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Camp Should-A-Been - Season Five

Camp Should-A-Been

To get to Cabin Five, proceed up its long tree-lined driveway, past the private tennis courts and the executive golf course, make a right at the swimming pool, and you'll shortly arrive at a four-story Victorian log cabin at the crest of the hill where the stars of Season Five reside. Winner Taylor Hicks is summering there along with breakout smash Chris Daughtry, plus the likes of pop hitmakers Katharine McPhee and Elliott Yamin and country luminaries Bucky Covington and Kellie Pickler. But admit it: unlike in the first four replays, where you might've gone 8-for-8 in guessing who'd be in the Finale, you have no clue who's going to make it this time, do you? Let's find out, as the Season Five replay at Camp Should-A-Been gets underway....and, ahem, no autographs please!

Results

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Top 24 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
Since I Fell For You0000Since I Fell For You
82
 
2Safe
I Am Changing0000I Am Changing
80
 
2Safe
Midnight Train To Georgia0000Midnight Train To Georgia
76
 
2Safe
Never0000Never
76
 
2Safe
Reflection0000Reflection
57
 
2Safe
Get Here0000Get Here
43
 
2Safe
When The Lights Go Down0000When The Lights Go Down
43
 
2Safe
How Far0000How Far
39
 
2Safe
Because The Night0000Because The Night
21
 
2Safe
When You Tell Me That You Love Me0000When You Tell Me That You Love Me
13
 
2Safe
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life0000You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
13
 
7Eliminated
To Where You Are0000To Where You Are
9
 
7Eliminated

Some arrived at the ampitheater by limousine, others by car, and a few on foot, but all of the ladies of AI5 got the Red Carpet Treatment here on Opening Night. Of course, this being Camp Should-A-Been, that's not as good as it sounds. It means we invited Joan and Melissa Rivers to mock their outfits as they walked in ("Where'd Kellie Pickler buy that dress? Sports Authority?"), plus we hired a few paparazzi to shoot embarrassing photos and sell them to the tabloids. Fame may have its perks elsewhere, but not where our camp counselors are involved.

The Top 24 Girls show itself was highlighted by a pair of 5-star performances by Katharine McPhee and Lisa Tucker, plus two spirited 76s from Paris Bennett and Mandisa Knockwurst (she accidentally left her real last name on her nightstand, so we lent her one for the night.) There was a major dropoff after that, however, as seven of the 12 contestants came in under 50. Six-foot-tall Stevie Scott, who earlier in the day teamed with Ayla Brown to win the camp's two-on-two basketball tournament (defeating Ryan Seacrest and Ramiele Malubay in a rather one-sided Final), earned an uncomfortable ride home in the cramped Bus Of Shame. The second elimination was the narrowest one we've had so far: Brenna Gethers was sent home over Heather Cox by the outrageous margin of 43/1000ths of a point (12.954 to 12.911, if you must know.) Finally, Becky O'Donahue became the Replay's first contestant to advance into her projected ratings, though given that her baseline is a 21, perhaps "projectile" ratings is a more apt term.

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Top 24 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
Wanted Dead Or Alive0000Wanted Dead Or Alive
87
 
2Safe
Levon0000Levon
82
 
2Safe
Father Figure0000Father Figure
79
 
2Safe
If You Really Love Me0000If You Really Love Me
75
 
2Safe
Shout!0000Shout!
44
 
2Safe
I Want You Back0000I Want You Back
44
 
2Safe
Come To My Window0000Come To My Window
40
 
2Safe
One Last Cry0000One Last Cry
39
 
2Safe
Simple Man0000Simple Man
36
 
2Safe
Reasons0000Reasons
32
 
2Safe
Crazy Little Thing Called Love0000Crazy Little Thing Called Love
30
 
7Eliminated
Copacabana0000Copacabana
5
 
7Eliminated

Chris Daughtry was carried into the ampitheater on a luxury palanquin borne by four 19E executives. Taylor Hicks arrived by yacht piloted by two bikini-clad supermodels. Elliott Yamin rode in on a municipal parade. Given that all of them were only coming from the mess hall next door, these entrances struck us as perhaps a bit too grand. Still, now that the big guns on the men's side were here for the Top 24 (Guys) show, the Season Five Replay could really get started.

Daughtry and Hicks certainly lived up to their press clippings, as each opened with a fine 5-star performance. Ace Young posted an excellent 79 and left the stage beaming in optimism; obviously, he's never visited our database to see how many of his other AI5 performances rated above 50. Yamin also started strong, but after him came a huge dropoff: seven contestants in the high 2-star and low 3-star range had the audience yawning and checking their watches. Patrick Hall's forgettable "Come To My Window" got him defenestrated in 2006; tonight, his 40 was good enough for a middle-of-the-pack finish. Riding off in his place on the Bus Of Shame was young David Radford. Finally, Bobby Bennett famously and heartwarmingly chose his grandmother's favorite song, "Copacabana". Whoops! Grandma herself was waiting backstage when his train wreck was through to take him by the ear and put him on the Bus. Honestly, if you're going to dedicate a song to a beloved family member, shouldn't you at least pick one you can sing in tune?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Top 20 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
Cry0000Cry
72
 
