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How dull is your

How dull is your


Idol moves into the home stretch. Dave White stretches and yawns.

What if I just didn't write a recap this week? What if I just told you that it was maybe the most boring week of the most boring season of this show that I've ever seen and left it at that? Like right now, for example, I'm procrastinating about even going back into my TiVo and pulling up the episodes. I'm watching The View instead, and Goldie Hawn is being fascinating, pretending she's a scientist and talking about a kind of kid hyperactivity therapy that thickens their little prefrontal cortexes. She's all about "centering strategies" and getting kids to be calm. I don't quite know what she's on about, and it seems that The View ladies don't either.

So anyway, I think everyone knows by now that this season of Idol is crap. It kind of goes even and odd, really. Seasons 1, 3, and 5 were great TV, and seasons 2, 4, and 6 were yawn factories. But it's kind of wrong that I'm already looking toward Project Runway and/or this show's 2008 season for something decent to happen. This season the show hasn't even served its true cultural purpose of being an empty-calorie distraction from all the ugliness of the war and the horrifyingly depressing political realities of life in the United States right now. How can it be when they do shit like invite the president on and not even allow Taylor Hicks to come freak the first lady? You're falling down on the job, American Idol. Remember your mandate. The least you people could do is make another beach party movie. Have it star only the people who've been on the show. Including William Hung. Including the Hotness. And Dunkleman. And that guy who had the tracheotomy. What was his name? Justin and Kelly could be exempt from it, although Justin might want the work, now that I think about it. Anyway, I volunteer to write a script for it. I've never written one, but I bet I could. With some zombies in it too, maybe. I'd like that. Anyway, fantasizing about all of these lost entertainment opportunities has me bummed. I miss that little dipshit Sanjaya more than ever.

Oh, and another thing. My fuckin' TiVo cut off the first three minutes of Tuesday night's episode, so I missed whatever sort of hyperbolic Barry-Gibb-intelligently-designed-the-Earth-in-six-days malarkey Seacrest laid down over a white-suited montage of hirsute, high-pitched harmonizing. So I'm guessing that was amazing. In fact, three minutes in and it's already time for Melinda to sing the first of two songs she'll do. They're packing the schedule with eight truncated versions of Gibb compositions.

But first a word about Barry Gibb. When I'm totally old like him I hope I have the confidence to simply no longer give a flying rat's fuck what people think about my personal appearance. If I feel like growing a droopy, sad, disco-lion's mane and hitting the spray tan with reckless abandon then I will. I'll live in Old Navy baseball tees and go to a budget dentist for odd fake teeth that make every "s" into an "sh." My friend Sean called me on the phone last night and said, "Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas wearing a Barry Gibb mask. You can use that or not." And I am. But regardless of his senior style choices, Mr. Gibb has had a weird life. Two of his brothers died young and younger, which has got to be tough. And he seems to have a long-standing friendship with Barbra Streisand, which has got to be even tougher. Anyway, I can't wait to see him repel the kids. Long live fogey eccentricity.

His first moment with Melinda involves him dissing her choice of "Love You Inside and Out," one of the most porny-sounding pop-song titles in history. Here are his deep thoughts: "When Melinda chose 'Love You Inshide and Out,' that wash a little bit confushing to me becaush it wash a falshetto shong in the firsht plashe." Gibb?


Now that thatsh cleared up, let's hear Melinda sing it.

Or not. Dacron-suited body snatchers have replaced Melinda with Melba Moore circa 1979, who is singing the exact same song on The Mike Douglas Show right now in a Tavares-shaped parallel reality while cohost Totie Fields keeps Mike company on the couch. I keep expecting George Hamilton to come out and surprise her into making it into a duet. In 2007-speak that means it's the Ambien of music. The judges are bored. The audience boos the judges. Melinda's embarrassed by the booing. She's so nice. So, so nice. So very, very, very, very nice. Nicety nice-nice-nice.

