American Idol
Top 9: You Botoxed Kenny! You Bastards!

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Jacob Clifton: C | Grade It Now!
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Top 9: You Botoxed Kenny! You Bastards!
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Tuesday

Ryan's back in the Brightside black-and-whites, with some aggressive scrubble on his little chin. You know, I love Ryan, but it's hard to think of him as a boy or attractive in the conventional sense -- but darn, he looks nice this week. A lot of people seem to find it laughable, but like, the dude's pushing 60, I think, so it's nice for him took like something other than a mid-'50s cleaning product mascot. I mean, he still looks like everybody's mom's favorite costume fallback, Halloween Hobo, but at least it's the kind that looks fantastic, and I'm happy for him. Keep the beard! (Heh.) Ryan tells us that we're live, and that the week's theme is country. Which is exciting in that I am really freaked out by the awesomeness of Bucky Covington, and this week will probably prove to be no exception. And who better, Ryan wonders, to usher in tonight's irritating festivities, than one Mr. Kenny Rogers? He then goes on at length about Kenny Rogers, but the person we'll see tonight is...not Kenny Rogers. I don't know whose palm got greased for this shit, but whoever they're trying to pass off as Kenny Rogers, I'm not impressed. Or maybe I'm just confused about who Kenny Rogers is? Because I thought he looked like a truck driver, whereas the person we see tonight looks like he owns an antiques 'n' sundries store somewhere in the Valley. He looks like my grandma, but with a goatee. Mystic Tan. Something kind of overripe and Eric Roberts-y about the face. That burnt-looking chemical-peel skin, with the baby eyes blinking...he looks nice, for a type, and he's got the lovely white hair, but if you told me this was Merv Griffin I wouldn't be surprised. And considering he seems to spend the entire two days trying to bed Ace Young, it would be a tight fit.

It's all very Hollywood, Kenny's look these days, and we get a short shot of him singing the gambling song with the kids -- Bucky playing guitar and on the edge of exploding with glee -- before we're in the thick of things. We cut to Kenny's clips with, and about, Taylor. Whom Kenny seems to think sucks. Basically, Kenny says, if he can "make the song his" and "make it feel important," he'll be okay. But that's not what Taylor does. It's hard to take anything seriously, hard to feel "important" about a song, when the person singing it is twitching and wriggling -- or, as this week, singing it from the fetal position.

Because Taylor, folks, he is not well. I don't know for sure what's going on here, or what the prevailing issues are, but as with Bucky, I really do enjoy his voice if I keep my eyes shut tight, and this week...no. He's singing "Take Me Home, Country Roads," which is a song I don't mind. There's a whole Ricky Skaggs/Eddie Rabbitt/Crystal Gayle/John Denver axis of country I genuinely like, but I've always felt quite warmly toward John Denver because all through high school and college I spread rumors that my mother was a Denver groupie. When I finally told her the story -- "From 1974 to 1977, my mother was on a Rocky Mountain High she'd never forget" -- she laughed so hard chalupa came out her nose. My favorite is "Annie's Song," because I am almost too gay to function. Somebody cool needs to cover that song STAT. There's a fiddle shouldering a lot of the heavier work, because it's country, and Taylor's doing this thing I call The Mary J. Blige Explains It All For You, which is a singing move where you constantly wave your hand around, palm up, like you're showing people the housewares on offer at a Tupperware party. "Voila!" He's so, so tired, and it's like he's explaining this complicated concept about the "country roads," but the situation is direly, deceptively simple: he's on his deathbed, he sounds shitty, and his heart is not in it. It looks like someone pretending to sing while having the Avian Flu. I hope he's okay. I didn't want him to drop dead, I just wanted him to stop twitching. Apparently he did that last week -- when my TV was being hoisted by every boy I know above the crowd like in Crocodile Dundee while I downed truffles and bellinis with a very self-satisfied smirk and a parasol for the harsh winter sun -- and I missed it. The fiddler looks like the Pied Piper, with crimped lady hair.

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American Idol

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