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Camp Should-A-Been - Season Nine

Camp Should-A-Been

Ah, the stillness of the forest. The quiet of the evening air. The sound of crickets softly chirping by Lake Trainwreck. It's peaceful now at Camp Should-A-Been, but soon our gates will be open and the ampitheater will be filled with cheering, screaming American Idol fans for our gala Season Nine replay, and...what's that? We've been open for a week now? Ruh-roh. Either the alarming drop in viewer enthusiasm this year has carried over to the summer, or tonight's meatloaf felled more people than usual. Well, maybe it's just we camp counselors and the 24 contestants in sweltering Cabin Nine, but we all know the drill: we're going to crown an AI9 champion based solely on performance quality. Maybe it'll be Lee DeWyze, or Crystal Bowersox, or Casey James, or Tim Urban, and maybe before we're through we'll even find someone who cares! 'Cause This...is American Idol!!!   (*chirp*)

Results

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Top 24 Girls (Billboard Charts)

Performance Web Rating Result
Hand In My Pocket0000Hand In My Pocket
78
 
2Safe
Wicked Game0000Wicked Game
72
 
2Safe
Oh! Darling0000Oh! Darling
64
 
2Safe
Fixing A Hole0000Fixing A Hole
62
 
2Safe
The Way I Am0000The Way I Am
61
 
2Safe
Fallin'0000Fallin'
58
 
2Safe
Feeling Good0000Feeling Good
43
 
2Safe
All Right Now0000All Right Now
26
 
2Safe
What About Love0000What About Love
22
 
2Safe
Happy0000Happy
14
 
2Safe
I Want To Hold Your Hand0000I Want To Hold Your Hand
12
 
7Eliminated
Landslide0000Landslide
7
 
7Eliminated

Splendid. Here we are at Opening Night of Camp Should-A-Been's ninth annual American Idol replay, and the entire campground is in a state of heightened higgledy-piggledy (which is the polite way to say even more #$%^&-up than usual.)

For starters, we only have a skeleton staff on duty...literally. Seems we, uh, accidentally locked Scott Savol and Lakisha Jones in the craft shack over the winter. Oh well, they needed to lose a few pounds anyway. We've declared the other 228 former Idol contestants to be AWOL, and we've dispatched our legendary trio of Disciplinary Counselors, Viktor, Rocco, and Serge, to hunt them down and gently remind them of their contractual obligations to 19E. If you thought Danny Gokey's scream last year was blood-curdling, you ain't heard nothing yet.

In the meantime, we've told AI's eminent judging panel that they're going to have to pitch in and earn those seven-figure salaries, at least until we get our serfs back. Thus, the Season Niners woke up this morning to the unexpected sight of Randy Jackson slopping hash, Ellen Degeneres sweeping floors, Simon Cowell lifeguarding at the lake (he'll volunteer for anything if it means he gets to take his shirt off), and Kara DioGuardi doing nothing of any particular value. Hey, we figured we should keep at least some sense of normalcy around here.

As for the Top 24 Girls themselves...well, they had a few highs and a lot of lows. Nobody reached 5-stars, but Crystal Bowersox and Siobhan Magnus turned in solid first-night ratings in the 70s. Four other ladies were bunched tightly around 60, and Katie Stevens turned in a respectable 43. But from Paige Miles on down, things were definitely not all right now. Original eliminees Janell Wheeler and Ashley Rodriguez turned in a pair of clunkers, but they were still good enough to advance to the second round. That's because Haeley Vaughn and erstwhile 12th-place finisher Lacey Brown couldn't even make it to 2-stars combined. Thus, they had to take turns driving themselves home in the Bus Of Shame.

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Top 24 Guys (Billboard Charts)

Performance Web Rating Result
Heaven0000Heaven
83
 
2Safe
Sugar, We're Goin' Down0000Sugar, We're Goin' Down
75
 
2Safe
Chasing Cars0000Chasing Cars
57
 
2Safe
This Love0000This Love
44
 
2Safe
Here Comes Goodbye0000Here Comes Goodbye
41
 
2Safe
You And I Both0000You And I Both
31
 
2Safe
Since U Been Gone0000Since U Been Gone
30
 
2Safe
American Woman0000American Woman
26
 
2Safe
God Bless The Child0000God Bless The Child
22
 
2Safe
Wonderful World0000Wonderful World
18
 
2Safe
Get Here0000Get Here
13
 
7Eliminated
Apologize0000Apologize
4
 
7Eliminated

The bad news: paid attendance for the second night of our Season Nine replay remained steady at zero. The good news: at least that meant nobody was clamoring for their money back after the Top 24 Guys laid one of the biggest Grade A eggs in American Idol history. At an average rating of 37.0, the episode ranks third-lowest of all time...and we mean "rank" in more ways than one.

At least the gents did produce the first 5-star performance of the summer: Casey James's 83 for the Bryan Adams ballad "Heaven". Not far behind was Andrew Garcia who touchingly serenaded his future approval rating trajectory with "Sugar, We're Goin' Down". Defending champ Lee DeWyze, channeling his inner canine, produced the night's only other above-average number, and Michael Lynche and Aaron Kelly managed to squeak into 3-star territory with a pair of pleasant but forgettable performances.

