I love Mariah Carey. And I don’t mean that in any hip, ironic way either. I’ve loved her truly ever since she challenged my 7-year-old lungs to hold the same note for over 10 seconds back in 1990 with “Vision of Love.” I even already knew “Vanishing,” is what I’m saying. I just want to put this out there now so you’ll be prepared for the gushing later. “Tonight the luck runs out for somebody,” says Seacrest, and we can see behind him our not-so-lucky 7 quaking in their stage makeup because this crazy contest has gotten crazy unpredictable in the past few weeks.
Ryan keeps bringing up Michael’s elimination, because NEVER FORGET, especially the part about Ryan himself being such a tool about the whole thing. Then he throws it to the judges -- Randy does his stupid sideways peace sign as if he was ever down, Paula looks like she’s being eaten by Audrey II, and Simon is sitting very tensely; I think he might be the slightest bit afraid that Paula’s accessories are soon going to climb all over him and assimilate him into the plant world. This should be a fun night.
Except for the group-sing part. Usually I love these things to bits, but this one is just abysmal. “One Sweet Day.” Jason and Kristy trade the opening lines, and then the group as a whole practices emoting and swaying and walking in time but not harmonizing, but I don’t think you or I should suffer by ever having to think of it again, so let’s just leave it at that, k?
We plunge back into the depths of performance night with a lengthy clip show, but it’d be a whole lot more fun to just read AJane’s fantastic recap of the same, plus you’ll get to exercise your 70s sitcom trivia muscles. Ryan wants to dwell on last night’s failed laugh riot about Randy doing the hula and all, but it automatically goes to an innuendo-riffic place about Simon owning a grass skirt and Ryan knowing all about it. Hot. Why isn’t the FCC on this yet?
Stirring the Pot
But we’ll leave behind thinly veiled sexual tension for now because our elimination business is beginning. Ryan trots out the dippy Jason Castro and grills him about luaus because of his smoothed out version of “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” and Jason mumbles some stuff about liking the beach a whole lot even though he never goes there. It’s top 7 results, so you know what’s coming (cue staccato violins of doooom!): the Choose Your Group Adventure. It’s a given that Young David will be our chooser, so Ryan asks Jason to form the first group to his left. David Cook comes out next, waving shyly at the crowd. His death-growl version of “Always Be My Baby” went over extremely well with everyone but me, and Ryan tries to trick him into laying some sentimental ground by talking about his brother who was in the audience that night. David kind of swerves around the exploitation and then Ryan tells him to go to his right. What’s this? David Cook and Jason in two different groups? Does American Idol want the world to explode? Probably.
Carly now, and she is looking very sexy secretary in her high-waisted black pencil skirt and lacy white blouse. As it turns out, this show isn’t actually a Hollywood rom-com, so she’s missing the glasses and updo, and sadly we won’t get to see her fling off her specs and bobby pins and suddenly rule the world. She does get to talk about how much she enjoyed herself singing “Without You.” She also says she thinks Simon has been really harsh on her this season, giving him the opportunity to do the whole “cruel to be kind” spiel before Carly is ordered to join Jason.
This brings us to Kristy Lee
CockroachCook, who at this point might as well be in old sweats instead of her pretty white cami and jeans for all she cares what anyone thinks of her now. It’s pretty clear and pretty awesome that she’s just shrugging her shoulders now about this whole stupid show, which is a really healthy perspective to have when you know you’re an also-ran. She gets to join David Cook though, and it is hilarious to see how happy this makes her.
Ford < Elliott
Ford saves lives. Buy one and you’ll see. This week’s ad is set to “I Want To Break Free,” meaning that yes, Queen are our mascots this season, which makes me vaguely sad. The commercial features our top 7 as cute puppets on strings, droning their lives away for the man in a washed out office setting, until Jason happens to spy a couple of Ford Tough automobiles outside the windows. Shocked by the promise of wild abandon and riding in a red car that might be his, he cuts everyone aloose and they all pile out of the office and into sweet, sweet freedom. And this, my friends, could be you too. You know what to do.
Hey, Elliott is back again! This show loves him. He’s working a Michael Johns Memorial Scarf and singing a song called “Free,” which is very earnest about believing in positive things happening, but not in a David Archuleta way. It’s more of a “Mercy, Mercy Me” energy going on, with a drum and bass groove I can kinda dig … oh, crap. He did the message-on-the-hand thing; but it reads “WE MISS YOU MOM,” and so I don’t care here because I miss Claudette too. Ryan gives Elliott’s recently departed mother a warm tribute of praise; Elliott thanks everyone for their condolences very graciously and wishes the contestants good luck. Aw.
Pride and Preciousness
Enough with positive energy, I guess, because here we are back at this tired results circus again. Syesha comes out sporting a fierce frohawk and a pretty black-printed halter dress; she stands with her lips pursed tight enough to break a few capillaries while Ryan reminds us of the judges’ lukewarm reception to her performance of “Vanishing.” He then asks her to join Jason and Carly. She goes over to them with a phony smile plastered on, Carly puts her arms around everyone and they all try not to look like they wish they were standing over there with David.
Brooke White is fading fast. She puts on a brave stance like a Roman soldier as Ryan calls her out to the stage to go all over the whole hamburger discussion from last night, and it doesn’t make any more sense now than it did then; then Brooke starts to waver and her face crumbles when she talks about how much true heart and soul she put into her performance of “Hero.” Poor thing. She might completely liquefy before this whole thing is through. I think we should call the competition off for her and pack her off to Care-A-Lot. She could even come back every once in a while and play piano for us, with Funshine Bear on guitar. Let’s do it! I’m going to take up a collection during this commercial break while she goes over to await her fate with the Cooks.
