Punchline: Nikko Osborne.
Setup: Mario Vazquez, Seacrest, and George Michael walk into a men's restroomâ¦
So Mario left the show Friday, ever so controversially, and with his complicity, the speculative inroads center mainly on: contractual cold feet, sexual ambiguity, unlikely baby mamas, and one truly bizarre scenario wherein Seacrest is somehow "coerced" into masturbating for Mario's enjoyment in a men's room. Patently neither true nor the slightest bit titillating, this last nonetheless remains: totally awesome.
Ryan will only tell us that everyone at AI wishes him the best of luck, and asks additionally that the forum posters at Television Without Pity calm the hell down, before giving us Theme One: the "Sixties," signifying: nothing. "The song you were gonna sing anyway, or something just like it."
Jessica is cute again, and sings "Shop Around," and by the Jessica standard, especially after last week, she's awful. The ending is one totally sad, misconceived, half-assed melisma into nowhere. Randy and Paula offer nothing (she's got a "cool vibe"), and Simon calls her boring and uninspiring.
Anwar finds the schmoopiest, puppy-doggiest song he can think of, "A House Is Not A Home," then sings said song in a schmoopy, puppy-dog manner while dressed as like a Neverwhere or Matrix extra. Randy + Paula = nothing, and Simon points out how Anwar always looks and sounds perfect, yet bores the shit out of everybody.
Mikalah sings "Son Of A Preacher Man" and looks prettier than ever, again, but is wearing Tank Girl and Bjork's last Stitch and Bitch project. Randy calls the song "rough," Paula welcomes back "goofy" Mikalah who sings like hell, and Simon says her "confidence has exceeded [her] ability," which is at once true, pithy, and hard to watch.
Constantine: I got nothing. I mean, "You Make Me So Very Happy"? I guess Bo a priori won the whole stupid "rocker" thing, so 2Cats now gets the fruity tunes he wanted to begin with. It's not great, because he's not that great, but it means way less of, e.g., that Tori Amos vowel torture he's so fond of, and the possibility of some nice big full scratchy legit notes, maybe. Then Ryan says some kind of bathroom stuff I don't get.
Lindsey sings "Knock On Wood." For the tenth and likely final time, that's not what your voice is for, Cardinale. Get your ass together. So dumb, too low for her good voice, again, and you can't hear her, again, and you don't so much want to, again. Randy tells her she sucks, Paula makes her say aloud that she sucks, and Simon tells her that America hates her and she sucks. She doesn't, but that's become this, like, arcane secret.
A-Fed sings "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," which: ugh, but at least that unnaturally strong voice is still clear and real, he plays the camera all kick-ass cheesy, and ends on a pleasantly non-showy low, sustained pitch. Then the Capri Sun finally sets, as Randy calls it "bad hotel," Paula calls it pitchy, and Simon likens it to a Christmas party, so I guess they're done, and it's too bad, because he has my favorite voice, technically. I mean, it gave me nightmares I haven't had since the singing bellybuttons. But still.
Nadia intros "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" with how if she's going down this week, it's got to be with an awesome song. All the non-AI-fans in my hotel room fell silent almost at once, and remained so, which, to give you some perspective, only happens with this crew if, like, cops show up, or when Julie Cooper comes onscreen. Randy tells her the night's finally begun, Paula is smart about Nadia's "playing the game," and Simon calls everyone "hamburger" to Nadia's "steak." Blech.
Bo picks the trippy flavor his one song comes in, "Spinning Wheel," something's happened with the hair and it's on the road to recovery, and suddenly he's almost unbearably attractive, all over the set like a jungle gym with leather pants and clean hair, and I don't know what to do, but then he smiles, and I'm over it, and then everybody freaks out like in Beatles footage where they're going to vomit and lose consciousness and claw their own eyes out all at the exact same time.
Vonzell sings "Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart," and this is what my notes say: "Sexy!" "Awesome," what I think says, "Emotions! It's like a little story!" and then I just drew six little hearts in a row, I guess thinking that would suffice. But see, that's just how she is: undifferentiated nice feelings emanating at all times like the opposite of that gopher thing with the bad vibes coming out of it in the catalog. Randy calls it "ambitious," Paula calls her voice beautiful, and Vonzell a "perfect showman."
Let's all forget Scott Savol. For real. Great voice, got it, but every week, it becomes more obvious how untrained and imitative the whole deal really is, and I don't want to know. The voice is my Jordan Catalano, and every time it pops a mint or blinks out its Visine, it presents as the total slacker it really is, and my heart breaks. Go home! He sings "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" directly to Randy, who tells him it was "hot," and Paula and Simon just try to stay out of whatever the hell just happened.
