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Camp Should-A-Been - Season Seven

Camp Should-A-Been

By all outward appearances, Cabin Seven looks pretty much like any other lodging here at Camp Should-A-Been – old, dilapidated, and overgrown with weeds. But in fact, the producers tell us it's the Best Cabin Ever™, boasting the Most Comfortable Bunks Ever™, the Warmest Fireplace Ever™, and the Cleanest Bathrooms Ever™ (well, that last part's relative.) And of course, it's populated by the Most Talented Top 24 Ever™, featuring original champion David Cook, teen heartthrob David Archuleta, soulful Syesha Mercado, and an eclectic cast of supporting characters from the four corners of the musical spectrum, including Folk, Rock, Country, Pop, and Whatever The Heck Chikezie Is. But if all the marketing hype was stripped away, and if only performance quality mattered, which one should have worn the AI7 Crown? Let's find out as our Season Seven Replay gets underway...and it's gonna be the Best Replay Ever™, we just know it!

Results

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Top 24 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
Light My Fire0000Light My Fire
81
 
2Safe
Daydream0000Daydream
76
 
2Safe
Shop Around0000Shop Around
75
 
2Safe
One0000One
61
 
2Safe
In The Midnight Hour0000In The Midnight Hour
57
 
2Safe
Happy Together0000Happy Together
55
 
2Safe
Suspicious Minds0000Suspicious Minds
39
 
2Safe
Jailhouse Rock0000Jailhouse Rock
38
 
2Safe
Moon River0000Moon River
27
 
2Safe
Everybody's Talkin'0000Everybody's Talkin'
23
 
2Safe
More Today Than Yesterday0000More Today Than Yesterday
19
 
7Eliminated
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do0000Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
18
 
7Eliminated

Welcome to the first episode at Camp Should-A-Been featuring the Most Talented Top 24 Ever™! Did you know that this was the Most Talented Top 24 Ever™? Well, rest assured that it's the Most Talented Top 24 Ever™. Sorry, but our lords and masters at 19E have ordered us to remind you of this fact every two minutes – they even issued us eggtimers. We figured we'd get it all out of the way in the first paragraph, then get down to business. Most Talented Top 24 Ever™. There, we're done.

What would Jim Morrison have sounded like if he'd hailed from the Land Down Under? Maybe a little like Aussie rocker Michael Johns, whose presentation of the Doors' classic was the only performance to break 80. Jason Castro and David Archuleta finished in a near-dead heat for second place, and the only other contestant to reach 4-stars was the most convincing, most authentic, most keepin'-it-real-dawg headbanger of the bunch, Robbie Carrico. (Wait, is that an "I ♥ Britney" tattoo we see?) Defending champ David Cook sang OK, but he inexplicably wore the same disheveled suit-and-tie as on the original opening night, prompting his embarrassed mom to walk out of the audience and slap him upside his head. The applause was deafening.

Meanwhile, six guys finished at 2-stars or fewer. That group included Danny Noriega, whose cover of "Jailhouse Rock" came in at 38, or just 37 points more than we camp counselors would've awarded it on a charitable day. Total unknowns Garrett Haley and Colton Berry played the time-honored role of Producers' Cannon Fodder. We expected they'd both be dead by the first commercial break, not unlike all those doomed red-shirted security guys from the original Star Trek series. Haley indeed got zapped by the Phaser Of Shame, but Berry's cover of "Suspicious Minds", while not exactly earning him an invitation to Graceland, was good enough to put him through to the Top 20. Instead, original tenth-place finisher Chikezie was sent home thanks to a woeful triple play of poor singing, worse fashion sense (a tangerine suit? for real??), and the foolishness to argue about both with Simon. He left on the Bus Of Shame, but not before Mrs. Cook slapped him, too.

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Top 24 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me0000You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
83
 
2Safe
Spinning Wheel0000Spinning Wheel
69
 
2Safe
More Today Than Yesterday0000More Today Than Yesterday
67
 
2Safe
Tobacco Road0000Tobacco Road
64
 
2Safe
Piece Of My Heart0000Piece Of My Heart
64
 
2Safe
The Shadow Of Your Smile0000The Shadow Of Your Smile
57
 
2Safe
Happy Together0000Happy Together
51
 
2Safe
Baby, Please Don't Go0000Baby, Please Don't Go
44
 
2Safe
Groovy Kind Of Love0000Groovy Kind Of Love
41
 
2Safe
Rescue Me0000Rescue Me
23
 
2Safe
I Say A Little Prayer0000I Say A Little Prayer
20
 
7Eliminated
Where The Boys Are0000Where The Boys Are
7
 
7Eliminated

Shortly after last night's show, we discovered a mysterious sheet of paper on the trail between the ampitheater and Cabin Seven. Amidst a bunch of math formulas, calculations, and differential equations, we saw the numbers "189-168" circled in red, plus the letters "KLC" surrounded by stars and hearts. Naturally, we assumed it was Kristy Lee Cook's, even though she didn't strike us as the differential equation type. But when we tried returning it to a puzzled Cook this afternoon, she told us she'd never seen it before. Odd....

At any rate, the Top 24 (Girls) show went on as scheduled this evening despite a nasty virus that had many of the ladies feeling like it was All You Can Eat Meatloaf Night at the mess hall. Pint-sized Ramiele Malubay reached 5-stars with a daring song choice – some would say foolish – actually, everyone would say foolish, but she scored 83 so what do we know? – in "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", a previous showstopper for Nadia Turner. Three teenagers plus 21-year-old Syesha Mercado all posted 4-star numbers, led by Alexandréa Lushington. Cook and Irish lass Carly Smithson were among the hardest hit by the flu bug, though both managed to advance safely. We thought it was cute how David Archuleta, beaming with joy, gave Cook an enthusiastic standing ovation when she finished.

