Stella Maxwell
Subscribe To
The Advocate
Scroll To Top

The gospel
according to...Mandisa?

The gospel
            according to...Mandisa?

I have blind
gossip items and I’m going to share them.
That’s one of the perks of being a
bottom-feeding entertainment journalist in Los Angeles.
You’re always meeting some half-drunk and fully
disgruntled person at a party who works behind the
scenes and is willing to cough it up after half a
dozen beers. Here’s what I learned this week from
someone who works for American Idol

Item # 1: One of
the stronger male contestants is not exactly who he
portrays himself to be. His endearing presence is more for
the cameras than anything else. Item # 2:
One of the female contestants is guilty of the exact same
sort of image-pumping fakery. Item # 3:
Another male contestant is not especially well liked by most
of the people involved with the show.

Guess with your
friends! It’s fun and easy and will take your mind
off the war and your eroding privacy rights. And, no,
I’m not mentioning names. That’s why
they call it a blind item.

On to the crappy
singing. And this week—songs of Right Now!—was
insane with it…

Kids, remember
how they told you in that secular humanist public school
you went to that it was very, very important to have simply
oodles of self-esteem and that you could do anything
you set your mind to and that anyone who got in your
way was just an obstacle, jealous of your shining
talents? Well, they might have overstated their case just
the eensiest bit. Because, see, truth is that
you’re not so special or unique or wonderful,
really. At all. You’re just not. No one is. Oh, you
can sing pretty well? That’s nice. So can 10
jillion other people. Oh, and you say you want to sing
a Kelly Clarkson song tonight? Sure! Why not? That’s
not a loaded gesture or anything. Because
you’re uniquely, magically you and your
version is going to be your own. Everyone will see
that when you’re done. You’ll transform a
fresh-on-everyone’s-mind hit from the very
first and most beloved American Idol winner to date
and erase its memory from the public’s consciousness.
From now on people will say, “Oh, yeah,
‘Because Of You,’ that Lisa Tucker song? I
love that song! It makes Kelly’s five-times
platinum album version sound like a demo. Plus,
Kelly’s all old and stuff now, nearly 30, practically
dead. Long live Lisa!”

The judges rip
into little Miss Tucker and she makes a pouty face. How
dare they!

Pick Pickler is
up next, cute-ifiying a big hit from country radio called
“Suds in a Bucket.” I know this doofus song
because I genuinely dig country music. But the judges
clearly do not, so they rake her over the coals. Simon
even mentions “lassoing.” British people are
adorable when they’re being dumb. But the
problem isn’t the stupid song. The problem is,
was, and will continue to be Pickler. I already attacked her
makeup once, and though it remains thick and barfy,
I’m not going to harp on it again. Today I
choose instead to harp on her overall performance
aesthetic. See, country music is essentially soul music for
toothless white people. It’s based in pain. And
therefore the coolest country singers are capable of
conveying that barren landscape of the soul with a few
carefully selected vocal signifiers. My favorite one is the
sort of yelpy, yodely, cracked-voice thing.
It’s a staple of country sadness, and Pickler
is either incapable of it or chooses not to go there.
She’ll never be Dolly or Patsy or even Leann
Rimes. And she doesn’t want to be. She wants to
be Faith and Shania and Martina McBride, all of them fancy
ladies and complete bores. Pickler wants to be one too. Of
course, she’ll have to learn to stay on key. Or
not. Faith never does.

Ace is
“going to show America a little more of a rock
edge” tonight. Ace is running scared,
it’s clear, unraveling like a ball of really dumb
yarn. You never knew that yarn could be dumb. But this is
Ace’s yarn. He’s living in
Daughtry’s shadow and his decision to cover
“Drops of Jupiter” by cruddy band Train
is the sad evidence. Ace’s wimpy delivery makes
Train look like Norwegian black metal by comparison.
He’s also been taking indicating lessons from
Elliott, touching his hair when singing the line
“drops of Jupiter in my hair” and a playing
peek-a-boo with a difficult-to-see scar on his chest
when the word “scar” pops up in the
song. I hope that when he gets to the part about “the
best soy latte you ever had” that the on-camera
coffee-getting guy from Isaac Mizrahi’s talk
show brings one to him and throws it in his face. When
it’s over Paula gets super horny for Ace and
says, “Is that a scar you were showing us?”
Ace leans into female attention like a plant to the sun.

that’s a real scar on my chest,” he
says (emphasis mine, but just barely).

you’re going to have to tell me how you got
that,” says Paula, sweetly. Suddenly
it’s all Basic Instinct 2 in the house. Simon
and Randy jump in to reprimand her. Paula gets defensive.
Cut to Corey Clarke in the audience rubbing his own
nipples. OK, I made up that last part.

