Tuesday. Melodramatic Announcer returns to melodramatically recap the entire show thus far for us in thirty seconds. There's Tamyra, telling us she wants to be a "superstar." There's Anakin Boogie, flailing around like a dancing crash-test dummy. The announcer melodramatically declares about the finalists: "They didn't know it then, but four words were about to change them forever." Then we see Paula telling a contestant, "Congratulations, you're going to Hollywood!" Add "basic math" to the list of things that FOX has ruined. Jim tells the camera, "Thank you. You will not be disappointed." Well, that depends what your expectations are. If you're hoping for thin, mediocre performances, then you can look forward to Jim delivering in spades. Melodramatic Announcer melodramatically continues that the ten finalists were all moved into a giant mansion in Los Angeles and the stage altered to accommodate a live audience. We see clips of the house and the new stage. He melodramatically concludes, "One by one, they will sing. One by one, you will vote. And week after week, one by one they will go, until only one is left: The American Idol." I would hardly call jamming up the phone lines for two hours hitting redial as voting "one by one." And also, two people are getting voted off after tonight's performance. But nice try at the repetitive poetics.
Credits. I guess I was wrong when I stated that we wouldn't be seeing The Octagon of Judgment anymore. It looks like this "new" stage has been built around The Octagon. I suspect that the seating had been there all along, but they never showed that part of the studio before. They've added wings and runways and various bells and whistles to turn the tiny cabaret into a modest-sized auditorium. The color scheme is dominated by purple and blue. The monitor behind the stage has been upgraded about three sizes to dominate the back wall. There are holes all over the stage to hide equipment and serve as an "orchestra pit," though I doubt there's any such thing on the show, but I'll get to that later.
Black and Decker walk out from the back of the stage to The Octagon of Judgment to the cheers of a packed house. Ryan "Joystick" Seacrest is wearing a charcoal suit with a white shirt and no tie. Brian "I Can't Get Next To You" Dunkleman is wearing a black suit with a violet shirt and no tie. I'm bitterly disappointed with their boring attire. Also, Ryan seems to have stolen Jim's glasses. They greet the crowd, which seems to be about 90 percent teenage girls. And a bunch of them brought American flags to wave. Or rather, they were handed American flags by the producers and told to wave them on the show. Black and Decker blather about the new stage features and "full orchestral arrangements," which is absolutely not the same as the live "orchestra" they promised last episode. I'm fairly certain that all the music has been pre-recorded. If there were musicians performing live there, I can't imagine why they would hide them in the pit. It's not like a Broadway play, where a band could distract from the action or anything. It would actually enhance the idea of a big production. But, you know, if you just record the music, you don't have to pay the musicians evening rates or whatever.