The evening didn't end well for Joanne Borgella, who had no prayer of handling one of Burt Bacharach's most challenging songs. But at least Borgella fared better than poor Amy Davis, whose off-pitch version of "Where The Boys Are" included enough country yodels and scoops to stock every county fair in Tennessee for ten years. Those two departed on the Bus Of Shame, reducing us to the same Top 10 women as in the original series. As we were leaving the theater after the show, we felt a tug on the back of our shirts. "Excuse me, but could I have my paper back now?" came a small voice. We turned and saw a sheepish-looking...David Archuleta? Must've been his math homework or something. Or was it?

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Top 20 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
Imagine0000Imagine
91
 
2Safe
Papa Was A Rolling Stone0000Papa Was A Rolling Stone
85
 
2Safe
All Right Now0000All Right Now
72
 
2Safe
I Just Want To Be Your Everything0000I Just Want To Be Your Everything
46
 
2Safe
Go Your Own Way0000Go Your Own Way
44
 
2Safe
Superstar0000Superstar
37
 
2Safe
Mystery Man *0000Mystery Man *
35
 
2Safe
Hot Blooded0000Hot Blooded
29
 
2Safe
Killer Queen0000Killer Queen
21
 
7Eliminated
Long Train Runnin'0000Long Train Runnin'
20
 
7Eliminated

Our accountant stopped by camp this afternoon with some sobering news. Camp Should-A-Been, Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of WhatNotToSing.com and 19 Entertainment, the latter being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Satan Himself, was approximately as solvent as a Wall Street brokerage firm specializing in sub-prime mortgages in Galveston. Our gate receipts were down, our TV ratings were nonexistent, and the only sponsor in our portfolio was Pepto-Bismol. And they sponsored our kitchen, not our replays.

Needing a new revenue stream pronto, we hit upon the idea of selling MP3s of tonight's Top 20 (Guys) episode on iTunes. After all, it worked for American Idol. We explained the plan to the ten men, and they were happy to go along, particularly after we promised them a share of the loot. David Archuleta chipped in with a showstopping rendition of his signature song, "Imagine", and David Hernandez added a superb 5-star cover of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone". David Cook plugged in his electric guitar and rocked out Free's "All Right Now" to a 72. The other guys...eh, they weren't so hot, though Jason Castro and Michael Johns did post 3-star ratings, and at least nobody fell below the Sanjaya Line. Luke Menard and Jason Yeager chose two of the finest pop songs of the 1970s and managed to suck every last ounce of verve and soul out of them, and for that they earned a pair of fully-sponsored seats on the Bus Of Shame.

The next day, we were swimming in cash as our MP3s were the hottest things on the Web. Mind you, we didn't actually sell the performance clips – you didn't really think we'd pay those outrageous song licensing fees, did you? No, we sold secretly-recorded MP3s of the ten guys backstage, arguing with one another over whose turn it was to give whom a pedicure, making hopeless passes at the girls, and, in the case of Hernandez, calling his former employer and asking them not to say anything to any nosy tabloid reporters who might call, pretty please. Were they angry after having their privacy violated in such an underhanded manner? Not after we presented them with their first royalty checks, they weren't. Here at Camp Should-A-Been, money talks and dignity walks.

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Top 20 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
You're So Vain0000You're So Vain
82
 
2Safe
Crazy On You0000Crazy On You
79
 
2Safe
Don't Leave Me This Way0000Don't Leave Me This Way
53
 
2Safe
Me And Mr. Jones0000Me And Mr. Jones
42
 
2Safe
Hopelessly Devoted To You0000Hopelessly Devoted To You
38
 
2Safe
You're No Good0000You're No Good
37
 
2Safe
If You Leave Me Now0000If You Leave Me Now
28
 
2Safe
All By Myself0000All By Myself
26
 
2Safe
Magic Man0000Magic Man
14
 
7Eliminated
Carry On Wayward Son0000Carry On Wayward Son
6
 
7Eliminated

Memo to Fox: If these are the Most Talented Top 24 Ever™, we'd like to trade them in for the Least Talented Top 24™ if you don't mind. They can't do a whole lot worse than the Top 20 (Girls) did tonight, and they might at least provide more comic relief. In one of the lowest-rated Idol episodes in our database, the ladies rattled off one boneheaded song choice after another over the course of a long and dreary night. The nadir was when rock-&-roll nurse Amanda Overmyer hacked "Carry On Wayward Son" to pieces in an ill-fated attempt to fit the six-minute guitar classic into a 90-second performance slot. Not only did it earn her a seat on the Bus Of Shame, but Kansas later sued her for malpractice.

The night wasn't without its bright spots, however. Chief among them was folk-nanny Brooke White singing "You're So Vain" to an excellent 82 rating while throwing in a few pointed glances at Simon whenever she reached the chorus. We were hoping that for an encore she'd sing "Big Shot" to Randy and "Call Me When You're Sober" to Paula, but no such luck. Carly Smithson just missed 5-stars with Heart's "Crazy On You", and Ramiele Malubay was the only other contestant to break par. (Yes, that means just 6 of the Top 20 semifinalists scored over 50 this round.) Singer Kady Malloy, whose Britney Spears impersonation far outpaced her own actual singing performances, joined Overmyer on the Bus Of Shame. Finally, much-maligned Kristy Lee Cook managed to survive another round easily. Afterwards, a relieved David Archuleta came up to her backstage and gave her a big hug and a shy peck on the cheek. Aw, it seems that the young man has developed quite a crush, doesn't it?

