I'm not in Day
of the Locust-Wood right now like I normally
am while recapping this show. I'm in Rowlett, Texas (and
remember, Mr. Seacrest, you say it like cow-LET), visiting
my mom. She's a mildly capable, poststroke patient
living in a nursing home and obsessed with shows about
cats and crime scene investigations. I had to explain
what American Idol was to her and she had no
questions in return for me, which suits me just fine because
I think I've discussed this show on a daily basis
Now, before I
begin, let's talk about shark-jumping. The folks at
Entertainment Weekly are declaring that this is
the season that Idol jumped the shark. And
while I agree, I think I'd refine that pronouncement a
little: I believe Idol is in a constant
shark-jumping loop, one that makes Fonzie the Sisyphus
of popular culture. With Idol, every dorky,
episode of every week of every season is an assault on
good taste and an opportunity to re-view a very large
tank of sharks being denied the chance to eat a man on
a flying motorcycle. And it does it over and over and over.
And that's why I watch.
I don't know why
Denise Richards watches. Or why she's here in the
audience. Bored, maybe. Without a Sheen in your life, I'm
guessing the shit gets taken down a few notches.
Oh, yeah, by the
way, I'm watching the show with my brother and
sister-in-law and their kids: a 3-year-old boy with an ear
infection and a brutal cough that I know is
going to land on me and take me out by week's end, and
two girls, 5 and 11 years old, respectively. I suspect
that this will provide a very different perspective
than the one I get when I'm in a room full of uppity gays
who have no agenda but pure, excellent
the Tuesday night show. They're at the Kodak Theater, home
of the Academy Awards and 363 other nights of theatrical
amazement, like when Val Kilmer was Moses in a musical
Ten Commandments (yes, for real) when and
lots of touring companies of Dora the Explorer: Live!
come through town to sell bilingual trinkets to people
with preschoolers. Seacrest goes down the roll call of
Idol battles of the sexes: Justin and Kelly,
Carrie and Bo, Hicks and McPhee. And oh, look. An
instant message from my husband/partner/whatever. It says,
"He forgot Ruben and Clay."
I love the
introduced. Randy's got on a jacket of braids, buttons, and
live kittens embroidered to the lapel. It's a jacket that
could very well end fashion as we know it. It looks
like something Bubbles would wear. If Phil were in the
top two, he'd be jealous of it and wish he had it on
instead. Paula-nose is fine, by the way--she merely tripped
over her dog, prompting Seacrest to announce that
"The bitch is fine," and that's a joke!
Get it? Because of the dog and Paula and how you don't know
which bitch he's talking about? Ha! Anyway, Paula is
not going to be outdone by Randy if she has anything
to say about it, and so she's worn a French maid's
outfit. Simon's going with a traditional blazer, white
shirt, and chest hair combo.
Seattle, where both Blake and Jordin were found. I'd skip
over this bit, normally, but ladies and gentlemen, we have
The Hotness! I know it's only for a split second. But
there she is, singeing my brother's suburban
jumbo-screen with her Hotness! Next up, a
look-how-unique-and-risky-Blake-is montage. Remember that,
everyone. He's a trailblazer. He also discovered
radium and penicillin and invented Pong. Jordin
is shown back in Arizona in front of a Cold Stone ice cream
place. Dang, do I love Cold Stone. I'm partial to the
birthday cake combo thing that it does, whatever it's
called. And I love that Jordin seems to be a fan too.
I have nothing against skinny people, mind you.
I just think they're a little overexposed in the
statistically insignificant world of the famous.
