Tuesday, January 22, 2008

With Two Hours You Get Eggroll. AI Re-cap 1/16/08

We’re back in Dallas for evening two of the audition episodes and I am still woefully behind in my re-caps. While I’m watching and blogging this episode, the new one is being tivoed. At this point, with two episodes a week, I’ll never catch up. I’m so irrelevant. And on god-damned jury duty this week, so while I could be home catching up on trying to entertain all of you, I’m stuck in a courtroom with people who need instructions on filling out their personal information sppon-fed to them. In Spanish.

Anyway, back to Dallas- home to Kelly Clarkson. Notice how AI is trotting her out as hometown girl made good, yet Clive Davis would rather win a pissing contest and refuse to publicize and promote her latest CD then suck it up and make millions in an industry where sure things are few and far between. If you want to know who is responsible for the failure of “My December,” look no further than the octogenarian with the temperament of a four-year-old.
I gotta tell you, I don’t think I’m going to ever get tired of seeing Taylor Hicks’ head half cut off during the opening credits. But now we’re back in Dallas and look, another drag queen. WTF? And oh yes, this is the town where the dim-bulb mother-to-be went into labor waiting to audition and named her baby “Idol.” Finger crossed it has some birth defects so she can come back next season and exploit it!

Jessica Brown is a stay-at-home mom from Long Beach, Tx. Her two daughters are unfortunately healthy, but thank goodness Jessica has a past drug problem to trot out for America to pass judgment and forgiveness on. Jessica is a former meth-head whose drug picture eerily resembles that of another fucked-up Jessica- Sierra. Jessica found solace during rehab in Carrie Underwood’s anthem to schmaltz, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” (so, natch, we get a shot of Jessica driving her children in the car. I waited for her to let go of the steering wheel and call on the big guy to do some cruise control, but no such luck). Jessica’s mom is there to testify to her daughter’s sobriety, but it seems everyone is keeping hush-hush about that herpes sore on Jess’ lip. Jesus, Take the Wheel. And then stop off at a CVS and pick me up some Valtrex.
Jessica, superior in her sobriety, is singing I’ll Stand by You. She has a pleasant, if unremarkable voice. I dunno, but I’m just so jaded this year by the voices I’m hearing. Jessica has the entire family outside waiting to see her bring out her golden ticket and throw her a party and she does not disappoint. Hey, I’ve never had a problem with drugs or alcohol. I am self-sufficient, pay all my bills on time, don’t break the law, am polite and courteous (except on here) and I even recycle. Where’s my fucking parade?

Some droopy heffalump named Paul Stafford is flailing around in the waiting room, desperately needing attention. Again I ask- where’s my fucking parade? But no, I’ll waste our time on Paul. Paul is a maintenance man at a baseball field and is also a member of the roller-coaster enthusiasts. He’s also either borderline retarded or fully socially retarded. He caterwauls Wait for You by Elliott Yamin. Is this supposed to be funny? What makes this guy unique in the endless parade of doofuses who come here seeking their 30 seconds of fame. Idol producers, if you’re going to make us sit through these bogus auditions, you’re going to have to raise your game with them because they’re really reeking of old hat. The judges are overly kind to Paul, so I’m guessing he must be borderline retarded. On his way out, Paul says he was happy Simon wasn’t down on him because Simon likes to go down on people. No, hon, that’s Ryan.

Beth Maddox is up next and she compares herself to Kelly Clarkson in voice and looks. She certainly has the arm meat. Beth was a singing waitress at a fondue restaurant and will be singing “Beautiful Disaster,” by Kelly. Well, she certainly has a voice that could cool molten cheese. One thing that could heat it back up again is the rack on Beth’s comforting friend and her boobies bounce in sympathy for the three no responses from the judges.

Elena Whittaker has been told she looks like Carrie Underwood, but thinks Carrie looks like her. She sings country, but can sing other styles, as well. She sings a Faith Hill song and actually makes it sound bearable, which is more than I can say for anything Faith has ever sung. The judges don’t fall all over her, but pass her through. I think she deserved it.

By the way, I don’t know what it is about Ryan tonight, but he looks like he’s been caught out without any make-up on. He also has a bit of a pot-belly.

Okay, creepy alert. Bruce is a 19-yr old virgin who has never even kissed a girl. Out here in Hollywood, we call that Ryan Seacrest. Bruce’s dad brought him up to wait for that one true woman who was meant to be his mate for life. So much so that he has given Bruce a chain with a key pendant. Bruce’s dad wears the chain with the heart pendant, saving it to give to Bruce’s future wife on their wedding day. No word on whether Bruce’s dad will be joining them on their honeymoon, taking the bride for a test drive or even offering to carry a baby for the happy couple as a surrogate. Like I said- creepy. Bruce’s dad asks if Ryan is going to keep an eye on him if he goes out to Hollywood. Ryan says it better than I ever could- “You don’t want me keeping an eye on your son.”

Bruce tells the story of his purity to the judges, hoping it will score some points, but even Paula seems creeped out. Now Bruce is telling us he isn’t even going to kiss a girl until his wedding day. That will be his first kiss. Bruce, hon, let me tell you something. No one is going to attach themselves to you without having even kissed you. Not even the Princess Leia girl or the chick who lives with her mother in a one room studio is that desperate. Oh yeah, also- Bruce can’t sing. It’s all melisma and no talent. Bruce gets rejected across the board and somewhere in Texas, a postal service staff or college dorm wing shudders in fear and anticipation.

Pia is a model, musician and a back-up singer (and probably a ringer) but she has a good voice and should be put through and does get put through.

Brandon Green saves his fingernail clippings. Clearly, this is why he was let through, in hopes to give Seacrest an “Emmy moment,” which he botches from the get-go:

Ryan- Hey. There. What’s your. Name?

Brandon- Hey, I’m Brandon.

Ryan- Do you have. Any? Hobbies. (Pure Shatner delivery)
Brandon- Well, now that you mention it…

So Brandon takes out a bag of teeny, yellowed fingernail clippings. My first and only thought- Fuck, we’re only 37 minutes in. Another hour and 20 to go. Brandon sings “Rich Girl,” and has a decent voice. Simon doesn’t like him and Brandon almost blows it with Randy by telling him and Paula that Simon is the one who tells the truth. Luckily for Brandon, they take the high road and don’t bounce his ass out of the room without a ticket to Hollywood, nails and all.

Were you sitting there thinking- Gee, it’s been a good twenty minutes or so since I’ve heard a sob story? Well, then I have amazing news for you. Our next contestant, Kayla Hatfield, is a mother of two who was in a horrific accident when she was 18 and lost an eye (but not the irritating baby-voice, nor the desire to make clothing out of macramé projects and remnants from Rhoda Morgenstern’s old pantsuits.) I’m guessing Kayla never had the ability to sing, pre- or post accident, and she’s suitably dreadful performing a Janis Joplin song, but Evil Simon comes out to play and sends her through to Hollywood, then gives Evil Randy a titty-twister until he acquiesces. Paula is having none of it, but it’s 2-1, so poor Kayla is made fun of and will probably lose her job at the Piggly-Wiggly to fly to Hollywood (or worse, go down on the plane over and lose the other eye.) all for naught.

Katie Malloy is the last singer of the day and practically blows it by telling the panel that she can do impressions of singers. After doing a passable Britney Spears, she is asked to do Katie Malloy and then does a flawless Carrie Underwood. The problem is, she’s Katie Malloy. She finally rights it as herself and gets through, though I think Simon is either over-praising her as the best they’ve seen so far or we’re truly in for a dire season.

Heffalump # 2 is Douglas Davidson, whose father hates him, REALLY hates him because he sings so well. Douglas is being very careful with his voice because he once read that Christina Aguilera said if you use your voice improperly, you could ruin it. Too late. Douglas butchers some Bon Jovi after taking a ridiculous amount of time to “warm up.” Douglas is horrendous and will not take no for an answer, nor will he leave the stage, finally being escorted from the building. Ridiculous.

Angela Riley is too fucking perky and I want to slap her. Her new husband is a hot fucking model and is way too good for her, her dreadful voice and her thick tree trunk legs. They actually bring the husband in to watch the humiliation. I expect to hear divorce proceedings were begun by week’s end.

Kyle Ensley is the next dope to be made fun of- a complete geek that actually has a much better voice than I could have ever imagined. I thought his whole thing was a gimmick and a joke, but he seems to be on the level.

Tammy Tzinski’s personality is about as flat as her limp hair, a fact that the producers are willing to pull out all the stops to exploit. Tammy thinks she has an R&B style, yet chooses a Celine Dion song as her audition piece. The wrong Celine Dion song, since she claims she will be singing “The Power of Love,” yet bleats out a wobbly, tuneless “If You Asked Me To.” Next.

Colton Swon has a name like a porn star, eyebrows the size of killer earthworms and orders his clothes straight from the Hot Topic website. He also says things like “GIT-tar.” In short, I want him. For a couple of hours, at least. He doesn’t have a terrible voice, but is very untrained and doesn’t have a lot of potential. But there’s something the judges like about Colton and it’s his pre-fab look. And I concur. He’s in.

I’ve already forgotten about Colton after I’m introduced to our next contestant, Drew Poppelreiter, a down-homey, hayseedy farm boy who’s just too aw-shucks to be true. In 10 years, he’ll be the kind of man they write bad chick-lit about, but right now, he’s dazzling us on the stages of Idol. I’m barely listening to his ho-hum version of a George Strait song I’m grateful I don’t know because I’m so dazzled by his eyes and his accent. Me likey. However, Drew talk-sings more than he dazzles, vocally. Simon sees it, Randy doesn’t care and Paula pushes him through just for spite. I’m not complaining.

Kyle Renick is very gay, but I don’t know if he’s aware of it. He’s a dorky teacher with “guyliner” and of course he’s singing Kelly Clarkson. Guh-ay. And he can’t sing. Of course, the judges blame it on his “scary eyes,” which only makes Kyle try and sing again at no one’s invitation.

We’re coming into the home stretch, which means it’s time for the montage. “Since You’ve Been Gone,” makes the walk of shame tonight, with reactions from the judges that don’t even begin to match the folks auditioning. It almost makes me pine for the heady days of Brokenote Mountain.

Nina Shaw is from Kelly Clarkson’s hometown of Burleson, TX. She’s singing a Whitney Houston song. Strike One. Her voice is strike two through six hundred. Her second song is “Feelin’ Good,” and she was markedly better. I’d put her through and Randy and Paula do, to the chagrin of Simon.

Well, they’ve waited five seasons, but the producers have finally ensnared themselves a new William Hung. I don’t think any show has roasted the Asians (outside of The Simpsons) as cruelly as Idol has. The thing is- if you saw this guy, what more is there to say? If you didn’t see it, then you dodged a bullet. But I have good news, children- Idol is only an hour next episode. See, sometimes when God skewers an Asian, He also opens a window. Or something.

Seagulls out.

