that "a superstar will emerge" from the group
of 20 singers left in the competition. He says that as
though it were a threat. And the show is doing
everything it can to make that threat stick. They really
can't afford any more stillborn albums by Jordin
Sparks and Blake Lewis or anyone else for that matter.
the fix is in.
I have no proof,
obviously. Only observation. And it just seems like,
like just the tiniest teensiest bit, that David
Archuleta is the only male contestant I have any reason to
be writing about among this group of 10.
the first person writing about this show to suspect that the
kid is one of several plants. He's a male
pageant baby already; he's been stage-groomed
for years, what with the whole Star Search
background and all. In fact, I was in a Star Search
studio audience about four years, maybe five, years
ago when he came out onstage and sang Alicia Keys's
"Falling." I remember being unsettled by his
freak-show not-yet-voice-changed ability to know
exactly how to sing a distinctly female torch song
with absolutely no life experience beyond what was
obviously the care of a good vocal coach to back it up. And
then I never thought about him again.
even think that the David Archuleta on the Idol stage
now might have been that little kid in the red shirt I
saw that afternoon until today. So thanks again,
YouTube, you're a very good helper. And speaking of
YT, I have visions of Idol interns slavishly
combing through season 1's hours and hours of
nonshow footage (remember how they used to follow them
around with cameras so you could watch them all hanging out
at that big house and jumping in the pool?) to find
the moment, one that Archuleta himself must have
spoken about during his original round of pre-audition
interviews, where he sang "And I Am Telling You
I'm Not Going" to Kelly Clarkson and the
rest of the top 10. (I've been reading Heart
Full of Soul by The Boogie and His
Ghostwriter, so, yes, incredibly late to the
"insider" party, I realize, but I know
all about this backstage stuff now. Good pal Xtreem Aaron
picked it up for me at Los Angeles's gigantic Amoeba
Records on the book clearance shelf for $1.99.)
Then I like to
imagine the people who weren't the one lucky enough
to find the clip first and get it YouTube-ready all
But since someone
out there must care about these nine other guys,
here's what happens to them on Tuesday night.
It's "'70s Classics" Night.
1. Michael Johns
says he's a "bit of a jock." He plays
tennis. He plays heaps of tennis. That's how
Australians say that. They say "heaps," which
I've always thought was kind of funny. He sings
"Go Your Own Way" like a tennis player.
2. Jason Castro
has no answers to interview questions but has hair care
down. His most interesting feature, in fact, is his
Battlefield Earth mop. He sings "I Just
Want to Be Your Everything." He runs out of
breath. He does quite a bit of this.
3. Luke Mennard
sings in an a cappela group called Chapter Six. Wow, are
they squares. Like Doodletown Pipers-level bland. So he
comes out and tries Queen's "Killer
Queen." It's very...nice. Did you know
that Freddie Mercury was never called a
"nice" singer? I remember sitting in a Baptist
church pew once as a teenager while the traveling
anti-rock-and-roll youth minister called him,
basically, the devil, citing Queen in particular as a
band young people should stay away from, what with their
implied gayness and all. So yeah, it was a Baptist minister
who taught me to associate homosexuality with the word
"queen." But back to the point. Why any
one single person, even with three talented backup singers
lending a hand, would try to re-create the studio
concoctions of that band is beyond me. It would be
like trying to sing an ELO song. You ain't good
enough. It doesn't matter who you are.
4. Robbie Carrico
seems to be wearing a wig. When he's not displaying
the fakey-looking, oddly matted-down hair, he's
wearing a tightly wrapped rag covered in skulls.
"Hot Blooded" but forgets that in order to
sing Foreigner YOU MUST BE WEARING THE FOREIGNER BELT.
He is not, therefore, hot-blooded. I begin thinking
about waffles again. I do like it, though, when he holds
up three fingers when he gets to the part about having a
fever of 103. The rock-climbing gear on the side of
his Stupid Pants is funny too. My
husband/partner/whatever starts singing along to the chorus
with his own lyrics: "I'M NOT BALDING.
