Camp Should-A-Been - Season Seven
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!
Sunday, October 5th, 2008
Top 24 (Guys)
Welcome to the
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)
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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
Sunday, October 12th, 2008
Final 12 (Lennon/McCartney)
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
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)
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)
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
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)
Few American songwriters are more prolific than
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)
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)
"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?
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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.
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.
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
"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
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 —
Closed For The Winter
Thank you for your patronage!!
Reopening Summer, 2009.
Camp Should-A-Been – Season Seven Results
- David Cook
- Syesha Mercado
- Michael Johns
- David Hernandez
- Jason Castro
- Brooke White
- Alaina Whitaker
- Carly Smithson
- Asia'h Epperson
- Alexandréa Lushington
- Robbie Carrico
- David Archuleta
-- The staff of WNTS.com