Yes I Can-Can AI Re-cap 1/15/08

Gosh, is it January already? This has always been the most depressing month to me. Besides the bleak weather, there’s always been the precipitous drop back down to reality and obligations after the heady, irresponsible time between Thanksgiving and New Years. No one really seems to take anything too seriously during those six weeks and the air is ripe with anticipation, overspending of money and thoughts about how I’ll get my life back on track, just as soon as these next few weeks are over.
So, how was your year? Mine wasn’t so hot. After spending much of 2007 prepping my second feature film as a writer-director, funding was yanked three weeks before the start of pre-production. Silly, when you think about it- the budget was around a half-million dollars, we had some name actors and producers attached. It should have been a smart investment, a no-brainer; so close, I could touch it, and now everything is in limbo and I, like several hundred other people in this industry, am out of work and pondering my future. And then, like a cracked streetlight with a rapidly fading bulb, strong enough only to attract the moths- American Idol appears on the horizon. Do I return to blog and recap for another ultimately pointless and disappointing season? Is there anything left in this trampled upon, jaded, cracked and bleeding heart of mine? You bet your asses. A friend of mine suggested I get out the virtual tin cup and solicit for PayPal donations to keep the blog running, something to help keep me solvent until I find another means of employment, but I find that somewhat distasteful and smacking of charity. Plus, I think there’s nary a dozen of you who come to visit. I’d be homeless in a week. And then where would I plug in my laptop? If I had, say, millions of readers, I might do something like implore you all to send in one dollar each to help finance the film. Wouldn’t that make for a fun Sundance story? But ultimately I’d not reach my goal and I’d have to wind up returning the $7.12 cents I raised, and well, I’ve had enough humiliation for one year. So I return to you and remain blissfully free of charge. So let’s get our Idol on.

Before the show has even started, the controversies are swirling. Accusations of the producers bringing in ringers to help boost what has to be the slew of diminishing returns in terms of hopeful contestants have been flying fast and furious around the internet. It’s been rumored that several contenders that have been passed on to the Hollywood round have had major label deals, one of whom was even nominated for a Grammy award in a duet with Alicia Keys. Distasteful, to say the least, but knowing we’ve pretty much drained the Earth of its untapped natural singing resources, wouldn’t you rather have a handful of Grammy nominee nobodies than 12 Sanjayas and Haleys? Or even one Sanjaya and Haley.

Speaking of nobodies, I’m happy to report that both Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee were dropped by J Records and Clive Davis. Taylor had hugely inflated sales reports, claiming to go platinum, but in reality, selling less than 700,000 units of his debut CD. McPhee fared even worse, selling roughly 365,000, and I would say a good portion of both of those sales are moldering somewhere in the basement of 19 Entertainment. Their dismissals are extra sweet for me, considering that Elliott Yamin, the person I fervently backed during Season 5 as the best singer in the competition, possibly of the entire show ever (honestly, only Kelly Clarkson, Tamyra Gray and LaToya London could be considered as good, if not better) tapped out in third place in favor of non-starters Hicks and McPhee.

Daughtry and Carrie’s huge sales aside, the bloom is certainly off the Idol rose, and stinking up the joint most recently were Jordin Sparks and especially Blake Lewis. Blake’s CD, “Audio Day-Dream,” is off the Top 100 Album chart after a scant five weeks. Jordin’s CD is hanging in there in the mid-40s, based on the strength of her Top 10 single, “Tattoo,” but neither singer is going to make you forget the heady sales figures of, say, Mandisa. These are who were chosen in favor of Melinda Doolittle last year, based on their potential to connect with the public and sell records. Not that Melinda would have done any better, sales-wise, but who would you rather listen to for an entire CD? I rest my case.

This week’s recaps are coming a bit late to you all due to the fact that I came down with a horrible fever and virus last week and could barely sit upright, let alone be witty. Then again, if this show is as bad as I was told, I might wish I had the excuse. Here we go…

Seven cities, tens of thousands of goobers, more drag queens than absolutely necessary and a handful of ringers to get to Hollywood. Ryan Seacrest says that someone in the crowd is on the verge of becoming a superstar. Is that claim at all valid after the quadruple debacles of Hicks-McPhee and Sparks-Lewis? Damn Daughtry had to ruin it for all us sourpusses. Seacrest looks very hoe-down at the auditorium, with an Okie haircut and a gingham checked western shirt. You know they helicoptered him in to record that 10 second intro bit, then ushered his ass the hell out of there. They probably had an emergency facialist waiting on the tarmac for him.

By the way, did anyone notice Taylor lost his solo slot in the opening credits? He winds up sharing a screen with Fantasia and Carrie, both of whom got their own solo photos earlier in the sequence, AND the top half of his head was cut off. Now that is cold.

Tonight, we kick off in Philadelphia. How long before we get to hear “Philadelphia Freedom” butchered by someone? My guess is it’s gonna be done in the montage by all the bad singers. The judges are introduced and if anyone enjoyed the delicious awfulness that was “Hey, Paula,” on Bravo over the summer, you know that everything myself and everyone else has been saying about Paula is 100% true. Simon is wearing another man-boobilicious t-shirt and Seacrest is wearing a shirt that has “Monarchy” printed across it; perfect for a queen. And Randy gained back even more weight.

Someone who lost weight, 200 lbs of it, is our first contestant Joey Catalano. It’s most certainly impressive and you hope this will be an inspiring story with a happy ending, but one look at Joey geeking it up in the private room and trying to do kickstands, we know it’s not gonna end well. Plus, he’s wearing cuff links. Shockingly, Joey has a pleasant, if derivative voice, aping Adam Levine just a little too closely on Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.” He gets through with three yeses, so perhaps we’ll get to see how sharpeish his folds are. I don’t see him moving past the Hollywood rounds, but you know- at least we didn’t start with a joke, so I’m grateful.

Uka is our next contestant. He’s originally from Egypt. Apparently, all the dentists over there are busy building another set of pyramids, because Uka’s teeth have parted like the Red Sea, with a wide center gap. Uka will be singing The “Mr. Bee Gees,” because they make him feel special. Uka says he loves American girls and that his friend, who is a girl, tells him “Uka, you have sexy face.” Ok, so we’re going for the Borat jokes. That’s our Idol, cutting edge til it hurts. A black woman in line asks Uka if he loves women, to which he shyly answers yes. She then asks if he has kids. He pauses and says he’s not married. I guess he’s still new to the country, as the woman points out- “You ain’t have to be married to gots kids. That’s all that’s goin’ on up in here.” That last sentence just blew apart my spell and grammar check, so I hope it was worth it.

Uka is a virgin and he wants to wait until he can love a girl from “the hair to the navel.” Or nipple. I couldn’t understand him, even though he punctuated it with a round circle made by his fingers. Could be either one. In any case, if that’s as far as he wants to go, he’s never gonna pop his cherry. But I suppose with a tooth gap that big, there are other ways to please a woman. Poor Uka is going down for a hard fall. Make no mistake, Uka is not good and he malaprops the lyrics of “How Deep is Your Love” (by Mr. Bee Gees) worse than Sam Goldwyn, but he’s not half as terrible as I expected and if he spoke English better, he’d be borderline. Paula squirms her way through a delicate rejection, egged on by Simon, and Uka takes it all in stride, back to Hoboken and a blissful, antiperspirant-free existence.

Melanie Nyema is up next and her claim to infamy is that she was a back-up singer for Taylor Hicks on his most recent tour. So she’s seen the ravages and disappointment of the competition up close. Melanie is no Melinda Doolittle when it comes to back-up singers wanting to step into the limelight. She barely wrestles “Unwritten” to the ground before cutting it short. Paula likes her, Simon could care less and Randy says yes. Somewhere in a trailer in Memphis, Taylor Hicks is spilling grape Nehi down his undershirt, getting potato chip crumbs in his boxers and muttering, “You’ll see, girlie,” under his breath.

James Lewis is a tour guide in downtown Philadelphia, which means he puts on a frilly shirt and a tri-cornered hat and is pitied by local Philadelphians. James also has a bad lisp and wears a mustard colored suit that he bought at Arsenio Hall’s last yard sale and which is at least one size too big for him. He says he feels the judges will think he has a very unique voice, a cross between Paul Robeson and Eddie Vedder, which means he’ll be stuck hustling tourists for a little while longer. James sings “Go Down, Moses.” Or he’s imitating Kirk Douglas, post-stroke. I wasn’t sure. Paula and Randy are howling with laughter; Simon is speechless; James is shocked at their reaction. Once the judges get ahold of themselves, James begins singing again. Or he’s imitating Rosie O’Donnell in “Riding the Bus with My Sister.” Again, I wasn’t sure. Outside the venue, James vows to return next year and sing something more contemporary. If that isn’t enough to keep you passing the open windows, I don’t know what is.

We return with a handful of rejected wannabes, my favorite being ZhingZhong Yu, if for no other reason than that name. Junot Joyner is up next, singing “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues,” by Elton John, giving it that overly melisma-ed treatment that I hate so much. I think anyone who makes a monosyllabic word sound like the first line of a tone poem should be automatically disqualified. He gets through, anyway, but he seems sweet and unassuming and he’s likely doomed, anyway, so who am I to step on someone’s dream? Oh, right.

Jose Candelaria from Bayonne, NJ, is up next and sings “Un-break my Heart,” in full Spanish. I predict this one is going to go somewhat far into the competition, milking this gimmick until we’re all sick of it. I vote for “already over it.”
Lastly is some bland boy named Jonathan Baines, who has nothing dynamic about him, whatsoever, and is also chewing gum. He gets through.

Temptress Brown is a 16 year old football player with Nubian-colored skin, a blonde, Motormouth Maybelle wig and an outfit straight out of the Della Reese collection by way of Carvel. Ryan can’t believe she’s a middle linebacker and actually gets down on the floor to approximate some football moves that you know he paid some teamster $50 to demonstrate for him right before the cameras rolled. And he still looks like he’s doing a cheerleader move straight out of a Toni Basil video. Temptress could break his dainty ass in half and braid her weave with his crumbs. Temptress is auditioning for both herself and her mother, who is very sick. Actually what she is is about 600 lbs, so I don’t have much sympathy for her. They wheel Momma Brown into the waiting room, replete with oxygen tank (or it could just be filled with Arby’s scent until she can get out for her next snack). Momma doesn’t have a camel toe so much as a mooseknuckle and if she could throw her voice and make that thing sing, I’d send her to Hollywood in a hot minute. It’s sweet that Temptress loves her mother so much, but I’d feel a little more magnanimous if I didn’t suspect the Brown family hired the forklift in order to curry favor with the judges and get a little extra face time. Temptress should worry less about singing for her mother and more about keeping her mouth shut so she doesn’t wind up the same size as her.

Temptress is singing “’I Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’, by Jennifer Hudson,” and from the sound of it, she’s still wearing her athletic cup. Painful. Now I know lard-ass rolled Momma down here for sympathy. The judges were very sweet to her, more than she deserves, but she cries, anyway. Even her tears are fat. And smell like butterscotch sauce.

