The top four performance night on Idol was a night of a thousand non sequiturs. There were many bizarre moments on the show, and none had anything to do with the others. Except for JHo and Stevie T., who came out looking like Barbie dolls. Randy… well, Randy looked like he’d been chillin’ in his green room eating peanuts and drinking coke and wondering why Wanya from Boyz II Men still hasn’t returned his texts.
“Why you leave me hangin’ Wanya?”
Tink flitted out to tell us that each singtestant would be serenading us with two songs. The first would be inspirational. The second would be something that the songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller had written back when the contestants great grandparents were rubbing sticks together to make fie-yuh. Leiber and Stoller wrote such inpsirational jams as “Hound Dog,” “Yakety Yak,” and “Real Ugly Woman.”
James was up to bat first and his inspiring song was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” which was a brilliant choice, seeing as a) everybody knows and loves that song (except for karaoke DJs) and b) one of the judges used to be in Journey.
The hair. The guitar. The math. Uh-mazing.
I first heard the song when I was workin’ at a little karaoke bar in northern Wisconsin back in the day. It was the kind of place where you might serve a beer to someone just back from Iraq or a pregnant lady with a Parliament perched between her lips. The kind of spot where after hearing “Like a Virgin” 32 times and “Fancy” 14 times, “Don’t Stop Believing” was a welcome reprieve. The kind of bar where the surly waitress would slam your drink down in front of you and cut her eyes at you if her tip wasn’t big enough.
So James’s version didn’t quite invoke those feelings. It was more like seeing it performed at Six Flags by the understudy of the main singer who’d called in sick but was really out auditioning for a dinner theater company in Branson. James said he chose it because it fit his Idol journey and he hasn’t stopped believing in himself, I guess.
“I believe in me!”
He rode the giant moving staircase out onto the stage and he wore pajama jeans and a Journey t-shirt and a morning jacket, because he’s a wild and crazy kinda guy. It was a mellow performance for James. Just one set of pyrotechnics. He sounded alright. In spite of listening to one of the more popular throwback songs in recent memory, Steven Tyler sat perfectly still through most of the performance, as if the chip in his brain had gone into sleep mode.
After the audience responded positively to the performance, Steven’s brain chip kicked in and told him to ask Randy if he recognized the song. JHo thought it was a great song, great performance, great job with amazing vibrato at the end. Randy said that, other than Aerosmith, Journey is one of the greatest rock bands ever and the song was the highest degree of difficulty.
Before introducing Haley, Tink walked over to the judges to tell them that he just got word just now right this very second that Steven is a best-selling author and his book is at the top of the charts. Cool, said Steven. Snore.
Haley decided (unwisely, I might add) to do Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” because it takes a stand on everything from war to pollution. Hrmmm. Just because Jack-o sang it don’t make it good (see “Ben,” the song about his pet rat). Anyway, this was a terrible song choice, made even worse by the fact that the judges rode Haley hard for her song choice last week.
Even a smoke machine and a cape couldn’t rescue this song…
Since Jacob Lusk left, Haley took his left-over glitter and rubbed it all over her skin, hair and clothes. She started off sitting on a special set of non-moving stairs. Behind her, clouds in the shape of vaginas float around the giant monitors. The vaginas open up and a choir stepped out.
OK, Haley was clearly feeling this song. I mean she really wanted to know “what about killing fields” and “what about flowering fields?” But I sure as hell didn’t want to know about any of that. I wanna know about vodka and cookies. And cheese. Where’s my song?? Sigh. I’m dieting right now, so cookies might come up a lot in this recap…
Anyway. Haley loved the song. Got all growly in the middle of it and it was like someone was grinding cement blocks together against my ear drums. The camera went all out of focus as Haley really wailed that last note. The audience showed her plenty of love, but the judges’ faces did not.
JHo said she could feel that Haley was inspired, but James set the bar and Haley needs to remember, when she’s choosing her songs, that she needs to be competing with the others. This got her plenty of boos from the audience. Randy said he was confused about who she is as an artist and she didn’t even hit all the notes. She just screamed the same horrible note over and over. Haley tried to defend herself but mostly looked like she was either going to cry or launch herself over Tink’s tiny head and wrap her fingers around Randy’s throat.
Steven doesn’t care since he’s a best-selling author now and declared the other judges were both wrong and said that Haley nailed it. He sat back with a satisfied smile and the chip in his brain took a break.
Tink pointed out that this happened with Haley’s first song last week, and she came back fiercely, so… there’s that. Backstage, Haley boohooed that she’d be put down for such an amazing, crappy song.
