Another Tuesday has unfolded in front of us, and after enduring whatever it is we all have to endure throughout the week (for me, it's constant praise and adoration), we're all ready to sit down in front of the plasma and watch American Idol. Hoo-rah!
Now that the competition is down to five and five only, I feel like I need to pay more attention and be more serious. So I'm now sitting perfectly upright with both feet firmly on the floor. No more slouching! On a more somber note, it's getting tougher and tougher to cut somebody each week. We've all gone through so much together, I feel like we're old friends! Maybe they should call the competition off so everybody can win. Let the remaining kids form a pentet and we'll name it Five Voices and Ten Feet.
You know, I've really been digging this synchronization lately between Dramatic Dan's last words pre-show, and Ryan's first words kicking off the show. So of course they don't do it tonight. Ryan implores us, "Let's do it, America!" Yeah! Do it to it! All right! Ryan comes out wearing his Brasil 2002 World Cup outfit. Ronaldo would be so proud. Rivaldo? It's hard to say.
Somebody in the crowd has scribbled 818 onto a piece of a refrigerator box with a magic marker. Most people don't realize how symbolic that dirty, sign is of the 818 area code. Hey! It's Rickey Smith! My boy! If I had known he was going to be here tonight, I would've gotten dressed up. Ryan introduces us to the judges once again. They haven't changed. Then we hear crickets over Simon's introduction. Ho ho! Jolly good British humor! Simon seems plenty irritated tonight. Not by the crickets so much as by having to deal with Ryan for another week.
But we haven't met all the judges! Oh no, no, no. Which, of course, you knew already if you had seen any of this season's shows. You see, now we have a special guest judge each week. Who am I explaining this to? We don't have any newcomers around here. Anyway, the extra judge tonight is Neil Sedaka. Not to be confused with Jon Secada. Or Chaka Khan. Or the Chupacabra. Neil's historical-type montage basically lets us know that if you have a family reunion barbecue this summer, chances are you'll be listening to some Neil Sedaka tunes while sipping a lemonade. Which reminds me, I like barbecue.
Ryan informs us that tonight's first song will be "Ain't Too Proud To Beg," as "originally done by The Temptations, now done by." TLC? Are Chilli and T-Boz showing up? Could we be that lucky? Oh. It's Ruben. And he's wearing an outfit that was either made out of the skin of 1,000 snakes, or was harvested by aliens on Jupiter. But it's dope! After Ruben's ditty, we see Tamara and Tia Mowry in the audience. I had been wondering what those two were up to. I get the Olsen twins' email newsletter so I'm up to date on them, but sister, sister have left me hanging lately. Maybe they're too busy playing mixed doubles tennis with Jaleel White and Malcolm Jamal Warner to make public appearances. S'cool.
Trenyce is going to be doing a little CCR tonight. Man, remember when Creedence debuted his new floppy blond bangs at the Freedom Festival? What a touching tribute by Trenyce! And I'm digging her outfit tonight. It's like a sassy, silky scarf turned into a whole ensemble. The mega bass background vocal track during Trenyce's song is freaking me out though. It sounds like the voice kidnappers in movies use to call the family demanding ransom. I wonder if Trenyce will pull a Cher and change outfits between songs. Time will tell, I suppose. Trenyce rocked it out hard tonight. Good for her. I thought she was going to blow her dress off for a second there. The judges loved it. Except for Simon, who thought it was like a drag act. It's possible that's a high compliment to him. Or maybe he ate at Lucky Chang's in New York recently and just can't get those hot chickdudes off his mind.
Now we have Josh, wearing a motorcycle jacket from Tron. You know, I think that might be my third Tron reference of the past year. Certainly that's some sort of record. Josh countrifies "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye." Usually, one countrifies something by coating it in butter and frying it, but I guess for a song a twangy voice will suffice. It's nice. Pleasant. Guitary. It's a seminal moment for Josh! Eh, actually it's probably not. I've just been looking to use that phrase all season and was beginning to worry I would never get a chance.
We come back from a break and Simon is again harping on something about a blind date and Ryan. I can't make the connection. I find it hard to believe a television star needs to be set up by friends. Maybe Simon thinks Roger Lodge is a better host than Ryan. Or maybe it's just some inside joke that would be better served back in the dressing room, rather than on TV when we could be watching people singing or collect call commercials or something.
Kimberley Locke comes out next and I find that I'm still digging the straight hair. Which means she'll need to spend two hours a day straightening her hair every day for the rest of her life. Senor Sedaka describes Kimberley as "ear delicious." The other judges were split on Kimmy. Perhaps they considered her "ear could use some salt." A sign in the audience declares Kim to be "MISS INDEPEN." Then they ran out of space, so they squeezed in dent on the side there. I hope this person never tries to build a house. "Well, the place looks nice, but the roof keeps falling off because the east side of the house is fifty feet tall, and the west side is six."