Sadly, much as we tried, we couldn't forget the other seven singers. Joe Muñoz and Tyler Grady did manage to advance on merit, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, making the original first-round eliminees a perfect four-for-four here at Camp Should-A-Been despite an average approval rating of 23. A little later, one A. Lambert, clad in black studded leather and guyliner, exploded onto the stage in a hail of pyrotechnics and dry ice to deliver a glam-rock performance of "Wonderful World", earning the tenth and final spot in the second round. (Yeah, we know, but if you had to sit through this godawful show a second time, you'd be pining for last season too.) Leaving us tonight were Jermaine Sellers and original seventh-place finisher and cultural phenomenon Tim Urban, whose enthusiastic backing by the iconoclastic, anti-CSAB website VoteForTheBest.com proved futile in the end.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Top 20 Guys (Billboard Charts)

Performance Web Rating Result
It's a Man's Man's Man's World0000It's a Man's Man's Man's World
70
 
2Safe
Lips of an Angel0000Lips of an Angel
69
 
2Safe
Everybody Knows0000Everybody Knows
69
 
2Safe
I Don't Want To Be0000I Don't Want To Be
47
 
2Safe
My Girl0000My Girl
46
 
2Safe
You Give Me Something0000You Give Me Something
46
 
2Safe
The Remedy *0000The Remedy *
28
 
2Safe
Gravity0000Gravity
24
 
2Safe
Canadian Sunset *0000Canadian Sunset *
23
 
7Eliminated
What's Love Got To Do With It0000What's Love Got To Do With It
23
 
7Eliminated

That's odd. We expected our 228 absentee contestants would be rolling into camp by now, or maybe even crawling in if they were able to loosen their arm bindings. But so far, nada. What's more, Viktor, Rocco, and Serge aren't answering their cell phones. ("Sorry I can't take your call right now, but leave a message with your name, phone number, and a description of the person whose legs you want me to break and I'll get on it as soon as I can.")

Well, we'll worry about that later, because we have a true medical emergency on our hands. It was the girls' turn to sing tonight, but Crystal Bowersox collapsed in seizures after breakfast this morning and had to be rushed to the dispensary. Initially we feared that she had gone into insulin shock, a serious life-threatening condition made even more worrisome by the fact camp nurse Amanda Overmyer was still playing hooky. To our relief, it turned out Bowersox had merely caught a glimpse of Simon Cowell, who was serving as our cabin housekeeping staff today, wearing a French maid's outfit and tights. That'll drop anyone. We're happy to report that she's feeling much better this evening and resting comfortably in bed. We even gave her a DVD to help her sleep: Kara DioGuardi's Greatest American Idol Critiques.

All this meant that the guys had to sing for a second straight night. With no time to rehearse, they naturally missed cues, forgot lyrics, and clanged enough bad notes to make the forest songbirds weep. In other words, it was a massive improvement over yesterday, causing their average approval rating to jump seven full points. We'll spare you the details save to say that Joe Muñoz (who dedicated his song to Bowersox) and John Park both managed to advance to the Top 16 for no good reason. Departing on the Bus Of Shame with a pair of matching 23s were Todrick Hall and Tyler Grady. The latter's followup to "American Woman" didn't go over too well with anyone. Pity, we were hoping he'd do "Mexican Radio" next.

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Top 20 Girls (Billboard Charts)

Performance Web Rating Result
Long As I Can See The Light0000Long As I Can See The Light
90
 
2Safe
Think0000Think
83
 
2Safe
The Scientist0000The Scientist
77
 
2Safe
A Change Is Gonna Come0000A Change Is Gonna Come
75
 
2Safe
Walk Away0000Walk Away
52
 
2Safe
Put Your Records On0000Put Your Records On
43
 
2Safe
Lean On Me0000Lean On Me
38
 
2Safe
With Arms Wide Open0000With Arms Wide Open
33
 
2Safe
Getting Better *0000Getting Better *
20
 
7Eliminated
Falling Slowly *0000Falling Slowly *
13
 
7Eliminated

Day Four. Still no staff. Still no spectators, either. Heck, we even ran an ad in the local paper announcing a special "2-for-1" offer: buy one ticket, take any two AI9 contestants home with you to keep. We did get one phone call from an older lady who asked if she could have Ace Young and Michael Johns instead, but we told her no deal. We're pretty sure it was Paula.

As it turned out, the fans missed a pretty good show tonight, by semifinals standards anyway. Crystal Bowersox dragged herself out of bed and, still in her pajamas, delivered the season's first showstopping performance: Creedence's "Long As I Can See The Light". Coming in 2-3-4 for the second straight episode were Siobhan Magnus, Katelyn Epperly, and Lilly Scott, all of whom were at 75 or better. Our other four advancers...well, they didn't exactly light up the night sky, but all were at least passable. We'll take it.

Leaving us this round were our two holdover contestants with two of the more anticlimactic projected ratings that you'll ever see. Janell Wheeler and Ashley Rodriguez combined to drop all of three ratings points from Opening Night. At least Wheeler tried to be optimistic with her her Beatles song choice, while Rodriguez went with something more fatalistic but mathematically apt. This has not been a Swell Season so far, to say the least.

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Top 16 Girls (Billboard Charts)

Performance Web Rating Result
Give Me One Reason0000Give Me One Reason
89
 
2Safe
House of the Rising Sun0000House of the Rising Sun
75
 
2Safe
Rhiannon0000Rhiannon
72
 
2Safe
I Fall to Pieces0000I Fall to Pieces
51
 
2Safe
Stumbling In *0000Stumbling In *
41
 
2Safe
I Feel The Earth Move0000I Feel The Earth Move
39
 
2Safe
Breakaway0000Breakaway
23
 
7Eliminated
Smile0000Smile
14
 
7Eliminated

Lakisha Jones and Scott Savol escaped during the night, squeezing through a small gap in the chain link fence and disappearing into the woods. That reduced the population of Camp Should-A-Been to 23 – 16 surviving semifinalists, four insufferable judges, and three increasingly anxious Head Counselors. You know, we never really realized until now how, uh, dark and spooky this forest can be at night. There are an awful lot of funny noises in there, plus we thought we even spotted a strange, shifting smoke cloud wafting through the trees. Turns out it was just Simon sneaking a cigarette, but still....

