OK, I have to confess something. I’m old enough to remember Bon Jovi’s first single, “Runaway”. I can even remember the lyrics. Hell, I saw him in concert around that time, and I was close enough to the stage to catch a bandanna he threw into the audience. (And yeah, I still have it. Don’t bother looking on ebay for it.) So even though my musical tastes have, um, expanded since the early ‘80’s, I was still able to sing along (much to my oldest daughter’s dismay) with all six Idols on Tuesday night. And if I do say so myself…my “Wanted Dead or Alive” was no worse than Chris’. But I don’t look like Justin Timberlake, which is apparently half the battle to getting votes. My point? I don’t even care who goes home tonight – I just want a glimpse of Jon and Richie playing their guitars.
Simon and Ryan vie for the title of “Puppetmaster”
A newly clean-shaven Ryan Seacrest opens the show with a little funny, promising that this hour of results that could be dispensed with in approximately 90 seconds will have no filler. So does this mean we’ll be done in time for me to catch the photoshoots on America’s Next Top Model? Nope - instead of watching a pack of catty, anorexic crybabies, we’re treated to a different sort of bitch-fight. You know who I’m talking about. Paula starts off the festivities by stuttering and sputtering out some inane comment about the super-goodness of “Rock Night”, and gets offended by a snickering Simon draping his arm across the back of her chair. She snarls that she’s not his “lip puppet”, and I don’t even want to hazard a guess at the backstory behind that comment. Ryan jumps to Paula’s defense and tells her that he’s seen Simon’s puppet, and (Paula) is much prettier. In response, Simon goes all lord-of-the-manor on Ryan and demands an apology. Because he thinks Ryan is referring to his girlfriend. His real girlfriend, not “little Simon”, if you get my drift (and Ryan’s…I think). If it’s Simon’s intent to make Ryan, and the other zillion viewers worldwide tonight uncomfortable – well, mission accomplished. It seems to get resolved, but I have to give the decision on this round to Simon. Sorry, Ryan.
KiKi and Simon, sittin’ in a tree…
Continuing with the no-filler theme, Ryan takes five minutes to rehash last night’s performances. He then takes to the streets to find out how much everyone loved Rock Night. His
victimsinterviewees look more taken aback than usual as he sweeps down on them with his hand mic, and personally, I think it’s the beard. You can almost hear them thinking, “Is that Ryan Seacrest? Is he on the drugs now?” Anyway, everyone loves Bon Jovi (well, duh), everyone was great except Jordin (c’mon, you know she rocked that streaked spiral perm ‘do), and one young lady is a Chris fan because “he’s like, awesome and hot – and looks like Justin Timberlake”. Way to squander your 15 seconds of fame, hon. It could have been a moment to tell your grandkids about, but you had to throw in Timberlake’s name and ruin it.
Time for some more non-filler, and Ryan chats up the Idols onstage. There’s some boring crap from Phil and Jordin, and then Ryan gets down to business with LaKisha about her lip-lock with Cowell. There’s accompanying footage of the Kiss Felt ‘round The World, and Ryan daringly asks KiKi if she’d swap spit with Simon again – well, of course she would. Ryan tsk-tsks her answer, reminding her that Simon has a girlfriend and takes the relationship very seriously, wink-wink. Ah, but good-natured Simon has forgiven Ryan for his earlier transgression – that, or he’s high, because he laughs far longer and harder than the exchange warrants.
And oh look, it’s Idol’s very own Velvet Teddy Bear making an appearance via satellite from…somewhere. Ruben Studdard is the first Idol-winner-not-as-successful-as-Kelly-or-Carrie (henceforth known as IWNASAKOC) appearing to make a plea for yet more donations towards the Idol Gives Back campaign. In case you didn’t get a bad enough case of the guilts last Wednesday.
Thicke as a brick to the head
OK, maybe I shouldn’t mock the Idol Gives Back effort. If it’s good enough for Annie Lennox, then it’s good enough for me. So yeah, I did feel a lil’ bit guilty for missing last week’s show – for about five seconds, because Ryan is making us all relive it again through video. In case you missed it, or MotherSister’s brilliant recap, all you need to know is that it was special enough for Elvis to come back from the dead and that no one was eliminated. So I get to be the recapper who has the fun of telling you about TWO eliminations at once. Whee! If I had Jordin’s hair, I’d do a little Elaine-from-Seinfeld dance. Oh, what the hell, I’ll do one anyway. *cocks thumbs and jerks head to the side*
It’s time for Robin Thicke to perform. Who? Well, he’s the son of Alan Thicke, game-show theme song composer, failed talk-show host, and kindly dad Dr. Jason Seaver from former T.V. sitcom Growing Pains. And one of Canada’s finest entertainment exports. Right behind Jim Carrey. Apparently young Robin is a Grammy-winning R&B singer. So I’m semi-willing to put the Alan Thicke connection in the back of my mind and give him a chance. That lasts until he starts singing. I could have forgiven the horrifying resemblance to dear old dad. I could have overlooked the wispy moustache. But I can’t get over his vocal ability, or lack thereof. Look, I can dig the whole R&B sound. If you want Canadian R&B singers, Remy Shand is way cool (what happened to him, anyway?). But there’s nothing special about Robin’s voice - it just sounds like someone has his boys in a vice grip. I had to turn down my TV because the neighborhood dogs were starting to gather beneath my window.
