We've whittled it down to the Top 12, and it's not really pretty! Well, some of it's pretty, but some of it is uglier than a shaved goat's left nut. Once again, it's that time of the season where there are people you love and people you hate, and that's why it's beautiful that we get to kill the batteries on our cordless phones and vote to our heart's content, pretending like it matters. And then replacing our cordless phones after throwing them up against the wall in frustration when we can't get through to vote for Chris Sligh.
I don't know what your local affiliates run before American Idol
, but Fox 13 in Memphis runs Girlfriends
, and if there's a stupider show, I don't know what it is. I feel like I could benefit more morally, emotionally, and spiritually from watching ritual suicide.
Two full hours tonight. Priscilla and I are settling in for a long winter's sit-down. I'm sure they're going to call it an extravaganza at some point, rather than a self-indulgent suck-fest.
And now, a recap of the Idol Winners: Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, and Chris Daughtry. Two of these things are not like the others. Sorry Ruben and Taylor...you guys weren't winner enough, apparently.
Seacrest points out the new stage, which looks exactly like the old stage from last year. At least it's not the horrific in-the-round stage that they have for the initial rounds. It's time for the live band, the live audience, and the unshaven and unwashed Top 12. Color me largely underwhelmed. I see they've had the makeovers already. They look nice, but they're still sort of the same. And then the judges three. I want a job like Simon's where I can be a superstar and still wear a t-shirt to work everyday. Randy reckons it's the girls who rule this year. Paula thinks the guys are about to blow up. Meanwhile, Corey Clark sits at home munching popcorn and crying while watching The Bridges of Madison County
, thinking about what might have been. Back at the Idol stage, though, Simon is noncommital about anything, including the meaning of life.
Tonight, Diana Ross will be the anachronistic ancient one to try to make current pop stars out of this rabble. You know... for when disco FINALLY returns, right? Now that they're finished enbalming her, she comes out and talks to the Idols. Diana Ross is brought to you tonight by Hasbro, or rather, most of her is manufactured by them. Seriously, folks, there's less plastic at MasterCard headquarters. Brandon Rogers
is appropriately awed and slobbers all over himself while working with Diana. She sits there with her lips pursed, trying not to pop a stitch from her latest facelift. Brandon, on the other hand, is so cool, he farts ice cubes. He's going to sing "You Can't Hurry Love," which would never be my first pick for him, but someone had to do it. He's a bit flat on it, and it's lacking that...zip that this song really needs. He kind of works up into it, and his voice completely cracks about halfway through the first verse. That was rough. I wonder if he's not got the opportunity to show his range, or if he's just not able to. It sort of sounds like his voice may be hurting. Priscilla enjoyed his hip shake, and I think I may be a little jealous. Unfortunately, because I like Brandon, I still have to root for him, even though this is sub-par performance. Randy felt that he was boring, uninteresting, but that he finished strong. Brandon's really got to up his game. Paula looks sauced, but she's fairly articulate, so maybe she just stayed up too late in Brandon's room last night. She sort of says something, but nothing, and I honestly have no clue whether she liked it or not. Simon didn't like it, the sycophantic crowd boos like they always have, and Simon continues to bemoan the lack of star quality that was very evident tonight. Brandon, buddy, you're better than this.
Now it's time to find out how you can ask a question to an Idol. The answer is simple. Be me. I do it all the time. However, some gimpy fan wants Melinda to tell them what the hardest part of this competition is. Seriously, you get ONE question to ask, and that's IT??? That's the lamest, most over-used question ever. I wonder what could be hard about performing with your career on the line every night in front of millions of people who are ALL judging you? Nothing that I can think of.
