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Kick it, LaKisha

Kick it, LaKisha


The Top 6 become the Final 4 as American Idol moves into the home stretch. And the president shows up and tries to ruin everyone's good time.

I can't wait to see two people booted off this week. I don't even care who it is anymore; I just want to see this bullshit start wrapping up. I've been bored all season long with these personality-free lumps. I blame the producers and story editors, of course. It's their job to craft a compelling backstory out of the mundane nothingness that most people bring to the table. And this year the best they could come up with--not counting Sanjaya, to whom I will forever be grateful for the entertainment he's provided--is that TimberFake used to be almost fat but lost it all when Los Angeles record execs told him to take a hike to Weight Watchers, LaKisha worked in a bank, Blake can make his mouth do stupid pet tricks, and Phil Stacey has victorious egg-branding sperm. And there's very little suspense left now that it's become clear that every single person left will have something at least resembling a career, even if they never become the next Kelly or Carrie. As long as there are gay pride festivals and Taste of Omaha street fairs, none of these kids will see their dreams of small-scale stardom die on the vine.

Seacrest introduces Tuesday night's show and walks out onstage as the camera cuts to Antonella Barba in the audience. I hear she's dating TimberFake now. I have no idea if that's true, but I'm not above spreading it around. And they're both cute, so why not? Gina Glocksen is in the audience too, loaded down with fashion chains and stuff. Seacrest tells the audience that combined with the corporate sponsorship from Coke and Ford and Fox and whoever else, they raised about 70 million bucks last week. And again I say those three corporations alone could have each matched that number, instead of however much Coke and Ford donated into the kitty to sit next to News Corp.'s piss-weak $5 million drop in the bucket. Those three alone could have fuckin' New Orleans up and running at full steam again right now with no help from anyone, so I would love it if everyone could just shut up already about how amazing they've been during this meaningful time.

Tonight's mentor is Jon Bon Jovi. They roll the This-Person-Is-Legendary clip. Seacrest's narration explains that during the past two decades Bon Jovi has become "one of the greatest rock bands in history," gives concert tour stats about eleventy jillion fans and tickets and countries, and says that they've sold 120 million albums. That's nice. He leaves out the parts about Ally McBeal and Moonlight andValentino. And also the part about Bon Jovi being a total joke. But I guess that leaving that stuff in might alienate the 120 million dumb-asses who bought those lame albums. ("You Give Love A Bad Name" doesn't count in that judgment call, by the way, because it's kind of rad. Every shit band has at least one decent song in them.)

The Top 6 Idols meet JBJ in the rehearsal space and he tells them that his kids love the show. I want one of them to say, "Oh yeah, well, all our moms love you, Gramps." Then he tells them to "make the songs [their] own." Now, that's some fresh advice. I wonder if he'll also tell them to sing it from their hearts? Oh, close--he tells them to be sincere. Why isn't Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on this show each week to help the mentors? I think he'd be a great addition to the process.

OK, time for singing. Phil has chosen "Blaze of Glory," from the movie YoungGuns II. And man, this song is such a fuckin' amazing piece of poetry set to music that Michelle Pfeiffer should use it to teach gang members how to read and what it means to be truly alive. Phil is very excited to be "jamming with Bon Jovi." And if what he means by that is that he's getting to stand next to Bon Jovi, then yes, I assume you could count that as "jamming."

"I was the kid who sang this song at home in the mirror with my comb in my hand," says Phil. "I've practiced this song for 15 years." Yeah, TMI, Mr. Stacey. And to put that gut reaction into perspective, I just had to watch a documentary called Zoo for my movie-reviewing gig (, y'all. Check it out) and that film is about a guy who gets fucked to death by a horse. So "TMI" isn't something I just prudishly throw around. Anyway, Phil has obviously graduated from overrehearsing the song into his comb to singing into his combination scalp massager-lint roller and now into an actual TV microphone, like he's about to do right now, starting off from a perch among the crowd. As he begins, an Asian guy in the audience grabs his own finger in rapturous joy, delighted that Phil has chosen to stand so close to him.

