Only six kids remain, and the people out there like each one for some reason or another, so the performances get more and more important. Judging by all the e-mails, there are actually people out there reading this stuff each week, so each recap gets more and more important as well. Oh, the pressure! Who will handle it the best? I hope it's me. But it'll probably be Kelly.
You know, without Ryan around tonight, I'm going into cleavage withdrawal. How will I handle it? When will I get to use the word "supple" again? Maybe I'll check out the Anna Nicole show after this.
After bravely postulating that this week's theme would be the '80s, (as in, the '60s, then the '70s, then the '80s) imagine my shock and despair when I find out that the theme is actually big band. I'm shocked because I got yet another prediction wrong, and I despair because I left my fedora and spats at home.
So, as you may have guessed when I said, "Big Band", the kids are backed by a big band tonight. I don't know if I should admit this, but I was part of the band tonight. Did you see me back there with the tambourine like a lead singer's girlfriend? I was awesome! Give me a pair of maracas and I'm a supersexy, one-man rhythm section! Maybe next week, I'll tie a pair of cymbals to my knees and become a triple threat! But only if the people can handle it.
Anyway, as a tribute to tonight's theme, I'm going to write this recap like an early '30s newsman, like the late, great Rip Kelly. And if there never was a columnist named Rip Kelly, there should've been. Great newspaper name!
Scoop! - Prez sez Jerries marching on Prussia! Scoop! - Steel magnates, robber barons say Kansas the next New York! Desolate prairie to be teeming metropolis by 1948! How will Gotham fare? Scoop! - Bambino clouts 3 in Yanks win! Sultan of Swat sez Cleveland all bums! Cleve skipper sez pinstriped slugger full of "hot gas"!
Ah, forget this. I don't think I have many 93-year old readers that realize just how clever this is.
So to begin, we get our baritone-voiced introduction. Last week, he (at least, I hope it's a he) dramatically tells us, Justin almost went off, and Ryan went wee wee wee, all the way home. Tonight, six try again. Their fate is in your hands. I hope you people are up to this awesome responsibility.
Our favorite hosts come out, taking the long way onstage around the new big band. Both are wearing ties. Both are holding mics. They finally match perfectly! Dunkleman is wearing a shirt similar to one I picked up at Chess King in 1991. I looked so dope at homecoming that year! Ice, ice, baby! I wreck tha mic like a vandal! Light up the stage and wax a chump like a candle!
Seacrest says that everybody is talking about this new hit show, the surprise smash of the summer. No mention of me. Hmm. I guess I'm not that important after all. News to me. Because the show is such a hit, Ryan says he's asking for more money. Dunkleman says he's asking for a favored nation contract. Instead, he gets dead silence. Maybe that joke will work next time. When you do stand up on PBS.
As I've mentioned, this week's theme is big band. What is big band? Well, it's when a band with a lot of members plays music. Here's a demonstration. Hit it! Seacrest does a goofy little dance as the band plays. He looks like somebody's drunk uncle during a wedding. People snicker.
Why big band tonight? Well, as Seacrest jokes, size does matter. I can say that I've been around the hosts before, and I'm three inches taller than both of them. So put that in your pipe, scruffy!
The kids come out for the show, dressed like they're completely unaware that the swing fad ended three years ago. The final bell tolled when Buick used swing music to sell a safe family sedan. So now, the kids look like they're dressed up for a themed school dance. Tonight's theme? Big band, as I've mentioned nearly a dozen times by now.
Before any performances, we get a clip of the kids rehearsing with the band. It's the first time they've sung with a full arrangement backing them. I can only imagine how hokey Justin is going to be in front of the band this week. I wouldn't be surprised if he grabs a saxophone and pretends to play it.
Another question on everybody's mind tonight is, what kind of video clips are going to fill the time in between songs? I'm still waiting for the day that the taped bit is me on location at the horse track. For the first 51 minutes of the show, I'll give my thoughts on the kids, along with which fillies I like in a superfecta. Then, each kid will get 45 seconds to sing. I'm sure lots of people, besides just me, think that sounds like a good idea.
Let's introduce the judges tonight! They still haven't changed, so let's move on.
