Nadia sings Crystal Gayle's "When I Dream" (Mac Davis, 1977), a light breeze away from a wardrobe malfunction, not to mention stunning, in basically a drawstring bag. The judges uniformly believe she invented the song her damn self, but she was lovely, as usual, and sang it strongly and well. She will be in the bottom three.
Bo (1975) sings "Free Bird" (duh), a song I adore, and is awesome and with his mojo fully back. I think Bo's grandma is Jay Alexander. The judges uniformly fit him for a huge Julius Caesar fall, like, a big old song-appropriate bird flies into the studio and buzzes some people, but that's a ways off. He's great at being Bo and nothing but.
Anwar (1978) sings Dionne Warwick's "I'll Never Love This Way Again," a song so boring you don't recognize it until the chorus, and even then only barely. He's natural and more commanding than previously, but way flat. The judges praise his technique and ignore the flatness; then Ryan kisses him on the lips and they get gay married.
A-Fed sings "Every Time You Go Away" (Paul Young, 1985, which: yikes!), utterly rocking my life, and I mean he thoroughly fucking sings it. This was his best performance, going right to the cheesy heart of what I love about him: we are brothers in Journey, and shouty singing. It's awesome, and the judges and Ryan totally dug it too.
Vonzell sings "Let's Hear It For The Boy" (1984, Deniece Williams) really well, with the energy high, the crowd insane, and the judges happy she chose a well-known song and sang it well, the two halves of what will keep her around, Nadia Turner, and it was so fantastic and so Vonzell and I might just remember her in five minutes.
Scott (1976) sings "She's Gone," by Hall & Oates, who are here tonight, and who have become indistinguishable from the equally confused-looking and leather-like Siegfried & Roy. History repeats itself as Ryan, heedless of my warnings, makes a sudden movement and is mauled by Scott Savol, who then drags him partially off-stage and beats him with a telephone. And still people vote for him.
Seriously, though: His intro is all about how he likes to beat on things and people and has ever since he was little, which bugs me on a PR level, because how fucking dense do you have to be? Then, the song itself was shit, frankly, so I spent the whole time figuring out that my favorite song in the entire world, "Magnet and Steel" by Walter Egan, is actually from the year of my birth, and is clearly what I would sing if I were on this show. I also learned there were some bomb-ass songs in 1978, to wit:
"You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth," "Come Sail Away" which is like the best song ever, "Hot Blooded" if I were A-Fed, "We're All Alone" if I were Anwar, and "Hollywood Nights," if I were Julie Cooper. Not to mention songs I wouldn't actually choose, but rule: "Baby Come Back," "Wonderful Tonight," "Wuthering Heights," "Just The Way You Are" or "She's Always A Woman," or "Lovely Day," by Bill Withers. All of which I'd laugh my ass off like Jimmy Fallon if I tried to actually do, but not as much as the C group: "Sometimes When We Touch," "Thank You For Being A Friend" (seriously), "Werewolves Of London," "Take A Chance On Me," and of course, "MacArthur Park." Impossible to choose, so I've learned I clearly don't belong on this show. Guess that worked out. Finally, I learned that: I am cheesy.
Anyway, he's awful and pulls a Justin Guarini on Simon and acts once more the total asshat. The other judges heap on praise but only Simon tells the truth: that there were more bad notes than good ones. Hall & Oates just look anxious the whole time.
Carrie (1983) is looking all kinds of Kelly but sounds amazing on "Love Is A Battlefield" by Pat freakin' Benatar, whichâ¦that's Anna's favorite person on this planet and I was like, "Oh yeah?" But she was great, and suddenly sexy as hell. The judges adore it (though Randy and Simon have some Teflon-coated non-lethal bullets loaded). I don't know what happened, if there's a new chip in her brain or something where she's awesome, but DAMN. All she's missing are the hos with their shoulder-menacing dances.
Then after an unending intro, effing Constantine sings "Bohemian Rhapsody" (1975). And heard without looking, first, there are pitch problems but he's -- the sounds he emits, the spitty mushmouth and all, bug me, but like, it's fucking good. I knew the bitch could suddenly sing, but that was only ever like one third of the issue, so with my glasses on, I'm relieved to find that he's horrible again. Those are some magic glasses.