Commercial Time: I really like this new JC Penney ad with the mommy and the little girl walking down the street to a sweet acoustic version of "Only You" by Yaz (Yazoo for you U.K. people). It's the kind of commercial where everyone loves each other in a really meaningful way. They even have a heartfelt new motto: "Every Day Matters." I'm covered for Mother's Day, though, and I'd sooner have Garfield tattooed on my scrotum than buy my mother some cheap junk from JC Penney. Yeah, I'm snobby about that shit. I mean, all right, it's a better shopping destination than Wal-Mart, I guess. But still.

Back to the show, where the Disco Lion and a flirting-with-blond-highlights Blake are squaring off, going vision-to-vision. Who will emerge triumphant?

The Disco Lion: "Well, Blake choshe 'You Should Be Danshing.' And to me it'sh that dansh anthem of the late sheventiesh."

Blake [in ass-kissingly soft and mewling falsetto he can't quite pull off]: "You should be dan... cin... yeah... ehh..."

Then Blake talks about how Barry is a legend and a "pioneer of dance music." He gets away with this and once again, American Idol would allow you to believe that pop music history is all thanks to Whitey.

So hey, Blake, I have this book for you that you should read. It's called Love Saves The Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979 by Tim Lawrence. In this book you can learn a really interesting thing about the Bee Gees, and that's the fact that while the Brothers Gibb wrote some really cool disco songs, they no more pioneered the genre than you pioneered that idiotic mouth-noising you do or dumb hair highlights or lame graphic T-shirts. After Latino, African-American, and gay people did all that true pioneering, the Bee Gees simply struck while the iron was hot, gave permission to the station wagon moms to dance at suburban strip-mall nightclubs, and made a killing off it. But you go right ahead and keep talking out of your ass.

Now Blake's going to sing "You Should Be Dancing." And by sing I mean "not even approach a casual-head-nod-as-you-pass-in-the-hall relationship with pitch" and "fill every spare, nonword space with wiki-wiki-wiki sounds." He's going after that falsetto, though. Failing, of course, but he's a go-getter. And with every passing moment that I see and hear him opportunistically leach the life from the songs he sings, I'm moving closer and closer to a purer and purer disdain for everything he is and stands for. Happily, the judges--not counting Paula--are over him too. At least this week. And Randy delivers the most interesting comment he's managed to muster all season: "I felt like I was in some weird discotheque in a foreign country."

Meanwhile, someone's holding up a sign that reads, "WE LOVE THE LIGHTS." And again, I say, somebody please bet me five bucks that Blake didn't make that sign himself. It's not far-fetched, really. The man makes his own pants.

Here's the Disco Lion's overly weird and territorial rap about LaKisha daring to sing one of his songs: "LaKisha hash choshen 'Shtaying Alive' and itsh a high falsheto shong. It preshentsh challenges if you're a girl and you're doing a shong that wash actually shang by a guy in falshetto."

You'd think the man had hand-chiseled the Rosetta Stone and was anointed by God to protect the thing from an endless array of people lined up to take a dump on it. But guess what, Barry Gibb? It's "Staying Alive." That's it. It's a great pop song, yes. One of many. Not uniquely special in all the cosmos. Just one great pop song in a history of great pop songs. One open to interpretation by younger generations. And it's not like you had a huge-ass problem with someone making a deliriously brain-damaged movie of the same name back in the '80s. So have a seat and maybe a nice Coca-Cola--they have a lot of that lying around here--and shut it.

But this is not to be. Next we see him wheezing out a Blake-quality-pitch falsetto example of how LaKisha should sing the song. And what I love in this moment is her face. Her mouth is open like she's eventually going to start singing along with him when he stops being crazy. She's got a 3-year-old. She knows how to humor a person. He keeps going, earnestly imploring her with his eyes to DO IT IN THE ANCIENT MANNER OF THE DISCO LION! He finishes and says, "You could do that! Why shtay down there when you could go up?!" LaKisha says, "Yow!" and smiles a nodding smile that reads, "Yeah, I ain't doin' that shit. Go to bed, Old Man."

