Almost seven days - 167 hours for you precise sticklers out there - have passed since we were rocked nearly off the planet by a host of Billboard #1 Hits. Tonight, another show is upon us, just as we've finished recuperating from last week. So here we go again!
With nary a clue as to this week's theme before the show starts, I'm still holding out hope that it will be "Songs With Parenthetical Titles (Long-Titled Tunes)." Parenthetical titles are always my favorite, and I've been dying to hear somebody warble "Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)."
Ryan gathers his charges for the extra-early opener. Kim Caldwell is very smiley right now. She's totally pumped for this show! The rest of the kids just sorta stand around. Carmen concentrates on keeping her hair curly. "Don't go straight on me now!"
Ryan comes out to kick things off, and for a different look tonight he's wearing clothes that actually match. His mom is in the audience tonight, so maybe she dressed him backstage. "Ryan David Seacrest! Get back in this dressing room! You are not going on television looking like that, young man! Your father will have a heart attack!"
And now.meet your American Idols! One by one, they walk out like little hatchlings following the mother duck. The only difference is the kids are smiling and waving to a packed audience, and ducks usually don't do that unless you're feeding them saltines.
Before we get to any of that bothersome singing, Ryan wants to point out that this week US Weekly - Hmm. That's an awkward statement. It's like saying, "Hey, did you read USA Today today?" There's no right way to do it! Anyway, it seems the periodical recently took a poll of the "sexiest stars around." Word is, Simon came in right behind Spongebob. No word as to where myself and Mr. Crab finished on the list. I'm sure I was way up there, though. And as long as I finished ahead of Hasselhoff again this year, I'm happy.
Fun antics aside, Ryan deftly clues us in to this week's theme. It's.Billy Joel Night! In tribute, I'm going to uncork both a bottle of red and a bottle of white and watch the show from Allentown. I wonder if anybody will be singing the Billy Joel classic, "Chasing Christie Brinkley Around The Hamptons." Or maybe even "I Love You Channel Five Newschick (Please Love Me Back)." We can only hope.
Then Ryan introduces guest judge Smokey Robinson. Huh? Have they changed the theme to "Smokey Robinson songs" in the past three seconds? Oh, I see. Tonight - one night only! - we have Billy Joel songs as judged by Smokey Robinson. If you look hard enough, I'm sure you can see the connection. Smokey comes out wearing his class ring on a chain around his neck. Class of '62 forever!
You know, I'm plenty happy to have Smokey here tonight, but it's too bad Billy won't be here to accompany the kids on piano. That's the whole point of Billy Joel! And yes, I'm on a first name basis with all celebrities.
By the way, another theme that I'd really like to see is "The Magical Sounds of Kansas." I saw a commercial on TV for a Kansas CD and one of the guitarists had an eye patch. You don't think that roughneck would perk up the show? Yer damn right it would! Although I don't know what anybody would sing besides "Dust In The Wind" or "Carry On Wayward Son." If the Kansas catalog isn't popular enough, we can make the night's theme "Geographic Bands" and bring in Kansas, Chicago, Boston and L.A. Guns. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get the eye patch guitarist on this show!
Kimberly Caldwell is up first tonight. Before her song, we get a little Kim piece and a little Billy piece. Anyway, Billy calls himself a "schmegdorf." I have no idea what that means/ Is that German for "songwriter" or Yiddish for "one who loves corned beef?" Somebody look that up for me. I have to wonder how long it took Kim to put that top on. It looks like a lot of tying and lacing was involved. The judges liked her singing. Except for Simon, who wanted a little bit more. A little bit more of Kim not singing on American Idol.
Ruben is up next. Billy tells a story about the time Phoebe Snow talked him into keeping "Just The Way You Are" on his album. Oh, Phoebe? I do everything she says too! I wanted eggs for breakfast this morning, but Phoebe said pancakes, so pancakes it was! Ruben croons and the judges love it, as always. Ruben heads over to Ryan for a little phone number action. One of these days, Ruben will pick up Ryan and put him in his shirt pocket and I will laugh. I mean, seeing Ruben next to Ryan is like seeing a golden retriever walk up to a lhasa apso.
That brings us to Kimberley Locke. She wrapped up her side job selling newspapers just in time for tonight's show. I guess she was in such a hurry she forgot to take off the hat. But it makes her look like an absolute doll, so it's good enough. And yes, I'm still all man, even after calling somebody "a doll." Kim gives a smooth, smoky performance, which the judges loved in tremendous quantities.
We come back from a break and Ryan tries to get his mom to help him with a promo. She's not so good at it, but she's still smoother than his last co-host, and that guy was a professional "comedian."
Now we have Carmen. Billy tells a story about how sometimes in the car he listens to his own songs. I'm not sure what that has to do with Carmen, but maybe it explains why her hair is curly tonight. Or maybe it doesn't. Carmen uses the mic stand for her song, which does nothing to get rid of her vibrato, but it does make her look much cuter. You can decide for yourself which is more important, but as always, I'm firmly in the cuter camp. Randy was decidedly unwowed by Carmen's effort. Smokey tries to find some nice words for her, and struggles to come up with "relax." Paula wasn't thrilled and Simon really wasn't thrilled. In fact, he was pretty angry about it. Ryan, being peppy as usual, gives Carmen a pep talk. It doesn't seem to take.
Josh gets his turn next. I wonder if he's told everybody he knows about that time I beat him at 8-ball. Twice. Well, if not, I just did. Josh comes out to sing "Piano Man," aka, the one Billy Joel song everybody knows. Josh should've brought out a big fishbowl with him and set it on the front of the stage. Then somebody in the audience could've dropped a fiver in the bowl and requested "Lady of Spain." A piano man has to make some money, folks! The judges liked Josh's song. Except for Simon. I'm done writing that. From now on, I'm just cutting and pasting it into every paragraph.
You know, it's a good thing nobody has tried to sing "We Didn't Start The Fire" tonight. I'd hate to see somebody forget those impossible lyrics mid-song. "Joe Dimaggio.uh.bum bum bah.coffee.Elvis too.la la la.um.I'm up here singing.uh.Marilyn Monroe!"
Trenyce is singing "Baby Grand" tonight while wearing a slinky cocktail dress. Combine those two factors with her sultry performance, and I'm starting to have visions of her singing atop a piano inside a smoky Cocoanut Grove lounge in 1945. And look! There I am passed out in the corner after celebrating V-J Day just a little too long. "We won! We won! We.glurk." Whump! The judges liked Trenyce's performance and didn't like it all at once. But Simon liked it, which should almost count as ten positive comments at this point.
Back from another break and Ryan is back with his people in the audience. Behind him, somebody holds up a sign reading, "Go music!" Indeed. Hooray for everybody! You're all winners in my book! Hurrah for music, hurrah!
Wrapping things up tonight is Clay with "Tell Her About It." The Broadway version! Wait, never mind. He was just teasing us before kicking in some tempo. Clay, you trickster, you! The song features a little finger snapping and, surprisingly, a little winking from Clay. The judges loved it. Simon tells Clay, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I hate looking at you." Ah, I guess the winking didn't go over so well with Simon.
So another show is in the books. We had both Smokey Robinson and Billy Joel featured tonight, perhaps because we'll have more celebrity guests as we have fewer contestants.