Dramatic Voiceover Man starts the show in his usual fashion, and as the camera pans across the remaining five finalists, I notice that Kimberley and Trenyce looked relaxed and have smiles on their faces. On the other hand, Ruben, Josh, and Clay looked scared to death. Hmmm…could this be some sort of weird foreshadowing? Could Ruben and Clay both be in the Bottom 3 this week? Surely, one of them won't be sent home this week, right? Wait…I am getting ahead of myself here. I have a whole hour to go before I find out the answers to those questions. Yes, that's right. It's another one-hour results show. With only five finalists left and an hour to kill, we are going to see more filler than the stuff that matters tonight. Oh well, there is nothing any of us can do about it now, so let's get on with the show.
Ryan runs out on stage looking très casual tonight in jeans, sneakers, and an untucked, long-sleeved shirt. Wow…not only do Ryan and Clay have the same hairstyle, they are also starting to dress alike! OK, OK…Ryan's shirt is a rugby shirt, but you know what I mean. Ryan talks a bit about all the signs that are in the audience and how it's getting "out of control". I have to agree with him on this one. One says, "My (heart)'s Aiken for Clay." There is one that says, "205 is #1". There is even a girl holding one up that says, "I (heart) Corey". Huh? Corey? Um, sweetheart, he was kicked off the show weeks ago, so I don't know why you brought that sign with you. Anyway, we quickly say hello to the judges and then we get a brief glimpse of the finalists. It seems like things are a little rushed at this point, and I do not understand why. I mean, the show is a whole hour tonight, so why rush things. Let's hear Randy say "dawg" a couple of times. Let's see if Paula can keep her eyes open more than at half-mast. Let's watch Simon act bored and wish he was anywhere but where he is. You know what? On second thought, let's not. Let's get on with the show.
We see the normal "Scenes From Last Night" video montage, and in the voiceover, Ryan talks about how the girls started weak but came on strong in the second round. He tells us how Ruben opened up the show and got the place on its feet with his rendition of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", and how Clay ended the evening on a perfect note with "Solitaire". In between, Ryan reminds us that the only person who really did not have a good night was Josh. We hear Simon tell him that his first song was "dreary" and how his two performances "weren't good enough to stay in the competition." We then launch into a standard group performance, but this one is a bit different. Instead of just singing one song, the group does a medley of songs from the 1960's (See how it ties back to last night's theme?). Everyone gets a solo, and Ruben gets his during the group's first song, "Uptight". Kimberley gets her chance when she performs part of "To Sir With Love". Josh has his moment in the spotlight when he sings an excerpt from "Young Girl" (And, for what it's worth, he sounds better in that one little bit than he did all of last night. I just wish he would quit that weird pointing/beckoning thing he does with his finger.). Trenyce tells us about that "Chain Of Fools", and Clay talks about "Goin' Out Of My Head" (and when he sings, "I think I'm goin' out of my head…over you", I swear I can almost hear millions of girls just swoon because they just know Clay is talking about them. Whatever.) The group ends on an up note as they run out into the audience for part of "Workin' My Way Back To You" before finishing the song back on stage. Overall, it was a very enjoyable number. As we go to break, Ryan reminds us that "we'll be together for the next hour". I know, Ryan. There is no need to remind me.
We come back from the commercial break, and I am not even going to wonder if it is time for the results. We all know it isn't. Ryan tells us that "an old friend of the show" is here to accompany the group on a song. Who is that "old friend", you ask? Why it's composer Burt Bacharach! After talking to Ryan for a couple of minutes (during which time he says, "There's a better set of voices this year."), he sits down at the piano, and Ryan tells us that the group is going to sing "What The World Needs Now". He also says, "We've brought back 4 familiar faces to join our finalists." Hmm…intriguing, Ryan. Anyway, Clay starts the number off, and he barely gets three words out before the audience goes crazy. One by one, the other finalists join him on stage, but then—what's this?—more people come out after the final five have gathered around the piano. Remember those "familiar faces" Ryan referred to? Well, he was talking about Kim Caldwell, Carmen, Julia, and Rickey. They are back tonight to sing with the final five, and the group sounds really good together. The song is on the new "Love Songs" CD, and, after hearing tonight's performance, I think I will be adding it to my CD collection soon. Anyway, when the group is done, Ryan asks Burt if he "believes in magic". Burt says, "I always have", and that leads us into the night's first video skit/clip/whatever. It is a forgettable clip done to the tune of "Do You Believe In Magic?", and it involves Ruben, Josh, and Clay folding and unfolding a big Ford banner to reveal first a Ford Focus, and then a Ford Escape. Quite honestly, the only thing memorable about the clip was the way Clay sashays out of the Escape at the end before ending up in front of it. If you ask me, a bigger (and better) magic trick would have been to get rid of Carmen's yodeling vibrato, but I digress. Anyway, it's time for another commercial break.
When we come back from the break, Ryan starts talking about Tamyra Gray, one of last season's finalists. It turns out that not only is Tamyra a dynamite singer, but she is also a fine actress and is currently appearing on the FOX show "Boston Public". We get to see another video clip, this time it's of the finalists visiting the BP set and meeting Tamyra and the rest of the show's cast. Tamyra tells the group to be open to all possibilities "because anything can happen" because of being on the show. We then see scenes of the finalists watching the taping of an episode. The highlight of the whole thing is a scene where Ruben has stepped in for Chi McBride, the actor who plays the school's principal. As he and actress Jeri Ryan are walking down the hall of the school talking, McBride comes up behind them and says, "What's this? You know, this is what happens when you're in show business. One minute you're a star, and the next minute, they replace you with Sinbad!"
