The show begins with Simon breaking his usual no-comment rule to explain that he didn't intend to disrespect the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre, or their families. Just to drive the point home, we then have to sit through a review, with split-screen and split audio, of what actually happened, to wit: Simon was chatting about Nasallygate to Paula and not listening to what was going on onstage, which apparently happens constantly.
Review of last night's performances and comments; Ryan goes man-on-the-street again and William Hung gets a name-check; the group-sing is "I'm All Right" and it's the usual Up With People dullness.
What the Idols are listening to these days, plus a sweet den-mother-y moment with Melinda; Fergie performs, whatever; "Idol Gives Back" segment.
And then, at last, something resembling results. Ryan splits the seven into two groups -- Phil, Jordin, and Chris on the right; Sanjaya, LaKisha, and Blake on the left. One group is the high-votes group, the other isn't. Presumptive winner Melinda is the only one left, and after telling her she's safe, Ryan makes her pick a group. She gallantly refuses, sit-down-striking in the middle of the stage instead. Ryan then asks her to "slide" over to the group on the right -- they're all safe. Interesting.
Behind the scenes at Shrek 3 with Katzenberg, whatever. Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith in the audience, whatever. Martina McBride, whatever whatever, get to the part where Blake gets unfairly punted so I can start bitching abou--
Hold on! Wait! Blake is safe, it's LaKisha and Sanjaya left, and -- holy shit! America, you finally got your shit together! Sanjaya's gone! It's long overdue, but I will take it! Thank you! Sanjaya's sing-out is decent, and he slips a reasonably funny but probably rehearsed line about his hair into "Something to Talk About." And we can finally begin to repair the nation's cultural dignity, because Jesus H., people.
Ryan Seacrest walks the line past the Top 7, each sweating out this week's results in their own way. Blake fervently seeks out someone's, anyone's attention; Jordin looks gorgeous; Chris looks queasy; Melinda is afraid to move; Phil wonders if he sucked up to the audience enough; LaKisha looks mad; and Sanjaya straight-up rolls his eyes at the usual Seacrest blather. When he gets to the end of the line, Ryan wonders, "Is your favorite safe?" And it's just him and Sanjaya on screen now, just like last week, and Sanjaya reads his line as written: "We've done this before." He actually doesn't deliver it half-bad, even if his voice is wispy to the point of nonexistence. Anyway, somebody's going home tonight, and you're worried it's going to be someone good, aren't you? Lord knows I was.
No celebrities to be snubbed in the audience so far. I'm still hoping to see Courtney Love or Maria Shriver go uncaptioned. Ryan introduces the judges. I think Randy Jackson may have mugged Jimmy Jam on the way to the studio and stolen his hat. Now, who's up for some good, old-fashioned Idol Damage Control? Haven't had that in a while. Ryan says he wants to "clear something up" and that "something" is Simon rolling his eyes after Chris gave his shout-out to the people at Virginia Tech last night. Simon explains that while Chris was switching gears from snotty back-talk to sending his thoughts and prayers to the mass-shooting victims, he was still fixated on the whole "Nasally is a type of singing" thing, and when we saw him roll his eyes, it was at that. And for what it's worth, I believe him. Simon's not the type to apologize for nothing, even if FOX is breathing down his neck to do so. Furthermore, I think that if Simon was actually rolling his eyes at Chris for making a play for American tragedy sympathy votes (which I think is the other possible explanation for the eye-rolling), he wouldn't be shy about saying so. As he essentially tells us, he's never been one to be overly concerned with perceptions of his own niceness. Reaction Shot #1: the Blake/Jordin/Chris clique. Jordin's clapping with judgy eyes, Blake is looking to Chris for a reaction, and Chris? Is pissed. Still. Not sure whether he doesn't buy Simon's story or whether he's still hung up on Nasalgate, but man. That is one angry boy. Reaction Shot #2: Bucky Covington, showing his support for Simon. See? They all eventually come around to Cowell's side.
Then, in a truly odd bit of double-bagging -- because Seacrest has already accepted Simon's apology on our behalf -- Ryan attempts to explain how Simon does this all the time: He chats with Paula while everyone else is doing their own thing, and he generally refuses to pay attention to anything else that isn't himself. Ryan kicks it to the video screen, where we get picture-in-picture evidence of what went down last night. So we see Simon make the "So he intended to sing nasally," quip, and while Chris is on stage reversing field and talking about VT, Simon has turned to Paula to continue to bitch about Chris's nasal voice. At one point, Simon turns to Chris, who is still talking VT, and then he turns back to Paula and rolls his eyes. So it seems like Simon did indeed stop talking long enough to hear the VT shout-out and then roll his eyes, but I'm thinking Simon just as easily could have been looking at Chris at that point but still only hearing "Nasally is a type of singing." Because he resumes talking to Paula like the subject never got changed. Honestly, this whole Zaprudering thing is stupid besides. Simon thinks Chris is annoying, for one reason or for another. And while he hates joy and love, he probably doesn't roll his eyes at grieving parents. Let's just agree to that. Paula sums up for us by saying that she's constantly having to explain shit to Simon (hee), and Ryan takes the opportunity to give Simon shit for talking without listening. Which...he kind of deserves. Your point, Seacrest.