At any rate, it was time to trim our headcount even further. Tonight's Top 16 (Girls) show would determine which six ladies would advance to the replay Finals. The first two spots were no surprise: Crystal Bowersox and Siobhan Magnus were 1-2 for the third time running. After that, however, things got interesting. Didi Benami picked a good night to turn in her top-rated Idol performance, a 72 for Stevie Nicks's famous ode to a Welsh...(*gulp*)...witch. Yeah, just what we needed to hear. Chair number four was taken by Lilly Scott despite a slightly off-night for her – a sweet redemption for the only contestant in AI history who failed to advance out of the semifinals despite delivering three above-average performances.* Michelle Delamor's first projected rating remained in 3-star territory, putting the Floridian through to the Finals in a mild surprise. Last but not least was Katelyn Epperly, whose unremarkable Carole King cover was still plenty good enough on this evening.

Thus, at least according to our approval ratings, America batted a pretty dismal .500 in choosing the AI9 female Finalists. Joining Lacey Brown on the Early Departure list were original 11th-place finisher Paige Miles and 8th-place Katie Stevens – the latter due to a remarkably foolish song choice, the former due to plain old poor singing. Tune in tomorrow when we choose six guys to round out our replay Finalists. In the meantime, we counselors are headed back to our cabin, double-locking the doors and windows, and hiding under our beds. Purely precautionary, you understand.

(* No, Mario Vasquez doesn't count.)

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Top 16 Guys (Billboard Charts)

Performance Web Rating Result
This Woman's Work0000This Woman's Work
79
 
2Safe
Trouble0000Trouble
63
 
2Safe
You'll Think Of Me0000You'll Think Of Me
60
 
2Safe
Fireflies0000Fireflies
52
 
2Safe
Once In A Lifetime *0000Once In A Lifetime *
25
 
2Safe
I'm Already There0000I'm Already There
23
 
2Safe
Genie in a Bottle0000Genie in a Bottle
22
 
7Eliminated
Drunk & Hot Girls *0000Drunk & Hot Girls *
21
 
7Eliminated

"No, Mr. Fuller. Still no revenues to report. We haven't seen hide nor hair of a paying customer at Camp Should-A-Been all week. Maybe it's the bad economy, or the bad weather, or the bad contesta—...er, what we mean, sir, is that we're not sure what's going on. It certainly seems though that a lot of American Idol fans have found some other way to spend their disposable income.

"Speaking of disposable, sir, the guys weren't all that bad tonight, at least at the top half of the card. Michael Lynche became the first male into the Final 12, missing a 5-star rating on "This Woman's Work" by a single point. Second was that new Lambert kid – Alan, Andy, something like that. Oh, yes sir, he's the spitting image of Adam, right down to the black nail polish. Feel free to book Queen and Kiss for the Finale. Casey James and Lee DeWyze both advanced with above-average approval ratings as well, though things got a little weird when DeWyze sang "Fireflies". The entire ampitheater suddenly filled up with lightning bugs! We weren't sure what was going on, but we did tell John Park to change his song choice, stat! He was originally going to do "Spiders and Snakes".

"Mr. Fuller, you're going to have to speak a little louder. Are you at a London nightclub? Anyway, after the top four, things went way downhill. The fifth qualifier, believe it or not, was Joe Muñoz! Uh, Muñoz, sir...M-u-n-...yes, sir, he really was a contestant this year. It's almost impossible to believe that someone whose lone AI performance was a 31 could advance to the Finals on merit, but such was the guys' half of the draw this season. Heck, sir, even Park almost made it through! He missed out on the twelfth chair by only two points to Aaron Kelly. Yes, sorry sir, but that meant Andrew Garcia, Mr. Straight Up, went Straight Home.

"To sum it all up, just seven of this spring's Top 12 earned their way into the AI9 Replay Finals this summer. The CSAB lineup is:

  • Didi Benami
  • Crystal Bowersox
  • Michelle Delamor
  • Lee DeWyze
  • Katelyn Epperly
  • Casey James
  • Aaron Kelly
  • Alex Lambert
  • Michael Lynche
  • Siobhan Magnus
  • Joe Muñoz
  • Lilly Scott

"Newcomers are in italics. Failing to qualify were Lacey Brown, Andrew Garcia, Paige Miles, Katie Stevens, and Tim Urban.

"Yes, sir, the Finals kick off on Sunday evening, and we're promoting it with a huge ad campaign! Our marketing slogan is, The AI9 Replay Finals: It Won't Suck As Badly This Time, We Promise! Uh, Mr. Fuller sir, hello...? Hello...?"

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Final 12 (Rolling Stones)

Performance Web Rating Result
Paint It, Black0000Paint It, Black
87
 
2Safe
You Can't Always Get What You Want0000You Can't Always Get What You Want
80
 
2Safe
Play With Fire0000Play With Fire
69
 
2Safe
Beast Of Burden0000Beast Of Burden
66
 
2Safe
She's A Rainbow *0000She's A Rainbow *
57
 
2Safe
Let's Spend The Night Together*0000Let's Spend The Night Together*
54
 
2Safe
Angie0000Angie
54
 
2Safe
It's All Over Now0000It's All Over Now
51
 
2Safe
Miss You0000Miss You
48
 
2Safe
Respectable *0000Respectable *
45
 
4Bottom Group
She's So Cold *0000She's So Cold *
37
 
4Bottom Group
It's All Over Now *0000It's All Over Now *
23
 
7Eliminated

Because it was the premiere of the AI9 Replay Finals, and because we needed some star power at Camp Should-A-Been in the worst way possible, we tried to line up Mick Jagger to be a guest judge for tonight's Rolling Stones episode. Alas, Jagger was in South Africa for the World Cup to watch England get trounced this morning. Serves him right. We considered inviting Keith Richards instead but quickly thought better of it. We'd feel really guilty if a guy who somehow survived all those boozefests, drug addictions and accidents was finally done in by our meatloaf.