Mark Hayes fashions himself something of a comedian. All his audition did was waste money on a royalty for “White Christmas,” just to make a stupid cricket joke.

Udi is a joke and wants a way to get on television for no reason. He is so obviously a rehearsed plant, even the judges reactions look thought out. This guy is such a fake douchebag, let me not give him any more publicity.

Oh goody, time for my least favorite part of the show- the montage. Instead of Philadelphia Freedom, the song chosen is “I Love Rock n Roll.” Not quite sure what that has to do with Philly, but it gives us an opportunity to see a bunch of idiots and freaks who got through to the room in favor of some people who could probably sing.

Next up, some skank looking for her fifteen minutes by the name of Alexis Cohen. Alexis is 23, looks 17, sounds 50 and acts like an infant. She’s from Allentown, PA, and makes an effort to tell us the town was the subject of a rock song by Bon Jovi (Billy Joel, actually). Now, if you did not watch tonight’s episode, you may be wondering just what Alexis looks like. Well, if Ace Frehley from Kiss mated with both Connie Stevens AND an open sore, you’d probably wind up with Alexis Cohen. Alexis lives in a one room studio apartment with her mother, two cats and a dog. Mom has the bed. Alexis sleeps on some square lump in the corner, probably a compost heap with an IKEA sham thrown over it. She’s studying to be a vet. She wants to knock the judges “on their feet.” Sam Goldwyn strikes again.
Alexis compares herself vocally to Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and Pat Benatar. She sings “Somebody to Love,” by Jefferson Airplane, though she basically does a full on Grace Slick impersonation, bringing nothing of herself to it, nor any artistry. She’s not bad, and if she knew how to sing, knew how to use her instrument, she maybe could develop into something. Right now, she’s just a one trick pony, and not one suited for this show. The judges are fairly decent to her in their rejection, but she seems stunned, which is either an act or she’s honestly never watched the show before. She walks out and the “tirade” begins, bolstered by having a free camera within inches of her face. Alexis begins cursing Simon, but her delivery is pure cue-card reading, so either she’s memorized this or someone’s breaking the writer’s strike. Alexis decides she’s going to go for “actressing,” but if this tirade is any indication, she should stick with veterinary medicine. If she can find an animal brave enough to let her touch them.

Oh my god, only one hour down. I’m exhausted. And hour number 2 begins with a sob story.

Angela Martin is 26. She got pregnant in her senior year, which is bad news for her but good news for the personnel department at Denny’s. Angela’s daughter was born with something called Retts Syndrome, which somewhat resembles Cerebral Palsy. Already I hate this woman who would exploit her helpless, innocent, handicapped daughter in order to advance in a singing competition. Angela excruciatingly details for us the laundry list of complications for her daughter in dealing with this disease. I’m just about to pick up the phone and pledge a twenty when I remember I’m not watching a telethon, but American Idol.

Angela’s family surrounds her, all wearing t-shirts with her image emblazoned upon them. We hear from Angela’s sister, Latrina. Yeah, that’s right, Latrina. I have no idea what Latrina said, I’m so delighted by her horrific name. She doesn’t hold the title for long, as Samotta Acklin, a friend of Angela’s speaks next. Yeah, that’s right, Samotta. I’m thinking no one in this neighborhood went home with a mini license plate when they visited Disneyland. The whole family sheds copious tears and we’re treated to loving close-ups of Angela’s poor, slack-jawed daughter, who probably has no idea what’s going on around her. All to get on Idol. Shame on this entire family.

Angela has a decent voice, if- as Simon pointed out- some irritating vocal habits, but the fact is, she would have gone through without all the daughter-exploitation. And we might have liked her better. At this point, I’m rooting for her to fail.

Alyse Wojichiechowski is up next. She’s already making a fool of herself in the waiting room before even stepping in to audition, so it stands to follow she sings like a sack of potatoes. As does Teresa Anello, Brandi Park and some dumb old fuck named Milo Turk, who is taking the big-bird lady slot from last year. Ryan pretends to look stunned when Milo tells him he has a very important message to deliver, a song called “No Sex Allowed.” I don’t think Seacrest should try out for “actressing” either. Nor should Randy, Paula or Simon, as they try and act like they didn’t know Milo was coming in three days ago. I’m fast forwarding.

Kristy Lee Cook is up next, a generic blonde hick, sans the accent. Kristy had to sell her best barrelhorse in order to come to Philly to compete. Kristy looks a little like Kyra Sedgwick and spreads the melisma thick as molasses on an unendurable “Amazing Grace.” Look for her to be this year’s McPhee. Simon tells her she looks like someone who would be singing in the 60s. No idea where that came from.

Some schmuck named Ben Haar has come dressed in a sort of Princess Leia/Return of the Jedi outfit covered by a cloak. Somehow, Randy and Paula convince him that if he waxes his very hairy chest, they may be able to concentrate better on his audition. Ben goes off in search of some Nair and further humiliation while we listen to Pedro Riviera, Shekhinah Bathyudah (who really needs to join Angela Martin’s group of friends and family) and Paul Mauterano waste more of our precious time. Paul sings a really gross, stalkery song he composed for Paula and I’m already over this season, though I have to appreciate his Wilona Woods reference.

Beth Stalker is up next. She’s 28 and a stay-at-home mom and when she was a mere tot, recorded an album of Jesus songs under the name Little Liz. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume her parents forced her at gunpoint. Beth sings “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” and sounds very promising. Simon says he doesn’t believe she’d stand out in the competition, but I would have to say that of all the people we’ve heard tonight that did make it through, hers is the only voice I remember. Thankfully, Randy and Paula send her through to Hollywood.

Ben is back and freshly waxed and gets out two words of “Don’tcha” before the plug is pulled by Simon- and good for him. As Ben trots off, Simon mutters, “All because that fat lump wants to be on TV.” Well, if you guys would stop letting all the other fat lumps be on TV, then perhaps you could have prevented this one.

Chris Watson is next and though he’s cute and can sing, his voice is completely sound-alike and unmemorable. But he’s exactly what the show is looking for, so of course, he’s through.

Christina Tellisano is dressed up like Princess Leia and Mary Catherine Gallagher. I hope she gets nervous and sticks her fingers under her buns and smells them. She can’t sing, and is borderline psychotic, but the judges actually let her down easily. She actually bursts out of the room, crying as her humiliated grandparents try and comfort her. One of her press-on buns comes loose and she curses a blue streak while Grandpa stands by and flaccidly fondles the hairpiece.

Brooke White is last to audition. She’s a nanny to twins in Van Nuys and says that not having her own children at the moment (did she pawn them to fly to Philly?) it’s wonderful and rewarding for her to be with them. Brooke has never seen an R rated movie and is too pure to be Pink. Brooke is not terribly impressive. It’s more of a “singing in the shower” voice, but the gimmick of purity gets her through.

Christina Tellisano is still bitching and moaning about diversity while we see Idol’s version of diverse choices spill across the screen. Hey, I have jury duty tomorrow, so I’m headed to bed. Thinking back over the past 3 ½ hours of watching and blogging, I find that my prediction has come true; the only person I have any memory of from this evening is the girl Simon said would be unmemorable.

Until I catch up to the next post- Seagulls out.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Boobies! AI Re-cap 3/1/07

20 up, 4 down. Everyone is crammed onto the stage, grateful to not be smelling Paul Kim’s feet or the residue from last week’s performance. All have mustered fake smiles except for Stephanie Edwards, who looks terrified. Guess she logged onto dialidol.com. Chris Sligh, who was at the opposite end of the stage in the first shot, has now been shoved to the bottom of the stairway, possibly so Seacrest wouldn’t have to navigate around his big belly on his way down the steps. Ryan says they hate to see anyone go (we’d like to see you go), but that they have a great show to help ease the pain. He announces that Kellie Pickler will be performing tonight, then visibly gulps when he gets no studio audience reaction and begins applauding to help prompt them. Cut to a shot of some shifty looking audience members and someone who looks like Ellen Travolta, shifting uncomfortably in their seats and half-heartedly clapping.

Well, the show’s numbers may be strong in the Nielsens, but the voting numbers haven’t improved. 32 million, same as last week when there were four more contestants to spread it out over. My feeling is that once the audience gets to know these people, the voting numbers should increase as they become passionate to keep the ones they love from going home. But besides Melinda, who in this bunch is there worth even finding the phone for, let alone actually dialing it.

I love the recaps of the previous nights’ shows, because it’s stuff I can fast forward through. For instance, I can guarantee Ryan is still trying to get someone to believe that story about how much better the guys were this week than last. No wonder nobody buys this guy is straight. I can also predict the moments that were shown, like Antonella sassing Simon. And I wish I could fast forward through what’s about to happen now, but alas, I wouldn’t be a proper re-capper if I cheated. This week’s group sing-a-long is “Joy to the World.” Haven’t they already done this one before or are they keeping to this week’s theme of recycled songs (true to form, that was a recycled quip.) I need coffee for this one. I‘m finishing up the last of my holiday stash of Coffee Mate Pumpkin Spice non-dairy creamer. Nestle’s busts a few xmas flavors out in November and they usually sell fairly quickly and once they’re gone, they’re gone. So I hoard because I love everything pumpkin, even those two big gourds on Lakisha’s chest last night. Gimme pumpkin or go home.

So- Jason begins the song with his growl-sing and looks so proud of himself for managing to sound just a’ight. Then Sanjaya joins in a three-part-harmony that officially starts our trip to Gaysville. Joni Mitchell can’t get up that high. I’m convinced Chris Richardson has some sort of tremor in his left hand because he can never seem to keep it still. Timberlite, there are some songs you don’t need to wigga out on and this is one of them. Quit throwing the imaginary dice and just sing poorly. And here comes AJ Tabaldo and Gaysville just turned into Homopolis. Tabaldo sings, “You know I love the ladies.” Yes, to dish with and go shoe shopping. My guess is Bruce Gowers has a wicked sense of humor and tried to get Sanjaya to sing that line, but had to settle for the lesser of two she-males. Lakisha must have just stepped on Gina’s toe because the poor gal is howling in agony. Antonella is unfortunately teamed with Sabrina. Coincidentally, Hedwig just yakked up a furball. I’d love to stick around and see how this number ends, but the line for the water flume is gigantic and I wanna go get my picture taken with the guy dressed up like Chip. Or is that Dale?

Elimination number one and it’s one of the guys. I really want Brandon Rogers to stick around, since he’s the only eye candy left. Ryan asks if it’s any easier this week. Why does he ask the questions everyone in the world knows the answers to and no one cares?

