants misunderstood the theme, as usual, and we have no
idea what the hell James 00001000 was thinking. At least Jenn Blosil broke 50 with her Cyndi Lauper cover, which
is not an easy song to sing. She'll be joined by Stephanie Negrete and Shelbie Q. Um, yes sir, when someone chooses
a particularly dopey stage name, we like to have fun with them. JAX still isn't speaking to us.
"Anyway, Mr. Fuller, your Camp Should-A-Been Season Fifteen Replay Top Ten is:
- Jenn Blosil
- MacKenzie Bourg
- Stephanie Negrete
- Trent Harmon
- Dalton Rapattoni
- La'Porsha Renae
- Olivia Rox
- Sonika Vaid
- Shelbie Z
- Avalon Young
"Gianna Isabella, Lee Jean, Tristan McIntosh, and Gianna Isabella failed to qualify. We'll eliminate two
contestants tomorrow and two on Tuesday. Yes, sir, we know you're flying in for the Grand Finale next Monday! We'll
keep you posted on the replay and the liquidation. So, uh, any chance you want to buy a sheep for your
kids? Mr. Fuller? Hello?..."
Monday, June 27th, 2016
Final 10 (Songs From The Idol Era)
We're used to having celebrities visit Camp Should-A-Been, usually because they signed appearance contracts
with 19E that they would come to regret. Today, however, was entirely different: Tiger Woods, still recovering
from his recent back surgery, stopped by to tour the
grounds as a possible site for a golf course. "Pitchy Acres" was the working name, and the concept was that
innovations like meatloaf hazards and judges alongside each green ("That putt was a complete and utter mess!") would
revolutionize the game. We're pretty sure that he'll come to his senses once his pain medication wears off.
Woods didn't stick around for the
show, which was a pity because it was one of the better replays we've ever enjoyed. The simple expedient of getting
rid of weak semifinalists -- and there was no shortage of those this season, believe us -- caused the episode average
to jump from 51.8 to 58.1. That was without the show-closing magnum opus of one Kelly B.
Clarkson, whose rating we calculated conservatively from a handful of web reviews. Sonika Vaid normally sounds
like she's auditioning for a Disney soundtrack, but we convinced her that "Evanescence" was actually the sixth emotion
from Inside Out. Suitably motivated, she stepped way out of character to deliver a personal high of 88
on "Bring Me To Life." La'Porsha Renae, decked out in $12.85 in rhinestones (our diamonds having been sold at Reality
Camp Auction earlier in the day),
was just a point back, and a trio of pedigreed finalists were in the 60s.
Avalon Young had a bit of a scare;
normally a 42 is plenty good enough to survive Opening Night of the finals, but tonight's double elimination meant
that she finished just one point out of danger. We said goodbye to holdover semifinalists Jenn Blosil and Shelbie Zeta,
or at least we tried to. Turns out the Bus Of Shame had been bought by Camp Amazin' Racers, which was kind of
stupid, since most of their contestants get eliminated in places like Vanuatu. We were hoping it would go to
Camp Kardashians, just because.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
Final 8 (The Grammys)
There's strength in numbers. Partly that describes how the camp is beginning to smell after a week with more than 500
occupants and only two working showers, and partly it describes our success on the sports fields this summer against
our rival Lake Trainwreck replay camps. This afternoon, for example, we walloped Camp Chairs-A-Spinnin' 22-0 in
our annual softball game,
behind an all-star team of former youth diamond stars like Nikko Smith, Shannon Magrane, Carrie Underwood,
Scotty McCreery and Vonzell Solomon. That was the good news. The bad news is that the CCAS squad took home all of
our bats, balls and equipment, having purchased them at auction earlier in the day. They even bought the trophy,
the lousy rats.
Well, at least that means something of ours is selling.
Finding a buyer for the campgrounds is still moving about as
slowly as our ticket sales. Today our real estate agent brought in some bigwigs from Marriott, who took one look
at the place and laughed all the way back down the mountain. Simon Fuller still swears that we'll find a buyer by
next Monday, though. Sheesh -- if the DEA would allow us to sell whatever it is
he's smoking, we could wind up this bankruptcy in no time.
