Another week brings us another American Idol show, and since it's been on for about eight weeks already there's no real need for an introduction, so let's get right to it, shall we? We shall!
To open, Ryan is onstage with the kids. He trumpets Idol as the #1 show in America. Ryan has cut the beach mullet down a bit, and knowing how incredibly high-maintenance his beauty routine is, I'm guessing he didn't get that done at Supercuts. Ryan then instructs an invisible somebody, "Now bring on the silver guy!" Is that some sort of knock-off Blue Man Group?
The kids come out to get things rolling, and tonight there is no jersey for Ruben. You know, in my first interview with him, I asked if he'd ever run out of color combos for his jerseys. He said no. Well, look who's right now! Me, that's who! I should've tipped off Ruben to a color scheme known as white and orange. Although that probably would've made him look like the world's biggest creamsicle.
Tonight's theme is Billboard #1 Hits. Why aren't they performing Billboard #300 Non-Hits? It would be great to finally hear something from the "Glitter" album. Speaking of hits, for one birthday I received a cassette tape called "Chartaction '83" which I'm pretty sure contained the Styx smash "Mr. Roboto" on it. I don't know if the show will ever make that tape a theme, but seeing Clay get up there and sing "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto! Domo! Domo!" would definitely be the moment of my life.
Ryan tells us that, "Billboard is the bible of the music industry." You know, I've always been an Old Testament Billboard fan. I loved Solomon's articles covering Nebuchadnezzar and the Asps' live shows. The kids head into the Billboard offices to meet a couple of the head honchos. No elevators in that building? They look like a couple of really rocking dudes. I can totally picture them front row at a Mooney Suzuki show.
The time comes to meet the judges. Tonight Paula's wearing a red and white shirt in tribute to the recently-released White Stripes work of genius, "Elephant." No word on her favorite track, but I'm betting on "Little Acorns."
Then the time comes to meet tonight's special guest judge.Lionel Richie! He does not come out dancing on the ceiling, much to my disappointment. During a retrospective of Lionel's career, we're reminded of his many, many hits, including "Hello." You know, that's how I hit on chicks in bars. "Hello. It's me you're looking for. Hello." As a warning before you steal my pimp move, it never, ever works.
Clay is up first tonight, and he'll be tackling a song by Billy Vera and the Beaters. More bands should be named Somebody and the Something. It's a sweet naming scheme! You know, I think Clay has worn this shirt already. The giant cross on his pants is definitely new. Whatever he's wearing, Clay is giving a solid performance. If American Idol was set in an ice rink, they'd turn the lights down for this tune and declare a couple skate. Randy doesn't like the song, Lionel and Paula agree with that assessment, so of course Simon says he liked the song. Look, I have to admit I can never guess what Simon is about to say. I wouldn't be surprised if after the next performance he said, "I had chicken salad for lunch. Good job."
Back from our first break and Jimmy Verraros is in the crowd! I guess he let somebody borrow his left glove. Or maybe he just forgot it. Kimberley Locke is up next. I keep waiting to see Kate Winslet go floating by on a piece of driftwood, but it doesn't happen. After the song, we see a sign in the crowd reading, "We love Kimberley Locke." Right next to it is a sign that reads, "Sorry, but our color cartridge is out of ink." The judges loved Kimberley, and with good reason.
Now we have Rickey, who is dressed like Badly Drawn Boy tonight. You know, this is two straight weeks Rickey has done a song originally performed by that week's guest judge. I mean, if you're going to be sycophantic, at least be slick about it. But it works, because the judges liked hearing Rickey. Although Simon adds Rickey's hat to the long list of "Things I Hate."
After another break, Ryan is in the crowd talking to some woman about something or other. I find it hard to pay attention because I'm too busy marveling at the little kid behind them. The scamp doesn't look like he's had a haircut in his entire life.
Then Kimberly Caldwell gets her turn. "Got this old worn-out six string. Bought at the five and dime! Played it 'til my fingers bled!" Wait. Wrong Bryan Adams song. Kim's tune is another one that maybe should've been in movie week. Randy wasn't pleased with Kim's effort. J.D. throws something at him from the first row. She didn't really blow away the other judges either.
Halfway through the show and I have to ask. Where is Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible?" That hit #1, didn't it? If not, that's a dang tragedy, because it would be awesome to see those creepy Stepford models swaying along behind a black-suited Josh. Speaking of Josh, here he is! The move to all-country all the time has really paid off for Josh. He gives a strong performance tonight and the judges loved it.
Back from another break and a sign in the crowd advises us to "Get Rubenized!" What does that entail exactly? Is it painful? Carmen is out now and she's going to sing some Blondie. Finally! Some pep on this show. No More Ballads! Let's start the movement now, brothers and sisters! Together, we are strong! For what it's worth, this song is older than Carmen. I think she would consider it an oldie. Randy was not a fan of the effort. Lionel commended her for getting onstage, but conspicuously didn't mention the song itself. Paula wasn't thrilled and Simon hated it. Well, I guess the "No More Ballads!" uprising has been effectively crushed. And that camouflage skirt didn't pay off at all.
I'm excited to see Trenyce come out because she's going to sing "The Power of Love." There hasn't been nearly enough Huey Lewis on this show. Not only did he rock us out, he taught us valuable lessons about the power of love. What's that? It's the Celine Dion version of "Power of Love?" What a rip! And what crushing news for The News. By the way, this song was #1 on Christmas Day of 1993. Do you remember any of the presents you got that year? Me neither. It must be pretty humid in the studio, because Trenyce's hair is really curling up. The judges liked Trenyce. As long as you ignore what Simon said.
Hey! Tamyra is in the crowd! It's a reunion show! I wonder if that means Clay will be on a very special Boston Public next week as the new kid who can't fit in for whatever ridiculous reason they come up with.
Back from another break. Ruben will be singing "Kiss and Say Goodbye." Tonight, Ruben is dressed like The Fonz, only bigger. During his song, we see Julia in the crowd. She still sticking around? I guess Connecticut is cold this time of year. The judges loved Ruben's effort. Actually, they went a few steps beyond loving it into some whole new zone of admiration. Super loving it. Or something.
Finally, Ryan advises, "Join us tomorrow for the elimination show. Somebody's going home." If Julia's presence in the crowd is any indication, that's not entirely true. They won't be on the show anymore, but who knows where they'll end up. Maybe hanging with Jimmy Verraros, wearing his other glove.