2Safe
I Want You To Need Me0000I Want You To Need Me
63
 
2Safe
Why Haven't I Heard From You0000Why Haven't I Heard From You
56
 
2Safe
Who's Loving You0000Who's Loving You
53
 
2Safe
Wind Beneath My Wings0000Wind Beneath My Wings
50
 
2Safe
Something To Talk About0000Something To Talk About
43
 
2Safe
All In Love Is Fair0000All In Love Is Fair
38
 
2Safe
Here For The Party0000Here For The Party
28
 
2Safe
We Are Family *0000We Are Family *
19
 
7Eliminated
Hero0000Hero
14
 
7Eliminated

We run a tight ship here at Camp Should-A-Been. Nothing is more important to us (save for humiliating the contestants every chance we get) than ensuring that our Replay competitions are fair and evenhanded to all. Thus, when actress/singer/model Becky O'Donahue took the stage tonight with her twin sister Jessica to sing Sister Sledge's "We Are Family", both wearing matching lingerie from the Victoria's Secret catalog...well, we put our foot down. Outside help is strictly verboten! We disqualified O'Donahue on the spot and sent both girls home on the Double-Decker Bus Of Abject Shame. We were gratified by the standing ovation the other female contestants gave us. Less satisfying were the tears, wails, and occasional death threats we got from the guys, roughly half of whom tried to sneak onto the Bus themselves. Eh, they'll get over it.

The rest of the Top 20 Girls episode was uneventful, and not particularly memorable. Mandisa Dunkelman ("Where did I put that last name?") led the night with just a 72. Ayla Brown and Melissa McGhee improved a bit, while the likes of Katharine McPhee, Paris Bennett, and Lisa Tucker suffered big declines from their Opening Night numbers. Given a second chance by the slimmest of margins two nights earlier, Heather Cox ratcheted up her game to the tune of...one whole point. At this rate, by our reckoning, she'd reach 4-stars by Christmas. That said, we regret that Cox had to push her way through the swarm of overheated guys surrounding the Bus Of Shame. Where the heck are our Disciplinary Counselors, Viktor, Rocco, and Serge, who are supposed to handle situations like this? They're where? On the Bus??!!

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Top 20 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
Hemmorhage (In My Hands)0000Hemmorhage (In My Hands)
94
 
2Safe
Moody's Mood For Love0000Moody's Mood For Love
84
 
2Safe
A Change Is Gonna Come0000A Change Is Gonna Come
66
 
2Safe
Easy0000Easy
55
 
2Safe
The Thunder Rolls0000The Thunder Rolls
52
 
2Safe
Lady0000Lady
48
 
2Safe
If You're Not The One0000If You're Not The One
36
 
2Safe
Like The Way I Do *0000Like The Way I Do *
36
 
2Safe
I Heard It Through The Grapevine0000I Heard It Through The Grapevine
28
 
7Eliminated
Overjoyed0000Overjoyed
19
 
7Eliminated

Dear Chris,

Kudos on your 94 rating for Fuel's "Hemmorhage" tonight! As you know, we don't have water coolers here at Camp Should-A-Been, so we'll have to describe your outstanding performance as Season Five's first "rusty water fountain that rarely works" moment.

We regret, however, to inform you that you may not accept Fuel's public offer to be their new lead singer. Just as yesterday when you asked to be dismissed to enroll in music college, or the day before when you wanted to run off and join the circus, your 19E agreement clearly states that you must remain here in Camp until you are formally eliminated from the AI5 Replay. Thus, you're stuck here for several more weeks, and possibly much longer if we decide to run sequels. Please don't cry, your eyeliner will run.

We do hope you enjoyed the rest of tonight's Top 20 (Guys) show. Elliott Yamin joined you in the 5-star stratum for his outstanding vocal gymnastics on the challenging "Moody's Mood For Love". Unheralded Gedeon McKinney turned in a 4-star cover of a Sam Cooke classic, while Bucky Covington and Taylor Hicks also came in above 50. Leaving us tonight on the Bus Of Shame were Sway Penala as well as the first of the original Top 12 to fall short of the finals, Kevin "C. Little" Covais.

For more information on your obligations to American Idol and the pursuant penalties for violation, we refer you to Section XXIV, Subsection 3, Paragraph C of your contract, the clause entitled "Forfeiture Of Soul". If you have any further questions, just ask. We're here to help!

-- Your Friends at Camp Should-A-Been

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Top 16 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
I'm Every Woman0000I'm Every Woman
88
 
2Safe
Think0000Think
78
 
2Safe
Here's Where I Stand0000Here's Where I Stand
54
 
2Safe
I'm The Only One0000I'm The Only One
48
 
2Safe
What About Love0000What About Love
47
 
2Safe
Conga0000Conga
43
 
2Safe
Unwritten0000Unwritten
38
 
7Eliminated
If I Ain't Got You0000If I Ain't Got You
11
 
7Eliminated

Back in the day, Ayla Brown's elimination in the Round of 16 was a source of much controversy. Surely the pretty teen basketball star deserved a spot in the Final 12 ahead of at least one of the girls who made it through, but who? Ditzy Kellie Pickler? Inconsistent Lisa Tucker? The sweet but forgettable Melissa...Melissa, um...yeah, her? Tonight was Miss Brown's chance for vindication, as the eight surviving ladies of AI5 competed for six spots in the Finals on merit and merit alone.

