the microphone passes your lips but once ... you had better
be ready to sing."
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
got more important stuff to talk about. Like how I have an
American Idol gumball machine.
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
But I never get
asked questions about these recaps:
homo enough about American Idol that merits
coverage via the only gay and lesbian newsmagazine of
record? Isn't this a waste of valuable
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
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
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.
know what else she's written. I hope it's not
something I hate too much. I want to like her without
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
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:
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
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.
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).
hopefuls gather in huge stadiums and chant, in unison,
"STATISTICALLY SPEAKING, I AM, IN ALL PROBABILITY,
NOT THE NEXT AMERICAN IDOL!!!"
not exactly what they said. But that's what they
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,
OK, here are the
people going through:
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
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
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
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.
glasses-wearing girl who lives with her 93-year-old
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
And here are the
people not going anywhere but back to their apartments:
half-Vietnamese, tap-dancing, key-shifting, Michael
Jackson-impersonating, water-gulping kid with the wacky
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
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.
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