So after all the fuss we've gone through up to this point, we're not even halfway finished. In fact, we're really just getting started. We have ten more weeks to go, and at two Recaps per week, I'm only about a month from becoming the new world record holder in "Most Somewhat Funny Sarcastic Comments Made - U.S." Please, hold your applause until I finish.
But then I find out tonight's show is going to be a two-hour marathon. I don't have that much to say! I can barely fill a 30-minute show Recap. What am I? John.Writesalot? Good Lord, that was awful. That can't be a very good sign at the start of the night. The tank is almost officially on E, friends.
So let's get things started! With a dramatic intro! But wait! Where's Serious Steve? His baritone lets me know it's time to start paying attention. Maybe this intro is simply too long for him. Perhaps he's only good in short bursts. I can relate. Anyway, after lots of dreaming and lots of hype, we now have a very important show. With a live studio audience! And a new set that looks like a movie theater in outer space! Although I must admit I'm a little disappointed to find out the new set doesn't come with a hot tub. How can you have a reality show without a hot tub? It's a staple!
Ryan comes out in jeans and a bright orange T-shirt featuring the logo from the Atari knock-off system, Ataris. But remembering that tonight's show features a live audience, he decided to toss on a random sport coat at the last second. But without further ado, let's meet our judges! They haven't changed, although Paula has a giant eye on her shirt. It looks like something from that pyramid on the back of a dollar bill. Frightening and all-knowing!
You know, since the finals are so important, we probably should have some sort of overall theme each week. We can't just toss this thing together anymore, folks! It needs planning. Personally, I think a super sweet theme would be "The Sounds of Dio," but tonight it's "Motown." And what better way to have Motown night than to have an actual Motown legend drop by? Ladies and gentlemen, people in the back get on your feet, it's Lamont Dozier! Lamont's shirt proves my long-held theory that everybody in the music business wears shiny clothes. Although he's written about 70 hit songs and I've yet to string two good paragraphs together, so really, how can I say anything about the guy?
Kicking things off tonight is Kimberley Locke. She very politely waits in a hallway backstage until it's her turn. Speaking of the hallway, what's with that guitar on the wall? Who is that for? Are they expecting Yngwie Malmstein to drop by later and rock our faces off with "Rising Force?" Kimberley's pre-song montage comes to end, but not before we've learned everything about her there possibly is to know. So let's do it to it! To stick out from everybody else, Kimberley chooses to sing her song deep in the bowels of Hades. "Live! Directly from Hell! Ozzy Osbourne and.Kimberley Locke! Growwwwwl!" The flames make a lot of sense for "Heat Wave," but I think the point would've been better made with video of a fat dude in cutoffs and no shirt mowing his lawn. "Whew! It's hot out here today! It's like a heat wave! Burning down the sky."
Josh is up now. He has a wife, a kid and an enlistment. That's a lot of responsibility. I couldn't even keep a Tamagotchi going for more than a week. Josh's leader at Pendleton is.Gunnery Sergeant Steele? Is that for real? Sgt. Steele? That's like a Bruckheimer hero's name, for cryin' out loud. "Steele! You can't go in there!" "I have to go in! The President's life is at stake!" "Fine! Go in! But blow stuff up in slow motion on your way!" "It's been an honor serving you, sir." One of the show's stylists mussed up Josh's hair for tonight's show. Sgt. Steele must be having a heart attack looking at that hippie bush on his head. But the ladies love it, Sarge! The judges liked Josh, but Lamont says he's no Levi Stubbs. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Somebody please look that up for me. Simon advises Josh to shed a few pounds, which I can't imagine any Marine has ever been told before. Josh responds with a few pushups, which I think is the Marine answer to everything. Ryan tries to join in with his patented drill sergeant bit. Let's just say he's no R. Lee Ermey. "You will get tan, private! You will bleach your teeth in my platoon!"
That brings us to Charles, who is from Oberlin, Ohio. Isn't that where Ed Stevens is from? Are he and Carol ever getting together? My patience is not limitless on this! On another note, I can't believe they already make Charles cake! It has his picture and everything. Tonight, Charles is wearing an outfit that's so old school it's new school. It looks like New Edition doing a reunion tour three years from now. Charles accents his song with the slick "Walk forward, walk backward" dance groove. "Up I go! Back I go! Up I go again! And back one more time!" With a little more exposure, the Charles could eventually overtake last year's dance sensation, the RJ, in America's nightclubs. During Charles' performance, some guy in a headset crawls up to Simon and asks for something. It's like A Christmas Carol. "Please, Master Cowell. Alms." "Bah. Back to the alleys with you."
Kimberly Caldwell is next in the rotation. Back in Texas, she shows us her gleaming white pickup. Did she have to buy that because of Texas state law? Do they even allow hatchbacks down there? "Do you know why I pulled you over, son?" "No, officer. Was I speeding?" "Naw. But your little Japanese car here is too fuel efficient. We don't go for that down here in the nation of Texas. This here is an oil state, boy." Mindful of the current war drum pounding, Kimberly opts for an outfit from the "Sexy Future Soldier" collection. She can topple my regime any time! Hey-o! Kimberly is the first singer tonight to bring a lot of energy to her performance and the judges love it. Good for them! Well, good for Kimberly, actually. Before the break, we get to watch the kids marvel at the sight of the new set. When I first saw it, all I could think was, "Where's the big gong?" Then I realized I had my talent shows confused.