Crystal Bowersox and Siobhan Magnus posted the top two performances yet again, but in an attempt to break up the monotony a bit, Bowersox graciously allowed Magnus to finish ahead of her. Magnus's 87 for her post-punk twist on "Paint It, Black" turned out to be her high water mark of the season. Didi Benami had her second straight strong outing, while holdover finalists Lilly Scott, Katelyn Epperly, and Alex Lambert's first projected ratings were quite solid. It probably helped that Epperly's mildly controversial song choice noticeably piqued the interest of three-quarters of the judging panel.

With an average approval rating of 55.7, we couldn't have been happier or more relieved about the quality of the performances. Lambert and Michelle Delamor actually wound up in the Bottom Three, but there was little suspense as to who was going home. Joe Muñoz's thrilling, odds-defying run finally came to an end here in the Top 12. We'll never forget him, save for the fact that we already have. Last but not least, tonight's paid attendance was up sharply to 16! True, the judges and contestants were a little miffed when they learned they needed a ticket to get into the theater, but they'll get over it.

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Final 11 (Billboard #1 Hits Teen Idols!)

Performance Web Rating Result
Saturday Night0000Saturday Night
84
 
2Safe
Only In My Dreams0000Only In My Dreams
63
 
2Safe
Hangin' Tough0000Hangin' Tough
58
 
2Safe
Daydream Believer *0000Daydream Believer *
51
 
2Safe
Jessie's Girl0000Jessie's Girl
50
 
2Safe
MMMBop *0000MMMBop *
49
 
2Safe
Runaround Sue0000Runaround Sue
46
 
2Safe
Oops!...I Did It Again0000Oops!...I Did It Again
44
 
2Safe
Da Doo Ron Ron0000Da Doo Ron Ron
42
 
4Bottom Group
La Bamba *0000La Bamba *
41
 
4Bottom Group
I Think We're Alone Now *0000I Think We're Alone Now *
33
 
7Eliminated

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor gloom of night, nor a complete dearth of customers and indentured servants, nor even a nationwide ground beef shortage will ever stop Camp Should-A-Been from fulfilling our primary mission. Namely, to make miserable the lives of the most recent crop of American Idol contestants. (What, you thought it was to determine who should have won the past season? Well, yeah, that too. But our other mission is way more fun.)

As such, when it came time to replay the infamous Billboard #1 Hits Night of 2010 – one of the lowest-rated Finals episodes in AI history – we knew exactly what to do. Fans with long memories and strong stomachs will recall that the show was a mushroom cloud from start to finish in no small part because Executive Producer Ken Warwick fatuously decided to switch themes over the weekend. Well, if 19E chickened out on staging a Teen Idols Night, then we'll just have to do it for them. Thus, we told the Final 11 that, for the first and perhaps only time in CSAB history, they wouldn't be reprising their actual song choices from this episode. Rather, they had to choose a suitable bubblegum hit!

And oh yeah, we didn't break the news to them until 20 minutes before showtime. We love watching post-adolescents cry.

You can see the results at right. Truth be told, the contestants did quite a bit better than we expected. Mind you, those 11 fanciful song choices are, on average, quite a bit better than the ones the AI9 crew normally dredged up when left to their own devices. Taking the top two spots tonight were Same Old and Same Old. Michael Lynche did a credible job covering NKOTB, and the next seven contestants squeezed into a narrow 10-point band, all in 3-stars. Finishing in 11th place was Michelle Delamor, whose song title proved prophetic when we handed her the keys to the Bus Of Shame and wished her a safe and lonely cross-country drive back to Florida. Finally, we might be mistaken,but we suspect the 2010 Summer Tour would be selling quite a few more tickets right now if this had been the real Top 10.

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Final 10 (Soul and R&B)

Performance Web Rating Result
Treat Her Like A Lady0000Treat Her Like A Lady
88
 
2Safe
Midnight Train To Georgia0000Midnight Train To Georgia
82
 
2Safe
Ready For Love0000Ready For Love
74
 
2Safe
Hold On, I'm Comin'0000Hold On, I'm Comin'
70
 
2Safe
Ain't No Sunshine0000Ain't No Sunshine
46
 
2Safe
Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye) *0000Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye) *
46
 
2Safe
Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye) *0000Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye) *
44
 
2Safe
The Tracks Of My Tears *0000The Tracks Of My Tears *
37
 
4Bottom Group
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted0000What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
28
 
4Bottom Group
Through The Fire0000Through The Fire
27
 
7Eliminated

"It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon!..."

...Um, hold the phone there, Snoopy. How come the maid is still screaming? Whoops, it's actually Siobhan Magnus, isn't it? The perky, quirky, fashion-challenged teen went to the Glory Note well a few times too often during her American Idol run, ultimately resulting in a stunning sixth-place ouster. Here at Camp Should-A-Been, however, where just one stumble can do in even the strongest contestant, the well ran dry a whole lot sooner. Despite finishing no worse than second place with her first five performance ratings, "Through The Fire" put Magnus at the bottom of tonight's Soul scoreboard. That left her holding a one-way ticket home to Massachusetts, and we camp counselors holding a plethora of corny glassblower gags that we never got a chance to use. Drat.

