After a perfunctory reference to Constantine's departure as object lesson for the importance of voting in a democratic society, we learn our dual theme: Lieber and Stoller, who wrote "Hound Dog" and "Yakity Yak" and every other song ever, and of course Bo knows them intimately, as he was in the war with them, and -- get this -- any old song from this week's Top 40. The theme is, therefore: "Step One, Irritate The Fuck Out Of Jacob. Step Two, Sing: A Song."
A-Fed sings "Poison Ivy," a favorite of mine when I was little, and he's simply terrible. This wouldn't have gotten him to Hollywood, I'll tell you that much. No Golden Ticket for you. Which is too bad, because he's going home. The judges uniformly hate it, except for Paula, who is nonsensical.
Scott sings "On Broadway," and apart from some push notes that he can't really hit due to the usual shortness of breath, it's fantastic. Probably the best he's ever done. Damn him. He even looks better, relatively, than he has previously. Guess somebody got scared. The judges, sadly, are forced to agree.
Vonzell sings "Treat Me Nice," kind ofâ¦horribly. I mean, I know she'll be okay, and even on her worst night she's still adorable and great, but it's just not good to hear -- the required range is a little beyond her, and transposing it so she can hit her pretty high notes still means that the lower parts are nearly silent. Yuck. The judges tell huge lies, because she's got to be in the Final Three or Elton John will start the race riots.
Bo sings "Stand By Me" somewhat listlessly, but it's good. He has such a lovely voice. He looks really nice this week too, especially after last week's dreadful monstrosity. The judges agree it was a good idea, so much so that the dead-eyed performance isn't so much an issue. I agree. Even better is how that they don't feel the need to talk about how hardcore he is, and just compliment him for things they should.
Carrie sings "Trouble" adorably and robotically, and her voice is really on for the majority of it. Carrie is not so much an evil, tortured honky-tonk barfly, obviously, but it's fun to see her try. I like this, even though she's wearing a black half-slip over her jeans. What the hell is that about, exactly? The judges overlook the weird outfit for the most part, beyond lifting the half-slip the better to kiss her ass more effectively.
On the second run-through, A-Fed sings "Incomplete," by the reunited Backstreet Boys, a song I've never heard. Well, in one way. In another way, we've all heard it before. He does a better job with this one, since it's in his yelly-ballady-cheesy-love song wheelhouse, and pretty much perfect for him. Which makes the bad notes all the more painful. The judges, to their credit, are regretful about telling him he's going home. Simon's nice about it, but then, like, boy bands are his life.
Scott sings "Every Time You Go Away," by Brian McKnight, and again, I'm not familiar, but I kind of really am. Man, I love Brian McKnight. Scott thanks his fashion coordinator for making him so very fucking "appealing." It's not great like his first song, there is a flatness, but it's still better than he has been. Damn him. The judges love it, and give him a long leash as far as thinking he's great, although Simon delivers a smackdown about the flatness and the ego-tripping that is somewhat wonderful.
Then Vonzell sings the Tsingle, "When You Tell Me That You Love Me," and it's nice, but, like, what the hell she's thinking, singing a song that we already heard fifteen times this season? There's a certain sophisticated humor at work here: You know what I'm going to sing? The #1 single I, um, sang. It's boringly lovely in exactly the way that this song is lovely, though, so it makes up for before. Randy calls it "perfect," Simon doesn't, and begs for votes, and Paula calls it "overbearing," but she means it as a compliment, because she doesn't know what the hell that word means.
Bo sings maybe my least favorite song of the last year, "Heaven" by Los Lonely Boys, and is Bo some more, which means that it's awesome again, and his voice is pretty much flawless again, and he looks like Charlie Manson and Neil Young had a very hairy, very talented baby. Which is, if you think about the way people act around him, exactly what he is. The judges are not immune to the wonder of Bo, of course, and love him. He turned the disinterest from the first song into what the people call "comfortable."
Carrie finishes up with "Bless the Broken Road," so I'm two for five as far as knowing this week's Top 40, and that's including the Vonzell cheat. Maybe if this show weren't on all the damn time I could spend some time with the radio. The song is awesome, as a song. I wouldn't buy it on a CD, but I would sign the person that wrote it. Good call, whoever. The judges love it, and Simon calls her "robotic," all of a sudden.
