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Turns out that "vocal perfection" is not what text message voters are interested in on this week's American Idol.

You know, people harsh on Simon Cowell's terrible monochromatic wardrobe. And they should. That haircut alone is enough break mirrors. But bad fashion is Randy Jackson's game if we're going to really break it down. His giant sundial watch notwithstanding, Randy consistently looks like the side of an airbrushed Chevy van in 1979.

On Tuesday's show he's wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt that has about five different design elements going on at the same time. It's a pink right shoulder and an orange moon over the left pectoral and some Chinese alphabet characters spelled out in blackened jewels combined with a necklace and a wristband.

And the face-size watch. Which can stay. Because it's fascinating.

So it's '80s night. This should be gay.

Up first is Luke Menard, who kicks off the week's Personality Reels by talking about his most embarrassing moment as a child, in which he was dressed up like a girl by his sister. Last week he boldly claimed that being a part of the a cappella singing group he's in required vocal perfection. So here he is to show off some of that skill, sharp-noting his way through one of Wham!'s more idiotic songs, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." (It is, in fact, the third most idiotic Wham! song. The most idiotic Wham! song is "Club Tropicana." Runner-up is "Wham Rap!") His singing is weird, pinched, and thin, but at least the backup singers are doing the Pepsii and Shirlie dance. The rest of the guys are standing on the railing over him. Only David Hernandez is dancing. That's because someone said "Go-Go" and he thought it was time to head for work. Luke finishes the song by grinning and exhaling the word "Jitterbug!" while pointing at the camera. Sometimes things that stink of phony and suck a lot still give me a truckloads of pleasure. This is one of those things.

David Archuleta is thirsty and he has to pee. Isn't that a sign of diabetes? Where's Randy? Someone ask him. He's been doing those diabetes commercials lately that run here between ads for Coca-Cola. He'll know. Don't lose a foot, David Archuleta! D.A. tells Seacrest that he didn't want the world to know of his thirst and his need to hit the pissoir. But he does want you to know about this one time, when he was being flown down to Honduras for a gig (yes, really) and he lost his voice in the middle of the song. And his mom got up onstage and finished the song for him and wow, so embarrassing. D.A. sings that Phil Collins song about homeless people, whatever it's called. It's a song that Patrick Bateman would chainsaw massacre someone to. Then he'd cook their brains up in a copper pan and eat them. Then he'd go to Barneys.

Randy says that "it's like watching one of your concerts."

Now, what exactly does that mean? Has Randy been to one of David Archuleta's concerts already? Was he in Honduras too? Did he play the bass? Paula actually praises the boy for his bum notes, calling him perfect. THE WHOLE WORLD WANTS TO CUDDLE THIS KID. Simon bitches at him for singing downer lyrics regarding whatever this song is about. D.A. says the song draws attention to the plight of people who have nothing. Thank you, Homeless!

The camera cuts to the first celebrity of the season, serial Idol taping attendee Denise Richards. You might remember her from making out with Neve Campbell in Wild Things or that James Bond movie where she was a nuclear scientist named Christmas Jones. Or you might remember her from her upcoming reality series, where she plans to exploit her own children and make her ex-husband even more furious and drug binge-prone than he already is.

Danny Noriega makes me really happy. He is the product of decades of gays slowly inching their way to a place where no one has to give a damn about who's watching. I don't give a shit about his singing; I care about the everything else. He takes on Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," which is the right thing to do. Randy calls him vocally "shy," and that's right too, because the boy really has no idea what he's doing when he sings. Paula calls him a "bright light" and he nods his head enthusiastically, like, "Yes, that's true! I am!" Simon rips into him. D.R.'s response is to hold his hand up to his head, mocking Simon's signature "thinking hard" pose to shout, "Whatever!" Then Seacrest tells him he had never noticed the purple streaks D.R. put in his hair, to which the boy says, "Mmm-HMMM."

Seacrest looks puzzled and introduces David Hernandez. I half expect D.R. to say, "Oh, her?"

D.H. says his most embarrassing moment had something to do with a photo shoot and a booger. All I can hear is my husband-partner-whatever saying, "A customer put a 20 in my ass crack and I left a skid mark on it! HA! My stripper name was Bolt."

We are a classy home. Full of classy people.

He sings "It's All Coming Back to Me Now." It's technically an '80s song but not by much. Recorded first in 1989 by a female group called Pandora's Box, then made famous in the '90s by Celine Dion. It's in the same camp as "Total Eclipse of The Heart" and all those other nine-minute bombast ballads where people sing about "the flesh and the fantasy."

Michael Johns's most embarrassing moment involves wearing a kangaroo costume and getting the shit beaten out of him at a rugby match. He sings "Don't You Forget About Me" and seems to be enjoying mixing up all the lyrics to suit his own tastes. He gets the "hey hey hey heyyyy... oooooohhhooooohhhh" part right, at least. Anyway, I'm trying to forget it as soon as it hits my ears. And I've watched this show for enough years that I think I'm pretty good at that now. Randy tells him he sounds like Michael Hutchence. That's nice, Randy. But this is a Simple Minds song. Paula likes it when he hops around.