Back to the show, though, I love Melinda Doolittle
. I want to adopt her. I want to shrink her, put her on a shelf, and listen to her every day. Melinda chooses the song "Home" from the musical The Wiz
. Nice choice. And of course, she sounds resplendent. I'd like to go ahead and skip the rest of the competition. Are you guys cool with that? Let's just go ahead, award it to her now, and that way she can start recording the album that I am going to doubtless play until the CD player in my car starts emitting green smoke in protest. (Not that my CD player will hate the CD. It will be upset because its hardware won't support the multiple times that I will play her disc.) This is just a fabulous, electrifying performance. Priscilla had to stop eating chocolate to watch Melinda, and believe me, coming between Priscilla and chocolate is about like coming between lightning and a lightning rod. Randy loved it. Paula is crying her eyes out, and I think she's sold on the fact that Melinda is a star. Either that or somebody stole the key to her liquor cabinet. Melinda cries too, and Paula blubbers, wipes snot on Simon's T-shirt, and Simon goes on to tell Melinda that she's a young Gladys Knight. I need for this girl to win, you guys. Get your phones crunk already! If she does not win this competition, I am holding all of you personally responsible.
The next person to meet the Crypt Keeper is Chris Sligh
. He compares his hair to hers, which is cool, because he actually grew his, while she bought hers at the Mini-Mart on the way into town. Chris initially has difficulty connecting with his song, which might be okay, because Lionel Richie sort of had the same problem. I like him with the contacts in, but I don't really like him with this style of music. He's much better with Half Past Forever, which you guys should all look into, if you haven't already. By the middle of the song, he's singing it rather well, even if it's not even close to the original version. I don't know that this song is supposed to be sped up like this, but I can't imagine the hell it would be to have him belt it out ballad-style. He's sounding a bit Scott Savol-ish onstage tonight, and I don't mean on Scott's good nights. Not completely sold on this performance, but this isn't what Chris was meant to do. Randy didn't quite like the Coldplay version that Chris did and calls it a complete mess. I wish I could disagree. Paula thought he shouldn't have mucked up the arrangement that way. She's not crying...let's leave it at that. They're worried that he doesn't fit into anything contemporary, which is odd because that isn't a contemporary song he was singing. Have him sing a Daughtry song, and then see how contemporary he sounds. Or just pop in a Half Past Forever CD. Simon thinks it was awful, the audience agrees by not booing, and the best advice Simon could give is for him to put his glasses back on. I think Chris has the juice to get through another week, but man the guys have been wretched tonight!
One person leaves us live tomorrow. The rest leave dead. Har!Gina Glocksen
is the big beneficiary from the makeovers. She looks fabulous. Diana wants her to "pronounciate." Decades in the music industry, and the best you can get is a raggedy old hag who doesn't even remember the correct terminology? How can you teach it, when you don't even know what the word is? It's ENUNCIATE, Diana. Can I have a successful career now, too? Gina, how about you get out there and just do your thing? That thing tonight is "Love Child." Hey, Gina, where'd this low voice come from? Hot! It's not bad when she goes into the upper register either. It gets a little screamy, but not too much. She has the energy for sure, and that's one thing about Gina...she never fails to bring the zip into a pitchy performance. Doesn't hurt that she has fans that are two seasons old either. Priscilla bounces and claps for this performance. So, it's two for two for the ladies tonight. Nice performance. Randy liked other performances better, and he didn't feel excitement tonight. Paula and Gina don't really appear to like each other. Are you guys picking up on the cat-fight vibes between them? (And no, I'm not referring to Gina's band, Catfight, either.) Simon thinks it was slightly forgettable. And again, the judges were at a different show. Not that it matters. A guy is going home tomorrow. We still heart you, Gina!
