Last night was sorta, almost, not quite Elton John. I mean, the music was fine. But boy was that piano red. And I was super on point, so your night wasn't a total loss. You're welcome.
To prepare for tonight's show, I'm sitting in the dark with my assistant waving a flashlight at me just so I can feel an ounce - a little taste! - of what those little superstars feel before each show. And let me tell you, it's really not that bad as long as the light doesn't hit you right in the eyes. Then again, I'm not going anywhere after tonight's show, so maybe that takes some of the sting off.
Last night, nine finalists gave the performances of their lives. Tonight, we've recreated the backdrop from Press Your Luck. Who will move on and win big bucks? And who will catch a Whammy and go home? Five thousand dollars and a spin! Ryan jaunts out in a tan suit, fulfilling my observation last week that Tuesday is for dark suits and Wednesday is for light suits. Or was it the other way around and Ryan crossed me up? You trickster! I guess I could check the archives and look up.eh, you know what? Forget it. Light suits on Wednesdays it is. I'm going to start following the same pattern.
Full of pep, perhaps still on a high from jamming with Rick Springfield on his other show this afternoon, Ryan tells us that the finalists will be broken up into three groups tonight. Most votes, mediumest votes and fewest votes. So three kids will feel great, three will feel eh and three will feel terrible. Personally, I'm already looking forward to next week when they try to break up eight finalists and fractions come into play. "Okay, Jon Peter, um, you go here, but throw your sweater over there in that group."
It's time to meet the judges again! Adding insult to imagery, here is Simon Cowell. Adding confusing metaphors to American idol, here is Ryan Seacrest. And with no special introduction, here are Paula and Randy.
Then we move into a recap of last night. Jennifer was good. George was good. Fantasia was good. The rest? Oof. Ryan asks what i-ight means anyway. It means all right,. Take that tip back to suburbia with you. A sign in last night's audience lets us know that The Knightleys Love George. George certainly appreciates the support of young Hollywood turk, Keira Knightley.
Kids, let's chat. Super casual JPL takes the high road, laying off what he thought of Simon's thoughts and Camile sends birthday wishes to her dad, who's big in Japan. La (space) Toya, back tonight with her money magic hair, tells us that being a wedding singer wouldn't be a terrible backup plan no matter what Simon thinks. Heck, it's working for Justin Guarini right now. He's booked every weekend this summer. John Stevens, it was a little tough for you last night, huh? Yeah. Sigh. You doing okay tonight, buddy? Yeah. Sigh. Jasmine reveals that she was a bit under the weather last night. Maybe a big ol' hug from me will make her feel better. It'll make me feel better at least.
Before the break, American Idol pitches an album from the show. A compilation soul album which, as Gladys Knight helpfully points out, is full of soul. Then some dude in a hat talks about how last year Clay and Ruben were on the single cover and now he is. I have no idea who that guy is. You leave the show, you leave my life!
You know, I could really go for a group Elton performance. This Benny and the Jets is nice enough, but it really can't touch Biz Markie's rendition on the Beastie Boys Anthology. Are the dudes taking this one off? Or are they going to catch us off guard by rushing through the audience? Oh, there they are, helpfully arranged by height. Saturday! Saturday! Singing on a Wednesday! Wednesday!
Before the break, the kids attend the Kids Choice Awards. Smartly, they never say "I don't know" and get themselves slimed. Hey, you can't do that on television! Back from said break Tamyra Gray is going to sing on the set of a Cool Water cologne commercial. "Davidoff. For men. Free Davidoff tote bag with $79.99 purchase." Watch for Tamyra on Tru Calling next Thursday (8/7c on FOX), following her multiple appearances on Boston Public. She won't be on The Swan.
Kids, do you have some questions for Tamyra? Huh? Huh? Jasmine wonders how she dealt with the stress of the show. Tamyra's advice is to flip the script and make the stress fun. Whee! I'm going crazy! Something like that.
Results time. Remember, groups of three. Three groups of three, further divided by three into groups of one each, then reassembled by age. Jasmine, people talked about you last night. You're in Group A. Jennifer, blah, blah, Group C. This is like being at the DMV. Diana, the judges talked about you as well last night. And you are in Group A. Perhaps Group A is the quarantine group. Tonsillitis? Flu? The heebie jeebies? In Group A you go. John Stevens. is.B. La Toya, you'll be in Group C. Jon Peter, you're in Group JPL all by yourself, my brutha. And also in Group B with Big red. Camile, Simon tore you up last night. Were you feeling a bit sick last night? Well, you might be after tonight because you're in Group A. Huff Daddy Deluxe, you and your open-necked sweater are in Group C. Who's safe? Who's in the middle? Who's in trouble? Well, I for one am spelling safe with a C right now. Cafe. That's a soft French C right there, kids.
Back from the break Still wondering which group is which? Well, Group C is cafe, to the surprise of exactly none. John, Jon and Jontasia, I mean Fantasia, you're safe. So judges, what do you think about the bottom three? Ryan, leading the witnesses, asks if America is voting on personality or performance. Well, on that Home Page poll last week, America was voting on both, because I'm aces, baby! Ever the nice guy, Ryan lets Diana off the hook. Aloha, Hawaii! Don't forget that aloha also means goodbye. Jasmine, Camile, Ryan's wondering if he gave you another chance to sing tonight, could you be better than last night? Even though all the votes are in and it doesn't really matter? Could you do that? For him? Please?
We're back! Well, almost back. Paula is nowhere to be found. Ryan draws a little more blood from Jasmine and Camile with some chatting. Maybe this is a dress rehearsal for their interview tomorrow on "On Air." Camile sings first, gamely fighting through the tears to finish what might be a completely useless performance. Jasmine finishes her ditty and consoles Camile. So, uh, there goes the suspense, I guess. Yep, Camile is gone.. Take a good look at that wristband, folks, because you won't be seeing it anymore.
The farewell to Camile package starts rolling and she astutely observes that "A couple of months ago, I was waiting tables and now I'm singing for 30 million people." Just think, by June Camile will be saying "A couple of months ago, I was singing for 30 million people and now I'm waiting tables." "Yeah, that's great, but where's that side of bacon, honey?" The world can be a wild place!
So another show comes to a close and it's a safe bet that living rooms across the country are filled with heated discussion about another live results show. Let me just say this. If the Idol phone warriors vote this October, Ashton Kutcher will be our next President. And then our country will partyyyyyyy! Whoooooooo!
One last note before we close, I've decided to reach out to my adoring throng because it seems like a good thing to do. I've pored through all the email from last week and picked out a few winners to answer directly. Look for a special Correspondence Column this Friday, a new weekly feature, just because I care.