Here to save us is Fantasia. Bet you’d never thought you would see those words in print, hey? Fantasia is IWNASAKOC #2, and reminds us that she’s a single mom – albeit one that can probably afford a nanny by now – so we should give, give, give, and when our fingers get tired of digging through our wallets, we should give some more. Hey, I would’ve called in last week and made my vote count…if I lived in the U.S. and was allowed to vote. Just saying.
Every once in a while, the Idol producers like to throw us a curve ball. Last week, no elimination. This week – they apparently hired Rob Zombie to direct the latest Ford ad offering. The song is “Paint It Black”, and the Idols are part of a circus sideshow. No, no, I mean in the commercial, not American Idol itself. Blake is the carny barker, Melinda is a contortionist, and Jordin is a mermaid. Everyone is wearing fright-show makeup and it’s filmed in that jerky silent-movie style for the most part. Even if it was too weird for you, you have to admit it’s a welcome respite from the same old tired hijinks and soapsud fights.
Drawing first blood
To make up for us getting ripped off on an elimination last week, Ryan is kicking someone to the curb halfway through the show tonight. He calls Melinda (who chanelled her inner rocker grrl on “Have A Nice Day”), Phil (showing his cowboy on “Blaze of Glory”, and LaKisha (blowing out the jams on “This Ain’t A Love Song) to the center of the stage. Melinda’s safe, natch, and there’s a couple of anxious moments until Ryan proclaims KiKi is also safe. So Phil’s luck finally runs out, ironically after one of his better performances. There’s the usual video journey, complete with Daddy-Phil footage, and Phil gives us “Blaze” one last time. It’s a nice, classy exit, and the boy is allowed to die like a man.
The AI Challenge question is even more insipid than usual – I mean, I would be acutally be embarrassed to win ten grand that way. So let’s just cut to the final three, Jordin (whose hopes are apparently livin’ on a prayer), Blake (who gave love a b-b-b-b-bad name), and Chris (and we know Jon Bon Jovi is probably wanting him dead after blowing it on his biggest song ever). There’s no way we’re going to hear who’s going home for another 17 minutes or so, but Ryan decides to spare Jordin the wait and tells her she’s safe immediately. The beat boxer or the boy-bander will be the next casualty, and they look supremely unconcerned as they wait it out. Uh, guys? I’m pretty sure Ryan isn’t teasing about an elimination this time.
Something for the pain
Finally, my patience is rewarded, and Ryan introduces Bon Jovi. Now, I know Richie Sambora has an excuse for looking a little jowly and worn-out – I mean, the dude went straight from Heather Locklear to Denise Richards, and that’s gotta wear a guy out. Jon, who’s been married since forever to his high-school sweetheart, has weathered the years somewhat better…O.K., a lot better, ‘cause he looks even more fine than he did with huge hair and while belting out “Bad Medicine”. Seriously, his wife must have to walk behind him with a baseball bat to keep the cougars at bay. The band performs a new song, “(You Want To) Make A Memory” from the upcoming Lost Highway CD, and although I would have preferred a more up-tempo number, I’ll settle for fantasizing about the memories I could make with Mr. Bongiovi.
Breaking my reverie is Taylor Hicks, the third and final IWNASAKOC. I’m pretty sure he asked for donations too, but I was still running through a meadow in slow-motion towards Jon Bon Jovi. Anyway, if you’re moved to give some more money, go to the website or something, and leave me the hell alone with my daydreams.
On a steel horse he rides…home
Blake and Chris are BFFs, don’t you know. In fact, Blake tells Ryan, he would go home for Chris. Because they’re best friends, and screw the millions of viewers who dialed their little fingers off voting for Blake. It’s a little early to be alienating your fans, Blake. However, he doesn’t take up Ryan on his offer to go home before the vote is read, and good thing, because it’s Chris who has the lower number of votes this week. The boys slap palms and Chris almost makes me like him with a nice, respectful exit speech. He sings out with “Wanted Dead or Alive” again, but by that time it’s safe to hit the mute button. Songs about cowboys should never be sung in R&B style, or by metrosexual boy-band wannabes.
Next week, it’s former Bee Gee Barry Gibb - too much heaven, baby! See you next week, and don’t forget your boogie-oogie-woogie dancin’ shoes!
So you ain’t got a fever, just a permanent disease? I got the potion. PM me.