The 75 remaining contestants are divided into four rooms, by flavor. One group gets dropped almost immediately, the next goes through almost immediately, and then we meet the people in the last two rooms and watch them sweat it out before one is cut and the other stays on. At no point are there any surprises whatsoever.
Room One: Underdogs and their Afflictions.
Sharon Galvez: Grew up in the Vegas. Shunta Werthen: Once got on the wrong bus. (Also, has a gigantic face that gets her called a drag queen when she's dressed like one.) Angel Higgs: Alleged child molester. Rashida Johnson: Had an illness. Would have been fine if she'd just stayed sick, or not gotten sick in the first place. Sean McNeill: Nice. Pleasant. Everybody looks hellish while waiting to get cut. Too bad we didn't get to meet many of these people. One might be Timothy from the Aaron WK-Timothy-Delma Fiasco, but I'm not sure.
Room Two: Obvious Producer Choices and Their Niches.
Delma Jamar Jefferson: Is not a crackhead like his brother. Wrote an original song called "Shake." Mario Vazquez: Is close with his mother. He sings part of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and it'sâ¦totally awesome, actually. Judd Harris: Is new and boring. Matthew Kester: Is new and looks like an alien and is boring. Carrie: Is from a farm. Again! She gets a lingo translation from frigging Constantine because he's so hardcore and streetwise. He's in this room. So are David Brown: Black and Churchgoing, Anwar: Gay Black Teacher, Janay: Survivor of Gina's Dad, and Vonzell: Mail Carrier. It's so very suspenseful. Paula and Randy perpetrate some bullshit before putting them through.
Room Three: Absolutely Not.
Jennifer "Daycare" Todd is amazing but not as good as years ago when we saw her last. Carrie "Mean Girl" Zaruba learned about fortitude this week, but sadly did not learn about choosing songs in her range. Aa'Shia: Says a bunch of meaningless things out of her ass, and sings like a Chipmunk impersonating little Michael Jackson. Larry Ellis: Fake fucking contacts. Fired. Sings in five voices, each more horrible than the last. Ross: Giant square-head crooner. Sings a Stevie Wonder song, but of course starts scatting as soon as possible. Also in here: Crazy Feet Dezmond, and Kurtis Parks, which is too bad, because he's talented and cool and has this weird thing where he gets progressively hotter every second of every day. Anyway, they get cut and Larry freaks out about how wonderful he is, showing his ass impressively, while Aa'shia just keeps talking. What an obnoxious kid!
Room Four: Bughouse Trainwrecks.
The crying remains of the most emotionally unstable, a few very obvious ringers, and a couple of new, also crazy people. Scott is here, representing for the Planet of the Ape, and Bo Bice is here to help him fill the Sling Blade quota. JP and John Zisa are here, still wondering why. Jaclyn Crum is here. Is she crying? Of course she is. Mikalah is here, looking rough and raw and scary as ever. We meet Tammy Wynette Nash, who's a basket case, and the disgusting Jessica Sierra, who freaked me out last week with her bedroom eyes at the cameramen and fondling of herself in the middle of the night. She sings like Natasha Lyonne and dresses like a guy who thinks he's Diane Keaton. Ringers include Sarah Mather and Lindsey Cardinale, who I can tell apart a lot of the time, Anthony Federov and his whole tracheotomy thing, and glorious Nadia with all the hair.
On the whole, it's awesome because they stick the craziest people in a room, make them wait the longest, and then give them the most drawn-out, manipulative speech before telling them they've gotten through. It's a little like taking a room of kindergartners and pretending to kill the class hamster -- but turns out it's just a joke! Anyway, they all jump around like freaks and they all cry because they're all completely freaked and exhausted at this point.
Tomorrow: Over the last three weeks, the judges spent time watching the footage of these 44 that are left, and tomorrow, LIVE, they're going to reveal which 20 of them are going home, and we'll have our 24 contestants. In case you forgot, or think this is good news, remember what it means for the next three weeks: Three nights of American Idol a week. Yeah.
At the end of tonight, there are 12 "boys" and 12 "girls" left standing. That means 20 dead dreams, total, including alien blond boy from last night. David Browne is an obvious yes. Last night's two Room Four additional crazy girls, Tammy "Wynette" Nash and Jessica "Gone Wild" Sierra, interview one after the other: Tammy's a no, Jessica's a yes. I wish that were reversed. JP and/or Jaclyn Crum are subtly freaking out in the background of every single shot in this entire show tonight -- count on the Lamentation of the Unstable Idols.
"Nikko" (Osbourne) Smith gets through thanks to his lucky coin, ability to turn flips in the air, and facial resemblance to Usher. Aloha Micheaux gets through despite not being worth mentioning until tonight. For one thousand years, Mikalah is dicked around and finally gets through, and there's no reason to dwell on this, butâ¦I love her. You hear me? She's adorable. Under that bullshit clown suit prostitute she calls a personality is someone pretty awesome. And that person, I really honestly like. This show can be confusing, y'all.
On the completely, diametrically opposed side, there's Anthony Federov, who's so appealing I kind of hate seeing him on TV. He's like that commercial you hate to enjoy so much, like Vanessa the mod British gum lady. I'm just glad he can sing: even if I'm force-fed something, I'd like it to look and sound good. And he does both these things. Ditto Nadia Turner, Vonzell "The Mail Lady" Solomon, and Carrie "Duh" Underwood. Judd Harris -- whom we've barely seen -- is wicked hot, and gets through, while Erin Furey, Ivan Ganchev, and Yolanda McIntosh all miss out. Who are they? Don't know. Doesn't matter, I guess.
