The official theme this week is "Andrea Bocelli and the World's Greatest Love Songs" or some such whatever. The unofficial theme -- which, as always, is far more interesting -- is "David Foster hogs the spotlight, is super-mean to everyone, and crafts arrangements that Randy clearly hates and doesn't mind saying so." Runners-up include: "Ryan works his ass off to get this show in on time," and "Joe R comes down with a severe case of narcolepsy due to the heroically boring songs."
Katharine looks like she just discovered her womanly curves and is eager to show them off. She's wearing this yellow dress that flatters her intermittently and has a slit up the leg all the way to yowza. She sings Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," because she's testing out this experiment where she sees if she can make me like her less. The singing is pretty rough until about halfway through, but not nearly as rough as the tongue-lashing the judges give her for it. It's like they've been saving up for weeks and weeks. Elliott is trying to dress like Ryan, perhaps as an experiment of his own. "A Song For You," by Donny Hathaway, is the perfect song for him. It lets him show off his wonderful voice while keeping him away from potential pitfalls like "excitement" and "unpredictability." Does that matter? Not when Paula literally loses control of all her emotions at once and cries enough to dehydrate herself. Be sure to say your goodbyes tonight, Kat. Paula just booked your plane ticket home.
Kellie thinks that scene in Ghost with the pottery is so cute and does her best to tarnish its memory by underwhelming her way through "Unchained Melody." She may have lost the judges forever, as they're unrepentant in their criticism. They really do tend to turn on a dime, do they not? Princess P-Funk sings "The Way We Were," a song I (shamefacedly) actually like. I love her, as has been the case recently, even as she tells us that she's had no experiences of love in her own life, only memories of her time spent as Billie Holiday, Dorothy Dandridge, and Nefertiti. Huh. I'd always pegged Lisa as the reincarnated one.
Taylor, I have decided, is either an asshole or a sleepwalker, and he just can't come in anywhere in between. He manages to keep all his limbs inside the boat this time around, but all that leaves is a lackadaisical "Just Once" that I cannot imagine anyone would pay to listen to. The judges -- well, Randy and Simon -- give him something less than utter fellatio, so Taylor does that seemingly-imperceptible eye roll thing he does when he doesn't get the praise he wants, because how tedious it is when the judges subject you to the same bullshit they put everyone else through? Suck it up, Graymate, jeez. Chris is apparently accumulating guitarists as he goes along. He's back with his awesome voice and penetrating stare of faux-dangerous sexuality, even if it is in service to The Worst Song in the Long History of Humankind: Bryan Adams's "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" How utterly vacant do you have to be to sing that song? Chris-level vacant, apparently. He's still awesome, and he's my only hope for a respectable winner, so I will try not to dwell.
Tonight: Not Elliott. Probably Katharine, unfortunately. Kellie in the bottom three, at long last? Oh, the bullshit that will unleash.
See, it turns out that Simon and Randy watched the show back again and realized they were totally wrong about Katharine's performance and were way too mean to her last night. So they apologize to Kat, but Paula sticks to her guns, not because she's steadfast, but because she's too drunk to remember what exactly she said. Then Simon brings up the Ryan-versus-Paula elephant in the room, and everyone's fake about "We're one big dysfunctional family," and Ryan brings up Paula's blubbering over Elliott about a billion times, and Simon was apparently petulant last night, and Randy was mean, and then they all huddle around the judges' table like a Manson family of vanity and egotism.
I'm sorry, what? The "contestants"? Like they even matter at this point now that the show has devolved into "Ryan Seacrest's Secret 'No Paulas' Club." They wind up getting put through a pimp-mercial that looks like the lost episode of Law & Order: Special Canine Unit. Lots of car chases and giant walkie-talkies and spawning ugly dogs. Then they have to sit through Andrea Bocelli and David Foster as they give their contribution to American Idol 5: Music for Old People.
Elimination time doesn't come soon enough, and the final six are divided into three groups of two: Katharine and Chris, Elliott and Taylor, and Paris and Kellie. Elliott and Taylor are, surprisingly and a bit unbelievably, not the top two vote getters, even though they are safe. Katharine and Chris are the top two vote getters, and as much manipulation and outright lying as I expect out of this show, I'm not sure they can actually outright say Kat and Chris were top two if that wasn't the case, so: cool. So the bottom two are Paris and Kellie, and of course you're expecting Paris to go home, because she's been bottom three before and Kellie hasn't even been close to the bottom all season. And yet, for the second season in a row, sixth place comes as a surprise as Ryan tells Kellie she's gone. She gets the extra-special sentimental remix of "Bad Day." And I have to give it to her: there was none of the bullshit grandstanding I was dreading. Whether that's because she's a class act or just too dim to realize what was actually happening, she left on a high note. Next up for the Pick: graduating the third grade! Best of luck!
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]