Welcome to Las Vegas, where the semi final sudden death rounds of American Idol were conducted some time in the recent past before a live studio audience.  This included Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine, who turned his baseball cap backwards for the occasion.  He was there to be the tiebreaker, exactly like Joe Biden in the U.S. Senate.  And like Biden, his vote was not needed. 

Nicki is officially the hipper version of Simon, Keith made some salient points, Mariah is like the Paula but with actual singing bona fides, and Randy just shouted stuff at people, making the occasional valid point in between.  (Did you catch that his twitter handle is @Yo?  Not sure if this makes me want to laugh or cry, honestly.) I also kinda missed Carson Daly telling me each song title before the girls performed.  Is Ryan too good for this little bit of hosting duty at this stage of the game?

There were definitely contestants who were pure canon fodder, being that we’d never heard of them before, nor will we again.  At least not on Idol.  Those included Jenny Beth Willis (um, who?  The only girl in cowboy boots versus 6 inch high heels, that’s who!), Brandy Hotard, (pretty but way too pageant-y and disconnected from everything she did onstage) and Kamaria Ousley (a background vocalist by trade who might be better to stay that way after butchering Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All”).

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