Phil is safe. Tell the maids to make up his coffin for another week. Chris Sligh is safe. Jason is safe. His dad is more feeble looking than Ed McMahon and the corpse of Uncle Miltie put together. Ryan asks Blake to stand and the poor boy says to Seacrest, “Give it to me,” completely unaware of the torrents of laughter he’s unleashed on home audiences everywhere. No Blake, Ryan takes it. The beat boxer is safe. After trying to fake out Jared, Ryan reveals that he is safe. That’s a shame. He seriously sucks. Ryan looks so proud of himself- see how sneaky I am!! Nick Pedro is the first victim of the evening (if you don’t count the 31 million people who had to sit through “Joy to the World.”). No great loss, though I would have sent home Jared well before Nick. The judges have some nice parting words for Pedro though I find I can’t remember what he sang on Tuesday until he starts it up again right now- “Fever.” I liked this on Tuesday and I like it now. I have to say he’s doing even better with it this evening. If he had used this much energy the first time around, it might be the Geico caveman going home. Jason is crying, knowing full well his fat, hairy ass should have been on the chopping block weeks ago. Nick gets a great parting gift, a full on hug from Brandon Rogers, who’ll probably be joining him in a few minutes.

Ladies’ turn. Ryan asks Jordin how she’s holding up and, being seventeen, Sparks doesn’t realize he actually isn’t interested, he’s just filling time. She goes on to tell us all about her day until Leslie kicks her in the leg and signals for her to shut up.

Stephanie is up first and she’s safe. She’s very lucky because she chose a crap song and tanked on it. She can’t afford to make another mistake like that. Glocksen is also safe. Sabrina Sloan will be sticking around, as will Melinda Doolittle (duh). Seacrest rips the band-aid off Alaina Alexander nice and quick. He doesn’t even announce what she sang last night (he probably forgot, just like the rest of us) or what the judges had to say (how many different ways can you phrase “suck-ass?”). She is going home. He ought to give her a swift kick in the ass, to boot, for wasting our time. No tears from the other contestants at Alaina’s ouster. Guess she wasn’t as liked as Nick, who had three on camera cries attributed to him tonight. Ryan finally gets around to reminding us what Alaina sang and what the judges thought. When he says that Simon felt she “ran out of steam,” Alaina snaps back, “Clever.” Oh, I really want to hit this girl. I wish one of the judges would mention her utter inability to take criticism. In reality, the only reason she made it this far is her looks. Alexander exhorts her competition to sing their butts off (translation- do exactly the opposite of what I did) and we finally get a few pity tears from Jordin, which can more likely be attributed to being 17 than any love for Alaina. Alexander can’t even get through the song and makes the other girls come hug her. She’s surrounded by non-losers as the back-up singers take over the song. I so want Lakisha to emerge from the huddle, snacking on an arm and declaring, “That’s some good white girl!” Lord, Jason Head is crying again. Permission to fast forward through this. I still have to sit through Kellie Pickler. Seacrest asks Paula to give Alaina some parting words of wisdom, probably because Randy and Simon would have ripped her a new one. Something strange happen to the sound and Abdul is rendered completely silent. It’s the most coherent I’ve heard her in years.

Seacrest announces more info about the American Idol challenge and shows last week’s winner in the audience, some toothless hillbilly named Sean Jones who you know probably made motorboat sounds with his lips as the plane was taking off and who likely smells just a tiny bit of cow dung and unwashed ass.

It’s Pickler time. Wearing a low-cut dress and what looks like an Eva Gabor wig from the new line catering to younger white trash, Picks jiggles out with a newly minted boob job. Nice to see she has her priorities straight. Sure Grandpa, I know you raised me and all and you need a new tin roof, but my ta-tas come first. Simon is seen secretly discussing Pickler’s cleavage with Paula while Kellie and Ryan engage in some painfully pre-scripted banter about sushi. I’d say Burns and Allen’s reputation is probably safe, but it’s nice to see that the head writer for “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour” has finally landed another gig.

I gotta say, Kellie did a lovely job with the song, which I found better than any of Underwood’s singles. It was nicely written and very simple and sweet. I’m impressed. Hell, I’m floored. It actually made me want to hear the rest of the CD.

Another guy is about to be cut. Please not Brandon. Please not Brandon. Chris Richardson is safe. Bleagh. Yeah, Brandon is safe!! That means Juliet and Juliet are about to be broken up. I’m telling you, I know Will & Grace is off the air, but there’s only so much swish the country can take. Ryan makes Gay & Gayer take center stage. We start with Sanjaya whose hair is styled like a cross between Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Kristy McNichol. Sanjaya’s reviews are all pans, while AJ Tabaldo had two of the three judges on his side, but clueless moms and nine year olds everywhere have decided to punish us by keeping Sanjaya around for another week. That’s fine, he’s the easier of the two to make fun of and AJ was suck city, anyway, though he sings circles around Princess Jasmine. What stinks is that if Leslie is the next girl to go, we’re going to have to listen to “Feelin’ Good” two times in a row. It’s like tempting Beetlejuice. Once again, we’re treated to Jason crying. Either he’s overly emotional, or he keeps plucking out a beard hair in order to get more face time. Oh well, AJ, if they ever do a revival of “Torch Song Trilogy,” your name should be the first up to play Marina Del Rey. Night Night, dear.

Final cut of the evening. I have my fingers crossed for Leslie, but I fear she’ll be on the chopping block and we’ll have to endure another horrid week of Haley. Lakisha is safe. Haley is also safe, so bye bye Leslie. Down to Antonella, Leslie and Jordin, who’s still talking about her day. All three step downstage. Antonella is safe, which is ludicrous. The poor girl has given two hideous performances. I want to be in her corner and I am about the photos, but it doesn’t give her a free pass to sing like a dying seagull. Leslie’s going home and I applaud her for not giving in and playing the sympathy card regarding her lupus. I’m sorry to see her go and I hope Haley chokes on her bitchy attitude and gets eviscerated next week. Well, I’ll be sure and do my part.

Seagulls out.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

DooPlenty! AI Re-cap 2/28/07

Before we begin tonight, I’d like to pose a question to any readers out there who follow “America’s Next Top Model.” I, myself, don’t watch the show and never have but I came across five minutes of it tonight and it struck me- This is, what, the 500th season of this show or something and, other than being used for other Viacom-based reality shows, have any of the winners actually gone on to do anything else, you know like actual modeling? Just wondering.

Well, after last night’s show, in which everyone tried to pretend the boys didn’t suck as badly as they did last week, there’s a small glimmer of hope- we get to see the ladies perform. I get to hear the lovely, lilting tones of Stephanie and Melinda, feel sorry for Antonella and rag hard on Alaina, Haley and Gina. Such fun. Randy is wearing a fugly-assed paisley shirt that looks like Prince’s old backing band threw up on him. Even more hideous is the lie he keeps perpetuating that the guys are actually starting to do well. I thought more about it today and there wasn’t one performance I’d even remember or want to watch again. Not one single standout. And it’s way too late in the competition for these guys to not have their game faces on. Forget nerves, forget inexperience. There isn’t a star performer in the bunch.

But you came here to see me beat up the girls and, good news, we’re starting with a doozy- Gina Glocksen. Don’t forget, it’s still dedication week. Let’s see if Gina decided to single out a song to anyone else but herself. Surprise, surprise, Gina has a boyfriend. She found someone who can put up with her me-me-me bullshit. Gina yammers on about how she wasn’t going to audition for Idol this year because she felt so rejected from the years before. There’s that entitlement creeping in. Gina is in the dreaded first position, so let’s hope it works its magic, though to be honest, I could put up with her ass for one more week if it meant dumping Haley and Alaina. As much as Gina bugs me, I can at least stand to listen to her sing. Taking another page out of her strategy book, Gina decides to sing “Alone,” by Heart. You really can’t go wrong with an Ann and Nance song; hell, even Melissa McGhee managed to keep her ass in the game with one. Is it me, or are the songs cut down even shorter this year. It doesn’t even feel like Gina was onstage for longer than 60 seconds. Anyhow, it was not very good. The first verse was pitchy and not confident, then when she got into the chorus, the back-up singers harmony blew her out of the water. She managed to hit one of the three money notes toward the end, which should be enough to carry her through, but the sad part is, Heart songs are no longer a sure thing. I can still remember Carrie Underwood’s performance of this song two years ago. It gave me chills and she never came close to duplicating that talent on the show again, though she’s done well where it counts. Randy liked it but called it pitchy. Paula brought up Carrie Underwood and then seemed to completely lose her train of thought and Simon said he was confused as to what image Gina was trying to go for, because that concerns him more than the singing, sometimes. He thought Gina was edgier, which brings up the first hoot-worthy comment of the night, made by Randy- “That song IS edgy.” No, hon, that song was a Number 1 Adult Contemporary single. Edgy it is not. Your fucking hideous shirt is edgier than that song. Paula starts going off on what Gina is wearing, completely obliterating the point Simon was trying to make. Ryan insinuates himself into the conversation, trying to get Gina’s boyfriend to propose. Hey, Ryan, if I were you, I’ be concerned with my own sham marriage preparations than trying to stick my nose in to other folks’ real business. This one needs to buy the best beard money can find.

Alaina Alexander is next and she answers Ryan’s hard hitting question about song choice by saying that this week she picked a really well-known song. Uh, “Brass in Pocket” is a really well-known song, sweetheart, you just stabbed it over and over with a dull butter knife. Song choice ain’t your problem, lack of talent is. Alaina has chosen “Not Ready to Make Nice,” by the Dixie Chicks, which she dedicates to her mom. After the first three notes, I know I’m not ready to make nice, either. Shaky, off-key and completely drowned out by the back-up singers during the chorus. And a really bad dye job. Why is she here again? Alaina’s voice is so weak, there are times when I can’t even hear her over the ladies in the back. This is probably a blessing in disguise. Now she’s shouting. Paula is in her cups and standing and clapping. If this chick doesn’t go this week, there’s no justice. Randy says it was a mess and Alaina sticks her tongue out. Paula baldly lies and says it’s a hard song to sing, which even Randy can’t swallow. It’s not hard to sing, Paula, the back-up singers were handling it just fine. Simon said Alaina ran out of steam, which causes her to roll her eyes. Sweetie, if you can’t take criticism, especially when it’s warranted, go the fuck home. Paula feels bad and plays the “you look beautiful” card. They keep cutting back to some bitch sitting next to Alaina’s mom in a crocheted cap who keeps throwing out these nasty looks to the judges. Family, gotta love how blind they are. Ryan lets Alaina rebut (fuck this rebuttal shit that’s become de rigeur this season. Take your criticism and deal with it.) Alaina whines and moans to the judges, “What would you like me to do?” Go home.

Lakisha is next. I’m curious as to why she didn’t go first since she went last the previous week. Phil went first last night after being in the final spot the week before. Lakisha is dedicating her performance to her 90 year old grandma. Grandma looks damn spry for 90! Good for her. Grandma is in “luv” with Ryan Seacrest, so perhaps dementia is beginning to set in. Lakisha is singing “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and unlike Gina with Carrie, after Paris’ wretched performance of this song last year, there’s nowhere to go with it but up. I’ll be honest, I would have preferred hearing a better voice such as Melinda do this song. Lakisha was fine, but definitely off-pitch in spots. She’s better at handling lower range than Mandisa was, but she still resorted to some shouting toward the end when it wasn’t necessary. She gets a pass this week with hopefulness about her future prospects, but I have still yet to be blown away by her. The judges all liked her, though Simon wasn’t crazy about her orange top. Pardon me, “Salmon,” as Seacrest is quickly and emphatically pointing out. Umm, I’m gay and even I couldn’t tell the difference. I’m surprised Ryan didn’t look over at Sanjaya and go- back me up princess, it’s salmon, right?

