Ryan "Something's Burning" Seacrest greets us from the audience for tonight's show, and if he looks a bit flustered, it's because he just barely escaped Janice Dickinson fellating him live on television during his own syndicated show. He even glances off to the side, perhaps fearing she's going to come tearing down an aisle shrieking, "Ryaaaaan! I want you! You're much prettier than that Yoanna bitch!" Maybe the whole incident was some sort of "tough love" lesson to get Ryan to stop making sex jokes. As we pan across the eleven remaining finalists on the Seal, Ryan recites the worst poem ever: "The contestants continue to go, / as the pressure continues to grow. / They're fighting to stay on the show, / and they all need your vote." And it would have been so easy to finish properly, too: "And my punch lines continue to blow"; "And Matt's hair didn't really grow"; or "And Paula is still a little bit slow."
Credits. I think I have analyzed every single second of the opening.
Ryan heads out onto the Seal alone in a slate suit with a pale blue shirt. He starts off the show by wishing Aretha Franklin a "speedy recovery," as she was hospitalized briefly last week. ["What, did she watch last week's performances?" -- Jim Mullen] The audience applauds vaguely, pretending they know who the hell Aretha is, then turning to people next to them and whispering, "Wasn't she one of the girls fired from Destiny's Child?" Ryan reminds us that there's an audience, then reminds the audience that they're the audience, then reminds us all that Leah was ejected last week. The audience doesn't even bother to try to care.
This week's theme is "country." Which country? Is it India? I hope it's India. I want to see a big Bollywood number. Ryan tells us country music isn't all about "your dog doing you wrong" or "your man getting hit by a pickup truck." Nope. It's about the same thing pop music is about -- getting laid. Or whining about not getting laid. Or whining about how getting laid got you into trouble. Ryan tells us that country music is really big in this country (that's really how he says it), so the kids will have to "bring it" and do a good job. Because people like country. As opposed to next week's theme of "emo," which nobody cares about much anymore, so the kids will actually literally phone in the performances from their mansion. Or from whatever hotel room they're staying in while exterminators make another sweep through their apparently vermin-infested new home. Or so rumor has it.