An actually interesting mix of songs makes this one of the best episodes of the season. Elliott (1978) sings "On Broadway" in a creepy, goat-like manner, and is justly disliked by the judges; but does better on "Home," apparently by Michael BublÃ©, who needs to be punched in the jaw for being boring -- which is Elliott's entire wheelhouse, so he does a beautiful job. Paris (1988) sings "Kiss" by Prince, strangely, and causes epilepsy in 56% of the viewing audience. I blacked out. The judges freak out because it's too weird, and then she dresses up like the Kommandant of the Urban Outfitters Armed Services, Cuteness division, and sings "Be Without You" by Famous Crazy Person Mary J. Blige, and does a fine job.
Chris (1979) sings that "Oh Mama I'm wanted by the law" song "Renegade." It's boring and stupid and everything hateable about Chris, but to be fair, it could very well be an actual videotape of some other performance. He then sings one of those white trash songs that he loves so damn much called "I Dare You," but since I've never heard it before, his delivery seems very fresh and original, and the voice is much more confident. I have to say it's one of my favorite performances of the night, and my new favorite song. Katharine (1984) sings "Against All Odds" in a very shitty manner and gets called on it, then does the same thing as Chris and sings my other new favorite song, "Black Horse And Cherry Tree," while crawling blindly around on the floor like an adorable toddler. Is it possible that this show is partly about music? I've never just simply enjoyed the performances this much. It gives me chills.
Taylor (1969) performs "Play That Funky Music," a Bo Bice-style laziness song that requires no vocal talent whatsoever, while dancing more like an asshole than I've ever seen a person dance. He then collapses onto the stage and twitches and acts like an asshole some more. Later, he once more fakes out the category with "Something," because he is a fuckwad, but he does a really amazing job, if you don't look.
Should Go: Taylor.
Will Go: Paris, with Katharine and possibly Elliott on the Seal.
In the audience: Carmen Electra, Justin Guarini with some blond dude, and Melissa Gilbert. She just wears her SAG card taped to her head now. Also: a poster that says, "Ryan, will you come to my house for dinner?" I wish Ryan would come to my house for dinner. Nachos, perhaps? More sweating talk with Elliott, more booing of Simon by Randy. There's finally a group sing, of an entirely too boring song called "Together We Are One," in which Chris proves once again he has a great falsetto, Taylor twitches like he's being kicked repeatedly in the kidneys and is wearing a jockstrap or something, Kat sings completely through her nose without even moving her lips, and everybody finds "inspiration in a place where dreams are made." The song has a million different verses and solos, and it's terribly dumb lyrically and musically both. The pimpomercial is beneath comment except for the following Extreme Mad-Libs answers: "Hollywood Swinging." Paris in an orange wig and finger gloves. Chris dressed like My Chemical Romance's gayer older brother. Elliott looking like a homeless basketball fan. Stupid fucking Taylor looking like a lady at the scary club, with makeup and black leather from beyond Thunderdome. And Kat wearing the apparel of an actual streetwalking hooker, but since it's her, it just looks like a stupid Halloween costume.
Immediately afterward, the Top 4 will fly to Graceland to meet with Tommy Mottola for the menacingly-named Elvis Workshop, so next week should be a train wreck. I'm saying right now Elliott's out. I got a feeling.
Taylor sang "Play That Funky Music" like a horrible spastic wedding singer, then "Something" like a pretentious drunk wedding singer, and so he is safe. Chris sang Styx and it sounded like everything he ever sung, and then broke his voice on the amazing "I Dare You," and he's safe. Good, actually. Princess P-Funk brought "youth" to "Kiss" but took a risk on Mary J. She's in the bottom two. Down to Kat and Elliott. Elliott sang "On Broadway" so nervously you actually peed for him, and then did a great job on some song I almost remember from my coma. Katharine rolled about weirdly onstage while rocking "Black Horse And Cherry Tree" -- the lyrics of which the entirety of the internet decided to go incredibly literal on, for some reason -- but screwed up "Against All Odds" royally. She's safe, and Elliott's in the bottom two with Paris, who is sent home.
A-Fed's in the audience with some scruff happening, generally looking more like the lost Carter brother than ever. Paula Abdul's hair makes her look like a guest star on Rome, it's awesome, and then something weird happens where...you know how sometimes we talk about Simon and Ryan making out? That was supposed to be between us. I mean, I'm not accusing you of anything and I don't want there to be a weirdness, but...I'm pretty sure Simon knows he makes out with Ryan, for some reason. I suppose it could be because he actually does make out with Ryan, or is planning on doing so sometimes soon, but that seems in all seriousness rather unlikely. Why, then, does he bat his eyelashes up this week, or trace his finger around his blunt British lips while smiling up at Ryan Seacrest so seductively? There's a finite number of possible things going on here, and while Occam's Razor supports HoYay, I honestly believe that Occam's Razor is wrong in this case, because British school always screws up the math on this. But I'm at a total loss as to what the hell he was actually doing. It wasn't an unattractive thing for a person to be doing, and whatever Simon chooses to do you know I'm cool with it, but it does cause talk and chatter. The theme is double: Billboard Top 10 Charts, and Year Of Your Birth.
So while Elliott's getting ready to sing his first song, I want to tell you about a conversation I had this week. It went like this: I was discussing the show with a friend, and the question came up about how come you never hear about Clay, or Ruben, or Fantasia, or anybody really, and why is that. And it occurred to me that my friend thought this show had something to do with music, that it somehow intended to locate and promote the "superstar" of its title. Now, I know you and I know better, but it weirded me out to think about that, and trying to get the message across that this television show is...a television show turned out to be really difficult. Perhaps you've made the same mistake, of trying to sell such a vulgar point of view. This friend of mine is very intelligent, and it's like...that the producers don't care about what happens to these kids afterwards any more than, say, I do. Obviously. The CDs and videos and magic music that they make is roughly the same as a WWF keychain or mix tape or commemorative chugging mug -- it's souvenir merchandise that the show is churning out, so you can remember watching the show, so that you'll tune in and watch the show some more. It's a t-shirt you can listen to. The focus is on ratings, like with all other TV shows, and on the soap opera that keeps us all tuning in, and the way that those contestants are dropped into the hopper every year and the judges and producers push it this way and that way and it's very compelling television, but it occurs in a bubble, and spending all this energy on the imaginary future of these kids is just a waste of energy, because they're on a game show, a stupid TV game show, and the most we can hope for is that Elliott's voice will get noticed, or that A-Fed will do some porn now that he is all grown up. That the reason it took Kelly Clarkson four years to make an album that was more than half awesome was because all she got from the show was networking. It's an itsy-bitsy, tiny leg up in the scheme of things, and all it does is get you face time -- and the contract you sign is so fucked up that you can't even really act on your own interests or get the payoff of that.