Does that title sound hot or what? Anyway, we have a huge show on our hands. Possibly the biggest AMERICAN IDOL show ever. Except for the next three, of course. But at this point, the other shows have been nothing compared to this one. You hear me?! Nothing!
To start everything off, Bobby Baritone informs us that last week, your lack of votes ousted Tamyra. See? It's all your fault! Not the show's. Yours. All yours. Tonight, one mistake could be their last. You have a lot on your hands tonight. A lot more than just cheese puff dust. I hope you're ready.
Insider note of the week. Ian Ziering is in the crowd tonight. With him here, this must be a very special AMERICAN IDOL about fraternities, rich dads that are jerks, Corvettes, alcoholism and the Peach Pit. "Steve! You have a problem, bro!" "Yeah, I know, bro. Not enough parties! Whoooooo! I'm Steve!" On another note, Ian Ziering had one of the hottest wives ever. A former Playboy Playmate. I heard. Somehow, I'm guessing a dude with a blond perm wouldn't normally get that caliber of talent unless he was on a TV show. Maybe that's why they're split up now.
The hosts come out in suits to start the show. Nothing special there. You know, I really missed these guys over the past five days. My life has been sorta empty. Even more than usual.
"I am Ryan Seacrest." "And I am a Dunkleman. Wouldn't you like to be a Dunkleman, too?" Are those my only options? The happy hosts inform us that tonight, the kids will be singing one song of their choice, then one song that the judges picked. I think it would be rather hilarious if the judges picked opera for Nikki so they could get her out of there.
Seacrest asks the crowd if they each have their favorites. Out in the crowd, we see three people holding signs. One for Kelly, one for Justin and one for Nikki. That was some rather strategic ushering.
Now let's bring out the kids! "Unless you've been off the planet, or in Fresno, you know these people." Keyboards in Fresno begin to light up. Or rather, the keyboard in Fresno begins to light up. "Hey! Lay off Fresno!" What does Dunk have against Fresno? Did he have a bad stand-up gig there once? If so, I'm guessing that was his fault more than Fresno's.
Let's meet the judges. Tonight, we have an even matchup. Three on three. Justin, you can take Randy and Nikki can take on Paula. By the way, if you think I'm losing my touch, those are the hosts' words, not mine. But if Nikki did take on Paula, that fight would last about four seconds. And Paula would definitely come out on the short end. Which is nothing against Paula. I think I'd probably come out on the wrong end of a scrap with Nikki.
Kelly, you grab Simon from behind and squeeze his nnnnnnnn...knees. Knees? Seacrest says he had to get a knee joke in there. Really? You think so? Okay.
Nikki is up first tonight. But before she sings, let's check out her return to Texas. Whooo! Texas! Rock 'n' roll! Nikki's first stop is the morning zoo in Dallas. With Jagger, Julie and Slim Jim. They sound like a hilarious trio. "Slim Jim! What are you up to now, you kook?" "Jagger! I'm out here at the Mountain Crest Road car wash! And...get this...I put scotch tape over the dollar slot on the bill changer! People are going nuts! They can't change their dollars!" "Whoa! (laughing sound effect) You'd better get out of there, Slim Jim, before the cops come!" God, I hate morning radio.
Wrapping up her hometown montage, Nikki says, "No matter how famous I am, I'll always come back home." Gosh, that's nice. You won't forget everybody when you're an ultrastar? Touching.
The first song for Nikki tonight is "Edge of Seventeen." I feel like I should be in a Camaro right now. And my chick riding shotgun would be wearing America pants, much like Nikki is wearing now. Our hair would be toussled by the breeze through the t-tops. Ah, young romance!
During Nikki's song, we're seeing new and better camera angles. That studio must be loaded with cameras now. I'm waiting for them to do the old Matrix stop motion spin around thing that we've seen only a trillion times.
Is this song over yet? Is my attention span so short that I can't sit through a three-minute ditty? Or am I just having trouble sitting through this particular three-minute ditty? So many questions. Nikki isn't bringing much energy to this performance, unlike last week, so look out for the judges. They may pounce! Like chubby, excessively polite or British cats!
Randy says it was a great song choice, but a bad performance. Paula loved the song, but thought Nikki was too Stevie Nicks. Paula says Nikki needs a song that makes her separate and distinct. I think that was criticism. Simon wonders if it's just him, or is Paula becoming very unpleasant? Dunk gives a big, fake laugh. I've caught that from him a few times before on Simon's jokes. Man, does he hate that guy. Did Simon kill his dog or something?