Phil begins his journey through the crowd, up onto the platform behind the judges, and eventually to the stage, doing that mesmerism stare that his night-loving kind are so good at. He's wearing a gothy Porter Wagoner jacket and pointing an imaginary gun at the audience.


This just makes me miss Taylor Hicks all over again. Now, that was a dude who could sling an imaginary gun. No one else will ever do it with as much dorkitude, as much goony good-time jiveyness. Now Phil is getting to the part where he has to say the line that includes the words "young gun" in it. My husband/partner/whatever looks up from the game he's playing on his laptop and says, "I guess it's a good thing they didn't draft Bon Jovi to sing the theme from The Unbearable Lightness ofBeing."

And this, readers, is why I've kept him around for 12 years.

Phil leaves the stage to bump knuckles with Randy. Pound it, Dawg! My husband/partner/whatever pipes up again, "I'll give this to Phil. At least he's improved. If this were Top Model, he could win because that shit's all about the arc of self-discovery and the beauty of 'becoming.' Tyra would have yelled at him all motherly once by now and he'd really be turning it out in shoots."

The conversation in the room (some more friends are over and yelling things over the songs, as usual) turns to Young Guns II and BadGirls. As gays, we agree that Bad Girls was the best because we like it the most when ladies reappropriate the phallic.

The song ends and the camera hits Randy. Before he can speak, my friend Gary yells out, "Check it, Dawg! I shit my pants during that! Paula, smell it!" What Randy says in reality is much less interesting, and I choose not to transcribe it. I like Gary's vision of life better. OK, I will tell you one thing Randy says, because it's in keeping with all the other Randyisms that litter this landscape: He played bass on the original recording. There. And he wrote "Billie Jean" and half of Elvis's songs and he also knew the real Rambo. Meanwhile, for Paula, it's another glitter-and-lip-gloss night, so she's high on life and makeup fumes and loves him. Simon gets booed. I don't know what he says, but he gets booed.

Commercial Time: Don't throw away that Coke cap. It's got a code inside it. And you can get THREE WHOLE POINTS toward getting the one decent thing on their Web site that you need 18,000 points to acquire. I know this because I went there today and entered the code that I was certain would bring about an instant trip to Hawaii like the people in that other Coke commercial got. But no. Three fuckin' points. Meanwhile, Fergie is still slutting it up for Candies shoes. A couple weeks ago this would--and did--fill me with rage. But now it just feels like I'm being beaten down by a repeatedly abusive spouse.

Back to the show. Jordin is here to make Bon Jovi feel old, granting my earlier wish with the following line, "My mom is gonna flip out!" Cut to JBJ, who's now simmering with a rage I've not seen since Ellen failed to make the crowd laugh last week on the Idol Gives Back show. JBJ, in the little interview bit, marvels at her age and how he "couldn't sing half that good at 17 years old." Oh, Jon, you know that's not true. You were great when you sang "R2D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas" on that Star Wars album back in the day. And false modesty is just as bad as being conceited. Remember that.

Jordin takes the stage in Rocker Chick 101 gear. She's gonna go for the Janet Jackson "Black Cat" thing, you can tell. But she's alternately limp and stiff, awkwardly flat and unconfidently screechy, and--oh, man, look at Paula, she's either crying out in pain or grimacing angrily or rocking out, it's hard to tell because they only show it for a second, but it looks great, whatever it is--and...and...I just lost my train of thought. Yeah, so no Janet. This was more like LaToya. She's also having a Gina Red-Streak moment, but she did it all over her head so that now it appears as though those alien slugs in that incredible movie Slither are inching their collective way out of her skull. It's rotten from head to toe, inside and out, and she knows it, because when the judges take her to task--I expect but don't get to hear Randy announce that he played keytar on the original track--she owns up to it immediately, acknowledging that she was way out of her element. To some people, that may seem like a sympathy ploy, and I'm sure it is, since nothing this girl does seems like anything less than one long audition for her own Disney Channel sitcom, one where she gets to sing at the end of every episode. And you know what? I might watch that if it happened. My 10-year-old niece got me really into That's So Raven a while back, and I'll tell you, it didn't suck much at all.