Now there's Faith Gatewood, who loses her goddamned mind for about a million years, getting into the following trouble: a staring contest with Simon, a counting contest with the elevator, a walking contest with her own shoes, a yelling contest with Ivan Ganchev, a wrestling contest with a Buick, and a cluelessness contest with Ryan Seacrest. And if Ryan Seacrest is enough to talk you out of your craziness? You're not trying hard enough. Constantine and his ridiculous crotch and his stupid-ass smarmy face get through, and I've officially hit that wall where I hate him too much to go on without feeling bad about it, so I guess I like him now. Great. Mikalah and Constantine in the same night. Arrr.
Meanwhile, Constantine's self-selected mortal enemy, Bo Bice, edges ever closer to being Boo Radley, while Jaclyn Crum and Amanda Avila are set against each other in a cage match. So, too, are Travis Tucker (DC auditions) and this guy we've not seen, Warren (SF auditions). Travis and Amanda get through, and I end up kind of bummed about Jaclyn. Then there's a montage of people we've lost along the way. There are a hundred of them but at least they show Adam Pratt again. Finally, Seacrest shows us the finals and explains next week (and the next two weeks thereafter):
On Monday, we'll see a showdown between the fina1 12 "Boys." On Tuesday, the final 12 "Girls." On Wednesday, the bottom two of each gender will be eliminated. This patter will repeat three times until we arrive at our Top 12, on whom we will vote each week starting March 15th.
"Boys" who will be competing (along with some hot sleeper guys we've hardly seen before at all, Judd Harris, Jared Yates, and Joseph Mureno) on Monday, whose names you must recognize by now: David Brown, Anwar Robinson, Nikko "Osbourne" Smith, Anthony Federov, Scott Savol, Mario Vazquez, Travis Tucker, Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis. And God help me, but I agree with all 12, which means the extraordinary machine that is AI/FOX marketing seems to have located my secret AI button, and pushed it at least nine times in a row. Yikes.
"Girls" who will be competing (along with cute new sleeper chicks Selena Rae, Melinda Lira, and Aloha Micheaux) on Tuesday: Nadia Turner, Carrie Underwood, Lindsey Cardinale, Sarah Mather, Vonzell Solomon, Amanda Avila, Janay Castine, Jessica Sierra, and -- somehow making me happy -- Mikalah Gordon. This show sure is confusing.
So really there isn't real talking about how the next three weeks are going to work, we're just hoping you'll watch this show all the fucking time, every night of the week you're not watching The O.C. Next week? Even Randy looks hot, which always means it's going to be awesome. There will be 12 finalist men with the phone lines open, 12 finalist women with the phone lines open, and an hour's worth of results on Wednesday.
Welcome to your Rupert Murdoch future. You paid with your soul.
Ryan recaps: It started with 193 people going to "Hollywood" for the "chance of a lifetime," and then there were three days of grueling challenges, such as singing a song, and dancing around, and making Elizabeth Pha feel like shit. Now only 75 remain -- but the journey is far from over. Tonight there will be "a battle on center stage" with one last chance. Your purple prose? Just gives you away. I know that the whole deal with this show is making us all into tiny Regina Brookses that totally might die if we don't find out right now who gets cut and who will make it and all that, but it's just so tiring every time. Twice a week? Makes it harder to care, especially since I barely remember any of the people I'm supposed to be rooting for in the first place. Sarah Mather and Lindsey Cardinale are different people, right? And tonight they're engaging in a battle on center stage for their one last chance?
So after that, we learn what it actually means: that all the people are in four rooms, and two of the rooms are going into yet another round tomorrow night to determine the Final 24, so really, what are we going to call that? A battle to the death on center stage? How can we get more topspin on that? Oh, right. An Evil Chair. Anyhow, we see some people in the four rooms -- this strung-out-looking dude, John Zisa, Cardinale, Scott Savol, Kurtis, Sharon Galvez, Mikalah, some long-haired guy that might be Bo Bice.
Wait, so it's just them in four rooms? And then some of them go through and some go home? So this episode should be like four minutes long, right? Wrong. Because we're totally going into a flashback.
That morning… It was totally crazy! It was "a mixture of anxiety and nervous anticipation." Also mixed in there were: some distress, a soupcon of trepidation, a liter of apprehension, worry all up out the joint, and some uneasy uneasiness. Not to mention redundancy. We see that strung-out guy again, now in the context of both anxiety and nervous anticipation. Jennifer Todd goes more into depth with Ryan about -- you guessed it -- how nervous everybody is right now. She can totally feel it coming from everybody. They're really nervous, you guys. Are you nervous? I'm nervous. Mixed with anxious trepidation.
Constantine, Anwar, that lamb-voiced bleating stripper girl with the dark gamine hair and horrific shiny eye shadow who I swear I saw once on Taxicab Confessions making out with her stripper friend. She bleats about how "it takes a lot out of you emotionally." Clichés in such brain-crushing amounts tonight, and I'm just getting angrier and angrier. Crooner Ross, Jaclyn, people losing their voices, people having throat discomfort. Mikalah, who is not "packing her bags." Mikalah singing in the bathroom. She's just got to keep pushing all the time, it's exhausting to watch. Stop pushing me, Gordon. Give it a rest. And on a related note, Anwar strikes quite a pose in the foyer.
Now Ryan explains how they got to sing "a song of their choice" a cappella for the judges before they were herded like cattle into their four rooms. But I wonder how "of their choice" they really were, since on this entire show I've only heard either A) songs from junior high or earlier, or B) songs by those people whose are the only albums being sold right now because only old people buy albums, like Josh Groban or Alicia Keys or that girl who doesn't know why she didn't come. Neither of which fit under my "choice," exactly. Well, okay: If I were auditioning for American Idol, I would sing that Helen Reddy song where the girl magically traps the man inside her radio.