As this season on Idol progresses, the opening graphics get more and more dramatic, constantly reminding us that there can be only ONE idol. Just in case we forgot. This ain’t Americans Idol, people. Just one.
Eight of ya’ll are gonna have to go.
For the elimination episode, the judges are dressed like a genie in a bottle (JHo), a teenage Austin Powers (Randy), and a conjurer (Steven). Unfortunately, Christian Slater was unable to make an appearance. I guess he had better things to do. Perhaps taking his “Peaceful Nerf-ball of Truth” tour to Branson.
The contestants kick us off with a rock medley, starting with “I Love Rock and Roll,” continuing with “The Letter” and ending with “Sweet Home Alabama.” The girls are dressed so bizarrely. Why is there so much cleavage and skin while the boys are wearing layers? Is it cold or hot there, because I’m confused.
The first guest visit of the night comes courtesy of Russell Brand, who shows up in a video package to coach the kids on their charisma. I’ve seen Brand in interviews and he’s a pretty charming guy, so I can see where he’d be useful at this. I’m sure it has nothing to do with him promoting his Easter Bunny movie. And can I just say, it’s about time someone in Hollywood besides Mel Gibson profited off of the holiday commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? An Easter movie complete with built-in merchandising has been a long-time coming.
Anyway. Brand talks to the contestants about having confidence and encourages them to do crack in order to loosen up. He advises Lusky to take his top off, calls Casey a gorgeous hairball of wonder and tells them all to be limber and wear tight pants that will make them walk funny. He finishes his manic appearance with a “loosen up, take your clothes off, you’re fired… see yas!” before prancing off the stage.
Casey, Stefano and Lauren are called to the center of the stage. Tink reminds us that Casey sang “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and plucked the hell out of an upright bass. He also reveals that Kelly Clarkson tweeted that she has a crush on Casey. Because nothing’s sexier than a man who drags his stuff around in garbage bags and refuses to shave. Well good for him. They can make some little round-cheeked, singing babies together. Although what about that girl he sang to a few weeks ago?? Uh-oh. Hopefully we’ll have some drama soon!
Stefano did “When a Man Loves a Woman.” While JHo loved it, Randy was more ambivalent. Although no one used the word ambivalent. That’s not in their word bank. The Idol word bank includes the following: pitchy, fun, love, like, nice, yes, beautiful, dawg.
Lauren sang “Natural Woman.” JHo thought it was nice but Randy thought it had been done better. Despite the ho-hum review, Lauren is safe and so is Casey. Stef’s in the bottom three.
Tink credits season four alum Constantine Maroulis with having played a big part in paving the way for rockers on Idol. Smirky McSmirkson decided to sing “Unchained Melody,” though, although he adds some rock flavor to it by screaming in a manner reminiscent of 80s hair bands. After he finishes smirking his way through the classic ballad, he towers over Tink and tells us we should check him out in Rock of Ages, on tour now, and also that he has a super adorable baby. Who would have thought a vampire with Kenny G’s hair could have such a cute little one?
Fingerless gloves + a smirk = sex symbol?
The second surprise guest of the week was Gwen Stefani, who helped style the women for performance night. That explains an awful lot, because those were some crazy, only-in-Japan-or-Gwen-Stefani’s-mind type of outfits. Gwen looks very pretty, but I’m surprised that she seems so shy and mumbly. Amazing to think that she gets up on stage and bounces around. At the end of the video clip, she says “cuddles” and they all hug. It’s weird when grown women use baby talk around other grown women…
Tink says there’s no “sweet escape” from the elimination now (rimshot). Paul, Scotty and Pia are called to center stage. Paul happily sang “Fulsom Prison Blues” and the judges loved it. Gossip time: I read this week that Paul is “dating” the actress who plays Rosalie in the movies about the girl with the long face and the sparkly vampires with bad wigs. I’m dying to know how things like this happen and how these people have time to date. So if this Idol thing doesn’t work out for Paul, he can follow in Constantine’s footsteps and become a serial celebrity dater.
Pita did “River Deep Mountain High” and the judges thought it was amazing and that she’s in it to win it. Tink wonders if her confidence is high enough to be in this and she says definitely. I think the real question is, is her confidence high enough to be kicked to the curb?
Scotty sang “That’s Alright” and the judges thought it was flava-ful and the girls in the audience found it totally swoon-worthy. Scotty tells us that he used to get in trouble for doing his Elvis impersonation on the school bus. That’s such a… wholesome story. I won’t tell you what I got into trouble for on the school bus. It wasn’t nearly as adorable…
Scotty’s safe… Paul’s safe… Pia’s in the bottom three. The audience boos and the judges look pretty irritated. Hmmm… a surprising turn of events….
In the final video of the night, the contestants are taken to the 5th circle of hell, also known as the TMZ offices. As we go to the video, a number of people in the Idol audience boo, which is totally awesome. I really hate TMZ. It’s so vile and foul and adds nothing to the world except snark and stupidity. It’s fine for someone like me to do that. I mean, I’m just one person. But when I start hiring people and televising that shit, it’s just a whole ‘nother level.
So the TMZ staff (don’t they always look so dirty? They always look so unclean. Even that one hot guy looks unwashed) has some advice for our contestants: use spit to fix your hair if you ever get arrested and have your mugshot taken. Other pearls of wisdom include: telling Lauren to stop falling down the stairs, cause assholes like them are just gonna play the video over and over again. They tell Scotty to quit making dumb faces because assholes like them and me will just keep using stills over and over again. They tell Pia that there are baby bibs out there with her name on them so she needs a lawyer to protect her name… from drool. They tell Stefano that he’s really boring on Twitter and advise him to start a tweetwar.
