Boring as shit Stevie Wonder night. Let's just get this over with. Ace "Do I Do" Young cannot...sing. He is a bad singer. But whatever it is that he is doing, he is really good at it, and I think he deserves a prize. I hope he wins this, and somebody else can go win a singing competition. "Blame It On The Sun" Pickler is not familiar with Stevie Wonder, much like salmon, spinach, and fake eyelashes. Or sitting in a fucking chair. She is, however, familiar to singing flat, and through her nose, and the Heather Cox that now lives inside her nose. Elliott "Knocks Me Off My Feet" Yamin cries a whole lot, just like always, but still won't tell us where his Lucky Charms are. "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing," sings Mandisa, but she kind of worries about some things. One of those things is not singing well. In a night when even Mandisa is hitting the bottom of her range on every line, what are you supposed to do? Turn it off? Not with a damn hour and a half left.
Bucky "Superstition" Fucking Fuckington sounds amazing, as usual. (Joe R. is here in Austin with me, and he says that the hair is very fluffy and that he is making the same motion over and over, bow-legged as if he has rickets, but if I look, I'll say something to insult the billions of trailer people that read TWoP and can operate email, so I'm content to just listen to his absolutely amazing singing voice.) Oops, Bucky's talking. FF! Melissa "Lately" McGhee has been gargling salt water ever since Stevie Wonder's roadie, but that doesn't help when she screws up the lyrics in front of Stevie Wonder, and he tells him not to touch her, awesomely. She wears a dress and my premonition, that she will be totally boring, does not miss. Lisa "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" Tucker...sings, kind of. It's lacking in vitality to say the least. Then the best thing that ever happened, happens: Kevin Covais sings "Part-Time Lover." I have nothing to say beyond that. Joe's still crying from laughter and it's been like ten minutes.
Katharine rocks "Until You Come Back to Me" and looks gorgeously with child. Joe R. says she's going to give birth onstage like Fantasia last year. If you're stuck on dirndls, find one with a waistline that works, my dear! Taylor Hicks sings "Livin' For The City" exactly like Steve Winwood with a neurological disorder in the "Urkel," or dipshit-pothalamus, of the brain. Paris "All I Do" Bennett is loved by Stevie Wonder, and still a great-singing robot, start to finish. Joe notes that she's dressed this week like Rudy when she was pretending to be Theo's "real world" loan officer. Wasn't that cute? This kind of isn't: she fully pulls a Taylor Hicks and sings at Ryan, like a perfect asshole. Joe notes that she is, in fact, seventeen. I don't care. Chris sings last again, "Higher Ground," in a way where he wants to sound like Stevie Wonder and the Chili Peppers, but actually just sounds like Chris, with cheesy '90s guitars grindin' and yowlin'. His entire head is denuded now and he looks like a penis with a soul patch and burns. There are also: a smoke machine, mic stand hijinks, and a severe cred issue. Worst night ever? Possibly. Great TV? Certainly not. I hope they ALL get eliminated Wednesday. What if they threw a fake competition and nobody voted? I think Ace would somehow still win.
Last night, Ace was bad, but he's fine so it's okay. Pickler got called out for going to "Dolly Parton School" by Simon, but I think "Nasally Up In Your Nasal Academy" is more to blame. Elliott has a very powerful, very beautiful voice, and he will be fine for a good long while. Mandisa failed to rock "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing," but her natural heads-above-the-children skill and talent pull her through. Bucky sounded awesome as usual, and went VO-5 crazy! Melissa was good, but not as good as last week, which I assumed would be her best-ever performance. Lisa just gets more and more boring, and Paris just gets more and more Star Search. Kevin sang "Part-Time Lover" and that is definitely the best thing that has ever happened in my life, or in Joe's, apparently, because he's still laughing, and crying. Katharine was amazing and wonderful and beautiful, and is still in need of a Starting Over clothing redo. Taylor sang "Spazzin' In The City," and did it up right. Chris sang "Higher Ground" and it was nice but it had nothing to do with American Idol.
Tonight, we start with the best pimpmercial there ever was. Chris sings "All I Want" by Toad The Wet Sprocket, in the forest, surrounded by creepy animatronic Lynchian woodland creatures. Bucky flops out of a car trunk and then everybody hunkers down around a fake campfire, and Bigfoot shows up looking like a comic book back-page ad for candy that explodes in your face with the fruity power of sweetly blushing, screaming fruit. McPhee pulls them all over, and then Yeti guy reveals himself as Ace, smiles deliciously, and Kat melts with pleasure and joins them around the fire. It is so fucking awesome.