Melinda Doolittle is next and I see they’re subtly trying to make the audience make a choice between black female divas. Big mistake. There’s room for all of them, especially this year, where the show would be nothing without them. Melinda is the first person not to dedicate her performance to a family member, and I love her for that even more. Instead, she’s singling out her two best girlfriends, though when we find out one is her vocal coach and one is her stylist, I don’t know that’s going to go over too well with poor, Midwest working folk. Doolittle is singing “My Funny Valentine,” and I see we already have a theme week going- Recycled Songs- not that after Melinda’s first two notes will anyone really be able to remember Constantine’s anemic take on this one from two years ago. Okay, that performance gave me literal chills. I still have gooseflesh. Folks, if you saw this, you just witnessed the birth of a star. Amazing. I’ll happily sit through the rest of the chaff if I’m allowed to hear Melinda once a week until the end of the season. The judges agree and I have definitely found one person I would eagerly pick up the phone for. Excellent job, Ms. Doolittle.

Thankfully, the show has decided not to address the nastiness going around the internet about Antonella Barba. I, for one, am in full support of her. I don’t think she did anything wrong and I think the photos, real, photoshopped or otherwise, have nothing to do with the competition. That being said, she still sang like shit last week, so I’m not giving her a pass on that. Tonight’s song is dedicated to her foxy brother Vincenzo. Barba is singing “I Turn to You,” and I already know before she sings one note that she’s going to get slammed for doing an Xtina song. Okay, whoops, she’s singing “Because You Loved Me,” by Celine Dion, so just repeat that comment and sub in the French bitch’s name. I kept that blunder in there because I wanted to illustrate just how much those two songs sound alike, and not in a good way. Barba is marginally better this week, but much like Jason Head before last night, she’s run out of chances. Over her shoulder, I keep seeing Haley Scarnato smirking during the performance, as though that skag has anything to feel superior about. Shouldn’t you be at a bris singing Hava Nagila? By the way, Antonella looks really hot this week and her dress is sexy. Randy thought it was terrible, Paula thought she improved considerably and Simon thought she was worse this week. Antonella makes an enemy of Simon by saying that she’s not going to listen to him because he rejected Jennifer Hudson and look what happened to her. And the Chris Sligh Out of Your Depth Sass award this week goes to… Simon swiftly corrects her that the voting public tossed Hudson out, not him. Only Antonella’s notoriety will save her if she makes it through another week.

Ryan makes a gay panic joke about Sanjaya’s hair (8) before introducing Jordin Sparks. Thanks, Ryan. Here I am trying to listen to Jordin dedicate her performance to her brother and all I can picture is how badly you want to give a pearl tiara to The Brown Bunny. Jordin is babbling and crying and just sing already. You’re seventeen fucking years old and your dad is richer than Croesus. You wanna cry, come spend a week at my house. Jordin is pitchier than a Tilt-a-Whirl and singing yet another song done by someone last season, “Reflection,” which I think was done by Ayla Brown, but I can’t be certain. Jordin hit her power notes, but the rest of the performance was kind of a mess. Not good tonight. And now she’s crying again, and I hope it’s because she realized she tanked it. Randy says the pitchiness doesn’t matter, Paula uses the word “really” 1700 times and Simon manages to get in another veiled dig at Alaina.

Finish slopping the pigs early tomorrow, because Idol’s special guest will be Kellie Pickler, whom they are desperately trying to push into legitimately going gold, not just lying about it. That’s five minutes I can fast forward through. Five minutes I wouldn’t dare fast forward through are coming up next in the form of Stephanie Edwards. Ryan wants to know all the gossip. Using the word catty won’t do much for your image, bub. God, Seacrest just has no discernible skills. Stephanie dedicating to parents. Over the whole dedication thing. Just sing. Out of the gate, Stephanie is completely out of synch with the music. I have no idea what this song is but it’s a terrible choice. It makes Stephanie sound worse than she is. It’s too staccato to show off any sense of vocals. I still have faith in Edwards, but she made a serious blunder. Oh, okay, this is a Beyonce song, which explains the staccato vibe. That bitch can’t handle more than two notes strung together without needing a breath and a cocktail and someone to fix her weave. Ladies, NEVER sing a Beyonce song if you want to show yourself off. Okay, I now fear for Steph’s safety. Randy is nuts, saying it was SO much better than last week. Stephanie fucking KILLED last week. Thankfully, Paula and Simon give her a pass. I wouldn’t have been so generous, but we need Stephanie in this competition and I think they realize that.

Ryan is trying to climb the steps to the ladies’ holding area and almost steps out of one of his lifts. Seriously, they may need to get him an elevator if his little legs can’t handle the trek. Leslie Hunt is next, dedicating to Grandpa Bob. She’s singing “Feelin’ Good.” Apparently, we’ve run out of songs from last season, so now we’re feeding on last night. I gotta say, Leslie is definitely growing on me. I think she sang this really well, though I’m not sure what the fly-overs will make of the scatting. She totally blew AJ Tabaldo out of the water and performed it more masculinely, to boot. Definitely one of the best of the week for me. Randy didn’t like it. He says it was pitchy, and he’s running on fumes. Paula loved it and Simon gets out one of the best zingers in a while when he says the reason she liked it is because the scatting reminded her of herself judging the show- unintelligible. Of course, none of this helps Leslie when she really needs it. Come on, guys, help this girl out. Simon says that no one will remember the performance. Oh, I will. Ryan comes out with a pathetic attempt at humor, trying to interpret the scatting Leslie did. He’s getting harder and harder to defend, those of you who still like him, isn’t he?

Scarnato is next. Her dedication is to her fiancée Bobby. Haley says he’s not good with her being so far away. Awww, that’s so sad. Let’s help out the happy couple and send this hack home. Good lord, Haley is actually tryin to do some Whitney- Queen of the Night. Honey, you aren’t even Queen of three in the afternoon. If she makes it through this week, she ought to send a fruit basket to each of the backup singers, who are rescuing her like her own personal Bodyguard. Haley’s power notes were wobbly, at best, and I think what’s missing from her performance is her asking for everyone to give a big hand for the new Mr. & Mrs. Tzeitelbaum. Randy says the thing he doesn’t like about the song is that there are more background parts than lead. Simon quips that that’s why Haley chose it and doofus Randy believes him, asking Haley if that’s true. Haley gets all superior and sneers at Simon. Send this bitch HOME. Randy says no good, Paula doesn’t try to discuss the actual performance tonight, other than it was better than last week. Simon says the effort was there, though it was a little manic and you can just see Haley completely checking out, mentally. After Simon tells her she’s one of two or three very vulnerable girls tonight, we actually see that familiar McPhee-I-just-smelled-a-fart look cross her face. Ryan tells Haley that her fiancée enjoyed it and the camera cuts to him with an expression of “I’m gonna dump this chick as soon as she gets booted, so please stop showing me.” Haley starts to well up, trying hard to garner sympathy where none is due. No, hon. I feel sorry for Antonella. You, I could care less about.

God, one more and I thought we were home free. Sabrina Sloan, or as Ryan says- “THIS. IsSabrinaSloan. Performance dedicated to Grandma. Sabrina is talking completely out of her nose. Let’s hope she doesn’t sing that way. Man, she has one fugly profile. And it’s another Whitney joint, “All the Man That I Need.” Sabrina has an okay voice, but she runs out of gas halfway through each of her power notes, so she should probably use them sparingly. She gets incredibly wobbly. All in all, she wiped the floor with Haley in terms of doing a Whitney song. Randy and Paula liked it, Simon not as much, but still likes Sabrina and thinks she’ll be back next week.

Okay, my Tivo just cut off, so if anything else happened, I missed it. Boo Hoo.

My rankings 1-12

1- Melinda Doolittle
2- Leslie Hunt
3- Lakisha Jones
4- Sabrina Sloan
5- Stephanie Edwards
6- Gina Glocksen
7- Jordin Sparks
8- Haley Scarnato (only because the backup singers helped)
9- Antonella Barba
10- Alaina Alexander

Who should go: Alaina and Haley
Who will go: Alaina and Leslie

These 90 minute shows are too long. Without all the dedications and Seacrest shtick, this coulda been an easy hour.Seagulls tired.

You Can't Stop the Bum Rush. AI Re-cap 2/27/07

Well, I was actually looking forward to tonight’s show and re-cap until I wound up going out and now have to start this mother at 11:30pm. The fact that Seacrest is going to be crowing about Jennifer Hudson’s recent Oscar win as though he’d accomplished it, himself, isn’t going to help any. Yes, for those of you lucky enough to miss the news, Jennifer Hudson won the Oscar for Dreamgirls on Sunday, not for giving any sort of performance that even closely resembled Effie White, but for doing a verbatim imitation of Whitney Houston in “Waiting to Exhale,” hands on hips and head waggling so much, I wanted to dress her up like Jesus and put her on my dashboard. But you know, it makes for a good story and since when have the Oscars been about quality first? They hired Ellen DeGeneres to host. I know Ellen is a lesbian with a capital LLLLL, but would it kill her to put on a dress. Hell, Jodie Foster is as butch as they come, but even she shows up looking like a woman, not a Detroit pimp, circa 1973. But at least her clothes made me laugh, which was more than I can say for her monologue. I’ve heard knock-knock jokes that were more cutting edge.

Okay, Hedwig and Rufus are glaring at me. It’s their bedtime and I’m keeping them up, so let’s get going. Tonight, the remaining ten male contestants (or nine and Sanjaya- hiyohhhhhh!) will compete. Let’s hope they can at least muster their C game so it won’t be as painful as last week. Seacrest is dressed in an outfit rejected by Ellen for the Oscars as being too femme as he claims that for the guys, this week it’s personal, whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean. Sanjaya has gone full tilt Michael Jackson, wearing a toddler-catching fedora. Jason Head has been stress eating. And of course, there’s Ryan mentioning Hudson. They show a photo of her holding her award. It looks like she must have rushed to the ladies room and changed out of that shiteous brown dress she was wearing, because she has on a gold lame’ number in the picture. Jeff Foxworthy is in the audience tonight, possibly looking for new “You know you’re a redneck…” material. Jeff, you’re about a season too late, but I’m sure someone can hook you up with Kellie Pickler’s phone number or the location of the jail her daddy is in.

Randy says he knows the boys are going to be a lot better this week than last. Paula immediately switches coke cups with him and makes a mental note to have the on-set P.A. fired right after the show. Paula tells the guys to have fun and say they are celebrities now. Funny, I can’t even remember half their names and I just heard them 60 seconds ago.