If the past few weeks are any indicator, Sanjaya Malakar
should keep the streak alive for the guys. Disco should be right in Sanjaya's wheelhouse. Unfortunately, Sanjaya's strong suit only consists of one a half notes on days when he really takes care of his voice. Diana, who I am becoming more and more fearful is going to sprout live snakes from her head and turn me to stone, beams and pimps up Sanjaya, possibly in the hopes of getting him to sing at her funeral tonight. He's going to sing the gayest version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" there ever was. I don't know if you could call this "singing," though. He's overpowered by the horns in the band, and he's sort of half-whispering it. It's boring, bland, and he's just sort of half-heartedly doing something. Priscilla is hiding her head, muttering "make it stop," and eyeing the sword in the corner of our bedroom. If she commits ritual seppuku
, can I sue Idol? Sanjaya really wasn't fun, in the same sense that colon cancer is kind of a bummer. Randy is speechless at how bad this sucks. He's had a butt full of the guys tonight, and he goes so far as to say the song was unlistenable. The best he could pull out of his sizable rectum (darn near killed 'em) is that Sanjaya's hair is kinda cute, were he a five year old girl. Paula whips out the pep talk, which means that she thought he wasn't worth a flip tonight. Simon feels that Diana Ross will probably cry at this performance, and not in the same way she cries when the Fountain of Youth Plastic Surgery Emporium lets her cash in her Frequent Facelift Miles. The audience likes Sanjaya, because not liking Sanjaya makes you feel like a big ol' meanie who doesn't love the Lord, so they boo appropriately. I'm not exactly sure what would motivate you to vote for him, other than sheer masochism, but if you feel it, do it. Just don't let me find out you did. Sanjaya falls into the teenage trap and sasses Simon back, which makes him about as adorable as a canker sore. Ryan baits him with the "do you feel like you should be here next week," to which Sanjaya answers in the affirmative, which ups his adorability factor to somewhere around toxic waste scum.
It's time for Haley Scarnato
. The HaleyBot looks great, but her voice is nails-on-a-chalkboard annoying when she talks. The question du jour for Haley is "what is it like singing on Idol?" Again...who asks these lame-tard questions??? Why doesn't anyone ask something like, Haley, if a sharp wind blew up that barely-there dress, would it make you finally sing with something that resembled emotion? Diana picks up immediately on Haley's lack of stage presence. She wrote this song about Marvin Gaye's death, and the best inspiration that Haley can come up with is her fiance. I hope he at least plays football or something. So not impressed with Haley's lack of depth. Haley gets to be the first girl to suck tonight. She so obviously can't feel the song. She has a sort of nice voice, but I feel like I'm being sung to buy my pedestal fan. The sad thing is that her confused, pained, want-to-feel-an-actual-feeling-but-can't look completely wrecks her otherwise good looks. Hey there, flat notes. Knew you were coming. Flat performer, flat notes. It kind of follows. After this song, I'm ready to go have my emotions surgically removed too. I wonder if Haley can recommend a place. Randy isn't having it, and he dogs her for forgetting the words and being pitchy, which is Randy for "dawg, you'll never work in this town again." Paula doesn't like it. She emphasizes that forgetting the words is inexcusable at this level of the competition. She also wrecks Haley on the pitch. Simon zooms in to the rescue because he thinks Haley is hot, and he continues to believe that he can make a star with T&A alone. Okay, so you can, but I don't like any of them, and neither does anybody else for any appreciable length of time. Haley allows some emotions to crack through her skin, in the form of tears, and she'll be calling her surgeon to go in and remove those later. I don't really care if she stays or goes, because she's not as actively objectionable as some others. Haley freely admits that this was her worst ever performance, which kind of buys her some favor points in my eyes, but I really don't think I'm going to buy a ticket to the Idol tour to see this chick.
