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"We got a hot one

"We got a hot one


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

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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.

It's 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 awesome.

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 Cox. ALERT! It's time for Brenna Gethers. But first, you might be wondering what exactly 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 Taylor 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 excellent.

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 Celine 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 it!"

I love Kellie Pickler the way I love flowers that grow up through concrete. Being white trash myself, with relatives of my own who've done time in the joint (her father is a frequent guest of the state of North Carolina), I feel for her on a personal level. I'm also a huge fan of her Hollywood culture shock and I'm hoping the producers start a regular segment called "Kellie Pickler: L.A. Guinea Pig." This week it's spinach salad ("like pickin' leaves off a bush") and calamari. Next week it's a surprise date with Charlie Sheen. I forget what she sings. It wasn't good. Paula's comment: "I wanna squish you."

Mandisa! Stay away from the stylists! They're going to keep you in black tents for this entire competition if you let them! Now is not the time to minimize yourself! That booty is large! Show it off! There. That's my advice for Mandisa. I have nothing else to add except that I dig how her voice has one volume: loud. She sings "Cry" by Faith Hill. Another song I hate. But much like Paris, she makes me forget that the bad things in the world (i.e., Faith Hill) exist, if only for a few seconds. And for that I'm grateful.

Good night, ladies.

Wednesday: The Men

Blah blah Seacrest blah. I have to get right to that hunching weirdo Taylor Hicks.

Taylor Hicks bounds out onto the stage after his "personality reel" where he talks about the disguise he has to wear when he goes out in public. See, people notice him because of his prematurely gray hair, so he has to roll incognito. In a bright purple knit cap. "My toboggan!" he announces. So now we know what Taylor Hicks wears when he goes out to be Not Noticed. That's good, Taylor Hicks, say it out loud again and again--"Toboggan!"--like a Tourette's patient, and remember that when you have a big woolly purple nipple on your dome, you are completely invisible.

What follows is not commentary. There can be no commentary when actual events themselves are so on the nose. All I can do is record what I saw. And here it is. All bizarre gestures and nonmusical outbursts will be noted in [BRACKETS AND ALL CAPS JUST LIKE THIS. READY?]

Taylor hunkers down for some sangin' and starts snapping his fingers, popping them open like he's rolling the dice in an alleyway game of craps. He's gonna sang "Easy" by the Commodores.


I know it sounds funny but I just can't [WINK] stand the pain

See I'm leavin' here tomorrow

Seems to me girl you know I done all I can ["HEY!" w/HEAD SNAP]

You see I beg, stole and I borrowed

[YEAH OOOH] S'why I'm easy [EH!]

I'm easy like Sunday mornin'

That's why I'm eeeesayayayayayaahhahahahaha [WOOO!]

Easy like Sunday mornin'

I wanna be high oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-soooo high [WOOO!]

I wanna be free to know the things I do are right [OH!]

I wanna be free [WOOO!]

Just me

S'why I'm easy

Easayayayayayayay! [WOOO!]



Randy wants to know how many bars Taylor sang that song in when he was "comin' up."

"Too many," says Taylor. "I'm glad to be here though. Wooo!"

Randy continues by telling Taylor he likes him and that he's got that Ray Charles thing going on. Paula interrupts Randy to say, "He's got that Taylor Hicks thing!"

"That's it!" barks Taylor. "Taylor Hicks, baby! Wooo! All right! I'll take it! I'll take it!"

Paula slathers on more praise by telling Taylor she likes what he's wearing. Maybe she's hoping that by scratching his back Taylor will scratch hers in return and talk about the insane plunging neckline cleavage-announcement dress she's wearing tonight. But no. Taylor just says, "Thank you! I appreciate that! Wooo! Ay!"

"You're one of my favorites," says Paula. Of course he is.

"Wooo! I'll take that!" yells Taylor.

Simon calls Taylor's performance average. "I can get better!" yells Taylor. "I'm getting better! I'm getting better! I'm getting better!" he pleads. Paula turns to Simon, yelling, "You're mean!"

Randy, Simon, and Paula squabble.

Taylor: "Wooo!"

I know that took a long time but it had to be done. Next up is Elliott Yamin, who effing LAYS IT DOWN with "Moody's Mood for Love," maybe the most difficult bit of jazz singing I've ever heard anyone on this show attempt since it began. Along with Chris Daughtry, he's the best of the guys, even if he does pull the bonehead move of pointing to his own eye when he sings the line "do I really see heaven in your eyes." And I worry for him because I think America is not going to respond affectionately to his odd appearance. Randy uses this opportunity to fertilize his catchphrase, "We got a hot one tonight!" Randy bugs me.

Ace Young and His Groin (again with the half-tucked-in shirt, maximizing the package) duet on a song Ace likes to call "If I'm Not Made for You." Too bad the Daniel Bedingfield song Ace is singing is actually titled "If You're Not the One." He claims to love the song even though he just learned it and can't remember the correct title. In his personality reel he talks about his own Taylor Hicks cap, his "beanie." But see, Ace's beanie isn't used to conceal anything. Ace's signature move is to take his beanie off, run his hand through his gorgeous locks, and then put the beanie in his back left pocket. This means Ace is a top, even if he sings like a bottom, all anemic and wet-eyed. And when he strains to hit that high Daniel Bedingfield falsetto, his face turns red.

