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Freddie's dead

Freddie's dead


And if he weren't already, Ace's singing "We Will Rock You" on this week's American Idol would have done the trick

So Mandisa's gone. And I was both right and wrong about something related to her dismissal. I was wrong about her use of the word "lifestyle" being code for "I hate faggots." She gave an interview to this very Web site after the getting her pink slip, saying that she could never hate anyone, and that "lifestyle" was about her own lifestyle of eating a lot of stuff. But I was right about it too, because, of course, she's not down with the queers at all. It says we're bad in something she kept calling "The Bible." Yeah, whatever. Me and shellfish. Don't let the door hit you.

Ryan strolls out wearing a monochrome suit and V-neck sweater combo, a twinset for men. Or maybe it's a catsuit underneath. It's hard to tell. It gets a bad review from other folks in my house, but I'm kind of into it. Ryan's stylist is totally shooting for a more sophisticated him. I'm just glad he's done with the West Hollywood fashionable male look. Let Ace keep it.

Fantasia is in the audience tonight, seated right behind Paula. When the camera angle is right it looks like she's growing out of Paula's right shoulder like in that movie with Rosey Grier and Ray Milland. I love Fantasia. Soul-gospel screaming is my favorite type of screaming, in a big tie with ugly-no-wave-destructo-rock screaming. Because I live in the land of the free I never have to choose. And that's why America is awesome. But anyway, Fantasia. She's incredible. I especially love that "Babymama" song. After she won she went on a promotional tour for some brand of jeans she was endorsing, and my friend Dave Cobb and I went to the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square Mall on a Saturday morning to see her sing one song in the Macy's juniors' department. It was us, 200 8-year-old African-American girls, and a smattering of DL thugs. Then we saw Spinderella in the Aveda store. That was a good day.

Tonight the kids will be tormented by the songs of Queen, the biggest homo rock band ever, right after Judas Priest. It's as though the producers are daring the contestants to sing these songs. Notoriously difficult, famously studio-wed songs. The surviving members of the contestant pool spend the week working with the surviving members of the band. Thankfully the Queen dudes look their age: old. Especially with all that big poufy rock hair throwing their sagging flesh into sharp relief. This is still better than having to feel sad about Kenny Rogers and Barry Manilow and their obvious attempts to de-wrinklify themselves.

Bucky's up first with "Fat Bottomed Girls." It's nothing special really. But I dig Bucky. You know that if he gets the ax, he'll just grin through it all, go home, make some moonshine, and get Boss Hogg to chase him around town. The song ends, and they cut to his wife. Is it really wise to cut to a man's wife after he sings "Fat Bottomed Girls?" Then Ryan asks him how he thinks he did. Bucky says, absolutely innocently, "Freddie Mercury ain't nobody you wanna jump up behind."

Now I've got to break something down for you gays. The day of the obvious sexual innuendo being considered naughty or witty or comedic has come and gone. You'll never make it to The Big Show with double-entendre quips about balls, dropping the soap, wieners, or anything else like that. In my house, when the neon-lit, lowest-common-denominator gay joke is hovering in the air waiting for someone to swat it, and someone does swat it, we say, "You were just on Queer as Folk." More specifically, you were being Peter Paige or Sharon Gless.

So Ryan says something like, "You can say that again!" Of course.

Ace is next, wearing more accessories than ever before. Big wooden beads. Feathers. I keep looking for the JT LeRoy (sorry, I mean Laura Albert) raccoon penis bone necklace. I bet he has one. He's wearing leather pants too. Courting the man-on-man vote with them. Ace says, about his wrongheaded song choice, "We Will Rock You," that "You want to put your own flavor on the song so it sounds like Ace doing Queen."

Thanks for all the third person, Ace. Dave White loves that shit.

Cut to the guys in Queen, hating Ace while Ace instructs them how to arrange the song so that Ace doesn't sound like a complete dumb-ass when Ace tries to sing "We Will Rock You."

"I don't think we're going to play your arrangement," says Brian May. Ace, lacking intuitive social skills, bulldozes onward. Ace advises the band to be aggressive. "We'll try and do something. OK?" sighs Brian May with a raised eyebrow and a can-you-effing-believe-this-wanker exaggerated eye-blink.

But here's where Ace is not as guilty as the show would have you believe. It's edited to seem like Ace continued to press the band to do it the Ace way. May says, "That I can't do. Not to my own song." He's justified in saying this, but it's clear that he said it before, in the same breath as the first statement, but it's been chopped up and separated as though it were another discrete moment, just to extend the awkward entertainment value. This is not Ace's doing. I can't believe I'm defending Ace at all right now.

Then Ace sings. Rebuffed by the band, Ace still sings the song Ace's way: horribly. Ace lolls the words around in Ace's mouth and sort of lets them slide out, doing his best to slow the band down. Then Ace grabs the mike stand and does this weird, crouching march that Ace believes makes Ace look like a badass rocker when in fact it makes Ace look like a weird crouching marcher. The big, big song swallows Ace alive, possibly putting another scar on Ace's chest. It has also scarred Dave White.