Now Clay is going to take a crack at "Build Me Up Buttercup." These days, I always think of There's Something About Mary when I hear this ditty. I wonder if Clay would freak out if you whispered in his ear. And man, I would love to see a scabies-covered Chris Elliott cross the stage during Clay's performance. Looking at Clay's purple suit, I'm tempted to wish him a Happy Easter, but before I can the song is over. In the audience, Clay's mom has a MasterCard parody sign about something or other. I can't really tell what because it had 100 words on it and they showed it for all of 1.2 seconds. Something was priceless, though. The judges dug Clay.
Once again we come back from a break and once again Ryan is in the crowd. He should get a ticket at this point with the time he spends out there. Behind him, somebody holds up a sign that reads, "Hi mom, Ashley, (blank space) & (blank space) Frank." Hmm. That's some rather interesting use of space. The Guggenheim committee would be impressed.
Ruben comes back out and we discover that he changed clothes in between "sets." That's show biz talk! I wouldn't be surprised if he just pushed a button on his last outfit and it removed itself and folded up neatly in the corner. Future clothes are cool that way. Ruben looks super suave in these duds. Like the cool guy in a movie about the 1930s. "Hey, friend. Everything's jake. Let's not get in a lather over something that should be soup." Busting out the mic stand again, which has come through for him so many times before, Ruben gives a butterscotchy, extra-slick performance. Man, that was poetry. By me, I mean. Randy and Neil hand Ruben the competition. Simon jumps on that bandwagon too. Ryan then calls Ruben's brother Kevin onstage. Ryan looks like Siegfried between two big cats right now. Hopefully they don't punt Ryan into the crowd like a beach ball.
Love! Love will keep us together! Trenyce! Trenyce will be coming out next! Trenyce has also changed threads, so it's safe to assume that a trend has been set. Hopefully Kimberley won't come out for her next song wearing pajama bottoms and a ratty sweatshirt. "What? I thought we were done. Oh no!" The '60s and Neil Sedaka seem to really agree with Trenyce. Her first album should be nothing but an old school rhythm and blues revue. Forget the computer bleeps and Puffy Daddy going "Yeah. Unh," and videos featuring hundreds of spotlights and big fans billowing your clothes. Go back to school! Old school! If not for me, then for the judges, who loved Trenyce oh so very much tonight.
We zip back from another break, and Ms. Personality, Hayley Arp, is in the audience. It's really quite hard to believe that a reality show contestant would be willing to show up somewhere with TV cameras present. They're not very outgoing people. Surprisingly, Ryan did not put on a horrifying blue mask to converse with the charming Hayley.
Josh is out again. I thought maybe he would've kept his outfit from earlier on and just added a cowboy hat, but no, it's an entirely new spread. Josh regales us with country Sedaka. I dig it. Especially the "doo-run" parts. I also like how Josh stalks around the stage with deliberate purpose. When he has somewhere to be, he gets there, dang it! The judges liked Josh's effort. Sigh. All together now. "Except.for.Simon." He gives Josh basically the same speech he gave Carmen last week, except he swaps the names.
Kimberley comes out to tell us where the boys are. Why, they're all down at the car hop comparing their 428 block hemis. "Man, I'll blow your doors clean off, son." "You're on, punk! Meet me at Miller's Crossing at sundown. We're racing for pinks! And, oh by the way, I'm dating Sherry now!" "No! You're dead, Kurt! You hear me! Deaaaaaaaaaaad!" (squealing tires) Speaking of pinks, Kimberley is fully decked out in them. So cute! And so good at the singing! The judges loved it.
Back from what is hopefully the last break, and we're let in on some mid-show planning. Behind the scenes action! Exit left! Cross right! Pan! Crossfade! Spool! All of it! Backstage, underage, adolescent, fine how you doing, Ryan shows us the Red Room. Trenyce is doing shots of olive oil. Not on a dare. She's the darling of Firenza right now.
Back onstage, no, we're not experiencing a power outage. We're experiencing a Clay.innage! My word, that was terrible. I mean, I just bottomed out there. Clay is remarkably serious about this performance. Perhaps solitaire is his favorite game and he wants to treat it with respect. I know if somebody wrote a song about Chutes and Ladders, I would certainly do the same. Randy declares that everybody is stepping up tonight. Ruben, Clay, Trenyce, Kimberley. Umm.Randy? You forgot Josh. Oh. I see. Neil hands ownership of "Solitaire" over to Clay. That first royalty check is going to be sweet, Clay! Spend it wisely. The remaining two judges chime in with high praise for Clay as well. What a night! It's Tues-Clay! Ugh. Just bottomed out again.
So that wraps up another show. It was the first doubleshot show of the season, and I think I handled it with aplomb. Most jerk columnists can only come up with one insult per person per column. But I stretched the limits and came up with two! I rock so hard! Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be in bed for the next 17 hours.