Gilmore Girls: awesome, if cracked out. Veronica Mars: best show on TV. Amazing Race: Whoa. American Idol: one of the worst nights this season. Tuesdays are hard enough in this household. After one more shot at Scott's departure being overridden by Paula's barnaCraggle, there's an outpouring of love for Miss Paula, and then we get to the business of revealing this week's themes: The first is "Nashville" and the second is "The Sound of Philly," meaning songwriting duo Gamble and Huff. Who are they? Trust me. You think you don't know, but you know. Also, the families of the Four all have taped messages for the contestants for the first half, and then there are some kind of icky messages from the contestants to their parents for the second songs. Fake Awwww is nothing to me and there is a boatload of it tonight.
Carrie sings "Sin Wagon," Dixie Chicks, and she's awesome at it, although I'm not familiar enough to know whether she's just singing it like they do. It sounds pretty good to my relatively virgin ears, and she's adorable singing it, andâ¦the song is kind of awesome and she doesn't mind the lyrics, which I've noticed nobody does when it's country. The judges love it, love it, love it. Simon calls it the equivalent of her "singing in the shower," because it's so effortless. Agreed, although I'm a little creeped out by the comment, which seems more suited to A-Fed, the way this show has been going.
Mikalah's in the audience, as are other past contestants and Bo's parents and insane grandmother. He sings a slow, boring song I don't know -- but I like it very much, as a song -- that is very Bo, and he's about the hottest thing I've ever seen in my life, and I finally get it. Don't quote me. The judges think he was awesome, but note the boringness of the song, and his crazy grandmother threatens to murder Simon with Bo's mother's shoe, and he and Ryan are very, very awkward with each other.
Vonzell sings Trisha Yearwood/That Girl's "How Do I Live," or "that song from the ass-terrible movie," and I get confused because not only is she not going last, but also it is not good. Kind of awful, actually. She forgets the words and scrapes her bottom-out range and is terrible. The judges hate it, but then Paula does some emotional processing, and Vonzell bursts into tears, and it's fairly awful and painful to see (Simon's speechless) but I believe it, and I want to give her a hug. Which equals votes for Vonzell, so good.
A-Fed and his parents continue the parental overemotional lovefest, and thenâ¦something really upsetting happens. Picture if you will Anthony Fedorov, in a tight, fitted denim shirt, wearing tight jeans, pumping rhythmically up and down, while he sings hisâ¦song. It's called "I'm Already There," and it's one of those automatically bullshit songs where the little boy talks to Daddy and Daddy says he's "the sunshine in your hair and the whisper in the wind," and oh my God. It's bullshit! Bullshit with sexy faces, singing about prayer. I'm not gross, I'm just telling you what was going on, which is that there's the visual, which is one thing, and the audio, which sure as fuck better be something else, and I can't be the only person who saw a problem there, andâ¦ugh. Justâ¦Yikes. To the infinite power. Paula would prefer that he choose more challenging songs, I would like less mixed messages, and Simon would like a moratorium on the cynical family stuff all of a sudden, but basically they all like it.
Carrie then sings "If You Don't Know Me By Now," a song I can't help but love in the way I normally love A-Fed songs, and she's singing it really country, and it really works. She also looks beautiful. I try to imagine Vonzell singing in this key and it would not sound as good, not that that really matters, except that I do know that Vonzell WOULD sing it in this key, and that would be the problem. She sings the hell out of the song, in my opinion, and then Randy and Paula hate it, and Simon calls it basically a fuck-up. They are wrong. It's different in the studio, I think. To wit:
Bo sings "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays, a song in which I could not have less interest if it were the ad song for my local Mazda dealership. And this song isn't really about the vocal anyway, so all I can say is that he continues to be Bo, which is good, but the sunglasses are back, bad, and the outfit will have to wait for the recap because there are too many words. The crowd goes insane forever, and the judges are hyperbolic to the point where I wish they'd approach zero by shutting the hell up.
Vonzell then totally rocks the hell out of "Don't Leave Me This Way," even though there are some spotty parts. Mostly, she does that bottom-of-the-range thing but it sounds pretty good. One of the best performances to watch, and you can tell she's pleased at the end, which is lovely. Simon calls it "manic" and says it makes him nervous, but the judges are still really sweet, and Ryan is a doll about it.
