American Idol
“What’s A ‘Swan Song’?”

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"What's a 'Swan Song'?"
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Tuesday

So you've heard that Ryan and Paula are in this little blood feud that's been manifesting itself as a giant silent treatment on both sides, right? And, of course, the mind immediately goes to "love triangle with Simon," even though that's sick and wrong in a dozen ways. But you completely believe it, right? Why wouldn't Ryan and Paula be childish enough to not speak to each other because of what each of them said to Jay Leno? Jay Leno! Will he ever stop ruining everything he touches? Anyway, the upshot of this is now I will have to not only keep tabs on the raging Ryan/Simon subtext, but also the Ryan/Paula subtext. Assholes. You ever think Randy Jackson just sits at the judges' table, looks to his left, and thanks Jesus that he had the good sense to never have sex with either of them? Not to mention Ryan?

Ryan is dressed incrementally less formally this week, more like a TV host and less like a eulogizer. He reminds us that Ace Young was sadly run down in the middle of the American highway last week as he tried to chase a stray cat named "Gay Hitman Hairstyle." Poor Ace. Ryan doesn't yell at us for not voting for him like he usually does when the audience has the temerity to "aw" like the flashing neon signs tell them to. He does say that even with Ace gone, we've still got a few heartthrobs left, and if you look quickly to your left at the bright light approaching at an alarming rate of speed, that's the freight train bearing the words "He's talking about Randy and Simon!" Randy boos Simon, because after five seasons it's still funny, while Ryan tells us that we've sufficiently thinned the herd to six of these idiots, so they'll each have two phone numbers which viewers can dial and then post on the boards about every single time they dial them and then get banned. As for this week's theme, Ryan says we might be interested in some "mood lighting and scented candles" to prepare us for the final six as they "seduce" us with "Classic Love Songs." Other items that might help set the mood? Bowler hats. The Polo Grounds. Dizzy Gillespie. Victory gardens. The League of Nations. The Model T. Zelda Fitzgerald. An "I Like Ike" bumper sticker. ["Bladder control anxiety. Feeling very hostile toward the Glibbest Generation this week. Erectile dysfunction. CBS." -- Jacob] Because just like every other theme this season, we're delving into "Music for Very Old People." I get why this is happening -- when two-thirds of your remaining contestants are reincarnated from the Greatest Generation, you kind of have to -- but it's still pretty frustrating when you're trying to get a bead on where the eventual winner would fit in the current pop landscape. Toss in Chris and his fierce clinging to the alt rock of 1999, and the only remaining contestant who is truly repping a current music style is...Kellie Pickler. THIS is American Idol! Ryan introduces the video package for this week's theme-related celebrity guests, Andrea Bocelli and producer David Foster. We start off with an old-ish clip of Celine Dion's skeletal frame hyping Bocelli in her customary low-drama style. "If God were to have a voice and sing to us, it would be the voice of Andrea Bocelli." There are rolled consonants in that name that I don't even think exist. They couldn't have just gotten Celine out of Vegas for a couple days to freak out the Idols in person? Would that not have been so much better? Just to get it out there, Andrea Bocelli has a very strong and beautiful voice. But it's classical music. I know Simon wants us all to believe that opera can be pop and Il Divo will live happily ever after on a pile of money that he'll share, but on this show, who is he kidding? Sarah Brightman is on my TV screen, why? It all seems so random. David Foster is a better fit; he's a producer who has worked with some of the artists that the final six are aping, but -- HOLY GOD! When did David Foster become Stephen King? This is slightly disturbing. His jowls are angry at me, I think. There is footage of Foster and Bocelli collaborating on a very tacky concert in Las Vegas with the usual fire-dancing swan-divers and glitzy fake-gold everything that you'd expect from Vegas. Bocelli seems somehow classier than that. I don't know why he'd turn a blind eye to such excess. A blind eye! Now who's ready for Vegas? ["Not funny, Peanut. There are starving blind people in Ch-ch-china, you know." -- Jacob]

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American Idol

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