Camp Should-A-Been - Season Nine
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!!!
Sunday, June 20th, 2010
Top 24 Girls (Billboard Charts)
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)
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)
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
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)
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)
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)
"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,
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)
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
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!)
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)
"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
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
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)
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.
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)
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
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)
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
Sunday, July 4th, 2010
Final 6 (Shania Twain)
"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
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)
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
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)
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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...
"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...
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 —
Closed For The Winter
Thanks For Visiting!
Reopening Summer, 2011.
Camp Should-A-Been – Season Nine Results
- Crystal Bowersox
- Lee DeWyze
- Michael Lynche
- Didi Benami
- Casey James
- Lilly Scott
- Katelyn Epperly
- Alex Lambert
- Aaron Kelly
- Siobhan Magnus
- Michelle Delamor
- Joe Muñoz
-- The staff of WNTS.com