After some commercials LaKisha is ready to show off her truly New Jersey-ish outfit that I assume is a tribute to JBJ's home state: black jeans and a black tube-top thing with an eye-gougingly red stripe around the middle that makes her look like a magician tried to saw her in half. But here's what's great about stupid clothes: If you have enough oomph in you, then you can wear discarded tires from the junkyard and everyone will get out of your way. So when she refuses to sit with Seacrest to answer the viewer mail question because she wants to show off her fatness while joking about it while simultaneously presenting her gigantic bazooms to the entire planet via satellite, you seriously think to yourself, Yeah, you look amazing.

Now, normally during this bit I say that Seacrest has received a question from Somebody From Somewhere, but this week's comes from a chick named Kathy in Rowlett, Texas. I only mention it because Seacrest butchers the name and it's a place I know well, as it's where almost all my relatives live. He pronounces it ROE-lette, when in fact the first syllable rhymes with "cow" and the emphasis is on the "lette." It's a suburb of Dallas. So thanks for that, you big dumb dummy. They pay you good money for this shit. Get it together. I forget what the question was.

One thing I love about LaKisha this week is that she's barely heard of Bon Jovi. She says she's seen him on Oprah but has never listened to his songs. That means she has no idea what song was a hit and what wasn't, and that's good for her here. She picks something called "This Ain't a Love Song," and she sails through it unburdened by any cultural weight it might have attached to it already because there simply isn't any. In fact, she slams it down so hard that I can't even imagine JBJ singing it ever, not on this planet and not on the one where he sings Christmas carols to LucasFilms' copyrighted intellectual property. Moreover, I fear for the cameraman's life at the end of the song--he being closest to her, I assume--because she just stops singing, all superdramatically, before hollering out the last two words of the number, and her face is all "Perhaps you thought the game was on and you were kinda right because I AM THE ONE THAT ANNOUNCED TO YOU THAT THE GAME WAS ON BUT, SEE, NOW THE GAME IS OVER BECAUSE I SAY IT IS AND IF I HEAR ANY BACKTALK ABOUT IT I WILL BEAT YOUR ASS AND IT WILL STAY BEATEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME."

Oh, and another thing? She also brings the essence of three-week-old J. Lo back into the room by navigating a key moment in the song to pop a squat right in the middle of shaking the roof off the building. The only thing missing from this performance is her lighting her own farts on fire. Cut to her cousins in the audience going mental and some kid in the audience holding a sign that reads, "KICK IT, LAKISHA." Simon actually kisses her on the lips after Randy and Paula tell her how amazing she is. I hope the wig wrangler backstage has some preventive Abreva waiting for her.

So yeah, Melinda is peeing her pants right now.

After the break, it's time for Blake. Someone in the audience is holding an Andy Warhol-ish photo sign of his face. I suspect somehow that this sign is a carefully thought-out Blake Production and here's why: He's this show's living embodiment of tired pastiche and self-awareness. The mouth-noises gimmick, the faux DJ moves, the hair gel, that way that he takes anything that crosses his path and rearranges the parts to suit him even if he doesn't know what those parts all mean, either in or out of context--and I really believe he doesn't--and, most of all, the laptoppish marketing of himself. Those "Blaker Girl" T-shirts and banners are becoming as ubiquitous as that damn Ed Hardy gear, and with it he's somehow managed to reference Paula Abdul's younger days, the stupidity of the trucker cap fad and that fad's refusal to accept a natural death, and the almost retro boy-band positioning of himself as a sexually safe teen-girl crush object. All in one girly image and slogan. That last part's not a criticism, really, because I managed to throw my own MySpace address into this recap last week (, fyi), and it's kind of what you have to do to get yourself over anymore. He's very, very good at presentation, even if I think that he's got nothing to say and that he's presenting crap.

