Randy thinks it was "definitely" the right song for Bucky. You can tell Randy is psyched to finally be able to say that without reservation. I love that this evening has a fully formed plot arc for Randy. Hopefulness to disillusionment to frustration and despondency, and now he's finally arriving at vindication. Paula notes Bucky's "comfort" with the country style. No shit, lady. Paula's only real criticism is this: "Be careful of your diction when you're up there onstage so we can hear everything you're saying." First of all, I originally thought she said "be careful of your addiction," which would have been super-funny in an AA sponsor kind of way. Second of all, 99% sure that was a pre-fabricated comment, because I don't recall Bucky saying anything particularly unintelligible this time. I mean, it's a valid criticism, to be sure, but it's mostly when he talks that you can't tell what he's saying, not when he sings. And third of all: Paula! Abdul! Telling people to speak more clearly! It's like me telling Jacob to ease up on the Bucky's-disease-of-the-week stuff. Simon says he agrees with Paula: he couldn't understand a damn word. Paula's like, "But don't make it mean!" Moreover, Simon thought it was merely "okay," and not worth paying to see. That's pretty much been my reaction to Bucky all season, so you know I'm cool with that. The crowd boos obediently. Bucky smiles unadvisedly.
"Next up," says Ryan, "the moment of truth for Princess P." I had no idea that was Paris's nickname. It's annoying as hell. Paris looks dorkily cute in her video clip, with the sideways baseball cap and all. She'll be singing Beyoncé's "Work It Out," because it'll let her be fun and youthful, and she gets to "dance for all the young ones." Not sure at all what that's supposed to mean. Maybe Paris is for the children, like Wu Tang used to be. When she hits the stage she is dressed like a color explosion. She's all purples and yellows, with her extensions gathered into a long ponytail. I am immediately angry I used up my Cousin Pam reference a few weeks ago, because it's even more appropriate now. This is such a fun performance. It's almost a given that Paris will be having a good time onstage, but this might be my favorite overall performance of hers yet. The song is this hyperbolically funky creation, and it's pretty perfect for Paris because Beyoncé was playing dress-up in it as much as Paris is now (and has been all season). After an entire night of contestants trying to wedge themselves into these songs that didn't suit them, or else laying back and coasting on songs that fit them maybe too well, here's Paris just cutting loose and dancing like crazy and having a blast. It's great. She drops it like it's hot and swings her fake ponytail around and into her face. She doesn't care. She wants you to work it out.
Randy wants the crowd to calm down before he speaks, so you know exactly what's coming. Do we have a hot one tonight, Randy? We do! We do! Best performance of the night! Yup. Paula is standing up for no real reason. Trying to get the feeling back in one extremity or another, no doubt. She notes that Paris said she wanted to be a kid tonight, but "those weren't kid moves up there." No, I guess the booty-shaking might be a bit advanced for the kids -- in an ideal world, at least -- but Paris is seventeen, which is a pretty standard age, booty-shaking-wise. Paula then starts talking about Beyoncé but somehow ends up at the Pussycat Dolls. Paris says "thanks" even though she should have slapped Paula right across the face. The Pussycat Dolls? "Hi, you look like life ran you down at sixty miles per hour, and you're also easy like Sunday morning. Care to be a Pussycat Doll?" Simon has to throw a bucket of unwelcome cold water, calling the performance "precocious" and like a kid playing dress-up as Beyoncé. Well, see my above comment about Beyoncé and this song. But also, this is Paris we're talking about. That's what she does. She puts on the Billie Holiday costume, she puts on the Gladys Knight costume, and it's all good. It's disingenuous to pretend like she just started playing it this way. Ryan jokes about the "Randy Jackson dancing school," which is either about Randy being fat or Randy being black. Not really funny either way. I've noticed Ryan thinks simply uttering Randy's name is funny, like last year with Scott Savol. I'll try not to draw any conclusions, because I'm liking Randy this week.