Replacing Magnus at the top of the food chain tonight was none other than defending champ Lee DeWyze. His cover of the classic "Treat Her Like A Lady" earned him a stellar 88, tied for the highest single performance rating for any AI9 contestant whose last name doesn't rhyme with "power locks". Speaking of Miss Flowersmocks, she notched her fifth straight 5-star rating, while Casey James and Michael Lynche both reached the 70s. Holdovers Lilly Scott and Katelyn Epperly elected to go with a duet of a very apropos Gladys Knight hit, while A. Lambert tried his hand at a song made famous on AI by Olde Original A. Lambert, with less-than-stellar results. Last but not least, Didi Benami demonstrated yet again how one single ratings point can make all the difference around these parts, as she became the first real-life finalist to advance beyond her actual elimination date. Now that's worth screaming about.

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Final 9 (Lennon-McCartney)

Performance Web Rating Result
Jealous Guy0000Jealous Guy
88
 
2Safe
Come Together0000Come Together
83
 
2Safe
Hey Jude0000Hey Jude
56
 
2Safe
Eleanor Rigby0000Eleanor Rigby
51
 
2Safe
Octopus's Garden *0000Octopus's Garden *
47
 
2Safe
What Is Life *0000What Is Life *
42
 
2Safe
Photograph *0000Photograph *
40
 
4Bottom Group
While My Guitar Gently Weeps *0000While My Guitar Gently Weeps *
33
 
4Bottom Group
The Long And Winding Road0000The Long And Winding Road
33
 
7Eliminated

Terrific. Now Randy Jackson is gone. He told us this morning that he was going into town to buy mosquito repellent, and he never returned. In past years we might have considered this to be a positive development, but this summer is different. Something very strange is going on deep inside these woods. Late last night, after everyone else was asleep and the campgrounds were silent, we swear we could hear faint screams coming from the other side of the lake. Either Siobhan Magnus took a wrong turn on her way home, or there's (*gulp*) someone... or something... out there....

Okay, enough portentiousness. Tonight's show turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Lennon-McCartney Night might have been the highest-rated episode of Season Nine this spring, but it's our lowest thus far this summer. Chalk that up to the absence of Magnus, Katie Stevens and Tim Urban, plus the fact that a big chunk of our field are getting deep into their projected ratings. Casey James led the way with a near-showstopping rendition of "Jealous Guy", and Crystal Bowersox reached 5-stars for the umpteeth straight night; we've lost count. In other news, we felt that George and Ringo deserved a little Idol love too, so we allowed our four holdover singers to choose something from the underappreciated Harrison-Starr catalog. Coming in tied at the bottom were Alex Lambert and Aaron Kelly. Resisting the urge to send both of them home, we checked the spreadsheet to see which one lost out on decimal points. And as it turned out, Kelly was the one to depart on the long and winding road, by about four-tenths of a point.

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Final 8 (Elvis Presley)

Performance Web Rating Result
Saved0000Saved
81
 
2Safe
A Little Less Conversation0000A Little Less Conversation
72
 
2Safe
In The Ghetto0000In The Ghetto
54
 
2Safe
Lawdy Miss Clawdy0000Lawdy Miss Clawdy
51
 
2Safe
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love And Understanding *0000(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love And Understanding *
42
 
2Safe
Accidents Will Happen *0000Accidents Will Happen *
38
 
4Bottom Group
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes *0000(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes *
36
 
4Bottom Group
Veronica *0000Veronica *
30
 
7Eliminated

Right after yesterday's show, Ellen DeGeneres mentioned that she was going to grab a midnight snack before turning in. A few minutes later, a soul-piercing scream reverberated across Camp Should-A-Been. Now, normally we wouldn't think much of this – we're kind of used to hearing terrified noises coming from the Mess Hall, to be honest. But considering all the weirdness that's happened so far this summer, we thought we'd better check it out.

When we got there, we found a half-made meatloaf-and-cheese sandwich on the countertop...and no sign of Ellen! We searched the entire grounds from top to bottom and quickly discovered that we really ought to clean the restrooms more often than once every other Pope. But, that's another story. A second Idol judge had vanished without a trace! As if that wasn't frightening enough, Kara DioGuardi pointed out that Ellen is a vegan – she had been surviving here at CSAB on rainwater and tree bark. So that sandwich had to be a red herring, except Ellen wouldn't eat herring either so that's a really lousy metaphor, but you get our drift. Was there something evil lurking in our forest...or worse, was the culprit one of the 13 remaining people here in camp?

After a sleepless night and a very tense afternoon, we got around to our restaging of Elvis Night. There isn't much to report. The top half of the card consisted of our four remaining original contestants, led by Crystal Bowersox, and the bottom half were our four holdovers. In yet another effort to modernize the creaky Idol playlist, we allowed the latter group to choose songs by rock-and-roll's other famous Elvis, with reasonable results. Leaving CSAB tonight in eighth place – and in a rather rude hurry too, we thought – was Alex Lambert, who eschewed the Bus Of Shame for the Canoe Of Panic. Last we saw of him, he was paddling furiously across the lake with his guitar.

