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From Nothin’ Still Leaves 20

From Nothin’ Still Leaves 20


They could have made it easy and gotten rid of all the boring ones, but then there'd be no show. As it is, the public voted instead. They say.

Question: How does one recap five hours of television?

Answer: By taking the easy way out.

I will only make commentary about extraneous stuff if it's really mind-blowing and new. For example, all gay-baiting between Simon and Seacrest will be taken as a constant and not worthy of mention. Paula Silly-Talk also a given. Randy may receive some mention but only because I find him the single most annoying person on the show. In fact, I'll just get that out of the way right now. His new thing of saying, "WHAT?!" as a form of delighted surprise is already a pain in my ass.

An example:

"You started out a little pitchy but then you got into it and started to blow and I was like, 'WHAT?!'"

Now, I understand that being seven seasons in and still not latching on to a catchphrase any more distinctive than "dawg" can be a little disconcerting, especially when Tim Gunn managed to make it look so effortless. But the reach-into-the-screen-and-shake-a-fool technology that I was so craving during my earliest moments in the company of The Boogie is something I still yearn for. And the man who helped unleash a new Paula Abdul song on the world is tops on my list.

Tuesday: Guy Night

Songs: The least interesting music of the 1960s

Mood: Much more faggy than I've ever seen before. And I watched season 1, where it appeared that they'd simply gone out and recruited from various gay men's choruses.

1. David Hernandez sings "In the Midnight Hour" and proves that hitting all the notes perfectly is not the same thing as being entertaining. I assume he's singing about the midnight hour on the cruise ship that gets hit by a tidal wave and capsizes because he's so damn stick-up-the-ass robotic and dull. And even that's an insult to actual robot musicians like Daft Punk. I'm sorry, Daft Punk. One bright spot: he's' got some freaked-out superfear eyeballs.

2. Chikezie. Didn't he have a last name during auditions? And didn't it, like, rhyme? Why drop it now when that could be so much fun? Easy, breezy, Sneezy, queasy, Febrezey, trapezey, Young Jeezy. See? Hours of wholesome giggles. I have no idea what he sang because I forgot to write it down. I was too focusing on that Fanta Orange suit he got down at the Crenshaw Plaza Mall in the shop next to the kiosk where they take your picture and then superimpose it against a giant brandy snifter, like your face becomes something to drink after a fine meal. You think I'm just making shit up now, I know, but I've been to the Crenshaw Plaza Mall and both of those things really exist. I swear. Anyway, he looks like an O'Jay and sasses Simon with the quickness. I want him to stick around.

3. David Cook. And to think I used to dislike Blake Lewis's hair. This dude just upped the fugly ante. He's like all the worst bits of B.L. and Daughtry in one awful argyley package. Sings "Happy Together," which only makes me want Wong Kar-Wai to rush the stage and kick his ass. There's a hankie sticking out of his back right pocket. All jokesters form a line to one side, please.

4. Jason Yeager is from Grand Prairie, Texas. That's a suburb of Dallas, by the way, and very close to where I'm watching this week's episodes. If you read last year's recaps, you may remember that my mom lives in a nursing home in Rowlett, Texas, another suburb of Dallas. So I'm currently in the company of a brother, a sister-in-law, and some little kids they made. Anyway, Jason Yeager is 28 but appears to have a 14-year-old son. Maybe he's 8, who knows. But the kid looks big enough to be a love child. He says he wants to show his son that all dreams can be achieved even if the boy grows up to have weird, gay bleach-tinted bangs like Dad. Then he slow-belches an oozy version of "Moon River." My 12-year-old niece, having never heard the song before, instantly declares her dislike. I don't have the heart to tell her that it's one of the best songs ever. How can I when her introduction to it is delivered by a man who's currently urinating all over Audrey Hepburn's and Henry Mancini's graves?