Back from the break, and Ryan is in the audience with a tittering little blonde girl. I can't decide who is more bubbly or less crucial to the show. The girl's sign asks Justin to shake his "bon bon", and the little angelface tells us that means "butt." Boy, they grow up fast these days.
We see Justin going back to his hometown of Philadelphia and meeting the Mayor. The Mayor? For being on a TV show? You know, I'll be doing a tour of my hometown after the show ends, and I think the only person coming out to see me is some dude that wants to fight me for stealing his best gal. Hey, don't blame me for that. Blame this sculpted jaw of mine.
Justin's song choice tonight is "Let's Stay Together." Reminds me of Pulp Fiction, available now on DVD. Also coming to DVD is the first season of AMERICAN IDOL. I keep asking them to let me do a hilarious commentary track for the disc, but so far, no response. Maybe they lost my number. On purpose.
JFro is reaching all-time heights with the locks. And his jacket matches his hair perfectly. Fuzzy and kinda brown. Additionally, he has a long...something...hanging from his waist. Get your minds out of the gutter! Shame on you! What is that, though? Rope? Extra shoelaces? Extension cord? What? Anyway, he gives a pretty smooth performance. Nice. Strong singing. And he didn't dance until....on "whether, whether times are good or bad...". He gives a double body flinch on each "whether." He looked like he was trying to escape a straitjacket. Paula, help this kid with the moves. Please. For us.
Randy says, "Yo, man, that was good, man. Dude. Man." RJ (same initials, remember?) thinks that was the best song for Justin yet. Paula has two words. "Fuh. Nomenal." I thought that was going elsewheres. As of press time, we haven't heard whether that was her line or her pro scribe's. Simon thanks Justin for not dancing and says that was the best song he's sung so far.
Over with the hosts, Seacrest says he didn't know where Paula was going with the "fuh." Hmm. It seems I've made the same joke as Seacrest. A guy I've ragged on for weeks for being corny. I, uh...I don't know what to...uh...let's just move on.
Kelly's back in Texas, and this time she meets Donny Osmond. Terrific. At least she doesn't have to worry about him hitting on her. Kelly visits a radio show as well, and we see that the studio has windows so people can look in from outside. Is this really necessary? Hasn't this idea been ripped off from "The Today Show" enough by now? Are people really interested in seeing folks with "faces for radio" standing at microphones? Are we this bored? Well, are we?!?
Kelly's high school holds a pep rally - beat Atherton! - for Kelly. But no river swimming this time. Also, we get the first glimpse of Kelly's parents.
Ms. Clarkson has undergone another makeover tonight. I'm not sold on the chocolate and vanilla hair, but she looks dang cute tonight. I didn't get a makeover, but I look dang cute too. Kelly's song is "Think Twice." Can we get some slow dancing from the kids in the crowd? Girls, hands on the guys' shoulders. Guys, hands on the girls' hips. Leave enough room between you to let some light through, then gently sway back and forth.
Kelly moves along slowly, then breaks out a big note that completely distances herself from the other two. Pros and amateurs, folks, pros and amateurs.
Randy did not love that song because it's boring to him. The audience boos! Hang on, hang on. But he thinks Kelly was brilliant. After booing at first, the audience isn't sure what to do now. We get some light clapping. Paula echoes Randy's thoughts. The audience, still trying to figure out how to react to Randy, offers more light clapping. Simon simplifies things by saying, "You're the best singer in this competition." The audience is relieved. "Okay! That we get! Let's clap! Yay!"
Now it's time for the judges' songs. "Black Velvet" has been tabbed for Nikki. Judges' choice? That was my choice! I said that last week! I'm finally having an effect! Or, more likely, it was such an obvious choice for Nikki that even I could stumble upon it.
For the record, I know this song was originally sung by Alannah Myles. I know because about 102 Canucks emailed me to say that's who sang it. And that she's Canadian. I'm guessing those last two sentences are related. Also for the record, I looked up the correct spelling of Alannah's name to prevent the Great White Flood of Emails. Did you know that she only released three albums? And one of them is the "Very Best of Alannah Myles"? I didn't check, but I wouldn't be surprised if that disc just had "Black Velvet" on it thirteen times. Ol' Alannah wasn't quite as prolific as Chicago.