Performance time. I'm a big LaKisha fan but her version here is just...I don't's a lot of whatever. It's like Melinda's. I just don't care. Maybe she should have tried the falsetto after all. But what I do care about, very deeply even, is the true fact that we big people do not need to be wearing large tops over skinny leggings. And that's what she's doing. I see this all the time on plus-size people. Big blousy shirts over skinny little pants. It does no one any favors. Remember that, my thickly set brothers and sisters.

Jordin's turn. Seacrest has a viewer question that's too dumb to bother with here. But I have one for her: "What's up with that anti-abortion rally you sang at before you got on Idol, huh? Do you plan on winning this thing and then pulling off the Cute Mask to reveal an ugly conservative bent?" And yes, I know I'm not getting an answer to that one anytime soon.

She's going to sing "To Love Somebody," which may be the best Bee Gees song ever, in my opinion. Oh, but what's this? Do I hear shombody shaying it washn't meant to be shung by a... WOMAN?! Why, yesh, yesh I do hear that. Take it away, Disco Lion: "It wash hard for me to imagine a girl shinging it, although Nina Shimone and people like that have shung it."

OK, so, really. Dude. Nina Fucking Simone, one of the stone-cold baddest-ass artists of the entire 20th century, sang this fuckin' song years ago. And she laid it down too, if my memory serves me correctly. So tell me how it was so hard for you to imagine another woman singing it. I mean, how the fuck did Yvonne Elliman ever wrestle "If I Can't Have You" out of your greedy paws? Seriously. LET. IT. GO.

Jordin takes the stage in a Cinderella costume from the Disney Store. OK, untrue. But I imagine her in one for some reason. Anyway, of all the performances tonight, this one is the best. She actually knocks it out of the park and into Kelly Clarkson territory. I feel a big win coming for her in a couple weeks. Unlike Blake, who I believe gets by on cuteness alone, Jordan's cute edge comes on top of actual nonshticky singing ability.

Now it's the second half of the show, and we're starting over with everyone taking on a second song. But I'm over it. I actually can't believe I've only watched 30 minutes so far. It feels like days. I'm going to step it up right now. Here goes:

Melinda: "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?"

The Disco Lion: Wonders why no one sings the entire song, demonstrating beyond a doubt that until right now he has never watched this show.

The Performance: Technically proficient. Still dull.

Judges: Love her. Paula babbles incoherently.

Blake: Some newer (a.k.a. post-1980) Bee Gees tune I've never heard of. No one else has either.

The Disco Lion: Practically does cartwheels at the prospect that human ears will finally hear this song.

The Performance: Stinks. More beatboxing. I've turned a corner now. I officially can't stand this kid. Good thing there are only two more weeks left. Then I can ignore him for the rest of my life. Enjoy it, Blaker Girls.

Judges: Not down (not counting Paula). "You ain't gotta beatbox on every joint, dude," says Randy. Paula calls him "the contemporary rebel." For Paula, that means 1989.

LaKisha: "Run to Me"

The Disco Lion: Beaten down by life and filled with rage, he sabotages her by getting her to do weird key changes in the middle of the song.

The Performance: The words "hot mess" come to mind, including unrestrained hollering and a truly embarrassing voice-crack at the end. She's going home. I feel bad for her.

Judges: They know it too.

Jordin: "Woman In Love." Barf.

The Disco Lion: Simply can't imagine someone other than Barbra Streisand singing it. Then turns around and predicts that Jordin's going to be one of "our greatest recording artists." Then he starts speaking his own made-up babble language and tries to tell everyone it's French. Then he fires his mane-stylist on live national television and rehires a new one selected at random from the studio audience.

The Performance: Miss Teen U.S.A. 1990, hosted by Sandy Duncan. I have that on an old VHS tape, by the way, sent to me by my amazing friend Dean. It's even got an Oil of Olay commercial featuring a then-unknown Julianne Moore. It's great to have on at parties. Oh, and the Cinderella costume? A reality this time.

Judges: Simon agrees with me. Calls it "pageanty."

Elimination Night. The countdown...

1. Blake's got on an "ironic" tuxedo T-shirt. Like the one the fourth male lead in a teen sex comedy would wear to the prom. It's just more evidence. I mean, I didn't need any more. My decision about him's been made. But there it is.