Through it all, we're holding a fresh replay episode every night, because that's what we do.
wasn't so bad without Gianna Isabella and Lee Jean gumming up the works. We still had to sit through Dalton
Rapattoni's unfortunate Imagine Dragons cover, which earned him a one-way trip home to Texas. (For your edification,
Greyhound frowns on people duct-taping an "Of Shame" sign underneath the word "Bus" in their
logo. People are so sensitive nowadays.) Also shipping out tonight was Stephanie Negrete, who surely deserved
to last longer on Idol than she did this past February, though seventh place seems to be pushing it a bit.
She's only from San Diego, so we called her a taxi. We know nothing of how it left camp sporting a homemade
"CABOFSHM" license plate. Nothing whatsoever.
Lastly, Avalon Young "earned it" all right: she becomes our second holdover finalist this season, joining Olivia Rox. We'll
use her "save" performance from the Final Six show first, then go to projected ratings from her contestant
average including her Celebrity Duets performance. This policy may or may not alter the final standings, but
come on: if you haven't figured out already who's going to be in the Camp Should-A-Been Replay Finale this
summer, you haven't been paying close enough attention.
Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
Final 6 (The American Idol Songbook)
We knew up front that Season Fifteen would be short, but we never really grasped how short until we looked at the
calendar today. Good grief, we've only
got five more days to sell off all this junk, to crown a champion, and most importantly, to whittle down our enormous
backlog of industrial-grade, triple-filtered snark! We blame the American Idol crew for that last problem.
Except for doing an uncharacteristically godawful job of casting, and for one particular judge
twerking half-naked at the camera during the Finale, none of the front table trio did anything particularly
snark-worthy this season. Per Blankens is mercifully gone -- we hear he's interning at Camp Kitchen-O'-Hell
where his penchant for weird elimination patterns and random social media tie-ins has Gordon Ramsey regularly chasing
him around the campgrounds with a meat cleaver. Ryan Seacrest has done nothing of interest since 2008, which might be
why he's such a good host. And, our new zillion-person production staff spends their entire day in meetings where
it takes a two-thirds vote for any motion to pass ("All in favor of asking Keith Urban to remove a few superfluous
tattoos, say Aye"), so nothing ever gets done.
Anyway, on the liquidation front, we sold our walk-in freezer to Camp Think-'N'-Dance. They plan to use it
to store Nigel Lythgoe between episodes. A group of East Asian businesspeople toured the campgrounds today to evaluate
the possibility of converting it to a karaoke theme park. We had to shoo them off the ampitheater stage after dinner
so that we could hold our
American Idol Songbook
replay. We might as well have called it "Nigel Lythgoe's Revenge for the Freezer Wisecrack" Night, as Idol's
most outspoken fan of ancient music apparently
convinced the new producers that this nightmare would be a good idea. ("All in favor of holding a theme night
consisting of songs that most Idol fans would rather remove their own spleens with a butter knife than to listen
to again, say Aye.") Ten minutes into the show, we pined for hearing "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" sung drunkenly
in Japanese. Even granting the fact that the six remaining kids all did a pretty good job, a Repeat Factor
of 5.2 for the solo performances was excruciating to sit through.
On top of that, duets were back on the schedule for this episode. ("All in favor of going after their large
intestines too...."). Before the show, we had taken solace that at least we wouldn't have to hear The Asteroid
Song again since Tristan McIntosh and Lee Jean were long gone, but alas, we didn't figure on 17-year-old Olivia Rox.
She took care of that loose end with her solo number, and then showed on her duet that she's about as adept at
choosing material and singing partners as she is stage names. Oh well, none of it really mattered as tonight's
elimination was sealed by the one performance that fell below 50. Way, way, way below 50. MacKenzie Bourg's
disastrous duet with Dalton Rapattoni (that 17 seems rather generous) sent the Louisiana troubadour packing.
