This week on Grease our final four Danny’s compete for our votes and have “unique challenges” (ie, weaknesses) to work on this week. How thrilling. Can Derek overcome his crack-tacular performance from two weeks ago? How is Chad’s self-esteem after being in the bottom two last week? Can Austin be funny and loose? Can Max lead the pack? And which girl is going home?
Quick answers: No, not great, no, YES and sooooo obvious.There’s minimal host banter as Ryan and Cat introduce the opening number. This week’s group number is the boy-tastic “Grease Lightning,” complete with a shiny muscle car on the stage. I guess it’s supposed to look like they’ve been working on the car (which, ha!) because they all have random streaks of brown on their skin. Frankly, it looks like they’ve been visited by Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo.
During the first round of solos I realize that Chad has no range vocally. This is not the last time tonight that a song is going to sound too low for him. Also he looks really small all of a sudden. I still think he has pretty eyes, but ever since I found out he’s the voice of Crackle, (of Snap, Crackle and Pop!) he really looks like an elf to me. Also he’s holding his head at a weird angle for basically the entire number and it makes him look demonic
Dance break! This is a fun number to watch, mostly because Kathleen Marshall has got them running all over that stage. There’s a part of the dance where they do push-up-hops that’s particularly cool. By the end of the number all the boys are sweating and “panting like a cart horse,” to use a David Ian phrase. Despite the workout, Austin and Max still manage to eke out a good sound, while Chad and Derek’s solos get kind of lost in the din. But hey, good news – everyone sounded in tune on the last note. Progress!
Before we get to more performances, Ryan Seacrest and Cat Deeley explain the show tonight: The Dannys are competing for our votes and each have to tackle a unique challenge. This is where you can see a theater influence, because basically each of these “challenges” is basically like a ridiculous theater-game they have to complete in an effort to take them to the next level of Danny-dom. Plus, one Sandy is going home! Who will it be??
Panel introductions. David Ian, Kathleen Marshall, and Jim Jacobs, who’s wearing white socks with dark pants and shoes. Barf. There’s no guest of any kind tonight. You’re slipping, Grease!
Hey, remember last week? Well if you don’t here’s a clip: Chad and Kathleen were saved from elimination – which was two-in-a-row for Kathleen. Austin was surprised but happy when Chad was in the bottom. Allie explains that no one really likes Chad, and everyone talks about him behind his back. The show has a sense of humor for once and we see random shots of Chad sitting alone while Kate singing “All By Myself” plays over it. Aw, poor Crackle.
Max thinks Austin needs to loosen up this week if he’s going to stay in the competition and calls him “showgirl-ish.” Ordinarily I would think that’s unnecessary, but while Max says it the show plays a clip of Austin doing his best Tina Turner impression (From this performance), and I have to agree. Chad thinks that Max needs to show he’s a man and not a little boy. Hey, he’s the one with a little romance going on, rice krispie. Derek thinks that Chad doesn’t have enough experience to do a Broadway show. Austin thinks he makes a better Danny than Derek because his voice won’t crack. (Burn!) They all want to be Danny so bad.
First up tonight: “Hot Danny” Austin, who needs to “chill out.” David Ian thinks Austin is a great performer, but that he needs to loosen up and be funny. David Ian wants Austin to make him laugh. So he heads off to The Groundlings with his backup dancers – Kathleen, Ashley and Allie. They are off to a rocky start as Austin states: “I’m going to prove to them that if they put a banana peel on the stage, I’m going to slip on it.” Good one, Austin, we’re already rolling in the aisles. NOT.
This week Austin is singing the Beach Boys’ classic “Fun, Fun, Fun.” The best part of this whole performance is the girl who SCREEAAAMS Austin’s name through this whole thing. She must have been seated too close to a microphone or something because I could hear her SO clearly. And seriously, she’s screaming like she’s being murdered and needs AUUUUUUUSTIIIIIIN to come in to the audience and save her. It’s ridiculous.
Anyways, back to Austin. The number is upbeat, which is what Austin does best, and he performs the shit out of the song. There’s lots of dancing and twirling and ass-shaking by the backup dancing girls who aren’t wearing that much clothing, while Austin feigns interest. Would I call this number funny? Um, no. And I bet Max could do it funny, like he did with his duet number with Ashley two weeks ago.