5. Robbie Carrico is the guy from Boys-N-Girls United, toured with Britney, dated her for a while, and God only knows what else. Old photos of him show a clean-cut child with too much gel in his hair. Currently he's pretending to be a rock and roller. Hence the hirsute-itude and the WALLET MOTHERFUCKING CHAIN. Also the Aunt Jemima head wrap. He sings "One Is the Loneliest Number," but all I want from this guy is some waffles and an accurate count of the illegitimate children left in his wake. Best part = when Seacrest says that he looks like Justin Timberlake and R.C. gives him visible grimace. Thought bubble in R.C.'s head: Yeah? Well, I hit it first.

6. David Archuleta. Did you know that "chuleta" in Spanish means "chop," as in a cut of meat? He's the kid who won Star Search Junior or whatever it was called. And I just saw a YouTube video of him at age 12 singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," to a flabbergasted Kelly Clarkson and Jim Verraros. He's the most technically proficient person I've seen all night and seems to even know where to fake the emotion in the song. He will go far, far, far unless Zac Efron's already called in the hit. My niece likes him, and that's what's going to count when middle-school speed-dialing takes over. "Isn't he good, Dad?" she says to my brother, a man whose disdain for American Idol is matched only by his enthusiasm for escaping the room to go watch the Mavericks game on another TV.

"Oh, yeah. Great," he deadpans before beating a path out of the room.

7. Danny Noriega. Dear Jim Verraros, star of Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds and accomplished independent recording artist in your own right and the very first American Idol alum to officially let the world know that you were a homo: THIS BOY IS ALL YOUR FAULT.

Oh, I kid.

But it would behoove this child to learn the difference between swaggering and prancing. He's good at the latter, for the record. And he sings "Jailhouse Rock," and that's appropriate, since lyrically it's all about prison sex. But still, it'd be nice if we could just let the femmy gay boy be the femmy gay boy without having to force a futile butchness on him. Let's all learn a lesson from the Sanjaya experience, if we can. I'm hoping Jack from Project Runway shows up to carry him around in a tote bag soon. Anyway, he gives Simon an equivalent amount of Chikezie sassing with giant heaping mounds of fag piled on top.

8. Luke Menard has three days of beard growth and an unusual resemblance to Orlando Bloom, and he's married to an actual woman. Sings Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'" and suddenly I'm back to thinking about waffles. Simon calls him forgettable, but Luke begs to differ, throwing Ace Young Sexface at the camera. Smart move, Pretty. Don't use it all up in one week, though, because that might be all you got.

9. Colton Berry seals his doom by telling the entire world that the celebrity he most resembles is Ellen DeGeneres. And you know what, kid? I would have never thought about that if you hadn't brought it up, but now it's all I see. That you then sing "Suspicious Minds" with a giant Portia de Rossi-eating grin on your face is not helping matters one fuckin' bit. Here's why: IT'S NOT A HAPPY SONG. Not since Ruben Studdard sunshine-smiled his way through the Carpenters' exquisitely suicidal "Superstar" over and over has a song been mauled with so much dumb dumbness.

10. Garrett Haley, I believe, is goofing on everyone here because in reality he either (a) sits in his room listening to Darkthrone records and building homemade bombs, or (b) he's actually that guy from the Darkness. Much like the former Carly Hennessey, glam-metal loons the Darkness were supposed to be huge in this country. And then they weren't. Much unlike Carly Hennessey, however, poor lass, they actually did make it big on their home island of the United Kingdom. But then Garrett Haley opens his mouth to sing, and the wispy mewling fumes of Neil Sedaka's '70s redwood hot tub version of "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" stink up the joint. Also? Fox forgot to provide him with a glass of milk to drink and a kitten to lick off the upper lip residue before coming in for the close-up shots.

11. It appears that my family members go to the same giant supermegachurch here in Rockwall, Texas, where Jason Castro, the white boy with the dreadlocks, plays guitar in the church band. I had to have the concept of "church band" explained to me because the last time I went to church there was a nice old lady playing an organ. Nowadays, apparently, people go to church on Sunday and want to hear Switchfoot rock them in their pews before lunch. I got no problem with Jesus, but I think if I ever decided to set foot in another church, I'd still pick the one where the old lady played the organ. Anyway, Mr. Castro sings "What a Day for a Daydream" and seems pretty loose and happy about it. I don't want to strangle him, which is more affection than I've felt for most of these young men.

