The top 12 guys are, save a few, either underwhelming or boring. Simon Cowell is, as usual, completely right about all of them. And Ryan Seacrest is, as usual, a whiny instigating pipsqueak about it.
Rudy figures there's no better way to scream "I'm the American Idol" than by singing some Edgar Winter and failing to pronounce his consonants. We'll see how far that gets him. Brandon does very well on some Michael Jackson, but the judges think he's got a much better performance in him. Sundance continues to take the express train to suck-town, singing "Knights in White Satin" without a single note in tune. Paul Kim still feels pretty good about his nasty smelly feet being on display, though Simon does his best to knock him down a peg, God bless 'im. He sings George Michael's "Careless Whisper" and was good enough not to get eliminated. This week. Chris Richardson sings Gavin DeGraw (third year in a row!) from the very heights of his nasal, though he did kind of pull it together by the end there. Not to mention the wicked hot thing, the JT "My Love" wardrobe thing, the screaming throngs of girls thing -- Simon and I think he'll be fine.
Nick Pedro is horribly boring singing a Richard Marx song. Which is...really redundant of me, sorry! Blake (!) sets the beatboxing aside for the time being (Simon approves, but Randy misses it) and sings that lovely Keane song. It's not perfect, but it's pretty to listen to and a nice change of pace from the song selection so far. Sanjaya brings us our only Stevie Wonder of the night, though you may not remember it because it was so utterly unimpressive. The judges all come down on him for it, though Simon's remarks cut the deepest. Seacrest all but tells Sanjaya to "stand up for yourself, Poindexter!" It's an ugly scene. Speaking of which! Chris Sligh rocks out on some song nobody on Earth has ever heard before, particularly Simon, which of course is why he criticizes it. Here's where Ryan really flips his lid, though, as he goads Chris into some backtalk, which references Il Divo and Teletubbies and actually seems to throw Simon off for a few moments. Which is scary as hell, in a "the pilot's dead, who can fly this plane?!" way. Not good times for anyone involved.
Jared isn't as slimy as I once thought, and A.J. isn't as bad a singer as I once thought (the Porcelain Veneers of Fear notwithstanding), and they should both be safe. Finally, Phil the alien-headed heartthrob (don't ask, I can't explain it) sings Edwin McCain's "I Could Not Ask For More." He's terrible at the beginning but really comes through in the end. Randy thought he was the best of the night (untrue), but Simon says what actually happened, and when asked, Phil says he agreed with Simon. Which makes Randy for-real sad and drives Ryan crazy with anti-Simon rage and sends Phil into a mad dash to make sure everyone still loves him.
Tonight: Jacob and the ladies. Thursday: Rudy and...Nick (?) take their leave, unless Sundance crashes and burns for good.
Believe it or not, Ryan Seacrest is of the opinion that this has been "our biggest season ever" with the "best talent yet." I don't know about you, but I completely believe his unbiased opinion. Ryan is once again looking all put-together and presentable in his wee gray vest, which makes it doubly too bad that he'll be acting like such an instigating little shithead all night. After the credits, I'm reminded of just how much filler goes into these two-hour performance shows, especially at the beginning. It's almost as if there's no real reason this show ever needs to run two hours beyond the fact that FOX doesn't have another show that can pull in such tasty ratings for sweeps. You could honestly fast-forward the first fifteen minutes of the show and not miss anything. Anyway, Ryan slaps tres-butch fives with all the top 12 guys as he descends the giant metal staircase. He calls this year's auditions the "weirdest ever," like it was something that just unexpectedly happened to the show while it stepped out to buy some groceries. "You'll never believe it, but I was in the cereal aisle when I was accosted by three street performers, twenty-one unbalanced loners, and a bush baby!"
Next, Ryan introduces the guys, and they do that weird model walk past the cameras and into the RC Cola lounge. Rudy points directly at YOU, the voters at home. Brandon winks and makes the finger guns (oh, Brandon). Sundance nods his head because the rest of him is already occupied with getting ready to suck tonight. Paul does that military salute thing he did in the dancing montage video. Chris Richardson opens his arms wide and looks hot in his suit jacket and skinny tie and no upper lip. Nick Pedro pretends to box with us (oh no! Nick Pedro, don't punch me in the face!). Blake Lewis flashes hand signals and also tries to box with us. Maybe the hand signals were supposed to stand for "beat" and he was really just playing charades with us, trying to remind us he's the "beat" "boxer." Sanjaya gives the corniest double thumbs-up ever. Chris Sligh is unkempt and flashes only one hand's worth of the devil horns (he's unwholesome! watch out!). Jared throws a double finger-point but thankfully refrains from having sex with us with his eyes, which is a nice change of pace for him. A.J. opts for a floating-hands variation on the double thumbs-up. And finally Phil, whose hands are also all over the place as they give the thumbs-up. A.J. just did that, Phil, come on.
Ryan introduces the Girl Pound and then explains to us how semifinals works. Same this year as the last two. Two guys and two girls get voted out in each of the next three weeks, leaving us with our top 12 finalists. Ryan introduces his "friends," the judges. Paula will be wearing Alaina Alexander's hair for the evening, by the way. Ryan brings up the fake controversy about the judges -- particularly Randy -- being tougher this year. Which, I've said before, I don't think is true. I think they were meaner last season at the very least. I do find that Randy's drifted more to Simon's way of thinking in the audition rounds, but that's just because he's a spineless weasel with not real opinions of his own. That's all. Ryan asks Paula...something...doesn't really matter what, you know? And you can see Simon go and pinch her under the table, as she has always alleged he's done, and she giggles and acts all weird, and Ryan's all, "Here we go..." but that's misleading, because she's actually pretty on the ball this week. Graded on the giant Paula curve, of course, but still. Ryan then sings the praises of all the past Idols who've done well just this week: Carrie won a Grammy, Jennifer Hudson's winning the Oscar. Ryan mentions "Daughtry" and "McPhee" as doing well on the charts, which is funny in two ways, one being that it completely ignores Taylor, which is awesome, and two, it makes me wonder if Katharine is now going by "McPhee" professionally, because that's what all the cool Season Five-ers are doing. Simon's so bored with all of this, he can't even be arsed to remember what Ryan's even talking about, so he just advises the Top 24 to "sing well," and let's get on with it already.