Somewhere in between Hulk Hogan attacking Ryan Seacrest and the prefabricated Masterpiece Theater of Utter Bullshit, I began to get wistful for Simon Cowell. I mean, obviously Simon's absence has loomed large over this season. But standing back and watching the three-ring circus of barely controlled lunacy that the show has devolved into really makes me appreciate that while the results shows were always bloated, messy, and disingenuous, they at least felt more under control and less like the spiraling apart of the universe's delicate particle logic.
So, bored with his Idols, Simon has sailed off, and now in his absence, we end up with Nigel Lythgoe's rampant hucksterism, Steven Tyler's horrific personality, the nasty chastity of teenagers like Scotty McCreery and Thia Megia, and the disorganization of rudderless wild cards like Jacob Lusk and Paul McDonald. We can all see where this is progressing, and before life on Idol becomes merely impossible, it will, for a long time, have become completely unbearable. (Poor Ryan Seacrest. He is but a battered heart, bleeding out onto the ever-more-seizure-inducing Idol stage. But on him, in that blood, is written: stasis. The end. The X Factor. )
Just in case you felt like you were in danger of actually being surprised by anything that happens on this show, Ryan promises a shocking development at the end of the hour, which -- combined with Uncle Nigel's mid-day tweet promising same -- pretty much lets you predict each "shocking" turn of events for the entire episode. Ryan also promises no less than 100 times that tonight's results are all about the 10 (and only 10!) finalists who will go on the summer tour. There are only ten spots! Don't even TRY to conceive of anything but ten!
Somehow, Mark Anthony was able to free up some time in his busy schedule to mentor the idols on how to properly use those earpieces so they don't sound quite so awful every week. He then takes the time to watch the show back with the finalists today, as well as show off his "sense of humor" and undermine his wife's judging choices (specifically, her critique of Pia Toszzzzzzzcano). Seriously, the woman has given ONE negative comment throughout this entire season, and they had to haul out her undead husband to give her shit for it?
The Motown group performance isn't as hot of a mess as other group performances have been, probably because these songs are actually meant to be sung by duos or groups. And it actually sounds like they're singing live, which is a refreshing change of pace. They're followed by Stevie Wonder himself, who I'm starting to think has a Batphone-style dedicated phone line in case Idol ever needs him. After "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," Stevie and the Idols sing a birthday tune to Steven Tyler -- like, three rounds worth -- and then hand him a cake and a garish painting of him. Because, honestly, your time is just not valuable to anyone involved with this show.