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Tara Ariano

S13.E40: Two Finalists Perform

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In Part 1 of the two-part Season 13 finale, Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene perform at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles.

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According to Wikipedia the themes will be Per Blanken's Choice, Simon Fuller's Choice, and the Winner's Single. That sucks. The contestants don't even get to choose one of their own songs or choose one to reprise. 

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According to Wikipedia the themes will be Per Blanken's Choice, Simon Fuller's Choice, and the Winner's Single. That sucks. The contestants don't even get to choose one of their own songs or choose one to reprise. 

I know we just got "Judge's Choice" and "that weasel Randy's choice" in the Top Three show, but did they really think two producers (one of them totally unknown to America) having the choices in the actual finale was a good thing?  Especially when the single is essentially another version of "Producer's choice".

 

It should have been "Producer's choice" (Per and Simon can negotiate, okay?), Contestant's Choice and "new Crap Single".

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Good lord. Well I think that lays to rest any hope that the new producers would be any more in touch with the incredible shrinking audience than the old.

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According to Wikipedia the themes will be Per Blanken's Choice, Simon Fuller's Choice, and the Winner's Single. That sucks. The contestants don't even get to choose one of their own songs or choose one to reprise. 

Does it even matter?  One will shout at us the other will garble the words and all three songs will sound the same.

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According to MJs the themes are actually Best Performance of the Season chosen by the contestants, their singles, and Simon Fuller's Choice. 

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I don't know if HCJ was under orders to do the jidges poll after the second round or if he had run out of things to say.  I'm guessing the latter.

 

Part of it is the venue, part of it is the recentness, but the do-overs were just not as great.  The sound mix for BIA was not as spot on as it was the first time.  The arrangement was identical, it just did not translate to this episode.  Dang it all.

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I think it's a shame they're forcing them to do reprises, AGAIN. It sealed the deal for me when David Cook refused to do a reprise and did something new instead, but he had the choice- these 2 didn't,I guess.

 

I have to assume Caleb will win, his Dream On was really awesome. Sounds like his voice was almost completely blown by the end, though. Jena did fine, and I'm voting for her, but she didn't have any moments; and Cook aside, moments usually win.

 

Heh at Keith trying to throw shade on the Voice/Grimmie with his claim that Jena was the 'leader' in the battle of Elvis covers.

 

 

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I picked up the phone for the first time all year - Caleb is good but not current.  Jena could be on the radio with the right songs.

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Round 1:

 

Jena- The band was drowning her out for most of the song. From what I could hear she didn't sound that good. Her energy was good though. A decent song pick for her.

 

Caleb- Loved the song choice, even if it's not the most current song out there. Glad there were no Gokey moments with this one. He nailed it!

 

Caleb won the first round for me, easily

 

Round 2:

 

Jena- I think she should have reprised a song from earlier in the season instead of one she did 2 weeks ago (ditto for Caleb) but it was good. I loved the "river" part. Something really does happen when she's at the piano. I loved the reference to the "you inspired someone else to do it" (aka Christina Grimmie from The Voice), it was so funny how they wouldn't actually say who it was

 

Caleb- I agree the emotion seemed to be lacking but otherwise good

 

I'd say Round 2 was a tie but Jena had the edge

 

Round 3:

 

Jena- I was worried about how this song would sound live but it actually sounded near identical to the studio version. It's not anything super special but it's current and fits Jena's style

 

Caleb- Is it just me or did it sound like he lowered the key from the original? Regardless I think I liked how it sounded that way better than the studio version. Considering his vocal cord hemmorage from last week, he really improved a lot this week

 

Round 3 is a tie for me

 

I have to say though Jena is an idiot for going first. She basically just handed the win to Caleb by doing that. I hope Caleb wins but I think either one has a good chance of winning. Both were overall pretty solid. This finale wasn't super exciting as it was in past seasons and it feels like it flew by but the performances were competent. 

 

I also liked the Breakaway singout.

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I would like Caleb to win, just for the sheer joy it will bring his family.  

Did anyone catch how nicely Harry held his hand out for JLO when they were getting to the stairs on their walk in at the beginning, and she smoothly took it and smiled and then Keith tried to hold his hand out as an afterthought but she didn't even respond? 

I thought the judges played it cool tonight and just let it be what it was and didn't try to sway it.  They got the outcome the show wanted.  Randy was hardly there so they had to give him the numbers to show just for some air time for him.  I wasn't blown away by either one of these singers tonight.  In actuality, I thought the end singout was hilarious as both Caleb and Jena sounded so bad.  So so bad.  

