"We got a hot one

"We got a hot one

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

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,

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

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

S’why I’m easy [EH!]

I’m easy
like Sunday mornin’

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

Easy like Sunday

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

Just me

I’m easy

Easayayayayayayay! [WOOO!]



Randy wants to
know how many bars Taylor sang that song in when he was
“comin’ up.”

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

“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!

“You’re one of my favorites,” says
Paula. Of course he is.

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.

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.

“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.

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
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 www.votefortheworst.com
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 &

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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