In order to waste the requisite amount of time to fill out 90 minutes, the contestants are asked to dedicate their performances to someone who inspires them. Phil Stacey, who is up first, dedicates his to his Navy Battalion. Yes, that’s right. Seeing as how Lakeisha has the corner on children and now knowing that all the other military folk have fallen by the wayside, Phil feels confident that his naval status is a great tool to help him overcome his general unlikeability and frightening resemblance to Max Schreck. I’m hearing more about Phil right now than I ever wanted to learn about all of the contestants put together. Shut the fuck up and sing. And sing he does. It’s John Waite’s “Missing You,” one of the few ‘80s songs I’ll never be nostalgic for. Phil is suffering from the same problem he did in his initial audition and every time thereafter- a very rough start to the song. He manages to right the boat, but it’s dull sailing. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this guy’s voice, but he’s a complete and utter bore. And late in the game shouting isn’t going to make me remember a nap-inducing performance. Randy lies through his teeth, because this week the guys are going to be excellent no matter how much they have to color the truth. Can’t have the masses thinking they shouldn’t be tuning in to watch Tuesday’s shows. Simon tells the truth and gets booed for it. He calls Phil a very good karaoke voice but thinks that his popularity will keep him this week. I agree. It’s not quite time for Phil to go. Let’s dump him at #11 so he can’t go on tour and has to go back to do the job he signed up for- naval recruit.

I’d rather get a hysterectomy than watch this new Fox show The Wedding Belles.

Ryan in the red room asks the guys what the buzz has been since last week’s show. Instead of the obvious answer- that someone is trying to smear Antonella Barba with fake blow-job photos, they answer some innocuous blather about singing. Jared Cotter, who’s next, says he’s going to be more adventurous and sing some Marvin Gaye. Wow, way to take a risk, there. If this show doesn’t pan out for Jared, he could always get a job as one of the cavemen on the Geico commercials. Jared is dedicating his performance to his mom, who made his lazy ass go to the audition. Jared does sound a lot like Marvin Gaye- after he was shot in the stomach. Painful and strained when it isn’t dull. I’m gonna finish this one out playing fetch with Hedwig. I know Simon has been trotting out the karaoke offense a lot this season, but boy is it so worthy. Randy liked it and his behavior is just off the fucking wall tonight. Simon calls it “Love Boat.” Jared tries to pretend he’s sexy and Ryan tries to pretend he’s actually had sex to this song. Jared, if you’re going to dress up in a blazer and slacks, you might want to wear something other than white tennis shoes. Your outfit was as corny as your performance.

A.J. Tabaldo is up next and is dedicating his performance to his parents. We see an Olan Mills family portrait of some extras from “Chico and the Man, so I assume those are the folks. Wonder if they know he’s gay? Tabaldo is singing Nina Simone’s “Feelin’ Good,” and I wish I knew voodoo so I could raise her body from the dead and send her down to the studio to kick his craptacular ass. I actually knew Nina Simone for a brief period of time and she would slap the fuck out of this candy ass for what he’s doing to her song. A.J. starts sashay/shantaying up and down the stage. I feel like we’re watching Ugly Betty’s nephew five years from now. But Kieran, how were the vocals? Well, best of the night so far, which isn’t saying much. AJ can sing, there’s no doubt. What he can’t do is perform, which seems to be the downfall of all of the guys this year. The judges compliment his voice but they all feel like they’re dancing around something they’re afraid to say. Simon sort of touches on it when he says AJ looked “strangely comfortable” (i.e. gayer than a pair of Madame’s jeweled panties) and when Ryan starts to question the comment, Simon cautions him to drop it.

Continuing the West Hollywood Pride Parade, Sanjaya Malakar is up next. He’s dedicating his performance to his grandfather. And we see there’s some Caucasian blood in the family. They show a photo of Sanjaya as a little boy and he looks like a creepy chick even at age three. Sanjaya smiles too widely and I find it unsettling. He decides to croon tonight, performing “Steppin’ Out.” It’s not even karaoke, more like high school variety show. Simon, you can have that one with my blessing, mix it up a bit with your usual standbys. I’m half expecting three jocks from the football team to stand up and throw eggs at him. Randy didn’t like it and oh my god- we’re in agreement about the high school thing. Simon hated it even more. Sanjaya says he chose the song for his grandpa and gets an “awwww” from the audience. Don’t be fooled, suckers. It’s time for Aladdin to take a magic carpet ride home. But go ahead and vote for him, maybe by next week, the other testicle will have dropped.

Chris Sligh is talking with Ryan and man, you learn something new every day. Apparently ol’ Chinese Phone Book is married and to a halfway decent looking chick. If this troll can sucker some poor woman into matrimony, then there’s hope for rotund, funny-in-their-own-head kind of guys all around. Sligh is singing the Ray LaMontagne song that Taylor did last year, which is basically repeating the word “Trouble,” sixty three times in a row to an atonal groove. I seem to remember Taylor did a decent job on this last year and the judges hated it. Man, what is the problem tonight with the guys? Chris’ voice sounds fine, but his performance skills suck ass. At one point, he turned away from the audience and sang into the floor. They cut to a shot of his wife in the crowd and now all I’m wondering is if she has to lift up his belly in order to find his penis. Please, god, don’t show Jason Head’s wife. Okay, Chris- good voice, so not a star. And here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type- Taylor blew Chris out of the water if we’re comparing versions. Seacrest actually says “It’s time for Fox to make good with the benjamins.” How do people just not point and laugh at him when they see him on the street?

Nick Pedro is now singing. He’s dedicating his performance to his girlfriend Caitlin, so all of you who had Nick as gay, you lose the pool. She’s cute and they make a really cute couple. Nick is singing “Fever.” So Nick sounds good, if a bit breathy, though his performance skills are just as dull as everyone else’s. He almost makes it through scot-free when he goes off-key and never manages to find his way back for the rest of the song. Damn. I was pulling for you, babe. Randy thinks it’s cool that everyone has come back and done better than they did last week. That’s like saying after causing a 40 car pile-up on the freeway, this time you managed to only take out a couple pedestrians.

Last week, Blake Lewis blew two opportunities to show us he was more than just a beat-boxer, first with his badly off-key version of “Somewhere Only We Know,” then his Peter Brady-esque few lines of “Sowing the Seeds of Love.” In my opinion, this guy can’t sing too well. Can he turn me around by singing “Virtual Insanity?” I’m as big a Jamiroquai fan as I am Keane, so it’s doubtful. Blake is off-key right out of the gate, but rights himself fairly quickly. And for those of you who had “Week Two” as when Blake would pull out the beat boxing, congratulations. Of all the male performers, Blake is the only one with a shred of charisma, so it goes a long way in helping him with some of his off pitches. So far, it’s been the best of the evening, but again, it’s not saying much. These guys are not good. Ryan and Paula loved it up, but Simon felt Blake was copying Jamiroquai in parts and off-key in others. Could we just fire Paula and Randy and let Simon talk the whole time?

Brandon Rogers is dedicating his song to his Grandma. I think Brandon is adorable, easily the best looking chap in the bunch. This gives me something to concentrate on other than his shaky, unconfident performance of “Time After Time.” It gets better, but Brandon is aided mightily by the backup singers. The truncation of the song didn’t do him any favors, either. The judges didn’t love it. Brandon tries to- good lord! My cat just took a dump so fragrant that it would have cleared out a VFW hall of drunken vets. Kee-rist! I can smell it all the way at the other end of the house. Okay, sorry. Brandon tries to play the dedication angle, but Simon is right- shut up about the grandma story and just sing.

Timberlite is up next. Chris Richardson is also dedicating to grandma, who he calls “spunky.” Chris is singing a really crap-ass Jason Mraz song called “Geek in the Pink.” I guess this is the week for High School variety shows. Richardson tries to wigga out to give the song some flavor. He must have been speaking Randy’s language because Jackson thinks it was better than the original version. The other judges loved it too, so maybe I’m the one with shit in my ears. Richardson has clearly inherited the Ace Young/Constantine Maroulis mantle this year. Doesn’t matter how you sound cause the girlies wanna fuck you, so we’ll keep you on until we have no more use for you.

Jason Head is going to be bringing this underwhelming evening to a close. Lucky us. Jason is playing the newborn card tonight and for those who accuse Lakeisha of pimping out her child to get votes- watch Jason and see what that maneuver really looks like. Head says maybe one day he and his son can sit on the couch and watch this and laugh. Cringe in embarrassment is more like it. Jason is singing “Mustang Sally.” He’s finally sounding like he did at the first audition, though it’s been so long since we’ve heard that I forgot what it sounded like. Now I remember I wasn’t too impressed from the get-go. Sure, it’s better than the several steaming piles of feces he’s dumped all over the show since then, but so what? The judges will likely go apeshit and they do, easily pretending Head hasn’t been god-fucking-awful for the past month.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that not one of these performances were as good as Kevin Covais’ last week on the show singing “When I Fall in Love.” Keep Chris Sligh and Brandon Rogers and the ten girls and move on from there.

My choices 1-10 from suck-lite to shitbreath

1- Jason Head
2- Nick Pedro
3- AJ Tabaldo
4- Chris Sligh
5- Blake Lewis
6- Brandon Rogers
7- Phil Stacey
8- Chris Richardson
9- Jared Cotter
10- Sanjaya Malakar
Who should go: Sanjaya Malakar and Jared Cotter
Who will go: Jared Cotter and Brandon Rogers or maybe AJ Tabaldo

That’s 2 hours and 25 minutes I could have spent reading a book or buying shoes online.
Seagulls pissed.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

You Can Leave Your Shoes On. AI Re-cap 2/22/07

One blessed hour, thank goodness. I’m just up and refreshed from a nap and ready to tackle the injustice. Well, except for Melinda Doolittle, I wouldn’t cry to see anyone leave tonight, so I suppose injustice is the wrong word. Oh, wait, Fantasia is performing tonight. THAT’s what I meant by injustice. I knew we were going somewhere with this.

Tonight two guys and two gals will get to slink off in shame. Thankfully, they’ve had the practice after the rotten performances that were given by almost all this week. I’ve got my favorites (two) and those I wouldn’t vomit involuntarily over having to listen to again (two). But right about now I’m thinking Marlee Matlin is the luckiest person in the world.

Seacrest stands in front of the Top 24, who are crowded onstage as though they were trying to fit in the final Titanic lifeboat. Chris Sligh looks properly over it. Look, Arbuckle, you’ve already sold your soul. You’ll never be cool again so you may as well smile like all the rest of them. Besides, when people with multiple chins smile, it makes them look a slight bit thinner and every little bit would help.

