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And then there
were 12

And then there
were 12

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Week 3 of Advocate contributor Dave White's American Idol recap: Paris wrestles with "Conga," Mandisa's gay-pride-float future, Bucky Covington's evil twin, and the return of Bo Bice

Paris Bennett loves to wrestle. That's her personality reel moment of the week. She's a tomboy who loves to wrestle. Well, that's nice. Now on to the song. See, I have this fantasy. It's completely unfounded, but I still have it. It's about song selection in this competition. I imagine that the producers sequester each contestant in a room and go, "OK, here's your choice: You can sing 'Who Let The Dogs Out' or 'Take This Job and Shove It' or 'Conga.' Now pick one. You have two seconds to make your decision. OK, time's up. We have selected for you the song 'Conga.' Oh? You don't know this song? Well, it was a big hit before you were born. By the Miami Sound Machine. They were very popular at the time." And that is the song that Paris Bennett sang while God cried.

Lisa Tucker's personality reel this week is all about how she fake-loves Jimi Hendrix and knows how to fake-play the guitar. She strums a few notes of a Not-Jimi-Hendrix song--or maybe it's supposed to be "Purple Haze," it's hard to tell--to prove how much she fake-loves Jimi Hendrix. Then you think, F&*#in yeah, she's gonna sing "Are You Experienced?" or "Hey Joe," but instead of leaping onto the stage, setting her guitar on fire, and shooting up, she smooves her way through "Where I Stand" from that movie Camp. Which was all about a summer camp for musical theater-obsessed teens. Which is what Lisa is. It's a great song, though, and she's effortlessly good, so whatever, but--oops--none of the judges have ever heard of the song, and that's bad news for Lisa. Stupid judges.

Melissa McGhee loves cars. So that makes one wrestling tomboy, one secret Freedom Rocker, and one gearhead in the Butch-Off. Who will take home the prize of a Craftsman tool chest from Sears? Melissa sings Heart's "What About Love," while looking all groupie-slut with a belly ring and the continued presence of big chunky highlights. I don't want to think about the incredibly high probability that she also wears toe rings. The toe ring is the grossest item of human jewelry ever invented ,and I know she's got one on. I just hope the camera doesn't pan down to it, because then I'll have to start despising her and vomiting like Jimi Hendrix.

Is Katherine McPhee quitting the show? Is she knocked up? Seacrest has to know! Katherine says no, none of that stuff is true because, after all, the show isn't called Abortion Idol. OK, she didn't say that last bit. And now it's time for Kinnik Sky to sing all sharp and awful and I-Dare-You-to-Kick-Me-Off-ish. I think the country is going to take that dare. McPhee is out next to swallow her way through a timid white girl version of Aretha Franklin's "Think." Don't these chicks know that their arms [sic] too short to box with Aretha? She adds extra bad frosting to top off the turdiness by busting some weird little Take-Baby-Steps dance moves. Randy, who has no sense at all, yells, "We got a hot one!"

Ayla "Bland" Brown tries "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. That makes two Bedingfield sibling songs ruined in two weeks; not that it was that hard to kill this one, though, because it already sucks. Ayla races to keep up with the band, stiffly offering up an aerobics class worth of bouncy squats in ugly knickers and corky wedge platforms. Ayla is the white Ashanti, a singer so indistinct and featureless that she erases herself from your eyes and ears, not simply after she leaves the stage, but while she's still performing.

Mandisa is a one-woman wrecking crew, mopping the floor with the skinny girls, shredding Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman." But...

OK, here's the deal: The gutters of house music history are littered with the hollow husks of a million Mandisas, women whose voices can knock down buildings and who are relegated to shouting "TAKE ME HIGHER!" over 132 beats per minute before being discarded. Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane. Paul Simpson featuring Adeva. Ralphi Rosario featuring Xaviera Gold. I could list like this for days. They have two or three club hits, put out a solo record that no one buys, then spend the remainder of their days playing gay pride festivals and riding on floats with dong-thonged go-go boys. That's no kind of life. But I fear that it's Mandisa's future.

I've changed my mind about Kellie Pickler. Last week I loved her. This week I think she's a big faker. I can see not being exposed to calamari before adulthood--although I think they serve it at most Chili's and T.G.I. Friday's now--but salmon? Are we supposed to believe that you've never had a type of fish so generic that they sell it in cans next to the Underwood Deviled Ham AND that you can't even say it properly, calling it "sal mon"? I'm so over it I can't even remember what song she sang, only that it was dumb and that Simon called her a "naughty little minx." She didn't understand that either. "I'm a mink!" she squealed.

The men...

I will miss Gedeon McKinney when he's gone. Not because I like him at all, but because I'm now obsessed with his inability to read from the prompter. And I'm obsessed with it because, well, OK, take Fantasia. She's functionally illiterate. She said so herself after she won and is currently taking steps to learn to read. But even she managed to come off like something other than a Speak & Spell when she read from the prompter. So I hope he stays for a bit longer. I need the laughs. Also, I totally have to see more of his insane outsider art. This week he unveils a painting he created that shows the world as a big record being spun by the Universe on a cosmic turntable. And when the Universe decides to go freestyle and do that wicki-wicki-wicki Newcleus scratching, that's when the tsunamis come. Gedeon spends his song auditioning for the Greatest Hits of Motown Revue in Branson. Afterward, Simon says, "You are quite odd."