Hmm. Nothing I haven't seen before here. In fact, I'm
going to ditch commercial commentary this week. I just
decided that if I have to watch three hours of
show this week, the commercials are going to get the
fast-forward cold shoulder. Sorry, ads. You know I
Blake has chosen
to sing first. Will he do the "Stars on 45"
medley? I'd like that. Oh, shit, he's going to repeat
"You Give Love a Bad Name" and gallop
around the stage with a mike stand like it's a toy pony.
from husband/partner/whatever = "I wish Tony Soprano
would curb him." Competing e-mail suggestion from an
L.A. friend who I think is watching the show with the
husband/partner/whatever = "No, Biz Markie
should just come out and sit on him." As you can see,
the Blaker Gays have long since stopped speaking to
any of my friends.
a top that looks like she saved it from a fire and
singing Christina Aguilera's "Fighter." Why?
So she can get mock-angry onstage, snap her neck a
little, grab the sides of her hair like she might tear
it out, and make you almost forget for one second that she
dreams every night that she's under the sea with Ariel and
that singing crab. Thing is, though, she's not as good
a singer as Christina Aguilera. Other thing is,
though, I think that Haylie Duff's cover--and there's got
to be one, right?--is probably better too.
Back to Blake.
His parents wouldn't buy him drums. So he learned to
beatbox and dress like a rent boy from the former USSR.
Great. His parents refuse him a gift and we all have
to pay for it FOREVER. Now he's going to sing a song
by Maroon 5. And as much as I'd like to sit here and
rip into him, my 5-year-old niece is distracting me from it
because she's just jumped in front of the TV and is
yelling, "LOOK AT MY HULA-HULA DANCE, UNCLE
DAVE!" It's impressive too. She looks like a cross
between every background beehive-haired dancer chick
in every '60s-era beach movie--the ones who seem to be
able to shake every single part of their body
simultaneously--and a frame from "Ernie Pook's Comeek" by my
all-time favorite cartoonist, Lynda Barry, the one where
main Barry creation Marlys is doing the
"Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" Butt-Dance. My
5-year-old niece is 1000% more entertaining than Blake Lewis
will ever be. The camera cuts to Rick Schroeder and
his tiny look-alike daughter. They're a pair of silver
A sudden flurry
of e-mails and IMs from friends and the
husband/partner/whatever, all weighing in on what Blake's
buttons say (the ones he's got on his usual argyle
sweater but that the camera will not close-up on
enough to be visually legible). The nominees:
Beach Gay Pride."
2. "Is It
"Silence = Death."
not as think as you drunk I am."
song is that blah-blah-blah Martina McBride song she did
a while back. She's phoning it in-on the NEW AT&T! We
do, however, get the only interesting judge commentary
of the night. It's from Paula--thanks, Tripping Dog
and subsequent pain-relieving medication--who says,
"You're in great vocal voice." That's like
telling someone they have wonderfully optical eyes. I
wish for Paula to trip over something every week next
commercial break and then we get a shot of Marlee Matlin
sitting near J. Hud, who's wearing glasses that make her
look smart and humble in that "Yeah, I got an
Oscar but I'm still just Jenny from the block"
way. Meanwhile, Constantine is bitter that all those
cheering ringers in the first few rows got better
seats than he did. Then Seacrest introduces the two
dudes who won the songwriting contest. The title of
that song? "This Is My Now."
I'll give it a
fair shake. Maybe.
Blake sings it
first, seated on the big Family Feud board that
doubles as a a backdrop for the contestants. He's got
his Lonely Boy Pensive Face on like he should be singing
"Maybe" from Annie instead. And he's
flipped the script on the outfit because this
argyle sweater is SPARKLY. Theo Huxtable would go
apeshit for it. The song, however, is not sparkly.
It's an SNL parody of an Idol-winner song,
built from a kit. It's about dreams or something. I
don't know. Crossing over into death, maybe. But
here's where Blake fails again: The competition rules
clearly stated that the song has to be sung by a
crying person. And you gave none, son. You are going
to lose now. Good luck in life. And congrats, Two Guys in
the Audience, you're the Affleck and Damon of
Jordin's turn on the same song. Man, this song is a beating
just hearing it once. Twice in your ears and
suddenly you're trapped in a cubicle at a temp job and the
people around you are singing along to the
"listen at work" station and you're thinking
of breaking up with your significant other or just finding a
tech geek to help you embezzle a million bucks like
the guys in Office Space. But instead you'll probably
just go home to your asshole stoner roommate and eat a
Lean Cuisine and some cookie dough and masturbate to
XTube before passing out and then getting up the next
day to do it ALL OVER AGAIN.
while singing it. So she just won. Well played, Sparks.