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Top 16 (Guys)

Performance Web Rating Result
Hello0000Hello
88
 
2Safe
Hallelujah0000Hallelujah
84
 
2Safe
Another Day In Paradise0000Another Day In Paradise
69
 
2Safe
Don't You (Forget About Me)0000Don't You (Forget About Me)
62
 
2Safe
It's All Coming Back To Me Now0000It's All Coming Back To Me Now
59
 
2Safe
London Calling *0000London Calling *
41
 
2Safe
Gone, Gone, Gone *0000Gone, Gone, Gone *
32
 
7Eliminated
Tainted Love0000Tainted Love
30
 
7Eliminated

Just when we were ready to write off all that Most Talented Top 24 Ever™ talk as so much brainless marketing hype, the eight remaining guys in Camp Should-A-Been's AI7 replay got serious. Seriously serious. Six spots in the Final 12 tonight were on the line tonight, and anyone who couldn't post a 3-star performance under pressure need not apply.

David Cook certainly didn't fool around. His clever, alt-rock cover of Lionel Richie's "Hello" was the highest-rated performance of the night, and it thrust the Missouri bartender into an unexpected role as front-runner. Cook didn't have much margin for error, because Jason Castro was right behind him with a 5-star, beautifully understated rendition of "Hallelujah". David Archuleta and Michael Johns both posted 4-star ratings to earn their spots in the Finals, and David Hernandez easily earned chair #5 with a solid 59-rated cover of "It's All Coming Back To Me Now".

Irritated at having his rocker's credentials questioned at every turn, Robbie Carrico hauled out one of the greatest punk-rock songs of the 1980's. Mind you, it sounded as though he took the arrangement directly from the hitherto-unknown CD The Backstreet Boys Sing The Clash, but his first projected rating was still a decent 41. That was enough to vault him into the Finals over fellow holdover Colton Berry, plus the irrepressible Danny Noriega, who tried what we later heard was the Pussycat Dolls' version of "Tainted Love". (Sadly, we're serious about that.) So do we still think the Most Talented Top 24 Ever™ tagline is just a lot of brainless marketing hype? Of course. But at least for one night, it wasn't as brainless as usual.

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Top 16 (Girls)

Performance Web Rating Result
Love Is A Battlefield0000Love Is A Battlefield
79
 
2Safe
I Drove All Night0000I Drove All Night
73
 
2Safe
Saving All My Love For You0000Saving All My Love For You
50
 
2Safe
Believe It Or Not *0000Believe It Or Not *
47
 
2Safe
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)0000I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
45
 
2Safe
One Step Ahead *0000One Step Ahead *
44
 
2Safe
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)0000Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
42
 
7Eliminated
Faithfully0000Faithfully
40
 
7Eliminated

You'd think that by now, any American Idol contestant with even an ounce of common sense wouldn't choose to sing "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)". Especially not in a Top 16 episode, when those all-important tickets to the Finals are being handed out. Unfortunately, gentle Asia'h Epperson never got the memo. She took on the infamous AI Death Song and found herself on the receiving end of the entire arsenal of Camp Should-A-Been weaponry. Let's see, there was the Trap Door Of Shame, the Hot Coals Of Shame, the Water Cannon Of Shame, the Electrostatic Generator Of Shame, the Giant Contestant-Eating Weasel Of Shame, and even the dreaded Meatloaf Of Shame. (Trust us, you want no part of the Meatloaf Of Shame. Poor kid.)

As for the rest of our female contestants, they too cranked it up a notch as we determined which six would advance to Sunday's Final 12. Brooke White and Carly Smithson were one-two yet again, but the rest of the crew finished within 10 rating points of one another, none below 3-stars. Syesha Mercado took the bronze tonight despite scoring 50 on the nose. From here, things took a turn for the surprising. Holdover Alaina Whitaker earned the fourth seat, and the fifth went to...Epperson??! Quick, someone knock on the door of the ICU Of Shame and tell Asia'h to get back to the theater, fast!

That left original finalists Ramiele Malubay and Kristy Lee Cook still in danger, with just one slot remaining. Which one would make it through? Ryan Seacrest returned from the judges' table with the results, and the survivor was: neither! In a huge surprise, Alexandréa Lushington, whose sole previous claim to Idol fame was having the longest contestant name ever, squeaked past both of them with a 44 on her Split Enz cover! Cook, who'd hoped to earn enough money here at Camp Should-A-Been to buy back her horse, was heartbroken. As a consolation prize, we gave her a sheep from the petting zoo. No one was more devastated than young David Archuleta though. He screamed in soul-crushing anguish from the audience when the final tally was announced. It wasn't easy for Cook to join Malubay on the Bus Of Shame, what with the sobbing Archuleta's arms wrapped around her ankle as she walked. Ten minutes later, our camp Disciplinary Counselors, Viktor, Rocco, and Serge, finally pried him loose, and the Bus disappeared through the gates of camp.

So when all was said and done, a Camp-record four semifinalists from Season Seven advanced to the Replay Finals. The full roster:

  • David Archuleta
  • Robbie Carrico
  • Jason Castro
  • David Cook
  • Asia'h Epperson
  • David Hernandez
  • Michael Johns
  • Alexandréa Lushington
  • Syesha Mercado
  • Carly Smithson
  • Alaina Whitaker
  • Brooke White

Newcomers in italics. Failing to qualify: Chikezie, Kristy Lee Cook (stop wailing already, David!!), Amanda Overmyer, and Ramiele Malubay.

Whew! What an eventful week, to say the least, but the Final 12 is set. Although it's a strong group, it seemed most likely that our Replay Finale would be a David-vs.-David rematch. That was fine by us, as it was unquestionably the most marketable outcome for our coffers. We could almost taste the massive gate receipts already. As our Head Counselors walked back to their cabin, someone mentioned the fact that with KLC gone, we would at least be spared the nightmare of having to listen to "Eight Days A Week" on Sunday's show. That was certainly a relief, we agreed; after all, it was for good reason one of the lowest-rated performances in Idol history. Say, does anyone happen to remember who had the second-lowest rated performance in that episode? Because with K. Cook out, that person is going to be in a whole heaping mound of danger now, and...

.......Uh-oh.