Still wondering where she misplaced her last name, and unwilling to borrow any more loaners from the camp counselors (tonight's would've been "Squarepants"), Mandisa took the first chair with another 5-star triumph, this time on "I'm Every Woman". Katharine McPhee bounced back from a sub-par showing with a 77, and Tucker earned the third ticket to the Finals with the only other above-average rating of the night. Kellie Pickler was fourth; in her acceptance speech, she mispronounced the words "salmon", "calamari", and "drop dead Simon you condescending snot, as if you're any Rhodes Scholar yourself". Somebody named Melissa came in fifth. Kinnik Sky had arguably the best name of any AI contestant in any season, but what's in a name when you're dropping 11s on the most important night of your singing career?

That left two girls standing for the last spot in the finals: Brown and...Paris Bennett?! Numbers don't lie. In the cold footlights here at Camp Should-A-Been, Brown's dismissal doesn't seem nearly as outrageous anymore. And to the voters of America, we say, "Take a bow." Despite all the criticism, the six girls they put through in 2006 were indeed the six who earned the honor on merit.

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Top 16 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
Takin' It To The Streets0000Takin' It To The Streets
82
 
2Safe
Broken0000Broken
72
 
2Safe
Heaven0000Heaven
63
 
2Safe
When A Man Loves A Woman0000When A Man Loves A Woman
55
 
2Safe
Wave On Wave0000Wave On Wave
49
 
2Safe
Butterflies0000Butterflies
35
 
2Safe
American Pie *0000American Pie *
33
 
7Eliminated
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)0000How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
24
 
7Eliminated

Here's a trivia question for you WhatNotToSing.com / Camp Should-A-Been aficianados out there. No peeking at the database, please. Clay Aiken sang 19 songs during his tenure on American Idol. Naturally, many of those same songs have been performed in other seasons by other contestants; 17 times in all, in fact. Remarkably, of those 17 performances, only one received a higher approval rating than did Aiken's own rendition of the song. Name the only Idol alive who has outscored Clay Aiken head-to-head on a song through the first seven seasons.

While you ponder that one, we'll tell you that the Top 16 (Guys) episode produced very little drama. Ignoring persistent whispers that he was much older than his purported 29 years, Taylor Hicks kept his strong run going, producing his second 5-star performance of the competition to move into the Final 12. Chris Daughtry and Elliott Yamin quickly followed, followed by a mild surprise: Gedeon McKinney was fourth on the night. Bucky Covington was finalist #11, and the last spot was a close race between Ace Young and holdover Patrick Hall, with Young coming out on top by a scant two points.

Thus, eleven of the twelve original finalists from Season Five are still alive here in the Camp Should-A-Been replay:

  • Paris Bennett
  • Bucky Covington
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Mandisa
  • Melissa McGhee
  • Gedeon McKinney
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Lisa Tucker
  • Elliott Yamin
  • Ace Young

McKinney is the sole newcomer. Who was the only original finalist who failed to qualify? Sh-h-h...he's still sound asleep in his Long Island bedroom after a grueling cross-country trip on the Bus Of Shame. He's also the answer to our trivia question, believe it or not. Though the performance didn't take place tonight at Camp owing to his earlier elimination, Kevin Covais outscored Clay Aiken on "Vincent", 23 to 15. In the immortal words of Caddyshack's Carl Spackler: At least he has that going for him.

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Final 12 (Stevie Wonder)

Performance Web Rating Result
Higher Ground0000Higher Ground
85
 
2Safe
Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)0000Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)
81
 
2Safe
Living For The City0000Living For The City
75
 
2Safe
All I Do0000All I Do
69
 
2Safe
Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing0000Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing
63
 
2Safe
Knocks Me Off My Feet0000Knocks Me Off My Feet
54
 
2Safe
Fingertips (Part 3) *0000Fingertips (Part 3) *
50
 
2Safe
Signed Sealed Delivered (I'm Yours)0000Signed Sealed Delivered (I'm Yours)
47
 
2Safe
Superstition0000Superstition
38
 
2Safe
Lately0000Lately
25
 
4Bottom Group
Do I Do0000Do I Do
21
 
4Bottom Group
Blame It On The Sun0000Blame It On The Sun
17
 
7Eliminated

We regret to report that the AI5 Replay Finals at Camp Should-A-Been got off to a very rocky start this evening. Controversies swirled everywhere we turned, beginning with the arrival of our guest mentor, the great Stevie Wonder himself. While he was eating dinner at the mess hall, we told him how honored we were to have him visit our five-star luxury resort located in the scenic forests overlooking Vail. His only response, besides gagging occasionally, was "Dude, I may be blind, but I'm not stupid."