To review: A-Fed looking like he wandered in from outside and accidentally got onstage, then being pretty awesome, but still going home. Scott singing all awesome and sounding fantastic, twice. Vonzell screeching, then singing a song that haunts my nightmares, but still being beautiful and great. Bo singing perfectly and without any feeling whatsoever, then singing the biggest pothead song in the universe, and perfectly at home doing it. Carrie being a kitten being a tiger some more, and then singing the ultimate Carrie song. Hey, if you see my sense of suspense lying around, email me. I seem to have misplaced it.
Last night: Lieber, Stoller, and Paula armwrestled for who's been more screwed and defamed this week, and we heard songs from this week's Top 40. What we learned: everyone who ever wrote a song is a giant hack, and music as we know it is over. Like this show doesn't teach us that every week.
A-Fed sucked it through a straw while poorly dressed, then rocked a BSB song yelly and well, not to mention blind. Carrie was "evil," if by evil you mean cute and kind of pointless, then she was awesome, if you mean awesome as in note-perfect and very lifelike. Bo looked better than he's ever looked, and first apologized ("Stand By Me"), then celebrated ("Heaven") how he's a huge pothead, and of course he was very good, but a little tired. Vonzell took her whole "tsinging a tsong you've heard a million times" thing to an unimagined level, and did a great job, but only after maybe her worst performance. Scott was a huge mess and a jerk to boot, and sang both his songs pretty-to-really well. The judges refused at any time to make any damned sense at all, and should be slapped, except for when Scott took his Hubris Fairlane out for a spin and got a moving violation from Simon. That part was friggin' awesome.
Tonight: Ryan looks his personal best even in his weirdly-fitting suit; Carrie's cute and her smile is realistic; Bo is still hot, although he's wearing idiotic Charlie's Angels-era Kate Jackson shades that make him look like Megaman; Scott's looking particularly slow tonight; Vonzell is tres Vonzell; and A-Fed looks bummed and terrified. Me too! Then Bo and his American Idol Backup Band sing what we're I guess calling the Michael W. Smith classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Is it any wonder I know nothing about music? Lies, lies. All the time. The Idols harmonize hideously, thanks to Vonzell, who's really off this week, and Scott keeps petting Bo like a bunny, George.
Then Carrie and Vonzell book it downstage to give Paula some huge bouquets, in solidarity. So that's how we're handling that, huh? It's nice for this show to actually show some class, for once. Too bad nobody knew for sure ahead of time that the ABC thing was going to be about the crappiest, cheesiest, most self-indicting, dumb-as-hell, amateurish, tabloid piece of trash since Little Dorrit was published. I'll tell you all about it in the recap, but trust me, if you didn't see it? You win. Worthless.
Ryan couchifies A-Fed, who says aloud (while doing the Gilbert Grape DiCaprio): "It's not over." Because he knows where he belongs, and that this makes the couch the bad, and not the good, place. I do this all day long, so I can't blame him for giving himself a little pep talk. I remember it's his birthday (it's my job to know stuff like that) and I get really sad, because it is, A-Fed. It is over. Ryan tells Vonzell to remain on the stage, and the one-third of the audience that is not as smart as A-Fed starts booing, because they think she's in the bottom two. Fools.
Scott is encouched, thanks Fake Jesus fifteen ways, and heads over to gloat with Anthony about their good fortune. "Wow, wow, wow," he says; he just can't believe his good luck. His ass is dumb as a box of nail clippings. Anthony tries desperately to save Scott from looking like the total asshat he is, shaking his head on the DL and trying to tell him to chill without moving his lips, because Anthony is fantastic. Scott is that mean kid in special classes that you don't want to piss off because he has the strength of an ape.
Bo and Carrieâ¦fuck it. There's only so many ways to word it. Even they are bored by this. They and Vonzell are the top three, Scott doesn't even have the sense to be ashamed about his ridiculously unobservant and embarrassing behavior moments ago, and A-Fed, as usual, finds the whole thing hilarious. Scott sings the McKnight song, worse than last night, and then A-Fed sings the Backstreet, and his crotch takes it out on us. Somewhere in there, Randy says that the right people are safe this week, which: agreed, and then Ryan and Simon get all catty and in total gay love with each other.