Ugh, I just checked out his Twitter feed and they’re right. First, his nickname is apparently “Fano” which is just lazy. Also, he calls people “boo” a lot. Is this a word that people are still using? “Boo.” Like “hay boo.” I feel like when the Real Housewives of Atlanta are using a word, young people should stop using that word. In fact, the rest of the country should just speak an entirely different language than the Housewives. “Who gon’ check me, boo?” Fano, that’s who.
Wow, Fano. Tell us more…
Back to the TMZ package… the staff ask the contestants who they’re dating and Casey shouts “your mom!” They also want to know if Tink wears platform shoes. Casey says yes.
Back live in the studio, Tink says he’s the same height but a quarter of the age of Harvey Levin, head demon of the TMZ goblins. Then he calls James, Haley and Lusky to the stage.
James sang “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and the judges felt his emotion and vulnerability. Haley sang “Piece of My Heart” and the judges thought she came on strong and brought back the sound of 1968. Lusky sang the rock and roll classic “Man in the Mirror” and the judges loved the message he shared with the world — which if you recall was, if you vote me into the bottom three, it’s not because I suck, it’s because you suck, America.
James is safe and JHo’s hyperventilating eases a bit. Haley is safe, leaving Lusky in the bottom three. The judges look stunned, except for Steven. Sometimes, he gets this look on his face, and I think this is what he’s seeing in his head:
So… Lusky, Pia and Stefano are in the bottom three and Tink says you only have yourselves to blame, America. Then he brings out Iggy Pop to do “Wild One.” Question. Has anyone ever seen Iggy Pop with a shirt on? I probably have and just never recognized him. Anyway, he does that special Iggy Pop brand of dancing that looks like a four-year-old child snorted a line of Pixie Stix and then rocked out. The whole thing is a little on the sloppy side with weird camera work and the sound cutting in and out.
Enough of that. Let’s get to the big moment. Tink gathers everyone on stage and says that Lusky will be leaving us… and going back to the couches. I guess that hasn’t gotten old for Tink over the past 10 years, huh?
Lusky just wet his pants a little…
Stefano is safe… and that means that Pia is leaving. The audience goes nuts, booing and the judges are visibly upset. Tink asks JHo what happened, and she says she doesn’t know. She’s shocked and angry and she seems like she’s about to cry. Randy says Pia’s one of the best singers in the competition and that no one is safe, which is why you have to vote.Steven has a message for America: a mistake is one thing but lack of passion is unforgivable.
Pia’s goodbye video package starts off with her talking about how much her grandpa loved hearing her sing and knew her name was going to be in lights, which is just brutally sad. She closes the show by singing “I’ll Stand by You” and then the voice of Gwen Stefani saying “cuddles” wafted across the stage and cuddle everyone did. They cuddled while poor Pia sobbed and sobbed.
So that was sad. But! It’s only been a couple of days and Pia has a record deal and she’s dating one of the dancers from Dancing With the Stars [though not Maksim, so it's hard to care] and come on, we knew that someone with beauty and talent and incredible cleavage would rise to the top.
Let’s talk about the voting. I have some theories about this. First off, only one person gets to win this thing, so just about everybody has to get voted off at some point. I think Pia’s exit was earlier than most people thought, but it was, more than likely, inevitable.
Secondly, the judges only have themselves to blame. Every week, they look into those cameras and tell America to vote for their favorites. They don’t say “vote for the best singer” or “vote for the most skilled individual;” and, as music experts, they certainly don’t offer guidance to the audience when they tell everyone “good job, it was beautiful.” Pia might have been the best singer in the competition, but that certainly doesn’t mean she was anyone’s favorite. While she seems likable, she certainly didn’t wow anyone with her personality or performance skills.
Finally, Jezebel.com has an interesting take on the theories that the women are being kicked off of Idol because most of the voters are teen girls, especially now that you can text your vote in. The writer at Jezebel is very dismissive of this theory, but I don’t think we can throw it out completely. The Jezebel article implies that, if teen girls are responsible for women being booted from Idol, it’s because of “backbiting.” If the theory’s right, though, I don’t think that’s true. I think people are just voting for who they like, and teen girls like cute boys, especially cute boys with deep voices, which is why Soctty McCreery ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Finally, let’s put some blame on the show producers, or whom ever’s responsible for showing us these little video vignettes and writing out the banter that Tink has with the contestants. Don’t all of the male contestants seem pretty interesting and cool (with the exception of Fano, who keeps ending up in the bottom three)? They’ve got a band. They wear fun clothes. Casey’s a jokester and Kelly Clarkson’s a fan. James has cool clothes made by his friends and he’s a huge wrestling fan who got a belt from the WWE. Paul’s cute and has fun hair and gets teased about his super white smile. What do we know about the girls? Lauren’s the most engaging, interesting one, and I really can’t say much about her. What we know about the girls is that they look good when they show off their skin, they have pretty makeup, and Ryan or Steven points it out when they look sexy.
When you have 50 million+ people voting, the problem isn’t the voters. I think everyone involved needs to step up their game and take responsibility. Blaming “America” is a cop out. The female contestants need to grow a pair and act like they’re having fun, the producers need to give the women something to do besides pick out clothes, and the judges need to stop treating the contestants like they’re babies and instead help ease them to one of the most difficult,degrading, life-wrecking industries we have: show business.
Next week is Songs From Movies week — see you then!