Tuesday. We open with headshots of each of this week's performers as Black and Decker melodramatically narrate, "Tonight on American Idol, the fate of these ten hopefuls rests in your hands." Those who aren't voted into the finals will apparently have their vocal cords forcibly severed so that they can never sing again and find success and fame outside the confines of this contest.
Opening credits. "Oh, oh, oh, whoa, whoa. Yeah." Those are the "lyrics" to the theme song. You'd think a contest for aspiring singers could come up with something better.
Black and Decker greet us from the new set for these performances. Ryan is wearing a ridiculous long-sleeved black shirt with a white zipper extending all the way down the center. Twit. At least he's calmed down a bit with the spiky hair. They make their way around the new set where the contestants' performances will take place, as they explain for the twenty-fifth time in three episodes that we, the viewing public, will be voting for who will move on in the competition, and "whose dream ends here." Man, FOX just thinks they're the alpha and omega of the fate of those on their reality shows, don't they? Between this and declaring that it's the "last chance for marriage" for the Bachelorettes in Alaska, it makes you wonder if they're pulling some sort of secret Running Man thing and taking the losers out back and putting them down. No wonder those girls seem so desperate.
Anyway, Black and Decker wander around the new set, passing by a table where Randy "not so much action" Jackson, Paula "not so much talent" Abdul, and Simon "not so much empathy" Cowell are already seated. They've got product-placed cups of cola in front of them. Black and Decker continue to explain that we'll be seeing ten contestants a week for the next three weeks. Following the show each night, viewers vote for the ones they like the most. The top three from each group will move on to the finals, along with one "wild card" -- chosen by the three judges -- from the twenty-one who are left over. The venue will then shift to a larger stage with a live audience, where the final ten will continue to beg us to love them. Brian says, "So, it's go big or go home." I think that's the tool motto. No actual human being would ever say something so vapid.
The set. It looks like the set of The View with all of the furniture taken out. There's hardwood paneling everywhere and a large monitor in the back of the room with the American Idol logo on it. The stage is actually a rather small octagon in the center of the room, with the judges' table off to the side. As seems to be the case for all British import television shows, The Octagon of Judgment appears to be made of Plexiglas and lit from within. Black and Decker wander over to the other side of the room to a window, through which we can see tonight's performers waiting in what they call "The Red Room." I'll get to that particular monstrosity later. Black and Decker wave to the kids. The kids wave back, pretending not to hate them both.
Black and Decker explain that earlier in the week, the kids all picked out their songs and their "look" for their performances this evening. We see clips of the kids showing up at the studios. Kelli has a giant stuffed Hello Kitty with her. The kids are introduced to Debra Byrd, a whiskey-voiced zaftig vocal coach who promises to help them sound "fabulous." Although in some cases, it's probably going to end up more like "fabolous." In addition to the free vocal training, they also meet with a fashion consultant, who must have subsequently demanded that her name be taken off this production. Seriously -- she isn't identified, and from what we end up seeing, there's probably a reason. I've already caught a glimpse of Justinn's chest and have to choke back the bile.