They show the Ukrainian Immigrant Contingent and I get kind of chokey because I'll really miss the little tyke. Scott laughs and stares and giggles and talks to himself about how funny all this is, his blinding success on American Idol, and how hilariously unstoppable he is. If he could spell the word "farce," he might bust it out at this time, because we're all just going through the motions. I'd be pissed if I weren't busy getting pre-sad about little Anthony.
Who isâ¦safe! Happy fucking birthday, you adorable little pumpkin. Constantine's departure was carefully choreographed so it got to even me, all the most shocking dramatically-lit romantic downfall of all time, and it was freaking amazing. This week? Also carefully choreographed, so that Scott's inarticulate shock and rage are not given voice. A-Fed's safe/Video Journey/"On Broadway." No hateration! No talking of any kind!
There's a tiny amount of sad part where he bites his lip to keep from crying, and I felt a little bad, but mostly I was just looking forward to him ripping off Ryan's little arm and beating A-Fed to death with it before running rampant through the crowd on a crack-fueled rage and climbing up to the top of a radio tower with Paula Abdul clutched in his meaty fist. Throwing phones like barrels you have to jump over.
Man. That rules. Did I say I was burned out? Surely that was not me.
"It's off the chain. Before you hit the clicker, don't be the poser in your shack. Grip the 411 when pimpin' hotties spit the verbage."
See, this is why I'm ambivalent about Fox having a news organ, because on the one hand, it's evil and not real news, but on the other hand, the local Fox affiliate affords us gems like the above. I want to get that shit tattooed on myself so I can refer to it whenever the kids these days talk their crazy slang. Isn't that awesome? I want to meet the person who approved that, and the person that wrote the copy for that ad, and the guy that pitched the idea in the first place, and the news reader who said that shit to me just now -- I want to get all these people together in one room, and then I want to do horrible things to them and make them cry because clearly they're just a titch too pleased with themselves. I'd hit that, in other words. Over and over again.
I know that the synthetic dirt that is now a part of Ryan's jeans is probably really expensive. I read about it in this month's Esquire. He's adorable getting everybody to scream and telling us that "it's all about the singing, but yours is the voice that matters." These poetic interludes send me. He acknowledges that Constantine is gone, and to the booing he relies, "You mean you cared?" because you ought to have voted, I think, is once again the implication. Ryan's like the League of Women Voters for this show. Get out and VOTE!
Paula looks high, Simon looks weird, and then Ryan seems very sincerely proud of them for making it to the final five, and then fakely asks if they are familiar with the songwriting duo Lieber and Stoller, and of course: Scott looks idiotic for a second, Carrie looks insecure and helpful, and Bo knows all about them and can name all their songs. Just in case you forgot who everybody was, here's your fake summary. I swear to you that this show actually is wrestling. The second theme is any song off the Top 40 charts for this week. Anthony is happy about that, you betcha. Lieber and Stoller looked like Ronald Reagan and Richard Kind, and they used to be hot, but now they're old as the hills, if not deceased. Those are pearls that were their songs, et cetera.
A-Fed explains that he will be singing, for his Lieber and Stoller choice, "Poison Ivy," which my uncle John used to sing to me all the time. I thought it was about botanical safety. I think Anthony thinks that. Like a merit badge or something. The thing is that my uncle John is awesome and hilarious, and I know for sure that he just liked singing a song about VD to a tiny child who would never know the difference, and I'd love Anthony so much more if he seemed to enjoy the idea of singing this on American Idol for that reason, but you and I both know he's not giving it that much thought.
He hops around and does the sexy cocky thing but follows it up with a bounce or a giggle, and it's very confusing, because clearly one or the other is an act and maybe the whole point of him is that we'll never know which. What is not confusing, though, is his voice, because his voice is horrible and sounds like total hell. It's the worst performance of the Top Twelve, I think. It's complete ass. He sure is cute, though.