Episode 3 (1/19): Not So Hungry Like the Wolf
After two wonderful recaps by Mannawolf, you, dear readers, are stuck with me this week. My qualifications for recapping this show are numerous. After all, I got the only ďneeds improvementĒ of my grade school career in group singing. As for hip-hop, letís just say that Iíve got a lot of hip(s), but not much in the way of hop. Luckily, for both you and me, I donít have to perform on the show. I just get to write about it and criticize people with way more talent than me.
And The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round
This episode we really are going to roll down the road to Missyís hometown. We open with a rather lengthy retrospective of the first two episodes. Surprisingly, Heather and Cori are still the first two eliminated. I was really hoping Nic and his towel went last week after all. After the opening credits, Missy tells us that life on the road is not just very hard, itís very, very hard. Missy hasnít been home in three months and is definitely looking forward to being back in Norfolk, Virginia and seeing her mother and cousins.
On the inferior bus, Yelawolf is showing off a picture of his wife and son to Matthew. He really misses them and isnít sure about being away from home when his son is less than a year old. In the end, family is all that matters. Ding, dong, I hear foreshadowing at the door.
The bus stops at Old Dominion Recycling where it is raining. The contestants and Missy call it a junkyard. I canít disagree. Missy has left a letter about one manís trash being another manís treasure. Missy tells us that itís important to remember where you came from. As one of the contestants explains, they each have to use items in the Junkyard to build an homage to something that is an inspiration to them. I would have been really impressed if heíd worked the word homage into a rap. Missy arrives with her dancers, who she explains she likes to have around her to help her make decisions, to see what the contestants have created.
At first, I thought the task sounded like a dumb idea. As it turned out, it allowed us to learn a lot more about the contestants and was generally quite touching. For the most part, Iím not going to bother to describe the strange creations but rather what the inspiration was. Frank explains to Missy and her posse that he built a tribute to his father who he feels very close to and who taught him everything he knows. Nicís is dedicated to his seven year old son whose name, I swear to God, is Legend. Nic misses his son a lot. Nilyne confesses that when she was younger she thought about killing herself. Her piece is a tribute to music which helped save her and with which she hopes she can help save other kids.
Eddieís is a tribute to the strength of black women which he eloquently explains to Missy and friends. Deltrice is also touched and says she didnít realize how deep some people were. Eddie may have been quite sincere. However, my cynical side did note that he was explaining this to several black women. Suck up much, Eddie? Iím betting in retrospect Yelawolf wishes he would have paid attention to the proper sucking up technique. But, Iím getting a little ahead of myself. Marcus scares me a little. He earnestly tells Missy and crew that the devil is at all times trying to enter his life, but his family and God keep the devil out. Marcusís tribute includes some spent shell casings which represent the devil to him. He reveals that he grew up in a single parent family and that sometimes they lived in a camper, but his mother always kept a roof over their head. Missy, who has abandoned the ever present suckers for the moment in favor of a piece of gum, says ďCool.Ē
Melissa must have been kicking herself after seeing the other contestantís tributes. Her tribute is to being a kid. She built a fort because she liked to play in forts growing up. It seems just a wee bit shallow in comparison to the others. Neither Nilyne nor Missy is impressed. Matthew has created a piece dedicated to Jesus Christ. He tells Missy that he wakes up and goes to sleep every day with Jesusís death on his mind. Whoa, there Matthew. Thatís pretty heavy stuff for a guy whose day job is dressing up as a character at an amusement park. At this point, I start to wonder if there is a niche market for Christian hip-hop. Iíve never heard of such a thing, but hey who had heard of Christian rock before the 1980ís? My notes on Deltriceís piece were a little sketchy. She built a tribute to her parents. Her father used to hustle and be a bad guy, but her mother stayed strong. Now her father is a pastor. Everyone lost it a little after her explanation.
Yelawolf has created a tribute to his grandfather who was always there for him and is also quite emotional. Yelawolf never had a father. Jessica gives him a big hug. Jessicaís tribute is to all of the people who gave her unconditional love. Her inspiration is what sheís been through. Jessica hears other people talk about their moms and their pops. She never really had either. Her mother was a cocaine addict and she never knew her father. She has chosen to represent herself as a bike chained to the floor because people often judge her by her outside appearance. Jessica clearly touches everyone. Akil delivers a little much needed levity tinged with sadness. His inspiration is being a black Jew. He does a little rap explanation about what thatís like for him that includes lines like ďIím the beast of burden but Iím also the boss. I eat stuff like bagels covered in hot sauce.Ē Missy is clearly amused. The challenge ends with a big old group hug including Missy, and after several of the contestants talk about how touching it was, Nic explains itís the first time the contestants have all taken themselves to the highest peak. If a fort (as opposed to the FORT) is Melissaís highest peak, sheís not long for the bus.
