Country crock

Country crock

First things
first. Seacrest has stopped shaving. This comes hot on the
heels of his other incredibly newsworthy event of the week,
being photographed canoodling with Teri Hatcher. And
it’s been a while since I set up the Types of
Gay paradigm so I think it’s time to refresh your

Type 1 Gay: You
live in the 1920s and you’re cheerful.
Type 2 Gay: You are something stupid (golf, a cap covered in
political buttons, most folk music).
Type 3 Gay: You’re a man who dates women but you
still get manicures and your eyebrows
shaped. Type 4 Gay: You’re not even
reading this because you’re at the bathhouse on
a weekday morning.

Dating a female
cast member of Desperate Housewives = Type 2 and
Type 3. Possibly Type 4.

But it’s
the facial hair that’s really got me curious. It
simultaneously makes him look fatter (something he
could stand to be), more masculine (ditto) and,
ironically, also more Type 4.

Clarity comes
with this week’s music legend–coach: Kenny
Rogers, the King Daddy Bear of ’80s smoove
country-politan songs like “Lady” and
“Islands in the Stream.” Maybe Seacrest
is getting hirsute to win Kenny’s favor, a bid
to become his cub if the Hatcher romance doesn’t

Then we see new
improved 2006 Kenny. Why can’t old people just get
old anymore? Seriously, why? Wrinkles are not a moral
failing. And it’s supergross and disturbing
when people go off and have tons of mutilation
procedures on their faces. Gone is the widow’s
peak/receding hairline/poofy Kenny hair of old. Now
he’s bedhead-y and tousled, like the Abominable
Snowman on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. And the
face…there’s just no good reason for this sort
of thing.

On to the

Taylor Hicks
meets Kenny and manages to restrain himself from jumping
into the chorus of “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love
to Town.” In fact, Taylor seems downright
muzzled this week. Is he sick? Depressed? Adrift in the
country genre? Confused by Kenny’s new face? And it
doesn’t help that Kenny decides to bust Mr.
Soul Patrol’s balls right on camera and tell
America that Hicks’s approach to the song
“felt weak.” And that’s before
the poor gork even starts singing. Things don’t
improve when he does, though. They toss a Hobbit
fiddle player on the stage to spice things up, but it
feels like desperation, nowhere near the excitement level of
the saxophonist from a couple weeks ago. I never
thought I’d say this, but GIVE ME BACK SPAZZY
TAYLOR HICKS, PLEASE. I get enough boredom with

Commercial break:
The new X-Men movie is coming soon, and Ian
McKellen’s character talks about being a mutant
and how people want to “cure” him. Does
that mean Mandisa is in the movie? This commercial makes it
look like the gayest installment yet, so naturally the
gay director of the first two cut a trail. This one
comes courtesy of barfy hack director Brett Ratner.
Can’t wait.

Speaking of
Mandisa, she’s up next, singing “Any Man of
Mine.” According to the few lyrics I could
understand coming from her breathless, babbling mouth,
any man of Mandisa’s is going to tell her that the
dress she’s too big for looks sexy on her
anyway. What would Trinny and Susannah of What Not
to Wear
say about that sort of thing? This song has
10,000 words in it, and Mandisa is huffing and puffing to
get them all out before the band stops playing. If I
were a cynic, I might be inclined to think that
country week was a ploy to get rid of her because
she’s way out of her element here. Meanwhile,
Kenny has nothing bad to say about Mandisa. You just
know she got him in a headlock and “witnessed”
to him at some point during the week. That’s
what conservative evangelicals call it when they
badger people about Jesus.

turn, but not before Simon and Seacrest get into it about
Seacrest’s refusal to shave. Or do they? Simon makes
a crack about Desperate Housewives and tells
the scruffy host to “lose the beard.”
Suddenly it’s kind of up in the air as to
what’s being discussed. Now, I know that other
viewers may find their endless gay-baiting tedious.
But I think it’s funny. And Simon’s one up on
his pal this week.

Elliott’s bangs situation is being addressed.
They’re more texture-y this week. I
can’t take credit for this. Nor can I help the
fact that he’s not going to win this competition.
He’s got no idea what to do onstage beyond
hitting all the notes. If this were strictly about
singing, he’d win right now. But it ain’t.
It’s about cuteness and poise and having a
compelling off-camera story that’s better than
“I was a weak and sickly child.”
It’s also about not looking like a rabbit soon to be
ground into the pavement by an oncoming truck while singing
a Garth Brooks song. Kenny encourages Elliott to make
the audience cry instead of showing off his ability to
vocally leap tall buildings in a single bound, so he
goes for one of Garth’s lovey-dovey ballads,
“If Tomorrow Never Comes.” It’s a
lot of whatever.

