American Idol

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Jacob Clifton: A | Grade It Now!
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In Which Simon Messes With Your Head

To an orchestral tune that's half-Rocky, half Masterpiece Theatre, a big dumb old-school mic comes snaking down from the ceiling into the hand of an old, old man who talks like wrestling. So this is like a boxing match. Because when I look into the confused Bambi eyes of Archuleta and the skinny-pants indie mojo of Cook, I won't deny it. I do think of violence.

Here's what I think. This whole thing is going to be stupid. You know it, and I know it. No matter how pretty they sing, or whatever other crap Ryan pulls out of his hat, this is going to be dumb as hell. And then it's going to be down to the voting blocs. I have trouble imagining a single person in this universe who would randomly turn on the TV and be like, "American Idol? I have not heard of this!" and then an hour later be mobilized to pick up the phone by exciting fucking songs like "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." Or "Imagine," or whatever the unholy crap the coronation songs are going to be this year. So it doesn't actually matter how they do tonight, or really even what the judges say. It's going to be about who you like more, and if you feel like voting -- which may in fact be influenced by what the judges say, if you are a crazy -- and whoever you like more, in aggregate as Americans, that's who's going to win.

So since that's the entire point, why even sing? I like listening to both of their voices, but if this song were about voices, there's a list of people I have written here on the inside of my hand that should still be here. So I say you let them keep those gloves on, and we drop a mesh steel cage down on there, and tell them that whoever stays conscious the longest will win whatever the prize is that they win on this show, which I either can't remember or never actually knew. Toss in some metal folding chairs and aluminum baseball bats in case it gets boring, serve up some Coors Light to the audience, and let 'em go. Because the slapping, hair-pulling girlfight that would commence would be even better than this show usually is.

"Welcome to the Nokia Theatre," "let's get ready to rumble," "At 180 pounds, the real deal from Missouri, David 'Sugarfoot' Cook!" I am not making this up, this really happened. These are all phrases the old man says. ["That's not just any old guy, that's Michael Buffer who has made his living kicking off fights... though I'm ashamed to admit that I know that." -- Angel] "Weighing in at a hundred pounds soaking wet," in the other corner, "David 'Babyface' Archuleta!" And I mean, sure. There hasn't been a male-on-male showdown on this show since the overwhelming tide of testosterone last splashed up around our necks in Season Two and threatened to overwhelm us all with its virility. And I would pay ever so much money to watch Ruben beat the shit out of Clay. But ...

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American Idol

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