Anthonyâ¦also sings "If You Don't Know Me," and that is just rampant send-me-home bullshit. Even though his rendition is better, in arrangement and emotion, the judges know as well as I do that they're just screwing around now with the formula: put him last, a good spot, but then give him the same song as America's Sweetheart. It's weird.
There's review, and then Bo making funny faces, and Carrie and Ryan looking at each other like, "Girlâ¦" which was actually the best part of the show. I have no idea what happens tonight, but all I know is that, freakishly, A-Fed actually did the best job, followed by Carrie, and thus I think he will be going home because it's all crazy right now. We shall see.
Vonzell and A-Fed look uproariously happy, while Carrie and Bo look freaked out and pissed. It's interesting. Ryan's dressed for his Fisher & Diaz interview, asks who we voted for, and points out the judges: "We know who they liked!" but I don't think we really do, because they were all bearing crazy Big Brother trickledown false witness with the producers' hands up them.
I believe: it was Carrie's best night so far, Bo was awesome on his first song but sucked on the second, and A-Fed did the best of anybody. All of which is the exact opposite opinion from the rest of the world. Carrie had a real girl's body; real live Bo was back, his grandmother crazy/beautiful; Vonzell screwed the pooch like Natasha Lyonne, and then lost her shit live, also like Natasha Lyonne; and A-Fed sang a song guaranteed to piss me and Simon off. Second go-round, Bo and the polloi made love to clichÃ©s; Vonzell brought it back with a damn vengeance; Carrie was awesome and got sold out, but had some glorious "emotions"; and A-Fed was called good but soulless. Per Ryan, they "rocked and rolled with country and soul." Oh, kiddo.
The Idols sing "Islands In The Stream," a fun song if ever there was one, and are all very loving with each other, and Bo for another week running was the superstar of all people. Is there anything cuter-slash-more terrifyingly Aryan than the Starship Troopers-ness of Carrie and Anthony singing together? They have to sing about "making love to each other (uh huh)" and it's more disturbing for them than anybody. Carrie's not good, Bo is of course great (though his mic is possibly not even on the whole time), Vonzell is lovely, and I can't hear Anthony at all. He's wearing this frayed-lapel jacket that makes him look like Red Buttons's little hobo baby, and then Carrie and Anthony hold hands in the air so that his votes will go to Carrie because they are BFF.
There's a totally awesome pimpomercial of "Ready To Go," which pulls me back in life like Eliza Dushku to when I could drink all day and I didn't even know what a hangover was and I thought I was better than coffee. Bo drives up like his drug-dealing self with some BjÃ¶rk hair, and talks the kids into getting into his ugly car for some candy; they hallucinate it's a rollercoaster, and make crazy faces. The Idols, they cannot act. There's not even pretend singing this week, just them making faces and having psycho hair, and it's so, so awesome. They get out of the car giggling, and A-Fed points at Bo and says, "You look funny!" in a very adorable way. Then we watch him say this sixteen times because the more pregnant Anna gets, the more times we have to watch A-Fed do cute things.
Then we get to see their original auditions, much of which footage we've never actually seen because the "audition" episodes were not about good singing. Vonzell in Miami with her pink and green outfit singing "Chain Chain Chain" freaking terrifically, and you see now-Zell being really, really nervous watching it. Maybe because it reminds her of the days when she had no eyebrows at all. Randy says that she's grown a lot and has gained confidence and figured out that she's awesome. Anthony in Cleveland sings a Jon Secada song we've never heard on the screen, where now-Thony and Ryan flirt about how goofy he was, and how yelly. He has not changed whatsoever, honestly, but Paula backhands that he's "his own Anthony," and not Clay anymore. Ugh. Catch up.
Carrie really hates watching her audition, but I like it: all kinds of actual feelings and emotions appropriate to a Checotah girl. She sings best song ever candidate "I Can't Make You Love Me," while now-Carrie whisper-giggles with A-Fed (possibly about how Paula totally hates her). BFF, people! Now vote! Randy tells then-Carrie to work on emotion and stage presence -- heh -- and then Ryan and Simon have another big gay love spat about Simon pimping her high and low. Bo's unseen audition, from the day I recapletted him as a swamp guy who shouts Bible verses at the people chained up in his basement, I do not like: it's screamy and affected and nervous. On the other hand, he is now fifty times hotter, and doesn't ramble on and on nearly as much.
