Scroll To Top




It's the eighth season of Fox's commitment to bringing you monumental achievements in phone- and text message-based voting. You're in, right?

"In life the microphone passes your lips but once ... you had better be ready to sing."

That's the somberly thoughtful thought from music industry honcho David Foster that graces the screen first thing out of the box this new season. A seriously steaming hot pile of wisdom. So when stuff goes past your lips, you'd better swallow it whole. Whatever it is. Microphones, delicious baked treats, whatever else you can imagine passing your lips. Chomp on that thing. Unless it's a microphone that's also a soap on a rope. You seen one of those? That should not be in your mouth. Because it'll be soap. Anyway, David Foster is like fuckin' Ben Franklin with the enduring quotes.

But I've got more important stuff to talk about. Like how I have an American Idol gumball machine.

Other people's mail delivery includes things like checks or love letters or the Lillian Vernon catalog or negative STD results or eager spouses from developing countries. But bottom-feeder entertainment journalists get plastic gumball machines from Fox. Not that I'm complaining. I love toys and I love gum. And it's high-concept enough to be a pleasure, what with all the white-colored, smaller, lesser Bo Bice gumballs and the one big blue Carrie Underwood gumball that presumably, in a perfectly calibrated Idol scenario, will be spit out last. But I'm old enough to remember being a kid in a time when you could get a plastic gumball machine in the shape of Mickey Mouse's or Popeye's head, so I was hoping for something a little more detailed than a blue almost-Tom Servo. Ideally, my gumball machine would be in the shape of Fantasia's head. And when it gave you your piece of gum, an implanted vocal chip would sing that song from The Color Purple about being beautiful.

But I never get my way.

Some frequently asked questions about these recaps:

1. What's homo enough about American Idol that merits coverage via the only gay and lesbian newsmagazine of record? Isn't this a waste of valuable Internets?

2. What makes you, Dave White, the judge of this show?

3. Is there a point to this? Are there any insights left to be made? We all know that fame is toxic. Can't we just enjoy ourselves in peace? Why do we need to read a recap of a TV show we already watched?

4. Where did you hide my fucking car keys?


1. Singing is inherently gay. Talent shows are also gay. If you sing too much, your psyche inverts and you develop a need for same-sex pleasures. Look at Clay Aiken. He was a strapping, woman-satisfying he-man before this show got hold of him. Don't kill the messenger on this one. I'm just reporting facts of science.

2. No one else wanted the job.

3. Now that Obama is the president, we can all go back to not paying any attention to worrisome world events and the next Great Depression. He's going to fix the problems and all we have to do is watch TV while shit gets magically better around us. The point is freedom. The freedom to sit on the couch and eat blueberry-flavored Eggo waffles in your pajamas and pause the TiVo so you can shout across the messy, unvacuumed apartment to your spouse who's long since divorced himself from having any interest in this pageant of neediness and low self-esteem, "Hey, check out this fag singing a song from Mulan!" or "Seacrest just tried to high-five a blind guy!"

4. Look, it was ON ACCIDENT. I put them on the counter in the bathroom because when I got home from the press screening of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, I had to pee really badly, and I promise that from now on I'll go straight to the key bowl on the kitchen counter even if it means urinating all over myself.

How these recaps work:

I watch the show. Sometimes I watch with companions specially selected for their observational or baking powers. Sometimes alone. Then I write about whatever happens. You are bored at work and you read it. Then we're all friends. Except for the two angry gays out there who wrote me hate mail about being mean to Diana Ross and Dolly Parton, even though I totally wasn't.

In the early weeks where it's all just auditions, I don't feel it's necessary to give a blow-by-blow narrative account. We'll never see most of these people again. It would take me 17 hours to be as detailed as the TV Without Pity folks. Probably longer. So if you're that into knowing everything, you'll have to watch it yourself.

New judge this season: Kara DioGuardi. She seems like she can string sentences together in a coherent way, which means she's already a better judge than Paula or Randy. And she wrote "Spinning Around" for Kylie -- with Paula -- which kind of automatically makes her awesome to me.

I'm going to give Ms. A credit for the part where Kylie sings "baby, baby, baby." I think that's at least what she's capable of.

I don't know what else she's written. I hope it's not something I hate too much. I want to like her without reservation.

And I have a new guest commentary guy joining me. If you read the Project Runway recaps, then you already know that the brainy Elyse Sewell from America's Next Top Model is my guest commentary guy there. But this show required someone from the singing industry. So I reached back into time and bullied first-season-of-Idol contestant Jim Verraros into participating. And he's a gay too, just like Aiken. OK, not just like Aiken. Aiken doesn't pose in his underpants on his Facebook page. That I'm aware of. And if he does, then I don't want to be made aware of it. But JV? Totally almost naked in his main photo, posing all Zoolander like an angry hustler you just forgot to tip.

