Fade up as Tink is slowly lowered to the stage in his darkest suit yet. Uh-oh. No music, no applause. Quiet on set! We’re feelin’ something here! The fairy says the show’s heart goes out to all those affected by the Virginia State Tragedy. Moment of silence. Thanks, Tink. The mood is sad, confused, and angry in the country. I’m glad AI has reminded me of how much life sucks while I’m tryin’ to cheese my crackers and giggle at the jiggles for one hour on a Tuesday Night. You’re givin’ me Katrina next week. Throw in a Marine with a missing leg and just kill me already. Don’t use a national tragedy as a preemptive excuse for the suck factor of Country Night, Nigel. We’re watching because we know Country Night’s gonna suck, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is America! And (whisper) this. (beat.) Is Amercian Idol. Tonight’s Guest Mentor is Martina McBride. What’s a lesbian tennis champion gonna teach these kids about country music? And when did she turn into Faith Hill? Pretty girl. Oh, no! She’s the one who sings that Sean Hannity theme song, “Independence Day”. “Let freedom ring! Let the voices sing! Let the whole world know it’s a day, a day of reckoning!” Tell me when you hear that song you don’t envision bombs hitting the ground. The first thing I thought as she sang for the kids was wow, this bitch needs a mic. The second thought was SEANHANNITYSEANHANNITYSEANHANNITY AAAGGGHHH!!! Why did they brainwash Faith Hill and turn her into this McMonster?
McHill tells the kids not to worry so much about the white trash genre. Just feel the lyrics. Like you’re talking to someone. My dog yawns and I get a whiff of Dead Man’s Gutter. I tell her to get out of my bed and stop suffocating me, and I realize I have a possible country hit on my hands. AI Songwriting competition, here I come!
Powder’s up first, and he’s chosen “Where the Blacktop Ends” by Keith Urban. The song is about dropping all the stress and chillin’ in the grass with your lady, and this would make a perfect exit performance. There’s nothing whiter than a country song, but McHill worries that Powder is too (pale) precise and (overtly caucasian) boring with his interpretation. She suggests that he kiss Nigel’s ass and make fun of a Mexican dude to add a little spice, and he totally takes her advice.
As the honky tonk blared, he opened his eyes real big and sang like he was in trouble and about to get spanked. Powder has a very nice, inoffensive voice, but he’s bore snore and seven years ago. The poor guy just can’t help it. To button his piece, he calls out B-13 and these ladies win.
Randy didn’t know Powder had the country thing going on but it worked and he thinks he has a career in that genre. Let’s hope so, so I never have to hear him again. Paula said it was awesome from beginning to end, and Simon says that even though it’s taken ten shows, Powder’s finally knocked one out of the park. “You even showed some personality!” Compli-diss. Take a shot. Powder tells Tink that he got a better response because he came out and had fun and sang the kind of music he liked. Simon breathes in the air of Powder’s confidence and almost chokes on it. “I don’t know if it’ll be enough to save you, but it suited you.” And…that’s a double. Thanks, Simon!
Spanx has chosen “Broken Wing”, which is a McHill song. She says she’s nervous to perform the piece in front of it’s originator, but Spanx is a master of the snap with a smile. McHill thinks she did an “awesome” job and reminds her that her music is all about the face. You don’t say.
Jordin could have done the full out Shirley Temple Cowgirl routine but she held back and went the classy call center lady route instead, donning a pretty shiny suri. Hats off, Spanx. Hats off. She looks beautiful and sings the crap out of this song. It’s pretty hard to listen to a non-rhyming sap fest that doesn’t make any sense, but she made it interesting. Ok, so Powder’s double compli-diss shot might have contributed to the tingles, but I got ‘em. Go Spanx. She wipes imaginary tears from her face and I roll my eyes. Wait til Katrina week. She’ll go through enough imaginary Kleenex to destroy an acre of imaginary trees.
Randy and Paula both loved it, and Simon says it’s the first time he’s believed that she could win the competition. Woah. Jordin fans her face and acts shocked. Tink asks her if she ever feels nervous because she seems so comfortable at all times. She says after the performances she feels the nerves. Like right now? She jiggles and giggles, telling those nerves “stop it!” From the looks of it, if Spanx is surprised at anything, it’s that it took this long for Simon to get on board. Snap. Giggle giggle giggle.
Tink asks Sanjaya a viewer question. If you could force a Judge to sing any song, who would you choose to sing what? She laughs like it’s the first time she’s heard the question and says “Simon would sing ‘Shining Happy People” so he could show his true personality!” Aw! Simon’s sweet off camera! Ask a poor African kid!
Sanjy’s chosen “(Let’s Giving ‘Em) Something to Talk About” because she likes the whole woman empowerment message in the Julia Roberts movie. As an homage, Sanjy perks up the curlies and refuses to kiss Tink on the mouth cuz it’s too personal. McHill thinks the song is the perfect choice for such a ballsy girl, and the only compliment she can muster is “she sang it louder than I’ve heard her sing on the show.” LOL, McHill. Sanjy comes out shaking her booty in a red bandana that would get her tossed around like a bowl of wet noodles at a frat party and gives it her all. She wanted to make Bonnie Rait proud, and I’m sure Bonnie’s never felt like a better singer. Goal accomplished!
Sanjy’s a little more confident in front of the crowds and the cameras tonight, but she can’t sing above a whisper, she misses even the few riffs there are in the song, and gets off rhythm a couple of times. So she’s not a great singer, no big news there. The problem here is, for the third week in a row, Sanjy’s bbbboring. Where are the chaps? Where’s the electric bull? Where is the camp, Mary?