Chris Daughtry had the night's highest-rated performance, a superb 5-star cover of "Higher Ground", but he was nonetheless criticized mercilessly by an anonymous blogger for "...a deriviative, bordering on plagiaristic misappropriation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' seminal reworking of Wonder's R&B handicraft." We're pretty sure that's bad. Meanwhile, Taylor Hicks responded angrily to hecklers who claimed he'd falsified his age by whipping out his AARP card and showing them the 1976 birthdate on it (but was that White-Out we saw?) In other news, Katharine McPhee delivered a 5-star performance, while Taylor Hicks, Paris Bennett, and Mandisa Barrino (hey, Fantasia wasn't using it) all reached 4-stars. Gedeon McKinney thought he'd unearthed a previously-undiscovered section of Wonder's first hit, "Fingertips (Part 2)", but unbeknownst to him he was actually singing the copyright notice on the sheet music. Nonetheless, his first projected rating was a solid 50.

Original 12th-place finisher Melissa Whatshername found herself back in the Bottom Three, but this time her indifferent cover of "Lately" was just good enough to dodge elimination. In fact, it was none other than Kellie Pickler who delivered the night's hindmost performance! Pickler seemed a bit confused when Ryan Seacrest told her she'd been eliminated from the competition, and she left the stage whistling cheerfully. Afterwards, it was reported that the Bus Of Shame left camp empty, and that Pickler was back in Cabin Five blow-drying her hair and rehearsing her Final 11 performance. Hmm....

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Final 11 (1950s)

Performance Web Rating Result
I Don't Hurt Anymore0000I Don't Hurt Anymore
91
 
2Safe
Come Rain Or Come Shine0000Come Rain Or Come Shine
81
 
2Safe
Fever0000Fever
78
 
2Safe
I Walk The Line0000I Walk The Line
75
 
2Safe
Teach Me Tonight0000Teach Me Tonight
68
 
2Safe
Not Fade Away0000Not Fade Away
48
 
2Safe
The Lion Sleeps Tonight *0000The Lion Sleeps Tonight *
45
 
2Safe
It's My Party *0000It's My Party *
39
 
2Safe
In The Still Of The Night0000In The Still Of The Night
36
 
4Bottom Group
Why Do Fools Fall In Love?0000Why Do Fools Fall In Love?
33
 
4Bottom Group
Oh Boy0000Oh Boy
22
 
7Eliminated

After weeks of eating only meatloaf and macaroni-and-cheese at the mess hall, our campers were definitely looking forward to the big Labor Day barbecue at Camp Should-A-Been. But we told them the food would have to wait until after the Final 11 episode. The audience got into the 1950s theme admirably by showing up in leather jackets, bobby socks, poodle skirts, and even a few beehive hairdos. Quite honestly, we thought David Cook and Michael Johns looked ridiculous with their hair up like that, but who are we to criticize?

Whatever last name Mandisa was using tonight was drowned out by the standing ovation she received for her brilliant rendition of "I Don't Hurt Anymore". At 91, it became the second 'showstopper' of our AI5 replay, and it was described by our anonymous blogger as "...Soaring, a triumph of the human spirit reminiscent of the songs of the Muse Euterpe, or of the resplendent violin concertos produced by Mozart for the court of Salzberg, viz. K. 219 and K. 271." Um, yeah.

Elsewhere, there was little controversy this time around regarding Chris Daughtry's alt-rock cover of "I Walk The Line", in part because he came onstage in a t-shirt that read "I'm using Live's arrangement. Satisfied???" Several members of the audience threw Polident packets at Taylor Hicks after his performance, which seemed to irritate him, though he nonetheless took the time to collect them all. As he told his buddy Daughtry afterwards, "You know, you can never have too much of this stuff." Both holdover contestants advanced safely, and Kellie Pickler produced a solid cover of "Walking After Midnight", notwithstanding the fact that she'd been eliminated from the competition the night before. All efforts to make her understand her this were futile, and the Bus Of Shame once again left without her. Its passenger tonight was Season Five's other country singer, Bucky Covington — oh boy, did his Buddy Holly cover go over poorly. Finally, it was time for dinner. Our campers eagerly grabbed paper plates and lined up, their mouths watering. Okay, who wants barbecued meatloaf and who wants barbecued macaroni-and-cheese?!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Final 10 (2000s)

Performance Web Rating Result
Trouble0000Trouble
74
 
2Safe
I Don't Want To Be0000I Don't Want To Be
68
 
2Safe
Fever0000Fever
57
 
2Safe
Shackles (Praise You)0000Shackles (Praise You)
47
 
2Safe
The Voice Within0000The Voice Within
45
 
2Safe
Beautiful Girls *0000Beautiful Girls *
40
 
2Safe
What If0000What If
38
 
2Safe
Hips Don't Lie *0000Hips Don't Lie *
35
 
4Bottom Group
Because Of You0000Because Of You
10
 
4Bottom Group
Drops Of Jupiter0000Drops Of Jupiter
8
 
7Eliminated

This was definitely not American Idol's finest hour. The superstars of AI5 tried their hands at contemporary music, and the result was the lowest-rated Finals episode of the first seven seasons. Our mystery camp blogger put it best, we think, by calling it, "...an extended cacophonic travesty masquerading as harmonia; not since the Grand Guignol has mass entertainment churned one's pylorus so readily." Quite honestly, we don't understand a word of that, but it feels about right.