I love that Papa John's commercial where they sing "We Got the Meat" to the tune of the Go-Go's "We Got the Beat." It's more entertaining than any of the Idol singers I've heard this week. It's on right now.

Now we're back from the commercials and it's time for Chris Daughtry. I think Chris is hot. And Chris sings well. But I hate all the jerk-off songs he chooses to have a vocal aneurysm over. If his career is always going to be about boring Clear Channel Rock like Seether and Vertical Horizon and 3 Doors Down, then I'd just as soon not join him on his musical journey. I want to hear him get down with Jawbox's "Savory" sometime real soon or I'm going to join Team Elliott permanently.

It's Bingo Wednesday at the nursing home, and you know that means, don't you seniors? That's right! Tomorrow is ice cream and Kevin Corvais Thursday! This week that sweet young man is going to sing a Don McLean song for you. "Vincent," in fact, an early '70s ballad that sounds like a supergay mash note to Vincent Van Gogh, the song that everyone thinks is called "Starry Starry Night." You remember Don McLean, don't you? He sang "American Pie" while you dropped acid. You were 40 then but you wanted to see what all the kids were talking about, and Don McLean was the most hippie record you owned at the time. Please welcome young Kevin!

Taylor Hicks, a.k.a. Gray Charles, is shown in an Easter Bunny costume in his personality reel. That used to be his job. Delivering painted eggs to the world's children. He met Santa Claus during that gig and thought he was an OK Joe. He also met Christopher Cross recently. Christopher Cross is one of Taylor's heroes. Christopher Cross is the guy who sang the theme song from the movie Arthur, the song that goes "lost between the moon and New York City" and that name-checks the hero of the movie, Arthur, who was played by Dudley Moore. God, Taylor Hicks is a tool. He sings "Taking it To the Streets" by the Doobie Brothers and gets his intense murdering maniac face on while he does it, using his free arm to wind a very large clock. Wouldn't it be crazy if Taylor Hicks actually was a homicidal maniac on the side? They never caught the Zodiac, you know. When it's time for the judges to talk to Taylor he yells "Soul Patrol!" again. I just learned that "Soul Patrol" are what his fans call themselves but I still believe he has some religious cult behind him, too. Either way, STFU, Taylor Hicks.

Bucky Covington has an identical twin brother, Rocky. We learn this from his personality reel. I wonder if they ever did that thing where you trick the girl into thinking it's just one guy she's making out with but then he gets up to go pee or whatever and--psych!--now it's the twin brother! I bet they got bored enough down in Hooterville or wherever he's from that they did that. I hope they did. Bucky's at his Bob Segerest tonight, and it prompts Paula to say, "I like the raw, untapped talent of you." Think about that for a second. Paula likes the secret, hidden talents of Bucky that she hasn't even seen yet. The other crazy thing about Paula tonight is the huge flower growing out of the middle of her boobs. I've been fascinated with it since the episode began.

Will Makar ruins Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You." He should go home. I can't stand hearing Marvin Gaye songs pissed on like that. Paula's boob-flower droops inside the darkness of it all.

Poor Elliott Yamin's life has been riddled with infections, says his personality reel. He survived those only to fall into the hands of the AI style team, whose job it is to make him look like someone who doesn't work at a gas station 10 miles outside of Joplin, Mo. They've shaved off his odd facial hair, which was sort of working for him, really, and honed his sideburns to little vampirish pointy marks. Because that's so attractive. They've also put weird glossy product in his hair instead of handling the most obvious thing of all: those Moe Howard bangs. Stop fussing with the rest of him and fix that. Now on to the good news: No amount of freaky outfits and poor grooming choices will douse the fact that he's the best singer in this whole sad enterprise, even if he does make the same goony Point-to-the-Eye move he likes whenever a song contains the word "see." He's fugly, and that's adorable. Let him sing.

Ace Young is the anti-Elliott. He's dreamy and gets to be seen hammering nails in his personality reel to amplify his studliness. Then he sings the WORST MICHAEL JACKSON SONG OF ALL TIME: "Butterflies." Did Ace not get the pop-culture rule book? If you're going to sing a Michael Jackson song, you tackle one from his past. That way you can think, Wow, I used to love that song. New Michael Jackson songs are never about a girl giving you butterflies inside, Ace. They're about career myopia, alleged child molestation, and frighteningly sad plastic surgery. And nothing more. You will stay on to next week based on your prettiness alone.

It's Chopped & Screwed Night...

Bo Bice is here to dull things up and wave the mike stand around. Is it just me, or is Bo less interesting now that he washes his hair? Remember when he looked sort of unbathed and rough? Now he's like Sarah Jessica Parker in a shampoo commercial, flipping his gleaming tresses to and fro.

Goodbye, Gedeon. Sylvan Learning Center awaits you. Goodbye, Will Makar. You were never any good. Goodbye, Kinnik. LaToya London is backstage to point you to the studio exit. And goodbye, Ayla, Most Accomplished Teen of All Time. Try not to sob so much during your final Humiliation Number--it's making Seacrest very uncomfortable. Paris is so upset by tonight's eliminations that she falls into Ace's arms and he comforts her tenderly. I, on the other hand, am going to save this moment to tape and watch it every Christmas.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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Dave White