Randy calls it karaoke and asks Paula what they’re watching. She answers “we’re watching someone who loves adversity! You love it, don’t you? You thrive on it!” Like Sanjy’s voted for herself tens of millions of times and campaigned for the title of most ridiculed little girl on the planet. She should win just for not having had a nervous breakdown by now. “You’re a lovable guy, Sanjaya.” Ouch. She called him a boy. Now they’re just getting mean. Simon simply says “Utterly horrendous.” The audience boos loudly, but when the camera’s pan them, they are grinning like jack-o-lanterns. Debbie Allen is practically rolling on the floor. Simon says it’s worse than anything they are forced to sit through at the beginning of the season. Tink tries to come to the rescue, saying that Simon’s never liked Sanjy, so was it the song? Simon gets pissy and tells him to flitter out of the frame and let him have his moment. LOL, Simon. He says it’s been funny for awhile, but the goal is to find an American Idol and Sanjy’s a joke. Alrighty then. New tactic. Randy say’s he liked the “scarf on the head”. Thank God. Compli-diss shot. I needed that.
LaKisha’s up next with Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel”. This is the second Idol she’s directly challenged. Love it. She has McHill verklempt, and I am expecting to feel the same way. She kicks ass on the verse, but gets a little squealy and off key in the chorus. She goes into belt mode, but can’t seem to find the right key. There’s something missing emotionally from LaKisha so far. She’s belted, she’s thundered, and she’s wailed, but she hasn’t really connected yet. Randy wasn’t impressed. He called out the pitch problems and said he wishes she’d have put a gospel stamp on it instead of singing it straight. Paula agrees that it wasn’t her best, but says she’s still brilliant. The audience roars a boo. Simon says she blew them away with the Jennifer Holiday song nine weeks ago and was the one to beat, but she hasn’t chosen the right song since. If you want to get LaKisha to smile, diss her hard. It’s the only thing that seems to make her happy.
McHill wasn’t sure of Timby Cake’s choice of “Mayberry” at first, but after hearing it she’s convinced he could be a country singer in a snap if he wanted. How rude. He starts off strong and brings a couple of real country boys to add some realism to his performance. McHill was right that he has the voice to carry off the song, but he’d be ripped limb from limb if he walked into a country bar wearing his Esprit jacket. He starts off strong and on key, but when he tries to soften his voice for the ending, he’s all over the place. All in all, he was decent, and he gets extra points for hiring toothless old dudes. Timby cares! If he goes home tomorrow, you will know the show’s not rigged, because Nigel is in total and complete love.
Randy blubbers about not feeling it and being a good singer but not having emotion. Simon says he didn’t understand a word out of Randy’s mouth. LOL. We’re in season 6, and you’re just now not understanding him? Paula looks like she’s about to be nice, but shrugs and says “The love and joy you have onstage didn’t come through.” Simon didn’t understand her either. LOLx2, Simon! Paula says only performers can understand. Somewhere the cartoon cat is totally vibing her. Simon says that he doesn’t get why the audience was standing and cheering. To him, it was tinny, nasally, and nondescript. The gay dude from the Top 24 tries to smile supportively during Timby’s critique, but the little boy next to him isn’t taking it well.
Aw, Timby Cake! Please don’t cry! Simon pokes him some more, calling the whole thing “utterly insignificant.” Paula says “like you!” Raar. Timby stands up for himself and I cringe. “Nasally’s a form of singing. I don’t know if you knew that.” Oh, no, Timby Cake! Don’t do it! Simon drolly responds “so that was intentional?” Timby, knowing he’s screwed, says yes, and adds that he has friends at Virginia Tech and his heart goes out to them. Simon rolls his eyes, and I spit out a half chewed Milky Way.
McHill has never heard Doolittle’s song, “Trouble is a Woman”, but loves everything she does with it. It may be a confusing choice at first, but Julie Reeves, who sang this song originally, was discovered as a singer on song demo recordings. Under appreciated industry worker makes it big. Sound familiar? It could only be more apropot if Weezy Jefferson sang it before she got a sitcom. Her hair looks great and her t-shirt dress over jeans is young and accentuates the positive…
..and of course she sangs to the rafters and nails the song. But again, I didn’t poo a little. Randy said it was another solid performance from the resident pro and Paula agrees. I didn’t see any “Gee wiz, me?” tonight, but Simon did, and he says she needs to lose it, because she’s fantastic. He even compares her to Tina Turner. Woah. I’d argue, but I don’t wanna fight no more. I like the girl, I just don’t love her yet. There’s that Celie smile! Ok, I love Celie. You’re in, Doolittle!
Blake’s lame off key Rufus Wainwright impression has made me nuts from the get go, but he really bombs tonight. He’s hardly on pitch the entire song, and that he does a walk-in-place short leg dance and wears a sweater that looks like one of my argyle socks from Catholic school doesn’t help. This was the worst performance he’s turned in by far. If ever there was a time to wiggy wiggy your way through a number, it was tonight, Dead Eyes.
Randy thought it was the perfect song choice and a complimentary arrangement, and Paula calls Blake the whole package. Simon wasn’t jumping out of his chair, and before another contestant could use recent tragedy to make up for off key singing, he says that all three Judges’ hearts go out to the victims of the recent shootings. Only Simon can use Virginia Tech Massacre in a sentence and make me laugh. He understands that the kids have had a difficult week and wah wah wah, but it was just ok for him. I agree, and feel the same way about Country Night overall. Who will suffer the consequences?
I put a dollar on Powder or Timby Cake. Any takers? Oh yeah, and to all the victims of the recent tragedy, my heart goes out to you. Seriously. HEART.