Tonight's the night, everything is gonna to be all right. Or not. Sixteen become twelve tonight, Carrie Underwood sings, Ryan says that a stupendously huge, amazingly gigantic – which usually means lame in AI talk - surprise is coming our way and maybe Paula is going to be drunk tonight. Okay, he didn't say that last bit but I always hope for a sloshed Paula; makes things so much more entertaining. Which reminds me that I really shouldn't be sober either while watching this show. I have my stiff drink ready, so here we go.
Stuck On This Show With You
Ryan, dressed like an undertaker, opens the show by telling us that allegedly 37 million votes were cast and teasing an obscenely big announcement later in the show. Who wants to bet that next week there are going to be 38 million, or maybe even 39 million, votes? From here we go straight into the customary group sing. This time it's “Stuck in the Middle With You”. Who came up with this idea? All 16
victimscontestants take turns trying to outperform each other. Hint: the (37 million) votes have been cast, you can all drop the suck-up act now. Alas, they can't hear me so they keep singing. I'd like to tell you it was a good number but my conscience wouldn't let me lie to you all in my very first recap for FORT, so I won't.
When the group sing mercifully comes to an end, Ryan the Undertaker is back to introduce the illustrious judges and I hold my breath for my first glimpse of Paula. Damn, she looks sober. This may just turn out to be a long night. Ryan, unaware of my crushing disappointment, points out that the 12 empty Lucite chairs on the right side of the stage will be filled with 12 lucky finalists by the end of the night. We're only 3 minutes and 55 seconds in but I know what's coming.
The musical rewind starts with Blake, who opened the show on Tuesday night. They play a short snippet of him doing a reasonable imitation of a 311 song, jazzed up with some beatboxing and a bit of commentary from Blake saying how happy he is that reggae finally made it to the AI stage. After this they quickly page through all the Boy Night performances and they pretty much all sound just as
badnice as they did the first time around. I'm pretty apathetic to it all, to tell you the truth, until Sundance sees it fit to inform us that “[Jeremy] is a rock song and that is pretty much how it should have been sung” referring to his own performance. Really? Off key and with mangled lyrics? Who knew Pearl Jam have been doing it wrong all this time.
The montage finally ends with Ryan telling us that the guys had a tough night – no kidding – and a snippet of Chris Sligh singing “I Just Want To Be Loved”. I can relate to that and apparently so can Ryan because we're again shown the awesome man-hug the two shared on Tuesday night. Aww, how cute!
Will Chris live to hug Ryan again and is Sanjaya ready for prime time? I'm getting another drink because the ladies' montage is coming up next. Never again will I pick on Paula for appearing
drunkhappy during the show.
Girls' Night Rewind
Now this is more like it. We're shown a nice segment of Wednesday's show and Ryan tells us that some, like Jordin and Gina, rocked it, while others went for the R&B vibe. Translation: a couple of them left the farm without authorization but we managed to keep most of them safely contained. We get some reaction shots of the audience while Simon tells Haley that her number was like some “ghastly high school musical”. It's mostly mouths hanging open, horror written across nameless faces. That's not how I felt about Antonella's singing though. I was more like “hehehe”, but to each his or her own, I guess.
The segment ends on a high note, literally, with Melinda, and we're finally done with the rewind. Aren't you glad? I know I was very, very glad.
Dim The Lights Baby
AI producers are smart. They know that by this time, some 439 minutes and 11 seconds into the show, we're all wilting, reaching for that second, or maybe third, stiff drink and we need action before we fall asleep and miss out on the big announcement. You didn't forget about the big announcement, did you? Don't worry, it's coming up in 3 hours or so.
Ryan finally gets down to business and after his usual “Dim the lights!” pronouncement, he summons Blake and LaKisha to the stage. He says one of them will work with Diana Ross and the other one is in the top 12. For a second, confusion reigns. Blake looks like he might not want to work with Diana Ross but then, surprise, surprise – not that one, not yet – they are both sent over to the Lucite chairs. They made it!
Chris Sligh is up next and if you think you'll find out about his fate before AI can hit you with a Ford commercial you're sadly mistaken.
Well, actually you will find out because you didn't have to watch the show. So I'll tell you he made it to the right side of the stage where the finalists live and he's safe. Yay.
Next. Jordin: take a seat darlin' America loves you. I sort of like this format, I'm sticking to it, it's very expedient. So...
Next up is Phil who is nervous and worried. Ryan wants to know whether Phil wants to move on? Hmm, let me think about that one Ryan. Yup, yeah, I think he'd like to move on Ryan, you dumbass. Phil is shocked and crying but he's on to the final 12.
