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Week 2 of Advocate contributor Dave White’s American Idol recap: Mandisa’s arm fat, Taylor’s toboggan, Kellie meets calamari, and bye bye Brenna



Oh, good,
Seacrest is dressed for the prom in 1978. A deep blue velvet
jacket. I wonder if he’ll feel me up in the car
afterward? I won’t tolerate that sort of
behavior, though. I’m not that kind of guy. I like
my rhymes fresh, not my escorts. Seacrest lays down this rap
about how their ratings are more incredible than ever,
and he thanks the audience for the ratings. I love
gratitude, and I in turn would like to thank Seacrest
for getting rid of the dumb little hipster T-shirts he used
to wear. He’s way more suits-y this season, and
I like this better. He’s Dick Clark now. He
should be dressed up.

ladies’ night, and Katherine McPhee is up first,
singing “All in Love Is Fair.”
That’s just the sort of old-timey spoo a young lady
should be selecting for a competition voted on by
middle-school kids. It was more fun watching her
tickle Kelly Pickler in the pre-song “personality
reel” and hear the two of them make snorting pig
noises together. She has a great voice, but based on
this performance she might as well be a singing
waitress in one of those Italian restaurants where they have
plastic grapes hanging from the ceiling. Paula tells her,
“You move America.”

Kinnik Sky is
dressed like she’s about to do a sketch comedy piece
about loony cracker hicks. She’s wearing a
Western getup and a cowboy hat. Maybe spurs
too—I can’t see her feet. I guarantee you that
this outfit was selected for her by some lazy-ass,
literal-minded homosexual stylist when he found out
she’d chosen a Gretchen Wilson song. She may be
singing “Here for the Party” but she
just looks “All Jacked Up” instead. Her
moment is like a high school production of Oklahoma!
with nontraditional casting.

OK, you know what
I hate the most about the evolution of this show? The
fake-applause-and-cheering moment that happens during every
single song. It used to be that the kids earned the
wild cheers. Now it is 1000% clear that there’s
a big sign hanging over the audience that says “Go
ape-shit NOW” and it flashes once during each
performance. I want to be the guy who gets to turn on
that sign. I would be supercreative with my timing. As
it is, Lisa Tucker gets her sign switched on the second she
opens her mouth a little wider than normal. This is a
visual cue that a belting is about to go down. She
tries to do justice to an old Jackson 5 song but it
just comes out like another audition for the Aladdin
show at California Adventure.

Melissa McGhee
takes me by surprise by happily attacking “Why
Haven’t I Heard From You” by Reba
McEntire. She’s saucy and country, taking on the
role of the recently vacated Womanimal. Her hair and her
voice have tacky blond highlights, which is exactly
what this kind of song calls for. Cut to her friends
with the frosted-cupcake hair. They look like the kind of
friends who’d race through their pal’s
performance to get a look at
themselves—FINALLY—on TV for effin’
once. In the postsong judges’ commentary,
Melissa once again expresses her need for America to see
“who I finally am.” She said almost
exactly the same thing last week. Naked neediness is

Heather Cox is
wearing some spazzed-out black unitard-looking thing with
a big belt buckle on it and some chandelirious earrings.
It’s important to make sure you got your outfit
game on A+ like this when you’re about to
tackle a Mariah Carey song. You, are, after all, going to
reinterpret “Hero” for 30 million
people. But guess what? You’ll never be M.C. If
Mariah were there, she’d have the corpse of
Ol’ Dirty Bastard up there to rap the bridge of
the song from beyond the grave and she’d be
frolicking about in an inflatable kiddie pool wearing
a Galliano gown. You can’t win here, Heather

www.votefortheworst.com ALERT! It’s time for Brenna
Gethers. But first, you might be wondering what
exactly www.votefortheworst.com is. Well, I’ll
tell you. It’s a way to do what the hip snobs of this
planet like to call Culture Jamming. Here’s how
it works: You don’t vote for adorable talented
little Paris Bennett no matter how much she deserves to win
this contest right now. You don’t do that to
poor little Paris Bennett because Paris Bennett
deserves better from life. She’ll get a recording
contract on her own. To let her win will just mean
she’ll wind up shooting From Paris to
on a beach somewhere in January. No, you want
someone like Brenna to win. You want mayhem and
cannibalism in the streets. You want blood to rain
down from the sky, drowning the corrupt, evil music
industry that demands you not file-share anything ever.
That’s what you do. Also, it helps make the
show not boring if you’ve got someone like
Brenna, who’s essentially the kitten with a whip,
onstage slutting it up and being obnoxious. I also
like it when she goes AHHHHHWWWHHHH in the middle of
her song, “Last Dance,” like she’s
swallowed a tongue depressor.

“Why Paris Bennett Is Incredible: A Brief
List” by Dave White

1. Kooky
fashions. I think she’s got like a corset or
something on over a white blouse. Also? Sick
choker. 2. Shortness. Short people are always way
cuter than supertall people. 3. She
destroys. She can take the most toxically awful song of all
time, “Wind Beneath My Wings,” and all
the gruesome things associated with it
(Beaches, Bette Midler, various diseases) and erase
them from your memory because she’s so damn

Ayla Brown, the
Teen Who Can Do All Things Well and Do Them All at the
Same Time, tries “I Want You to Need Me” by
Céline Dion. That’s a lot of wanting and
needing. You get the feeling that she studies her tapes from
week to week, honing her plan of attack, checking out books
from the library on the subject of maximizing your
human potential. She demurs when the subject of her
school grades is brought up, claiming she’s not a
great student, but I bet this is a lie to make people not
hate her for being so perfect. You know she’s
lugging a copy of Mencken’s Chrestomathy
around in her bag. Randy says, “The Dawg liked

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