Ryan says they had almost 32 million votes, but there’s no hyperbole along for the ride. My guess is that’s nothing to brag about. He asks Randy if, after the lackluster performance by the guys Tuesday night, they will see one at the finale. Randy says it’s a girl’s race to lose. Simon says there are one or two guys who have potential (read: one or two guys I could turn into a Timberlake-lite, so let’s not give it to an unmarketable black girl just yet). And Paula, who I was about to state looked fairly with-it tonight, is like a deer in the headlights when asked if she has a message for the boys (Let me help- “There are Xeroxed directions to my house backstage, boys. Pick up some Hypnotiq on the way, but keep in mind, I pass out by 10:30.”). What she really slurs is “Bring it on.” Fucking Hallmark, man, so inspirational.

Ryan tells us the importance of making it to the Top 12 and then totally shoots that theory out of the water when he introduces some of the names that are booked to help the kids out this season. Diana Ross. Jon Bon Jovi. Jennifer Lopez. Gwen Stefani. Martina McBride. And the corpses of Tony Bennett, Lulu and Peter Noone. Plus Barry Gibb. At least the final four know something about singing, though their help and their experiences will be lost on this crowd. I’d be excited to work with Lulu and Barry Gibb. Let’s hope these kids use the internet for something other than porn and look these folks up. As for the others, what the fuck do Jennifer Lopez & Gwen Stefani know about how to sing well? For them it only occurs after the push of a button. And Diana Ross has the thinnest reed of a voice and is even a megabitch in her sleep. Oh god, so much fodder! I’m suddenly happier about my prospects for this season.

Re-cap city for the past two nights, and then we get a group sing. The wannabes are performing “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” by Tears For Fears and it sounds like the beginning of one of those urban high school movies starring The Rock or Martin Lawrence where some streetwise cop is hired to turn a bunch of misfits into the choral district champions in six weeks and finds THIS is what he has to work with. Oh my god, it was so horrendous, I might never recover. I half expected them to start performing a skit about how wack drugs were and to Just Say No. This is the kind of stuff they make you listen to at religious cult indoctrinations. I never thought I’d say this, but Fantasia has to be better than that.

Back from the break and Ryan has the guys on the risers. It’s Q&A time. Chris Sligh backpedals away from his Tuesday night comments to Simon so fast, he easily lost five pounds explaining how much respect he has for Cowell and how he fears he was taken the wrong way. He would hate for America to get the wrong idea. I see someone’s been reading the forums. Here’s an idea, Chris, keep your fucking chin hole shut and America won’t get the wrong idea. Ryan cuts the first guy. He asks the back to join him onstage. Brandon is safe. Jason, inexplicably, is safe, so we’ll get to see him fail yet another week. Chris Richardson is safe, no big shocker there. Nick Pedro is also safe, so it’s down to Paul Kim and Blake Lewis. Wow, the suspense is killing me. Paul is wearing shoes tonight, all the better since he’ll be walking out the door. Well, I’m batting .250 so far and I couldn’t be happier. I loathed Paul Kim, though it’s a tad bittersweet since he was so horrible, he made my job that much easier. Chin up, kid, now at least you can wash the skidmarks out of those funky lucky drawers. Ryan asks Randy to give Paul some helpful advice, which is about as likely as him going two whole sentences without going all bligga on our asses. Randy blathers on about song choice instead of telling Paul that, though Boy Bands may still be the hot thing in Shanghai, in this country they’ve gone the way of corded phones and Monica Lewinsky jokes. Ryan asks Paula if Kim has enough to make it and for once, the lie is readily apparent on her face as she gently sidesteps the direct question. Ryan asks Paul to sing for his fans one more time, however they don’t immediately evacuate the studio and turn off the cameras, so the rest of us are stuck listening to him, also. Paul is doing that weird accent thing again when he sings (forever is sung as fow-weva) and easy fodder aside, I’m glad he’s going home because he would have been truly annoying to listen to again. Hedwig has joined me on the couch and is trying to crawl under my legs. I know, baby, but he’s going home.

Girl time on the risers as Ryan continues his hard hitting journalistic ways. The back row joins Seacrest onstage. I don’t see Amy Krebs up there and Melinda Doolittle is at the end of the row with Antonella Barba, so hopefully Ryan is gonna pull something sneaky or why bother with the whole thing? Jordin is safe. Stephanie is safe. Sabrina is safe. Leslie is safe and her grouchy brother smiles for the first time. Both Melinda and Antonella are safe. See, Ryan is predictable even in his unpredictability. Instead, Amy Krebs is asked to come to the stage and then told she’s history. Okay, so I’m now at .500, but I also predicted Leslie would go home (though I didn’t think she deserved to) so I won’t be scoring perfectly this evening. Krebs looks pissed, which is the first personality trait I’ve seen cross her face. Ciao, Amy, I can’t even remember you and I’m looking right at you. While Amy sings, Nicole and Alaina are sweating bullets in the background. I had Alaina as my second pick of who should go, but I thought she’d squeak by on the bim vote, as well as some sympathy after Simon ripped her a new one. Melinda Doolittle is seen bawling like a little girl, as is Sanjaya Malakar. Yeah, that’ll help his image if he isn’t already sexual roadkill.

Ryan introduces a contest called the American Idol Challenge, however instead of actually being a competition to see which viewer will actually make it through the whole season, it’s just some dumb trivia question. Which of the following Idol winners multi-platinum albums was called “Breakaway?” The choices are Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia Barrino. Ahh, a trick question, since Fantasia didn’t sell anything close to a multi-platinum album.

Hey everybody, it’s Bo Bo time. Fantasia is introduced and we see Quincy Jones in the audience, for once without a white woman on his arm. Fantasia announces the news, which I broke in the forums last week, that she’ll be taking over the role of Miss Celie in the Broadway musical version of “The Color Purple.” So nice to see her continuing her Cable-Ace-Award-seeking acting career. Apparently, it was between her and the lady who played Pearl Shea on “227,” but when the producers found out that woman was dead, they went with Barrino, figuring she’d sell more tickets than a corpse. The jury is still out on that one. I pledge to you, dear readers, that if the show hasn’t been evicted by the time I’m in NYC for work this summer (Fantasia doesn’t take over until early April), then I will score some comps and sit through it again (I’m sure as hell not paying) and report back to you how Fantasia did. Ryan asks Q if Fantasia is up to the task, then cuts him off in the middle of his answer. Barrino sings a number from the show called “I’m Here.” She pronounces the word sister “shsishther,” which means she was hanging around Paul Kim in the green room too long. In fact, every ssss is pronounced shhhh. Fantasia is trying really hard not to bobo. I’m trying hard not to hit the fast forward button. Whoops, looks like we both lost the challenge.

Girl cut happening. Haley is safe (for tonight). Lakisha is safe. Gina is safe. Between Alaina and Nicole, Alaina is safe, so the bim vote won out. Nicole should have gotten one more week, if only to spare us another horrid Alaina performance, but I won’t miss her and Alaina’s time is coming very soon. Nicole is actually very classy in her loss. Lakisha tries to take the stage “in support” and she’s quickly shut down by the director. You had your moment, honey, let the loser sing her song badly by herself. Wow, Nicole is triply worse tonight than she was last night. I’m outta here til after the next break.

Tell the truth, does anyone really give a shit how The O.C. ends? Did anyone know it was even still on the air?

Last cut for the evening. Chris is safe, but he better keep his mouth shut next week. Phil is safe. Jared is safe, as is AJ. Apparently America likes their boys flaming, since Sanjaya was in the Top 4 boys. That means Rudy is going home. I predicted AJ, but no big loss. I hated Rudy. I hope Tom Lowe is watching and smiling. Sanjaya can barely make it to his seat before the waterworks begin. Ryan looks for some words of wisdom for Rudy from Simon, but may have wished he hadn’t asked after Simon basically tells Rudy to give up the ghost. Randy isn’t much more help, but Paula, denied some Rudy slamming in her boudoir, goes to bat for him. We’re left with a montage of the first four losers’ journeys, backed by a Daughtry track that, though middlingly average, is much more pleasing to listen to than that fucking Daniel Powter song.

That’s the haps for tonight. Join me next week when we’re mercifully spared with an hour less Idol than this week. 90 minute performance shows and an hour wrap-up. Take your vitamins, kids.
Seagulls out.

Brass Balls in Pocket. AI Re-cap 2/21/07

Good evening friends and welcome back to the thing that’s masquerading as American Idol, much like a pod from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” but one that’s taken over your lazy boyfriend who refuses to get off the couch and find a job or show any initiative at all, really, but then gets pissy when you dare to criticize him. Shut up, you’ve all been there.

I haven’t yet fully recovered from last night’s nap inducing debacle and already, we’re back again. If I’m being honest, this show is a nightmare to re-cap this season and I’m putting it and you on notice. I have a business trip to NYC in exactly three weeks whereby I’ll have to miss getting to watch that week’s shows until I return, necessitating very late re-caps. If things don’t markedly improve by then, either by getting much better or so much worse that the show is fun to watch, I’m out. This is starting to feel like a chore. While it bolsters me to know so many of the rest of you feel this same frustration, I don’t think many of us are having much fun. I am keeping my fingers crossed that something amazing happens soon, because when there’s material, I really do enjoy doing this and chatting about it with all of you. But for now, you’re stuck with me, so let’s get to the ladies, Ryan included. (Yes, that was a segue into reminding you the gay panic count is at four (4) )

Ryan handslaps his way down the ladies, complementing them all on a particular fashion choice they’ve made (5). Gina Glocksen is sporting a few streaks of red in her hair, which could be either color or raspberry filling from the box of donuts she polished off in rehearsal this morning. I don’t know what the hell Seacrest is wearing, but I swear I saw his nose grow when he said we had a pretty strong start to the competition last night. As if to further expose the lie, we are tortured with a re-cap of last night’s offenses.

The women are introduced and I can so far say I only like three of them going into tonight’s show- Melinda Doolittle, LaKisha Jones (whose name is spelled differently every time I see it in print. Can we get a ruling on this already?) and Antonella Barba. Jordin Sparks is also okay. The others I either don’t like or haven’t heard enough of and after last night, they’d better bring it or we’re fucked.

Paula looks like she’s wearing an overcoat. Perhaps she was standing outside of Rudy Cardenas’ dressing room and flashing him before the show. She also has “floaty eyes,” so I’m guessing she’s feeling no pain. Seacrest calls Randy on his conflicting advice to the contestants and Randy says something that makes no sense, even to Paula. I’d agree with Ryan, but with this bunch this year, what can you really say to them except “Whoops”? Paula has a strange thing going on with her coiffure tonight. It appears she got custody of Anna Nicole’s dog, Sugarpie, and attached him to the back of her head. Maybe the dog secretes methadone. It would explain a lot. Ryan tries to get under Simon’s skin, but he isn’t biting, which makes Ryan look like an even bigger dick.

Stephanie Edwards is up first. She is nineteen and from Georgia. I can’t say I remember her initial audition, but hearing it now, it sounded good. Tonight, she’s singing…no idea, sorry. She’s singing well and working the stage like a pro, much more mature and experienced than a 19 year old. Good job, Stephanie. Nice way to start off the show. Girls- 1, Boys- 0. Randy and Paula loved her and Simon says it was better than anyone who performed last night. I highly agree. Paula is wearing some earrings that look like miniature manhole covers.