The three non-losers will jet home all VIP and that'll be awesome, while A-Fed will fly home coach. Anna intuits that this will be one of those nights "where he just mows them down one after the other," and she's right: Bo, you didn't suck/sucked, or vice versa, and Carrie, you had your best night of the season or else you were great and then sucked, but you're both safe. Carrie giggles and jumps shrieking into Bo's arms and it's somehow adorable. A-Fed, the judges lied meanly to you some more, but Vonzell, you totally lost your mind, so Anthony's leaving. Which: bummer, but I called it, so I'm used to the idea. There is no "Seacrest out" tonight. Ryan and I keep losing our babies.
Video Journey, and you already know everything he says, and just because it's true and sweet doesn't mean it isn't kind of boring. Ryan grabs him and does not let go, during all this, but, like, it's A-Fed. Good day or bad day, he still requires judicious hugging. He sings "If You Don't Know Me" again and fucks up the lyrics but sounds pretty good, and Carrie freaks out Angela Chase-style, with the ugly real crying. Which is projected onto the giant screen above him (not her fault), and he sings to her, and she screams and intensely ASLs "I love you!" and continues to fucking lose it. Anna starts crying and throwing things into her purse and says through her tears, "Well, guess I'm a pedophile [sniffs, laughs bitterly, wipes a tear] and I guess I'm okay with that." And then runs out the door sobbing.
I'm just gonna leave it at that.
Last week, Scott Savol left, but the whole thing with Corey and Paula was going on, so he didn't even get to do the Buffalo Bill's Wild West show on the daytime circuit. Well, he did, but sometimes it's a huge deal and sometimes it's a moderately huge deal, and Scott got neither of those kinds of deals. Jeez, Constantine's week after being eliminated was like a debutante ball. Poor Scott cannot catch a break. Even Ryan starts off saying six different things while actually saying none of them: "Well," he grins, "that's what happens when you lose a guy like Scott Savol people talk." And he's heavily indicating the Paula/Corey Clark thing when he says this. Which, I mean, I was glad to see Scott go, but that's harsh. Now he's the punchline of a joke which is itself about how irrelevant he is? He's as irrelevant as Scott Savol? Which, for this month at least, is actually more irrelevant than Corey Clark, and that's just ugly.
So Simon hugs Paula, since we're all on the same page here, subtextually, and she giggles, still at Scott's expense even though he has less than nothing to do with this, and then Simon and Randy cheer for Paula and everybody cheers for Paula and the guys point at Paula and it's amazing, Paula blows kisses at the crowd, there are, like, streamers and tickertape and there's a pony, clomping around on the risers, and then a 132-piece brass band comes marching in full regalia and there's a majorette doing the choreography from "The Way That You Love Me" out front, with bright red feathers and negative 15\% body fat and a black bodysuit and a 100-watt smile, and the song that they're playing is a newly-commissioned composition by Philip Glass entitled "You're Not A Pedophile If He's Twenty-Two," and then they name her Queen of Popularity and give her a jet plane in her favorite shade of lavender, plus a pet snow tiger kitten, with which she can communicate telepathically, and she also gets to eat cold pizza and ice cream for breakfast every day for the rest of her life because she's that popular and wholesome: she just thinks a saintly, chronically pained thought and the pounds slide right off.
Ryan says Simon thinks this cheering and freaking out is actually about him, because he's the Queen of Something, but we're not sure what yet, and then Bo looks super-fine, back on last Wednesday. Ryan pulls out a huge cardboard U.S. of A. and shows how they are going to be singing two songs, a sonic road trip if you will, starting in Nashville, with "a little bit of country." Then their rather short two-pointed "trip" will end in Philadelphia, with "The Sound of Philly," which is the songs of Gamble and Huff, who we'll meet a little later, but you know them already: "Me & Mrs. Jones," "Love Train," that kind of thing. See, so now you know what Philly sounds like. Then, because there aren't too many contestants left and the filler providers are running out of ideas, the kids fight over the cardboard prop map, and Ryan points out that it cost 150 bucks, back on fake last Wednesday.