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Final 7 (Inspirational – Idol Gives Back)

Performance Web Rating Result
People Get Ready0000People Get Ready
88
 
2Safe
The Boxer0000The Boxer
70
 
2Safe
Hero0000Hero
42
 
2Safe
Nearer My God To Thee *0000Nearer My God To Thee *
38
 
2Safe
Don't Stop0000Don't Stop
35
 
4Bottom Group
Knockin' On Heaven's Door *0000Knockin' On Heaven's Door *
34
 
4Bottom Group
(Don't Fear) The Reaper *0000(Don't Fear) The Reaper *
33
 
7Eliminated

There were no mysterious disappearances from Camp Should-A-Been today, though not for lack of trying. See, we figured that if there really was some sort of murderous judge-eating monster living in the woods, the best way to coax it into the open would be to use some live bait. Hence, we tied Kara DioGuardi to a tree. Nine hours later, nothing had come near her except for this one axe-wielding guy in a hockey mask. She easily dispatched him by critiqueing his heavy breathing patterns at length until he died of boredom.

A suffocating pall of despair and doom was still blanketing the campgrounds by sunset, which pretty crappily set the mood for Inspirational Songs Night. Crystal Bowersox provided the highlight yet again with an 88 for "People Get Ready". Lee DeWyze was next with an imaginative, soulful arrangement of "The Boxer". After those two, however, came a slew of Idol Gives Back performances that only made us hope that they saved the receipts. Our three holdovers didn't exactly brighten anyone's spirits with their song choices. Meanwhile, Casey James became the first of the original Final Four to hit the Bottom Three this summer. His 35 on "Don't Stop" might have proved, you'll pardon the expression, fatal, except for the fact that Lilly Scott and Katelyn Epperly were both six full steps down their decay curves. Epperly had been a few points behind from the start, and so we presented her with the 7th-Place Trophy – a bronzed cowbell – and bid her adieu. Then, needless to say, we all ran to our cabins and double-locked the doors. Um, does anyone else have a funny feeling that there was something important we forgot to do....?

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Final 6 (Shania Twain)

Performance Web Rating Result
Don't0000Don't
77
 
2Safe
No One Needs To Know0000No One Needs To Know
48
 
2Safe
It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing0000It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing
41
 
2Safe
You're Still The One0000You're Still The One
40
 
4Bottom Group
Forever And For Always *0000Forever And For Always *
34
 
4Bottom Group
Man! I Feel Like A Woman *0000Man! I Feel Like A Woman *
31
 
7Eliminated

"Please, Mr. Fuller! Let's just declare Crystal Bowersox the winner and close Camp Should-A-Been early this summer. This place is scarier than Sanjaya Malakar at an opera house!

"We still haven't had any customers, none of the past contestants or Ryan or the band showed up, and now the rest of our staff is disappearing one by one. First it was Viktor, Rocco and Serge, then Randy, then Ellen, and now Kara! Hmm? Well, we accidentally left her tied to a tree on Friday night. Uh, it's a long story, sir, but she was still there on Saturday morning, trying to teach the goldfinches how to dirty it up a bit and make a song their own. But by lunchtime, she was gone, too! It looked as though something had gnawed through the ropes in a rage and carted her off. Um, yes sir, we've ruled out the goldfinches.

"This has to be an inside job, sir, by someone who has intimate knowledge of the campgrounds and our daily schedule. We're down to just six people left: Simon and the five remaining finalists. We said goodbye to Lilly Scott tonight after a pretty weak Shania Twain episode. Casey James was the only one to break 50 – yes, sir, even Bowersox took a big tumble with this theme, and Lee DeWyze actually wound up in the Bottom Three.

"What?! But, but...Mr. Fuller, please! Yes, we all understand that Dancing With The Stars beat you in the ratings a couple times this year. Yes, sir, we know how much you hate that show and that the last thing 19E needs is more embarrassments. But sir, the safety of your top four finishers this year are at stake! Huh? Well, okay, maybe they are a rather expendable lot, but what about the life of your dear friend Simon?! Um, Simon Cowell, sir......C-o-w-e.....yes sir, him. Oh. Well, uh, we'll be sure to pass that message along. But sir, if nothing else, what about the lives of us, your loyal CSAB head counselors for all these years? Uh, Mr. Fuller, hello...? Hello...?"

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Final 5 (Frank Sinatra)

Performance Web Rating Result
The Way You Look Tonight0000The Way You Look Tonight
70
 
2Safe
That's Life0000That's Life
62
 
2Safe
Summer Wind0000Summer Wind
58
 
2Safe
These Boots Are Made For Walking *0000These Boots Are Made For Walking *
31
 
4Bottom Group
Blue Skies0000Blue Skies
22
 
7Eliminated

There they were. Six numbers, carved into the front door of the Camp Should-A-Been craft shack sometime in the middle of the night. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. What could they mean? Was it some sort of mystical combination that unlocked a portal into an alternate universe? Coefficients in a secret mathematical equation that forecast the end of humanity? Last Friday's Powerball numbers? We were truly and completely stumped. (Look, even though we're parodying it, none of us ever watched LOST, okay?!)

A quick check of Wikipedia suggested that the sequence might represent people who were "Candidates" for something or other. So we checked our database to see what past Idol contestants had those ID numbers. They turned out to be Rodesia Eaves, Justinn Waddell, Tenia Taylor, Alexandra Bachelier, Mark Scott and Jacob John Smalley: six one-and-done semifinalists who combined for a godawful average approval rating of 15. Whatever this crew are candidates for, we sure as heck hope it's not singing-related.

At least the numbers weren't a prediction of tonight's approval ratings. The Season Niners were usually pretty decent when given good material to work with, and the Frank Sinatra songbook is about as good as it gets. Michael Lynche, Lee DeWyze, and Crystal Bowersox didn't produce any showstoppers, but all turned in very nice performances. Didi Benami understandably assumed that she was toast, so she chose a song from an alternate Sinatra universe that seemed appropriate for the occasion. But, surprise! – The Outlaw Casey James got strung up by "Blue Skies", and his 22 rating was well below even Benami's projected 31. James thus rode off into the sunset on the Horse Of Shame, leaving us with a final four of Benami, Bowersox, DeWyze, and Lynche.

