In case you missed the one-hour recap last week and the re-run before this episode, ABC would like to remind you that previously on Making the Band, Lou reviewed Paul's progress. Everyone's favorite vocal coach, Mini-Lou, pointed out Paul doesn't seem to be pushing himself, so in his a one-on-one with Paul, Lou urges him to work harder. They thoughtfully omit the fact that Mini-Lou at that time also complimented Paul's voice. Cut to the contract distribution, where Jacob notes their ten-year deals could be awesome, or could end up (bleep)ing them for two years. Apparently, "screwing" is suddenly an awful word. It didn't get censored in the original airing. ABC is getting a little trigger-happy with the buzzer -- unless there was horrific backlash last time from that wild mob of three people who didn't touch their dials after Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Lou tells the guys to return from vacation with signed contracts, and Mike notes he's nervous because once the contracts are final, Trans Con Studios cuts the cast to five.
In its triumphant return, this week's show is about Lou's passion for swindling people, Paul's decision to sacrifice a spot in O-Town, and Ikaika's determination to behave like a flaky wimp who doesn't know his own mind -- which makes sense, because he lacks one.
We're in Orlando, jamming to peppy reunion music as we watch the guys return from holiday. "Honey, I'm home," Jacob shouts, and Mike runs out to greet and hug him. For good measure, Mike squeezes a couple other guys too. "I'm sick and tired of vacation," he says. "I want to get back to work." Jacob agrees, saying he told his mother he "missed home," to which his mother responded by flipping out because Jacob considers Orlando his home. Ashley pipes up that he was looking at his pictures thinking, "God, I miss these guys," probably because unlike his sane stepfather, the O-Town finalists understand Ashley's yen to be a close-harmony singer. Ashley helpfully makes sure we all know Ikaika isn't due back for another day, and his cohorts repeat it three times for good measure.
Trevor asks Paul if he's read the record contract. Someone belts out, "It SUCKS!" Trevor confesses he tried to read it but didn't understand anything, so "hell, no," he didn't sign it. He reveals Jacob called and told him not to, saying a lawyer would sort the whole thing out for them. Paul feigns interest. Trevor's tipping potato chips out of a tube, but they've blurred the label so we can't tell if they're Pringles or those other curvy ovoid potato snacks that come in a tall cylinder. In a voice-over, Ashley notes that "instead of coming back with our contracts all signed and ready to go, we found out there are some very specific problems with the contract that are actually kind of scary." The guys peruse the contracts around the dining table, trying to understand tricky jargon like "royalties," "contingency," "non-disclosure" and "heavy petting." Ashley clears things up by saying the lawyer identified concerns about "royalty percentages being really low, something about merchandising, and who controls the songs we write." And when he says "we," he means the Trans Con tribe of lyricists, who my sources say are a rabid posse of one-eyed monkeys whacked out on Quaaludes. Jacob says the lawyer warned them that if they sign, and then achieve all the fame and success they expect, they'll end up angry and bitter that any certified attorney approved such a hideous contract.