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Final 12 (Lennon/McCartney)

Performance Web Rating Result
Let It Be0000Let It Be
84
 
2Safe
Eleanor Rigby0000Eleanor Rigby
81
 
2Safe
Come Together0000Come Together
81
 
2Safe
Across The Universe0000Across The Universe
59
 
2Safe
If I Fell0000If I Fell
57
 
2Safe
Leavin' *0000Leavin' *
43
 
2Safe
Bleeding Love *0000Bleeding Love *
41
 
2Safe
Beautiful Soul *0000Beautiful Soul *
40
 
2Safe
Got To Get You Into My Life0000Got To Get You Into My Life
38
 
2Safe
Soviet Union National Anthem *0000Soviet Union National Anthem *
37
 
4Bottom Group
I Saw Her Standing There0000I Saw Her Standing There
26
 
4Bottom Group
We Can Work It Out0000We Can Work It Out
18
 
7Eliminated

Honor student David Archuleta had it all figured out. If he could just make it to the AI7 Finale here at Camp Should-A-Been, his cumulative 189 approval rating that night would be more than enough to defeat David Cook or anyone else he happened to face. His ratings in the Semifinals and most of the early Finals were as strong as anyone's. And if he turned in a few soft performances in the later rounds, it was nothing to be concerned about — many of his competitors had weak showings too, plus there were bound to be a few holdover contestants deep into their projected ratings by then. In short, nothing under the sun could stop him from becoming the Season Seven Replay champion....

...with one exception. Somehow, Archie would have to survive his infamous, multiple-brain-cramp meltdown on Lennon/McCartney Night. Plan A was to ensure that Kristy Lee Cook remained in the competition by any means necessary, because her even more infamous "Eight Days A Week" effectively served as a safety net under the other 11 contestants. When that hope was dashed on Friday's show, Archuleta turned to Plan B. The shy Utah teen rehearsed nonstop all weekend, and when Sunday rolled around, he delivered a soulful, pitch-perfect, breathtakingly flawless vocal on "The Long And Winding Road." Sadly, Archuleta forgot that he wasn't supposed to sing "Road" until the Final 11, and with the band properly playing "We Can Work It Out" behind him...well, it wasn't good. Again.

The rest of the night, thankfully, went rather well. Brooke White's "Let It Be" led the way at a solid 84, even though she had to accompany herself on a toy xylophone. (A grand piano? At a summer camp? Guess again.) David Cook and Carly Smithson also reached 5-stars – Chikezie, wherever you are, we missed you. Our four holdover contestants evidently misunderstood the theme, as they chose works by the wrong McCartney or, in the sorry case of Robbie Carrico, the wrong Lenin. David Hernandez narrowly advanced past his original dismissal date. And as for hapless David Archuleta, the young man learned the best laid plans often go awry. Worse still, he had to spend his entire ride home on the Bus Of Shame studying for an 8am Algebra test the next morning.

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Final 11 (Beatles)

Performance Web Rating Result
Blackbird0000Blackbird
71
 
2Safe
Day Tripper0000Day Tripper
63
 
2Safe
Yesterday0000Yesterday
62
 
2Safe
I Am The Walrus *0000I Am The Walrus *
51
 
2Safe
Michelle0000Michelle
43
 
2Safe
Here Comes The Sun0000Here Comes The Sun
43
 
2Safe
Octopus's Garden *0000Octopus's Garden *
39
 
2Safe
A Day In The Life0000A Day In The Life
38
 
2Safe
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite*0000Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite*
37
 
4Bottom Group
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da *0000Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da *
36
 
4Bottom Group
Rocky Raccoon *0000Rocky Raccoon *
33
 
7Eliminated

We're sad to report that our projected revenue curve for the Season Seven Replay here at Camp Should-A-Been took a big hit with David Archuleta gone. This year, after all, was famous for the Battle Of The Davids, and it didn't exactly help our bottom line that one-half of our dynamic duo managed to get himself shipped out on the first night of the Finals. Fortunately, we had a spare David lying around. And so it came to pass that our camp counselors spent all afternoon grooming David Hernandez to take Archuleta's starring spot. Frankly, the operation had its ups and downs. We mean, Archuleta was famous for showing the world his bashful smile, while Hernandez was famous for showing the world...um, right, let's just fast-forward to tonight's show.

Like most sequels, Beatles Night Part Deux was a bit of a comedown from yesterday's original, to say the least. Only Syesha Mercado and David "Archie" Hernandez managed to raise their approval ratings, and Hernandez really had nowhere to go but up. Carly Smithson's "Blackbird" led the way with a modest 71. Though her version of "Here Comes The Sun" was passable, we nonetheless sent Brooke White's hideous, canary-yellow sun dress home on the Bus Of Shame, which left the squeaky-clean Arizona nanny standing embarrassedly onstage in her underwear. At last report, she still doesn't understand why Hernandez gave her his business card as she left the stage. Finally, all of our holdover contestants chose Beatles' novelty songs in one form or another, none of which worked terribly well in a 90-second condensed form. Leaving us tonight was Robbie "The Rockin' Raccoon" Carrico, who checked into his room on the Bus Of Shame only to find...Gideon's Bible? No, White's sun dress. Hey, it makes no less sense than the original song.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Final 10 (Year You Were Born)

Performance Web Rating Result
Billie Jean0000Billie Jean
93
 
2Safe
We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions0000We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions
80
 
