Look, it’s season 6, and we all know by now that Simon Cowell hates country music. So even though he’s a rude, condescending bastard, we know he has at least some small modicum of taste in music. And because Simon’s noxious personality tends to dominate the atmosphere of all American Idol performance shows, country week is usually, at best, awkward for the majority of the contestants (who aren’t interested in country music, because if they were they’d try out for Nashville Star, right?) and is full of Simon’s sneering remarks about the hapless Idols being way, way out of their comfort zone. Carrie Underwood is probably the only Idol who’s walked away from country week with her ego fully intact. So do tell…what could make country week even more embarrassing and unpleasant that usual? How about a national tragedy and an ill-timed eye-roll? More importantly, how do we rise above this grimness and remember that American Idol is, after all, America’s favorite entertainment program? Or better yet – how do we turn this back into a singing competition? Why, by eliminating the lack of singing talent that’s still hanging around. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, Simon eats a dish that his haughty British taste buds are quite unaccustomed to – humble pie.
Don’t make me out to be a bigger jerk than I am
For those of you who fast-forwarded through the majority of Chris Richardson’s performance (sorry, but the first 10 seconds were more than enough for me) and his snide defense of his nasally vocals (the Flonase people have already contacted him for an endorsement deal, count on it), you missed his awkward mention of the Virginia Tech victims. During this speech, the camera went to Simon, who was rolling his eyes. The short version – America went bananas and assumed that he was dissing the VT families and the United States in general. The long drawn-out response – we see the tape, and learn that Simon was rolling his eyes because Chris said he was singing through his nose on purpose. The even longer apology – no, Simon would not disrespect the VT victims and didn’t even hear Chris mention them because true to form, he stopped listening to Chris after his smart-aleck remarks and was already engaged in conversation with Paula. Normally, I would enjoy watching Simon being disgraced, but the video evidence has killed my buzz. And I need to get back into a semi-happy place before the group performance.
I’m All Right – except for the singing
In case you didn’t get enough of the name-calling snarkfest on Tuesday, the producers are more than happy to make you sit through it all over again. It would be far more entertaining to just read MotherSister’s recap though, so go ahead and hit that fast-forward button. Don’t feel bad if you neglect to hit that “play” button during Ryan’s attempt to find out what the “vibe in Hollywood” is after the country performances. The interviews include a marginally amusing hippie who calls LaKisha a “rock star” and tells Chris to “keep smoldering”, but keep in mind that “marginally” is the operative word here.
And juuuust in case you kept your thumb off the “play” button a tad longer, you may have missed the group performance. What exactly did you miss? Well, um…Chris sang through his nose again – you lil’ rebel, Chris! – and everyone was dressed in denim. Because, you know, it’s country week. The Idols are singing what I guess is a country song called “I’m Alright”. And they take turns sitting on stools while singing. Kind of like a really lame version of OK Go’s treadmill video. Next week, I want to see more dancing, because this season, the dancing is far preferable to the singing.
Time for the AI Challenge, and talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy – I knew Gina Glocksen was going to end up as a trivia question, but I had no idea it would be this soon. Sorry, Gina…but the producers probably thought everyone would have forgotten your name by the middle of season 7.
Do you want to know what the Idols are listening to on their Ipods? Nah, me neither, but for posterity’s sake, Melinda is getting her Jesus on, Sanjaya is a little bit country, Blake is a little bit rock n’roll, and Chris pays homage to original boy-bander Peter Noone. Free downloads and this is what they listen to?
Looks like there was some down time between the fall fashion shows, because Fergie’s performing tonight. I use the term “performing” loosely. Listen, if I’m going to watch Fergie, I want to see her working those lady lumps - in other words, I want to be entertained. Instead, we get a low-key, practically unplugged Fergie, singing the very Avril Lavigne-ish “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. And she’d better head back to those fashion shows pronto, because her black leggings, high heels, and clunky plastic bracelets are exactly what my girlfriends & I used to wear when we went clubbing…in 1985.
I gotta get away
Hey, speaking of 1985! This week’s Ford commercial features one-hit wonder A Flock of Seagulls’ hit “I Ran”. I suffered a mild seizure while trying to follow the rapid action and flashing lights in this 30-second spot, but I dimly recall LaKisha in a red car and Chris running around with a briefcase. And some weird black and white shots of the other Idols. I guess I could have watched it again to try to catch more of the detail, and maybe I will, when my right eye stops twitching. But too late for this recap, sorry.
Next Wednesday is “Idol Gives Back”, THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT IN IDOL HISTORY. Basically, a bunch of random celebrities including Il Divo, Hugh Grant, Kiera Knightly, Josh Groban, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, and a slumming Annie Lennox will appear to, uh, give back. I’ll be on vacation, so let me know how it goes, ‘kay?