Next. Jared is called to the mat and Ryan is sorry to tell him that his journey is coming to an end tonight. Paula stands up to clap for the dearly departing who, by the way, looks a bit angry and incredulous. Maybe he thought America was ready for argyle sweaters. Sorry Jared, Bill Cosby called and he... Nah, no lame jokes, this is serious stuff. Jared does his farewell song and that's the last you'll see of him and his argyle sweater. Ironically the lyrics to his song are: “If you really loved me, won't you tell me”. I guess they told you. Adios!
Big Announcement. Not That One.
Ryan the Undertaker comes back to tell us about this week's contest. Guess who's got a number one album? Is it Ace Forgot-his-last-name, Kevin Covais a.k.a. Chicken Little or Daughtry, formerly with a first name? Ooh, a toughie. Google is your friend if you've been living under a rock for the last 6 months. Only 99 cents per message for your chance to sit in the audience and have your 3.5 milliseconds of fame.
Back To Business
Next. Ryan calls Melinda and Brandon to the stage. Is there room, in the top 12, for two back-up singers who want to be lead vocalists, he asks. What I'd like to know is who writes Ryan's lines? It seems there's room on the plastic chairs and they both make it to the final 12.
Next. This whole thing reminds me of leading lambs to slaughter. Gina and Chris R. are brought up and after a bit of banter they too find out they're staying. Hugs, hugs and more hugs. But I'm happy that there are only 3 spots left, which means that 3 of them are leaving. There's an end in sight.
But not yet.
Carrie Me Home
After a lavish montage about Carrie Underwood that shows her cavorting with cows and celebrities, receiving awards and looking pretty, Carrie herself comes out to sing. I don't know this song but I can Google with the best of them. The song is called “Wasted”. There is an obvious joke here but I won't make it. Oh, what the hell, I have no shame. Jesus take the wheel, I'm wasted!
I was hoping Ryan would ask her about the song but no such luck. The way you know when an AI alum has really arrived: no more scripted idle chit chat with Ryan the Undertaker.
Hit Me Baby One Last Time
After the commercial Antonella and Stephanie are called to the floor. Without further ado Antonella is sent home to pursue a career in
nudemodeling. They made her sing again but I won't bore you with it. So long Antonella, we barely knew you, and I do mean barely.
Next up are Haley and Sabrina. They're both crying and the first real shocker of the night comes in the form of Sabrina's elimination. Ryan says this is the most shocking episode so far. Randy says America got it wrong. I'll say. Sabrina is gracious and gives a great farewell performance.
America gets rid of the worst and one of the very best. Consistency, thy name is not America.
Idolus Americanicus CC
This is what you've been waiting for, the big meaty announcement that Ryan has been plugging all along! We find out that this is AI's 200th show and because of this AI is going into the charity business. They're going to raise money to fight hunger and poverty both abroad and at home. They cut to footage of Ryan and Simon on a trip to Africa with some cute kids. Randy and Paula, not to be left out, will be traveling to areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The facts: On April 24-25 AI will hold two special shows which will partly mark the top 6 milestone and partly promote AI's efforts to raise money for the cause. The theme of the night will be “Inspirational Songs” and voting will go as normal except sponsors will donate money for each vote cast by the audience. Guests will include: Borat, Gwen Stefani, Pink, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Annie Lennox and Bono. Quincy Jones will pen a special song for the night. In Ryan's words it will be “a night to remember”. Er, Borat?
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
Sanjaya and Sundance are called to the stage. After one more commercial for good measure, Sundance is going home. Paula is visibly shocked, Simon thinks people had the volume down and Ryan can't believe it. I can. Certain crimes against our auditory health should not go unpunished. Sundance sings one last time, off-key, mangled lyrics, fake emotion and all. It's time to thank your lucky stars that you missed his last
However, this does mean that Sanjaya will strike again. Maybe strike is not the right word, but I didn't want to say “Sanjaya will sing again”... for obvious reasons.
After a nostalgic losers' montage, we finally reach the end. The show clocks in at a hefty 4 hours and 37 minutes, or so it seems. Your final 12, for which you only have yourselves to blame, are: Brandon, Melinda, LaKisha, Sanjaya, Haley, Chris S., Chris R., Jordin, Gina, Phil, Stephanie and Blake.
Tune in next week to see Ryan's outfit. PM me if you know where to buy one of those nifty Lucite chairs.