Cut to former Monkee Mickey Dolenz, wearing Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" hat. Then cut to the judges, who deliver the death blow to Ace. Paula actually uses the word "bastardized" to describe Ace's attempts to "fix" the song. After all three of them tell Ace that Ace sucked it, Ace says, "I think I rocked. I had fun." Then Ace appeals to the audience, "Did you have fun?"

History Lesson Time: Justin Guarini tried that move in season 1. I remember when he did it. See how well it worked for Justin Guarini, Ace?

Pick Pickler is ready to turn "Bohemian Rhapsody," a song she probably thought Constantine wrote--because he probably told her he wrote it and she believed it, because the big rumor now is that they're a "thing"--into her own very special episode of Faith Hill: In a Metal Mood. "I know that I have big shoes to fill," says Pick Pickler. Again, referring to Constantine. Then she comes out on the stage in Frankenhooker boots and Joan-Jett-circa-1987 black leather jacket and delivers the weirdest, dumbest, Forrest-Gumpest version of this song ever.

I do. I like it. Sorry, tonight I love Pick Pickler. I love her and her amazing gumption. Just for this moment. Not for all time. Promise. Even Simon agrees with me. He says that on paper it shouldn't have worked. But it did.

That's when Pickler says, "On paper? What?" And suddenly I'm over the love moment. I'm back to wanting to send her to Sylvan Learning Center with Gedeon McKinney. Now, I'm being for real here, Ms. Pickler. Look at your game, girl. Stop being dumb. Keep the adorable Southern accent but read a frigging book. I sound a little Texan-y from time to time myself, but you know what? I read. I know things. And it's OK for you to know things too. Wipe that "y'all's vocabulary words are too crazy for me" look off your makeup-caked face and listen. Knock off being an irredeemable dunce. It's not sexy. It's not cute. It's not sweet. It's disheartening. "[Simon] has the weirdest terminology," she continues. Yes, Pick, it's the terminology of a person who paid attention in school. You are doing no one any favors. Not yourself and not the little girls in this country who look up to you now, and they do look up to you now, God help them. So stop it. It's making me sad.

Shiny, humble, lovable Chris Daughtry is next. He takes on a Queen nonhit, "Innuendo," because it sounds like something one of his favorite crap-ass bands like Nickelback would write. His wallet chain swings, gently hitting his meaty thigh, which is located right next to the part he's done the Ace shirt-tuck move to display. It's now a tucking contest between Daughtry and Ace.

Wallet chain.

Wallet chain.

Wallet chain.

Wallet chain.

Wallet chain.

Have you ever noticed how after you look at something you've written, like you just stare at it for a long time, how it starts to look wrong? That's how I feel about the words wallet chain right now. I had to write the words wallet chain over and over just then because I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT CHRIS DAUGHTRY STILL WEARS A WALLET CHAIN.

And then there's the eyeliner. Sometimes eyeliner on a dude is rock and roll. And sometimes it just makes you look like one of the guys from Heatherette. I'm going with Heatherette tonight. Yes, I know, talk about the singing. Whatever. He's singing fine in his "rockist" way. Cut to Camryn Manheim in the crowd, screaming like David Cassidy just delivered "I Think I Love You" directly to her.

Meanwhile, Simon's being harsh on Daughtry, calling his song choice, one that's consistent with the type of singer Daughtry is, "indulgent." Which brings up a vital question. Do you choose a nonhit, one you can "make your own" (a weird, nearly meaningless performance standard the show pushes on all the contestants), or do you go with a hit and risk not rising to a song that everyone knows by heart?

Oh, who cares.

McPhee picks a nonhit, a ballad from the movie Highlander. Dang, she is a visitor from Planet Moisture-Lash tonight, all dewy, cleavage set to 11. She's every famous brunet who ever lived rolled into one. And I hate to be petty, but this black and red outfit is like something my mom used to wear when I was a kid and she was a cocktail waitress at this hotel in Roswell, N.M. Yeah, I used to live there. Not important right now. I'm trying to save this young woman from herself. The big belts just cut you in half, McPhee, so knock that off. I'm a not-incredibly-well-dressed fag and even I know this. But all the same, she is career-set no matter when she gets voted off. She can host Access Hollywood or something, be a spokeswoman for some yogurt or whatever. She's that beautiful.

This will be Elliott's legacy after he gets the boot. And he will get the boot. He will be remembered as the awkward white lightly hip-hop guy who tried the hardest and cried when he talked about how much he loved his mom and was sincere when some around him (Ace!) radiated nothing but fakey hollowness. He picked the most difficult songs, nailed them all, never got his look together or figured out how to stop looking so...odd...and went down able to outsing all of these kids with one tonsil tied behind his back. Unless they removed them already as a child. He was kind of unwell then. They keep reminding us. Diabetes and stuff. He sings "Somebody to Love." He's great. He'll be in the bottom three tomorrow. I can smell it.