Also, is anyone as freaked out as I am at how skinny Kathleen got in like 3 weeks? Eating disorder? No carbs? How L.A.! Hester Prynne, you’ve changed
After the performance, OF COURSE the first thing Ryan Seacrest comments on is Austin’s hairless chest, which is visible thanks to a lack of buttoning. As our attention goes over to the panel, Cat Deeley asks if David Ian found Austin’s performance fun. David Ian replies he had fun looking at the girls. Gross, old man. Jim Jacobs will echo this sentiment in a moment, and considering these men are the PRODUCER and WRITER of the show these girls are basically auditioning for right now, I think it’s really disgusting they think it’s acceptable outright ogle them like this on TV. They’re definitely crossing a line.
Anyways, again, back to Austin, David Ian and Jim Jacobs still find Austin unconvincing as a Danny. David still wants to see more charm, humor and a “naughty” boy quality from Austin before he’ll be convinced. Jim thought the “fun” seemed forced.
Kathleen Marshall on the other hand, completely disagrees, saying she believed it all the way. She thought he was loose and goofy and generally terrific. Of course you do, Kathleen, he’s a typical Kathleen Marshal flashy, tight chorus boy. She thinks he’s a great musical theater performer and brought great attack to that number. There’s been lots of talk going around about them offering Max Doody, but do you think Kathleen will offer something to Austin too? Kathleen Marshall hearts Austin Miller.
Up next, will Derek crack under pressure? This past week, Derek’s challenge was to improve his vocal performance. We see him at a voice lesson with a different vocal coach that we’ve seen before. This one teaches Derek to relax to open up his voice. The vocal coach also recommends swimming and yoga improve his breathing. The coach wants him to relax, but worries that the pressure will make him tense. Well I’m sure seeing this video right before performing isn’t making Derek nervous at all!
This week Derek is singing “Baby, You’re All That I Need” with Laura as the female onstage with him to gaze into his eyes adoringly. I’m sorry, are we watching a Celine Dion music video? That’s really the vibe I’m getting from this. Oooh and he totally just cracked a little! Not as bad as last time, but it was still there. Sounds like we’ve got a new Choker on our hands.
Kathleen Marshall is kind as she says that aside from one little wobble he was much better this week. Yeah, better but still not great. Austin, for all his fey-ness, turned in a much stronger performance. Kathleen says she wants the wilder, more “mannish” side of Derek next week. Jim Jacobs thinks it may not have been a crack, and Derek could be playing with the Buddy Holly “hiccup” quality in his voice or some shit like that. Shut up, Jim. David Ian steps up as the harsh British judge and calls it what it was: a crack. Just like he did two weeks ago. And now it’s a worry they have about casting Derek in a Broadway show. Burn. Sucks to be Derek. I think he needs to face it: this show is just out of his vocal range. Lovely baritone, but he can’t sing that high.
As we come back from commercial there is lame host banter. Max is up next and in the preview video, David Ian says Max needs to work on his macho physicality. They’ve seen him as a funny guy and now they need to see “the leader of the pack,” so Max goes to the boxing ring to work out. He says it’s helping his bravado and confidence.
Calling him Macho Max and “Rocky Danny”, Ryan introduces Max, singing “Hard to Handle.” It’s not an easy song to sing, but Max is awwwwwesome. He sounds good, moves well and I’m totes buying the macho. Except, for someone who’s trying to prove his macho-ness, Max sure has gotten some manscaping done (see the eyebrows). During the applause the cameras flash to Allie. OUT OF MY FACE, HO. Before going to the judges, Ryan Seacrest takes a moment to ask Max about Allie. Awwwwkward. But what a gentleman, Max refuses to kiss and tell. And that’s why we’re lovers.
It’s a crazy eyes epidemic! Someone call the CDC!
David Ian looks at Max with true love in his eyes and says, “what a transformation.” Agreed. He goes on to say that even though Max is an unconventional choice, you believe him out of pure talent. He just hopes that Broadway is ready for him as a sex symbol. I think he’ll do fine. If John Gallagher, Jr. can be a Broadway sex symbol, so can Max. Jim says that while Max may not be built like The Hulk, he sure has talent! And why would you want Danny built like The Hulk? Kathleen comments that Max has this great ability to take whatever they give him and make it his own. YES! That’s what I said last week!