Taylor Hicks is
up next. Cut to a super-fan-child down front with fake
gray hair. Seacrest points him out. Taylor must be used to
shocking young children into being prematurely gray
because the sight of the child delights him. He thinks
it’s the kid’s real hair, and he encourages
the boy not to dye it. Then he says the boy can be his
“Soul Patrol” deputy. Good idea, Taylor.
Because everyone loves it when pop stars spend lots of
time hanging out with young children.

outfit tonight is—Simon takes the words right out of
my mind—just like something Clay Aiken would
wear. Ugly collarless jacket, “fashiony”
T-shirt and gay-ass appliquéd jeans from New Religion.
Or maybe Paper Denim & Cloth. Or maybe Rock &
Republic. Or maybe Seven for All Mankind. Or maybe
Chip & Pepper. They’ve even cut his hair
all Clay-ish. This is a bad move. The audience wants the
gork. They don’t want him to look like that
gross slag celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe came in and
dressed him in her own clothes. But now it’s too

And now that
I’ve harshed on him as much as I can, I have to say
that his vocal performance was not horrible. He only
pulled the Zodiac Killer face once or twice,
didn’t make weird YOW! noises or flail around. You
know you’re in for a bad night when Taylor
Hicks is in the running to be your favorite person of
the show. Cut to Hicks’s geek-squad predecessor
George Huff from a couple seasons back, sitting in the
audience, thinking, Taylor should bounce up and
down more like I used to. I’ll have to give
him some pointers after the show.
Cut to the judges,
who tear Hicks a new one. Only Paula is nice. She
says, “You are an old soul and you’re
teaching the new generation a lot about legends of who you
look up to.” There are three different
sentences in there fighting to get out. I pause the
TiVo and try to see if I can parse them out.

I can’t.
Paula’s ways are inscrutable.

P.S. Did you know
that if you go to Taylor’s Web site, you can get
Lance Armstrong–ish rubbery “Soul
Patrol” wristbands? It’s all to show your
support for the worthy cause of Taylor Hicks. Because, you
know, fuck cancer.


Oh, Mandisa.

She comes rolling
down the ramp shouting, “This song goes out to
everybody that wants to be free! Your addiction, your
lifestyle or situation may be big, but God is
bigger!” Then she launches into a pitchy attack
on Mary Mary’s “Wanna Praise You,”
yelling (her preferred singing style) about Jesus (her
preferred lyrical topic). Now, I ain’t mad at
Jesus. In fact he’s just alright with me. And I
don’t want to jump to conclusions about
Mandisa’s attitudes concerning The Gays. But everyone
knows that the word “lifestyle” is a code word
used by gross, amoral religious jerks who refuse to do
what Jesus told them to do (that whole “love
everybody” stuff) And their secret definition of the
word “lifestyle” is “burn in
hell, faggots.” Except it’s not a secret.
Maybe someone should tell Mandisa about this.

Oh, wait, maybe
she already knows. I just read on this very Web site
about how Mandisa’s favorite writer is a bona fide
crazy person named Beth Moore who thinks that young
lesbians are recruited by predatory old lesbian
vampires and Satan and that they all hate men. Nice. Simon
calls Mandisa’s performance
“self-indulgent,” but it’s Paula who
really gets under Mandisa’s skin by saying that
millions of people just joined the “Church of
Mandisa.” Mandisa begins to vigorously shake her head
“no” and you know she wants to start
testifying about how she is nothing and God is
everything. Except there’s that little nagging detail
about how Mandisa joined a talent competition intended
to do nothing more than make a STAR out of the winner.
A celebrity. A person put on a pedestal by the rest of
the population, adored for all time, footprints in cement,
stalked by the mentally ill, and showered with cash.
That’s what humble and meek servants of God do
these days.

Time to
backpedal. Seacrest brings up the fact that Daughtry covered
crappy ’90s alterna-band Live’s cover of
Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line”
last week. Daughtry nods and says, “Oh, yes, Live is
my favorite band,” or some kind of nonsense
like that. But it’s totally clear what happened
last week, at least to conspiracy theorists like me.
Daughtry probably did talk about Live in his
“personality reel” the week earlier and
it was probably chopped to make him look like a True
American Original just long enough to win tons of
votes. The producers have a serious hard-on for him to
win. And no, the drunky AI employee didn’t
feed me this info. I came up with it all by myself in
my beautiful mind. And I just know I’m right.
And then he gets down to the singing part and DAMN IT,
He’s chosen a Creed song tonight to shout-growl
along to. Creed is maybe the worst band of this entire
decade. Maybe of forever. So of course he likes them.

The McPhee-ver
blahs her way through some song by Christina Aguilera.
Whatever. I’m still pissed at Daughtry. Seriously,
man, you like some shitty bands.