Much later that night, while scouring our database for clues to the meaning of those numbers, we discovered a startlingly similar sequence: 4, 13, 15, 17, 26, 44. Those were the collective approval ratings of two past American Idol finalists. We're pretty sure this means that if AJ Gil and Leah LaBelle ever got married and had a baby, the world would end. We just thought you'd like to know.

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Final 4 (Songs From The Movies)

Performance Web Rating Result
Falling Slowly0000Falling SlowlyDuet performance
76
 
8Group performance
I'm Alright0000I'm Alright
58
 
2Safe
You're The One That I Want *0000You're The One That I Want *Duet performance
48
 
8Group performance
Will You Be There0000Will You Be There
31
 
2Safe
I Have Nothing *0000I Have Nothing *
28
 
7Eliminated
Kiss From A Rose0000Kiss From A Rose
21
 
2Safe

Okay, here's what we've learned today. Back in the Sixties, the land on where Camp Should-A-Been now sits was the site of a top secret United Nations research facility. Exactly what went on there remains classified, but rumor is that it involved attempting to alter the space-time continuum – branching realities, time travel, preventing the birth of Vanilla Ice, that sort of stuff. After a horrific accident in which six scientists were briefly transported into a future in which FIFA ruled the earth and Paris Hilton was quintuplets, the facility was razed and the grounds declared unfit for human occupation. We guess that explains why we were able to get it so cheaply, and it probably has some deep, cosmic connection to our meatloaf, too.

Anyway, it appears that one side effect of the failed initiative was to trigger ridiculously dumb storylines to mask the fact that this season was duller than dirt occasional leaps into a parallel universe. We now believe that our missing contestants, counselors, judges and fans are...elsewhere. Someplace where the past six months were very different, and likely far better, that what we Idolphiles lived through. But where could that strange and mystical world be?

What's that? You want us to quit the blabbering and reveal the results of the Final Four replay? Hmph. Well, if you must know, it had its ups and downs. Once again, the highlight of the night was Lee DeWyze's and Crystal Bowersox's memorable duet on "Falling Slowly." The departure of Casey James meant that Michael Lynche and Didi Benami were paired on the other duet. While it wasn't bad, it was a clear step down from "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman", not to mention that no one really wanted to see Big Mike in leather tights. Though DeWyze had the lowest-rated solo performance, it was Benami who went home based on cumulative points.

Oh yeah, sometime in the past two days, Simon Cowell disappeared too. We didn't notice right away because, let's face it, he had mentally checked out of this season eons ago.

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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

Performance Web Rating Result
Maybe I'm Amazed0000Maybe I'm Amazed
76
 
2Safe
Hallelujah0000Hallelujah
71
 
2Safe
Simple Man0000Simple Man
70
 
2Safe
Unchained Melody *0000Unchained Melody *
51
 
7Eliminated
Waiting On The World To Change *0000Waiting On The World To Change *
46
 
7Eliminated
Come To My Window0000Come To My Window
45
 
2Safe

Two more days, we kept telling ourselves. Then we could crown a winner, lock the gates, and get the heck out of Twilight Zone: The Musical. Nothing particularly bloodcurdling happened overnight or this afternoon, and so we arrived at the Final Three episode with our nerves more or less under control.

The night itself went surprisingly smoothly. Crystal Bowersox's "Maybe I'm Amazed" was the highest-rated performance, though she stumbled a bit on her Melissa Etheridge cover. Lee DeWyze's two songs finished within a point of one another, but they took very different routes of getting there: "Simple Man" (σ=17) was generally liked by everyone, while "Hallelujah" (σ=28) was a love-it-or-hate-it affair, even sans choir. The odd man out was Michael Lynche, whose first two projected ratings were certainly decent enough, but which still left him well back in third place. Say what you will about Season Nine, but if nothing else, America seems to have gotten the Final Two right: our Finale would be a DeWyze-vs.-Bowersox rematch.

Afterwards, Lynche hugged his two compatriots, and we fully expected him to hop on the Bus Of Shame and drive home to his wife and newborn daughter. Instead, with a wink and a "See ya soon!", Big Mike unaccountably strode off in the opposite direction, towards Lake Trainwreck. Uh, did he plan to swim back to St. Petersburg?

We followed him at a distance, across the beach, past the pier, and down a narrow, twisty trail that we'd not noticed before. We soon lost him in the darkness and were about to turn back when the stillness of the forest was pierced by an ear-splitting metallic CLANK!  Huddling quickly, and displaying our usual calm professionalism in the face of danger, we voted 3-to-0 to run screaming like banshees out of the woods and try swimming to Florida ourselves. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn somewhere and soon found ourselves in a small canopied clearing illuminated by an eerie green glow.

Directly ahead of us was...yeah, you guessed it...a hatch.

On its side was a numeric keypad. With trembling fingers, we typed in the mysterious sequence of numbers from the other day: 4-8-15-16-23-42. Nothing happened. Then, one of us spotted a nearby coin slot labeled "Insert $2.25 to open the hatch, you dimwits. No pennies." Let's see, we've got a quarter, a few nickels, a Canadian loonie...crap, does anyone know the exchange rate?...and we stuffed it all into the slot.

Slowly, the hatch rose to reveal a long, dank, dimly-lit tunnel. From wherever it led, we heard the faintest sound of music followed by applause. At first we weren't going to investigate, but then we realized that if we turned back, the ending of this year's Camp Should-A-Been would be us sitting in a lonely ampitheater tomorrow night watching Bowersox clean DeWyze's clock in the Finale. Which would kind of suck, really. Plus, we'd be out $2.25 for nothing. And so, gathering up all our courage, we climbed into the hatch and made our way down the tunnel....

