American Idol
Top 8: Another One Bites The Dust

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Tuesday

Didn't Ryan Seacrest used to wear t-shirts with funny sayings on them before? He's been so formally dressed this season. He's all put together like he's attending a wedding. So Fantasia is in the audience tonight, which isn't quite as fun as when she shows up and performs. Ryan promises "something for everyone" tonight, whether you prefer "the rock" or "the ballads." At this point in the season, I prefer anything other than "the suck" that's been the dominant trend these last several weeks. We're introduced to the judges, a what-upping Randy Jackson, a lobotomized Paula Abdul, and a turning-slowly-left Simon Cowell. Work it, girl. Ryan kicks us to a video package for Queen, the band whose songs will be under siege tonight. And right away we're presented with my initial problem with doing Queen songs. Over the repetitive percussion of "We Will Rock You," Ryan explains that if you've ever so much as stepped into a sports arena, you've heard the music of Queen. And...exactly. So many of Queen's songs have ceased to even be songs anymore. Is "We Will Rock You" any more of a song than "You Make Me Wanna Shout"? "We Are the Champions" is another sporting anthem. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a Wayne's World punch line. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" was driven to parody by this very show. Add to that the fact that Freddie Mercury's voice is such a high hurdle, how are these eight kids supposed to find any way to impress us this week? The answer, it turns out, is to go utterly crazy. Hey, whatever works. Ryan's got the whole Biography voice-over happening on the History of Queen, which sickeningly includes clips from Constantine's "Bohemian Rhapsody" performance last year, as an example of the ways in which the band has managed to stay in the public eye. That's gross, and stop making me remember Constantine.

We see the Idols meet Queen during the band's rehearsal, in what is essentially a retread of last week's footage. Ace unveils his tactic of trying to blind us (or, I guess, "render us deaf" would be more appropriate) with his biceps. Um. I could think of worse strategies. Everybody is shown banging their heads, and Queen at least pretends to be happy to have them there. Back onstage, Ryan tells us that the "groundbreaking" video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" was directed by American Idol's own director Bruce Gowers. We cut to Bruce in the directing room, and it's like at the Emmys when the guy directing the Emmys has been nominated for directing the Emmys. A shot of you watching TV watching you watching TV watching you watching TV. It's weird and distracting and the director still has to direct, so he's shooting out all this gibberish that no one but Ryan understands, because English is his second language and he was raised to speak production booth. There's some weirdness where Ryan's snapping (girrrrrrl!) and the camera doesn't know where to cut to, because all of a sudden Ryan's the director and Gowers is onscreen. I guarantee you so many production workers went home with "You would not believe the day I had" stories to tell. Ryan sends us to Bucky's video package, where he deems the members of Queen worthy of hanging out with him at a bar back home. (The surviving members of Queen: "Uh...pass.") The Queen guys are awesome -- and it's here that I should mention that I only know the one guy with the curly hair, Brian May, by name, so when I say "the guys from Queen" it could mean any or all of them -- with the faintest of praise for Bucky. He's "all right" and started rocking "at the end there." May says Bucky's got a "good attitude." Great personality, too. Ouch. Bucky will be singing "Fat Bottomed Girls," which may be my favorite Queen song not prominently featuring David Bowie. I'm not being a jerk when I say that I am so very, very sad that Mandisa never got a chance to perform this song. Not because it would have been funny, but because I really feel that if she took hold of that song and shoved it right back in our faces and just worked it out, she'd have bought herself another three weeks just out of viewer shame. Hell, I certainly would have forgotten that she hates my faggotty ass.

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American Idol

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