JBJ is not sure he's on board for the Blake-ization of "You Give Love a Bad Name," and he goes on and on and on and on about how it's a huge gamble, an adventure, a roll of the dice, a drive through Baghdad, a date with Tom Sizemore. But to Blake, JBJ is just another over-40 person standing in the way of him becoming a megastar, and damn it, he IS going to insert the only nonsuck Bon Jovi song into his Mac and let whatever gets spit out rule the day. Meanwhile, if Mr. BJ knows what's good for him, he'll simply step aside and let the new, improved, 311-inspired cover of his song play itself out. Here's what happens:

Someone has dyed his hair dark plum and stolen Phil Stacey's eyeliner and been charting the career trajectory of My Chemical Romance.

Shields and Yarnell mime time. Takes invisible record, holds invisible record up to light, blows mind-dust off the idea of it ("White label, son. That's all I spin, yo"), puts not-there object on floating ghost turntable.

Begins beatboxing the introduction and makes the first verse a lite-reggae excursion going...where? That's what I'd like to know. Where? Because for this vintage monster hair-metal jam to go anywhere and be anything, it needs pounding monster hair-metal momentum. Reggae is about getting baked, not shooting anyone through the heart. Well, unless you're gay, of course, and living in today's Jamaica. But that's a whole other rant I don't have time for here. Blake's inventing right now!

Beatboxes on the line "whooooaahh, you're a loaded gun."

The chorus is how you expect the chorus to sound. No reggae or turntablism happening. We're back in hair-metal territory.

Next comes more beatboxing, as a breakdown is inserted into a song that never wanted or asked for one. In fact, he's having a beat-off, so to speak, with the onstage drummer who's right next to him. Blake mouth-beats and the drummer takes his turn putting actual three-dimensional sticks to actual three-dimensional percussion instruments. In the middle of this arrives the following, like a sprinkling of heavenly dust from whichever Fat Boy it was that moved on to his great reward: "You give luh-uh-huh-uh-uh-huh-uh-uh-v a ba-bad name, you gi-give luh-luh-luh-luv a bad--SHOT THROUGH THE HEART! AND YOU'RE TO BLAME! ETC!"

Big finish. Alas, it is not one that involves him being hoisted into the air in a harness and flying to and fro over the crowd as he throws little sugar cookies, digitally frosted with his own likeness, down into their Blake-hungry mouths.

So yeah, that was the big risk. The risk of hair dye and the risk of making an ordinary song borderline incomprehensible. The risk of continuing to shape his sideburns into yucky little Liza Minnelli points. And if you believe any of it was a risk, then I guess Blake should win the Balls Award of the evening. But I am not on this train. I want him and his shtick--one that, by the way, was dead by the time the movie Disorderlies hit theaters--to piss off.

The crowd, predictably, has descended into animal chaos. If this were a sporting event and there were a car parked in the studio, they'd have already turned it over and smashed out all the windows. Looting would have begun. Two superboobular hot girls are jumping up and down holding heart-shaped signs basically asking Blake to fuck them right now on live national television. And here's the thing: What if I'm wrong about the way this boy swings? What if he's just a gay-reading heterosexual? It could be, I suppose. I mean, anything's possible. Because if that is indeed the case, then this guy is going to get so much trim out of this show it'll make your brains melt down and drain out your nose. So to Blake I say, in the late-'80s vernacular he can best relate to: Put a jimmy-cap on it, boy.

The judges are happy. Paula is so tongue-tied it's like we're getting a little taste of the Loopy Abdul I used to love so much. She gushes about how Bon Jovi has "endured monumental success" and about JBJ having a "twinkle in his eye" and I don't even know what else. She's lost me and I'm happy.


The Maytag Repairman still exists. What I like the most about this is that his outfit hasn't changed in 50 years. He still has that old-school hat.

OMG! IT'S BABY SPICE FOR PREGO SAUCE! Dang, I miss the Spice Girls. I mean, I know that this is like the third or fourth time I've brought them up in this season's recaps, but they've been on my mind a lot lately for some reason. I think it's just that they remind me of Bill Clinton for some reason and it feels like we've banished their kind of cheeky fun since the evil George W. Bush and his crew of marauding pirates came along. Everything sucks now and it's because there's no more Spice Girls. That's what I'm trying to say.

Hot firemen love hot jalapeno burgers from Carl's Jr. But now I can't even watch a Carl's Jr. commercial without thinking of Idiocracy and "Fuck you, I'm eating." And I think Carl's Jr. probably likes that I think that. But their food is still shit. Like worse than McDonald's, even.