It also meant that Trent Harmon became the Last Guy Standing this year; he'll face off against a quartet of young
ladies -- two "real" and two "holdover" -- for a spot in the Finale. Which he'll earn with ease. Snark, we got
plenty of this summer, but suspense, not so much.
Thursday, June 30th, 2016
Final 5 (America's Requests)
Our real estate agents turned in their resignations en masse at 3pm this afternoon. They gave it their
all, but let's face it: Camp Should-A-Been was unsellable, and no amount of marketing gloss and
glitz could alter that fundamental fact. Too many years of bad meatloaf and worse singing had made
the site the mother of all white elephants. Heck, even if we did find a sucker, er, buyer, there's no way
they'd ever get a certificate of occupancy for this place. The snark levels in the soil are way too high.
We head counselors decided not to call Simon Fuller with the bad news right away. We still had four days; maybe
something good would happen to get us off the hook, like a meteor strike. Instead, we just went on with
replay. As on the original episode back in March, we had Trent Harmon go first in the hopes of covering up
how badly the defending champ butchered "Counting Stars". In fact,
we made him sing at 8am this morning, underwater in the lake.
Unfortunately, a 26 is a 26 on land, sea or air, so Harmon would have to sweat out his second
performance to see if he'd survive the night.
La'Porsha Renae had no such worries. Her opening India.Arie cover just missed five stars, and her brilliant Mary J.
Blige masterpiece (for our money, the performance of the season) put her average at 83, easily
advancing her to the Top Four. As it happened, the '73 Southern rock staple "Simple Man" was just what Trynt Hyrmyn
needed to bounce back -- he actually finished second on the night. New holdover Avalon Young was third, finishing
above 50 on her first two projected ratings by way of Roxy Music and David Bowie. We're not exactly sure
why America chose two older prog-rock hits for her, but we're sure they had a reason.
That left tonight's elimination between Olivia Rox and Sonika Vaid. Rox drew one old song, by the Police, and one
new one, via One Direction, but her ratings had decayed into the 40s, leaving the door wide open for
Vaid. To no one's surprise, one of the songs America
assigned her was a Disney staple -- judging by her cellular bill, we're pretty
sure Vaid stuffed the ballot box. Still, despite it being pretty much the last song in the Mouse catalog that
anyone over the age of six wants to hear these days, she put together a solid 55-rated performance, meaning
she'd need just a 40 on her other song to outlast Rox. That would seem to be a slam-dunk, considering her
low-water mark to date was an impressive 48. But wait, what's this? America's second choice
for Vaid was...a Zedd song?? She and EDM would seem to go together about as well as Olaf and summer. One
very predictable 31 later, a surprised and annoyed Vaid had finished in fifth place. Judging by Rox's own
cellular bill, we suspect she did a little bit of ballot box-stuffing, too.
Friday, July 1st, 2016
Final 4 (Rock / Sia)
While our focus this year has been on liquidating Camp Should-A-Been's meager material assets before
closing up shop, we're happy to
report that most of our human resources have landed on their feet. Harry Connick Jr. has accepted a guest lecturer
position at the prestigious Julliard Conservatory. ("I know most of you don't know what harmonics are,
but they're...oh, you do know? Um, well...) J-Lo has her Vegas gig plus her new
cop drama Shades Of Blue, plus her music career, plus her fashion design business, plus her United Nations work,
plus she's perfecting a commercially viable nuclear fusion reactor...um, yeah. The only thing she can't
do to save her life is judge a singing competition; go figure. Keith Urban is on tour as usual, and Ryan
Seacrest continues to channel the spirit of the late eternal teenager, Dick Clark ("One word: plastics.
Second word: surgery.") Our legendary trio of disciplinary counselors, Rocco, Viktor and Serge, will be
serving as an obstacle on American Ninja Warriors this season.
In fact, the only staff member who hasn't found work yet is mentor
Scott Borschetta, but don't worry: he's been assured by Randy Jackson that the job market is wide
open for an aging record producer
who lucked into discovering one superstar artist, and who otherwise is known only for spouting meaningless
catchphrases incessantly on a cheesy reality TV series. Well, hey, Randy ought to know.