Paris and
Seacrest discuss her hair and its ever-changing moods. (Type
3 Gay move on his part). This week it’s serious
and straight because she’s about to do some
heavy power-ballad lifting. She chooses Leann Rimes’s
biggest hit, the nominally country “How Do I Live
Without You.” Due to time constraints
it’s the heavily edited-down version, which turns it
into 85% big finish and nothing much else. But what’s
great about Paris is that she sells it like
she’s about to defiantly take on an entire pack
of village-destroying giants. Randy and Paula hate it. Simon
digs it. The Earth falls into the sun.

what ain’t country: marrying Nicole Kidman. Which is
just what freaky Australian person Keith Urban is
fixin’ to do. If he were a true dude,
he’d be chasing after Gretchen Wilson. The other
thing that ain’t country is most of
Urban’s songs. And that’s what appeals to Ace,
who sits down and performs—is there anything
worse than someone sitting on a stool to sing a
song?—Urban’s “I Want to Cry.”
Ace knows all about the sensitivity pose and so he
gets all kissy-kissy and weepy-weepy with it.
He’s full of faux-choked-up-itude, and once again his
shirt is strategically tucked in at the belt buckle
area only. Gotta keep that presentation at half-chub.

new job is to take on Internet naysayers who cruelly attack
the contestants. Last week it was Daughtry he had to rush in
and save from evil fact checkers. This week
it’s Pick Pickler. He wants to clear up the
rumors that she is not as innocent and naive as she appears.
She’s quick to tell him that she is, in fact,
as dumb as she says she is. That’s comforting.

Check-Out-My-Rack week for Pick Pickler. She’s been
sexed up outfit-wise to compensate for the fact that
her song choice, “Fancy,” a Bobbie
Gentry tune about a mom who turns her daughter into a
prostitute, has been gutted of its most unsavory and
hookerish lyrics. And here’s what’s good
and true about Pick Pickler this week. She twangs. She does
this effortlessly because she’s a twangy teen. It
gets her over and reminds you that this is in fact
country week.

Golden boy
Daughtry, having already won over the people in charge, is
about to steal all of Ace’s fan base by taking a
Keith Urban ballad for his own. It’s also worth
noting that Keith Urban, as I said before, is to
country what Creed and Live are to rock—the suburban
shopping mall version of the real thing. So good move,
Daughtry, at least your crap taste in music is
consistent across genres. But back to dealing Ace the
death blow: I would kill to know how these two deal with
each other behind the scenes. I imagine Ace running
around, plotting, strategizing, picking up tips from
Daughtry’s textbook of swaggery moves, scratching
his head through his little knit cap, desperate to figure
out the Bald One’s appeal.

McPheever vamps
her way through the hideous “Bringing Out the Elvis
in Me.” Clearly the song is meant to evoke
young surly Elvis, but it sounds Vegas-y and bloated,
dying of an overdose on the toilet. But then there’s
the part where she’s superpretty and shakes her hips,
and all the straight guys I know are seriously into
her. Like at the masturbation fantasy level. And even
for me, a certified Gay, her voluptuous physical
presence is almost enough to make me forget that
she’s one audition away from starring in the
touring cast of The Phantom of the Opera. 

It’s time for Bucky! You can do it, Bucky! Sing
“All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled
Down!” Lay down some Bocephus! Show these Hot Topic
employees what country’s supposed to sound like! Go

What Bucky does
instead is called “The Best I Ever Had.”
Muddled and mumbled, he bites it. He bites it on
country night. He bites it like it’s a cookie
bouquet sent from beyond the grave by Ernest Tubb. Cut to
his wife. She has a pained expression of concern on
her face. She knows he bit it too. He’s totally
going home tomorrow night. Damn it, Bucky!

OK, it’s
tomorrow night, time for this week’s “Chopped
& Screwed” moment.

Kenny gets one
chance to promote his new record, and he gives it all
he’s got, croaking through a shitty new song.
What’s the new song about? Love? Hairplugs?
Cosmetic dentistry? Casinos? Botox and scalpels to the face?
A nation of teenagers, watching in real-time, keep
hitting the fast forward button on the TiVo remote
just to hear the BONK sound it makes. They (OK, I) do
this many times. It’s a fun sound.

Cut to Travis
Tritt in the audience. I wonder if he’s thinking what
I’m thinking? I’m thinking about how sad
it is that they closed the Kenny Rogers Roasters on
Highland in Los Angeles. That place was great. Way
better than the skinless, boneless, bland gay-approved
breast-meat-and-broccoli emporium KooKooRoo. They had tons
of pics of Kenny and Dolly on the wall. You could
enjoy seeing them sing to each other while you ate
your chicken. They had good desserts too and no gays
in gym clothes to bring you down.

Commercial Time:

1. Shakira. God
of Mandisa, please help me. Please no more Shakira and
Wyclef for Verizon. Please.

2. AI Ford
commercial. This week they’re all grease monkeys in a
garage, magically assembling a Ford with song.

Back from
commercials Seacrest jumps on the Pick on Pick Pickler
bandwagon and jokes that she thinks that’s how cars
are really made. Whoa, Seacrest, stop biting my rhyme!

The Bottom 3 this
week = Mandisa, Elliott, Paris. NOT Bucky.

Elliott and Paris
are safe. Mandisa’s evicted. She begins to cry. No
fair crying and making me feel sorry for you. She
tells everyone that she blesses them “in the
name of Jesus.” The worst part about this
elimination will be all the gays who think they somehow
helped cast her out by not voting for her anymore.
Have you ever been around gloating gays? It’s a
drag, trust me.

Then it’s
time for the You’re Dead reel and her humiliation
song. She launches back into “Any Man of
Mine.” Cut to Bucky, singing along with the
chorus. He sees himself on the monitor and stops abruptly,
momentarily embarrassed to be singing along with the male

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