To open up the show, Seacrest gives us a super dramatic intro that highlights just how dramatic tonight's show will be. Feel the drama! The reason for such high pH levels of drama tonight is that nobody wants to come to Hollywood only to be sent back to their humdrum workaday lives in the same week. Idol Force One touches down at LAX and the kids begin swarming through the airport. I'm sure that wasn't a security distraction for anybody. Tucked in among the Idol-ites is Tony Bennett, who I didn't even realize made it past the audition round. Good for him! Seacrest says Tony left his luggage in San Francisco. Heh.
Moving onto the Alex Theatre, Seacrest informs us that it's day two in Southern California. The on-screen graphic informs us that it's "Day 1 - 8:45am." Um...which day is it??!? Help me!!!! I've lost all track of time! On whichever day this happens to be, Frenchie Davis kicks things off by telling the judges she personifies all the qualities of a star, then points out that she doesn't have hair flowing down her back and she's not a size 2. So...does she have all the qualities of a star except those two? Or are those not star qualities? I'm really having trouble processing tonight's show.
Cara and Rhian, the cyborg twins, are next. They speak in unison to the judges, stopping only to split their sentences like early Beastie Boys. These two absolutely terrify me. I can deny it no longer. They sing in unison as well, and I'm forced to mute my TV, lest I descend into stereo madness.
I love the idea of letting the kids speak before singing. We're sure to hear some really trenchant insights. Sure enough, Jayson Bunch informs us that he's been known to make young girls melt. I didn't realize he was known for anything. Cheryl lets us know that she's up for anything, except "the dirty video," which I didn't know was part of American Idol this season. I'm really looking forward to it though!
And a lot of these kids mention that destiny has brought them here. Man, destiny's reputation really has a lot riding on this show. Unless, of course, destiny is a bastard and loves screwing with kids. "Ha ha! Your fate since birth has been to come to Hollywood and be sent home two days later! Ha ha! I love it! And there's nothing you can do about it, because I'm Destiny!"
Seacrest looks down on the proceedings from the Pee Wee Herman level of the balcony and explains that sometimes the judges sent the front row home, and sometimes they sent the back row home. On cue, we see a blonde girl that is super excited to be asked to move forward. And then she's super unable to process the fact that she was cut. In fact, even if she's sitting in her living room watching tonight's show, she may have still not fully realized she's out. In the lobby, the people who got cut aren't taking the cut so well. The twins cry in unison and I offer thanks that it'll be the last time they ever give me the shivers.
For the next day, the kids had to compose their own melodies to one of five sets of lyrics. For a little playing along at home fun, I made up a melody of my own. And here it is: Bum bum BUM bah bah BAH doo doo DOO woo woo WOO bum BAH doo WOO bum-BOOOOOOOOO! Yeah, I'm in the business. Back from the break, Joshua the Marine is up first. He's pretty good. And really disciplined. His side of the hotel room is probably spotless.
After another round of cuts and tears goes down, it's back to the hotel for the night. Some kids immediately start practicing in the lobby. I'm sure the front desk staff really appreciates it. Then party time is coming down. Party? Party? Party! Stephen Sisqo tries to organize a group to head into Hollywood for some getting down. Clay passes when he finds out the trip won't involve sightseeing. Just so he knows, a tour bus leaves the hotel tomorrow at 8am and includes two separate stops at Grauman's Chinese Theater.
Stephen hits the hotel bar for drinks with one contestant's hot mom. His forecast calls for "Rock 'n' roll, sex and booze," which is a full night indeed. Corey ditches nerd practice with the squares under the assumption that he'll get up at 6am following a night of drinking. I don't think that's ever happened in the history of the world. Corey never stops to think that if Patrick, a dude with spiked bracelets, a leopard shirt and a Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart goatee doesn't want to party, then maybe it's not time to party.
En route, the boys hope traveling with a camera crew and an American Idol piece of paper will score them some easy flukies. Back at the hotel, Julia continues idling in the lobby while her partners eat dinner. How many courses does this meal involve? Why doesn't she just go looking for them?
The funboys file into Saddle Ranch Chop House in Hollywood, a spot I've haunted before. It's the type of place where they ring a bell and cheer when you buy a round of kamikazes, and all of the women have too much makeup. It gets old in about six seconds. But not for the partyboys, who ride a mechanical bull in between kissing girls of the less attractive variety. You know, with a camera crew in tow, shouldn't they be picking up better talent?
Still in the hotel lobby, Julia gives up after four hours of waiting and heads to bed. Such determination! Wednesday morning comes and three people are missing for the bus ride to the theater. Gosh, I wonder which three? Well, it seems that Julia is returning the waiting game favor. Revenge! Corey struts through the lobby, certain that he's on time even though he's last. And a half-dressed Stephen finally tumbles into the elevator. I imagine the Marine did not appreciate the bus being held up. Call was at 0800!