The other singers being carted out was nice though, and I did notice that the two girls who were eliminated early on were playing it up as much as they could.  

I don't know about tomorrow.  Do I care?  I used to like this show.  Now I just don't know.  

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Glad there were no Gokey moments with this one. He nailed it!

 

Yeah, I spent the entire song going "don't Gokey it" lol.

 

Sorry, I just can't with Jena. The pronunciation just drives me crazy and I can't listen to more than a verse.

 

I don't think either one is the next Kelly or Carrie, but Caleb could certainly have a Daughtery-like career.

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Yeah, I spent the entire song going "don't Gokey it" lol.

 

Sorry, I just can't with Jena. The pronunciation just drives me crazy and I can't listen to more than a verse.

 

I don't think either one is the next Kelly or Carrie, but Caleb could certainly have a Daughtery-like career.

Yeah, but it could just as easily turn into a Constantstink Maroulis career.

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Caleb's single sounds like what I listened to in high school or college. I don't hear current, I hear tribute band. Jena *mumble* sounds *mumble* slightly *mumble* more *mumble* current, but I can't stand her mumbling sound. Can I vote for HCJ's continued wearing of a suit instead?

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God, that was boring. I at least thought one or both of them would put on a show. 

 

"Dog Days Are Over" was in theory a good pick for Jena, because she's shown an ability to whip up enthusiasm with barn-burner songs, and the Florence woman has similar affected pronunciation. It surprised me that Jena didn't do much with it. It was middle-of-the-road karaoke, plus she had those short-winded mishaps in the middle. Caleb offered no surprises in "Dream On," but at least his was top-notch karaoke.  

 

It was disappointing to get more reprises right after we got "Facebook-chosen reprises" last week. Reprises don't need to be retreads. Elvis Costello sometimes does "Spinning Songbook" concerts, where audience members come up and spin a Wheel of Fortune-type wheel with the name of a different EC song on every part of the wheel, and if the same song gets landed on twice, he and the band do a totally different arrangement the second time. But reprises are usually retreads on AI, and these were. "Can't Help Falling In Love With You' was, in my opinion, the only good performance of the night. It was approximately as good as the first time she did it, and she's worked out some nice choices. "Maybe I'm Amazed" was a good song for Caleb the first time, but this time it seemed to me to plod. It needed to come up by a tempo of about 5 beats per measure, and his phrasing was stiff. Also, last time around he got credit for changing the ending -- nah. That's essentially the concert ending McCartney sings on Wings Over America and elsewhere. Beyond that, it's a standard-issue way of bringing back to home base a song that fades out on the studio recording.   

 

I have nothing to say about either original song, or the performances. Caleb was a little better. I never need to hear either song again. They're in the vast wasteland between "No Boundaries" and the heights of "Home."   

 

The winner tonight? I'm tempted to say the judges for their deft synthetic enthusiasm. Would they pay to see either contestant, I wonder?

 

If you put a gun to my head and made me vote for one or the other? Jena. Caleb's lane is narrower, and while he took two rounds, she had the only performance that made me wake up a little.  

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I  just want to know why in the hell amazon doesn't have their songs yet. Ugh! I put in over 400 votes for Caleb, but I won't be upset if it goes the other way. I like them both.

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I still think both finalists should be fronting bands instead of being solo artists. Last night's performances were a prime example of this.

 

I guess enunciation and Jena mix like oil and water. And let's not even talk about that moribund lower register. Can you imagine her singing The National Anthem at a sporting event?

 

"Aaand thurr rrrchts rrud glurrre! Thurrr bmmss brrrstinng innnerr!"

 

Although Caleb is not considered "current," one of his better performances was his version of Kings of Leon's "Family Tree." Last I checked, KOL is a "current" band. He needs to find a band like a KOL or an Imagine Dragons to be successful.

Edited by Nedsdag
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I'm sure after the show both of them will find band members. They don't necessarily have to name themselves as a band. Both could still be known by their names but have a full band when they play live- plenty of artists do this.

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I actually mentioned KoL once as the only alternative for Caleb, but I still doubt Caleb would make it in that genre considering he comes from Idol. I'm surprised so many are comparing him to Daughtry, when they sound nothing alike. Daughtry can pull off pop/rock, Caleb is Southern rock and could never go in the same vein.