We also were thrilled to welcome the friggin' brilliant Sia Furler to CSAB this afternoons. We gave her a
tour of the campgrounds and asked her, ah, by any chance would she be in the market for a prime real estate
investment? Hmph...turns out she can see perfectly well through all that hair after all.
belonged to Trent Harmon once again. The farmhand, waiter, and aspiring haberdasherer from Amory, MS became just
the eighth person in fifteen Idol seasons to notch two 5-star performances in one night, and his
88.5 average on a multi-song night was third-highest overall behind only Clay Aiken
(92.5) and Candice Glover (89.0). His cover of "Chandelier" became the first "showstopper" 90+
rating around these parts in two years. (Joey Cook, from the 34th row of the ampitheater: "I wuz robbed!")
Well behind Harmon, but still comfortably in second place and keeping her "perfect game" alive was La'Porsha
Renae. Which of our holdover contestants would join them in the Final Three? Judging by the rock song Avalon Young
was assigned, we suspect Olivia Rox was up to her old tricks on Twitter again, but no matter: Rox's fifth and
sixth projected ratings (plus the half-step for the Final Six duet) were too low to take out the quirky
San Diego guitarist. It'll be Harmon, Renae and Young onstage Sunday for our penultimate Replay Episode here at
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
Final 3 (Hometown / Judges' / Scott's Choice)
"Uh, hello, Mr. Fuller. Are we catching you at an awkward time? We know you have a long flight to
get here for tomorrow's very last Camp Should-A-Been replay. But, um, before you arrive, sir, there's
some bad news we ought to share with you....
"Oh, don't worry, sir -- no one is injured or fell ill. We're all fine.
Yes, the liquidation auctions are pretty much
complete. There's not a whole lot left here except the campers and their musical instruments, but that's all we need for
tomorrow. We even found a good home for the petting zoo animals: Carrie Underwood is bringing them to
her parents' farm in Checotah. She's taken care of them for years here, so they're like family. Plus, she thinks
the sheep will come in handy if she ever plays Maria Von Trapp again. They might distract the audience from
"No, sir, everything went smoothly at tonight's
show, too. We mean, there wasn't a whole lot of drama or anything. Trent Harmon lost his 90 on
"Waiting Game" during the post-season normalization, as you know, but it was still a brilliant performance.
And, wow: La'Porsha Renae's 80 for "Glory" seems way too low. She and the band staged that beautifully.
We could've done without hearing "Hello" for the two trillionth time in 2016, but that's just quibbling.
It'll be Mr. Hat vs. Ms. Hair for the championship tomorrow night. Avalon Young finished third, just as
everyone knew she would. She was too offbeat to win American Idol, but she had a great run.
Her hometown of San Diego
chose a Beach Boys song for her. The judges' choice was okay if a little pat,
and Scott Borschetta's was just plain wrong.
Consistency is their hallmark.
"Anyway, Mr. Fuller, what we wanted to tell you was that...hmm? Okay, sir, you give us your news first, and then
we'll give you ours. ....You WHAT???! You have got to be shi--...er, we mean, that's great sir! You found a
buyer for the campgrounds! We...uh, we're speechless sir. One more miracle and you're eligible for
canonization. Er, that is, we were confident all along that you'd be able to find someone in your network
of business associates who could see the potential in the property. Well done indeed!
"What's our bad news?...Uh-h-h-h...well, sir, we...er...we served the last of the meatloaf at dinner tonight.
No, sir, we're not bloody drunk out of our minds. We, uh, thought you liked it. Um, 'roadkill', roger that,
sir. We'll see if we can find any for you tomor--...we mean, have a great flight, Mr. Fuller! See you tomorrow
for our final installment.
Monday, July 4th, 2016
It's been nine summers and fifteen replays since we launched Camp Should-A-Been. It
has been a privilege to welcome our visitors through thick and thin, in good seasons and bad seasons and even
oh-my-God-what-the-hell-were-those-imbeciles-thinking seasons. Tonight, however, CSAB closes its
doors, maybe for the final time. Our 400-plus former contestants filed
somberly into the ampitheater wearing tuxedos and evening dresses.
