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This week’s very special episodes of American Idol have been so highly publicized that I actually felt different when I woke up this morning. Optimistic. Grateful. Hopefully, all over the world, people’s hearts are filled with the same charity, understanding, and love that mine is. I have called my Mom to let her know it’s donation season. Thanks, AI! I might just get my rent paid on time this month!
In the director’s booth, Tink stares at the contestants’ faces on the six monitors in front of him. Look long and hard, people, because your votes tonight will not only save one of these kids. They’ll save LIVES. Pull out the Kleenex and get ready to pat yourself on the back, because for two days, you’re gonna be a compassionate person. Whether you like it or not. This. (feeling horns) is Idol Gives Back!
There’s a bit of red seeping into Tink’s tie. He’s been bumped from the two hour main event tomorrow night for Ellen Degeneres and his heart is literally bleeding. Aw. Everybody clap! No one? He informs us that all sorts of huge corporations are forking over cold hard cash and by calling in, you will be helping too, because News Corp. is donating ten cents per call up to fifty million votes. That’s my kind of giving! I get to feel like a better person and don’t lose a dime! It’s the same feeling I get when I download a U2 song off Limewire. Speaking of, Bono’s the Guest Mentor! Sweet! I’d heard it was gonna be Celine Dion, so I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. On the other hand, I’m happy I won’t have to make jokes about her old pervy alchie hubby gambling away her money while she works like a dog. Besides, Bono’s a badass.
Tink shows us a video of his and Simon’s trip to Africa and it is truly heartbreaking. It’s easy for us to get lost in the mindless nonsense in the world and completely ignore the true suffering being felt across the globe. I flash back to throwing my Sidekick across the car when it dropped a call this afternoon and I feel ashamed. I don’t know hurt. A dingy hospital shack filled with malaria sufferers, children raising themselves. Starving people searching through fly ridden trash heaps for anything to keep them alive. I close my eyes and apologize to God and the Universe for being such a shallow idiot. Simon calls the place a literal Hell on Earth, and he’s right. I vow to call twenty times the second credits roll. If my Sidekick decides to not be a little bitch. You don’t know the pain that phone puts me through.
The songs tonight will all be inspirational, which can be tricky. After all, what inspires some doesn’t work on others. I cry every time I hear the Alanis cover of “My Humps,” but I don’t think it will save any starving children.
Chris Richardson says he chose “Change the World” by Eric Clapton because he feels that’s what the show is about tonight. If just one person can help, imagine what millions could do! Good point, Timby Cake! He starts sitting on a stool singing it soft and straight, then takes it a little faster, adding his own style and funking up the rhythm and the arrangement. I get nervous when he moves into a full on groove, but it’s not over the top. Good version of the song. Despite his Nasal Singing Style Defense last week, he seems to have taken Simon’s advice to tone down the Timby Squeak. He misses a few notes, but I think it’s his best yet. He loosened up and nailed it.
Randy is wearing an eye-popper of a shirt this evening. Literally. My eyes are pulsing. He looks like a head sticking out of a hot tub. He says for the first time in a long time, he felt Chris was in it to win it and did a great job. Then he Yeah! Yeah!s and woots. Paula agrees and says that she’s proud of the journey Chris has made. Simon says that he always knew Timby Cake had potential and it was good to see it coming through. Chris smiles big and keeps his mouth shut. Good move, kid.
More Idol Gives Back footage. Idol isn’t only helping Africa. It’s helping America, too. Tink visits Atlanta and Randy goes to Louisiana. The poor kids in Kentucky look way different than the poor kids in Africa, but I slap my hand and blurt out “sorry!” to no one in particular. Needy’s needy.
Doolittle is singing “There Will Come a Day” by Faith Hill because it’s about having hope in dark times. Faith Hill? Why would you go Country again on purpose? Props to her stylist. She looks better and better with each passing week. Her hair is so soft and silky looking…sorry, back to the feeling. The song is pretty boring, but damn the girl can belt. Of course she sings the snot out of it, but I didn’t feel tingly. Darn. Didn’t poo a little. But it looks like she did.
Randy says she is brilliant every week, and tonight is no exception. Paula says there’s no one like her, and Simon calls it another vocal master class. Doolittle promised him she wouldn’t look surprised again, so she puts on a newer, sleeker surprised face instead and he let’s her be.