And he has a career too. In his post-contest days he's made a dance record that I've not listened to but that actually made the Billboard Dance Chart along with ... people like ... I don't know who else. Oh, wait, yes I do. Those people who do the song about going all around the world and la-la-LA-la-la. Them. And he was in Eating Out,Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds, and Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild. I saw Sloppy Seconds but not the others. Shit was funny. I plan to bribe my new commentary guy into spilling behind-the-scenes intrigue for these recaps, like the story about how after his season was over, he tried to get tickets to an Idol taping and no one would return his call. How cold is that? I'll let him tell you:

"So I waited in line just like all the rest of the fans at CBS Studios, and it wasn't until Access Hollywood was taking footage of the people in the line where they saw me, brought me to the front and said, 'Go, Jim. You don't have to wait in this line.'"

Think about that. Constantine has his fuckin' name engraved on one of those seats and a power-gay like JV's gotta wait in line? Fag equal seating rights now! Then I make sure to ask Jim if that was the back of his head we see in the clip that opens Tuesday night's show, a clip that was shot during his season. This sort of detail is, I feel, vitally important. It looks like him, all glasses-wearing and bleached-blond hair. But he claims no. "And it wasn't bleached-blond. It was Sun-In, which turned my hair something off-red."

And then we talked about how awesome Kelly Clarkson's new single is and, by extension, how awesome Kelly Clarkson is. Go be his Facebook friend now. There are undies shots in it for you. I think he owns like three shirts max. Only one with sleeves.

They audition people in Phoenix (Where Seacrest pointed to the Grand Canyon and said, "THIS ... is American Idol!" and the Grand Canyon said, "I beg your pardon? If anything I'm a metaphor for the yawning abyss of nothing that your puny little television program endorses week after week. Go back to Los Angeles, announcer boy. You're not man enough for me to swallow up and dash against my jagged rocks just yet") and in Kansas City, Mo. (where Randy asked what state he was in).

Thousands of hopefuls gather in huge stadiums and chant, in unison, "STATISTICALLY SPEAKING, I AM, IN ALL PROBABILITY, NOT THE NEXT AMERICAN IDOL!!!"

OK, that's not exactly what they said. But that's what they meant.

Then comes a montage of stuff set to Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World," a song that I simply can't hear enough times. If only it could be on a continuous loop and surgically implanted into my auditory canal. Then I wouldn't need anything else in life but microphone-shaped, apple-and-cinnamon-filled tarts. The montage is of lunatic, lunatic, Clay Aiken, Simon and Paula making out, the guy that threw water on Simon that one time, people hugging Seacrest too hard and mussing up his hair, The Crying Girl, Sanjaya, William Hung, Elliot's lovely mom (RIP), some girl from a few seasons back, more lunatics, Fantasia, then what's-her-face, then The Boogie, then Kelly, then Cook, then DUNKLEMAN!

OK, here are the people going through:

1. The pink-haired girl with tons of tattoos. She's got her own rock band. From the kitchen, where he's getting himself a beer, my good friend and housemate Xtreem Aaron yells, "Did she just say she was in an all-girl Dokken tribute band?" to which I respond, "No. All she said was 'I've got a rock band.'" This disappoints Xtreem Aaron. The band members don't know she's auditioning. She claims that if she makes it, she's going to bring them all along with her like Daughtry did. She also claims that the tattoos are going to ensure that she never works in an office. Hey, pink-haired girl, check it out! I'd like you to take a good look at my friend Matt. One guess where he works? That's right. Anyway, she's got Nomi Malone ruthlessness in her eyes, so I still sorta like her.

2. The guy who sings like Archuleta.

3. The cute girl who founded a group that forces teenagers to be nice to old people in nursing homes. It's called "Adopt a Grand-Friend." My mom lives in a nursing home, so I want this girl to win the whole season now.

4. The girl whose mom loved Stevie Nicks so much she named her child Stevie. This Stevie thinks it's "surreal" to be here -- and I've exhausted all the rants I have about the misuse of that word, so if you want to read them you can just go back to earlier season recaps, archived on this very site -- and she sings "At Last," which is number 2 on my list of songs I can't ever hear enough of. The more beaten into the ground they are, the more I like them. Really, it's never too much. I especially like it when I'm at the Grove here in Los Angeles and the synchronized fountains are spurting romantically while Etta James blares out of the speakers shaped like rocks. That's such a treat.

5. Big guy who works on an oil rig. Xtreem Aaron suddenly gets more interested in the show. He does look kinda hot in his roughnecker uniform, all dirty and stuff.

6. Some kid who talks about toxic mold that grew in his bedroom closet where he practiced his singing.

7. A blind guy that Seacrest tries to high-five.

8. The conniving girl who covers a Leona Lewis song that Simon Cowell cowrote. That's some Kristy Lee Cook shit right there. Nice giant earrings on her too. Like the kind you'da seen on Roxanne Shante in 1987. Those are never not good.