Wow, I sure do dislike Gedeon McKinney's...well, his everything. I wish they'd let him ad lib, though, because the teleprompter reading thing is super distracting. He just can't do it. But I have to admit that he sang really well tonight, even if he is an annoying little Muppet.

Kevin Corvais's head is already two sizes bigger than it was last week. It's sad to watch this happen because he's kind of like William Hung in a way, with Seacrest calling him "gangsta" and all the women neutering him with the cheek-pinching crap. Dude, having your cheek pinched is not the same thing as making those panties wet, do you hear me? Get out before the hard fall happens. Do NOT talk about how you're "a sex symbol now" no matter how good it feels to say those words. They call you "Chicken Little." That's not the nickname of a sexually intimidating man. KC sings "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." You thought Michael McDonald had made that song as white as it could be, but that was before tonight.

Jose "Sway" Penala says he wants to "take a stab" at Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." So he does. He stabs and stabs until the song is dead. Randy, however, is still promoting his catchphrase and repeats, "We got a hot one tonight!" This is true, Randy. It was a hot, steaming pile of crap.

Will Makar's turn to stab. He goes for "Lady" by Kenny Rogers but he acts like he's intoning some ballad from Man of La Mancha. It's geriatric and dazed. When they cut to his mom, who's singing along with him like they're Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross, I am creeped out. Then Seacrest untucks Will's shirt, Simon advises him to stop doing that, and the Gay Panic Olympics breaks out on stage. Somebody start chasing someone around a couch to "Yakety Sax," quick!

Baby maker Bucky Covington states definitively, as his reason for choosing "The Thunder Rolls," that Garth Brooks was "one of the first guys to put a little rock into country." Bucky says this because, as we all know, nothing happened on planet Earth before Bucky attained consciousness. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Gram Parsons did nothing with their lives. Garth Brooks sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus and created modern country music in six days. Then Bucky talks about all the gross "French" food he's been forced to choke down in Los Angeles. Someone put some cilantro on his chicken and now it's a "bit" for him. Then he sings the song and it's whatever, his multiple earrings jangling like he's a one-man jewelry kiosk at the Glendale Galleria. After his performance Randy says that Bucky is like him, "representin' the Dirty South." Then Seacrest asks Bucky if he'd like a spicy tuna roll, which sounds kind of dirty to me after Will's Shirt Incident. Bucky responds by requesting a biscuit and some sweet tea.

David Radford is this week's male contender on and I can't call the number enough times. He tries to...auuaaggghhh...that word again...croon "The Way You Look Tonight" and make it "swing." When they shoot him in profile you can see up on the ledge where they make the men all stand to watch each other. Bucky is swiveling his hips and pelvic thrusting for...who?... the women? David Radford? It's unclear. But it is clear that Bucky is "taking the piss," as they say in England, a place Bucky probably couldn't find on a map. When the judges unanimously tell David that he sucked it tonight, he gets this peeved "How dare you speak to me in this manner" face. It's pretty good.

I forget what growly, howly Chris Daughtry sings. I'm too busy licking the TV screen.

And finally, this week on Thursday's "Chopped & Screwed"...

The gang sings "Love the One You're With," and it prompts a debate in my house among my domestic partner, two other friends, and me about Mandisa's spaghetti-strap top and her majorly exposed arm fat. The consensus is that we are for it. It's payback for all those years they made Martha Wash stand in the shadows while Black Box and C&C Music Factory had hit after hit with her voice and lip-syncing twigs in the videos.

Carrie Underwood, contractually obligated by 19 Entertainment to be here tonight, sings her smash hit "Jesus Take the Wheel." I got nothin' to say about this.

Then they give Brenna the ax. Here's what she says in response: "It's OK. I'm still ready to make some money. I'm ready to make some cash. So Clive, call Nigel, let's make some money. Get ready for my album. Let's make some good music America. Call me."

Then comes my favorite moment of every Kick-'Em-Off episode, the Humiliation Song. That's where they make the kickee sing the song that got them sent packing. Brenna butchers "Last Dance" one final time and inserts the words "make some money" into the lyrics. Damn you, America! Why do you hate repulsively delusional and craven tarts like Brenna? Why do you hate freedom so much?

Next up is a commercial for Verizon. It features the Black-Eyed Peas song "My Humps." "My Humps" is a rotten song. It is also a huge hit. By the worst band in the world. Featuring Fergie, the worst performer of the past 100 years. Fergie could be Brenna. Brenna could be Fergie. Like in that Ingmar Bergman movie where the two women's faces melt together at the end.

After that bit of fun, they kick off Heather Cox, Jose "Sway" Penala, and David Radford, who is especially upset and barely makes it through his Humiliation Song. As the credits roll Brenna is still posing, ass cocked out toward the camera, making the "money in my hands" sign and the "call me" gesture for the camera. I will miss her.

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"We got a hot one

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Dave White