2Safe
If I Were Your Woman0000If I Were Your Woman
70
 
2Safe
Every Breath You Take0000Every Breath You Take
64
 
2Safe
Total Eclipse Of The Heart0000Total Eclipse Of The Heart
54
 
2Safe
Relax *0000Relax *
46
 
2Safe
Fragile0000Fragile
38
 
2Safe
Enter Sandman *0000Enter Sandman *
35
 
4Bottom Group
Beds Are Burning *0000Beds Are Burning *
33
 
4Bottom Group
Smells Like Teen Spirit *0000Smells Like Teen Spirit *
32
 
7Eliminated

If we are being honest, our campaign to repackage 24-year-old David Hernandez into a demure teen heartthrob was not going smoothly at all. Tonight, for example, we dressed him in jeans and a University of Utah sweatshirt, mussed up his hair, and told him to get out there on stage and look adorable, dammit! Hernandez obliged, the crowd went nuts, and for a moment we thought we might actually pull this off. Alas, everything came crashing down when he performed his chosen birth year song, Frankie Goes To Hollywood's R-rated "Relax", while throwing in a few, er, well-honed dance moves. There were squeals from the audience all right, but they weren't coming from the tween-aged girls, most of whom had their parents' hands covering their eyes anyway. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Fortunately for us, no one will remember Hernandez's performance tomorrow, because the show's true water-cooler moment came from the other David. His dark, anguished twist on "Billie Jean", borrowed from Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, became one of the highest-rated performances of Idol's first seven seasons. Aussie Michael Johns took a Queen double feature to 5-stars, while Syesha Mercado and Brooke White both reached 4-stars. Collectively deciding that screaming guitars were the ticket to success in AI7, our other three holdover contestants chose heavy metal and grunge classics from their own birth years, with mostly unsatisfying results. Honestly, a country version of "Enter Sandman"?? At any rate, heading home tonight on the Bus Of Shame was 17-year-old Alexandréa Lushington, an original semifinalist who finished in a respectable 10th place on merit here at Camp Should-A-Been, notwithstanding the fact that her 20-letter, diacritic-filled name nearly killed our database designers.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Final 9 (Dolly Parton)

Performance Web Rating Result
It's All Wrong But It's Alright0000It's All Wrong But It's Alright
82
 
2Safe
Little Sparrow0000Little Sparrow
73
 
2Safe
Here You Come Again0000Here You Come Again
69
 
2Safe
I Will Always Love You0000I Will Always Love You
53
 
2Safe
Travelin' Thru0000Travelin' Thru
53
 
2Safe
Jolene0000Jolene
51
 
2Safe
9 To 5 *00009 To 5 *
42
 
4Bottom Group
Here You Come Again *0000Here You Come Again *
31
 
4Bottom Group
Time For Me To Fly *0000Time For Me To Fly *
30
 
7Eliminated

Few American songwriters are more prolific than Dolly Parton, our guest mentor tonight at Camp Should-A-Been. We even asked the diminutive country legend to pen a number about our humble summer camp, and she graciously agreed. Our nine Idols, however, had to choose from the 3000 or so songs that Parton had already written or recorded in her career. This proved to be not much of a challenge: all six original contestants scored above 50, with Michael Johns leading the way with a steamy rendition of "It's All Wrong But It's Alright". David Cook was second with a stripped-down version of "Little Sparrow", but unfortunately for the defending champion and front-runner, he had to be taken to the dispensary after the show due to a spike in his chronically high blood pressure. That's our story and we're sticking to it. We have no comment about the rumors that Cook was actually injured when he was hit by flying underwear thrown by Johns's overheated female fans, except to say that if we'd just sold lingerie rather than popcorn in the lobby tonight, we'd have made an absolute fortune.

The Bottom Three comprised our rapidly-slipping holdover contestants. We sent David "Archie" Hernandez onstage in a propeller beanie and knickers tonight, which sadly did nothing to increase his appeal to that all-important 10-to-18 demographic. Dismissed by the margin of one point was Asia'h Epperson, who certainly chose an apt title if nothing else. Yes, that's the REO Speedwagon classic, and yes, Parton had a minor country hit covering it, though of course not as big of a hit as her newly-released smash: "(I Got The) Mud-Runnin', Mosquito-Bitin', Meatloaf-Eatin' Blues". She'd better send us some royalty checks.

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Final 8 (Inspirational Songs - Idol Gives Back)

Performance Web Rating Result
Over The Rainbow0000Over The Rainbow
78
 
2Safe
Dream On0000Dream On
48
 
2Safe
You've Got A Friend0000You've Got A Friend
40
 
2Safe
Viva La Vida *0000Viva La Vida *
38
 
2Safe
I Believe0000I Believe
34
 
2Safe
Tomorrow *0000Tomorrow *
28
 
4Bottom Group
Innocent0000Innocent
24
 
4Bottom Group
The Show Must Go On0000The Show Must Go On
22
 
7Eliminated

In one of the more impressive feats in the annals of American Idol, dreadlocked Jason Castro learned how to play the ukelele in under a week for his nationally-televised performance of "Over The Rainbow" on the second annual Idol Gives Back episode. Mind you, it took him nearly two further months to learn how to pronounce "Kamakawiwo'ole", but we'll let that slide. Castro's tour de force earned him an evening-high 78 approval rating from the Idolsphere plus glowing accolades from Randy and Simon. Paula, however, remained curiously silent, other than muttering some somethings about "dark storm clouds brewing across the landscape." We're not sure if she's having supernatural premonitions, or if she's just trying to cement her status as TV's Queen of Impenetrable Metaphors.

After Castro, there wasn't much inspirational about tonight's show. Nobody else broke 50, and only Michael Johns and Brooke White even made it to three stars. Syesha Mercado became the fourth Idol to sing the AI3 Original Winners' Song™ "I Believe" in competition, which is so incomprehensibly stupid that we won't even offer a punch line. It took Ryan Seacrest several minutes to convince holdover Alaina Whitaker, who had already loaded her duffel bag and trunk onto the Bus Of Shame, that she wasn't even in the Bottom Two. That's because David Cook and Carly Smithson, neither of whom had scored below average all season, didn't even make it to 50 combined. Smithson's quirky Queen cover turned out to be the lowest-rated performance by two points, though she still held out hope that perhaps we might choose not to eliminate anyone on this special night. Sorry, Carly. We unceremoniously sent the Irish barmaid back to San Diego, though we did give her a few Sharpies so that she could pass the time by doodling on her arm. Nobody was more upset than Whitaker, though – she forgot to take her belongings off the Bus before it left camp! Wonder what she'll wear tomorrow?