Cat Deeley gives us the number if you’re a “slacker backer.” Who writes this shit? And then the number for Ticketmaster flashes. GOD what a freaking Broadway marketing genius move this show is. Do you know how much commercials cost on TV? And how much a Broadway budget is? Even though this TV show is struggling in the ratings it’s like one GIANT commercial for Grease the stage show. Every freaking tourist that comes to New York this summer is going to see this… instead of something artistically interesting… And now I want to cry.
Hey, remember how Chad was in the bottom last week? Well it’s all they talk about in his preview video this week. Also, Chad’s exercise was to project to the back of a Broadway house, so this week he has to master Shakespeare in an empty theater. Why empty? He goes to meet with a UCLA professor to work on Romeo’s famous monologue from Romeo and Juliet. The professor tells him to pretend he’s saying these words to Sandy after she left him at the drive-in. Run away Chad, I think he’s a hack! (Don’t write to me, I’m sure he’s actually esteemed.)
Chad’s wearing some shirt he bought at Kitson or Fred Segal or some shit like that, with a pirate symbol and all these patches and buttons all over it. I may have some unreasonable anger towards the shirt, but look at it:
I think he’s one of those dreaded “Butt Pirates” I keep hearing about
Kathleen says that Chad needs to dial up the dynamic energy and charisma this week during his performance of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” He doesn’t really deliver that. This song is too low for him and he sounds kind of pitchy towards the beginning. It sounds like mediocre karaoke. He also tilts his head down a lot because I think he thinks it looks intense or sexy or something, but really it just makes him look like a rabid elf. The girls he’s dancing with (Laura and Allie) are thisclose to showing us their cooches.
What did the judges think? Kathleen Marshall felt that he went in and out vocally, and perhaps he was focusing too much on the movement. Agreed. She also wants to see him make the performances his own and not just do what they tell him to do correctly. Jim thinks “the blue-eyed soul of the show” Chad is too pretty-looking and suggests cutting his face. Chad, I think it’s time for a restraining order against Jim Jacobs. He’s nuts. I wouldn’t put it past him. David Ian didn’t think it was great, but disagrees with Jim, saying Chad’s not too pretty, and that he would sell lots of tickets. Always looking at that bottom line, David Ian is.
Now, because there is no guest of any kind this week, we have a filler-video of what the contestants’ weeks are like. It’s pretty much what you’d expect: They get up early Monday, go to the studio, get their song and start rehearsing. Fascinating picture. I get a brief glimpse of my arch-enemy: the costumer of this show. Watch your back, hack!
And now it’s time for the sing-off. It’s only girls, since we only saw Sandy performances last week. Laura and Ashley are safe, which means that Allie and Kathleen are in the bottom two this week. If it were up to votes alone, Allie would be going home. Ouch! Again! I don’t get you, AMERICA, I thought Allie was great last week, especially considering her costume was basically falling off at the end.
The sing-off is to “It’s Raining on Prom Night.” Dinky music starts. Allie sings first and sounds fine, but nothing special. I think Kathleen sounds much stronger and acts the little moments of the song well. Allie just uses stilted hand movements, but get some big sounds by the end.
In the immortal words of Ryan Seacrest, “The girls can do no more.” Now it’s up to the panel. We’ll find out who the judges are saving in just a moment, but first let’s watch the girls react (re: cry) to the news that their in the bottom two. Allie really really wants to stay and says that as to the acting, she wants to show the judges that she’s “one of the best actresses out of all of these girls… actually, I don’t know they’re all wonderful too,” which, aw, kind of makes me like her. Kathleen is disappointed to be in the bottom again, but takes it like an old pro and doesn’t even cry.
The girl who is a big Austin fan is also apparently a big fan of Kathleen, as you can hear her screaming “KAAAATHLEEEEEN” over the whole audience. So who did the judges pick to save this week? Allie. BOOO! I totally thought Kathleen was better in the sing-off! Plus she’s the best actress. BOOO!
Sing goodbye to Kathleen, everybody. Another poor man’s Sandra Dee. Oh man, I bet the judges are regretting cutting her cause Kathleen sounds better than she’s ever sounded during this little goodbye song. Honestly, I welled up, not gonna lie. Aw, bye Hester Prynne!
Across the board, the panel names Max as their Danny. I agree. I think the part is Max’s to lose. What do you think?