Just three of the contestants scored above 50, with ageless Taylor Hicks leading the way. Even the likes of Chris Daughtry and Mandisa Guignol dropped below 4-stars for the first time. Both of our holdover contestants got into the spirit of the night, such as it was, by choosing an idiosyncratic song that couldn't be covered effectively. We assigned Viktor, Rocco, and Serge to guard the stage, but Kellie Pickler somehow slipped past them and redid her dreadful "Suds In The Bucket". At least she sportingly took her place in the Bottom 3 (elbowing aside that other blonde girl whose name escapes us) along with fellow 1-star performers Lisa Tucker and Ace Young. It's not every day that you can produce a 10 at Camp Should-A-Been and live to tell about it, but Tucker's luck was in: Young's performance gave a new and ironically literal meaning to the term "Train wreck". The former handyman departed camp on the Bus Of Shame. Pity – we were hoping he'd fix the roof on the Head Counselors' cabin before he left.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Final 9 (Country)

Performance Web Rating Result
Bringing Out The Elvis0000Bringing Out The Elvis
72
 
2Safe
Making Memories Of Us0000Making Memories Of Us
70
 
2Safe
If Tomorrow Never Comes0000If Tomorrow Never Comes
50
 
2Safe
Your Cheatin' Heart *0000Your Cheatin' Heart *
42
 
2Safe
How Do I Live0000How Do I Live
42
 
2Safe
Lying Eyes *0000Lying Eyes *
37
 
2Safe
Before He Cheats *0000Before He Cheats *
32
 
4Bottom Group
Any Man Of Mine0000Any Man Of Mine
22
 
4Bottom Group
Take Me Home, Country Roads0000Take Me Home, Country Roads
16
 
7Eliminated

It began innocently enough. Someone discovered a suspicious unlabeled bottle above the sink in the Cabin Five men's bathroom, right between Chris Daughtry's scalp razor and Elliott Yamin's unused toothbrush. Lab tests showed conclusively that it contained gray-colored hair dye. Naturally, we called Taylor Hicks to the Head Counselors' cabin and asked if he knew anything about it. He denied responsibility at first, but he was quite nervous and clearly hiding something, so we pressed our interrogation aggressively ("No! Please! Anything but more meatloaf!") Soon a tearful Hicks confessed the truth: he'd been lying about his age right from the start. He was only fifteen years old! He'd originally auditioned for American Idol on a dare from his junior high buddies and one thing led to another and he didn't really mean to win and please could we just keep this all to ourselves and let him go home to Birmingham?

Well, he got half his wish. In what was the most unexpected and jaw-dropping elimination in Camp Should-A-Been's brief history, the Season Five champ didn't make it out of that evening's Final Nine episode! His 1-star performance of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" proved to be most prophetic. It was another very rough night all around for our contestants as just two managed to score above average – three if you count long-eliminated Kellie Pickler, who sang "Fancy" remarkably well considering she was being chased around the stage by the state police. Still, the only story on anyone's lips afterwards was the dismissal of Hicks, the first real-life winner to fall short of a Replay Finale. But cheer up, you Soul Patrollers, because Hicks left buoyantly with a wave and a smile. That's because we promised we'd have the Bus Of Shame stop at Chuck E. Cheese's and Dairy Queen on the way home.

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Final 8 (Queen)

Performance Web Rating Result
Somebody To Love0000Somebody To Love
69
 
2Safe
The Show Must Go On0000The Show Must Go On
61
 
2Safe
Don't Stop Me Now *0000Don't Stop Me Now *
59
 
2Safe
Who Wants To Live Forever0000Who Wants To Live Forever
58
 
2Safe
Innuendo0000Innuendo
52
 
2Safe
'39 *0000'39 *
38
 
4Bottom Group
Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy *0000Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy *
33
 
4Bottom Group
Another One Bites The Dust *0000Another One Bites The Dust *
28
 
7Eliminated

Given the relentless stream of stinkers our Season Five contestants produced out of easy themes like The 2000s and Country, few campers expected Queen Night to be anything more than a train wreck in tight pants. Our unknown camp blogger even wrote, "...Queen's complex harmonic structures layered over their signature polyphonic choral formulations suggest that our musical abecedarians will find their path as treacherous as that faced by Xerxes at the pass of Thermopylae." In other words, they're toast.

But, the unexpected early departure of Taylor Hicks, plus the knowledge that a spot in the Finale had suddenly opened up, seemed to focus the minds of the remaining Idols. All four original contestants along with holdover Mandisa Mercury came in above 50. Mandisa, in fact, began her performance by singing the first line of "Fat Bottomed Girls", looked in satisfaction at the sea of flabbergasted faces in the audience, and yelled "Gotcha!" before launching into her real choice, "Don't Stop Me Now." Despite numerous roadblocks set up across camp plus a freshly issued restraining order, Kellie Pickler still managed to sneak onstage to redo "Bohemian Rhapsody". Don't stop her now, either.

