American Idol
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

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She sang her song like a candle in the wind

Gah. Running late! I've got eight hours to do this whole recap, so there's no time for fanciness. In fact, because of the time it took to tell you all I'm running late, I'll have to settle for one less insult directed at Paula.

Tuesday. Whoa. We open right up with the credits. That's odd. I'm so used to Ryan telling us what the show's all about, then seeing the credits, and then having Ryan tell us what the show's all about again. But that's okay, because that means that they don't have time either. Ryan "Gay, Like Elton John" Seacrest greets the cheering crowd from the Seal. He's wearing his black Johnny Cash outfit, which is good, because I don't have time to mock him. He tells us there are nine kids left. And only a third of them have any talent. So it's going to be a painful hour. Ryan introduces the judges, Simon "British, Like Elton John," Paula "Flamboyant, Like Elton John," and Randy "Overweight, Like Elton John" Jackson. He uses Elton John songs that I've already used as nicknames for them in the past to introduce them. Randy reminds us that he loves himself, because somebody has to.

So tonight's theme, in case you didn't pick up neither Ryan's nor my clues, is "the songs of Sir Elton John." A clip show reminds us that Elton John used to be flashy and fascinating. He dressed and lived crazily and sang wild songs in the '70s and was just generally over the top. And now he sings songs for Disney cartoons. Elton John is your parents, pretty much. Or possibly you. We get quite an age range here. Ryan calls Elton one of the most prolific songwriters of the twentieth century. Poor, poor Bernie Taupin gets no love. Elton currently has a show in Vegas. You know they find their guest judges and themes just by walking down the Strip, don't you? I'd say two out of three guest judges or performers getting a theme about them have Vegas shows. Incidentally, I hear radio promos for Neil Sedaka's Vegas show all day long on the radio, and you know who he's talking about? Clay. He's seriously hoping "Solitaire" will lead to a Sedaka revival. Silly man. He hasn't realized that it doesn't matter what Clay sings. They're not going to buy Sedaka. They're going to buy more Clay.

Gah! I got off track. I'm late! Because of that distraction, I won't have time to tell Randy to shut up. Anyway, the kids practice singing an Elton John song horribly in some hotel conference room, when Simon comes in to tell them that he's not the best person to judge them this week. Keep working on those acting skills, Simon. Someday, that line will be remotely believable. He introduces Elton John, who walks in as the kids all scream and pretend that they didn't know he was stopping by. This was probably the seventh take. I guess the fact that they're practicing on a red piano that is apparently the name of Elton's show wasn't enough of a clue. Elton is wearing a boring black suit with a white shirt, which isn't tucked in and hangs out below his jacket. He's wearing dark glasses, too. Camile cries all over the place at meeting Elton. The kids all hug him and tell us what it's like to meet Elton, misusing the word "surreal." It might have been surreal meeting Elton John twenty-five years ago, but not so much anymore. Elton John sits down next to Michael Orland as the kids all practice with him. Man, that must be quite stressful for Michael. Jon thinks it's exciting to sing a song in front of Elton that Elton wrote for himself. Poor, poor Bernie Taupin. Elton says he's proud of them all and will be watching.

Our first performer tonight is Fantasia Barrino, who is standing in one of the aisles as though she's going to start taking questions from the audience rather than singing. For mini-clip shows tonight, we get to see each contestant practicing with Elton and hear what he says about them. Fantasia says that meeting Elton was the second-best day of her life, right after giving birth to her child. What sort of fame whore would put her own child ahead of meeting a celebrity? Oh, Fantasia, you'll never make it with that attitude. She says that Elton is one smooth cat. Really. Elton tells us she'd offer Fantasia a record contract right now. He thinks she sang his song better than he did. Fantasia is sassy about performing (if you don't like Fantasia: "snotty").

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American Idol

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