 

What an awful finale, down in the bin with season 10. The only performance I cared for was Jena's "CHFIL," but even that wasn't as good as the first time. I'm guessing their voices are in tatters after rehearsing and performing weekly for the show, then the hometown concert. As far as the new songs, I prefer "We Are One," just because--like Caleb himself--the other song sounded like something from the '70s.

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Well, a storm wiped out my power for a while, and I only got to see a little of the show.  Maybe I'm the lucky one, sounds like I didn't miss much. 

I thought it was just me, but two of my fave competition shows - AI and TAR - this season had finalists I dislike and I have no interest in the results.  But reading here and there, I'm not alone in this.  I just don't care.  Jena is annoying, Caleb is in the wrong decade.  Neither is original or intriguing, I would never buy a CD of either of them, and wouldn't go to the AI concert if it was free. 

 

But Harry in a suit? Yeah, I'll vote for that!  

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So apparently singing in an unknown language is the in thing. Have never heard Ariana Grande sing until DWTS tonight, and now I see why neither the judges or TPTB care that Jena is apparently copying her. And possibly other young singers. Ugh.

 

Speaking of ugh, WTH was with Jena's expressions after Caleb was imitating her. I couldn't decide if it was her bitch face, or she was stoned. She defintely forgot the camera was on her. Not a good look.

 

I hope Caleb wins, but am not invested enough (or at all) to really care.

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So apparently singing in an unknown language is the in thing. Have never heard Ariana Grande sing until DWTS tonight, and now I see why neither the judges or TPTB care that Jena is apparently copying her. And possibly other young singers. Ugh.

 

Speaking of ugh, WTH was with Jena's expressions after Caleb was imitating her. I couldn't decide if it was her bitch face, or she was stoned. She defintely forgot the camera was on her. Not a good look.

 

I hope Caleb wins, but am not invested enough (or at all) to really care.

THIS. It seemed like she didn't know the camera was on, but IDK. There was  bitchface imo. GLUE STACKS OPP!

 

"Thonk yoe soo motch America!" made my dinner come up a little.

 

"Oy cahn telp foiling in loaf....weeth..." and then I changed the channel  for a bit.

 

I thought Dream On was pretty good. I don't care if someone is "current" if they have a lower register and I can understand the lyrics.  So there's that. BAH.

 

Too bad AI apparently does not have the budget to find decent coronation songs with a passable hook. Yikes.

 

And why was Jehna wearing Beeltejuice pants?

MK was not there (due to illness per a tweet). Wow, she must be super sick to miss the finale (?) But (per the tweet) MK will still be on tour (or on TORE! per Jehna.) Anyway, I didn't see her and wondered where she was. Frankly I was thinking that she wasn't that into being there in the first place, so I wasn't really shocked when I didn't see her among the other castoffs..

Edited by ari333

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I forgot this was on last night until I was flipping through the tv guide just before 8pm.  I wouldn't have missed much--it really was dull. 

 

Caleb's attempt at the high notes in the end of Dream On was the best I've heard from live performer.  I have to reluctantly admit that I liked Jena's original song better than his.  My husband thinks that Caleb will win hands down, but I'm not so sure.  I'd prefer a Caleb win (and it pains me to say that because of his PR blunders) because I've listened to his original songs on You Tube and think they're pretty good.  Like others, Jena's diction bugs me. 

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Wow, it's so freeing not to care who wins!  There have been past years where I wasn't invested in either of the finalists but still had a preference toward one or the other, but this year I truly don't care because I don't like either one of them.  Besides her pronunciation, Jena's voice just isn't pleasant to my ear, and besides being a bit of a douchebag, Caleb doesn't offer anything that isn't done better by other rockers.  So whoo hoo!  I don't have to sweat out tonight's results!

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How in the world do they disinfect a microphone?  Or does each contestant get their own?  

 

Hadn't really thought about this until I saw this:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSK_8-ByvyA    ~0:40  

 

​I wish no one ill, but am totally uninvested in either of these finalists.  Except for a passing interest in following their career trajectory, will not follow them or purchase their music.  And I am capable of both *see Adam Lambert section in my iTunes*

 

 

Usernamefatigue wrote:  So apparently singing in an unknown language is the in thing. Have never heard Ariana Grande sing until DWTS tonight, and now I see why neither the judges or TPTB care that Jena is apparently copying her. And possibly other young singers. Ugh.

