So, I have to admit that I have been shown the light. Last week, when Simon told Kellie she looked like Dolly Parton, I thought that Kellie retorted, "Without the accent." I was confused and a little scared, having no idea what she meant. But I bravely forged ahead like the hero that I am. Then this week, more than a few of you took some time out of your day to email me with the information that Kellie actually said, "Without the assets." Which makes MUCH more sense.
I'm as embarrassed as a guy wearing a buckskin cap to a hunting party, but I must say my Southern has slipped. I used to speak, read and hear it purfecklee, but I guess these days it's a little rusty. Use it er lose it, y'all!
And now...on to the show! The most sensational, inspirational, televational, muppetational...wait. That's something else entirely. Although there is a chance Andy Williams will be on Idol tonight. Well, that's not him sitting next to Seacrest during the open. But I'll keep looking. There's Elevator Chick, walking through the foam mesh Asian pears are wrapped in. And there's Seacrest again, happy to see us. You know, Ryan's been sporting the skinny ties and slim lapels all season. It's only a matter of time before Seacrest's lapels erode into nothingness.
And now...on to the kids! Then on to the judges. Simon gets booed like Andy Kaufman in his wrestling days. Watch out, Simon! Jerry Lawler might smash a chair over your head! Ryan then tries to shame Simon into never expressing an opinion again. After all, Simon, if you mention three people have a chance of winning, that leaves eight that don't! What about those eight, Simon?! What about those eight?! They're people! They have feelings! And Seacrest cares about those feelings! He cares! And if you people at home have a favorite performer, I'd like you to know you're leaving out ten other people! Shame on you heartless people! The karma police are coming for you!
Barry Manilow has recently released an album of famous '50s songs. Tonight, the Idol kids will be singing songs from the '50s. Will they be covering Barry's covers, or merely covering the original? No idea. I guess we'll find out.
First up tonight is Mandisa. Hilariously, Barry is actually a bigger fan of Mandisa than Mandisa is of Barry. Mainly because Barry is more familiar with Mandisa's singing than the other way around. I'm wondering if Mandisa is going to give us twelve interpretations of the basic black cocktail dress this year. Who knows? But she is giving us a new interpretation of her hair tonight. Curly! Uh oh. Look out, ten other singers! Mandisa is setting the bar really, really high. It's going to be cold there in her shadow. Hey, can we try to get the camera actually inside her mouth for these last few notes? I can't see her uvula. Closer...closer...come on! Randy sums me up. Everybody else has to step up now. Paula thinks the performance was top notch. Simon thinks that Mandisa is blossoming into a lovely young woman. He loved it. That performance is like when Jerry Lee Lewis lit his piano on fire and dared the rest of the bill to try and follow that.
So who has to clear their throat and try to follow that? One Bucky Covington. Hmm. Well, judging from this piece, Barry isn't too confident about Bucky's chance of following Mandisa successfully. Oh boy. Barry may have been right. Bucky doesn't look very happy right now. Barry said this song was joyous, Bucky! Show me joyous! Oh boy. Oh boy indeed. Randy tells Bucky he liked everything about the performance except for the actual singing. Paula changes the subject back to Barry Manilow. Simon, sleeves pushed up nearly to the breaking point, tears Bucky up. Now Simon has to watch out for both Jerry Lawler and Rocky Covington! After the performance, Ryan tries to coax Simon into saying something constructive about Bucky. Unfortunately, Ryan inartfully set the plate so Simon could absolutely crush Bucky once more. Let's not have Ryan negotiate any nuclear treaties in the future, yeah?
Paris has the fever. And Barry has Paris fever. Well, the dress is appropriate. That's a good start. Geez. This performance is making me feel like I'm having a cocktail in downtown Detroit in 1952. Wow! Ryan Cabrera and Constantine Maroulis, together at last! Two of the most artistic, independent musicians of our generation! It's like Dylan and Springsteen sitting in the Idol audience together! Except Ryan and Connie are even cooler. Randy tells Paris she blew it out the box. Uh huh. Paula loved it so much she can't even figure out what to say. Simon thought it was perfect.
What?! Cash on the show?! Finally! I've been asking for it for five seasons now! Man! The only question is, which Johnny Cash song will Chris take on? There are about 100 good numbers for him to choose from. Will Chris go down the middle with something familiar like Walk the Line? Or reach out a bit and try Tennessee Flat Top Box? Or maybe The Wreck of the Old 97?
After the break, Ryan works with an 8-year old girl on a phone promo. He asks the little tyke who her favorite singer is, and when she says Brett Young, Ryan doesn't yell at her for not thinking about the feelings of the other contestants. A little inconsistent.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Chris thinks he can rearrange Cash? That is an incredible amount of chutzpah! Current? These songs are timeless! Perfectly arranged! And you want to Nickelback it up? Actually, what am I thinking? Soundgarden covered Cash, and Johnny himself covered U2 and Nine Inch Nails among others. He worked with Rick Rubin. The timelessness of Cash is exactly what makes this possible. Okay, Chris, I give you the go ahead. And the performance is not too bad. It has the typical Chris intensity, the emotion of Cash, the flashing lights of your friendly neighborhood nightclub, everything. Randy thought the vocals could have been improved, but he loves how Chris made the song his. Paula loves how Chris is true to who he is. Simon seconds Randy's thoughts while getting in a third crack at Bucky. Now that was some efficient commentary!