As for our Bottom Three: Lisa Tucker predicted her approval rating within one point, while Gedeon McKinney's long and excellent run seemed about out of gas. Leaving us tonight on the Bus Of Shame was our original 12th-place finisher, whose solid string of real and projected performances at Camp Should-A-Been moved her up four full places. Farewell and best of luck, Melinda McPhee! (Hmm...? Aw, close enough.)

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Final 7 (Great American Songbook)

Performance Web Rating Result
Someone To Watch Over Me0000Someone To Watch Over Me
89
 
2Safe
These Foolish Things0000These Foolish Things
83
 
2Safe
It Had To Be You0000It Had To Be You
77
 
2Safe
What A Wonderful World0000What A Wonderful World
73
 
2Safe
The Tennessee Waltz *0000The Tennessee Waltz *
53
 
4Bottom Group
California Here I Come *0000California Here I Come *
34
 
4Bottom Group
They Can't Take That Away From Me *0000They Can't Take That Away From Me *
30
 
7Eliminated

At precisely 3pm this afternoon, a delegation descended on Cabin Five comprising the camp counselors, the judges, the producers, two lawyers, the mayor of Albemarle, NC, and the president of the Association of Roller-Skating Waitresses of America. All were there to explain once and for all to Kellie Pickler that she had been eliminated from the AI5 Replay competition for nearly a week, and as such she really had to, pretty please with a cherry on top, go home already! Pickler listened politely, said that she understood and that she was grateful for the opportunity, and quietly began packing her belongings. Whew! That little problem was finally behind us, we thought...

But lo and behold, when the Final 7 show rolled around that night, there was Pickler onstage once more, fighting another losing battle with "Bewitched Bothered And Bewildered". As in the original Great American Songbook episode, Pickler's Pickle was really the only clunker of the night. Our four original contestants produced four gems, led by Katharine McPhee's near-showstopping "Someone To Watch Over Me" and Paris Bennett's 5-star take on "These Foolish Things." Our holdover ladies each chose a song honoring her home state; both advanced safely out of the Bottom Three. Seventeen-year-old Gedeon McKinney was the low scorer, but he went from being just a semifinalist to a solid seventh-place finish in arguably the strongest field American Idol has yet produced. His song title says it all.

After a lot of hugs and handshakes, McKinney boarded the Bus Of Shame...and to everyone's total surprise, Pickler followed him! Two campers nearby overheard her mumble something about having "done enough research". Equally cryptic was the fact that as the Bus pulled away, Pickler stuck her head out the window and yelled, "By the way, ah hope y'all enjoyed readin' my blog!..."

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Final 6 (Love Songs)

Performance Web Rating Result
A Song For You0000A Song For You
89
 
2Safe
Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman0000Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman
75
 
2Safe
I Have Nothing0000I Have Nothing
58
 
2Safe
What's Love Got To Do With It *0000What's Love Got To Do With It *
48
 
2Safe
The Way We Were0000The Way We Were
48
 
4Bottom Group
I Will Survive *0000I Will Survive *
31
 
7Eliminated

Just as he did in 2006, Elliott Yamin spent most of his time at Camp Should-A-Been flying under the radar, sprinkling an outstanding performance here and there among a sea of consistently good ones. But then came Love Songs Night, mentored by legendary blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (like Stevie Wonder, he didn't buy the "five-star resort overlooking Vail" bit, either). Yamin's "A Song For You" rated out at a magnificent 89, and it established the unassuming Virginian as potentially a threat to win the entire competition. Chris Daughtry, however, wasn't going to give up his front-runner's crown without a fight. The chrome-domed mechanic reached 70 or higher for the eighth time in his first ten performances.

Squeaky-voiced Paris Bennett made her first visit to the Bottom Three; her 48 was fractionally lower than the one turned in by Mandisa Pickler. As expected though, it was little Lisa Tucker whose time at camp had finally run out. Since she's only from Anaheim, her folks swung by to pick her up. We expect that when they get home they're going to be really ticked off about that "Minivan Of Shame" bumper sticker.

So our Final Five of AI5 were Paris Bennett, Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Mandisa, and Elliott Yamin. Fans of Taylor Hicks might argue, with some justification, that one horrible performance shouldn't have kept him out of the endgame, but that's how things work here at Camp Should-A-Been. And regardless, with or without Gray Charles, this is a pretty strong group as we enter the multiple-song phase of the competition. See you tomorrow night.