I'M NOT BALDING!"
5. I like Danny
Noriega. He's just an average singer, but he totally
entertains me. He just doesn't give a fuck if the
whole world knows what a little Christian Siriano he
is. That's the kind of kid who took all the
bullets for me in high school while I skulked around
pretending to be neither here nor there. He talks
about the shitty punk rock band he was in in ninth
grade, and I keep waiting for him to say,
"Omuhgodweweresofeerce." Then he sings
"Superstar." It's boring, but at
least he's not smiling while he sings it. He knows
what it's like, the pain of being a young girl
in love. I hope he sticks around and keeps flaming up
6. According to
Defamer, David Hernandez used to be a go-go boy and a
bartender at some Phoenix gay bars. This is funny
information in light of Hernandez's comment
that he was always embarrassed by his old gymnastics
uniform he had to wear in school, the one that showed off
his junk too much. Sings "Papa Was a Rolling
Stone." Thirty-seven syllables in
"rolling stone," by the way, in case you
weren't counting. Seacrest and Paula decide to
spend a little time post-performance discussing the
meaning of '70s pop music. Paula says it was a great
time for music in the '70s. Seacrest asks her
why that was. Paula tells him it's because the
music was so great then.
7. Jason Yeager
sings the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train
Runnin'." Grins his way through the part
about how Miss Lucy lost her home and her family.
Also, Jason Yeager is a gay-porn name from 1987. Also, quit
making that faggoty little bleachy bit in your hair. Also,
think twice about athletic-cut shirts. Also, stop
singing. He's like Jamiroquai if they were even
8. Chikezie says
"Myself and my name are Nigerian." That
doesn't make "myself" the subject
of a sentence, doofus. Sings "I Believe to My
Soul." See? Inconsistent. He should change it
to "Myself Believe to My Soul." But
it's fine. Did you know that Donny Hathaway's
daughter Kenya is one of the Idol backup
singers? Look, it's work. Sasses Simon again
about the orange suit. I like that.
9. David Cook, we
discover, enjoys crossword puzzles and seems proud of
his vocabulary, one which includes the following
eighth-grade standardized test words: juxtapose,
vindicate, ostentatious, homage, culmination,
obscurity, permeate, optimistic, pessimistic, and enamored.
Sings Free's "All Right Now." Simon
calls him out for the crossword puzzle thing,
basically telling kids everywhere that being smart
isn't cool. Good one. Mr. Cook's guitar
features the mysterous letters "A.C." It
can't possibly be the initials of a really
offensively named noise band whose name I can't
even say here. And you know, if you've been
reading these recaps for three seasons, that they let me say
pretty much anything my foul-mouthed keyboard can type
up for you. Anyway, A.C. are kind of great. They have
song titles like "I Noticed You're
Gay," which is about Pearl Jam. I'm just
going out on a limb and saying that he's not
giving them a shout-out.
Archuleta sings the least possibly offensive lyrics to
"Imagine," leaving out all that theologically
unsound material about no heaven or hell or God. Randy
asks him why he didn't sing the first verse.
The kid says that the last verse is his favorite and there
just wasn't time for all the rest of them.
Paula, already in tears and the season's
practically just begun, tells him she wants to squeeze him,
pinch his head off, and dangle him from her
car's rearview mirror. I can only assume she
means that in the good way. The screaming is out of control
for the boy. He responds with his best practiced humble
face, aw-shucksing it to satellites and back.
Friend Gary is
over to watch the show on Wednesday night. He's
temping right now. Answering phones for some business.
Some crazy guy called the company today, totally had
the wrong number, then got Gary involved in a lengthy
and weird conversation about Simon Cowell.
"I'd like to see that son of a bitch
get up there and sing!" the guy yelled into the
phone. Gary put him on hold until he hung up.
kind of true-life Idol tale I like to hear.