Tink is sticking with his “Scotty the Body” nickname, because he’s rich and uncreative. He insisted on calling Scotty that, even though Scotty looks like candied apple. Scotty chose “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” Alan Jackson’s 9/11 song. It’s a deviously smart choice, given that SEAL Team 6 just made hamburger meat out of bin Laden’s brains.
Scotty sat on a stool and played the guitar and sang about being a simple singer who doesn’t know the difference between Iraq and Iran. So it was surely a song that would ingratiate Americans to our Middle Eastern brethren. He looked into the camera sadly to finish the song, perhaps lamenting flunking out of geography in middle school.
The song is also known as “Derrrr.”
Randy thought it was an amazing song with great lyrics and the perfect choice for where we are as a country. He hopes that Scotty remembers the lyrics when he reaches super stardom. Yeah. Don’t go gettin’ all educated on us, boy! Steven’s brain chip forced him to say “ditto.” JHo said: “I’m in love wit’ you.” She can’t help herself. She was glad to be there to witness it.
Tink made another lame attempt at a joke by mocking JHo’s Bronx accent, but he screwed it up. JHo just slowly blinked at him, her eyelids so heavy, so heavy from holding up the weight of her ultra-thick fake lashes. Hey, being the most beautiful woman in the world is hard work. You have to have really muscular eyelids.
For her first song, Lauren chose Martina McBride’s “Anyway.” She said that she can relate to the song about rebuilding because tornadoes recently hit her hometown and she wanted to make people feel good about rebuilding their lives.
Part of the rebuilding process is dressing like a vampire stripper Scarlett O’Hara…
She sounded good, she looked good and she even went for some big notes, so maybe she’s learning from the judges’ critiques. Steven said that she broke his heart again and delivered the song like a blue plate special. Uh-oh. That brain chip appears to be malfunctioning. The real Steven took over as he complemented the buckles on her shoes and ended with a noise that kind of sounded like “ummmnh.” JHo thought it was a great vocal performance and told her that listening to what the judges say will take her to the finals. Randy said the Lauren they love is back in it to win it. He also thought it was hot.
When Tink came back onstage, Lauren told him that the song meant a lot to her and that anyone who’s had anything bad happen to them in life can relate. Then she giggled goofily, towered over Tink and patted him on the shoulder. It was awkward and dorky and totally adorable.
So that was the end of round one. Tink brought out all the tune-testants and asked JHo who won the round. She talked a lot and didn’t really say anything. Randy was ready to answer though. He said it was a tie between Scotty, James and Lauren. Ha! Hahaha… dummy. Haley looked pissed.
OK, for round two, Lady Gaga was brought in to help the singers up their game for their Leiber and Stoller songs. A video played and she interviewed looking like an alien. She thinks Idol is a great chance for young people to be heard. It’s hard to take Lady Gaga seriously when she’s dressed as a Romulan, is not wearing pants and her face looks like a toner cartridge exploded all over it.
One of these things is not like the other.
For round two, Haley chose “I Who Have Nothing.” Haley told us that she has a connection with Gaga. Gaga said Haley’s so good at singing that the challenge would be bringing the drama. And if anyone knows drama, it’s the woman who pops out of eggs at awards shows. So, Gaga wants Haley to get psycho. And if anyone knows psycho, it’s the woman who wore a dress made out of meat to an awards show.
Jimmy Iovine popped up to tell us that Gaga will keep Haley from getting boring. Gaga encouraged Haley to take a huge breath during part of the song and appear to be a laugh away from a tear. “You’re gonna kick so much ass, little pony,” Gaga said as they wrapped up rehearsal, and Haley trotted like a pony. She is so not ready for this business.
For her performance, Haley wore a fancy black diaper and was backed by a bunch of stringed instruments. Her performance was, indeed, quite dramatic and ooooh chil’ she hit some amazing notes. She didn’t quite pull off the dramatic breath, but her voice sounded incredible. The judges gave her a standing ovation along with the rest of the audience.
JHo couldn’t wait to take credit for putting the fire in Haley’s belly that she needed. This is why we can’t go easy on you, look what you’re capable of, she said. Then she named it one of the most amazing performances of the year. Haley still looked petulant.
Randy said that Haley might be mad at the judges but she had a moment that put ther in contention for winning. Steven said she Reinharded herself into next week. That sounds like something she would leave in that black satin diaper of hers….
For his second song, Scotty chose “Young Blood” by the Coasters. He was clearly terrified of Gaga. On the one hand, I can kind of understand that. The rehearsal room was all white and she was not pants, and that might be a little freaky for a teenage boy. Also, she looked like a character from a kabuki theater in hell. On the other hand… man up, dude. She’s different, not Satan.