We’re about to be tortured by a Bonnie Raitt cover, but before that, Ryan queries the gals on last night’s performances. Melinda Doolittle gives a wonderfully diplomatic answer, but I have no idea what the hell Antonella is saying. Amy Krebs is next. She and Chris Richardson must go to the same dermatologist. Seacrest actually reached up at one point and scratched the words “Ryan Luvs Ryan” into her make-up. Anyway, we see how Amy got here, but not why, since her initial audition of “Pride/A Deeper Love,” sounded like one of those purposely bad auditions we get stuck with every year. I’m still not getting it through the rest of her journey. Amy is singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and truer words were never spoken. I’ve decided that, to keep myself awake during this, I’m going to count Amy’s pimples and name the patterns. Hey- there’s the Big Melisma on her right cheek! The judges were unmoved and after following a great performance like Stephanie’s combined with no previous airtime, Amy is toast.

The other chick no one has seen before, Leslie Hunt, is up next. Apparently, Leslie suffers from Lupus, but hearing her initial audition just now, I would have guessed Cerebral Palsy. She sounds like Cousin Geri when she sings. She’s singing “Natural Woman.” She reminds me of a spastic Sara Rue and he’s letting the backup singers do all the heavy lifting. Did anyone notice that one of them got a cell phone call and turned off her phone in the middle of singing? I didn’t love Leslie, but I didn’t dislike her. Her voice is good, but she has to work on her performing skills. She’s awkward in the way McPhee was last year, along with the fake beauty pageant smiles, but I’d put her through to the next round, for sure. Randy thought the song was too big for her. They keep cutting back to a man an woman in the audience and I think the woman is Leslie’s mom, but the guy is too young to be her dad. Is she married? They’re sitting next to Phil Stacey’s wife, who ought to be home with the kids, since he’s not doing anything tonight but sitting down. Man, way to bond with your newborn. Paula rises from the table to show her cleavage and slur her support, and then Simon tells Leslie she looks ungainly and uncomfortable on stage (translation- you look like you have Lupus when you try to move.) Leslie’s dad/brother/husband looks like he wants to kick Simon’s ass after that comment. I understand what Simon is saying, but if the reason is because of the disease, then it shouldn’t have been mentioned.

The next “who the fuck is she,” Sabrina Sloan, is up next. She’s a professional singer from Los Angeles, who went ahead and sang an Alicia Keys song for her audition, anyway. She talks about her Hollywood week, excited that Paula gave her a standing ovation, not realizing Paula has to stand periodically to get the Oxycontin flowing through her bloodstream. Stephanie is singing another Aretha song and right out of the gate she botches the initial notes so badly that I actually made this involuntary sound- GAWP- while drinking some water. She rights herself quickly, but she’s shouting too much. She’s this year’s Mandisa- good when she shouts, but when she just sings, I can tell she doesn’t have half the quality to her voice. She’s good enough to go through to the next round, but I’m not in her corner just yet, even though she was still better than any of the guys last night.

Antonella Barba is up next and unwisely chooses to sing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” a song that has never done anyone on this show a favor. It continues its streak as Barba sings it nervously and off-key throughout. My favorite thing to watch during this performance is Chris Sligh in the background with his mouth agape, probably mourning the death of any hipster cred he might have hoped to salvage from participating in this competition. Barba’s performance is the worst vocal so far this evening, but that being said, this performance would have topped ¾ of the men’s. Randy keeps it real and says it wasn’t good. Paula falls back on the “you look beautiful” comment. Simon hated it and says he thinks it’s damaged Antonella’s chances of staying here, however he offers good advice when asked, which is that Antonella has a pop voice and she should choose a pop song. If Antonella gets a reprieve, look for her to choose something like a JoJo song next week and then get bashed by the judges for not choosing a song that shows off her voice. I think the only thing that could keep her another week is her hotness (my apologies to Jennifer Chapton, who apparently trademarked that word.)

Ryan is in the red room talking to glamazon Jordin Sparks, the Wonder Twin to Season Two’s Kimberly Locke. Jordin is singing a Tracy Chapman song and if her career as a singer doesn’t work out, she can always take over as the lead on “That’s So Raven.” I liked Jordin. I didn’t love her, but she has potential, even though she’s a bit too young. I think if given the chance, she could really come into her own. I also liked her rendition of the song, even though Randy disagrees. Paula loved it, bracelets a-janglin’. Simon liked it, as well. A success for Jordin. Ryan says she was poised onstage, but I wouldn’t call her that. She was a little geeky and dorky, but so far, the gals are head and shoulders above the guys.

Nicole Tranquillo is up next. I didn’t like her one bit during Hollywood week and I don’t know if I could listen to her now even with Paula’s ears (or meds). Nicole has chosen to sing a Rufus & Chaka Khan song. Foolish girl. She looks and sounds like she had a few belts before she went onstage. Vocally, she’s all over the place. Shrieking until one eye almost pops out of the socket is not the same as singing in tune. Randy didn’t like it, but Paula tries to get support from the boys for Nicole, more to try and compose herself, because the drugs are setting in. Paula’s starting to speak in that pattern where each word is a separate sentence, so she’s pretty much done for the evening. Simon felt the performance was indulgent and over-rehearsed and I think that’s one of the most astute things he’s said all season. Nicole looks like she’s about to cry really hard, so Ryan keeps grilling her instead of letting her go off the stage. It’s all about Seacrest, innit?

Haley Scarnato and Celine Dion. Surely this combination was one of those signs of the Apocalypse that got cut before the final seven, but much like Tommy Daniels, probably deserved to be there over some of the others. We’re about to find out. But first, we get to see this wedding singer’s journey to undeservedness. We hear her butchering a Celine song during Hollywood week and if this is the selfsame number she’s performing tonight, get those earplugs and Dramamine tablets ready. It is. Haley is wearing a mini gong around her neck as though she’s just begging for Jaye P. Morgan to run up onstage and strike it in the middle of her number. She is such a complete and total wedding singer, not terrible, but indistinguishable from any beauty pageant contestant we’ve heard in the past twenty years. Randy nails it when he says she has a Broadway kind of voice. More like a Broadway understudy. Paula softsoaps her, and Simon tells her she sounded like a lounge act by a 40 year old. I’m getting the same undercurrent of “bitch” from her that I got from McPhee last year, even though I’m sure to be attacked for that statement, but I don’t really care. Anyone who says you can’t pick up a certain vibe off of someone from seeing them for only a few minutes needs to sharpen their interactive personal skills. Haley builds her ark as she tells Ryan that she hears what the judges are saying, but she’s going to stick to who she is. Well, darling, who you are is a wedding singer, so be sure to hand out as many cards to the audience as you can, because you’ll need to drum up some business after that performance.

We’re greeted with the double bad news that not only will Fantasia be boboing her way across the Idol stage tomorrow night (actually good news since that’s five minutes of the show I can fast forward through), but also, the next contestant will be singing yet another Aretha song. This also turns out to be good news when we find out the singer is Melinda Doolittle. This girl is so adorable and talented. Oh and she’s singing one of my favorite Aretha songs, “Since You Been Gone.” Wow, this girl is Gladys Knight reincarnated. The difference between Melinda and all the other so-called power singers we’ve seen so far this evening is that she actually has a good base from which to support the shouting when she does it. She doesn’t shout to mask a weak voice, she takes the power and escalates it. You have to have a solid foundation to be able to do what she does and make it sound good and none of these girls has that. My definite favorite.

Three gals left; the good, the bad and the ugly. Bad is up first in the form of Alaina Alexander. Alaina is a crier. Unfortunately, she’s not much of a singer, as evidenced by the reminder of her truly awful initial audition, singing (?) “Feelin’ Good.” How Simon liked that audition is a gauge for his horniness. Christ on the cross, Alaina is singing “Brass in Pocket,” so poorly I’d wager that anyone reading this could do an equal, if not better job than she’s doing. We see a long shot of Stephanie Edwards staring dumbfounded, then snorting. Alaina will get through on the bim vote this week, but she’ll never make Top 12. Randy is not liking it and even Paula can’t find anything nice to say. Simon says exactly what I expected him to, by telling Alaina she kept singing the line “I’m Special,” when she really wasn’t. Amen! Simon tells her that after that, she’s going to be relying on her looks and not her talent to make it through to the next round. She sneers, “Nice,” at him, but he’s telling her the god’s honest truth. She and Ryan must have become BFFs because he’s really going to bat for her where he ought to be encouraging her to give up singing like she was planning on doing all along. I’d say Ryan endorsing anyone is the kiss of death.

Next up is the ugly- Gina Glocksen. I remember Gina from last season specifically because I couldn’t believe she’d gotten put through to Hollywood on the same show where some girl who was infinitely more talented, was denied. Gina did nothing last year to impress me and I was happy when she got cut. All of this is based on her vocals because we were really showed little to nothing of her personality. Now before you send the hate mail, the reason I say ugly doesn’t have to do with her looks as much as it does her all-encompassing need to be on this show. Her desperation really bleeds through in everything she says, does and sings this season and need is never attractive. Whereas the two guys who are in the Top 24 this season who were previous contestants are just happy to be here, Gina has a sense of entitlement that’s also really unappealing, especially when balanced against her middling talent. Flop sweat and arrogance do not a pleasant combination make. I will say Gina looks better tonight than she did in the audience yesterday, though her too tight vest isn’t doing her any favors. She has to watch what she wears because the wrong outfit really makes her look heavier than she is. She’s singing “All By Myself.” I have to say though she was on-key, she melismaed too much and I hated her rendition of the song. Too screamy and Mariah-ish. Still, she was far from the worst tonight, however the arrogance is a major turn-off.

LaKisha Jones is bringing up the rear. I loved this gal all the way through the audition phase and I’m looking forward to her. Unfortunately, she’s singing this season’s most overplayed song, “And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going.” Too screamy. Another Mandisa. But that’s the nature of this song and no one has ever done it justice since Jennifer Holliday sang it, even overhyped, overpraised Jennifer Hudson. This will carry Lakisha easily to the next round, but I’d like to hear something different from her soon. Melinda was much better and I think the next few weeks will bear that out. Simon says he should tell 23 people to book their tickets home, which is a slap in the face to a few really good singers, some better than LaKisha was tonight.

Okay, my picks, 1-12

1- Melinda Doolittle
2- Stephanie Edwards
3- LaKisha Jones
4- Jordin Sparks
5- Sabrina Sloan
6- Leslie Hunt
7- Gina Glocksen
8- Antonella Barba
9- Nicole Tranquillo
10- Haley Scarnato
11- Alaina Alexander
12- Amy Krebs

Who should go: Amy and Alaina
Who will go: Amy and Leslie

Thank heavens for little girls, for little girls just saved American Idol’s ass. See you tomorrow for the first cuts, for they are the most delicious.
Seagulls out.