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Final 7 (Mariah Carey)

Performance Web Rating Result
Always Be My Baby0000Always Be My Baby
75
 
2Safe
I Don't Wanna Cry0000I Don't Wanna Cry
59
 
2Safe
Heartbreaker *0000Heartbreaker *
56
 
2Safe
Vanishing0000Vanishing
42
 
2Safe
One Sweet Day *0000One Sweet Day *
34
 
4Bottom Group
Hero0000Hero
29
 
4Bottom Group
I Still Believe *0000I Still Believe *
26
 
7Eliminated

"Yes, Mr. Fuller. The Season Seven Replay here at Camp Should-A-Been is going right according to plan. Yes, sir, David Cook was outstanding again tonight. The audience loved his emo cover of "Always Be My Baby", to the tune of a show-topping 75 rating. Oh, yes sir, he says he's feeling much better. That blood pressure spike really gave you a scare, you say? You don't want anything to stand in the way of a Cook-Archuleta rematch in the Finale? (*gulp*) Uh, yes sir, we understand. There's a big payday in it for all of us....

"No, no, Mr. Fuller, you didn't lose us. We're still here. We were just, uh, lost in thought for a moment. Yes, the rest of the night went OK, all things considered. Nobody really expected much out of Mariah Carey Night, but the contestants did decently. For instance, Jason Castro just missed 4-stars, but after he sang, Paula started acting sort of weird again. She spread out a few tarot cards on the judges' table and said that Castro was going to take a long journey soon. Then she passed out face-first. Agreed, sir – the tarot cards were the weird part. Anyway, Michael Johns's first projected rating was a solid 56, and Syesha Mercado made it back to 3-stars. We said goodbye to Alaina Whitaker, but we made sure we stood upwind from her when we did; 'cause she'd worn the same clothes two days in a row. Yes, sir, we'll be sure to air out the Bus Of Shame thoroughly when it returns.

"What's that, sir? How did 'little David' do? Well, sir, Hernandez is five steps down his decay curve now, so....oh. That David. Um, he was...well, uh, sir, honestly we don't recall "When You Believe" all that well. It wasn't one of his more memorable performances. Yes, sir, we know every 19E exec is just itching for a Battle Of The Davids rematch. That's probably because you guys fell asleep in that poison ivy patch last time you visited us. Hah-hah-hah—...um, sorry Mr. Fuller, just a little camp humor there. Yes, you keep selling all that six-figure advertising time for the Replay Finale, and we'll take care of things on our end. Thank you, sir. Cheeri-o to you too." (* click *)

Hoo-boy. We gotta think of something fast!!

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Final 6 (Andrew Lloyd Webber)

Performance Web Rating Result
The Music Of The Night0000The Music Of The Night
86
 
2Safe
One Rock 'N' Roll Too Many0000One Rock 'N' Roll Too Many
78
 
2Safe
See You Again *0000See You Again *
50
 
2Safe
7 Things *00007 Things *
31
 
2Safe
Memory0000Memory
15
 
4Bottom Group
You Must Love Me0000You Must Love Me
14
 
7Eliminated

Paula Abdul pulled no punches. She looked Jason Castro in the eye and told him that his performance of "Memory" here on Andrew Lloyd Webber Night was a major disappointment. It lacked passion and heart, and it seemed for all the world that he had come onstage and simply gone through the motions. But, she still loved his voice and his beautiful personality, and she knew that if he could just make it through to the Final 5, he'd bounce back strongly! A stupified Castro just stood there, his mouth agape, not knowing what to say in reply. Which was an understandable reaction, really, considering that the two of them were standing in the camp laundromat at 10:30 in the morning washing their dirty clothes, and that Castro's performance wasn't going to take place for another ten hours.

But the Oracle Of Paula's words proved prophetic when Castro, dressed in a pink shirt and purple jeans (didn't anyone ever teach this kid not to mix reds and blues in the laundry?) indeed fell flat on his face that evening for the first time in the competition with his off-key Cats number. David Cook, known in Camp Should-A-Been legend as the Phantom Of The Ampitheater because of his grotesquely disfigured appearance (he took an elbow to the nose while playing basketball today, prompting his daily trip to the dispensary), was the clear winner for the second episode in a row with one of the season's highest-rated performances, "The Music Of The Night". Meanwhile, we camp counselors were still trying desperately to groom someone to fill the role of Designated Teen Heartthrob. We decided that maybe the Miley Cyrus vibe was the way to go. Sizing up our two remaining female contestants, we quickly ruled out Syesha Mercado because so far at camp she'd covered virtually every pop song about adultery ever written. Thus, we repackaged Brooke White in a new, youthful hairdo and some cowboy boots...but that didn't work either, particularly when her fits-and-starts performance of "You Must Love Me" came in at a dismal 14, one point lower than even Castro's train wreck. We sent her home on the Bus Of Shame with a few G-rated DVD's for the ride.

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Final 5 (Neil Diamond)

Performance Web Rating Result
All I Really Need Is You0000All I Really Need Is You
77
 
2Safe
I Thank The Lord For The Night Time0000I Thank The Lord For The Night Time
68
 
2Safe
Hello Again0000Hello Again
50
 
2Safe
I'm Alive0000I'm Alive
49
 
2Safe
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show *0000Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show *
45
 
2Safe
Solitary Man *0000Solitary Man *
41
 
2Safe
Forever In Blue Jeans0000Forever In Blue Jeans
29
 
7Eliminated
Beautiful Noise *0000Beautiful Noise *
28
 
4Bottom Group
Play Me *0000Play Me *
25
 
4Bottom Group
September Morn0000September Morn
15
 
7Eliminated

About an hour before he was to take the stage tonight, David Cook came to us complaining that he felt ill. So what else was new? Cook, whose chronic stage jitters are well-documented, spends roughly half his time at Camp Should-A-Been in the dispensary getting treatment for one ailment or another. This time, he said had a fever of 105° and was bleeding from every bodily orifice. We told him it was probably nothing serious. Still, after asking him what he had for dinner at the mess hall ("Um, the macaroni-and-cheese, why?"), we sent him to the Nurse's Cabin, but with strict orders to return in ample time for his two performances on Neil Diamond Night.

