Seacrest returns to bewitching basics this evening in a sleek black suit and a trendy tie. Tonight, the twelve finalists will be announced. "At stake," says The Crest, "is the biggest prize in the music industry." This is American Idol.
The A.I. ensemble pieces always remind me of my high school girlfriend, and her obsession with the Mickey Mouse Club circa 1994. I used to mock her relentlessly, but I'll be darned if they didn't churn out some of the most significant figures in contemporary pop culture. I digress.
Stuck in the Middle With You: Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty were a duo known as Stealer's Wheel when they recorded this Dylanesque, pop, bubble-gum favorite from April of 1974 that reached up to number five, as K-BILLY's "Super Sounds of the '70s" continues.
Seacrest points out the twelve seats that will be filled by this year's finalists. They look like someone stole the seats off of twelve Big Wheels, coated them with a black pearl finish, and attached them to the stem of a bar stool. In other words, they are the coolest seats imaginable.
Elimination Time: I am hungry for justice, and I fully expect The Crest to apportion it with the ice-cold efficiency of a Vegas blackjack dealer. The first to learn their fate will be Lakisha Jones and Blake Lewis. Let's face it: if these two were any safer, they'd be OSHA yellow.
Seacrest tells Chris Sligh to come on down and hits him with the Catch-22 question, "Do you think you're in?" The Sligh fox that he is, Chris avoids Seacrest's trap and says that he "hopes so." The Crest replies, "Chris, you are NOT...going to find out until after the break." Even Sligh can be seen congratulating The Crest on that crafty cliffhanger as the camera pulls back and fades to black.
We are back, and Sligh is safe. So is Jordin Sparks. Phil Stacey has earned a perch atop a pearlescent throne of majesty. Jared Cotter has not. His journey ends tonight. Jared is very surprised. In honor of Leslie Hunt's magnificent exit last week, I believe that all ousted contestants should offer alternate lyrics for their failure songs. To get the ball rolling, I will offer my suggestions for this week's leavers. Beginning with Jared, "If you really love me, why'd you vote for Blake?"
American Idol Challenge: Which former Idol contestant currently boasts a #1 album? Is it A) Ace Young, B) Kevin Covais, or C) Chris Daughtry? Come on. Kevin Covais? Haven't we picked on that poor kid enough?
Elimination Time: Do we have enough stools for former backup singers Melinda Doolittle and Brandon Rogers? You bet your sweet bippy! What about Gina Glocksen and Chris Richardson? Is that Gina's troll in Chris Richardson's pocket? Little matter, as they are both safe for another week.
Since we don't have a freshly eliminated contestant to sing, let's welcome Carrie Underwood to the stage. She sings a pretty country song while the kid that looks just like the guy from the Mac vs. PC commercials accompanies her on violin.
Elimination Time: Stephanie Edwards and Antonella Barba to the stage, please. The moment of truth: Stephanie is in and Antonella is out. She has a bright future ahead of her but, for now, it's time for an exit encore.
Elimination Time: There is one stool left for two beautiful young ladies. It's between Haley Scarnato and Sabrina Sloan, and Sabrina is out in a shocking upset! Sabrina makes a weird face before she and Haley embrace in an extended bittersweet hug. The Crest goes into golf commentator mode, low whispering, "No doubt, this is one of the most intense episodes of American Idol that we have ever had." Sing for us one last time, Sabrina!
American Idol Announcement: It turned out to be a charitable movement to raise money for poverty stricken areas of Africa and the United States. On board for the A.I fund raiser are no lesser persons than Borat, Gwen Stefani, Pink, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Annie Lennox, and Bono.
Elimination Time: Sundance Head vs. Sanjaya Malakar: There can be only one! And that one is going to be Sanjaya Malakar. Sundance Head is out. A couple of thoughts here: First, this was such a blatant injustice. Second, the person who makes out worst in all of this is clearly Sanjaya. That poor kid could not have been any more dejected walking over to that twelfth stool last night. Head hung limp, he dragged his feet over to the winners' circle. In one motion, he turned and flopped into his chair with little enthusiasm.