Tamyra is up first. We get a clip of her with her little brother. Bwayquan, or something like that. Tamyra has ten brothers and sisters, they say. Criminy! Are the Grays trying to repopulate the Earth? We got enough bodies on this marble already!
Ms. Gray comes out and she looks just like Josephine Baker. I like it. Her song tonight is "Minnie the Moocher", made popular by Cab Calloway and the Blues Brothers. Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips!
During her first run through of the chorus, Tamyra looks like she's struggling to not laugh. What, may I ask, is so funny about saying, "Hi de hi de hi de hi"? Tamyra is having a lot of fun, but it doesn't seem like she's trying all that hard. I think she keeps looking at her friends in the audience and cracking up.
Tamyra finishes with a big close, but she really starts laughing after the song. So does Simon. What's going on? Something just happened, but I don't know what. Which is great commentary on my part.
The judges like her. Simon can't believe she remained undiscovered for so long. I was thinking the same thing. But about myself. All those years I labored in obscurity.
Tamyra goes over and has a very awkward conversation with the hosts. She's too important to worry about these goofoffs any longer.
Now up is Justin. The main problem with Justin, I think, is that he's rapidly evolving into a parody of Justin. He's becoming more of the Vegas impersonator edition of Justin that you would catch in the Gold Ballroom at the Riviera. Untied bow tie? Finger snapping? Super smug smile? It's like he's mocking himself.
He goes through "Route 66", pleased as punch with his routine. Even though he booted a few words and towns. I was surprised to find out that Alabama is between St. Louis and Los Angeles. Perhaps he was too busy thinking about his finger snapping. "Okay...now! Okay...now!"
Justin's performance tonight reminded me of Halloween. Because that's another night you have to deal with big cornballs. I always hated getting those in my pillowcase. "Let's see...what did I haul in tonight? Single Reese's cup, mini Kit-Kat, mini Kit-Kat, single Reese's cup, Dum Dum pop, (thanks for nothing, cheap ass!) 100 Grand bar with a thumbtack in it. Anything else? Agh! Corn ball! I hate these!"
One more thing about Justin before I go. His lips are gray. I don't know how that will affect your voting, but it's out there now.
Enough of my little rant. What did the judges think? Randy likes him. Paula likes him. Shocking! Simon says that Justin has been "untreated fairly". So...does that mean it's fair to treat him rudely? Maybe Simon was shooting for "treated unfairly". I think Simon got a bigger scare than Justin last week when he was in the lowest two. "No! My meal ticket!"
During the commercial break, the supercute Julie Bowen of Ed tries to sell me skin cleanser. And, as her co-star, Josh Randall, can testify, smoking crack really does a number on your complexion. "I swear, officer! I wasn't smoking crack! I thought this was that new white tobacco everybody's talking about!"
We're back to the show and here comes Nikki. Maybe for the last time ever. Nikki is dressed very old-fashioned tonight. (wink) Except for the wild cherry coif, of course. (wink) She looks pretty hot tonight. (wink) And she's obviously into me because she winks at me every three seconds. Although, I must admit, by the time she got those boots unlaced all the way, I'd probably be asleep. (wink) Of course, I'm a bit of a cold fish. (wink)
Nikki gives a very (wink) rough performance (wink), possibly because she had something in her eye. (wink) At least (wink) she didn't stumble over the words "Hard Hearted Hannah". I stumbled over them all ten times I tried to say them. I looked like a damn idiot every time, as my "friends" were quick to point out. But she didn't trip once, which means kudos for her! (wink) Man, I beat that joke way into the ground.
Randy asks if that song was hard for her. "Yeah," she says. It was just "okay" for Randy. Paula, who is wearing a necklace made of ancient coins unearthed in a recent archeological dig, says she wasn't crazy about the song. Simon says Nikki needed the performance of a lifetime to last another week. She didn't do it. At this point, her family back in Texas probably wishes they were watching on a 13" black and white instead of the big screen.
Nikki walks over to the hosts and says she feels great about how she did. I guess she wasn't listening when they were ripping her to shreds.
