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Somebody is going home tonight and by the end of the night, Idol will have its Top 6. Seacrust says it's going to be a difficult elimination but I disagree; elimination shows are the best thing about American Idol! He also says 50 something million votes were cast last night but, of course, ratings were down again compared to last season – which was arguably the crappiest season of Idol ever – so that only means that more tweener girls have cellphones now and Scotty will never be eliminated. Sadly, before we can get to the good stuff, we need to sit through some serious filler. David Cook is here – remember him? - and Katy Perry and Kanye West have kindly agreed to pre-tape a segment for our entertainment. Can't wait.
After some inane banter with the judges during which JLo is given an opportunity to reminisce about Casey's kiss for the ages, Steven threatens to swear again on national television and Randy just sits there like the useless lump he is. It's clear that these judges have set a course for stupid and annoying and will not deviate. You know when Seacrust seems like the most sensible person in the room, things have gone to crazy town.
Filler sandwich with a side of stalker art
Speaking of crazy town, Idol is hardcore into splinter group performances now. Instead of getting all the singing monkeys to croon all at once, thereby wasting time in a most inefficient manner, they've come up with the great idea of splitting them up into two or more groups thereby doubling the time wasting factor. We've even had duets on elimination nights! I mean... Genius! The only one really getting the short end of the stick here are recappers. Damn you, Idol!
So this first bit of fluff is courtesy of Jacob, Stefano, Haley and Lauren, otherwise known as the the group Idol would dearly love to get rid of as soon as possible. Why else would they saddle them with singing “Hey Soul Sister”? When I hear this song, all I can think about are those insipid lyrics about some dude's gross untrimmed chest and something about being in love with his soul sister. Hirsute and vaguely incestuous! No wonder it was a big hit, but what can the Idol cupcakes do with this 8th wonder of the world? Not much although Stefano seems a bit too giddy to sing about that untrimmed chest and not terribly in tune either, but then, what else is new... Fast forward.
Good news! We're already 13 minutes into the show. The weekly time wasting piece crap known as the Ford Music Video – this one set to “What Kind Of World Do You Want” - eats up another 2 minutes so things are flying here in recap land and I'm sure we're going to get some results now. Oh, wait... Never mind. Forgot about the special triplets, Casey, Scotty and James, who must also be given a chance to mangle a song before we can get to the fun stuff. That unfortunate song is Coldplay's “Viva La Vida” which has not previously committed any crimes warranting an Idol cover. The three musketeers – even Seacrust calls them that - are taking turns trying to out-pitchy each other like their life depended on it. I declare James the winner of the off key contest. Dude sure knows how to inflict ear pain. He is also wearing a jacket with the Union Jack on the sleeve and his ass kerchief is dangling between his legs. Thanks for the bi-weekly dose of douche display, dude!
Before we can hear some results Jacob gets a chance to say he's not a diva, Scotty rambles on about a cupcake named after him in his home town and Casey shows off a hideous piece of fan “art”. It's a painting of an upright bass propped up against a brick wall. The bass is decorated with Casey's disembodied head floating above the disembodied head of what appears to be a golden retriever. Why not an Irish setter or a Persian cat? These are questions that will forever haunt me in my nightmares. Although, inexplicably, there is an image of a sleeping rainbow cat floating right at the top of the canvas – yes, it appears to be an oil painting. I think even Dali would have a problem wrapping his mind around this one although Seacrust thinks the dog must symbolize Randy. There is no explanation for the rainbow cat.
Not quite the last goodbye
Results time! Casey and Jacob are asked to stand up by the couches. The judges loved Casey and JLo suffered no ill effects from being smooched on national television. We've had people stripping in audition rounds, we've had Constantine giving the sleaze eye to America but we've never had a kiss. If ratings continue to drop at this rate though, soon the judges will be making out with the contestants in between songs to boost viewership. Jacob, still trying to atone for his arrogance of a couple of weeks ago, invoked the daddy card for his performance and gets a chance to explain how he overcame a technical glitch in his performance. He babbles on about how he heroically pushed through a drum track that kicked in too late, you know, stuff that 99.9% of live performers need to know how to do. Everyone acts as if Jacob just climbed Kilimanjaro without oxygen and I catch JLo nodding sagely in her seat as if she's ever had to worry about fitting her live vocals to a recorded backing track. Casey is safe but Jacob takes a trek to the stools of doom.