Nikki seems to be taking it easy. No energy. Is she tired? It's possible. She looks likes she's lost about twelve pounds since the show started. Are these kids still eating? Shouldn't they have the grill fired up like, every night at Party Mansion? Take one of the ten cars out and get some Thai food. Something.
Somewhere in British Columbia right now, Alannah Myles, full of jelly donuts and Elsinore beer is yelling, "My song! My song!" at the TV. Sweet moment.
Randy thinks that was a great song choice. Ho! Ho! See, because the judges picked it. The performance was okay, but the song was great. Again, because the judges picked it. Since Randy thought you needed to be reminded twice, I did too. Paula thinks Nikki did pretty well. I guess. She wasn't very specific and kinda trailed off there. Simon also thinks they picked a good song for her. But she didn't add anything to it.
Over at Host Central, our boys ask Nikki if she wants to say anything to the judges. She defends her choice of a Stevie Nicks tune because she thought they were supposed to pick a song from their idols. She's my idol. Nikki's idol, I mean. And by I, I mean me. Not Nikki. Nikki, who loves Stevie Nicks and didn't think it would be bad to sound like her. Hasn't she been watching this show recently? That's very bad.
Justin comes out next in a pinstriped suit and a shiny, metallic shirt. He's doing another slow song and giving another good performance. So there's the secret! Maybe Justin should just never, ever do an uptempo number. It'll prevent him from flopping and dancing, and that'll prevent us from disliking him. He could name his first album, "Ballads by Justin". The follow-up could be, "More Ballads by Justin". Then, "More Ballads by Justin 2". Then...ah, you get it.
Justin's dad, fresh out of an important business meeting, cheers him on. Randy says it was a great song choice. Hey! Is he reusing jokes? That's pathetic. That would be like me saying JFro again. Oh wait. Anyway, great performance, sayeth Randy the Wise. Paula loved it, Simon says it's the first time in any of the top ten shows he looked at Justin and thought, "American Idol." I looked at him and thought, "I could go for a Happy Meal right now."
Over with the hosts, Ryan begins saying a line and Justin looks at his own sleeve. Screaming girls in the audience cut off Seacrest, so he tries again. "You know, if you want to wear my suits, just call and ask me." Justin looks at his sleeve again. That was very natural. Not set up at all.
Now, Kelly will be singing "Without You." You mean the power ballad by Motley Crue? "Without you, in my life, all I have is hepatitis!" I hope next week Kelly does "Cherry Pie."
Am I at the dentist right now? Slow song, but still a great performance. Even with Kelly holding her side like she has a cramp from running. Should we even bother with the last two shows? They'll basically be Kelly's victory lap. And remember, when I forecast something, it happens! Right after her song ends, Kelly intensely stares dead ahead, then breaks out of her trance and smiles. That's kinda weird. And creepy. Like she transforms herself from song Kelly to normal Kelly.
In the audience, we see Kelly's dad, Dick Cheney, cheering heartily from an undisclosed location. You know, Kelly's dad looks nothing like that guy that was hugging her on the couch earlier. Divorce? Man, I sure hope so. If not, somebody has some explaining to do.
Randy says he worked with Mariah Carey. Did you know that? "You did your thing, man." Paula says it was so nice she made the song her own. "Don't make me cry," begs Kelly. I won't, baby, I won't. Uncle Jaded's always good to you. You know that. Simon says that was a tough song to sing, and Kelly gave an amazing performance.
In the high chairs, Seacrest asks Kelly how she's feeling right now. Tired. Seacrest leaves to get Kelly an espresso to perk her up. Grab one for Dunk, too. He's been a little wallflower tonight. He reads off Kelly's number, effectively doubling his word output for the evening.
Before the show ends, Seacrest asks Justin and Nikki how they feel. Is he auditioning for the local news right now? "How do you feel? How do you feel? How did you feel when your house caught on fire and burned to the ground and you just barely made it out? How did that feel?"
So there's the fourth-to-last show, all neatly wrapped up for you. I don't know what the heck is going to happen tomorrow. I'm done making predictions. I'm never right anyway. But I will say this. My mom called me after the show to say she called in one vote for Nikki, one vote for Justin and one vote for Kelly. I patiently spent the next ten minutes explaining to her that she might as well not have voted at all if she voted for everybody once.
Anyway, using my mom as this week's barometer, I'll say that anybody could get cut. But it definitely won't be Kelly and it probably won't be Justin.