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Final 5 (Year You Were Born / Billboard Top 10)

Performance Web Rating Result
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree0000Black Horse And The Cherry Tree
81
 
2Safe
Renegade0000Renegade
80
 
2Safe
Home0000Home
65
 
2Safe
On Broadway0000On Broadway
50
 
2Safe
Be Without You0000Be Without You
46
 
4Bottom Group
Lose My Soul *0000Lose My Soul *
44
 
7Eliminated
Kiss And Say Goodbye *0000Kiss And Say Goodbye *
39
 
7Eliminated
Kiss0000Kiss
39
 
4Bottom Group
I Dare You0000I Dare You
31
 
2Safe
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)0000Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
14
 
2Safe

Fans of mathematics and wordplay might find this little tidbit interesting: if Elliott Yamin had scored a 35 for "On Broadway" rather than a 50, then the order of placement in tonight's Final 5 replay would have been a perfect palindrome. Whether you read the ten performances from top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top, the contestants would appear in the same order! That's because Katharine McPhee and Chris Daughtry turned in the most schizophrenic nights in Idol history. Daughtry started strong with Styx's classic rock staple "Renegade", but oh mama!, his voice gave out repeatedly on Shinedown's "I Dare You". While Daughtry was riding the Down escalator, McPhee was climbing the Up. "Against All Odds" was a certified train wreck, but her 5-star "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree" saved her from what seemed to be certain elimination. Just another day at the office.

Yamin, who'd bravely gone onstage and sung "I want to go home", actually wound up as the night's top scorer. Paris Bennett and Mandisa were the Bottom Two, and it took our accountants some time to verify that Bennett would advance by the scant margin of two points, 85 to 83. Like many who'd finished higher here at Camp Should-A-Been than they did on the original show, Mandisa left us in a very joyous mood. Not only did the final theme allow her to sing one of her own hit songs in the competition ("Lose My Soul" just entered the Billboard Hot Christian Top 10), but she was delighted when, as she was boarding the Bus Of Shame, the camp counselors presented her with her missing last name, Hundley! We found it in the storeroom where we keep the restroom-cleaning supplies. No wonder it was lost for so long.

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Final 4 (Elvis Presley)

Performance Web Rating Result
Trouble0000Trouble
87
 
2Safe
If I Can Dream0000If I Can Dream
73
 
2Safe
Suspicious Minds0000Suspicious Minds
56
 
4Bottom Group
Kentucky Rain *0000Kentucky Rain *
52
 
2Safe
Blue Suede Shoes *0000Blue Suede Shoes *
47
 
2Safe
A Little Less Conversation0000A Little Less Conversation
28
 
4Bottom Group
Hound Dog / All Shook Up0000Hound Dog / All Shook Up
22
 
7Eliminated
Can't Help Falling In Love With You0000Can't Help Falling In Love With You
20
 
7Eliminated

To many American Idol viewers, the most shocking elimination ever was that of rocker Chris Daughtry in the AI5 Final Four. True, his dark, edgy interpretation of "A Little Less Conversation" was more reminiscent of a deranged singles' bar stalker than of The King, but was that sufficient reason to send him home to North Carolina? From near and far, fans descended on Camp Should-A-Been for tonight's replay, where we'd settle this question once and for all while raking in a small fortune on parking fees and concession sales. A busload of Elvis Presley impersonators even drove in from Vegas. They thought they might serve as mentors for the contestants, but we put them to work as ticket collectors. ("Thank ya, thank ya very much.")

There was certainly no controversy as to who won the night. Even if it required a major-league suspension of disbelief to hear Elliott Yamin proclaim "I'm evil!", the congenial Richmond pharmacy clerk wiped out the field with an average approval rating of 80. Holdover Paris Bennett's two performances came in right around average, but that was still plenty good enough for her to advance to the Final 3. The Bottom Two once more were Daughtry and Katharine McPhee, both of whom picked a really lousy time to have their worst nights of the season. McPhee hoped she might sway the judges by humming "Over The Rainbow" while waiting for the results to be tallied, and indeed we think we saw a tear or two in Simon Cowell's eyes. But in the end, her lyrics flub on "Hound Dog" and her overwrought "Can't Help Falling..." brought her run to an early end. For the first time, both of the original Final 2 had fallen short of the replay Finale! On the bright side, the Elvises saved us some Bus costs by offering to drop McPhee off at home on their way back to Vegas. Thank ya, thank ya very much.

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

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

Performance Web Rating Result
Lightning Crashes *0000Lightning Crashes *
59
 
2Safe
Dani California *0000Dani California *
53
 
2Safe
What You Won't Do For Love0000What You Won't Do For Love
51
 
2Safe
Over The Rainbow *0000Over The Rainbow *
48
 
2Safe
I Believe To My Soul0000I Believe To My Soul
48
 
2Safe
Open Arms0000Open Arms
43
 
2Safe
Raspberry Beret *0000Raspberry Beret *
42
 
7Eliminated
Purple Rain *0000Purple Rain *
38
 
7Eliminated
When Doves Cry *0000When Doves Cry *
35
 
7Eliminated

Oh, hi. You're, uh, probably here to read about tonight's Final 3 show, but that'll have to wait. We camp counselors have had a pretty rough day. As you've undoubtedly heard, Music, Mockery, and Meatloaf: A Behind-The-Scenes Exposé of Camp Should-A-Been by Dr. Kellie D. Pickler was released this morning, and it's already #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List and at Amazon.com. Eight hundred pages of prose (sample chapter: "Celebrity Parodies and Sarcasm As Tyrannical Tools of Oppression"), 200 pages of footnotes and documentation, and worst of all, 20 pages of photographs of the camp restrooms. The Board of Health showed up a couple hours ago wearing hazmat suits, and we hear the EPA are on their way. All this because of a girl who thinks Europe is a country!

