Ryan's wearing black, so I'm guessing Danny's done. The Top 12 next week will compete against each other, irrespective of gender, singing songs from the Lennon/McCartney songbook. I will give you one thousand dollars if Amanda doesn't Cocker her way through "A Little Help From My Friends," although I don't know if the lyrics are self-loathing enough for her. She will try not to sing out of key.
Blake Lewis is here! Good, I was going to talk about him anyway. He moonwalks around the stage and does his weird vocal scratching for awhile before collapsing into his usual tics. I still really like his voice, and actually I do really like this song, but that's not surprising because we both love the exact same bands if you ignore 311, which is a good policy anyway. This is a show that demands that you love a persona or person and go crazy for them, on purpose, so if the show's doing its job, you don't notice that your strings are getting pulled, so I understand why it's confusing when I try to talk about the individual people, like Blake or Nadia or Danny, because what interests me is mostly what the show has to say about itself, and about America, via Blake and Nadia and the rest of them. I can't really come to the show as a fan, because I hate it, and I can't really do this job as a fan of any show, even if I am a fan of the show. I think that's probably really confusing if you're a fan and viewer of the show who wants to talk about the show, but I can't personally think of anything more dull, because I find it really hard to quantify art beyond whether or not I liked it, or why I liked it. The hardest part of writing a recap, for me, is the letter grade to the right of this paragraph, because I don't get how you're supposed to do that.
On the other hand, this is the biggest show in the country and that means that what happens on this show, no matter how flimsy or stupid, actually matters. That's really interesting to me. So when the show allows itself to admit that music is happening in the aughts, like with Blake, or when the show allows itself to admit that gay people exist, like with Danny, I tend to go nuts about it, because America is interesting and this show is one of the keys to why. Why last year, Blake; why this kind of gay kid, Danny; why the perennial McKibbin/Sierra/Overmyer trashface? The Top 12 are, to me, like a snapshot zodiac of where we are every year: add them up, and they're the sum of us as Americans this year.