9. The girl who sings the Vanessa Carlton "Thousand Miles" song. Suddenly, from the other room, my husband, who's a big fan of the one funny gag in the movie White Chicks, yells, "THAT'S MY JOINT! SING THE PIANO PART!" This is a man I can barely get to sit and watch the show with me anymore unless something bat-shit insane and evil (such as the aforementioned Kristy Lee Cook's "God Bless the USA" number from last season) is transpiring on-camera. And it's not like Fantasia can come on the show every week and sing "Bore Me (Yawn)" like she did last season, making for the single greatest moment in American Idol history. Don't believe me? It's on YouTube. But the minute someone warbles one of his non-guilt-oriented pleasures he's front and center like a dog that hears the can opener from the backyard. Oh, and meanwhile, for all of you returning readers, I am now calling him my husband. I know that some of you were devoted to the idea of my ambivalent use of the expression "husband/partner/whatever," but since we are now legally married in the state of California and since that marriage is currently under attack by assholes who hate love and marriage and sweet, wholesome gays like me and my man, I'm asserting my ownership of that word.

10. Jason Castro's brother. This oughta be good.

11. A welder who looks like the next cover model for A Bear's Life magazine. Welcome to Matt Rogers's world, pal.

12. Bikini Girl. As in she wore only a tiny little Ed Hardy bikini to the audition. And she's got a great body. Sings for shit. Simon and Randy think she's amazing. The women, however, seeing past the tits, dissent. No matter, two yes votes trumps two no votes, apparently. That's how they're breaking ties this season. Anyway, girls like this are nothing but trouble. You'll learn this the hard way, male judges.

13. Long-haired glasses-wearing girl who lives with her 93-year-old grandmother.

14. One half of a pair of rapping sisters.

15. The guy whose wife died a month before the auditions. His best friend makes it through too.

16. The guy named Anoop who sings really well but who's already bucking for Randy to refer to him as "Noop-Dawg." What's the word I'm looking for to describe my personal feelings about that sort of thing? I know it rhymes with "hate." When it comes to me I'll let you know.

17. The single dad middle-school band director.

18. The mother of three who lost everything in a tornado. She sings Stevie Wonder's "All I Do," which is always the wrong thing to do. But she knocks it out. She is, in fact, the best of both audition nights. They compare her to Fantasia, which is not out of the question.

And here are the people not going anywhere but back to their apartments:

1. The half-Vietnamese, tap-dancing, key-shifting, Michael Jackson-impersonating, water-gulping kid with the wacky Afro.

2. The headband-wearing guy who calls himself a "rock star in a box." Hey, tattoo girl, THIS cat works in an office too! Except he's sort of cry-y about it. More than sort of. He's a LOT cry-y. And he doesn't even have a band. Paula advises him to go be in a band so he can experience the camaraderie. Simon agrees and says, "How do you think 'Straight Up' was written?" This is a joke that Paula doesn't get, of course. Then the guy cries some more. Holy shit, man, where's Terri from Project Runway? She'd explain what it means to "man up" to this guy, you know? There's no crying in rock 'n' roll.

3. The scared guy with the shiny face who grunts and whispers a Carrie Underwood song before having what appears to be a panic attack. His family is there to put a cold compress on his neck. That's the kind of nice family you want. They don't let you out of their sight, they're always around to soothe you, washcloths at the ready ...

4. Some Canadian named X-Ray who yells "Swingadelladoo!" for no reason.

5. A quick succession of increasingly gay-acting guys who sing screechily through songs made popular by women.

6. The guy with the voice so deep he sounds like a cartoon-character villain. Paula even tells him that's what he should go do with his life.

7. The guy with "Sexual Chacolate" (sic) tattooed on his back.

8. The blond girl who describes her voice as "powerful." If you watch this show enough, you know that this is a tip-off before she even sings that she's going to suck it.

9. The other half of the rapping sisters.

10. The oversinging red-haired guy with the two cheerleader pals. The cheerleaders cry. He doesn't. Weirdness.

11. The guy wearing the medal he was given for singing in elementary school, the one who claims to be related to Hank Williams Jr. He also says his mother is not supportive of his singing ability. That he can't sing at all just proves his mother is right. Unfortunately, he's also the most fragile person of the past four hours of television I've watched and so his dismissal causes him to cry uncontrollably.

12. The guy who claims to sing "very, very, very, very, very good." Oh wait, I wrote that too soon. Inexplicably, they let him through.

13. The girl who claims that God's going to punish the judges for not giving her a yellow ticket.

And finally, my favorite part of both shows is the David Cook commercial for ... it's a mystery. He walks in the rain, signs an autograph, plops himself down on a hotel room bed, purses his lips, then he does it all in reverse. Is it for umbrellas? Backward things? Sharpies? Red neckties? Minibar macadamia nuts at the Ramada? Lipstick? Oh, OK, it's a commercial for American Idol. During American Idol. BUT I'M ALREADY WATCHING.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Dave White