Seacrest says the next time you see Nikki could be in a restaurant reciting the specials if you don't vote for her. Dunk says to Ryan Starr, out there somewhere in TV land, "I'm almost done, and I'll take the clam chowder." Then he yells at Seacrest for touching him. Man, wearing a tie makes this guy angry. Somebody undo his top button before he explodes. The last time I saw a guy so unhappy to be on television, he was hammered and on COPS.
So, based on the judges' comments, Nikki had better hope RJ exposes himself to the audience. Otherwise, she's going back to Texas. Of course, that depends on how low RJ goes. She may not have a chance either way then.
Seacrest descends into the audience once again. He's a real man of the people, he is! Let's talk to a guy named Jason in the audience. He's in town from Anchorage, Alaska. Apparently, the barbers up there only cut the hair on the sides of your head. Well, at least those big gold chains keep him warm during those long winter nights.
Christina Christian is up now. We see a shot of her perusing the AMERICAN IDOL message boards. I'm sure she was probably posting something nice about me on there. I know I have been. Also during her montage, Seacrest describes Christina as "Caribbean American". Is that a real term? Are we getting a little too specific these days? Should I now describe myself as Pennsylvanian-Irish-German-Lefty American? Let's tear down the barriers, people!
Christian is absolutely fetching in her slinky blue dress tonight. Although, I gotta tell you, I didn't hear a single word she sang. I was too busy staring at her flawless skin. Even that little chicken pox scar is adorable.
Randy says Christina started out shaky, but wound up good. Paula liked it. Simon mentions that Christina has a fiancé? A what whar? A who now? A where? A what do you call it? What what in the what what? As you can see, my brain is having a little trouble processing this troublesome information.
It's RJ's turn now, and he's wearing an all-white suit. I hope that couch he's sitting on hasn't been painted recently. During his montage, RJ says that the RJ Shuffle is based on the fact that his knees are shaking so bad when he sings. So, the shuffle is more instinctual than planned? I guess I should stop trying to learn it then.
I hope RJ will be able to get through his song tonight with all the moths beginning to flutter around him. This kid is bright! Oh no! The moths must have distracted him, because he just left out a whole gaggle of lyrics. You know, the part you sing? So, in fact, RJ has exposed himself to the audience. As the worst Memory player in history. "Dammit! Where is that one with the red circle?! I know it's around here somewhere!"
Randy says that RJ's song was "kinda boring". Like the part when RJ stopped singing, you mean? Paula thinks he didn't go for it. If you know her, you realize just how harsh that criticism was. Simon feels that two or three singers are better than him, but he did a great job recovering from the forgotten lyrics.
Before the break, we get a little moment of the kids trying to play the trumpet. It's going to be hilarious when they all show up with cold sores on their bottom lips next week. You know how seedy trumpet players can be.
We're back, and we see Kelly's friends talking about her down by the ol' muddy river. Isn't there a little West Nile floating around these days? Should they really be near a dirty stream? Besides, that thing should be flooding any minute now. "Go get our wedding photos out of the basement, Clint. It's raining again."
Anyway, here comes Kelly, looking like an extra from "L.A. Confidential". Or maybe Heather Graham in "Swingers". It suits her well. And, of course, so does singing. She's handling big band better than anybody else. The rhythm, the look, the feeling, everything. Looking at Kelly right now is like seeing a picture of your grandma when she was 28 and being pleasantly surprised at how good looking she was. Makes you like her more. Kelly killed tonight. Moved right into the #1 spot, I think. Well, #1a, right next to me.
Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. Randy, Randy, Randy says you're one of the best natural singers he's heard in a long time. Paula likes her. Simon likes her. I like her. You like her. They like her. Like all around! When Kelly wins this thing and cuts her first album, I hope she gets the friend from Texas that got all the AMERICAN IDOL paperwork for her and treats her to a very, very, very, very, very, very, very nice dinner. Wine and everything. But not until you're 21, Kelly! (A lawyer just wrote that)
So there you have it. Seemed like a pretty uneven show tonight. The big band era caused people a lot of problems. Except for Kelly. And also except for the big band itself, but these guys have been at it for years.
If I had to guess, and it seems like I do, I'd say that RJ is going to shuffle his way on out of here tomorrow. Fortunately for him, he'll have forgotten all about it five minutes after the show.