Ryan Seacrest greets us outside, in front of the crowd of remaining contestants, who all face the camera the way flowers turn to follow the sun. The kids are gonna sing some more, and then some of them are going to go away. Yay! Ryan lies that the judges have "raised the bar" again this year. Clearly, he's been too busy preening and hounding celebrities into appearing on his new show to actually listen to this year's crop.
We return to A Historic Theater in Los Angeles. That's what Ryan calls it. It may have a name, but I guess they weren't willing to pay to get it on the air. We have 117 singers remaining in the contest and they're all here for the next round of cuts. Oh, they're such clever auteurs at American Idol. They start the episode with Ryan narrating that the remaining contestants have all sung, and are waiting to find out whether they're in the final thirty-two. See, they're telling the story backwards, like in Memento. Maybe at the end of tomorrow's episode, we'll discover that a memory-addled Simon had unwittingly cut the one contestant who could explain to him what's going on, or something. They show little flashfutures (great, like I need more Tru Calling references) of the remaining contestants sucking and being told that they suck by Simon, while music ripped off from the Survivor tribal councils plays in the background. Some woman who must be a stage mom tells the camera that Simon was brutal, and that some of these kids will need therapy when they leave here. Actually, that sounds to me like Simon is doing them a favor, since many of them most assuredly needed therapy before they ever arrived. Jonah reminds us he's from Hawaii. Non-model Lisa reminds us that she exists. Matthew Rogers reminds us he was in the Rose Bowl. Take a snapshot of Matthew, write "Rose Bowl" on the back, and hang it next to the mirror so you don't forget. Simon reminds us that the judges have to cut people.
Now that we've "set the scene" -- because heaven knows this show is so complicated that we'd be going, "Wait, why are they eliminating more singers? We're not going to vote on 117 people?" -- we head back in time to the screaming fame whores as they first arrive in Los Angeles. They're loud and rude at the airport. Well, maybe they're just exuberant, but I'm an old crank and don't like to see people who are more excited than I am about anything. We see many faces -- some vaguely familiar, most completely unknown. Nicole "Scooter Girl" Tieri has a stuffed dog with her. She tells us that the stuffed dog said that she's going to be the next American Idol. She wisely leaves out that the stuffed dog also told her that Paula Abdul is going to try to steal her eyes while she's sleeping and must be "taken care of." Ryan narrates to us that very few contestants made it through to Hollywood with the support of all three judges, so they'll either have to improve their singing, or be a lot sluttier. Michael Keown says something. Shut up, Michael. Nicole flirts with Alan Ritchson and marvels at his tight abs. More people make vague comments about singing. And...scene.