Overall, it turned out not to be the sort of Night Time you Thank The Lord For. Just two performances, one by Cook and one by Syesha Mercado, earned approval ratings above 50. (To be fair to Cook, it can't be easy to play the electric guitar while dragging an I.V. stand around the stage.) Michael Johns's third and fourth projected ratings were still safely in 3-star range, leaving holdover David Hernandez and struggling Jason Castro as the Bottom Two. Castro's "Forever In Purple Jeans" outscored both of Hernandez's numbers, but the Dreadlocked One couldn't overcome the chill of "September Morn", a 1-star disaster. Half an hour after the Bus Of Shame left for Texas, Paula Abdul announced over the camp loudspeakers that Castro had indeed bounced back strongly just as she foresaw, and that his were the two best performances of the night, and that her psychic powers told her that Castro was going to win the Season Seven Replay by beating Ella Fitzgerald in the Finale. Oh, that Paula.

What turned out to be wrong with Cook, you ask? Nurse Overmyer's diagnosis, shortly before she dove out her office window and fled into the woods: an advanced case of Ebola virus. Bah! We told you it was nothing serious, you big sissy.

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Final 4 (Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame)

Performance Web Rating Result
Baba O'Riley0000Baba O'Riley
68
 
2Safe
A Change Is Gonna Come0000A Change Is Gonna Come
57
 
2Safe
Proud Mary0000Proud Mary
52
 
2Safe
Hungry Like The Wolf0000Hungry Like The Wolf
43
 
2Safe
What I've Been Looking For *0000What I've Been Looking For *
37
 
4Bottom Group
Start Of Something New *0000Start Of Something New *
33
 
4Bottom Group
Stick To The Status Quo *0000Stick To The Status Quo *
23
 
7Eliminated
Breaking Free *0000Breaking Free *
20
 
7Eliminated

Just two days remained until the big AI7 Replay Finale, and the situation here at Camp Should-A-Been was bleak and getting bleaker. For starters, we still hadn't succeeded in grooming a contestant to fill the role of Tween Squealmeister vacated by the long-eliminated David Archuleta. All we had were Michael Johns, who reminded most tweens of their father; Syesha Mercado, who reminded them of someone who'd flirt with their father; and David Hernandez, who they sure hoped wasn't a co-worker of their father. Meanwhile, the other half of our thwarted David-vs.-David extravaganza continued to injure himself in every way imaginable. Just this morning, David Cook had been stung by a bee, fallen out of a tree, contracted pinkeye, and suffered a severe allergic reaction to pottery clay during Craft Hour. Taking no further chances, we had him cryogenically frozen at lunchtime, and we didn't thaw him out until just before tonight's Final Four Show.

Ironically, even though all three men aspired to some degree of rocker status, the only contestant to score above 50 on both of her numbers was Mercado thanks to pair of excellent song choices. Cook, whose lips were still blue, notched the highest-rated performance of the night with the Who's sublime homage to adolescent desolation. Unfortunately, his cover of "Hungry Like The Wolf" was much less well received, probably because of his overly literal interpretation of the lyrics – he hadn't had anything to eat since lunch, after all. We assigned our holdover contestants songs from the "High School Musical" soundtrack*, in the faint hope that one of them might yet click with the cliques. Failure again ensued, though at least Disney offered Johns a role as a visiting Australian music teacher in High School Musical 14: Trouble At The 25th Reunion. As for Hernandez, all vocational wisecracks aside, he jumped an astounding eight full spots on merit here at Camp, suggesting he was one of the most underappreciated Idol contestants ever. Perhaps all he needed was a little more exposure. (* rimshot! *)

* What about the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame theme, you ask? You do not want to hear the WNTS.com staff's opinion of that bogus establishment. Enough said.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Final 3 (Judges' Choice / Producers' Choice / Contestant's Choice)

Performance Web Rating Result
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face0000The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
85
 
2Safe
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing0000I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
61
 
2Safe
Fever0000Fever
59
 
2Safe
If I Ain't Got You0000If I Ain't Got You
56
 
2Safe
Hit Me Up0000Hit Me Up
34
 
2Safe
Dare You To Move0000Dare You To Move
33
 
2Safe
Accidentally In Love *0000Accidentally In Love *
30
 
7Eliminated
Under The Sea *0000Under The Sea *
27
 
7Eliminated
Life Is A Highway *0000Life Is A Highway *
25
 
7Eliminated

We Camp Should-A-Been counselors may be a bunch of snarky, sadistic, heartless bullies who revel in humiliating our captive American Idol contestants, but please give us our due: we're ethical, if nothing else. All of our Replays have been conducted fairly and impartially according to the official rules we laid out months ago. Until tonight, that is. Our bosses at 19E are flying in from London tomorrow, expecting to see a hugely-anticipated rematch between David Archuleta and David Cook in our final Finale of the summer. And given that our necks are on the line, that's exactly the pairing we intend to give them...by hook or by crook!

The first order of business was to bring Archuleta back to camp. We dispatched our ever-versatile Disciplinary Counselors, Viktor, Rocco and Serge, to Murray, UT, where they found the little urchin in his high school gym class, stuck at the top of the climbing rope. Check. Our Final Three had just become a Final Four Redux. Syesha Mercado and Michael Johns were none too pleased at this development, but too bad. We told them and the Davids to get their butts to the Ampitheater Of Neverending Shame, from which two would advance to the Finale and two would be sent home. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!