So The Gaga seemed to approve of the choice of “Young Blood,” saying that it shows Scotty’s humor. She encouraged him to send his deep voice directly into the mic, telling him to treat it like it’s his girlfriend and he’s going to stick his tongue down her throat. Scotty looks confused. Jimmy I. said he can’t think of a better fit than Scotty and Gaga, which should tell you that Jimmy I. may be a great music producer, but he’s a terrible judge of character and personality.
Scotty interviewed that he wasn’t prepared for the encounter and Gaga said Scotty was more conservative than she’d imagined. In Gaga’s imagination, though, Scotty was probably a giant praying mantis that ate rainbows and puked up orchids, so it’s no surprise that he was not what she’d expected. Towards the end of the segment, Scotty kissed the cross around his neck and asked the Lord for forgiveness. I know that was meant to be funny, but I found it very unchristian. What does he need forgiveness for? Being around someone who’s different from him? Jesus ran with a pretty motley crew, dummy. They weren’t all strait-laced, emasculated country singers.
Proselytizing aside, Scotty came out on stage in his usual plaid shirt making his usual goofy faces and crazy eyes. He pranced around the stage making us “looky hea-yuh” and making t-rex arms — the arms that you make during the Bend-N-Snap, after you bend.
He ran around the audience and sang extra deep to Casey, who was making a guest appearance and looked a bit breathless after hearing Scotty’s deep voice.
Avoid looking directly into his eyes. Otherwise he’ll hypnotize you and conscript you into his army of granny voters.
Randy said we saw both sides of the Scotty concert tonight and that you should pray for everybody. Steven said Scotty made Gaga’s yaya go lala. <robot voice> malfunction. malfunction. malfunction. </robot voice> JHo thought it was great and that Scotty has really hit his stride. But she also wouldn’t mind seeing something different next week.
Lauren decided to sing “Trouble” by Elvis. But she was a little stuck. You see, she, like Scotty, hasn’t actually read the Bible, but only listens to what’s said in church, and then takes everything said very literally. And so she doesn’t want to sing the word “evil.” Even though she chose a song that has the word “evil” in it 17 times. Ay-yi-yi. This is so stupid. Surely no one could be that dumb in real life. Anyway. Lauren doesn’t want America to think that she’s evil. Jimmy I. tried to tell her that she’s just playing a character. And Gaga basically told her to snap out of it, saying look, you’re 16. You’re not a kid anymore. It’s great to have values and morals, but it’s a song that’s supposed to be funny and she needs to find the humor in it.
Lauren started off very dramatic and sexy. The first line was pretty great. Her singing was a little sloppy and she did way too much running around, and with her outfit with the shoulder pads and the big hair, she looked like a late 1980s country singer.
It was ok, but I was still put off by her lame-ass complaints.
Steven didn’t quite believe her, but he loves her, still. JHo liked the beginning — it had a performance quality they hadn’t seen before in Lauren, but she lost it at the end a bit. Randy said we saw a fun side of Lauren and he liked that she listened to Gaga, let go and stepped away from the typical country-pop thing she does.
James picked “Love Potion Number Nine” for his second song, which was a surprise, because it’s such a hokey song (although a great Sandy Bullock movie; how can you not like any movie where Sandy goes from nerd to knockout thanks to what is probably a wicked batch of liquid meth?)
Oh Sandy! Everyone in Hollywood knows people with glasses can’t be sexy!
Gaga told James that Elvis was so exciting, because he moved his hips and was all loosey goosey. And that’s what James needs to be. James started singing, and I guess he wasn’t loose enough, because Gaga got off her stool and tottered over to him in her fetish shoes and got behind him and put her hands on those child birthin’ hips and started moving them around like she was shaking some dice. I read an article online that said James interviewed that he hated that moment. These people need to get over themselves. She wasn’t trying to impregnate you, FlufferNutter. She was trying to help your saggy ass out.
Circle, circle, dot, dot/ Better get ya cootie shot!
James did the song to an arrangement that was way more rock than the original. And instead of moving his hips, he screamed into the mic and ran around a section of the audience that looked like a bear convention was in town. He did have some very dramatic pauses at the end of the song and some Axl Rose-style ululating.
JHo said that song proved James can sing anything and it was a great performance. Randy started talking about song choice and sports and peaking and I didn’t really get it. Steven thought it was incredible.
Tink closed the show by telling the audience that this was the week that Chris Daughtry got voted off, so you better vote, otherwise Taylor Hicks will win?? He also promises, PROMISES that Gaga will perform on Thursday night. Also, they’ll air Steven Tyler’s new msuic video. So, I hope you canceled all of your plans for Thursday night and stayed home so you could watch it live. Don’t forget, we were promised an amazing show. We’ll see….
So, what’d you think and who’d you vote for? And was I the only one who thought everyone but Haley was kind of an asshole with regards to Gaga? Love her or hate her, did she deserve their moral disdain?