And now we're on
to Wednesday night, the big one, the fin, the
beginning of a life of completely soul-fulfilling fame
and money that may not have bought happiness for some
stupid cash-underappreciating celebrities but is
certain to do that for the winner of this show.
Also? There will be unicorns.
has the TV turned up really loudly. The Cathy Dennis
theme music has turned the suburban Rowlett living room into
a gay disco. This annoys my brother for the following
reasons. The first one is that they have three kids
that do plenty of loudness with their own lungs
already and are in fact sort of doing it right now,
competing with the show. Furthermore, he cannot stand
American Idol and refuses to watch it. He's
doing it tonight for my amusement. And finally, he's a
grump. His sole comment about the TV volume: "Here's
an idea. Let's turn it up even louder because it's not yet
beating my own heart for me."
And because the
finale means about as much to me as any other week of
this show, no more and no less, I'm not changing a dang
thing about how I cover it. Countdown time...
1. Jordin and
Blake stand side by side. He's so much shorter than she is,
it's like they're going to the seventh-grade prom.
Springer's in the audience. Does that mean we get to hear a
selection from the opera?
3. Randy's jacket
tonight, while seemingly from this decade, is still
very Phil Stacey. Instant message from
husband/partner/whatever = "Snakes on a
Mischka made Jordin's dresses tonight, and apparently Blake
allowed other human hands to create the pants he's wearing.
And oh, good, she's wearing her first outfit over
jeans. Someone FORCE her to stop this.
5. Here comes
Gwen Stefani to sing live, still acting like she's
irritated to even have to say the words "American
Idol" within 50 yards of her own music. But her
outfit is kind of amazing. Like she sat in a birthday
cake. I hope that before the number is over, candles
pop out and ignite in a heart-shaped pattern on her
6. OMG KELLY!!!
New single! She's mad! Mostly at Clive Davis, I hear.
Like he wanted to not release her new album or something
because it's not cute enough. And she's wearing her
Spanx tonight too. Dang, I love her. This song,
whatever it's called, "Piss Off, You" or
something like that, is very "Hell Is for
7. The Golden
Idol awards, part 1. This is that mock-awards thing they
started last season so the show could have a reason to trot
out the biggest goons available from the audition
rounds, or at least the ones who would consent to come
back and be humiliated all over again. Margaret in the
Big Bird outfit from the auditions is back, ready for more
abuse, to accept her award for Best Presentation. She
beat out the panther guy and the
gurgling/yodeling/orgasm girl. And the weirdest thing of all
is that these clowns are way more interesting than
Blake and Jordin. Margaret plants one on a seemingly
horrified Seacrest (and why do I still believe that it
could be Jessica Alba doing that to him and he'd still
react the same way?), shows off her fat wads, does a chicken
dance, and recites free verse. I'm just disappointed,
as you may have guessed, that The Hotness wasn't even
8. The top six
guys come out in all-white suits to pulverize a song with
Smokey Robinson, a man whose frightened Beverly Hills
housewife face is completely fascinating to me. Call
me crazy, but I think I'd rather look like Harry Dean
Stanton when I'm eleventy years-old instead of whatever
it is Smokey's going for here.
9. They show
another come-on ad for the Idol
let's-find-America's-next-piece-of-shit-band show that's
coming to pollute airwaves at any moment. So hey, does
your band suck big moose? Do you sound like Maroon 5
or Fall Out Boy or someone else equally embarrassing?
Then you could win!