Bucky runs around
the stage like a hound dog in heat, grunting out a Tim
McGraw number that I’m pretty sure is titled
“Cattywhompus.” Every time he thrusts
out his crotch you can hear a six-shooter firing, and I
swear he just sang the words, “Just a pinch
between your teeth and gum.” The judges hate
it, but Bucky doesn’t give a flying f-u-double hockey
sticks. Cut to Bucky’s beaming wife. He just
made her pregnant from 35 feet away.

Paris is beyond
excited. She’s lunging into a Beyoncé song with
great white shark force. Her hair is doing nine things
at once, slapping her in the face while she sings. She
doesn’t care. She’s being 17 and making
that booty go pop like she wants to break it off. For her
efforts the judges give her grief. Stupid judges. Why
can’t they see that she’s rad at all
times, even when she isn’t singing well? I worry for
her now because I think people are starting to see her
as Fantasia Jr. and the backlash may become
overwhelming. But I promise that I don’t worry more
for her than I do about the fact that our own military just
banned the use of privately purchased body armor for
troops even though they’ve been criminally
negligent in supplying the troops with that armor
themselves. I worry for Paris much less than that. No,

Captain Caveman
Elliott inspires an argument in my house. I’m still
down with him, and I don’t care if he’s
singing a dumb Gavin Degraw song and getting just a
bit too wigga-mania with the bouncy dance moves. He’s
laser-focused on staying with the song, and he nails it up,
down, and sideways. But the other folks gathered in my
living room can’t deal with him. And how
shallow is this? It’s all about his look. Yes,
he’s not conventionally cute. But you know
what? Straight teeth are for losers anyway, and
orthodontists are capitalist oppressors. Where’s the
Dove Soap ad campaign for fugly dudes like sweet
little Elliott? Where?

And welcome to
Chopped & Screwed night…

Seacrest says,
“An Idol’s life is a busy one”
as he shows the Top 10 doing stuff like posing for
photo shoots and rehearsing and watching Fox’s
new piece of animated crap, Ice Age: The Meltdown. So
yeah, big whoop. You stood around while someone took
your picture and then you practiced your song for the
week and then you watched a movie. Then a stylist
picked out your clothes and you shot a Ford commercial on
what looks to me like the Warner Bros. lot. The Fox
lot’s fake “city” streets look
grimier than the ones on the WB lot. I know this because I
wandered around the WB’s fake
“city” streets just the other day and
they’re spotless. Then I saw Alexis Bledel
driving toward the Gilmore Girls soundstage
just as a tram of tourists rolled past. I thought
about going, “Hey, tourists. Check out Alexis Bledel.
She’s texting someone while she drives.”
But then I remembered how much I can’t stand
slow-moving, in-my-way tourists and decided they
didn’t deserve a B-lister sighting. All the
power in that moment was mine. It felt good.

Where was I? Oh,
yeah, the Ford commercial. It’s all
steel-drums-meets-stupid as the kids prance through the
streets. One of them hands a Popsicle to a
central-casting biker. Daughtry looks embarrassed,
halfheartedly waving his arm in time to the dorky song. And
it’s all over too soon as Seacrest introduces Shakira
and Wyclef Jean. Together they’re dueting on
“Hips Don’t Lie,” an awful song.
Shakira is giving it all she’s got, though. She
has to. She knows that it’s not enough to sing
anymore. You have to be a belly dancer too, bending over
backward to offer Wyclef Jean a tequila body shot. I want
them to sit her down with the girls and an interpreter
so she can break it down for them all, warn them to
get out of the music business now while they still have
a reasonable amount of skin left unexposed and youthful
happiness left in their souls. And Wyclef Jean must be
under some kind of ganja house arrest tonight because
he’s lucid and clear-eyed. I was invited to see
him at the Hollywood Bowl last year—free box seat
tickets and free meal, so of course I went—and
the man never once finished a complete song. Every
single one of them devolved into him sing-shouting,
over. Seriously. I was like, “Dude, I’ma
half to just to make it through your wack-ass

Then it’s
over. Cut to commercials. One for Verizon that just happens
to be starring Shakira and Wyclef Jean. Coincidences
like that make you say, “Golly!” The
next one is for I don’t even know what. But William
Hung is in it. Getting paid. I love that William Hung
is getting paid. And his teeth are way more jacked-up
than Elliott’s, so I’m done listening to the

Bottom 3 = Ace,
McPhee, and Lisa T. When asked about her fears, McPhee
says, “Whatever God’s plan for me,
that’s all I have in my mind right now.”
Little does McPhee know that Mandisa actually owns God and
together they decided that McPhee’s
“lifestyle” isn’t really compatible
with God’s having any sort of plan for her.
Then Lisa gets kicked. That “lifestyle”
thing bit her in the ass too, I guess. Paris cries. Paris
cries for everyone.

Oh, and
here’s something I just realized. Seacrest’s
“lifestyle” doesn’t include
saying, “Seacrest OUT” anymore. Thank God.

Tags: World, World

From our Sponsors