Tonight, House is going to read a magazine called Sewing & Notions while cracking wise and saving lives.

Back on the stage, Chris Richardson is being called "Justin Timberlake" by Seacrest. The young man rolls his eyes at this. And somewhere in Los Angeles the actual Justin Timberlake just received a taunting text message from Cameron Diaz detailing the entire exchange. Then he picked up a gun and shot the nearest TV.

TimberFake is going to sing "Dead or Alive." That is, if he can remember the words. He's shown in rehearsal with JBJ forgetting lyrics and being told to make it sad instead of "glorious." And so he sings it and it's unmemorable. But his version reminds me that I've always hated this song a whole lot and that one of the lyrics, namely, "I've seen a million faces and I've rocked them all," has always been a brain-teaser. How, exactly, does one rock a face?

Finally, it's Melinda's turn. First, though, she has to protest that she's "bad at rock," when what she's really bad at is shutting up about her insecurities. She works through it with JBJ and then arrives onstage wearing a Burzum T-shirt and rolling out a blood-drenched wheelbarrow containing the beheaded, flayed carcass of LaKisha. She's wearing Kiki's skin as a scarf and screaming in that Black Metal/Cookie Monster style of vocalizing, "LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!!"

Actually, it's not a Burzum T-shirt. Woulda been cool if it had been, though.

She's singing "Have a Nice Day," one of the new-era crappier-than-you-ever-thought-possible Bon Jovi songs. But when he tells her she can make it churchy her face lights up and she says, "I like church!" She takes the stage with a guitar player who the assembled men in my living think is pretty hot. He's not conventionally handsome or anything, but he has a doughy presence and a confident swagger. That's enough sometimes. And Melinda rises to the occasion as she always does after, I assume, having studied Tina Turner's performance in Gimme Shelter and thinking, "Maybe I could shoot for that and not fail too much."

She finishes the song, turns off her faux-snarl, and adopts the stance of "I'm just a silly thing caught playing dress-up" as the judges praise her. And as soon as that's over, Seacrest drops the nastiest bomb I've smelled all season: a prerecorded visit from the Worst President We've Ever Had, George W. Bush, and his awful, sick-smiling wife. Here is the entire message from them:

W: Good evening. Laura and I are pleased to join you tonight, and thank you for raising millions of dollars for children living in poverty in America and Africa.

L: Because of your generosity, African children will receive bed nets to protect against malaria and some of America's poorest children will get medical care and healthy food.

W: We thank all the American Idol viewers who have shown the good heart of America. We thank all the celebrities who participated, including Bono, and all the contestants who sang their hearts out for these children. Say, Laura, you think I oughta sing somethin'?

L: I don't know, darling, they've already seen you dance.

W: Thanks. And God bless.


OK, first of all, Mr. President and Mrs. First Lady, I want to say that you both make my blood boil. It's your administration's international and domestic policies that continue to aggravate the tragedy of worldwide poverty. How dare either one of you grin while saying that SOME of America's children are now going to get medical care and healthy food thanks to us, the viewers? EVERY CHILD IN THIS FUCKING COUNTRY SHOULD ALREADY BE GETTING THOSE BASIC NECESSITIES OF LIFE WITHOUT HAVING TO BEG FOR IT, BUT YOUR WARMONGERING AGENDA MAKES SURE THAT BILLIONS OF DOLLARS GO TOWARD THE SLAUGHTER OF OUR OWN TROOPS AND INNOCENT IRAQI CIVILIANS INSTEAD OF TOWARD MEDICAL CARE AND NUTRITION FOR CHILDREN HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. (I know this is turning very 1989 Michelangelo Signorile here with the all-caps thing, but call it an homage and bear with me.) That you two teleprompter monkeys can sit there and not spontaneously combust from your own toxic bullshit when New Orleans is still a disaster area, when most Americans don't have adequate health insurance, when you haven't attended one single funeral of one single American soldier, when our justice system has been turned into a joke, and when everything is going to hell faster than it ever has before thanks to you and your crew, is beyond my understanding. That either of you have the nerve to appear on this game show and trot out gentle smiles and condescension and fake gratitude for a piddly two-hour celebrity charity telethon sickens me. You're despicable human beings. Fuck you both.