Over at the Alex, Julia enters a cattiness contest with the girls in her group. When she falls behind, she calls in her older sister to handle everything. I haven't seen this much intra-group intrigue since The Supremes! According to the sister, people from Julia's area aren't two-faced, they're not catty, they're completely wonderful and Julia's group is entirely to blame. When Kimberly sneers at this angle, the older sister snaps that she needs to "have respect!" For somebody you don't know that's yelling at you? Interesting theory. For the record, Julia is from Connecticut, so if you ever get the chance to visit, do it. The people are great!
Patrick continues to fret over his group's preparedness and tries to figure out a way he can beat Corey to death and still make the final 32. Before the boys get started, Simon advises them to be sure they know the words. It's like he knew! The first group to perform includes Big Ruben and Rickey. They kill. Good start. And the end of the good. The rest of the male trios have absolutely no idea what their lyrics are. Can you imagine a game of Memory involving these people? It would last forever!
Corey and Patrick's group is next, and sure enough, Corey has forgotten his words. Somehow Patrick restrains himself from going nookewlar and power slamming Corey into the first row. Corey's recovers by dedicating the song to Paula and then kissing her. Paula is pleased with the routine, although Simon was unimpressed. And I couldn't understand what Randy said. I did hear "dog" twice.
Finally, Stephen and Alden's group takes the stage. Anybody even slightly familiar with foreshadowing knows exactly how this is going to play out. Even though Stephen reaffirmed that he was going to be fine onstage, and his white terrycloth hat matches his black one from earlier, he fumbles with the words. And alcohol claims another victim!
Time for the girls. Girls are usually responsible and prepared. Maybe they can save this disaster. First up are Kimberly and Frenchie. Hey! They're good! They should start a duo called French Kim! Unfortunately, French Kim did not sing "It's Raining Men."
Outside, tension rises among the fellers. Why in the world is anybody messing with the Marine? Madness! That's the last guy to upset. Tick off one of the pretty boys instead. They'll just slap you. Alden declares that if Marcus "Keeps cutting me the eye, I swear to God I'm gonna bury his face." Look out, Loretta! That sounds serious! Having your faced buried would majorly suck. "I can't smell a thing!" It's possible that Alden thinks he'll be cut from Idol, so he's decided to audition for the role of Chip, the cocky blond guy who's the leader of the cool kids in a teen comedy flick. If he goes up to Marcus and says, "Shove it, creep!" and then walks away laughing with his cheerleader girlfriend, he may have the part.
Inside, the ladies are having just as much trouble with the lyrics as the dudes. And they stayed in all night studying. In the lobby, Frenchie reunites the Blonde Supremes. I assume she threatened to start clunking some heads together and that calmed everybody down. On another note, can't Julia handle anything for herself? At this rate, I'm going to be called on to resolve her next problem. I just hope it doesn't involve poisonous snakes or crazy women.
The Blonde Supremes finally manage to sing, and Julia and Kimberly stick out in the group. So neither one gets the satisfaction of being proven right. After all the songs have been sung, the kids wait around while the judges deliberate. Julia gets a foot rub. Man, she gets people working for her! Back inside the theater, the guys are lined up row by row. The first row makes it past. Corey and Alden are in. Surprisingly, Alden gives a smug smile. "Oh, man. Why does Lisa go out with him? He's such a jerk!"
The second row is dismissed, which means Stephen is heading home. The good news is that he's free to go out drinking tonight. Then the girls are lined up in four rows. The first row is chopped, which is okay because we don't know anything about these dames except that one of them sorta looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones. I said sorta! The second row slides by, which means French Kim is safe. The third row also makes it, so the two leaders of the Blonde Supremes are safe.
Those going home get one last chance to speak to the judges. Ammee gets the birthday gift of tears and a plane ticket out of town, which is the exact same thing I got for my 18th birthday. I still haven't forgiven my parents. On Friday, December 13, Seacrest informs us, 48 will become 32. Looking back, I have no idea whatsoever what I did that day. I'm sure it was something super mega awesome, though! As usual. The kids have to give one last performance to save themselves from being part of the last 16 cut. Nervous about going first, Kimberly calls her mom and yells at her to blow off some steam. Interestingly, in her bio Kimberly listed her mom as her Idol. Steven Weber of Wings fame is my Idol, and I wouldn't dream of yelling at him. That's no way to treat an Idol!
After one last nerve-wracking performance, the kids are broken up into three rooms of 16. The first room is in. The second room? Oops. Marcus makes a break for it, maybe hoping he can outrun the bad news. One of the girls cries that, "I'm not going back to school! I hate it!" She sounds like most kids after the first day of kindergarten. As for the girl in the giant pink sombrero, it's gotta be tough to walk around in that thing when you're miserable. Everybody you pass will be smiling and laughing at you.
Obviously the third room makes it through as well, although Paula's tears did a good job of throwing them off the scent for a while. And there we have it. Thirty-two precocious little scamps are now competing for your attention and praise. Just like I do right here twice a week. Please love me!