Tuesday night's installment of American Idol released a tsunami of disappointment that flowed forth from Idol fans in a way not seen since the Gloria Estafan-Nightmare-Eardrum-Bleeder of Season 3.
The theme Songs From the 21st Century went over about as well as Songs You Sing In The Shower would have. In fact, probably worse, after all I'm sure many of you would like to know what song Ace pantomimes while bathing. (For the record, his continued sign language interpretation of each song he sings has begun to wear thin. And the whole reaching-out-to-the-camera hand gesture is beginning to look more desperate than dashing.)
Yes, last night's only saving grace was the fact that it was squished into a single hour - I cannot even imagine the fan backlash had we all been subjected to two hours of audio agony.
From Pickles inability to understand a single word she sings, to Smurfette's pathetic booty bouncing, to Paula visually molesting poor Ace and his scar, to Elliott-In-Da-Hood - American Idol hit a huge performance iceberg last night. Unfortunately, there's one too few life jackets on this Titanic...
With the lights set to "Dramatic" and the music set to "Pulse", Ryan opened the show with the ominous words, "Last night they faced the wrath of the judges, tonight the contestants face the results that could end their dreams of stardom. The drama is about to begin..."
That would have almost been believable if the pan of the contestants hadn't shown them all wearing their big, goofy perma-grins...
Ryan took the stage, apparently taking my advice to whack his mafioso stylist, this time dressed in a light gray suit, pinstripe white shirt and striped tie - basically dressed for a big job interview with IBM. Note to Ryan: Somewhere in between Sopranoland and Corporate America lies the correct look...
A quick camera shot in the audience revealed past Idol contestants Jessica Sierra and Justin Guarini?!? How does he keep showing up at these things? He must know the bouncers...
Introducing the Top Ten, assembled on the Settees of Stress, the set-up was thus:
Back Row: Elliott, Lisa T, Ace, Cheekbones and Bucky
Front Row: Mandisa, Chris, Pickles, Taylor and Smurfette
I found the arrangement interesting - no one on the front row, in my humble opinion, seemed even close to being in danger. Mandisa had turned in the most engaging performance from Tuesday, Chris is simply a solid fan favorite, Pickles is just hot and stupid (a lethal combo apparently), Taylor is, well, Taylor, and Smurfette, Beyonce-bashing aside, turned in another decent vocal. (Note to self: Close eyes when she performs)
The back row contained the most likely to join Jack at the bottom of the Atlantic...
Introducing the judges, Randy continued to work the striped aisle from the Big and Tall shop, in addition to keeping his optometrist in business - how many pairs of glasses can one person own? Simon was Simon, honoring the solemness of the occasion in a black sweater vs the white he has worn the past few weeks. And then there was Paula...
Paula Abdul, dressed as a stop sign with cleavage. And I can only figure that she has negotiated a deal to buy her fake hair by the pound. Her head literally grows bigger each night and those extensions do not come cheap. They may look cheap, but they do not come cheap. But perhaps it is worth it to her - she seems to be using it more and more to hide her glassy eyes...
A meaningless recap of the kids' busy week was highlighted by Bucky getting eye shadow applied and them all getting to partake in a blatant plug for Ice Age 2 (opening this Friday, in case you missed that part). The recap wrapped up with an all day photo shoot in which Buckilocks was back in full hot-rollered-hot-oiled glory, and Lisa T called them "one big happy family".
(It's called foreshadowing, kids. Seriously, you could practically hear the Titanic ripping in half beneath her.)
A 6.2 million dollar commercial break and we came back to our weekly date with the devil: The Ford Video. This time Satan had the kids singing reggae - Give A Little - to cops, old people, young kids, cars, buildings, cats, sewers, you name it. And in the most unflattering camera shot since MTV first aired Video Killed The Radio Star, Mandisa was filmed, IN JEANS, from below.
It was awful. Yes, I realize she is working it for all the full figured ladies out there, but puh-leez. The only statement that is coming across is, "I don't know how to dress.", and I'm certain that is not what she is wanting to say.
The commercial continued with Taylor getting groovy with a granny and Lisa offering a popsicle to a tatooed circus freak with a beard of snakes and earrings from the Smurfette-My-Taste-Is-Up-My-Ass collection.
Unfortunately, just because the video ended, did not mean the retina abuse did. Ryan quickly introduced the guest star of the evening: Shakira (with Wyclef Jean), on hand to sing Hips Don't Lie. No Shakira, they don't, and yours looked decidely plump this evening. Seriously, this girlfriend, who is usually insanely sculpted and sexy, looked more than a little soft around the middle.
As the stage opened, I was momentarily confused. I was waiting for Shakira to come out, but what emerged was a belly dancer with a huge light bulb for a head. Come on - I talk about this every season - the backstage lights are bright enough to line a runway and they are placed badly - at a minimum, Ryan always opens the show looking like his head is on fire.