My, What a Big Mouth You Have!
Everyone goes to a Chinese restaurant for dinner with Missy. Akil says dinner is really nice after all the sadness during the challenge. Missy has a lot of fun busting on all of the contestants for their lack of chopstick skillz, and tells the contestants that sheís excited to be home because she has cars she hasnít been able to drive and fish she hasnít seen in three and a half months. Either it took them over two weeks to get to Norfolk or Missy is exaggerating a little. Everyone seems to be having a good time until Yelawolf opens his mouth and inserts both his feet. He tells Missy that heís not really feeling the track from the last performance challenge and that heís sure sheíd never produce anything like that. Apparently, he missed the part last time when the contestants were specifically told that Dallas and Missy herself developed the track. Missy tells him he better put it on mute and you better not mess up. Even Nic thinks Yelawolf overstepped his bounds. A still clueless Yelawolf confesses to us that ďRegardless, the track is still whack.Ē Deltrice is smart enough to say we all need to watch our pís and qís around Missy and everyone else. Hereís a dictionary Yelawolf. I suggest you look up the word ďtact.Ē
The next morning, Steve, in his usual warm and fuzzy manner, bursts on to the bus to make sure everyone is awake. Think drill sergeant on the first morning of boot camp. They are going to see Missy do a concert at her old high school, Woodrow Wilson. Hmmm, do I smell a set up? Yep. When they get to the school, Mona appears to tell them that Missyís not feeling well so they will be filling in for her and putting on a concert. Not only that, itís a performance challenge. The contestants are called out in teams. They are given some time to practice together out in the parking lot. We get to see some of the practice interspersed with scenes of the students filing into the auditorium, and scenes from a Missy Elliot video. A few of the contestants have looks of terror on their faces.
School Assemblies Sure Have Changed Since My Day
Mona goes on stage and reads a letter from Missy to the assembled audience explaining the contest. She then introduces the first group of contestants, The Freaks. No, thatís not a name I made up. Thatís what Jessica, Marcus, and Deltrice decided to call themselves. The trio starts to perform. Then Deltrice commits a major no-no. She misses her cue and Jessica asks to have the music start over. The judges are not impressed. Other than that, the Freaks performance isnít outstanding, but itís not horrible either. Horrible comes later. Next on stage is Adelphia consisting of Yelawolf and Akil. Yelawolf is rapping so fast and not really enunciating words. I could decipher about every fourth one. Akil, on the other hand, is really well-received and while rapping equally as fast is understandable.
The third team to perform is Nila, made up of Frank B. and Nilyne. The two of them do an excellent job. The interactive dancing was especially impressive. Frank appears to have recovered nicely after almost getting booted off the bus after the first performance challenge. Next is the most brutal performance of the evening put on by Double E in the persons of Melissa and Eddie. Melissa stumbles badly and her dancing is mediocre at best. The boos start to rain down from the audience. Melissa and Eddie stick it out on stage through their entire routine. By the end, they are getting thumbs down signals from the kids in addition to the boos. Afterwards, Eddie asks Melissa if she could hear the music. She says no, and he says neither could he. Actually, there was an eff bomb in there, but this is a PG-13 site. The final team on stage is Pretty Soldiers composed of Nic and Matthew. I think they are the best act of the night. Teena Marie and all the adolescent girls agree. Somehow, I had envisioned Matthew dancing like Tigger. In fact, heís damn good. Nic eats up the attention from the teenyboppers and lifts up his shirt for them.
After Nic and Matthew finish their performance, Mona comes back on stage to introduce a suddenly well, Missy. Yeah, didnít see that one coming. Not. Nic and Matthew are still on stage along with all the other performers who have been called back on the stage and Nic is eating up the attention. Not for long. Missy quickly whispers to him that ďIf you think that youíre a [expletive deleted] superstar, you got it like messed up.Ē Apparently, Missy has a thing against 29 year old immature men who wear towels on their heads and think they are playahs. That or Nic has been hitting on Missyís dancers and sheís feeling a little protective. Either way, my already favorable opinion of Missy goes up a notch.