Playing “keep away” with Melinda
It’s time for Ryan Seacrest to shine, doing what he does best – breaking tender hearts and sending young hopefuls home to obscurity. Plus, it gets Simon hot. Ryan is splitting the Idols into two groups, one with the highest number of votes, one with the lowest. Sanjaya, LaKisha, and Blake make up the first group, and Phil, Jordin and Chris comprise the second, while Melinda plays monkey in the middle. Oh, I suppose you think that was a cheap shot at her looks, don’t you? Well, I’ll have you know I’ve risen above that kind of skeezy humor – at least, until I don’t have Sanjaya to make fun of anymore. *wink wink*
Ryan proclaims Melinda safe, and then resorts to an old trick, asking her to join the group she thinks she belongs in. The audience holds its collective breath, wondering if Melinda will take Simon’s advice and stop being so annoying humble. And then…she sits down on the stage. Crosses her legs. Smiles and shakes her head. Something like my four-year-old does when I tell her to clean her room. The audience responds in the exact opposite manner than I do with my child – that is, they roar their approval. Ryan smiles paternally and instructs Melinda to slide to her left and join Phil, Jordin and Chris – as they’re all safe.
In case you weren’t paying attention, the bottom three is therefore Sanjaya, KiKi, and Blake. Randy is disturbed by the results, saying it’s crazy that Blake is there. Paula anxiously hopes that Blake’s grandma is not too upset at the result. Blake, do us all a favor and pick a fight with Simon next week – it gets you votes. It wouldn’t hurt to bring your grandma to the show again, either. A happy Simon is “beginning to sense something here”. Yeah, so are we, Simon…so stop batting your eyes at Ryan. He can’t help being such a tease.
If Donald Trump can have his own reality show, then why can’t Jeffrey Katzenberg make multiple reality show appearances? Last year, The Apprentice, this year, American Idol, and oh yeah, did I mention that he’s the CEO of DreamWorks? The company that brings you the upcoming Fox reality series On The Lot? So why not use our top 7 to promote his latest animation feature, Shrek the Third, and make it look like he’s doing the Idols a favor? The kids are paraded through the studio, and the girls record their best Princess Fiona imitations, while the guys try their voices at Puss in Boots. Why Puss and not Shrek? Because it’s Antonio Banderas who shows up to visit, that’s why. He makes the girls go all a-twitter and embarrasses the boys by showing them how a real man pretends to be a domestic house cat who wears boots. Oh, and be careful girls, because viper-wife Melanie Griffiths is in the audience with Antonio tonight – but she simply waves at the camera, presumably because her last facelift has pulled her mouth so tight she can no longer speak. Antonio smiles charmingly and claims to have voted for all seven Idols, and his idle chatter saves us from listening to any more corporate schilling from Jeff Katzenberg, who is seated beside him. Oh, Puss…how you make me purr.
Gosh, this has been such a busy hour, we’ve almost forgotten about Martina McBride, the Idols’ country music coach. And she does have her own upcoming tour to promote after all. Poor Martina forgot to bring her own clothes, so she’s borrowed Fergie’s leggings and rolled them up to her knees. With accompanying hoop earrings, heels, and sleeveless black top, she’s all ready for a Strippercise class. The Idols dutifully watch the performance, and Melinda especially looks on rapturously, hands clasped under her chin. Or she’s just hypnotized by Martina’s scary pale eyes. After the performance, Ryan ushers up Martina’s annoyingly precocious young daughter Emma. Everyone pretends that she’s simply adorable, because it’s not nice to mock and insult young people. Unless they’re Idol contestants.
Nothing left to talk about
Finally, we’re back to the bottom three, and time being short, Ryan quickly sends Blake back to safety. We’re left with LaKiKi and her “hamburger breakfast” version of Jesus Take The Wheel, and Sanjaya’s “horrendous” Something To Talk About. At first, I can’t believe my ears, but then I hear the piteous wails of eleven-year-old girls across the continent – Sanjaya is going home. You’d think his ouster would be anti-climactic at this point, but y’know what? I enjoyed it anyway. Almost as much as I enjoyed watching Kevin Covais and Scott Savol being sent away – almost, because Sanjaya does after all have a nice smile. But damn it, now he’s crying – and seeing Sanjaya cry is not much different that watching a puppy dog get kicked. Ryan leaves him to sing out the show, and as it turns out, the kid gets the last word in anyway, changing the lyrics to “Something to talk about…other than hair”. As a final dig, it’s not half-bad for a 17-year-old.
Next week, it’s all about “inspiration” songs, so hold on to your ears – there’s sure to be plenty of tears, posturing and glory notes, and Yardgnome and MotherSister are the charitable souls who’ll be recapping it all for you. Maybe they’ll even be inspired to adopt one of those adorable little Idol-Gives-Back kids! And how cute would one of them look with a faux-hawk?
PM me, Antonio…I love cats.