10. HOLY CRAP,
IT'S DOUG E. FRESH!!! He is, unfortunately, having to
share the stage with Blake, who's never looked or sounded
less like someone who should share a stage with Doug
E. Fresh. Where's that guy from the Police
Academy movies? He should be up here too. ALL THE
V.P.'S OF MARKETING IN THE HOUSE SAY
Golden Idol award. The nominees for Best Vocal are the
serial killer-acting guy, the girl who couldn't
pronounce any of the words to "Black
Velvet," and that guy named Sholandric. That guy
named Sholandric wins. I agree with this because I
think anyone who has to go through life with that name
should be compensated somehow.
12. Gladys Knight
just dropped by on her way to her gig at the Pechanga
Casino. The top six girls are singing with her. Haley is
wearing more clothes than she's had on since she was
9. The producers rejected her bid to wear a clear
polyvinyl unitard for this number. "I wish I had her
legs," says my sister-in-law. My brother, not missing
a beat, says, "I wish you did too."
They've been married for 17 years. Gladys Knight is, I
assume, almost as old as Smokey Robinson but looks beautiful
without glaring surgery and is vocally as powerful as
she ever was. Flanked by Melinda and LaKisha for
"Midnight Train to Georgia" (and both seem to
be competing for Gladys's mother-love), this is the
best musical thing I've heard all evening. The camera
cuts to back-on-the-wagon Hasselhoff. He's not crying.
introduces Tony Bennett and he's standing right in front of
Constantine, who simply can't NOT look at the camera. Tony's
going to sing "This Is My Now." OK, lie.
He's actually going to join Michael Buble and Amy
Winehouse and the Ghost of Dean Martin for all 99 verses of
"99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall." OK,
yes, also a lie. He's going to sing "For Once
in My Life."
14. Golden Idol
award # 3 goes to Jonathan and Kenneth. I can't remember
which name belongs to which guy, but one was the kid with
the buggy eyes who they said looked like a lemur or
something and the other was the Special Olympics guy
and their mockery of him got the whole show into hot
water early on until--and I can't back this up at all but
you just know it happened--Fox gave somebody
somewhere a large donation. And as a comedy team
they're really no match for Amanda and Antonella.
15. What's up
with all those identical girls in the front row wearing the
same black minidress?
16. Melinda sings
with Bebe and Cece Winans. In my brother's house this
is a high point in the show, but the gays are all e-mailing
me and talking shit about Cece's wig. And that, ladies
and gentlemen, is the true red state/blue state
divide, right there. And...wait...hold
up...did Melinda just sing a line about
"the kind of friend crack can be?" I
just rewound the TiVo a few times and it really sounds
like that, even though I think the song's about God.
Underwood is going to sing "I'll Stand by
You." And even she's doing the dress-over-jeans
thing. Except the front part of the dress is missing.
It's like a shrug for pants. This, ladies, truly is the
mullet of gowns. Business on top, party underneath.
18. Clive Davis
is here to remind everyone that it's all really about
money. He can't talk about Daughtry enough. McPhee and the
Boogie are also-rans as far as he's concerned. He
can't use you if you can't show, he can't use you if
you can't sell. The show's called "Goddess,"
not "Classes." Got it?
19. The African
Children's Choir is here to cute up the place. They
succeed. Oh, you think I'm going to mock a group of
genuinely adorable children? Yeah, fuck you too. I
save that shit for the Disco Lion. But you know that
somewhere Paul Simon's getting all indignant, like,
"No one called me."
20. Sanjaya gets
to sing "You Really Got Me" with Joe Perry
from Aerosmith. This kid truly has cast-iron balls.
You gotta give him that. And...yes...wait
for it...CRYING GIRL IS HERE! I hope they let her go on
the tour with the Top 10. Joe Perry is playing a
guitar that has, I believe, Uma Thurman's face on it.
What's that about? And seriously, who are the black
minidress girls? This show is always tossing out mysteries
and never solving them for you.