Review: Nadia being all chanteuse and doomed. Bo Bice being awesome and way accessorized. Anwar being forgettable but comfortable for the first time. A-Fed singing the best song of the night, and not too shabbily either. Vonzell redefining the concept of "Vonzell is adorable." Scott being dead to me. Carrie being fucking awesome, which ugh, and then Constantine singing about suicide while emoting that he wants to take me behind a shed somewhere. Great show all around, actually; maybe the best of the finals. I'm really scared because the people I want gone did really great, while the people I love are too "artsy-farsty" to sing songs anyone has ever heard.
So. Tonight's gonna suck. See you there!
I woke up this morning overpowered by a love of Scott Savol, a real desire to see him win. His utter lack of grace or class, his quickly disintegrating voice, his hideous face and unsettling demeanor, his ungrateful and hateful lack of social skillsâ¦what can I say? I now find these things delightful. That's why tonight's episode was such a roller-coaster of emotion, by turns both terrifying and inspiring.
The Idols perform "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" one more fucking time, and highlighted, on the main, are Constantine, Bo, and Carrie, although Vonzell and Anwar have a nice duet and the girls come together in a hellishly off harmony. At one point the camera trucks across them upstage, and Scott gives such a delightfully disgusting face that I almost call to vote right then, even though it's Wednesday.
There's a fairly interesting "Day In The Life" segment where we break down their weekly activities. Thursdays, they pick next week's song. Friday, it's interview clips and weekly shopping. Saturday: recording and sometimes actual downtime. (This part was thrillingly narrated by Our Man Scott, who would seem to read at a robust fifth grade level! Good on you, Scott!) Sunday, they film the pimpomercial. Monday's the first band rehearsal. Tuesday is a walkthrough, dress rehearsal, and then live at 5 PST -- Scott explaining here that he doesn't normally wear makeup at home, which should put to rest those "WhiteTrashPlanetLove.com" rumors, and thank Fake Jesus for that! Wednesday, they freak out, then go to the studio to find out if Scott's safe. And he always, always is!
We quickly review: A-Fed and Anwar came out of nowhere, Nadia made up her song, Vonzell made banal into awesome, Carrie was great, and Bo and Con were carried by impressive light shows and exciting music. Scott had the most overwrought instrumentation of all, like he needed it, and then was justified in calling me a chump for not having the "guts" to half-ass it to the Final Eight on a wave of cognitive dissonance and white trash solidarity. I am a chump. Not even a criminal record!
Then: HORRORS! You guessed it. The bottom three each get to sing their favorite past songs, so Scott sings "Against All Odds." He does a bunch of slippery vocoder fake runs, and Paula lurches around cheering until Simon physically restrains her. Scott keeps stabbing his finger at himself and then up at God, who's totally like his special friend. His voice sounds completely shot and his vibrato goes painfully sharp at the end; we've been blessed with another tasteless Scott Savol performance, completely lacking in subtlety or work ethic. I'm so completely grateful.
Carrie and Anwar are safe, then Bo is in the bottom three. He talks a mess about how he couldn't care less about what happens, and I lose even more respect for him even as I agree with his point. He sings "Remedy" and it's fun. The remaining Idols dance around like assholes, totally "rocking out," particularly Constantine with his nasty-ass greasy ponytail. Bo gives Scott a dap and hug, like a total wuss. I mean, that's way more than Scott has ever given a fellow contestant on the Seal.
Simon explains that Constantine was "astonishing" last night because all of the ingredients: a totally stylized gimmick song, the disgusting perverted performance, the sticking out of the tongue, were all really ill-advised and stupid, but he managed to pull it off. I hate to agree with all of this, but I do, actually. Then Constantine won't shut the fuck up and let Ryan do his job, interrupting him more than Bo did, and finally lets Ryan tell him he's safe.
Neither Vonzell nor A-Fed will be in the bottom three this week, but if they were, they would sing "I Have Nothing" and "Every Time You Go Away," respectively. Nadia, who's totally going home tonight, then performs "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me," wearing a perfectly Nadia dress. Several times the vibrato gets a little less controlled than usual, but it's still as beautiful as the first time, and about halfway through, the cheers snap her out of it and she goes into the Whole Nadia Thing and it's nice. Then Bo and Nadia embrace while Scott ignores them both. Yeah, buddy.
Nadia proudly resists admitting she feels dumb for being "artsy-fartsy" to the exclusion of giving people anything to hold onto. It's fairly adorable when she starts laughing about how "unfortunately maybe that's not working anymore." Bo and Nadia take a step back so Scott, safe, can breeze by them like they don't even exist, and you know what, for somebody with his almost supernatural gift and ostentatious relationship with Fake Jesus, they practically don't.