Next up is Rickey. The Dean of Students at the college where Rickey works offered to pay for his ticket to the auditions. Man, that's nice. I can't even get anybody to buy me a BLT. Rickey performs in billowy white pants. I haven't seen pantaloons like that since that weekend I spent in the Hamptons last summer. Man, that takes me back. So much white wine and cheese! Rickey does a solid job, and the judges appreciate it. Rickey thanks "Mr. Dozier." Finally! Some respect from the younger generation! On another note, Simon feels the need to point out how awful the taped pre-song pieces are. Well, at least they're long. Somewhere, a producer cries tonight.
Back from the break, Ryan treats us to some awful joke about Britney and Fred Durst. I don't get it. What is this, the MTV Video Music Awards? But while we're on the subject, can't Freddie afford a new hat? Julia heads back to her job at the beauty salon. Not to work, but to walk around. And remember, ladies, let's make sure the cuffs match the collars. Okay, time for the song. Whoa! Look up from that book! We have a short skirt alert! Julia is singing "Where Did Our Love Go?" I can imagine a couple asking themselves this before heading out to the mall. "Honey, where did our love go?" "Did you check under the couch? I find the remote there all the time." The 9:00pm hour comes and the TV-G rating pops up to help out the parents. At that very moment, Julia wiggles around in a really short skirt and low cut top. So TV-G sounds about right. After the song, Paula points out that Julia looks amazing tonight. Simon advises her to not take a bow. She retorts that, "Your opinion doesn't matter." Um, it's not my fight, but I think Simon meant she'll pop out of her shirt. Well, at least she didn't have that retort planned or anything. I mean, she couldn't use it fast enough. "Well." "Your opinion doesn't matter!" Simon tries to clarify his thoughts, but Julia goes over his head and petitions the crowd. "What did you think?" The patented Justin Crowd Override Move! Remarkable! I didn't think we'd see that again this year!
Clay. Ever since the judges questioned his look, he's become infinitely cooler than I could ever to hope to be. Which isn't a very long way to go, but still. Clay gives a spotless performance, including smiling and winking like an old pro. The judges loved it, unless you include Simon in that count. He thought it was more like "Motown: The Musical," which I'm really looking forward to seeing as soon as this dang musician's strike ends. Although, somehow Broadway musicians striking for more money and an extra peach scone on the snack cart just doesn't carry the same social weight as turn-of-the-century factory workers striking for the right to not be killed by machinery at work. And then of course being killed anyway by armed guards called in for some strike bustin'. On a lighter note, it turns out that tonight Ryan and Clay are hair buddies.
Vanessa Olivarez owns a pot-bellied pig named Bacon and works as a hair colorist. One of those facts is surprising. Vanessa brings a lot of energy and red hair to her performance. Randy and Paula describe the effort as "a little pitchy." I don't know what that means. It sounds bad, though. Simon thinks Vanessa will make a better entertainer than an American Idol. Apparently, there is a line.
Now we have Corey. He's going to be living down that one night of partying longer than your buddy who got drunk and made out with that one chick with the hairy legs. Corey's parents are named Jan and Duane. They're like a Jan amp; Dean tribute band! Corey comes out in Rickey's pants. No need to let them go to waste. All of the cornrows on Corey's head emanate from the front right of his noggin. It's good to be in such balance. During his performance, Corey spins around a few times and doesn't fall down, which is more than enough to get my vote. The judges liked Corey's performance, and Simon congratulates Corey's honesty in liking to party. Here's a simple equation for you all: Me + Corey + beers = Look out, ladies! Party dudes, unite! Whooooo!
Carmen is from Utah, which is known as The Beehive State. I don't know why. But there's a little fact learnin' for y'all today! Carmen does a lot at her high school, including Madrigals and Concert Choir. What, no Mathletes? Carmen tells us she can play the guitar and piano, although the guitar hurts her fingers. Somebody should tip her off to this brand new invention: the guitar pick. Tonight, Carmen is wearing makeup from the '40s, a shirt from the '60s and pants from the '70s. Let's just assume the shoes are from the '90s to round things out. Multi-generational! Carmen musically lets us know that you can't hurry love. Which is true. Love needs at least 55 minutes at 425 degrees to come out right. Or 65 minutes at sea level. The judges loved Carmen, which means they have something in common with me. Besides the piles of money, of course.
After the song, Paula gives Trenyce a standing ovation. Randy credits Trenyce for being the "most originality." I see. Lamont Dozier congratulates her for making the song hers. Now that's a heavy duty compliment. That would be like Conan O'Brien calling me and saying, "Hey guy, that thing about Randy? Not too bad." Instead, all he's ever said to me is, "Quit following me around before I call the cops, jerk." Over with Ryan, Trenyce says.oh my God! Look out for that giant star! It's heading right for us!
Ruben gets the anchor spot tonight. He and his brother, Kevin, discuss who would win fights between the two of them. I have a feeling if those two ever really went at it, their parents' house would be reduced to rubble. Tuesday is Ruben Studdard Day in Alabama. And governors don't just toss those proclamations around for cheap media opportunities, so you know it's big! Thankfully, Ruben was able to work out a new color scheme for his jersey in time for tonight's show. But what will he do when Birmingham has too many new phones and needs to split into two area codes? Wear a 205/317 jersey, I guess. So, let's see.Ruben is an amazing singer, the nicest guy ever, witty and everybody loves him. The only difference between the two of us is that I have dirty blond hair and can fit into a restaurant booth. And remember, the crowd isn't saying "boo." They're saying "Rube."
So the first live singing show is finally over. Not the first one ever, I mean, just for this season. It's time for me to make another prediction, this time for the non-winner of the week. In the interest of selfishly keeping my streak alive rather than performing an actual service, my pick to go home this week is.not Ruben! The streak lives on!