I really cannot wait to see Blades of Glory
Seacrest interviews an old lady who he claims to be related to. Please...everyone knows he wasn't born to a human family. Lightning struck at some Barbie factory somewhere, toxic mutagen spilled on a Ken doll, and thus was born Ryan Seacrest. He's not related to anyone. With all the jobs he has, he wouldn't have time to be.Phil Stacey
is doing his best to look like the retarded child of Daughtry. When he wears that black shirt, he sort of looks like a Q-Tip. Some white guys just shouldn't be bald, and Phil is one of them. It makes you wonder if he missed his child's birth for chemotherapy rather than auditioning for Idol. He does an okay version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," even though he's not worthy of washing Marvin Gaye's jockstrap. Still, it's better than any of the guys have done tonight. Is it obvious that I really don't want to say this? I can't really find too much wrong with his vocals tonight. I just don't like him. Priscilla, on the other hand, was impressed with none of it, and offers to get me another drink, just so she can be in another room. Randy thought he was boring, but that the vocals were spot-on. Paula didn't get excited either, but she essentially says the same thing that Randy JUST said. Every now and then, I just sit here and wonder if what Paula says is scripted Mad Lib style, with various random nouns and verbs inserted that sort of sound like they could go together, but probably shouldn't. Simon disagrees with Paula, based on the principle that he must ALWAYS disagree with Paula no matter what. Simon thinks it wasn't outstanding or awful, either one. That about sums it up. I don't want to vote for him, but I wouldn't vote against him either.
Are you ready for Lakisha Jones
? In a word, no. She's gonna sing "God Bless the Child," and I hope that God is blessing hers while she's out here hob-knobbing with dead celebrities like Diana Ross and the ghost of Antonella Barba. I don't know if this was the best lyric for her to sing when she had to know that her detractors were going to jump all over this one. Now, for her look... Have you ever seen those round showers with the big white curtain on a ring around the top? That's sort of what Lakisha looks like tonight. A big ol' shower curtain. Priscilla reminds me, in all her petite beauty, that if you're a big girl, you should NEVER wear white. I guess. I've got the wrong chromosome configuration to know these sorts of rules. The only fashion rule that I know is something like "I before E, except after Labor Day"... or something like that. I remember the last time a Top 10 contestant did this song. It was Mikalah Gordon. Didn't turn out so well for her. Priscilla finds this song so forgettable, she's forgotten it already. Unfortunately, it's still ringing in my ears. There's no denying that Lakisha has a powerful voice, but she keeps choosing these dreadful songs. Toward the end of the song, she really does slide into her element though, and finishes okay, but it's sort of a mixed bag altogehter. I will give Lakisha props for not being so blasted ghetto tonight. Randy thinks she was sensational, and the show continues to sell its product. Paula blabbers something. I forget what. Simon thinks she's "got it." (For some reason, I hear echoes of Gedeon McKinney, repeating "It!" over and over again.) What do you guys think...Top 2 showdown between Lakisha and Melinda? Or will Lakisha be that surprise elimination when we get down to the Top Six? Either way, no doubt she will survive this week. Again, I have to give her credit tonight for being a bit more demure, but I want some JAM with the next performance!Blake Lewis
gets the Coke Cam pimp spot. He gets another lame question: "what music do you listen to?" Well, that's slightly better. Blake spouts off a litany of bands that none of us are cool enough to have heard before. I recognized a few names, but Blake is obviously on a different plane than the rest of us mere mortals. Blake choose "You Keep Me Hanging On," and I wonder if he'll do the techno Kim Wilde version of it. Either way, I'm all set to like him. He's obviously been shopping in Seacrest's closet again. That must be difficult digging in there, especially since you have to climb over Ryan while you're in there. (End thinly veiled "Ryan Is Gay" joke.) I'm sort of underwhelmed by this performance. It lacks that spirit and spark that I've come to expect from Blake, and it makes me wonder if maybe Mr. Lewis has been style-over-substance from the get-go. You take away his beat-box, his vocal tricks, and you kind of get a plain Jane performance like this. I love his energy, and Blake is, as always the consummate performer, but vocally it ain't there tonight. Randy is torn, and he encourages Blake NOT to make it his own. Next week, he will critique Blake for not making it his own. You watch. Paula goes on a long spiel about how Blake could make that a hit too, and she actually says "you're a real good singer, too." Simon didn't buy it at all, and he correctly points out that we would turn the dial if we heard that on the radio. Simon acknowledges that Blake has the fan base to carry him through, and that's about all we need. Next!
Man, the talent pool has been heavily chlorinated this year!