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Finale

Performance Web Rating Result
Up To The Mountain0000Up To The Mountain
88
 
2Safe
Me and Bobby McGee0000Me and Bobby McGeeReprise performance
71
 
2Safe
Black Velvet0000Black Velvet
57
 
2Safe
The Boxer0000The BoxerReprise performance
54
 
7Eliminated
Beautiful Day0000Beautiful Day
45
 
7Eliminated
Everybody Hurts0000Everybody Hurts
26
 
7Eliminated

The tunnel seemed to go on forever, twisting and turning and rising and falling. Finally, though, we reached its end where a rusty iron ladder led up to another hatch. Pushing it open, we cautiously climbed out into the night air.

We found ourselves in a similar forest clearing. From somewhere through the trees, we could hear music, laughter, and the celebratory clinking of glasses. But before we could even say a word, a huge, ominous figure emerged from the brush. He approached us slowly, saying nothing, his face completely hidden in the shadows. As he came nearer, we saw that he was wearing a fire red shirt, charcoal pinstriped pants, and enough bling to pay down most of the national debt.

"So you have come to join us," he intoned in a deep, resonant voice.

We were too petrified to run. "Is...is this purgatory?" one of us stammered.

"Purgatory?! Dang, Bergeron was right. They don't grow 'em too bright on the other side of the lake." He stepped into the full moon's light to reveal his smiling face. It was...

...EMMITT SMITH??!!

"Welcome to Camp Hoofin'-It, folks," said the legendary NFL star warmly as he motioned us to follow him. "We just wrapped up our tenth Dancing With The Stars replay, and it was a lot of fun. Buzz Aldrin got sent home first this time, on the Rocket of Ignominy, followed by that flaky Kate chick in tenth place. Good thing, too, because it was getting pretty expensive to feed all eight of her kids.

"'Course, everyone realized going in that no one was going to beat Nicole and Derek, kind of like how you guys knew all along that Crystal Bowersox would win. But, we still offered up enough talent and entertainment to sell out the theater every night. How's your attendance been this summer?

"Um...steady," we muttered.

Not long later, we stepped out of the forest and into the CHI campground. A huge, lavish, star-studded party was in full swing. Smith bumped fists with Mark Cuban, exchanged 'I love you' signs with Marlee Matlin, and got a big hug from Misty May-Treanor. Then, he spotted Drew Lachey and Shawn Johnson waving to him from near the ice sculpture garden.

"Whoa, I gotta run," he told us. "It's time to take the new Champions' Photo. Listen, help yourselves to the buffet and the open bar, and have a great time. I think you'll find a lot of familiar faces here. If there's anything special you need, just give me a holler."

Our junior editor eyed the snow crabs and corn-on-the-cob hungrily, while our senior editors began an earnest debate as to whether hugs from Misty May-Treanor qualified as 'something special we needed.' Wow, what an amazing scene. There's Apolo Ohno, and Lil' Kim, and Kathy Ireland, and Laila Ali, and Carrie Underwood, and Jerry Rice, and...

...Wait. Rewind. There's Carrie WHO???

Holy crap, there's Casey James chatting with Billy Ray Cyrus!. And...and that's Kara and Randy with Bruno Tonioli! Brooke White, Kris Allen and Jewel are having an acoustic guitar jam on the beach! Rocco and Serge are hitting on Jennie Garth and Scary Spice! Nikki McKibbin is singing karaoke with Kelly Osbourne! Er, well, at least that last part reminds us of home.

Ryan! Ryan Seacrest! You mean to tell us everyone's been hanging out here all summer? Are you all out of your freaking MINDS?! If Simon Fuller ever found out about this, he'd....he'd...

(*gulp*)

MR. FULLER!!! But you...that is, we, uh...sir, what on earth are you doing here??!

He gave us a sheepish, slightly tipsy shrug. "They had a better season than we did, mates," he explained.

Well...yeah, we suppose they did. Why fret over it? A few minutes later, while we were filling our dinner plates with roast turkey and veggies, Lee DeWyze strolled by and tossed us the keys to Camp Should-A-Been. "Crystal won," he said matter-of-factly. "We locked up behind us. Hey, do you guys know where they're giving away the free iPhones?"

And so ends another strange summer for your loyal CSAB team. No, it wasn't the best of years for American Idol. No, there wasn't really a whole lot of suspense or drama in our replay. No, we're still not sure who the heck Joe Muñoz is. But, just like in baseball, we can always look forward to next season. Let's raise a toast to our replay champion Crystal Bowersox and the rest of the AI9 crew: may they enjoy long, happy, and fulfilling careers with their music. And, here's hoping AI10 will bring fresher, more engaging, and better-attended days for Idol, both on our TV screens next spring and at Camp Should-A-Been next summer. Now if you'll excuse us, there's one final question we need to have answered before we wrap up. Namely, can we get seconds on the turkey?

—   The End   —

Camp Should-A-Been
Closed For The Winter

Thanks For Visiting!

Reopening Summer, 2011.

Camp Should-A-Been – Season Nine Results

  1. Crystal Bowersox
  2. Lee DeWyze
  3. Michael Lynche
  4. Didi Benami
  5. Casey James
  6. Lilly Scott
  7. Katelyn Epperly
  8. Alex Lambert
  9. Aaron Kelly
  10. Siobhan Magnus
  11. Michelle Delamor
  12. Joe Muñoz

-- The staff of WNTS.com

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