The band struck up some mournful music as Heejun Han took the stage and started
into "Nearer My God To Thee"...and then stopped abruptly.
"This is way too slow for me," he told Rickey Minor with a sly smile. "I wanna DANCE!!"
Throughout the audience, the suit jackets came off, the high heels were kicked away, and we got this party started!
First came our Season Fifteen
twosome, and they were as magnificent tonight as they'd been all summer. Trent Harmon took the early lead with
a brilliant reprise of "Chandelier" -- it's probably just as well that this season was so short, because those
hand gestures would've gotten old in a hurry -- but La'Porsha Renae delivered a superb "Diamonds" to stay within
five points. In Round Two, Simon Fuller again chose the songs, but not before he instructed us to sneak into Renae's
dressing room and cut off her hair, as it was the only thing of value left at the campsite.
Tough break, Mr. Fuller: we auctioned off all the gardening equipment last Thursday. Anyway, Renae jumped
into a narrow lead with a terrific rendition of "A House Is Not A Home", outpointing Harmon's effort
by 15. The title would come down to the Original Winners Songs™,
neither of which were particularly good, as if that's anything new. Our dynamic duo gave it their all, however,
and Harmon wound up winning two of the three rounds while Renae again sealed her "perfect game". Who won?
We'd announce that at the end of the show, as if you hadn't already added up the scores two months ago.
Next came the reunion performances. Each bunkhouse put on a medley that they'd
rehearsed for days. We asked them to create a microcosm of their respective season at Camp Should-A-Been.
That didn't fare well ("Uh, no, Kellie, you don't need antibiotics for a microcosm")
so eventually we gave up and told them just to wing it.
And, they did -- fifteen medleys celebrating fifteen CSAB replays,
the good, the bad, and
the ugly. God, there was a lot of ugly. For every masterpiece by a highly-respected
Idol legend, there were at
least three hairballs coughed up by faceless semifinalists. Plus, even among the elite, there were
brain cramps in song selection and presentation that most AI fans have mercifully repressed from their memories.
Danny Gokey screamed. Jon Peter Lewis danced. Clay Aiken blanked on the words to "Vincent".
Sanjaya Malakar caterwauled while a girl in the audience bawled. (We
couldn't afford to rent a crying teenager for the night, so we gave Tristan McIntosh an onion and told her to
do the best she could.) Jennifer Hudson dug out some of the outfits she wore in her first few live performances.
At least Taylor Hicks and Bucky Covington had the good sense to tackle Ace Young and drag him offstage before
he showed the audience his chest scar again.
We were treated to hearing some of the finest American Idol performances one more time. Fantasia Barrino
dreamily sang "Summertime". Haley Reinhart did "House Of The Rising Sun". Bo Bice told the band to hit the
restrooms while he delivered "In A Dream". Kelly Clarkson summoned them back for "Stuff Like That There."
We bathed the stage in blue so Adam Lambert could reprise "Mad World",
then had Kierin Healy switch the lighting to red for Candice Glover's "Lovesong". LaToya London had planned
to sing "All By Myself", but she kindly acquiesced when we asked her to do her other showstopper,
the seemingly-forgotten "Don't Rain On My Parade", instead. How does anyone forget a performance that good?
And, oh yeah, we made Melinda Doolittle sing "My Funny Valentine". Twice.
But, our retrospective went much deeper than that, because this is Camp Should-A-Been, where excellent
midcarders and undeservedly eliminated semifinalists always got their due. The
Cabin Three medley
alone, we think, showed what we were all about. There was Suzy Vulaca, delivering
her pair of 70-level performances and causing Paula Abdul to look desperately for a rock to
crawl under. Lisa Leuschner took the stage and the judges told her she wouldn't be permitted to sing tonight. She
promptly flipped them the bird and sang anyway, clutching her CSAB sixth-place trophy proudly. Amy Adams
rocked her way through "Sin Wagon", a 90 before the Great Normalization, leaving the younger contestants
in the crowd to wonder how the voters possibly sent her home the very next week. And, oh by the way, our
Final Three that summer were named London, Barrino and Hudson. Sheesh, was this Reality TV business really so difficult?