We come back to the stage, and Ryan tells us that another finalist from last season is "in da house", and that it is none other than last year's runner-up, Justin "The Human Chia Pet" Guarini! Justin comes out on stage, and he looks exactly the same as he did last season. Of course, there is really not much you can do when you have a big loofah sponge for hair, so I don't know how different I was thinking he might look. Anyway, Justin tells us that his album will be "dropping" June 10 and that he is working with Babyface, among others. It turns out Kelly Clarkson is in tonight's audience, and Ryan takes the opportunity to ask Justin if there is anything going on between him and Kelly. Justin swears that they are "just good friends, but nobody believes us!", and then Ryan asks him what he is going to sing tonight. Justin tells Ryan he is going to perform the song "I Saw Your Face", a song on his upcoming album. Ryan leaves the stage, and Justin launches into the song. Frankly, I wasn't overwhelmed by the song and found it kind of "blah". It is an R&B ballad, and Justin spends half of the song saying "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhhh". Like I said, the song didn't exactly blow me away, so I'm going to have to hear a lot more of the album first before I decide whether or not I'm going to buy it. Justin finishes his song, and, yes, you guessed it…time for another commercial break.
We come back from the break, and, for those of you who tuned in late and are worried you missed the results, never fear. We are a good 40 minutes into the show, and they still have not told us the results. It's still not quite time for them; we've got to see another video clip first. This one is of the finalists going to the X-Men 2 premiere in Hollywood. It is pretty standard fare: the finalists chat with celebrities, and the celebrities tell the finalists how much they enjoy the show blah blah blah. The scariest thing about the clip for me was to see Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) with shoulder-length hair, but that is another story.
Once that video clip is over, we find Ryan onstage in front of the five remaining finalists. Yes! Finally! It is time for the results! Now, since there are only five people left in the competition, Ryan tells us that he is only going to pull out the bottom two this week. So, let's get to it. Kimberley, you might not have started as well as you usually do, but your second song was a knockout. America has voted, and…you are safe this week. Clay, you got rave reviews on both your songs. Neil Sedaka even said he would "kill" to write and produce your first CD. America has voted, and…you are safe this week. Trenyce, your first song reminded Simon of a drag show, but the other judges liked it, and they all liked your second number. America has voted, and…you are in the bottom two this week. Trenyce smiles, gets up, and heads over to center stage. That leaves us with Ruben and Josh. One of you is safe, and the other is in the bottom two. We will start with Ruben. Ruben, all of the judges loved your performances last night. Josh, you got mixed reviews at best. Ruben, you have never been in the bottom group before. Josh, you were there just last week. Ruben, you are…in the bottom two this week. WHAT? Someone pass me the smelling salts, because I cannot believe what I just heard! I am not the only one completely stunned by this, as the audience erupts into boos, and we see Simon look at Paula dumbfounded and say, "What?" Josh immediately buries his face in his hands and shakes his head in disbelief. I am with you on that one, Josh. There is no way that Ruben should be in the bottom two this week. Josh, you should not only be in the bottom two this week, but I think you should also be the one to go home. You are damn lucky, Josh. You must have someone watching over you.
As Ruben walks over to join Trenyce, Ryan asks the judges what they think about this turn of events. Randy says, "This is crazy." The camera cuts back to the couch, where we see that Josh's face is still buried in his hands as he shakes his head in disbelief. Paula calls it "absolutely ridiculous". Simon says, "America, you need to judge this as a singing competition." Once again, we cut to Josh, who still has his head hanging low and is shaking it in disbelief. Boy, you aren't the only one who's shocked. Simon is absolutely right. This is a singing competition, and when it comes to singing, Ruben can sing circles around Josh (and, based on last night's performances, so can Trenyce). This almost rivals Nikki McKibbin outlasting Tamyra Gray in terms of shock value. I just don't get it. Josh must be this year's version of Nikki. Anyway, we go to another commercial, and when we come back, Ryan tells us that Ruben and Trenyce are both going to sing one more time. Trenyce goes first, and she launches into "Proud Mary", her first song from last night. Once again, she does a really good job; she even has the other finalists over there on the couch dancing. When Trenyce finishes, Ruben walks over, gives her a kiss on the cheek, and says, "Excellent…excellent." It is now Ruben's turn, and he sings "Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do", his second song from last night (and, I think, the better of his two performances). He, of course, has everyone on his or her feet, and look…awww, Paula and Randy are dancing. The camera cuts to Ruben for a second, and then we go back to the judges where…awww, look…Randy and Simon are dancing? Yep, it's true. Anyway, when Ruben's done, Paula even throws a yellow rose to him from the audience (Oh, for the love of God…). Now, as much as I like Trenyce—and I do think she was excellent last night—I do not see how she can beat Ruben. Of course, I do not think Ruben should be in the bottom two to begin with (Josh, you are damn lucky…), so who knows what will happen at this point. Anyway, Ryan announces the results, and the person going home tonight is…Trenyce. She accepts the results with class and dignity, and she thanks the judges for the opportunity and all the people who voted for her as well. Ryan asks her to sing one more time, and she reprises her other song from last night, "Love Will Keep Us Together". As she sings, the end credits start to roll, and another show ends.
Trenyce, as the saying goes, "you've come a long way, baby". You made it into the finals as Paula's wildcard choice, and you finished in the Top 5. You ended your time on the show with two outstanding performances this week; I just think that it may have been a case of "too little, too late". You have a great personality and lots of style, and I think you will go far in the business. Congratulations.
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