Carrie sings "When Will I Be Loved" -- so very, very Carrie that why even bother? If you like her, it was just like that. If you hate her, it was just like that. Randy thought it was "very okay," Paula bitches at her for not taking risks and calls her "boring," and Simon lies and kisses her ass that she's in the Bo/Nadia league. From my notes, again: "Big boring stupid Carrie."
In the "Don't hate him because he's not Mario" spot, Nikko starts off really comfortable, all awesome voice and his whole thing where he can sing like a Jackson Five song ("I Want You Back"), and somehow makes it soundâ¦not better? Just valid. Not karaoke. Systematically removing whatever it is that would cause the comparison to be made. Crowd loses marbles spectacularly, judges follow suit, and Simon dicks up a storm, insuring the votes he'll need to stay.
Review: Jessica utter disappointment, Anwar somehow both pushy and boring, that Mikalah stuff again, Constantine smarmy and confusing, Lindsey unmoving both as predicate and adjective, A-Fed done with, Nadia as usual, Bo still processing, Vonzell three blue hearts in hotel room ballpoint, Scott rad or whatever, Carrie Underwood was Carrie Underwood some more, and Nikko effing rocks. Tonight is results, which means eliminations, which kind of bums me out, which is in fact the troubling part. More so than the alleged stuff, in some ways. Maybe Amanda was right, and I've been in the trenches too long with these kids to take it lightly. Maybe I'm just exhausted from the alleged stuff. We'll see shortly.
What Ryan wants to know is: WHY? And I assume he means, "Why did Mario really leave?" But no, he's rhetorically wondering, on behalf of us all, why the judges were so darned hard on the contestants last night. Which is in turn called to testify as a material witness: Simon even loves Bo messing up the lyrics, Paula loves how Vonzell's a "showman," Scott feels at home almost anywhere, what with being a crazy itinerant, and Jessica really just forgot what the fuck she was doing.
Anthony is beloved by the sorts of people that attend live tapings of this show, Nadia "whet Simon's appetite," Nikko was welcomed back by the rather hyperproductive audience, Carrie is horrible to deal with but "nice," that "this lot" (us) agreed with Simon on Mikalah, (we did), and Constantineâ¦I don't want to go on and on about it. Then some Byzantine thing where they're going to perform extra songs for cash or something, for the sake of philanthropy. Ugh.
Then the group sings "When You Tell Me That You Love Me," and, you know, I can't. The Whatever include Anwar, Jessica, Nadia, A-Fed, and Mikalah, the Iffy include poor Lindsay and Anthony to start, and the Super-Awesome include the usual (for the most part) suspects: Nikko, Bo, Constantine (ick), and Vonzell. Carrie and Bo share a duet like that shit's going to rub off, and the camera tracks Mikalah through a whole Altman of drama, because that's her whole thing.
So now there's the disgusting drawn-out snuff film crap, right? Not so bad, plus Ryan is unshaven and generally looks about as hot as anything viable, but then, I'm in New Orleans this week, so I'm pretty skewed right now toward any boys that aren't actively screeching in Esperanto or Absinthetic or whatever the fuck drunk-talk carnie Made-Uppish dialect, cher. I'm pretty sure he looks exactly as good as a Seacrest can tonight, though. Even though he's telling us we're going to be singling out the bottom three before we get anything done.
First safe? Constantine, Nadia, and Anthony. Hands up those who are shocked, for slapping. Lindsey, who is obviously going home, is the first of the three tonight. Then Bo is safe and Carrie is safe and Scott is safe but doesn't matter, Mikalah is bullshit and second of the three, and Anwar is totally safe by any criterion. Then: Jessica fucked up last night, Nikko isn't Mario, and Vonzell equals a total lack of suspense.
Then everybody sings a stupid song about not parking on the dance floor. I swear to you that if this advice ever turns out to be of notice, I will have vastly more issues on my plate than parking, and it won't be welcome. It's just like always, dancing around the product-placed automobile like in that movie Freaks and it's all very exciting for absolutely nobody at all, but -- you'll correct me if I'm wrong, as far as Season Three -- way better than what I remember, in that it doesn't look like my cousin shot it on his Hi-8. Everybody looks super effing good, specifically Mikalah, Jessica, and effing A-Fed. If I promise I will never park on the dance floor, will you not show this to me again? Liar.
So then there's Lindsey, Mikalah, and Jessica, and they're standing there like fools, and Ryan and Simon flirt so much, all about how strong and manly and virile and mind-controlling Simon is, and Jessica's safe, that there's another commercial break, right before and about which Mikalah just starts openly bitching at Ryan, which gives Ryan the opportunity to do that thing he does I like so much, which is accidentally show how cool and smart and uninterested in all this he actually is, all, "Hey, why don't you bitch at me during the commercial break, halfwit?" And she shuts up because she gets it. She always gets it, sometimes it just takes a while.