Well, we'll deal with that mess later. The Final 3 show happened to go pretty much according to script, with all nine performances trading in a narrow 24-point range. Chris Daughtry led the way, though not without some controversy: the producers failed to disclose that Daughtry was using Johnny Cash's arrangement of "Lightning Crashes" and Stevie Wonder's version of "Dani California". Some people never learn. His lowest rating was mostly due to Simon's obstinance at having somebody sing "Over The Rainbow" tonight so that he could take credit for it. Joining him in the Finale: Elliott Yamin, who offered his first two below-average performances of the season, but who was still good enough to get past the three so-so Prince covers turned in by Paris Bennett. Princess P rode off on the Bus Of Shame with a copy of Pickler's book under her arm. That'll probably get her all the way to Minnesota.

So tomorrow's Finale will match the original #3 and #4 finishers. Don't forget – we use different mathematical formulas for projecting the ratings of reprise and Original Winner's Song™ performances, so the outcome is not a done deal. In the meantime, we have to do something to get rid of all these reporters, lawyers, and inspectors who've overrun the campgrounds. Hmm, we have an idea. "Hey, everyone! Let's all head over to the mess hall where we can discuss your concerns over dinner!"

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Finale

Performance Web Rating Result
Hemorrhage (In My Hands) *0000Hemorrhage (In My Hands) *Reprise performance
73
 
7Eliminated
A Song For You *0000A Song For You *Reprise performance
68
 
2Safe
Wanted Dead Or Alive *0000Wanted Dead Or Alive *Reprise performance
66
 
7Eliminated
Moody's Mood For Love *0000Moody's Mood For Love *Reprise performance
63
 
2Safe
Do I Make You Proud *0000Do I Make You Proud *
53
 
2Safe
I Believe That A Moment Like This Is My Now My Destiny And The Time Of My Life! *0000I Believe That A Moment Like This Is My Now My Destiny And The Time Of My Life! *
43
 
7Eliminated

Chris Daughtry could practically taste it. The crown of the Fifth American Idol, which slipped through his fingers two years earlier, was right there for the taking. He was in luck that the AI5 Replay Finale permitted two reprise songs from each contestant rather than the usual one. By redoing his two highest-scoring performances, "Hemmorhage" and "Wanted Dead Or Alive", he opened an early eight-point lead on Elliott Yamin. Yamin gave away three points by choosing to redo "Moody's Mood For Love" rather than the more recent "Trouble", feeling that "Moody's" was a song his fans would prefer to hear again. Would that gesture cost him? It would again be decided by which man could better handle his American Idol Original Winner's Song™. Yeah, this is a little like having an Olympic marathon race be decided by a game of rock-paper-scissors between the top two finishers, but AI sets the rules and we at Camp Should-A-Been just follow them.

Yamin went first, singing "Do I Make You Proud." That was Taylor Hicks's song, you say? Actually, it was Yamin's before it was Hicks's; Gray Charles switched songs after E.Y. was eliminated from the original Final 3 episode because he felt the song the producers assigned to him was much inferior. (How scary is that?) At any rate, because Yamin's first projected non-reprise performance came on an O.W.S., our Math Dept. tells us it had to be scored two steps down the decay curve. That put it at a 53. Daughtry needed just a 45 (specifically, a 44.80) to win! But alas, the daddy rocker overplayed his hand. He emerged from the green room and announced he'd written his own Original Winner's Song based on snippets from several Idol numbers through the years. The end result was...uh, unfortunate. Unlistenable, too.

A few minutes later, Ryan Seacrest announced that, against all expectations, Elliott Yamin had become the Season Five Replay champion! Daughtry was visibily deflated, but he gave Yamin a warm hug before driving off in his limo to return to his day job of International Rock Superstar Millionaire Celebrity, and his future night job as spokesperson for the Hair Club For Men. Yamin, meanwhile, was overcome by emotion as the ceremonial pine needles fell from above. As he came offstage he embraced his mom tearfully and the two rode off into the night on the Bus Of Shame Victory. (Yes, yes, we're aware about Claudette, but you know what? If anyone deserves to have one of these silly replay storylines end on a heartwarming note, it's Elliott.)

—   The End   —

Camp Should-A-Been – Season Five Results

  1. Elliott Yamin
  2. Chris Daughtry
  3. Paris Bennett
  4. Katharine McPhee
  5. Mandisa
  6. Lisa Tucker
  7. Gedeon McKinney
  8. Melissa McGhee
  9. Taylor Hicks
  10. Ace Young
  11. Bucky Covington
  12. Kellie Pickler

-- The staff of WNTS.com

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