 

So I've read all the comments on Jena's unintelligible marble garble, and agreed with it all.  However, apparently this incomprehensible language has a precedent:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnBjZXJ7QiU
(skip to ~1:18)

Whatever planet this patois is from has sent us not one, but two emissaries!

Edited by Lisin · Reason: fixed embed
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Oh but Sparkling Beth, this is supposed to be a very difficult decision for you!! The judges just don't know how you are going to decide!! So very, very, hard.

 

This always makes me laugh. People are voting because they have a favourite. It isn't like they HAVE to vote. It isn't like viewers at home are being paid 15 million to give an opinion. Jennifer in particular doesn't seem to grasp that concept. I have never voted for an American Idol contestant - don't even know if I can as a Canadian. And don't care enough to find out. But if I could, I would not have wasted my time for either Caleb or Jena.   

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I agree with the notion that Caleb and Jena would both do better fronting bands. I will say, though, that I disagree with the comment that Caleb is not current. If you're talking about mainstream pop music, then no. But if you're talking about modern hard rock, which seems to be where Caleb would fit best, bluesy bands are absolutely a current trend. Black Stone Cherry, The Sword, Kyng, California Breed, Monster Truck--all are up and coming hard rock bands (well, BSC have been around for a bit) that are totally blues influenced. Going that direction wouldn't make Caleb a megastar, but it sure would secure him a good living as a professional musician in a band.

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The judges just don't know how you are going to decide!! So very, very, hard.

I don't envy America when it comes to these two. Me either judges, but I think it's for a very different reason.
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I felt like Caleb was throwing the competition. He didn't have any really stellar moments, he didn't seem to be going all out. The new song they gave him was awful, of course, and I can't imagine it on the radio unless we have a time machine to send it back to 1987. That part's not his fault, but I did get the impression he was phoning it in intentionally.

 

I did think his performance of "Maybe I'm Amazed" was better than the first time, but I listened to it with my eyes closed. My husband, who watched it, completely agreed with the judges.

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Just my impression, but I don't think Caleb's ego would let him phone it in on purpose. Also, a Jehna win would be insufferable on TORE! and everywhere else on god's green earth... more so than she all ready is (imo.)

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I felt like Caleb was throwing the competition. He didn't have any really stellar moments, he didn't seem to be going all out. The new song they gave him was awful, of course, and I can't imagine it on the radio unless we have a time machine to send it back to 1987. That part's not his fault, but I did get the impression he was phoning it in intentionally.

 

 

The only contestant who had any "moments" this season was let go last week.

 

The performances didn't feel phoned in as much as they felt old hat - that's the problem with having them re-do the same songs.

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I think that being in that larger venue may have overwhelmed them both a little.  I was underwhelmed with everything Jena, but Caleb was rather subdued too.  I wonder if he was still sick. Several times he looked ill and once was rubbing his belly.

 

 Still, Caleb slayed Dream On. I hope it was enough to carry him through.  He deserves something for keeping the entire season from being a snooze fest. 

 

I don't think many voters vote for a certain contestant based on how marketable their music might be. It's a basic reaction if you like the performer.  It's not about how much music they will sell or how current their music is.  IMO, it's more basic and boils down to likability and entertainment value.  That's a personal preference.  

 

Caleb has never been in the bottom this season, right?  I wonder if that tells us anything.  

 

Harry must have been satisfied with Caleb. He told him he should sleep well last night.  

 

Regardless of the outcome, I wish them both the best and hope they both have bright futures.  

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I never thought about bands like Black Stone Cherry and Monster Truck - Caleb would do that type of music well, and it is current. Then why did he consistently do stuff from the eighties, and even seventies, which made me believe that was all he was good at? And for a current song they choose Demons for him, which he totally ruined.

This season just made me sad. Not only do I dislike the two finalists, but I never really got invested in any of the contestants. I voted for Jessica or Alex because they had some very good performances, and because they were the best of a mediocre bunch IMO, but I really wasn't passionate about any of them. Last year I was all about Angie Miller, in other years I was fanatic about Adam Lambert and David Cook, and every year there was at least one contestant I could latch on to. This year nobody really grabbed me. I've gone to the tour for years - even had to go out of town to do it - and this year you couldn't pay me to go. Just sad.

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I think that being in that larger venue may have overwhelmed them both a little.  I was underwhelmed with everything Jena, but Caleb was rather subdued too.  I wonder if he was still sick. Several times he looked ill and once was rubbing his belly.