Then Lindsey is over, even though she's wearing this ridiculous magic-looking Tucson rock around her neck, and there's a goodbye video that starts with when she was a little baby jazz chanteuse wearing country drag and continues for one million years until now, where she's a jazz chanteuse, wearing country drag. Figure it out, sweetheart. If Alison Moyet can get there, you can too. She is British, Lindsey! So's the Simply Red dude, for that matter. See what I'm saying? Figure it out! Show up the Brits!
Then she sings horribly and I'm glad the sing-outs are there and I'm glad she obviously knew she was going home, but dude, it sounds like shit. That makes me sad, even though physically she is rocking out in a very real way, jumping up into the Bo Spot behind the judges, and generally seeming bodily transported into a rock fantasy of unimaginable proportion while sounding aurally like Ruthie Camden and her weird French man thing, and then it's suddenly over because Ryan is still fine-tuning his very fine-tuned timing. So abrupt!
Big week, huh? First, Mario dropped out of the competition on Friday, amidst rumors of contract bullshit, fame-whoring, the ubiquitous Michael Jackson, and the excellent urban legend about him forcing Seacrest to masturbate in a bathroom. Then a similar rumor popped up about Bo -- the leaving the show one, I mean -- but immediately dropped like a lead zeppelin. Then Paula Abdul left the country to avoid a hit-and-run allegation. Then it was said that Bad Boy was going to sign Mario, but P. Diddy went on record as saying that he didn't know who the hell Mario Vazquez was, like he's got so much cred. Like he would never go near a reality competition show about musical performers.
It was at this point that the entire TWoP staff jumped to my aid, because nothing activates American Idol fans' secret craziness like a manufactured scandal, and I must give them a shout-out for this reason, particularly Miss Alli, and Sars, and LTG and Couch Baron. You are all talented, beautiful people and I love your recaps. I'm getting misty here. So then Mario took a trip to Courtney Town, all "I need my privacy" while booking himself on every talk show in existence, giving a different reason for leaving every time he left, not telling his mother what was really going on, and finally harassing the Simpson sisters and trying to commiserate with them about the vagaries of fame to the point where they had to kick him out of the VIP area. If this is really how fast the pop cycle is moving nowadays, we should see his left nipple in a man's mouth at the Burger King (such a quality restaurant, don't you agree?) by close of business Monday. And if he had a uterus, it would fall out by the next morning. Although honestly, he's less Love than Peldon, because there's no reason for us to care where his left nipple ends up, but he's just famous for being famous now, and for being an insane fame groupie. And I just heard five seconds ago that he's hired Clay's lawyer to get out of his AI contract, which sucks because it means Drudge was right, and I hate that.
I kind of want to involve myself in the diminishing returns, here. Like, Ashlee Simpson is only pretend-famous, so he's trying to ride her coattails to that, while she rides her sister to halfway-legit, which means if I start stalking Mario Vazquez, I'll be at "khaki" on the celebrity alert scale, which is two steps above "slightly famous on the internet," which is what I am now. Which is also, by the way, why I've started hanging out with Miss Alli, but that's just parallel development as part of my plan to be exactly as famous as Lou Diamond Phillips, no more, no less. This is also the reason I keep trying to start rap beefs with djb, since all I did was piss Pamie off when I tried talking shit about Perry Farrell. I've got a chart over my computer and everything, so don't be surprised when I start dropping names like "Krista Allen" and "Matt Drudge" into the recaps in weeks to come. It's all part of my design. Lou Diamond Phillips, you will be feasting on my wake in no time.
Ryan looks so tiny on that big old stage. He's wearing a lavender suit jacket and another weird t-shirt, also lavender, with wide-leg jeans and cute little Chucks. I know he's tiny, but damn. He really talks nutty tonight and it's not very interesting, so we'll gloss over a lot of it. It's just kind of crazy and boring and stream-of-consciousness obligatory shit. He calls the kids "the most famous faces" on our screens, and says he wants to see what they can do. I just realized last week was my last chance to call the Girl Pound "Suffragette City," which was my plan all along, and now I can never make that joke. But there's no more Dawg Pound either, for the same reason, so I'm just going to call that entire part of the stage Suffragette City from now on. And while we're at it, I'm calling the other corner of the stage, where Ryan Seacrest lives, and across the giant new Seal to which the contestants now must trudge after getting hated on by the judges, the Temple Grandin Area. Now that I've put names to places in the new set, I feel more at home there. How very Lacan-via-Riley Finn of me.