Sadly, it's the kind they leave out of books like
Chicken Soup for the "American Idol"
Soul. You think I'm making that title up,
but check it for yourself. My copy is arriving in the
mail this week.
out wearing a shirt with nothing underneath. He's
very nipply tonight. Tells the women that their
futures hang in the balance. Because that's so
1. The fix on the
female side is all about Carly. They've presented her
as the most adorable, if not the most poignant, of the
ladies, showing her pouring drinks in the Irish pub
and talking about tea-drinking. People from Ireland
and England are really cute when they talk about
their tea and biscuits. Someone even made a cool website
about it that I like now called
www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com. So anyway, wee lassie
Carly Smithson. I'm on her side. I feel bad that MCA
didn't know how to market her CD back whenever
it was that she put one out with them. I thought that
somehow the whole "sold fewer than 400 copies"
story was some kind of fake-out. The
husband/partner/whatever bought one because she was
all hooked up with that New Radicals guy at the time. I
mean, I'm nobody and my dorko book sold
more than 400 copies. And I didn't have a big
publisher putting $2 million into my shit either. So
that was epic fail right there. Anyway, she sings
Heart's "Crazy on You" and
it's not bad at all. She's super
boobular-bouncy tonight and her blouse gives her a
bump alert. Totally boinks the ending of the song too.
Randy is wearing this giant watch. It's like the size
of a human face. With rich people everything is bigger
2. Syesha Mercado
has been in regional commercials. We see one. She can
cry like a fake baby. It's weird. Sings "Me
and Mrs. Jones" but changes it to
"Mr." Again, weird. Why not just lez it up and
be all saucy? That'd be rad. I remember once
hearing J. Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. covering the
Smiths' "The Boy With The Thorn In His
Side" and being annoyed when he changed
pronouns too, throwing all these "she's" into it.
3. Brooke White
went to beauty school. That's her big secret of the
night. We see her giving some guy a faux-hawk. "I
call this one the Blake Lewis," she announces,
proudly. Sings "You're So Vain" and
it's a lot of whatever. It's fine. She
looks all wholesome up there, strumming her guitar,
working that Once angle for the cameras.
It'd be better if her guitar said "This
machine kills fascists" on it. Oh, and did you
know that Carly Simon, for charity, auctioned off the
identity of the guy in that song? Like the highest bidder
got taken into a room and told. Now Dick Ebersol knows
who wore the apricot scarf. Simon praises her for the
song. Gary on the couch, in a terrible Simon accent
says, "Psych! I'm kidding. It was total
4. Ramiele sings
"Don't Leave Me This Way" after we see
some clips of her from a few years ago performing
Filipino cultural dances. Thing is, she doesn't
go big enough with the song. Because you really better be
prepared to make the world forget Thelma Houston. Only her
cuteness and sassy little haircut will save her this
week. Randy, not to be outdone by Paula's
"it was great then because then it was great"
commentary from earlier, blathers on about how much he
loved the music of the '70s, which prompts
Xtreem Aaron, who's seated next to Friend Gary on my
couch, to say, "That's right. Randy was
into Kraftwerk, Can, Neu, Faust, the Stooges. All that
shit. He played bass in YaHoWa 13. He called himself
5. Kristy Lee
Cook sure is pretty. Oh, look, here she is in a baseball
cap calling herself a tomboy. It's always good when
monster-pretty girls call themselves
"tomboys." It gets straight guys all wound up
to see a girl gut a fish. We see her on a horse,
pretending she's Atreyu from TheNeverendingStory. Then we see her pretend she's capable
of being anything but a country singer while
delivering a passable "You're No
Good." It's aggressive, though, like a
women's self-defense class. She's taking
back the night.
Overmyer is here to ruin Kansas's "Carry on
Wayward Son." But whatthefuckever. Everything
about her is awesome. I love her. I love her
dyke-on-bikeness. I love her Indiana trashy-ladyhood. I love
how she clearly has nothing in common with the other
women singing. I like how her big reveal is that she
reads books so she doesn't have to talk to
anyone else on the show. Well, she didn't say that
last part, but you know that's how it is. I
love her crazy Sweeney Todd-meets-Cruella De Vil hair.