As in May, Simon Cowell's made an unexpected song choice for Big David: Roberta Flack's classic "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". But Cook, who sang tonight from inside a plastic bubble, was up to the challenge – his grunge-ballad rearrangement turned into a surprising 5-star triumph, and he even dragged Aerosmith's overblown "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" to 4-stars for an encore. Mercado turned in a pair of 3-star numbers, which did nothing to soothe our frayed nerves, but she was once again weighted down by her infamous Producers' Choice hatchet job assignment, "Hit Me Up" from Happy Feet. One good whack deserves another, we reasoned, so we also saddled Johns with three songs made famous in animated movies, though we at least had the decency to give him good songs. Finally, Little David, shivering onstage in his t-shirt and gym shorts, once again had one excellent performance ("And So It Goes", 72), one decent one ("Longer", 42), and one we don't care to discuss ("With You", 17).

Ah, here comes Ryan Seacrest with tonight's results. David Cook: a combined 179 points. Syesha Mercado: 149 points. Michael Johns: 82 projected points. And finally, David Archuleta, who racked up a solid 131 points. Yes! Victory is ours!! Tune in tomorrow when we bring you the Season Seven Replay Finale, once again featuring David Cook and David Archu--...

...Uh, wait. What were those numbers again?

131 points? Really?? You mean to say...even if he hadn't laid that egg in the Final 12...David Archuleta still wouldn't have made the AI7 Replay Finale?? Syesha Mercado would've earned that spot fair and square, despite the Happy Feet fiasco? We're speechless. And this time tomorrow, we're going to be lifeless too. There was at least a happy ending for Archuleta: Due to a Bus Of Shame mixup, he got shipped off to a warm Australian beach where he was surrounded by dozens of adoring teenage girls in bikinis, while third-place finisher Michael Johns wound up clinging to the top of the climbing rope in the Murray High gym. Sorry about that, mate! Finally, to all our loyal readers: we'll see you back here one last time this extended summer as Camp Should-A-Been concludes tomorrow with the Season Seven Finale. Free meatloaf for all!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Finale

Performance Web Rating Result
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For0000I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
66
 
2Safe
The World I Know0000The World I Know
61
 
2Safe
One Rock 'N' Roll Too Many *0000One Rock 'N' Roll Too Many *Reprise performance
57
 
7Eliminated
U Make Me Wanna *0000U Make Me Wanna *
48
 
7Eliminated
In This Moment *0000In This Moment *
44
 
7Eliminated
Dream Big0000Dream Big
41
 
2Safe

"Thank you, Mr. Fuller. We're flattered that all you 19E executives enjoyed your stay today at Camp Should-A-Been. Oh, steady sir, watch your step! Yes, those dangerous tree root buggers are everwhere around here, aren't they? Here, take our elbows and we'll make sure you get back to your helicopter safely.

"Anyway, sir, since this was the last night our camp would be open this summer, we figured we'd splurge a bit. There was the wine-and-cheese reception when your team arrived from London – uh, sorry we forgot the cheese, sir, but you guys didn't seem to mind. Then came dinner at the mess hall, featuring Jack Daniels Meatloaf and Vodka Penne-And-Cheese. Then another wine-and-cheese reception, and then another, and finally we headed over to the ampitheater, where we had more wine waiting, for the great David-vs.-David Season Seven Finale.

"David Cook had another solid evening. He turned in a pair of four-star performances, and he even did decently on his Original Winners' Song™, all things considered. His tears at the end of 'The World I Know' were particularly poignant, we thought. And yes sir, David Archuleta was terrific also, wasn't she, er, he? Three 3-star performances! Who knew he had those great dance moves on 'One Rock 'N' Roll Too Many'? Oh, we're sure a few people were disappointed he didn't reprise 'Imagine' tonight, but he'll have plenty of opportunities for it on his concert tour. They're both going to be big stars.

"Anyway, the results may have been closer than expected, but David Cook won again by a margin of 19 points. He's just the second contestant, after Kelly Clarkson, to sweep the original competition and the replay. Uh, actually sir, he was supposed to leave on the Bus Of Shame Victory rather than get run over by it, but that's our Cookie – always doing things that nobody expects! Nurse Overmyer says she'll have him patched up and as good as new in time for his album release next month.

"Uh, sir, that isn't the contestants' lounge, it's the petting zoo. No, sir, that's not David Archuleta you're talking to. It's a sheep. Yes, sir. Your copter is this way. There's a good fellow. Watch your step as you board. Hmm? No thanks necessary, sir, it was entirely our pleasure! Camp Should-A-Been has been a truly fascinating experiment these past few months. True, a handful of the early eliminations were disappointing, but overall our results seemed sensible, fair, and satisfying, if we do say so ourselves. It's really hard to quarrel about any of the seven Replay winners, or even about most of our Top Fives. Oh, of course, we'd be honored to do this again next year for AI8! You just keep the contestants and the paychecks coming, and we'll supply the camp, the data, and the endless summer of humiliation. Good luck with Season Eight, and tell Kara that we're really looking forward to her joining our staff. On second thought, don't tell her anything. Let's let the experience come as a surprise.

"Thank you again, sir, and have a great flight home. Here's another bottle of wine for the road. See you next June. Cheeri-o!"

—   The End   —

Camp Should-A-Been
Closed For The Winter

Thank you for your patronage!!

Reopening Summer, 2009.

Camp Should-A-Been – Season Seven Results

  1. David Cook
  2. Syesha Mercado
  3. Michael Johns
  4. David Hernandez
  5. Jason Castro
  6. Brooke White
  7. Alaina Whitaker
  8. Carly Smithson
  9. Asia'h Epperson
  10. Alexandréa Lushington
  11. Robbie Carrico
  12. David Archuleta

-- The staff of WNTS.com

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