Controversy? We outlawed it from the camprounds years ago. Tamyra Gray was a deserved runner-up in our
but only because Nikki McKibbon went out tenth. Had McKibbon made it to the Final Four show, she would have
once again knocked out Gray easily, and anyone in the Idolsphere who complained about it
would've been given detailed instructions on the proper technique for pounding sand.
It was close, and either would have been a fine
winner, but with no overloaded phone lines to screw things
up, Clay Aiken beat Ruben Studdard (our senior counselors' choice) fair and square.
Maybe the CMAs, Grammys, and People's Choice Awards have it scored 21-zip for Carrie Underwood, but, ahem, our records
still show Bo Bice beat her 155-131 when it really mattered in the AI4 Replay Finale.
(Your viewpoint on what matters and what doesn't may differ.)
Chris Daughtry outlasted
Kat McPhee here in the high woods, but it was Elliott Yamin who outlasted everybody
in Season Five. The great Mindy Doo sang
19 times (three of which had to be scored projectedly), matched up against 107 contending performances from
her Cabin Six bunkmates. Her
win-loss record that summer: merely 102-5. We'll pause until the next paragraph to give you time to scrape your
jaw off the floor.
David Cook wiped out the field in the AI7
replay, but his last opponent standing was Syesha Mercado, still wearing
knee braces after what the producers did to her that spring in the Final Three show...and, as we whimsically
demonstrated, she'd still have made it to the Finale on merit even if David Archuleta was one
of her F3 opponents. Even we couldn't pick a winner in Season Eight,
but choosing a Top Three was
no problem whatsoever, and oh by the way, four semifinalists finished in our Top Ten. Three semifinalists
finished in the Top Eight in
when Idol fans everywhere (yes, including us) who pushed for
the elimination of Wild Card picks got a brutal life
lesson about being careful what you wish for. As for AI10, the
truth can now be told: Lauren Alaina won our replay, but had late-blooming Haley Reinhart not been eliminated in the
semifinals after a mediocre opening performance, she would indeed have been CSAB champion that summer...just not
the way you might have believed. Had the Finale been Alaina vs. Reinhart, young Miss Suddeth would've beaten her
179 to 172. (Haley, remember, would have had to have used the first step down her decay curve to get through the
Wild Card show.) But, Alaina would've gone out in the Final Three behind James Durbin, and a
Reinhart-Durbin finale would have finished 172-165. Now you know.
If we are being honest, CSAB, like American Idol, lost some relevance in the post-Simon Cowell years. For
Idol, it was because its TV ratings sagged; for us, it was because the frequency of nonsensical real-world
voting results and godawful Wild Card selections sagged. Still, we persevered.
Joshua Ledet won the AI11 replay,
though we suspect we could re-run that season eight times under eight different
sets of rules and get eight different winners. Yes, that includes Erika Van Pelt, who shoulda made it an Elite
Eight rather than a Super Seven. In Season Twelve,
the right person won, the right others finished second and
third (and probably fourth), and two quarter-finalists, Juliana Chahayed and David Willis, whom America
never even got to vote on because the judges were nincompoops, finished sixth and seventh.
There's not much to say about Season Thirteen: it featured the
easiest Final Four to predict in television history, and much like AI11,
any of that quartet could have won under different sets of rules. Our penultimate medley, courtesy of
Cabin Fourteen, was a bit of a slog despite
Per Blankens comically hapless attempts to get it to trend on social media, owing to zero 90-rated
performances (Joey Cook, from backstage: "ROBBED, I tell you!"). But it concluded with a remarkable
non-twist ending: Nick Fradiani deserved his crown after all.