2. Bill Maher's in the front row looking SUPER FREAKED-OUT. Wouldn't it be awesome if he were a guest judge? He'd fix it so that Haley and Antonella were still here, boobing up the place.

3. The judges are being wacky. Simon's sitting in Paula's seat, clapping like a seal. Paula's massaging her own breasts like Simon's done on camera before (to his own, not hers). Then she outs him for telling her that he thinks Jessica Alba, sitting behind the judges with the rest of the cast of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, is "so hot."

4. Seacrest goes back to the Farmers Market for tourist opinions. Old white ladies sing "Staying Alive" and do the Point-Your-Finger-at-Shit dance. Again, in case you needed reminding, THIS IS NOT THE RACE THAT CREATED ROCK AND ROLL.

5. My husband/partner/whatever just piped in: "My favorite Bee Gees song is when they do the Beatles' "Carry That Weight" in the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie and they're actually carrying a casket containing a chick whose name is Strawberry Fields."

6. Holy shit, I just showed the JC Penney ad to the husband/partner/whatever and he got all choked up. I'm telling you, it's like those Hallmark card ads where you're reduced to tears in 20 seconds.

7. Seacrest talks about the upcoming Idol tour. And there's Crying Girl! If she's going to go on tour with them, like sitting in a big chair onstage with her bawling face on the JumboTron, then I'm buying a ticket.

8. Pink sings. I hear that this is prerecorded burn-off footage from Idol Gives Back. The song sounds a little "Since U Been Gone"-ish. I think I used to have negative opinions about Pink, but now I think I have no opinion about her at all. She's like a name you can't pronounce in a Dostoyevsky book. You just bleep right over it.

9. Ford commercial. I thought about describing it here, but if you didn't see it then it's kind of just like if you had.

10. The Final Four do a medley of "Emotion," "Too Much Heaven," "Guilty" (where LaKisha clearly forgets the words), and "Islands In the Stream." Plus some Bee Gee song I've never heard of. Then they wind it up with "Chain Reaction." Have you noticed how when they all group-sing like this no one ever has pitch problems and it sounds like there are three times as many people singing as there are onstage? I don't know the tech secrets behind this, but I'd like to find out. Anybody out there have backstage information on this?

11. The cuts begin. Lots of heartfelt yapping among Seacrest and the Final Four. Then they go to the Little Theater on the Fox Studios lot--a place I've spent many hours in a professional capacity watching amazing Fox product like Firehouse Dog and Trust the Man--to see a sneak preview of The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The husband/parther/whatever launches into a tirade about how he hears that in this movie Galactus is a CGI cloud instead of the giant godlike guy he is in the comic books. "See, Galactus devours planets, and the Silver Surfer is his herald," he says. "So he's like the advance team. He finds a planet and Galactus devours it." He pauses a little bit after explaining this to me and then sighs and shakes his head and mutters indignantly, "A cloud...fuckin' cloud...he's fuckin' Galactus!" Then we're introduced to the cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis, who's trunky thighs most resemble my own, so naturally I think of him as the morally superior one. Then we get to see the baby pictures of the Idols. Oh, yeah, and Jordin is safe.

12. Oh no. There's going to be an Idol for bands. I don't want to think about this. I already predict a Maroon 5-ish winner.

13. The Disco Lion takes the stage to sing the old bleating goat version of "To Love Somebody." He's wearing a see-through shirt. I can see both Gibb-nipples clearly. And remember what I said earlier about not caring about my personal appearance as I age? I take it back. If you find me wearing tight jeans at 60, then please shoot me in the face. The song ends, and he leans back, eyes closed, like he might pass out.

14. Melinda is safe.

15. Bottom Two = Blake and LaKisha. Randy and Paula demur about who's going home. Simon says it should be LaKisha. But it should really be Blake.

16. It's LaKisha. Her "You're Dead" reel plays. Daughtry sings and then LaKiki sings "Staying Alive." Left behind: The Pro, The Princess, and The Punk-Ass.

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Dave White