David Cook's most embarrassing moment is the plaid hat he's wearing in his Most Embarrassing Moment clip. He takes "Hello" and turns it into a power ballad. Randy calls it emo, but that's just because of D.C.'s awful hair. Paula joins him onstage and, blindfolded, sculpts a bust of Lionel Richie out of clay.

Jason Castro is here to sing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

Dear Jason Castro and Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley and k.d. lang and John Cale and Rufus Wainwright and Imogen Heap and Keren Ann and Willie Nelson and Bono and Bob Dylan and Bon Jovi and Spoon and Regina Spektor and Bettie Serveert and Gov't Mule and K's Choice and Damien Rice and Betty Buckley and Gavin DeGraw and the Dresden Dolls and Sheryl Crow and Pedro the Lion and anyone else in the world who's covered "Hallelujah":

Y'all are the reasons I never need to hear it again.


Dave White

Chikezie's most embarrassing moment happened when he accidentally walked into a women's restroom, which kind of officially means that nothing embarrassing has ever happened to Chikezie. He sings "All The (Wo)Man That I Need." It's fine, if a touch too Luther's Ghost. And what have they done to his makeup? He looks like they've put him through the matte-ing machine. Oprah, it turns out, in spite of big-giving the world one of the most awful reality shows ever, was right, at least, about African-Americans getting the wrong end of the stick on TV where lighting and makeup are concerned. I heard her talk about it once on her show, and then she told the audience that the lighting in her studio is designed for black skin. Poor Chikezie doesn't stand a chance here now that the new Archu-Light's been installed.

And now for the ladies and their '80s...

Asia'h Epperson's most embarrassing moment occurred when she was an extra on the set of a movie and there was a big roller-skating scene (I'm guessing ATL, which is about 80% roller-skating scenes, and not a bad movie at all, really) and she ran into one of the lights. The resulting fall-down-go-boom moment is funny now but got her kicked off the set for the rest of the shoot. That last part was just a guess. But I have friends who've done extra work, and they tell me that the competition for roles like "Mooby's Customer #4" is pretty intense. She sings "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and she's fine, if a little out of breath in spots. But the thing I'm sort of fascinating on most are her pants. Are they footie pajamas? Mauve long johns? Really tight sweats? A saggy full-body diaper? Are they even working with the stylists yet, or is this still the you're-on-your-own phase? Maybe Syesha told her she looked really good and she was like, "Really? Do you think so?" while Syesha smiled that evil Grinchy smile. And then Asia'h asked Amanda about the pants and Amanda said, "Are you a bottle of Jack Daniel's and a pack of Pall Malls? No? Then shut the fuck up." And now here Asia'h is, pants-doomed, singing in front of a swirly background screen that looks like a digital toilet is about to flush her down itself.

Kady Malloy sure is pretty. And kind of stylish, at least, in her Most Embarrassing Moment clip, where she talks about blowing some audition somewhere. She's got on a weird blackish top and what looks like a hot-pink plastic telephone receiver on her head. Can't go wrong with that sort of thing. If false eyelashes were singing style she'd advance to the Top 12. Then she performs an '80s song I don't recognize and have no intention of hunting down. She sure is pretty.

Amanda the Book-Readin' Rock 'n' Roll Nurse burned down a pool once. See, kids, this is how you tell a story. It has to end with you setting water on fire. Now she's here to sing Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You," The wacky hair from last week is, sadly, gone, but she still struts around all crazy on the stage, incorporating both essence of clucking chicken and Mick Jagger if Mick Jagger were a guy. The camera cuts to Amanda's fiance. Her super Gay Face fiance. So not only is she apparently not a lesbian, but she's also into guys who look like they spend a lot of time at the tanning salon and the lip-collagen-and-shiny-shirt kiosk at the South Bend Fashion Square Mall. And ew, gross, Simon's praising her endlessly and telling her she has to smile. I fuckin' hate it when unsmiley people are told they have to smile. And I especially think it's creepy when bossy men tell women they have to do it. Am I alone in that? I'm not, right? It's gross. She saves it, though, by flashing a big, fake, sarcastic grimace-smile back at him.

You know what I like more and more about Seacrest? How outside of the show he is sometimes. I mean, yes, most of the time he's shilling for it in that phony announcer way, but then sometimes he comes along and remembers that he thinks it's all just bullshit income generator and starts doing things like caressing the iTunes ad at the bottom of the screen. And he's such a pro now with the hosting that he knows exactly where to hold his hands so that they appear to be really doing that. That's all. I just like that.

Wee lassie Carly Smithson is here to tell you about her most embarrassing moment. She got her legs stuck in a fence recently. Seriously? That whole sold-fewer-than-400-copies thing didn't feel a teensy bit worse than getting your legs stuck in a fence on your break from bartending? Now I'm questioning Chikezie's restroom story. So she sings "I Drove All Night," and I'm beginning to agree with music writer Ann Powers (she writes about Idol for the Los Angeles Times) and her assessment of Carly as being super nervous. But I don't think it's stage nerves. I think it's Life Panic, that feeling that she's tried everything she knows how to try to get over and this could be the last shot she's got. But I don't think she has to worry much. You get yourself into the Top 10 and every gay pride parade and auto show you ever wanted to sing at is yours for the taking. You'll pay the bills, and it won't be because you got a lot of tips on St. Patrick's Day slinging green Guinness. And we finally get a really good look at Carly's upper-arm tattoo. I think it's of Amy Winehouse. Good choice.