Randy is disgusted, Paula actually knows that Bo is fine and basically says so, but Ryan still has to make with the suspense. Paula ruins everything. Bo is safe, and hugs Nadia, who gives a little speech and then starts crying immediately, so her eye makeup starts melting and drizzling into her eyes, and finally Ryan gives her his necktie so she won't have to deal with losing, crying, and being blinded all at once. Then she says goodbye to us and jokes around with the other Idols, who at this point look a bit more destroyed than she. Except Scott, of course.
Well, that's this week. Next week, though, I'm rooting for Scott the whole time. You hear me, Scott? It's all about you, baby. And as Judd, Nikko, Mikalah, Jessica, Lindsey, and Nadia can attest, I am a good, good friend to have. I only hope I can do for you what I've done for them, buddy.
We begin with that one FOX blue-filtered promo where things are fast, then slow, as we highlight the remaining contestants. Nadia, Carrie, Vonzell, Bo, and Anwar look great, A-Fed looks chubby, Scott looks like a serial killer, and Constantine looks like a stage magician. Then Ryan's wearing another confusing t-shirt under a suit jacket, not to mention a big old grin, as we check out all the signs in the audience. They're getting kind of baroque. Ryan's working the scruff again and once more looks viable. Maybe he's twins and that's why he always looks one way or the other. Anyway, tonight it's Fresh 'n' Sassy Ryan, which makes the show vastly more enjoyable since, even though there's no point in him being there, he's still constantly on camera.
In reference to the horrible occurrence of Nikko leaving, he asks us quite seriously if we were "outraged," if we thought it was "a disaster," and the answers are yes. He reminds us that it's not fair to complain if you don't vote, and I get that, but I mean, if you agree with the elimination, you probably voted, and if you don't, you're used to hating the kind of people that voted. This is the first of, like, one hundred times he's going to shrilly demand that we vote and stop bitching, but I don't think it's fair to tell us not to bitch, even if we didn't vote, because whenever you're bitching about votes, you're bitching specifically about the fact that there are more people that disagree with you than not. And if you think about that too long, you will go insane. I think this is why Ann Coulter happened during the Clinton years. "Watching this show without voting is like starting a conversation with Randy." Randy's incensed at this, but doesn't actually know what Ryan means. "Pointless. It's out of love, Jackson." Dear show: Please at least have acrobats or go-go dancers or something so that the filler isn't so damned obvious.
Back to fake Wednesday, where this week's theme clues start with a hilarious picture of baby Constantine, which cracks Ryan up immediately because the baby's making that same stoned face that (sort of) grown-up Constantine is so fond of. People are so used to clapping their hands off and screaming whenever Carrie's name or image comes up that they even cheer for her baby picture. "You go, baby Carrie! Rock that bitch!" Anwar fakely guesses "nursery rhymes," which would actually kind of rock, in that this show is stupid as hell, but is still a fake dumb guess. Not even Anwar is so infantilized that he would believe that for a second. Ryan explains that the theme is "The Year You Were Born" and it's pretty funny as he says, straight-faced, "That's the year they made their debut…on the world stage." The only person on this show that came out of the womb belting show tunes is Mikalah. And possibly Ryan. ("It's out of love, Seacrest.")
Nadia "Confusion is Nothing New" Turner (tm Sburrious) sings the Crystal Gayle song "When I Dream" (1977, by Mac Davis) and introduces it by showing us some adorable baby pictures where her hair is just as big as it is now. That's the circle of life. She talks about how her look was totally extreme when she was a baby because her mom is nuts and awesome and from the Caribbean. It's hard to imagine Nadia as a child because she's so self-possessed that all I get is this creepy Spelling Bee vibe, or like a creepy Haley Joel Osment thing. Baby Nadia with a tiny briefcase and headshots, going from gallery to agency to brokerage talking about how she's "really excited about my current project, which is a really interesting drawing of a dinosaur from the Cretaceous Era, which I have chosen to render using a restricted Cray-Pas color palette. For this project, as a nod to the strict compositional approach of the Pop Art movement, you'll notice I've colored inside the lines only. That was a conscious deviation from my usual, more Impressionist style, as you'll perhaps remember from my series entitled Five Minute Portraits From The Strawberry Shortcake Coloring Book In Pink, Red and Green."