12. Michael Johns is the Aussie with the kind of handsome face you build from a grown-man kit. He sings "Light My Fire" crotch-first and is upping the sex-threat-semiotics with the long, long, long scarf that dangles down between his legs. Women will vote for him. Little girls will wonder when the Jonas Brothers are coming back to sing all nice and stuff. Simon compares him to Michael Hutchence, minus the autoerotic asphyxiation.

Final thought of the night: WHERE'S CARLY?

Some possibilities:

(a) is busy putting mysterious packages in bus stations for the IRA

(b) was called away at the last minute to sub for the drummer of Celtic Woman

(c) skipped the show to go try the new potato burrito at Baja Fresh

(d) having her first tramp-stamp removed at Dr. Lazer while tearfully watching old B*Witched videos on her iPod.

Wednesday: Ladies' Night

Songs: The least interesting music of the 1960s, part 2

Mood: A Carrie Underwood look-alike contest

1. Kristy Lee Cook. Has bronchitis. Is pretty. Looks like Carrie Underwood. Is also spread-legged, stiff, squinty, and wearing a rictus of agony-smiling. Seems to want to go lie down and die. I forgot to write down what she sang and it's barely important anyway.

2. Joanne Borgella, the plus-size model who also appears to buy her hair in bulk. Sings "I Say a Little Prayer for You." I think the only version she's ever heard before her own is the one sung in the restaurant scene in My Best Friend's Wedding.

3. Alaina Whitaker. Also looks like Carrie Underwood. She's a junior in high school and seems to be one of those girls who'll look back 20 years from now and actually say they were the best years of her life. And, you know, whatever, someone's got to have that privilege, I guess. Sings "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday" and makes it sounds like not the worst song ever written. It's her birthday. My 4-year-old nephew says, "She's wearing a boy's top." This statement make me think several things at once: 1. He noticed anything about her clothes at all. 2. He called it a "top." 3. This means he thinks boys wear "tops" and that it would be normal for a boy to wear one that is uni-sleeved and off-the-shoulder. 4. His mother and not his father is the person teaching him how to talk about clothes.

4. Amanda, the rock-and-roll nurse and treasurer of her local coven, where they really miss her, mean it, growls "Baby Please Don't Go" and cracks me up with all the "babbadoobabbadooba" she tosses around. And her hair is like what would happen if Elvira were a truck-stop waitress. I'd love to eat at that truck stop. I'd order several slices of pie. My brother, taking a break from the basketball game on the bedroom TV, walks through the living room and says, "If you vote for her, do you get a free pack of cigarettes?"

5. Amy Davis. I don't think she should be allowed to have that name. I know only one Amy Davis and she's a great fashion illustrator and funny star of the little-seen-but-still-insanely-amazing Jon Moritsugu movie Fame Whore. This Amy Davis soils the name Amy Davis by making dogs all across the country howl along to her version of Connie Francis's "Where the Boys Are." Epic fail.

6. Next up is Sophie B. Hawkins. Actually, it's Brooke White (no relation), the nanny who's never seen an R-rated movie. Not even The Godfather? How could you not see The Godfather? Anyway, she couldn't really be Sophie B. Hawkins because that would entail singing, "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover," and that would be wrong because of the bad swear of "damn" in the title and the allusion to sex implied in the word "lover." Randy tells her that she got "her slaying on." Now I want her to sing "Reign In Blood." Oh, look, she's got a cute husband.

7. Alexandrea Lushington. Now, that's a name. She's the one with the adorable 93-year-old grandmother that she misses terribly. Because you kind of get used to that old-lady smell after a while, you know? You miss it. I hear Comme des Garcons is putting out a grandma-themed candle soon (top note: cat pee; middle: off-brand floral bouquet soap from the 99-cent store; base note: nursing home) in select guerrilla store locations. They'll cost $150 each. Anyway, she sings "Spinning Wheel," which is kind of a tough song to do right, but she's funky and in control and gets kinda jazzy with it. I like her. I also like her T-shirt, which appears to be emblazoned with an image of Jason Robards from A Boy and His Dog.