Next up is Kathy McP and her magical twisting arm. Pronate...and...supinate. Before her performance, Katharine Zeta McPhee and Ryan discuss celebrity gossip. This guy loves celebrity gossip more than a dental receptionist from Louisville. Barry instructs Katharine to sing Come Rain or Come Shine to a specific guy so she can get into it, and she's all too happy oblige. Of course, she won't tell us who it is. And I won't either. Okay, it's me. Nuts! I'm bad at secret keeping. Anyway, I hope this doesn't make me feel weird. Dar! So hot! I think we will indeed be very happy together. Especially me as I live off her music money like Federline. Except even more aimless. Randy likes how Kathy took on a tough song. Paula thinks Kathy will be around long time. Simon thinks that tonight is night Katharine turned into a star. And all she had to do is think about me during the performance. I'm such an inspiration!
Here's Taylor, wearing his Easter services suit. I wonder if he has a long lost Peep in the pants pocket. Barry describes Taylor as a whiskey tenor. I love arcane musical terms. Wow. Taylor has white shoes on to complete the look. That's called commitment to your craft, kids. Mark Cuban! That's who Taylor looks like! Sorta. Or maybe Cuban's dad. Taylor is moving all over this stage. Even making his way over to the big man on the saxophone. I wonder if Taylor is actually in control of his movements. Sometimes it doesn't look like it. Sometimes it looks like his dance inspiration was Elaine Benes. Randy thinks Taylor rocked out a great performance. Paula loves Taylor's enthusiasm. Simon, however, doesn't believe the hype. I think. He may not even get his thought out here thanks to the booing. Okay, Simon thinks the whole thing was a mess.
It's Lisa Tucker's turn. Lisa Tucker likes wearing those short pants. Or long shorts. I actually don't know what hex they are. Lisa says she was excited when she found out it was '50s week. I can't imagine her not being excited about anything ever. So the song. This...is just too polished. It's too slick. Doesn't feel real. I dunno. I mean, I would be very surprised to learn that she's actually enjoying herself here and not acting. I'm predicting Simon makes a comment about either theme parks or cruise ships. Although he might zag and bring up weddings. Randy thought it was a decent performance, not mesmerizing. Paula thinks Lisa has a bright future. Simon thought it was okay. But...ah! High school musical! Dang! I never even thought of that option. I'm still learning. Ryan then reminds us that if, unlike the judges, you liked Lisa, you'd better get a-votin'.
Little Kevin Covais, fresh from class picture day. For the record, this song is 34 years older than Kevin. And it weighs four pounds more. Okay, here we go. I...I'm just going to keep my mouth shut. I like Kevin. He's a good egg. But, um, you know, he shouldn't be playing for the Red Sox. Or even the Pirates. He's not ready to face major league pitching just because he took his friend over the hedges in wiffle ball. Ooh! Hello, Jasmine Trias. I'm surprised you're in town and haven't called me yet. Maybe later tonight. Randy is still highly amused by Kevin. Paula likes Kevin so much. Simon also likes Kevin. And so does your grandma. She wants to mail him a birthday card with a 50-cent piece taped inside so badly!
Elliott has added a tie to his repertoire. He also hates Barry Manilow. At least he used to. Hey, in these Barry pieces, who's that bald guy who stands next to Barry and stares at the singers? Is he with Barry? With the show? And why does he keep staring at people? What's his deal, man? Gosh, this song is really about learning. If only Elliott could learn how to shave his entire face. Lindsey Cardinale! It's an Idol alumni party! Randy thinks Elliott easily handled a very difficult song. Paula was moved by the performance. Simon thought it was fantastic.
Kellie is wearing a bright yellow tank top to symbolize the fact that she ate a lemon bar for the first time ever last weekend. Kellie likes country, but didn't know Patsy Cline was from the '50s. And Barry claims he wasn't familiar with this song. To both of them, I say really? Hasn't Barry heard 100,000 songs in his lifetime? I'm just wondering if Kellie will be confused by performing Walking After Midnight at 9:42pm. Kellie, living the song per Barry's instructions, goes for a little walk. Perhaps looking for her man somewhere in the audience. So hot! Randy loved both the song choice and the performance. Paula thought Kellie was awesome. Simon thought Kellie did it perfectly. Ryan then asks Kellie to think of something to say and it does not go well. He asks her if she can think of anything interesting that happened this week, and she gives him the glossiest look in the history of the world.
Rounding out the show tonight is Brett Young. You people can email me all you want, I'm still not calling him Ace. He's not a pilot! I might - MIGHT! - acquiesce to calling him Asa later since that's Ace is based off of, but for now it's Brett. And now...live in the Idol Cheetah Lounge...Brett Young! Man, he is so Color Me Badd. I just can't get over it. Although I do enjoy how he keeps reaching out for us. He wants us to touch so badly that it strains his chest sometimes. So then he has to hold his chest. To close out the song, Brett thrusts his arms out to the side. Truly, he is our savior. Randy thinks Brett is back. Paula thought it was oh so sultry. Simon thinks the vocal could use some work, but it was still a strong effort overall.
Whew. So tired after that.