21. Green Day.
Singing "Working Class Hero." And I just
realized something that made me feel old. I bought my
first Green Day record in 1990. I think it was on the
Lookout label. Back when they used to play at Gilman
Street in Berkeley. Of course, it makes them old too.
22. The TiVo
screwed up or something and froze a frame of a commercial on
the screen and then just jumped to Taylor Hicks singing. So
we can hear him but not see him. And that's a metaphor
for everything that's not going well in his career. As
I said last week, I firmly believe in the promise of a
Hicks variety show called The Boogie. Because I
need to SEE him do his thing in order to enjoy him.
And to that end, my pal at GrayCharles.com sent me a YouTube
clip of Hicks performing his lame-o "Do I Make
You Proud" song mashed up with "Dancing
Queen" and he did it in a sweat-soaked black shirt
and he seemed to be having an awesome time. And so did
I. Again, Fox, hear me. Give me The Boogie. I
need it. And they can't stop dissing him with the
camera, cutting away to, of all people, Ace Young, as
if to say, "Yeah, you won, but THIS guy is still
23. Ruben and
Jordin are singing "You're All I Need to Get
By." They're not exactly connecting. But hey,
they're only singing "You're All I Need to Get
By," right? Nice pink tie, though, Ruben. And J. Hud
is digging it so much she's standing and grooving and
flipping her hands back and forth.
24. Jeez. Bette
Midler. And I know some gay is going to send a letter
about this, but I don't care. I used to be, theoretically at
least, on Bette Midler's side since she was one of the
first public people to sort of court the gays and do
stuff on their behalf, especially in the AIDSiest part
of the 1980s. But lately she's been irritating the shit out
of me because she waffles on taking a public stance on gay
marriage and I'm like, "WTF, Bette Midler? Do
you think all we want to do is run around bathhouses
and do poppers and listen to you sing 'Friends' over
and over? That might have been nice for all the baby-boomer
fags you were buddies with but it's now many, many,
many years later. So GET WITH IT. And 'The Wind
Beneath My Wings?' Fuck that song. Sideways."
25. Kelly's back!
And Joe Perry's back too. She's singing "Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." I don't know
why. But whatever. It's Kelly.
Sgt. Pepper?" asks my sister-in-law. I just look at
my brother. "It's a record," says my
It's a tribute to the album. Hicks comes out to sing
"A Day in the Life." Points to his head
when the line "he blew his mind out in a
car" comes along. Thanks for that, Big
River for the deaf. Carrie Underwood is going to sing
"She's Leaving Home." Instant message
from the husband/partner/whatever, and it's a message
I was actually waiting for because I knew it was coming:
"I liked it better in the movie when the robot
sang it." Ruben is doing "Lucy in the
Sky With Diamonds" and I'm really, really, really
hoping William Shatner is waiting in the wings to jump
out onto the stage and join him.
says, "So I don't get it. Are all these songs by this
same Sgt. Pepper guy?"
"The Beatles. It's the Beatles."
"You're both about to make your first appearances on
Advocate.com, by the way. The legs comment
Then they all
sing "With a Little Help From My Friends." Did
they have to flip for who was going to sing the line,
"What would you think if I sang out
tune?" It's Sligh's duty here tonight. And the answer
to the question is that I would think you were
Sundancehead. Or Sanjaya. Or Haley. Or Antonella. Or
Carrie Underwood. Go back to "I'll Stand by
You" and tell me she wasn't hitting sharps to
the back of the Kodak.
26. And Jordin
wins in a dress one of the gays e-mails me about, saying,
"I call this one 'Butterscotch Fiasco.'" She
cries the song and thanks Mommy, Daddy, Nana, Mee-maw,
Poppy, Foot-Foot, and David Hasselhoff.
Springer wells up with man-tears he tries to conceal with a
Namaste pose. Sparks rain down on everyone because of how
she's Jordin Sparks. If Blake had won, they'd have
lowered Robert Blake from the ceiling balancing a
beach ball on the end of nose.
29. Simon Fuller
counts money all night long.
30. Stay pitchy,