American Idol
The Idol We Deserve, Part II

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Jacob Clifton: B | Grade It Now!
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The Princess & The Basket Case
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

We open on much cheering, and Carrie Underwood looking super-cute in a lovely white dress. Carrie dear? You can stop losing weight any old time. You have a moon face, and if you keep trying to lose the baby fat you're going to end up with a bigger and bigger face as the rest of you disappears like Nicole Richie. The song she's singing is all about "we dreamers" and what "we" are up to, as dreamers. Taylor comes out also in white, with fuzzy hair and a wide-open Muppet mouth and the trembling we've learned to associate with him controlling the twitching. Katharine appears, also wearing a white suit. There are some interesting things like how her fronts are hanging out inside the jacket, and how there's a "healthy roundness" pooching out with extreme prejudice over her waistline. Which is messed up, because she's got a lovely figure and yet each week dresses in order to look like a freak. I hope -- and this is going to turn out to be true -- that this is the worst outfit of the night. The rest of the Top 12 comes out in white. Everybody looks good in white, especially now that fake tans are so readily available. Nobody looks at anybody else, as is always true with group singing, because if they were capable of singing in a group they wouldn't be here. This somehow does not interfere with the intense Jesus Camp vibe going on. For which I blame Underwood. The song is about how they "made it through the rain," which is...weird in the same way that I never liked using the "Had a Bad Day" song for the goodbyes, because that puts the shit in a really weird place. "The rain" involved being on TV for months and being treated like a star. Poor them. This is a trend that will continue throughout: Isn't it hard to be on this show? Because eventually someone will win? Pity the Idols! Randoms crowd the stage and everybody's makeup looks transcendent. It's nice to look at. Also nice: no talking before the song, no talking after the song. Just the song and then credits. It's very dramatic.

Ryan comes out making that face he sometimes makes, where he's almost surprised at all the cheering and screaming. He shoots finger guns at the judges and waves cutely off-stage, and there are Ben Stiller and Heather Locklear. I like Ben Stiller all right, although there's gotten to be a Taylor Hicks kind of thing about how neato he finds himself. There is not a word in English for how I feel about Heather Locklear although I've tried to make it clear to you before. In any case, it's simultaneously bizarre and makes total sense that Ben and Heather are sitting together. Where's Christine? This season has been such a constant writingfest that I haven't been keeping up with anything but W and Entertainment Weekly. The internet is a thing I look at for work and then I go away again. I hope they're okay! I know Heather's on the prowl. But in my ideal dream, that's always true, so it's not scary. Ryan strokes his lack of beard despite the ensuing double entendre, and ruminates about who's going to win. Rocky Covington, I can only assume, sits out in the audience having some ideas. Ryan talks about how close it was last week, and it's interesting, because somebody pointed out that if the lines for all three of them last week were busy the whole time, then it would break out to basically 33 percent each way, and the real votes would be the people who got the most busy signals, like plastic flutes in a classy champagne fountain. I wonder about that, I do.

There's a pointless and long-lived set of judgery montages. Here's what we can learn about the judges: Randy uses the word "dude" a whole bunch of times. He says "dude." Also, things are "the bomb" and then they "have a hot one" sometimes. He also says "wow." Paula, "the compassionate one," gets a montage backed up by "So Emotional," by her sister-in-oxy Whitney Houston. She cries, and crawls all over Randy and Simon, and gives lap dances, and sometimes seems to be electrocuted, and dances like a drunk sorority girl in an ethnic situation, and screams about love like a drunk sorority girl outside the dorm, and pretends to punch Simon and sometimes connects. The montage ends and Ryan's smiling directly into the camera like, "Did you know she gets paid more than I do? Yeah. That's fucked up, right?" The Simon montage involves him touching himself all over and rubbing the lips and stroking the cheeks and eyes and making awesome faces. Simon makes a great "oh God" face when it's done, and then Ryan giggles and fondles himself before shouting out the band, who get louder every single year.

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American Idol

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