After the AI15 cast finished their number, Ryan Seacrest took the mic to give
shout-outs to some of WhatNotToSing's all-time statistical leaders among finalists. Highest average rating,
and the only contestant with a 5-star average: Pia Toscano. Most 5-star performances: a tie
between Bo Bice and Melinda Doolittle, 10 apiece. Most at 4-stars: Caleb Johnson and
Angie Miller, with Johnson earning a second trophy for the most outings rated 60 or higher,
a whopping 17.
Lowest average song age: Majesty Rose whose six performances tipped the calendar at just 3.2 years.
Eight finalists from Season Three on had Freshness Factors of 100%, with Kristy Lee Cook and the late
Michael Johns introducing eight and seven songs respectively to Idol (with a most honorable
mention to David Cook, whose only two non-debut songs out of 20 were assignments rather than choices.)
Former college baseball player D. Cook also won the all-time WNTS Head-To-Head batting title, with a minimum
of ten "at-bats" to qualify.
Over time, 16 of his songs were also covered by other contestants, with Cook outpointing them 15 times to bat .938.
(Only Josh Gracin ever beat him, 68 to 61 on The Asteroid Song.)
We gave autographed bats to the other three qualifying finalists who hit .900 or better: Latoya London,
Clay Aiken, and Kelly Clarkson. Candice Glover had the longest consecutive overall hitting
streak of 50+ rated performances, 17, and she was joined by Elliott Yamin and La'Porsha Renae
for the longest solo streak, 14. Three finalists pitched "perfect games", never delivering a performance below 50 before their elimination.
The audience gave it up once more for Pia Toscano, Erika Van Pelt, and La'Porsha Renae.
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
Nick Fradiani 184
, JAX 173
La'Porsha Renae 215
, Trent Harmon 213
Finally, it came time
to announce our Season Fifteen winner. We brought out Brian Dunkelman to do the honors, though no one paid the
slightest bit of attention to him because everybody has calculators on their cell phones these days. Our campers
were already congratulating La'Porsha Renae, who nipped Trent Harmon 215 to 213. It was the highest-scoring
episode in WNTS history and by far the highest pair of scores in a CSAB Finale, with Renae falling just one point shy
of Crystal Bowersox's all-time record. Well done, Mississippi!
The updated table of Finale results is at right for posterity's perusal.
After all that, it was time to party! The band played throughout the night as our campers took turns
at the microphone. We wanted to put on a memorable Fourth Of July fireworks display, but all we had remaining
were a box of sparklers, two road flares, and a match. No matter: James Durbin somehow cobbled that together to
produce a majestic show that lit up the sky and reduced three rival Lake Trainwreck camps to rubble.
We love that guy.
Much, much later, as the sun peeked over the trees in the East, the celebration wound down.
Judges and contestants and producers alike hugged and wiped away tears as they prepared to leave.
We were all sure we'd be back again someday,
but you never know. Simon Fuller came up to us and gratefully offered thanks for all the hard work, the numbers,
and even the snark. He promised us that if and when American Idol rebooted, so would Camp
Should-A-Been to put an exclamation point at the end of every season. "Thank you, Mr. Fuller," we said
sincerely. It was truly an honor. We know nothing of how he left camp sporting a
"Kick Me" sign on his back. Nothing whatsoever.
Finally, we three head counselors closed the campground gates for the very last time. We took the weathered
CSAB sign as a souvenir
and drove down the mountain towards the airport. Along the way, we were passed by a construction team sent
by the new owner, who clearly wasn't one to waste any time. As we pulled around the final turn, we looked back
and saw the new sign being erected over the entrance, in huge and garish 40-foot neon red letters that would be
visible for miles:
— The End —
Closed. For Now.
Thanks For Visiting!
Camp Should-A-Been – Season Fifteen Results
- La'Porsha Renae
- Trent Harmon
- Avalon Young
- Olivia Rox
- Sonica Vaid
- MacKenzie Bourg
- Stephanie Negrete
- Dalton Rapattoni
- Jenn Blosil
- Shelbie Z
-- The staff of WNTS.com