We're moving right along now to David Cook who is arguably the most earnest representative of the White Guy With Guitar Idol winner triumvirate. At the very least, we can blame the next two copycat specimens on him. Dude has a lot to answer for that's for sure. He is here tonight to belt out his new single entitled “The Last Goodbye” - Why isn't this one the boot song? - from his upcoming album. The song is pretty generic fluff rock and sounds like the only other Cook song I know, the one about the time of his life. He's really flat for the first half of the song but picks up later on. The bassist is playing a polka dot bass which goes a long way in making me like him. I didn't quite get the Kings Of Leon-ish background vocals – Why go there, dude? - but all in all he was alright. After some quick pimping of David's soon to be released 2nd album, and a very awkward interlude during which his mother gets out of her seat to hug Steven Tyler, we're off to commercials.
The howl and the damage done
You will be happy to know that it's not all work for these Idols. There's room for some fun such as Dodgers games, meeting famous baseball dudes, bowling badly and serious spa sessions. We find out that James likes giving dude massages to his bro Stefano and Scotty loves him some manicures. Fascinating.
Seacrust dims the lights and calls forth Lauren, James and Stefano. Lauren was told that she needs to “challenge herself” even though the judges liked her song. Lauren shyly promises to do just that if given another chance. James, squealed out a bombastic karaoke cover of “Uprising” and managed to screech like a ferret being skinned alive without anesthesia. Impressive! He wore an outfit that I assume was part of his weekly “homage” to Adam Lambert, while the marching band drummers cleverly drowned out his weak vocals on the non-screechy bits of the song. Kerchief boy got indulgent smiles from the judges and zero vocal critique for his efforts but he claims that Matt Bellamy dug the way James absolutely murdered his song on TV. Oh, I'm sure he's not embellishing, or anything... Stefano took on Neyo and the judges were aight with it. JLo just stared at him like a lovesick schoolgirl. Randy hopes that Idol's last shining hope of a credible Top 40 artist can survive tonight's massacre, however, Stefano is in the bottom three while the other two are safe.
Haley and Scotty are next to join Seacrust on the stage. The judges panned Scotty for his boring and ridiculously trite take on a Leann Rimes song which was a cover of an 80s song. Clever way of circumventing the theme there, Scotty! Haley delivered a karaoke cover of Adele's “Rolling In The Deep”, which was vocally the best of the night but perhaps a bit too presumptuous. She thinks she may have found her niche... and that niche is at the stools since Scotty is safe. Gee, who could have predicted this one? Seacrest quickly calls her back to the stage though and declares her safe leaving Jacob and Stefano to sweat it out for a bit longer.
The crying game
One more performance left tonight before we find out the winner of the Eliminated From Idol sweepstakes. Katy Perry's new song ET is catchy and dancey but the video, and the radio edit, unfortunately features a superfluous duet with Kanye West who is mostly just floating around in space for not good reason. Katy is lipsynching a bit out of sych while dressed in a light-up alien costume. She is wheeled around in a alien cocoon-like contraption by a bunch of dancers dressed like extras from a random Star Trek episode all dancing as if they were taking choreography tips from a rejected version of Michael's Thriller video. Kanye appears at some point, eschewing the alien theme for a fur jacket and black pants, to about alien abduction. All this and a bunch of green lasers too!
Seacrest pretends this was a live performance even thought is was pre-taped about a week ago but we're not going to quibble over minor details like that. He also takes time to talk to Jacob and Stefano before we find out who goes home. The judges think it's a sad occasion and Steven says nobody deserves to be in the bottom two. Of course not! All the judges are telling them every week that they're The.Most.Talented.People.Ever. On.The.Planet. Why would they want them to leave? He also says 50 million people are watching weekly which is how I know he is either high out of his brain, drunk or both. In the end, it's Stefano who gets kicked to the curb this week. JLo looks a bit sad while Durbin is already putting on a grand show on the couches, weeping for his fallen buddy. Dude, get a grip, Stefano is not getting guillotined backstage after the show!
Stefano is the only one who doesn't seem to be too broken up. He chooses to sing “Lately” for his final song. He squints into the camera and does a so-so job belting it out, you know, kind of like his entire Idol run. All goes fairly normally and Stefano is enjoying his last minute in the spotlight but the camera keeps panning to Durbin The Weeper who, perhaps unable to stand not being the center of attention for more than a minute, finally runs to the stage to twirl Stefano around even as he's trying to sing the last note of his song. Way to make this about yourself, Durbin! JLo has tears in her eyes but Durbin is still bawling like somebody just drowned his puppy, took his favorite toy and told him that he'll have to room with Casey or something. He finally slinks off the stage as the show fades to credits and I'm assuming he's still bawling even as I'm typing this. I feel like I need to scrub my eyeballs and bleach my brain.
And so the show ends with Stefano's last moments upstaged by Durbin The Weeper's attention whoring ways. I wonder whether Durbin will weep dramatically during every show now. Seems to be an excellent way of grabbing a few extra minutes of air time and every bit helps. Right? Oh, and the show has a final six and the last two girls are still in the competition. Amazing! See ya next week.