Back on the bus, Nic is a little panicked. He tells Nilyne and Matthew that ďthe one thing I didnít want to do is piss Missy off.Ē Nilyne feels it is her role as his television girlfriend to say ďYou do what you do best you be Nic.Ē Not such good advice if you want him to stick around Nilyne. Perhaps you should have tried, dial it back a notch with Missy or even the smallest bit of humble would help or you are clearly irritating her. Nic, not being delusional, recognizes he has a problem with Missy. Akil confesses that he thought Eddie and Melissa were a little weak: her especially. Was it the booing that clued you in Akil? Frank was willing to swallow his pride for the possibility of the record deal.
The judges have to decide which two of the contestants to nominate for possible elimination by Missy. All three of the judges thought the performance challenge was very different and fun. Mona brings up Deltriceís flub at the beginning of the Freaksí performance. Teena thought Akil was the star of Adelphia. The judges agree that Yelawolf never stepped up and did his part. The judges agree that Frank and Nilyneís performance was off the hook and hysterically funny. Not so shockingly, none of them liked Double E. They were disappointed that Eddie didnít step up and grab the mike from Melissa when she was so clearly struggling. The judges loved Pretty Soldiers and thought Matthewís was the best overall performance. He had fun and it showed. We flash to Yelawolf on the bus saying that he misses his baby and he has a lot of serious decisions to make. He thinks he can make a lot of money or make a little and be able to raise his son the way he wants. I have a little more doubt about his ability to make a lot of money if he wants than he does. When we return to the judges, they have made their decision as to who they are going to put up for elimination.
Mr. Bundle of Fun, Steve, calls the contestants off the bus and lines them up. Mona ominously announces what they all know. Two them are about to have their tour lives on the line. She then tells them that being in the spotlight can be a good thing. For two of them, it wonít be. Round and round the spotlights go until they stop on Melissa and Yelawolf. Missy will make the final decision. Mona tells them that they will each have a chance to plead their cases with Missy. Eddie says they can either make asses of themselves or prove themselves.
Foreshadowing rings the doorbell yet again. Canít it tell Iím busy watching the show? Eddie then says ďI donít think Wolf is worried.Ē Yelawolf looks a little worried. Perhaps, heís regretting mouthing off to Missy at the restaurant? Yelawolf goes to meet with Missy and the dancers first. Missy tells him that she thinks his rhyme skillz is hot, but he doesnít stand out. She then asks him what makes him think he should stay. Now he decides to go for the humble approach telling her I donít feel any more deserving than the others, but itís in his soul. He punctuates his less than fervent speech with some little chest thumps.
Melissa comes in second. Missy tells her that she thought she was going to have to take her to the hospital a couple of times, but she seems to be getting stronger. Melissa gives an impassioned speech about how this is her life, her passion. Missy tells her that she guesses sheíll see her in a minute.
As usual, the two who are potentially going home are standing outside the bus while the rest of the contestants watch through the window of the bus to see who wonít be getting back on the bus. Missy comes to deliver her verdict. She tells the two of them this is a hard elimination and that both yíall did great today while twirling her signature square pop. She turns to Yelawolf first and tells him his skillz are crazy and hot, but she expected what he gave her at the performance challenge. Missy says to Melissa you got your little soul going on. ďI honestly thought you was going to runoff the stage.Ē Missy thought Melissaís sticking out the performance was unexpected, so she decides Yelawolf is off the tour. There is a collective, ďNo!Ē from inside the bus. Someone says, ďI canít believe that.Ē Believe it. Learn from it. Donít disrespect Missy in the future.
Melissaís reception on the bus is less than warm. Yelawolf tells everyone to hold their head up after Marcus raps on the bus window at him. Yelawolf takes it much better than the other contestants. He says that he knows what it takes to become something big. He holds his head up and says he was really ďtore up a lot.Ē This to Yelawolf is a blessing. Itís not losing. He loves his wife and kids and canít wait to get home and hold them.
Each team has to take one classic country song and revamp it to perform. The scene from the Blues Brothers where they sing Stand By Your Man behind the chicken wire flashes through my mind. Someone makes a comment about line dancing and Achy Breaky Heart. Mona asks each performer who the weakest link is. We hear the names Melissa, Nic, and Frank mentioned.
Missy gives the final word saying Yelawolf didnít do anything for me. He had no stage presence. Lack of charisma can be a problem for a performer.
Next week either Mannawolf or I will be back on tour. In the meantime, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com