American Idol
Performance: Top 12

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A | Grade It Now!
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Ryan Wants Muscles!
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Wait, this shit is two hours? Did we know that? Why in hell is it two hours? That's ten minutes per person, including commercials. In which nothing happens. That's bloaty. And then tomorrow is half an hour...FOX, I know you are crafty. And when I figure out your game, I'm blowing it sky high. Mark my words!

Ryan mentions in passing, as always, the award-winning and platinum-selling people that once had to do with this show, and now do not, as though it somehow reflects well on the show that they're succeeding: Kelly's awards, Chris's sales, Carrie's country awards, Fantasia's terrifying scary face, J-Hud's Oscar...do we really need to talk about this? "They eventually overcame the embarrassment of being associated with this show, and fought tooth and nail for recognition, which only took some of them five years. Aren't we a force for good?" As though in agreement, technical goes haywire: his mic drops, the camera's shaky, he starts saying true stuff! He calls the show "the best platform in the history of TV," with which I can't argue with, and asks us to vote. Credits, and then the audience screaming like freaks off the leash, holding posters that say shit like "FRO PATRO." Question: How can something be hilarious and racist at the same time? Answer: It cannot. Only slightly less offensive is Ryan's reminder that this shit is going to be going on for another three months. "Son of a bitch," is what my notes say. He indicates the finals band, and it's huge: horns, and strings, and little Japanese girls in crazy outfits, eight scary robot white ladies in Nagel makeup pretending to play guitars, a man with a banjo, and an otter with a washtub bass and faith in the spirit of Christmas.

Simon and Paula giggle madly as Randy talks around the idea that the boys are on shout now and for all time, and Paula says they're finally "ready to come into their own now," like excellence is something you should hold back until the last possible second, and Simon explains that the guys are fucked because they weighted the Top 24 precisely to fuck the guys, and that "this stage can make you or break you." And then in five years, you'll actually have built up your reputation to the point where your career should have been at the first place, and you can finally start working on getting recognition as an actual musician, and hopefully one day getting your money stolen by labels and A&R reps, instead of this show, as God and Valenti intended.

Speaking of the truths about the industry we prefer to ignore, meet What's Left Of Diana Ross. We see thousands of pictures of her looking dubious and spooky from many decades and -- in case you're young enough to be watching this show without kinda hating yourself, which I honestly hope you are -- we learn about who she is. Long, long ago in the dawn of time, when the value of a dollar meant something and women did what they were told, there was a lady named Diana Ross. At fifteen, she joined a group of singers called the Supremes, and they had 12 #1 hits. Five thousand years later, their story was turned into a mediocre-to-good Broadway show and then a mediocre-to-great film, about which I now know more than I know about actual things that matter to me, despite an utter lack of interest and complete personal media sanction for the last few months, because Dreamgirls is the new Arrested Development, or maybe Jesus: there are people whose love of it means for some reason that you really, really need to love it too, and you risk inducing some super fucking hardcore suspicion if you evince any disinterest, which only increases their determination, in a vicious circle that never, ever ends. So sometime after that, she dumped the bitches, acted spooky some more, and was creepy looking all the time. She played my girl Billie in Lady Sings The Blues, won 279 Tonys and 11,000 Grammy nominations, and all this time, her album covers were terrifying, she made scary faces, and had unique fashion sense. Somebody, I think Joe R, decided she was the Female Entertainer of the Century, and I can't disagree. ["You know, I was all set to take vehement offense to that, but after this week, I kind of love Diana Ross and all that she's done." -- Joe R] American music of the century pretty much pivots on the popping of blues, and she went there with the rest of Motown, and is an icon. And all creepiness aside -- which is an issue you get with every single icon ever, eventually; I'm not singling her out -- you have to admit she's pretty much totally awesome.

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American Idol

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