We're back, and Paula is sitting on Ryan's lap, and with the way she's moving, I'd be surprised if even Ryan wasn't gettin' a little stirrin' goin' on.
Time for Fantasia-lite. Diana tries to make Stephanie Edwards
sexy. Diana remembers what sexy was like, back when Kennedy was president and hot pants were fashionable. Stephanie does have a pure voice. I just don't know if she has that "dynamite factor" that will blow me away in the long term. Granted, I like listening to her now, but will I be motivated three years from now to pick up her CD out of the 99 cent bin at the thrift store? Vocally, she's really good tonight, and she really turns it out with the last half of the song. Will we remember enough about her to vote her through to the next round? Randy nails her for forgetting the lyrics, and again that's really inexcusable at this level of the competition. Paula again criticizes Stephanie's technique, encourages her to strive together, and altogether forgets that if Stephanie farted, it would still be a better vocal than anything that Paula had on any of her albums. Simon thought she chose the wrong song and exhorts the Steph to make an impact. She is so not the golden child this year, and that kind of makes me want to see her do better. I kind of wonder if Stephanie might not be this year's Vonzell, a marginal performer who turned it all around and became a superstar by the end of the competition.Chris Richardson
was alleged on some website I was reading today to be a "heart throb." Something's throbbing, but it ain't my heart. It's more like a huge pain in my rear that comes from listening to him. Seriously, which backwater redneck town would Chris ever be a heart throb in? Priscilla describes his walk onto the stage as the "gayest walk I've ever seen. Ryan would be proud." He's going to sing "The Boss" tonight. One interesting fact about Chris: he can't open his eyes any wider than a one millimeter slit. Or at least it appears that way. It makes him look permanently stoned. His nasal pitch and chicken-esque dance should make the ladies in the trailer park swoon, as usual. His voice is undoubtedly the worst of any in this competition, save for Sanjaya. Is this song ever going to end? Priscilla has her ears plugged. Oh thank goodness, it's over. We're saved! Randy thinks he over-did it, in the sense that he sprayed the judges with snot after singing that hard through his nasal cavity. Paula thinks he nailed it, compares him to Dan Hartman (which is apt, considering he is currently decomposing) and obviously has picked out the next contestant she wants to bang her like a Japanese gong. Simon found it dreadful, and he really is the only judge with brains tonight.
I don't care what you say, Emily Deschanel is STILL not hot.
Time for Jordin Sparks
, who sounds like an angel in the back room there with Die-ana. I love how sweet she is. I don't for a moment imagine her to be the winner of this competition, but I'm hoping for great things for her. She should form a duo with Lisa Tucker after the tour this year. Jordin sits uncomfortably on the riser, but her voice is silky smooth. I want this CD, and I want it right now. Two words for her voice tonight: GORGE - OUS! This sort of reminds me of Ayla Brown's performance of "Reflection" last year. Spot on, and perfect in almost every way. This is getting really close to Melinda quality. Could you imagine a top three with Jordin, Lakisha, and Melinda in it? I wouldn't mind it so much. I loved this performance. It makes me very happy, and it makes Priscilla clap and bounce. Randy is impressed with her, and he echoes my sentiment about the Three Girl Race. Paula is glowing and she does her best to shove Jordin up into her womb and give birth to her right there. Simon found it gooey, but he thought it was a killer vocal and that she just might be in the finals. Jordin, you go!
The lines are almost open, and my wife Priscilla is looking fine over there...fine enough that I don't watch the recap of people who 90 percent sucked and 10 percent were the best I've heard on Idol since Carrie Underwood. So...um, since my sweetie is so cute and stuff...um...I might not have time to vote for Idol this time. You guys get your phones and wear it out for me, okay? Vote right, or else I will send a large Italian named Vinny over to your house and have him leave a pair of Paul Kim's underwear in your bed.
If there is any justice in the world, Sanjaya or Haley will go home. My money's on Mr. Malakar.