Shakira's performance confirmed what we have all felt coming - our little American Idol is all grown up. It started with Ace crooning the words "warm and naked" several weeks back, continued with Lisa T singing the word "damn" Tuesday night, and now a half naked Shakira writhing around while Wyclef sang, "Hey girl, I can see your body moving."
Basically, AI has hit puberty and now has hair on it's testicles.
Am I the only one who felt the line being crossed?
The song moved on, although I truly did not understand a word, but then I was constantly distracted by the disturbing screensaver of someone with gold plated eczema all over their back. It must have been itching worse than regular eczema, because the person was undulating and gyrating constantly...
Wyclef hit the platform behind the judges, sang to Paula and then turned to Simon, singing about four inches from his face. Poor Simon, he was truly in hell.
Thankfully, the song ended, and the best Ryan could offer was, "I feel guilty watching." Me too. I mean, I had so many other things I could have been doing...clipping my toenails, filing my taxes, puking on my shoes...
Finally, a recap of Tuesday night's abysmal offerings - made bearable by the wonders of the TiVo fast forward button, and the lights were dimmed for the results.
Ryan went quickly - naming everyone in the front row: Mandisa, who was wearing the squirrel from Ice Age on her head, Chris, Pickles, Taylor and Smurfette, who was again decked out with hubcaps on her ears and an Olympic gold medal from Torino around her neck.
All were SAFE, and the moment he said it, you could practically hear the sphincters tightening in the top row.
AFTER. THE. BREAK Ryan quickly told Vanilla Elliott (no longer dressed like 8 Mile, but more like 7-11) that he was SAFE. Eminelliott was happy, but his mom needed fitted for a straight jacket, as she was literally pulling her own hair out.
Lisa T, no big surprise here, was invited to center stage for the Bottom Three. Ace was next to join her, yes America, he may be hot, but he sucked the air out of a good lung last night. That left Cheekbones and Buckilocks, who looked like he was ready to go line dancing if this AI thing doesn't work out.
In a stunning upset - we're talking Boston Red Soxx winning the World Series; Jasmine Treas outlasting LaToya London - Bucky was SAFE and Cheekbones was sent to center stage.
She looked insulted by this turn of events and I honestly lost a tad of respect for her. Sure, she can sing circles around old Buck, but her Tuesday night performance was not exactly her shining moment. And honestly, she deserved to be in the bottom three if only for that hideous tan/black/shirt thing she had worn anyway.
Ace was quickly shuttled back to the safety of the couch cushions - it must have been his lucky rhinestone horseshoe belt buckle - leaving Lisa (not shocked) and Cheekbones (even more irked now). Ryan then asked the world's stupidest question, "How does it feel to be standing here?"
"Uh - gee, Ryan, let's see. It feels freakin' awesome! I mean, WOW, I might get my ass kicked to the curb by America, have my dreams of superstardom squashed in front of 30 million people, and then have you ask me to sing while choking on a steamer trunk of tears in my throat, but hey! I feel GREAT! Should I bend over and grab my ankles now? Bring it on!"
How do you think they feel? I'm just guessing here, but I would imagine that their bowels have immediately turned to water, their heads have filled with cotton, their skin is practically vibrating and they can actually hear their blood moving through their veins.
Lisa was gracious in her response, accepting the inevitable, but Cheekbones babbled some emotionless crap about "God's plan for me". Um, no Katherine - I doubt God has AI on speed dial, at least I hope there are bigger concerns in this messed up world for Him than whether you advance or not. No, your fate is in the hands of a bunch of 12 year old girls with rhinestone covered cell phones.
Ryan made the cut quickly - Cheekbones SAFE, Lisa outta here. Watching the video of her "Idol Journey", the camera cut to Smurfette, who I am now firmly convinced is the devil. She had tears streaming down her face, but zero compassion behind her eyes. If anything, her eyes screamed, "That's right bee-yatch, look who's over here!"
Lisa, dressed in black JEANS, a gold satin top, and twelve inches of hair extensions, sang Because of You one last time, and it was again evident that it was Because of that song that she was going home. It was simply wrong. Too big, too current, too out of her vocal league. She was joined by the Idols on stage, the camera cut quickly to Paula, hiding behind her wall of hair, and then POOF, my Lisa was gone. (I was left with one nagging question: Do they have to give back the fake hair when they get voted off Idol Island or do they get to keep it as a parting gift?)
I'll miss her infectious smile - she truly was a bright spot this season. But now I can look forward to impending demise of Smurfette - there is a huge iceberg heading her way in the form of voter hate. It's out there, I read it in my email everyday, it's talked about on the radio, it's posted all over the internet. Her ship is sinking fast...
Next week the kids sing country songs - I predict lots of Faith Hill, JEANS, eye shadow and more hair extensions. What do you think? Will it be Yee-haw or Yee-awn?...