Welcome back to Randy Jackson -- former judge, dawg they've kept under the stage this whole time, and the loudest blazer-wearer in the hit non-group Randy Jackson and the Spiritual Advisers. He's got a lot going on, but not enough to miss this.
It's Rush Week! And you thought they'd run out of themes. No "Tom Sawyer" or "Subdivisions" to be found, though -- settle down, progressive rock fans, all two of you reading. Malaya Watson and Geddy Lee do have the same hair, but this wasn't about the band. No, "Randy's Workshop" (like Santa's but instead of toys it produces colorful beaded pins) modeled itself after the Greek system's rush week with multiple stations manned by Chris Daughtry and *Major Hunk Alert* Adam Lambert, Idol's vocal coaches, stylists, hair and makeup team, NON-DENOMINATIONAL SPIRITUAL ADVISERS (for chrissakes, just say therapists!), and get this: "movement coaches." It's a lot! I hope everyone got to funnel a beer, but more likely than not, Jessica Meuse had to do that alone.
Top 15 Girls night was pretty brutal, and not just performance-wise -- five of 15 singers didn't even get to go onstage. What's more, Idol didn't come up with a new name for this week's holding cell! Ryan Seacrest called it The Chamber, same as in auditions. You can't just replicate The Chamber (even though they did in eight cities). Call it something else! Pit of Despair. Anxiety Alley. Hell Shaft. Space Mountain. The Dumpster Outside Randy's Workshop. Anything!
So it's goodbye to Jillian Jensen, Andrina Brogden, Brandy Neelly, Austin Wolfe, and Kenzie Hall. Kenzie even had a new first name picked out: "Kenz." Are you sure, Kenz? Do you really think this is the best move? I couldn't help but wonder. But it didn't even matter. We'll never get to meet Kenz.
Personally I'm most upset about Austin; I just remember her voice as one of the prettiest and most ethereal, and I still like to think there's more to this show than sparkly lipstick and misguided Miley Cyrus makeovers. Brandy, too. Hell, they were all good. Cut the judges' comments in half and there'd be room for everyone to sing live. The whole night was manic, stressful, and cruel.
Oh. Ben Briley won America's SuperVote over Neco Starr. Wasn't this supposed to be some sort of big event? They spent five seconds on it near the end of the show with one more girl to be called. And if you thought Neco's lack of farewell fanfare was harsh, you must have hated the zero-sum dismissal of the five unpicked girls! They weren't even mentioned! Couldn't a stage manager at least have asked one of MK Nobilette's moms to hold a sign with their names on it between her teeth? No? Nothing? Ugh. Okay.
Tragedy Grab of the Night:
The fallen faces of Andrina, Kenz, and Austin in the front row as soon as Ryan said the final singer possessed a huge personality to match her huge voice.
NEXT PAGE: Let's get to the shaky, adrenaline-drenched performances