Tuesday. So the Seal of Tsathoggua is intact, but apparently removed from its original foundation as it's no longer serving its purpose, and appears to be raised a bit to serve as a real stage. This has been done so the singers will be visible over the live crowd that has been added to the show. They've got this whole "theater in the round" thing going on, making me fear that one of the contestants will spontaneously break out in a wistful monologue where she tilts her head to the side and stares into the stage lights as she talks about how she stopped believing in God when her father died in a mining accident.
Ryan "Caligula" Seacrest greets us from atop the Seal, along with tonight's eight semi-finalists. Ryan's collar fetish is back. His black shirt practically has wings around the neck. He tells us that from now on, we decide who moves on. And by "we," he actually means "everybody whose musical tastes you can't stand." The pressure is on! Yes, I know! I'm trying to come up with a new gimmick! Stop reminding me!
Credits. See, the transgendered terminator is heading up to San Francisco so that it can get a license to marry itself. I had to work in a joke about that. The other possibility was something about Ryan ending up on Page Six after showing up at San Francisco City Hall with a newly single Ken. That's the real reason for the break-up. Ryan, you home-wrecker.
Ryan greets us back on the Seal to explain to us everything about the show that we already know. Thanks. We'll be choosing two contestants from each round of four. Then we'll have the wild card round. Ryan warns us that they can bring back anybody from any stage of the auditions. The way things went with the wild cards last year, I wouldn't be surprised if they started some sort of musical draft and started forcing good singers who never even auditioned to appear on the show. Ryan reminds us that we could possibly see William Hung again, and does a piss-poor attempt to mimic William's performance. Jimmy Fallon did it better on Saturday Night Live, and when Fallon is funnier than you are, you should take it as a sign that you're really not very funny.
Ryan shows off the "new set," which really doesn't seem that different from last year's, other than the audience. It's still very small. In fact, the small audience makes it look even more like karaoke, except without the wonderful booze. Ryan heads over and introduces us to the judges, Randy "Do Something" Jackson, Paula "Freak Like Me" Abdul, and Simon "Jesus for a Day" Cowell.
As Ryan heads over to introduce us to the kids in the refurbished Pimp Central, we catch a glimpse of a small house band lurking in an alcove in the back of the room. They're never introduced to us, so I've christened them The Great Unknown. Michael Orland is in the group, so I can't even call him Schroeder anymore. Can't I keep any of my gimmicks? Oh, if you're wondering what the (Eeeeeeee!) is up to, it's currently possessed by OutKast.