8. Kady Malloy. Also looks like Carrie Underwood. Sings "Groovy Kind of Love." Has serious pitch problems. When criticized, it becomes apparent that no one in her life has ever dared speak to her this way before and she gets a wickedly entertaining upset/pissed-off face. Has "mean girl" written all over her. Therefore she needs to stick around and serve it up. Nothing spells hilarity like princessy entitlement.

9. Asia'h Epperson. Did I say "Lushington" was a name? I mean "Asia'h." How is such a name pronounced? Ahh-seeyah? Ay-zha? Ay-zha with a little huffy exhale at the end? I think that's the way I like best. She's the one with the dead father. I hope she goes far and manages to steer clear of any advice Natalie Cole might be lurking around waiting to give. ("Here, lemme show you how to play this the right way," I imagine the conversation beginning -- and quickly turning evil.) Also wearing my favorite earrings of the night because she appears to have reached up into the galaxy, taken the rings from around Saturn, and placed them on her head. As for her singing, I think she's the loosest and most fun so far.

10. Ramiele Malubay looks like a Bratz doll and is the first person this week to misuse the word "surreal." I've laid down my strict opinions on this word in other recaps, both of this show and Project Runway. I won't belabor the point. But everyone's got to stop using this word incorrectly. I'd rather see its and it's confused all day/every day for the rest of my life. What's good about her, however, is that she seems to have studied old videos of Dusty Springfield drama queen stage moves before delivering a passable rendition of "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." She knows how to tilt her head and make it glamorous. I ain't mad at her about that at all.

11. Syesha Mercado. I love her wild, flying-in-all-directions afro. She does "Tobacco Road" and she's loud, loud, loud and big, big, big. No complaints.

12. Carly's Smithson's back. Also suffering from bronchitis. I'm into her jacked-up Irish teeth. They finally let her explain that she once had a record deal that fell apart. I forget to write down what song she sings, but she seems to know what she's doing. I'm not bored by her yet. "Don't you want to hear any of these girls sing?" asks my sister-in-law as my brother walks through the room again.

"Maybe if you put 'em in some bi-kinis!" he says in his best Larry the Cable Guy.

Thursday Night: Chopped and Screwed night.

What happens:

1. Seacrest congratulates people for dialing phones. "Well done!" he says.

2. A weird music video/commercial featuring the music of Daughtry advertising the existence of the Top 24. Like, "Look! It's them! The people you're already watching! Can you even believe it's them?" If I were Tom Sullivan, I wouldn't have to look at this.

3. The Radio Disney Carnival Cruise Line Salute to the '60s. Every single one of them is wearing someone's evil joke of what '60s outfits would look like. A Hullabaloo of doom.

4. Evicted: Garrett Paley. Seems not all that choked up about it.

5. Evicted: Amy Davis. Paula's advice involves something about opening the next door in her life. Then I swear she says something like "go paint that door and that knob." I got nothing.

6. Paula Abdul's new video. It could use a little Keanu Reeves. Or a song. I'm glad someone's not holding a gun to my head right now because I'd still be unable to hum the melody. During the video my brother and I have a conversation about processing the human voice in pop music and about how good Zapp and Roger used to be.

7. Evicted: Joanne. In the worst black dress ever made. It actually got into a fight with that homemade pink one that Jennifer Hudson infamously wore that one night and the J. Hud dress won. But she's still got a job as a model, so it ain't like she's going down the stony end anytime soon. I'm looking forward to her being in the next Carl's Jr "Fuck You, I'm Eating" ad.

8. Ricky -- oops, I mean Ramiele -- begins crying and does not stop. I start laughing out loud, and my niece is looking at me like I'm the worst, most confusing person she's ever known. "Because it's always funny when they cry," I explain. "Get it?"


No, she does not.

9. Evicted: Colton. He'd cry, but Ramiele beat him to it and she's way better at it. Danny Noriega seems to be welling up too. First crushes are always tough.

10. There's a group "You're Dead" reel for all four of them. Some new song is played about how it's time to get lost. I hope it's called "Tail Between Your Legs," but it's probably not.

11. Ramiele keeps crying, soon to be rushed to the ER for dehydration. Cry, Ramiele, cry!

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