These call-in questions are dark-sided. I feel like I’m going to snap next week and phone in myself just to ask, “What’s new pussycat?” or “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” because this truly sucks so much. First there’s Joan who wants to know if Kristy got her horse back from whoever she sold it to; there’s much mugging for the camera as poor Kristy and Ryan reproach the guy who is holding poor Flicka for ransom. Talk to him after the tour, Kristy. Next someone named Jillian does all right, actually, by asking for the first albums the judges ever bought in honor of National Record Store Day. (National Record Store Day? She made that up, right?) (And if so, way to give your made up holiday publicity, lady. A tip of the hat to you.) Randy spent his allowance on Zeppelin, James Brown, and the Beatles; Paula traded lollipops and sunbeams for The Jackson 5, EWF, and Carole King’s Tapestry. Simon smirks and says the first music he bought was Paula’s “Straight Up.” I … can kind of believe he only ever started listening to music in 1988. That would explain a lot.
Some chick named Megan says she was on Paula’s other show and then asks which of Paula’s hits she would use to characterize Simon. She and Ryan name like every song she ever sang, and then Paula says “straight up, I’ll never be forever your girl. Oooooh! The audience goes into over drive cheering and turning flips and setting off bottle rocket s because we so love it when Paula is clever. I’m done with these for the week, all right?
Anyway, it’s Mariah time! A divalicious screen flaunting her new album cover parts like the Red Sea, and then Mariah struts out, backlit and with fans billowing her at every moment, holding a glittery microphone and squaring up to – I swear – a be-rhinestoned mic stand. She rules. Lately Mariah has returned to the black spandex mini-dresses of her 90s debut, but tonight’s number has swathes cut out of the bodice in a nod to the new millennium. She sings her new single “Bye Bye,” which sounds kind of like her last 3 singles, but who cares, really, when she sings with such raw emotion? Witness, her right hand signifying wildly while her body keeps the beat! Her legs teeter-tottering but not buckling in those sky high heels! Her left hand checking in ever so discreetly with the earpiece as she goes for the whistle! The signature whispers that close the song! Truly, she is a giant among mere mortal belters and they are not worthy to put lemon in her tea. (Syesha, this means you.)
Ryan is so giddy at basking in Mariah’s afterglow that it is adorable. He asks her about Randy dropping her name every 42 seconds of his life, and she says something very gracious about loving him a lot and owing him a lot, and isn’t she kind? She says she loved spending time with all of the contestants and tells them to “do them,” which is just nutty enough to be sincere.
So. I think you know we’ve got some unfinished business yet to take care of. Syesha, Jason, and Carly stand to the left and Brooke and the Cooks to the right. Little David must now come into his manhood and choose which group of three lives, and which dies. What? It’s not a life or death thing? Oh cool, then I don’t have to hold my breath. So Ryan brings the little lamb out and re-lavishes him with the judges’ praise, David says he has never been happier, and then Ryan tells him he is safe. But! Before we can get to the pickins, Ryan pulls a whammy and has David Cook and Syesha switch places, thus simultaneously causing mental earthquakes all over the world and revealing the bottom three. Well played, you tool.
Then Ryan charges David to
go forth and found a new landalign himself with the group he thinks is safe for the week. You can see the question flash in his eyes, and then, weirdly, he says “Sit down?” before sitting down center stage. I know what I think happened there, but you make up your own minds. Ryan’s trying to get all hypothetical and make him choose a side in theory, but David just looks up at him like a puppy who doesn’t understand why he hasn’t been fed. Ryan is losing control of the whole shebang, so he points out the David/Carly/Jason group as the safe group. Carly’s bounding around like Marmaduke she’s so happy to be safe, which is really kind of adorable even if tacky in the moment. It takes Archie about a million TV years (30 seconds real time) to figure out what’s gone on, and in that time, David Cook has found a way to get more attention by plopping down next to him. Jason joins them, and Carly’s like, “Get up you dinks, I’m in a tight skirt.” Champions!
A Patriot’s Departure
This of course leaves Kristy, Syesha, and Brooke in our bottom three. Ryan immediately sends Syesha over to safety because everyone knows that Brooke is about to keel over and that would totally make Countdown. We kick it to the judges for some last minute words
of wisdom. Paula can’t say enough how proud she is of both of them and how hard it must be to sing on TV; Simon’s not at all hesitant to say that they both sucked and Kristy’s probably getting the boot. A prescient Kristy says at least she made it past the top 10, which is really all I needed to love her outright. Not for her singing though. Never, ever for that. Ryan makes it official, Brooke gives her a big hug and wafts off to the couches. The retrospective plays, Kristy says thanks for letting her dream. Me? I can’t flipping believe that Syesha is still in this thing. I guess she’s the cockroach now. Ha, it pleases me to call her that because I’m an immature person in a lot of ways. Anyway, so yeah. Kristy goes on to illustrate everything I hate (and thus … love? It’s very weird.) about her by serenading Simon with her loser song, smiling coyly as she changes a lyric to say “Still I burn on and on/All of my life/for a good comment from you,” before she wraps it up in true style on the big stage. Go ‘head, Kristy, and savor every last minute of your tenure here. ‘Cause you probably ain’t getting the horse back, honey.
Next week is the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber; here’s hoping that the group-sing is a tribute to Starlight Express! I will be satisfied with nothing less.
Can anybody out there fit “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” on his/her palm? PM me; I think I know how we can make it on TV.