American Idol recap: Born Again (Except For One, Who Died)

Everyone except Jermaine Jones parties like it's the year they were born
Ep. 19 | Aired Mar 14, 2012

EAR-OGRAPHY Does Jessica Sanchez REALLY love to hear percussion? I'm not convinced.

Fox

I get way too excited for American Idol's "birth year songs" theme week and never remember that the song selections usually end up being a bit lame. I'm always like, "Ooh, time to revisit the '90s. What's up? Seriously though who is going to sing 'What's Up' by the 4 Non Blondes? HELLO."

This year I somehow deluded myself into thinking DeAndre Brackensick might surprise us with "Sweet Dreams" a.k.a. "The Other Sweet Dreams" by La Bouche. But the theme is called A Narrow Selection of Songs From the Year You Were Born, not Random Dance Hits Blasting Out of Annie's Car in High School.

ANYWAY, the big story of last night's Top 12 performance show was that season 11's "gentle giant" Jermaine Jones got disqualified for concealing a criminal record in an extremely uncomfortable on-camera confrontation/ratings stunt with executive producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe. You can read all about it here. I'd rather just get to the performances at this point, because isn't that what Idol's all about?

"YOU ARE HOOKED, LIVE, ON AMERICAN IDOL," Ryan Seacrest reminded us 20 minutes in -- still an hour before Jermaine's segment. So Idol is all about 1) performances; 2) crime and punishment; 3) suggesting to its audience that they are drug addicts for reality TV.

20 minutes later: "YOU ARE LOCKED IN, LIVE, THIS WEEK, ON AMERICAN IDOL."

Ugh. Ryan. Producers. Give it a rest! It's getting embarrassing. We've all got our issues, but we're not that dumb.

Phillip Phillips had a lot of health problems this week, just like he did as a baby. The longtime kidney stone sufferer apparently had surgery last Thursday. So wait, the mentoring session for the next week, the results show, and kidney surgeries all happen on Idol in the same day? No wonder I am HOOKED and LOCKED IN. What a crazy place! For his cover of the Black Crows' "Hard to Handle" (originally by Otis Redding), Phillip stayed in one place sans guitar, as he was still in pain.

The good news is that he was still able to bounce in place with more energy than many of his peers, plus, when he gets really into what he's singing, Phillip always looks like he's in pain anyway. So it worked! I loved the painpassion he exhibited on that final "Oh baby" with his eyes closed most of all. Jennifer Lopez raved about what a natural performer Phillip is. "It's in every cell of your body -- not to get too medical on you right now." Whoa, hold up, Dr. J! Reel in that doc-speak a little, okay? I'm getting overwhelmed.

Actually, Phillip's dad, Phillip Phillips, may have had Dr. Judge beat when he told us that one of his son's health problems was that "three to four inches of his bowels were just dead." I think that's what he said, at least. I was concentrating pretty hard on how close pop's tremendously friendly beard came to matching his yellow baseball cap.

NEXT: Jessica Swaggernaut and Heejun Han are right there waiting for you

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