At the start of a night so incredibly huge that huge doesn't even begin to describe the hyperbolic hugeness assigned to it, Ryan stands alone onstage talking to us during a well-synced countdown. Unless, of course, the show didn't want people talking over Ryan, in which case we already have a disaster on our hands. Ryan is dressed like Sinatra toward the end of a three-hour set at the Golden Nugget, although it's safe to assume that Frank probably never went with the frilly, crimped cuffs on his shirts. "I said extra starch, you meatball! Now do it right before the boys shanghai you!"
After Ryan has set the tone, Clay and Ruben come out. Clay is wearing a tuxedo minus the jacket and tie, and Ruben is wearing a jacket inspired by a waffle iron. Or maybe he just has it on inside out as some new style. We're off to a splendid start, sartorially.
Ryan introduces the judges, and they're about the same as usual. Simon has chosen to play things safe and stick with black, and Randy has added a dope fedora to his look. Represent! Did I get that right? Represent? You put that hat on me, I'd look like a hipster doofus.
Ruben is up first, but before he can sing, apparently we need to know a little bit more about his past. Ruben is going to be singing a Burt Bacharach song, which marks only the second time we've heard one of Burt's tunes on the show. As well as only the second time I've made basically the same joke. It's the end of the season, and I'm obviously running a little low on material. After the song, we see a sign that reads, "Ruben is our chocolate teddy graham." Who made that sign? Kirk Nabisco?
After a break, Ryan is in the audience, where he feels oh-so-comfortable. Hey! It's Big Game James, James Worthy! Take it to the hole, James! But where are the goggles? Watching the show at home, Dennis Johnson feels a tinge of nostalgia for the '86 Finals.
Now Clay is up, so we also get to see his past. Again. Remember the time Clay, Ruben and Kim were in the same group but only two could move on? Man, that was some group. That's like if the NCAA put Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona all in the West Regional. Yeah, that's two sports references in a row. I want everybody to know I'm a real jocko! A real man's man! Arrgh!
So Clay comes out and we know he's serious about tonight because he's put on the jacket and tie and is now making his hair glow. Or maybe that's just the lighting. I really want to sing along with Clay right now, but I don't know the lyrics to his fancy new song. Lift me high or something, I think. Randy hated the song and hopes Clay doesn't make it his first single. But Randy did love Clay's singing. Paula says Clay found the matrix of the song. Take the blue pill, Clayo! Watch out! It's the evil Agent Smith!
Leading us into the promised land of commercial airtime, Ryan teases, "Coming up, music done by Lennon and McCartney."
We're back! Now Ruben is going to be singing the Lennon classic, "Imagine." Ruben's performance is backed by an orchestra, and I have to tell ya, I love the strings. I fall for them every time. I also like that I know how to spell the word "cello." The judges may not be impressed by my smarts, but they definitely liked Ruben's performance.
Clay is up for the second time around, and he'll be doing a song by Paul McCartney. But I have to know, what about some Ringo in this show? "Yellow Submarine" isn't good enough for you people? "In the town.where I was born.lived a man who.sailed to sea. And he told.us of his life.in the land of.submarines. Submarines!" During his second performance, Clay's hair is glowing again. So maybe it isn't the lights. Maybe it's Clay's magical powers! Oooooh!
Our boys were each scheduled to sing three numbers tonight, which means that Ruben will be coming out one more time. In a surprise twist, he's wearing Clay's suit from earlier. Since the final song is obviously the most important, a choir has now replaced the orchestra. Preach! Say it! It's like I'm watching an old Hammer video all of a sudden. The judges think it was Ruben's finest performance of the evening. Nothing like saving the best for last, I guess.
Following the natural order of things, Clay follows Ruben once again. First he tackled Paul McCartney, now he'll be shooting for Paul Simon. "Baby don't take my Kodachrome awaaaaaaayyy!" Oh, wrong song. You know, I'd like this a lot better if Clay had a big Garfunkel 'fro, but it's pretty nice as it as. The judges think it was Clay's finest performance of the evening. Nothing like saving the best for last, I guess. At this point, I'm pretty much cutting and pasting the entire Recap together from past Recaps. Paula and Randy give their second straight standing ovation, and Simon says that performance may just win Clay the competition. Relieved to hear that, Clay makes the Clay face.
So after two okay songs, the boys really turned it out for the final number. Did the choir inspire them? Did the orchestra impede? Were there any celebrities at this thing besides Laker great James Worthy? Are these really important questions?
Yes, maybe, probably and no, respectively. Over and out, homeys!