Stevie Wonder sings a song; everybody cries, Elliott almost dies.
Ace is in the bottom three, and the whole world stops spinning. I think Kevin went, a little. Kevin, Paris, Kellie are safe. Taylor fucking Weebles around all over, safe; Chris is obviously safe and there's a group freak-out anyway. Melissa goes up against the wow-less Elliott, and does not prevail. Sad, even though she's wearing a Bedazzled scarf instead of clothing. Mandisa and gorgeous Katharine are: both safe, and the hope of mankind. Lisa and Bucky duke it out, Bucky's of course safe because he's great, and is even looking slightly more acceptable these days. So: Ace, Melissa, Lisa. Ace goes back first, of course. Lisa's safe, Melissa goes home. That sucks. The cumulative five seconds she was on the show really showcased her beautiful voice and performance skill and Floridian flip flop-wearing "earthiness." Ah well. Next week, Lisa I think.
Ryan's wearing a really, really distracting tie. It pulls focus all night; for this, we are thankful, because it's so very boring. I love Stevie Wonder, but the thing is that I prefer to listen to Stevie Wonder, not kids singing it who were born after I owned the album. Ryan gives some kind of limp speech about how it's a whole new stage and a whole new game, because it's the Top 12, but the radical hugeness of the stage is not really that noticeable for us out here, because our TVs have not changed size, and will not do so no matter how much they keep bringing it up. There's a sign in the audience that reads I LOVE YOU ALL. How nice. I admire the sentiment, because they are all great people, I guess, but it does seem to run counter to the entire signage concept. The stage looks silly, like an alien spaceship, of course, and Ryan goes on and on about the killer sound system. Which again, we don't know about, because the speakers on our TVs have not changed. It's like a print ad for a color copier. The band plays to demonstrate this indemonstrable thing, and the backup ladies dance around boredly. What this is actually going to do is make the audience act weirdly out of focus with what we're actually seeing, and probably make us adjust our takes upward. Maybe that's the point.
There's a long memory video of their journey and "Keeping The Dream Alive" and the first three things we see are Bucky, Melissa, and Chris in a cowboy hat, so we're fast-forwarding through that. There's a chick in the audience with a sign that says "Paula Abdul is My Idol!" which is excellent. We are introduced to the Top 12 yet again, and they all look very well-kempt. We meet the judges. Randy's wearing another candy-striped shirt, possibly one we've seen before. Paula's hair looks lustrous, but the bangs hang funny and make her one eye look very weird and mushy and drunk. Ryan asks Randy about the Dawg Pound being gone, but Randy says the whole audience is the Dawg Pound now, and I wonder: if the first synthesis was integration with women, and the next was the integration of the non-celebrity audience, then...does that not mean that next week, we ourselves will be the Dawg Pound? Is there anybody in this world that doesn't watch this show? Because they're next, after us. Ryan and Simon are very cordial and tender with each other and discuss how this week is really "make it or break it."
Stevie Wonder is the theme and I'm not entirely sure who that is, but I think he wears sunglasses a lot of the time. He comes into the practice room to visit the Idols wearing a brown track suit, and they start crying. Well, Pickler and Elliott start crying. And don't stop. Of course. They dance around and sing as Stevie plays the piano. I think I would be one of the criers, if I'm being honest. Stevie talks about something, I'm not sure what, something about how, like, the show brings people together, in the heart of music or something. It's very Castaneda-via-Santana, this talking, and they repeat the clip on Wednesday.
Ace talks about how his song was released when he was two years old, and Stevie laughs. In interview, Ace chokes and cries and whines about how he was standing next to Stevie Wonder, and it's moderately okay, but then he says this: "Stevie Wonder is not just battling blindness, but he's battling the same thing that we all are, which is life." I love Ace so, so much. He's like the Ashton Kutcher of music. He cries and it's sweet, but then he gets all smarmy and fake and O Brother Where Are Thou smirky about how he's "overjoyed" to have met Stevie. With the tears still glistening in his eyes. I never know about Ace. Every week I get more paranoid! I hate it!