Taylor Hicks in a zebra-striped shirt. Maybe a wallet chain would spiff that up. Oh, wait, here's Taylor Hicks in another shirt even uglier than the zebra-striped one. You know he has an extensive collection of wacky sunglasses at home too. And now that I'm disoriented he's going to sing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." This is the boldly flailing personality we were missing last week. It's like he's got OCD and needs to cover every square foot of stage or else everything's going to be ruined! He leaps and contorts and hunches and wriggles and gives it his best lunatic shot, attempting to kick over his mike stand not once, not twice, but three times before foot connects with equipment. Then he's off, running to another part of the stage. Where is he? We don't know! Now he is invisible! His thoughts (because I read minds) = "Ha! You can't see me! It's a trick! Now I am singing! It's crazy! I fooled you! Here I am! Nope, made you look! Over here! Yow!"

Simon calls the performance ridiculous. Like that's news. Like that's not what people like about this dude. But it is. He's William Hung with pitch.

Paris is last, all decked out. She saw the "Love Is a Battlefield" video for the first time this week and thought, Yeah. That. I'm excited. I think she's going to sing the "Theme From 'Flash Gordon.'" Why not? The judges haven't been nice to her lately anyway. She should just cut loose and be wild with the song choice. Because she is awesome. I still maintain that this is 1000% the truth. Fantasia agrees with me. When Paris is done singing "The Show Must Go On," Fantasia is on her feet applauding. Simon calls it weird. He's responding like a normal person who has suddenly had the moment of lucidity no one else had when constructing this week's theme. That moment of lucidity sounds like this: "Why on earth does it make even one lick of sense to make these poor nerve-shredded kids sing hard-as-rocks Queen songs?"

On to "Chopped & Screwed" night...

Seacrest makes an "another one bites the dust" joke. Yeah, good one, writers. Hey, what happened to Seacrest's beard? He was looking all right with it. Did Teri Hatcher's publicist call his publicist to suggest that he shave?

The weak, bedraggled finalists emerge to sing the best kind of song ever, the barfy medley. "It's a Kind of Magic," "Killer Queen," and "Under Pressure" and I forget what else. Cut to Sam of Sam and Dave.

Sam and Dave.

Ask your grandparents.

Then it's Ford commercial time. Tonight's theme is Who Is Alpha Male With the Nine-Iron at Miniature Golf? The girls dance around. Bucky, Elliott, and Hicks wear long-sleeved argyle sweaters or cutesy jackets. Daughtry and Ace, on the other hand, are in a big fashion fight.

Daughtry: Sleeveless cardigan over a wife-beater. Grrr arms. Shredded hat. MOTHERF#%@ING WALLET CHAIN.

Ace: Sleeveless cardigan over who knows what. Erect nipples I assume. More grrr arms.

Slo-mo shot of Daughtry, dousing himself with a water bottle. No matching shot of Ace doing the same thing. Why not? There should be. This is Autobots versus Decepticons time. Daughtry is Optimus Prime, of course. Ace is Megatron. And he's going down. And none of this is lost on Ace.

Next come eight separate clip reels of every contestant's family wishing them well. Here they are:

"We love you! Good luck!"

There. I just saved you the bother of hearing about each one. But some highlights:

1. McPhee's mother is wearing a macrame bra. 2. Bucky's mom has this thing sitting on a table behind her. It's a clay angel with a ribbon on top and topiary coming out of its head. Decorating really is the province of the fairer sex, don't you think? 3. Elliott cries. Not as much as Paris. No one cries as much as Paris. But Elliott is a solid second-place crier. 4. Paris's grandmother, the famous(ish) singer Ann Nesby from Sounds of Blackness, is dressed like a black-and-white houndstooth cupcake.

Seacrest says my favorite line of the night. "That's the important stuff, isn't" Now, is this intentional? Is he actually doing a parody of a game show host? Does he wickedly intend to be this explosively insincere? I hope so. I want my theory to be true. I want his diabolical steel-trap mind to always be on the lookout for moments to dismantle what a host is supposed to do. David Letterman was a smart-ass comedian first, so you kind of expected him to be detached and ironic. But this is the Apple Pie show. Seacrest is the evil sliver.

Ace is in the bottom three tonight, along with Elliott and Bucky. He makes lots of hilarious faces when he's criticized or not worshipped in some way. You can tell it's a new sensation for him. Just look at his brothers. All of them not quite as blazingly pretty as their baby sibling, the crystallization of the best strands of his parents' DNA. Ace got it all, and you know he and his family have some weird theory about why Simon's never nice to their golden child. Like he's just jealous of Ace's incredibleness or whatever. Something dumb like that.

They bring each guy out to sing again instead of the usual You're Dead Reel/Humiliation Song moment they usually do. This is how we stretch on live national television. Elliott is the first one they tell to sing again and he seems completely baffled, making a great WTF face. There's a postsong cut to the other contestants applauding enthusiastically for Elliott. OK except for Ace. And no I'm not just harshing on Ace for its own sake. He is totally applauding in that "if I have to" way. Go back and look at it again. I'm right.

But anyway, Ace is in the bottom three. Naturally he's still safe. So is Elliott. And it's time for Bucky to mosey on back to his wife and family. Dang it. I wanted him to stick around and cover "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" or "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Come Off." Those would have been good Bucky songs.

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

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