There. Got that off my chest for now. Let's move on to the Elimination Round! The countdown...

Boring intros by Seacrest in a shirt, tie, and jacket where it's all just too, too wide. Narrow, man, keep it narrow. A woman holds a sign that reads, "BLAKE YOUR [sic] #1." Somebody slap her upside the head with a hardcover Strunk & White.

All the contestants are wearing ribbons. No one will explain why. I want to believe that it has something to do with Sanjaya.

Simon won't stop pestering Paula's outfit, wiggling it and stuff, until she says, "Look, I'm not your puppet!" To which Seacrest responds, "We've seen his puppet. You're much prettier." A "Whoooooooo" comes from the crowd and Simon gets offended, thinking Seacrest is referring to his girlfriend. And that Simon thinks of his girlfriend first when the word "puppet" comes up in a conversation is...well...

Seacrest goes to the Farmers Market. Moms love Bon Jovi. Everyone thinks Jordin blew it. One teenage girls says, "Chris Richardson, fer sherr. He's like awesome...and hot...he looks like... Justin Timberlake...which is supercool." An old guy likes Melinda. Another mom likes Phil. A gay likes LaKisha. You know he's a gay because he says the following: "The Dreamgirls [song] showed that she can sing. She's wonderful and she should win. LaKisha! You're a winner!"

Mini-interview with Blake about how he's able to be such a creative genius. After that, he and Richardson do that hand-knocking thing. The always on-point calls what they've got going a "bro-mance," and my husband/partner/whatever just e-mailed me yesterday to tell me that if you enter their names into Google and then enter "slash" that thousands of sexual fan-fic stories come up. I just interrupted my writing of this recap to read one of them and it was full of gentle caresses that give way to intense thrusting. And it appears that most of the authors are women.

Ruben Studdard, prerecorded, asking you to give give give to Idol Gives Back. He's all weird, nervous smiles and finger-pointing. Eight finger-points in about 10 seconds of airtime. Has this man not yet learned poise on camera? Didn't he win this thing years ago? What gives?

Robin Thicke is here, breathy falsetto intact. He's the white R. Kelly, the one that won't piss on you and videotape it, delivering music to make out-of-wedlock babies to. Is Gloria Loring his mom? Someone help on this one.

Fantasia, prerecorded, asking for Idol Gives Back money. No, not for her. She says, "You believed in me. Now believe in someone else." Husband/partner/whatever looks up from his laptop again to say, "Yeah, sorry, I'm kinda all tapped out after believing in you."

Ford commercial. The Top 6 sing "Paint It Black." Man, the Rolling Stones need a Yoko to protect their songs.

Phil goes home. It's pretty great because he disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving behind a bat that flies out of the studio. Awesome.

Bon Jovi sings some soft-as-a-baby's-bottom song where at least 30% of the actual words come out of JBJ's mouth as emphatic stage whispers. You can tell the crowd is like, "Dude, fuckin' do 'Living on a Prayer!'" I'm underwhelmed for them and I don't give two fucks about this band. I'd rather hear Diana Ross screech some more.

Hicks is here to ask for Idol Gives Back cash. He looks like he can't wait to get to the cigarette he left in that ashtray just out of camera range.

It's down to Blake and Chris, who choose this moment to announce their platonic, best-friend love to the world. Chris even says, "I'd go home for him too." It reads very I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and you can tell it's unnerving Seacrest. "It doesn't matter," says Chris, to which Blake adds, "We're going on tour together." And then they hug. As Seacrest drones on about the votes and who sang what and blah blah blah, the pair exchange tender, slash-ready glances. They are this close to making out. And TimberFake is out. But don't fret, because the bro-mance will have to continue on the Idol tour. The You're Dead reel plays, Daughtry sings, and Richardson croons through his humiliation number. But I kind of wish that there was an "I Lost" song they all had to learn just in case, one that you'd hear a different rendition of every week. That would make it way better.

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