Kristy Lee Cook used to run around on her hands and knees as a child, barking like a dog. She self-edits the story to avoid the part where she peed on the rug and leg-humped total strangers. She's singing Journey's "Faithfully," so she's got the Randy vote all sewn up. Also? She's here tonight as a spokesperson for the Tits Up Foundation, which provides plunging neckline tops to less fortunate women.

I have to say something about one of the commercials because it's a Target ad for the Jovovich-Hawk line. I really like how they toss around descriptors like "art nouveau, but how it was done in the '70s," and then the part where Milla says the clothes are "ironic." Because Sarah Silverman came in and helped design them.

Back from commercials, Ramiele is here to cute up the place some more with a story about being in fifth grade and having a crush on a boy, so she rode her little pink bike to his house and dropped off a picture of herself for him. And then he found it and laughed at her. And so did his mom. Finally, an actual embarrassing story. Thank you for keeping it real, Ramiele. That plus your squeezable adorability, your tacky-awesome hair and your too-much-makeup is everything I want right now. Oh, and now Danny Noriega is wearing your little girly glasses as a show of solidarity and girl power? She just keeps adding little sprinkles to the sundae. I forget what song she sang. Paula goes apeshit and babbles incoherently.

Brooke White. Dammit. I don't want to like this woman. I want to feel superior to her sheltered, never-seen-a-decent-movie existence. So then she actually goes and performs an unusual and affecting, acoustic, nearly balladlike cover of "Love Is a Battlefield." Stop being somewhat talented!

Syesha Mercado once gave a boy in school a "do you like?" note and some gum. He chewed the gum and told the teacher about the note. I bet she just overheard Ramiele telling her little story and decided to improv a similar one on the spot. She's singing "Saving All My Love for You" and falls victim to the ongoing "You Ain't Whitney Houston" Curse. I always wonder if women who do this have ever watched this show before. She should have known better. Asia'h too. It'll be one of them and one of the blonds to go, I'm predicting. The show ends with Asia'h giving Kady a piggyback ride all around the stage. I don't know why.

And on to Chopped and Screwed Night. Here's what happens:

1. Blake Lewis is here in a last-ditch attempt to get you to buy his CD. I thought I was finished with this clown forever. I thought wrong. His song is assy, like what happens when Gay Robot malfunctions and says, "I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I l-l-l-l-li-li-li-like b-b-b-b-balls." It's the soundtrack to my idea of Hell.

2. Paula's track is number 1 on the iTunes dance chart right now. To celebrate, she's wearing a bizarrely ugly hat.

3. Let's kick someone off. Kady Malloy, time to go home. She thinks the experience has made her stronger as a person. Asia'h, her sole source of piggyback rides, is bawling. So is Ramiele, of course. Ramiele loves to cry. During her Humiliation Number, I notice that Kady's wearing about seven rings. She asked Amanda if she could borrow the brass knuckles, but Amanda was like, "HOW THE MOTHERFUCK CAN I BE EXPECTED TO FINISH SWANN'S WAY IF YOU WON'T BE FUCKIN' QUIET?" before pulling out a pocketknife to check her own lipstick reflection.

4. Luke Menard, the one that's not Orlando Bloom who sings in the a cappella group: Time to go home. Paula praises him by standing up and then holding her legs together in a "gotta pee" stance that doesn't go unnoticed by Simon and Randy. When Luke sings his Humiliation Number, Danny is seen clapping absentmindedly. It's him and Chikezie left, and he knows what's next.

5. Asia'h is next to go home. I have to say that this makes as much and also as little sense as any other elimination. Her performance was as good and as average as any of the other women's. And then Seacrest gives her the choice to sing or not sing even though she's not nearly as broken up as that girl last week. What gives here? No one should get the choice on whether they sing the Humiliation Number. They have to sing it no matter what. They signed the contract. Fuck this "Are you up to it?" shit. Sing! And sing badly! That's why I'm here.

6. Chikezie seems so nice. He's already comforting Danny. And when Danny gets the boot, Chikezie hugs him for a long time, giving him an extra neck nuzzle for good measure. And I think even Danny could appreciate how awesome this suddenly gets, because at that moment not only does Ramiele completely lose her shit, but the camera also cuts to Chikezie's parents, each of them lost in their own world of pleasure. Dad is doing a little seated victory dance and Mom's got her arms held up, face to the ceiling, mouthing "Hallelujah" (the real one, not the dark Leonard Cohen one) and praising Jesus. Thanks, whoever's controlling the cameras. Thanks for laughs, Young Gay. You were great while you lasted.

7. This episode has been brought to you by the expression "Take a stool."

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Dave White