Carrie Underwood! Puppy fat gone, with interest! Good to see Hollywood's not getting to her. She sings this awesome song about this fast-driver lady who hits some black ice and then immediately dedicates her life to Jesus and defensive driving. It's my new favorite!
Brenna goes home and sounds even worse than she did Tuesday, which is funny because usually they sound better. I will miss her as a television personality, but not as a terrible singer, or as a formerly lively person gone lifeless. Heather the Stalker also goes home, still not Mariah Carey, and she mentions goats in some way. Paula laughs at them both for reasons that make sense only to her. And to Simon, who fed her a bunch of nonsense lines apparently before the show so that he could laugh at her on live TV when she repeated them verbatim. It is gorgeous. I'm just glad Katharine's okay. Get with the program, Toots!
Ryan asks all the boys one by one if they made it, like it's not stressful enough, and then sends the albescent David Radford home with his gorgeous mother. I will miss him as an adorable person on TV, but not as a worthless singer or a formerly personality-enhanced performer. We didn't get to see him puke one single time! Sway and Kevin, the two possible home-goers, are subjected to yet more hilarious random talking by Paula, who nearly goes to sleep and then almost crawls under the table and around the studio on her hands and knees, laughing and crying in ragged jags. It's amazing. At one point Ryan actually has to remind the judges that they are live and possibly recording testimony for their eventual competency trials at that very moment. Sway is eliminated, of course, having left the voice I thought I liked somewhere in Hollywood and traded it in for something very uvular and mucosal, like a frog in the back of his throat which in turn contains a frog in its own throat, and so on, and somewhere in there is David Radford, snapping and dimpling terrifically and nearly barfing for ever and ever, amen. We'll miss you, just...not on this show, at all.
And we're live for a full hour. And such an hour! I admit that Wednesday night, I got more and more insanely jealous of Joe R during the hour-of-NAMBLA public service announcement episode. For exactly 24 hours, until this. Now I'm okay!
So Ryan's wearing a complicated black outfit with a white pocket square. The black makes him look more orange than lighter colors do. He tells us that Carrie Underwood is coming, and for some reason I'm looking forward to seeing her. I'm sure that will last about six seconds, but I was like, "Yeah? Carrie?" I guess when a person spends as much time in your living room as she did -- watching each episode multiple times, no less -- you can't help but be kindly disposed toward her. I hope she is happy forever. And that I don't ever have to listen to her sing again in my entire life, because that is not how I roll.
Avril Lavigne's terrifying body double watches as Ryan tells us there were over 42 million votes this week. That is so many votes! Randy's wearing a lovely candy-striped shirt, Paula's doing some kind of Anna Nicole thing and waving to her own face, and Ryan calls Simon "Mr. Cranky himself." I bet that's what he says in the morning as he's bringing in the tray. "And how is Mr. Cranky this morning? I made you crepes." A little paper flower in the OJ. Fuck Simon Cowell for not being grateful for what he has. What could be better than Ryan Seacrest bringing you crepes and calling you "Mr. Cranky"? Paula's out of it and not talking or looking at anything in particular, and Ryan tells Simon not to "start" tonight. I guess due to the fact that Simon asked him last night to please not molest the contestants. Does that really fall under the heading of "attitude"? Because I would have put it under "I will have your ass," and not in the nice way.
Now the group sings "Love The One You're With," which fits the cynical amount of bullcrap going down in the Top 24. I always thought Bo should have done that the night Carrie won. I think the fans would have appreciated that, and it's in his range and vibe. Quickly now: Melissa still dances like a stripper; Taylor still dances like a scary idiot; Heather still has boobs; Brenna still sings and thinks like a duck; Gedeon is still a strange little thing; Paris still sings directly to the camera with little "vote for me" hands in her eyeballs, folded as though in prayer. Bucky hates to dance because of California, Lisa sings into the camera with her eyes wide and then chases it into the audience. Ayla's the only one who's even trying, vocally, wearing a snappy and sexy red dress and ending her line with a cute little fake smile at the end. She sounds great even though she has to move around a lot more than most of the others, due to the choreography. Then Katharine! Rocks! She riffs over the chorus and does a cute little dance with her legs going every which way and is wonderful. Bucky is in hell. Will is at the front of the group, not really registering, and Kellie's cute some more. Kevin is still here? He looks like he wandered in from a studio tour, as usual. Kinnik is also still here, jumping into frame out of nowhere and wearing a really cute outfit, a newsboy, and huge white sneakers. (Andy: "She's the only one that looks famous. Everybody else looks like I went to high school with them." Jacob: "Your high school was not drag queen-friendly." Andy: "Tell me about it." Okay, I admit that I made most of that conversation up.) Will is a good dancer, actually. David Radford is still here? Then there is Mandisa to wrap things up.
Mandisa. Girl, no. I want to be clear here, when I say that Mandisa is a beautiful woman with a wonderful voice. She is a sexy large lady with very awesome hair. But this...99% of dressing yourself is looking great, and the other 1% is personal style. And what has been accomplished here is 0% of a possible 100%. There's no need to say she looks good when she doesn't, just because she's a big girl. Most of the time she looks awesome, and dresses for her body. Which it turns out is...really weird, if you dress it right. She's wearing a long tunic shirt, black, that is tight in the bodice and looks great, then flows voluminously down over her hips and thighs, which are wearing jeans. The lightness of the denim, and the looseness and darkness of the bottom half of the shirt, combine to make her look like a flip book of girls. The top half is sexy and is recognizable as Mandisa, dressed well. The bottom half is some other girl, who is clearly not supposed to be here. It's so weird and so wrong, because these are basic mistakes: if you have big thighs or wide hips, don't pair light bottoms with a dark top. If you have an outsized lower half, compared to your top half, don't wear a shirt that's tight up top and then flows like a tablecloth down across the rest of you. Simply switching the colors, and giving the shirt a consistent hemline further up, and you'd be golden. Instead, you look scary, and you look twice as big as you are. The mantilla she was wearing on Tuesday kind of went too far in the other direction, but still. The shirt, compounding the problem, is supposed to be sleeveless, but in a close-up there are these clear rubber straps holding it up, cutting into her shoulders, which also makes her appear fleshier than she is. This is an assault on the beauty of Mandisa, and I am not on board. Where did this hell come from? This is an outfit that would make almost anyone look bad -- even a chicken-legs person the exact upside-down opposite of Mandisa would look like they had huge thighs -- on color mechanics alone, and then there are the plastic straps, which would look assy on anybody. I think we need to have a word with someone. But she has infectious and powerful joy and her voice is great.