 

 Still, Caleb slayed Dream On. I hope it was enough to carry him through.  He deserves something for keeping the entire season from being a snooze fest. 

 

I don't think many voters vote for a certain contestant based on how marketable their music might be. It's a basic reaction if you like the performer.  It's not about how much music they will sell or how current their music is.  IMO, it's more basic and boils down to likability and entertainment value.  That's a personal preference.  

 

Caleb has never been in the bottom this season, right?  I wonder if that tells us anything.  

 

Harry must have been satisfied with Caleb. He told him he should sleep well last night.  

 

Regardless of the outcome, I wish them both the best and hope they both have bright futures.  

I've actually read some comments that some people like Caleb but will vote for Jena because they think she will be better for the franchise. Some others noted though they don't believe any winner, even if they were Kelly Clarkson level, can bring the show back to even a fraction of what it used to be. As much as I want Caleb to win and like him better, I wouldn't mind if Jena won since I do agree she is a better artist for the franchise, young and current. She won't be able to bring it back to its glory days or anything but if Caleb wins, it won't exactly help people view Idol as a young, modern, hip show. Out of the 2, Jena is the better "face" for Idol.

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Out of the 2, Jena is the better "face" for Idol.

With their ratings literally tanking, this line was LOL-provoking.

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The only contestant who had any "moments" this season was let go last week.

 

Agreed!  I don't think this was a year that will go down in the Idol annuls as being particularly memorable anyway but  Alex was, to my mind, by far the better artist who provided the most interesting musical moments this season.  Idol PTB seems to have wanted a loud (albeit, at least for one, unintelligible) finale so here we have it.  He can't dial it back with going flat and she can't formulate proper words.  Oh joy!

 

I think I'll watch who gets voted off the island tonight as I think both of these should have had their torches snuffed a while ago and I just.don't.care.

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A dozen impressions (which for a finale, with 9 songs, means overall it bored the shit out of me)

 

1.) It's clear who the Show Stylists want to win.  Them letting Jena walk out in those pants shows a ton of Meatloaf Jr. Favortism.
2.) What is wrong with Simon Fuller's face?
3.) Jena's Dog Days would have been more impressive.... if I hadn't seen the version of it Pentatonix did a few years ago on The Sing Off.
4.) It's interesting that Harry, of all the judges, was the one who didn't strategically nitpick at Jena after her Dog Days performance.  I see that as him being less likely to follow the Producer's memo, since actually Jena's breath control issues were barely noticable on that.
5.) After a whole season of looking, to be honest, drop dead, I wonder why J. Lo's makeup and stylist people screwed up on THIS show. I mean she didn't look BAD, she just looked kinda... flat.
6.) Dream On was the perfect show song pick manipulation to give Caleb his glory notes, wasn't it?
7.) All this Elvis within a few weeks, both here and on The Voice, may dull it's repeat effectiveness on the audience a bit.
8.) I have to admit, Meatloaf Jr. doing McCartney is one of the few signs of true originality from him.  Not that he did ANYTHING new with the arrangement (does he EVER?), but at least it's his vocals in a slightly different wheelhouse than usual.
9.) Okay, Harry doing the "who's winning" thing is making me rethink my notion that he isn't willing to be a Producer stooge.
10.) Wow, Jena got SCREWED with that single.  That's SHIT. (and it's not her fault, there's just nothing to work with there).  Harry's got wax in his ears if he thinks that's a good song.
11.) Not that Caleb's single is any good either.  But at least under the guise of Classic Rock it can better hide that.  Overall, this continues the Idol tradition of summoning Total Doo Doo as winner's singles.
12.) Breakaway was truly, epically awful.  Wow.  What an insult to go out on.  It's a good thing they sing tomorrow, so this isn't truly the last impression of this group.


Whatever planet this patois is from has sent us not one, but two emissaries!

Ariana Grande is a tragedy, for sure, because her vocal tone and range are actually exceptional, but hampered by the most ridiculously bad enunciation. It's like taking a sports car and putting a putt putt 4 cylinder engine in it with her. It's truly a crime (that and her disgustingly bad dancing and tragic hair).

Edited by Kromm

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Them letting Jena walk out in those pants shows a ton of Meatloaf Jr. Favortism.

 

I thought those were the same pants Robin Thicke wore when he and Miley Cyrus were twerking!

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