After making fun of Simon’s cleavage, Tink asks Blake what he’s sacrificed to be here. Well, giving up the Saturday night barbacking shift at Chili’s was pretty tough, but you gotta give to get. He’s chosen John Lennon’s “Imagine” because it’s about coming together in an ideal world. We may not be able to fix everything, but we can start by making a difference. Aw. Dennis the Menace, you’re a good kid.
He sings the original version note for note, enunciates each word as cleeaarrrllyy as posssibbllee, and delivers the number in his usual emotionless way. I’ve always respected that he at least changes up the pieces a little bit, but tonight he doesn’t, and without that, he’s dull as dishwater.
Randy thinks the song is brilliant, but the performance didn’t move him. Paula said she thought that at first, but then figured it was a very simple song and it’s the first time she’s seen real sensitivity from him, Simon says the performance was all on the same level, but the most important thing was that he seemed sincere. OK, I’m all for charity, but please take the muzzle off Simon.
Tink shows us clips of his visit to a feeding center in Africa. For less than fifty cents a day, starving kids can be fed. He points out that no child took a bite until everyone was served. Aw! Manners! I vow to vote another twenty times.
LaKisha has chosen to sing “I Believe” by Fantasia, and I cover my face and shake my head. This girl has balls of steel. Direct Challenge #3. I want her to kick ass, but she’s making it hard on herself. Fantasia wails that song.
She sounds a beat behind the band at first, and she copies every riff in the original. That said, she belts that song OUT, and she does it with more enthusiasm than she’s had for the past four or five weeks. I tingled a little, but I’m worried for her. She’s good, but she’s still not making the songs her own. Randy calls out a couple of pitch problems and says it wasn’t her best performance. Paula starts by saying LaKisha is a powerhouse, but she couldn’t get Fantasia’s version out of her head. The audience boos her and LaKisha smiles like she only does when she’s slammed. Simon, as usual, didn’t understand what the hell Paula was saying and she gets offended, apparently having blacked out her alchie days. Simon says he’s getting sick of LaKisha’s shouting, and the audience boos him. He tells them to shut up, but Paula revs them back up so loudly he can’t finish his sentence. The music plays, but he lets it go. Point made. I feel bad for KiKi, but she brings it on herself.
Powder’s in it to win it tonight. He opens up with a salute (oh yeah! You’re in the Navy!), a shout out to his baby girls, and an oh so sincere reason for his song choice. He’s picked “The Change” by Garth Brooks because it touched him after the Oklahoma City bombing. And because Randy told him he should be a Country Singer so now he’s gonna pelt us with his newfound “personality” until Country Music is officially dead. He stands very still and does his best to emote and I yawn for so long that a tear runs down my cheek. That counts for something, right?
Randy thinks it was wise to come back with another Country song and Paula agrees, calling it his best performance yet. Simon likes Powder and says that he came back with more good work. His only problem was that it wasn’t Country enough. Goody. I hope he doesn’t get kicked off tomorrow night, because there’s nothing more enjoyable than watching a desperate contestant try to mold themselves into something they aren’t. Miss you, Faux Rock!
After break, Simon visits a food bank that feeds thousands of people. They also have a box of children for the most generous contributors.
Jordin closes out the night with “Walk On”, which is a power ballad heard at musical dinner theater auditions all over America. The arrangement is slow and awkward, but Spanx knocks it out. She looks beautiful, she feels it, and she belts the bejeezus out of her high notes. Again, she kinda ruins it when she squeezes out air tears, but I gotta hand it to her, she killed.
Randy says it’s one of the best performances of any episode ever (I wouldn’t go that far), and she’s only 17!!! Can you BELIEVE IT? Paula agrees, and Simon says that even though the song is 60 or so years old, she could make it a hit again. Dear Spanx, PLEASE DON’T. Love, Flipit.
The show ends and I dial like a crazy person. I walk to 7-11 for some Diet Coke and Marlboros and and a homeless guy asks me for change. Oh, no he didn’t! Can’t he see I’m on the phone voting? How much can one man give? Needy people are so thoughtless sometimes.
Who do you think’s gonna be left out in the cold Wednesday (besides Tink)? Who’s gonna win this thing? And where was Bono?