She stomps and pisses the Kansas out of that song. How ya
like her now? You don't? Fuck off!
Whitaker doesn't like it when the food on her plate
touches its neighbor food. That's the most
we're going to learn about her tonight. Then
she sings "Hopelessly Devoted to You," which
would have been cooler if she'd brought out a
little kiddie blow-up pool with a picture of John
Travolta floating in it.
Alexandrea Lushington makes the lunkheaded move of
choosing a limp little Chicago song, "If You
Leave Me Now," as her song. You can't
cool-up Peter Cetera. It's against the laws of
physics. Before she sings that, though, we see a clip
of her singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at
some local sporting event, and it sounds like she's
saying, "for the red parts we watched."
So the Chicago song is pretty weak, and she can't
save it. The judges come down on her for it. Simon is
especially critical, of course. I love the look on her
face as he talks to her. It's this scrunched-up
scowl. So good. Meanwhile, I just want Randy to talk more
about his big-ass watch. Like, is it vintage? Did Galileo
use it to discover stuff? Does a periscope pop out of
9. Kady Malloy
just killed Heart's "Magic Man." And by
killed I don't mean that opposite kind of
"kill" that you hear comedians talk about. I
mean ouch, my ears. Less rocking than the "Guitar
Hero" version. And for his part, Simon Cowell
announces, boldly, that he doesn't know the song.
What weird gaps you have there, Mr. Cowell.
Epperson has decided that she will impersonate Celine Dion
singing Eric Carmen's "All by Myself."
Hair straightened, and it takes me a second to even
recognize her. Her voice cracks. Something's wrong
people not named David Archuleta are worried.
2. Seacrest, once
again, congratulates the people who used telephones.
"Well done," he says to me. Well, not me. I
never vote. But the husband/partner/whatever voted for
Danny and Amanda 50 times each.
3. Group sing
time. '70s medley. Piss on "It's a
Heartache," Amanda. Do it! More skulls from
Robbie. Thanks. Last night it was just the headband.
Tonight it's a shirt. Next week it'll be skull
pants and codpiece.
4. And goodbye to
Jason Yeager of the skunky bangs that stand up
straight. He manages to sing through the Humiliation Number,
again grinning all the way.
5. And goodbye to
Alexandrea Lushington. She stands next to Amanda and is
thinking, OK, yes, I fucked it up, but I was better
than this crazy bitch. Complains that her
great-grandmother never got flown out to Cali on the
show's dime. That's what I would have
said too. She is pissed off. The face says it all. The
camera cuts to a weepy David Archuleta. I bet he has
his own camera already, one that's trained to
his every move. What will he do next?
6. And goodbye to
Alaina Whitaker. Best part = Kady Malloy is bottom 2 as
well and seems almost resigned to the fact that she's
the one going home, so her "What?!" face
when she's told she's safe is pretty good.
Alaina cries. Says, "I can sing!" while
crying. Seacrest has to calm her down, all
gentle-voiced, and actually gives her the choice of whether
or not she'll do the Humiliation Number. All
the girls rush out onto the stage to lend support.
They should just let Amanda do it. She doesn't give a
fuck. She be like, "Here, gimme that song.
I'll bust it over my knee, tie it to the back
of my hog, and drag it through some mud!" Alaina
cries through the Humiliation Number. All the girls
sing with her. Danny wants to jump onstage and help.
7. Oh, man. Idol
Gives Back night is coming again this season. Will they
top the self-congratulatory grossness of last year? I
don't see how they can. We see clips to remind
us of how hideous a night that was. Paula making
little girls weep for the camera, Madonna scouting for
orphans, Ben Stiller keeping his distance, Il Divo
souring the air around them, our despicable president
and his horror-wife smiling smugly, Dr. Phil and Teri
Hatcher and Gwyneth and everyone dancing. It made Hands
Across America seem well-thought-out.
8. And goodbye to
Robbie. What this means to me is that I will have to
look to another contestant to fill me with thoughts of
waffles. This is what happens when you don't
think you need the Foreigner Belt.
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