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Huzzah! This week’s episode of Grease: You’re the One That I Want is only one hour long. I wonder how will they cram in ten performances, PLUS a sing-off? Why, duets, of course! But there’s an undertone through this whole show (especially when Austin performs) that duets week is just an excuse to make the Danny’s prove their ability to play hetero. It’s both awesome and uncomfortable at the same time. To aid the hide-the-fey effort, they’re not singing showtunes, and we’re back to crappy, dated pop songs. Annoyance level: Yellow/Elevated.We open with Ryan Seacrest (note to new readers, I know he’s not actually Ryan Seacrest) telling us that millions have voted and one Danny and Sandy are going home. Who are these “millions?” So vague.
Tonight’s group number is a super-peppy “Hand Jive.” It looks like everyone’s been eating their Wheaties – including Kathleen Marshall – the number has great energy and more interesting choreography than last week. It should be a better performance, since last week’s was deader than Meredith Grey. Rimshot. Thank you, I’ll be here all the week! During the boys’ solos I kind of fall in love with Chad, while Jason lives up to his “Can Mormons be Gay?” Danny nickname. Hello, did you not get the memo about this week’s not-so-secret test?
Ok and seriously, as much as I prefer the poodle skirts over those HORRIBLE PANTS, why must the costumes on this show look so cheap? The girls’ outfits look like the ’50′s-Girl costume I got from Toys ‘R Us when I was 8. I had the black-and-white saddle shoes and everything. It was pretty sweet and I was the toast of 3rd grade. Then this British girl moved to town who had a pair of pink-and-white saddle shoes and a British accent and that was the end of my toast-dom. Whatever, those pink shoes were tacky. Anyways, my point is, at 8 a pair of saddle shoes and a cheap poodle skirt are special, but on national TV, not so much.
Watching this number on repeat viewing makes me very irritated at the show that they’re back to singing pop songs for our votes. As great as some of the performances of said pop songs can be, compare those numbers to this and think about what’s more interesting to see. If we wanted to watch American Idol, we would watch American Idol (and probably do.) Why not sing songs from Broadway musicals and give us something different?! I want to see singing, dancing and acting! ALL AT ONCE! That’s what Broadway calls a star! Except you don’t actually have to dance. In fact, I think you’re only a real star if other people dance around you. Sorry Sutton Foster.
Ryan Seacrest has taken to calling Kathleen Marshall “The Marshall.” Clunk. Shoulda quit while you were (barely) ahead with “World-Wide-Webber.” Cat Deely informs us that John Secada won raves on Broadway in Cabaret and the 1994 revival of Grease. Yeah, thanks for reminding us it’s really too soon for a revival. But ugh, don’t get me started down this path. I’ll have to bring up the current Les Mis “revival” and you’ll never get me off the subject.
Video montage of the final 12: Suddenly all the boys are threatened by Derek’s arms. Max and Allie have a little love connection. It would be cute if Max weren’t already dating me. Now it’s just awkward and I need to make a phone call, excuse me. While talking about Kate’s powerful, but “official” performance last week, Allie says she doesn’t know how willing Kate is to experiment with other Danny’s and “play doctor.” Um, WHAT? I don’t even know how to respond to that. Wait, yes I do. Slattern!
There’s more smack-talk as Ashley claims she can hit the same notes as Kate. Derek claims he’d be a better Danny than Austin because he can bring the machismo. Hence this week’s theme. After the video plays Ryan Seacrest mentions that the potential Danny’s and Sandy’s hadn’t seen that before just now, then the camera pans to all of them sitting together in their special section of the audience. You can visibly see them ruing their words. Awkward!
When we come back from commercials Ryan and Cat ask Jason “purple Danny” Celaya, Juliana “violet Sandy” Hansen, Kevin “green Danny” Greene and Kathleen “light pink Sandy” Monteleone to step forward. After a long, but not at all suspenseful pause Ryan Seacrest tells them they are the ones with the lowest votes. If it were up to viewer votes alone, Jason and Juliana would have gone home. I must say I agree.
The sing-off is set aaaand FIGHT! Juliana goes first and forgets to breathe. Jason is next and not impressive. Kathleen’s hair is blonder and shorter this week and her voice is as strong as ever. Kevin is dreamy, but the singing is kind of forgettable. I like the haircut though. Think he was swayed by my comments last week? I do, but maybe I’m delusional.
Looong pause on a black screen as we return from commercial. Ah the joys of live, crappily-produced TV. Who are the judges going to save? “One of the best singers here: Kevin.” Says Kathleen Marshall. Sweet, “The Chin” stays. Love it. And which girl will they save? Kathleen, because she’s one of the stronger actresses. Aw Juliana, you suck at acting. During her exit interview with Ryan Seacrest, Juliana blames the song choice for her dismissal. I know I basically accused the producers of giving some people more exciting songs to sway the voting last week, but you can’t say that yourself, Juliana! Gotta go with dignity.
Jason wishes he could have done the number he was going to do this week because he thinks he would have been David Ian’s favorite. He promises to sing it for David Ian at his house some time. David Ian’s face says “Please don’t.” Asked why these two, David Ian says because America doesn’t clearly like Jason (That’s gotta sting.) and because Juliana doesn’t have Kathleen’s maturity. That’s all well and good, but later the judges are going to criticize Kathleen for being too mature. Make up your minds!
OMG, I just had a thought of what this show could be like if Liza Minelli hosted and it was amazing. She’d totally hijack every performance and be verbally abusive to the judges. It would be spectacular! Are you listening to me NBC execs?
Up first: Allie and Chad singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” They both look hot and sound great. Aside from me having heart palpitations with visions of Allie falling down those stairs because she can’t walk in those heels, the performance is truly awesome. I officially change my vote to Chad this week. I heart Chad and those blue eyes. Allie’s pretty good too. At the very end of the song they’re very hands-y and aggressively all over each other. I believe their chemistry, but this seems very forced, as it does in everyone’s performances. I mean, it’s so OBVIOUS what the producers are doing, but that seems to be this show’s M.O. so I guess there’s no use in griping.
All the judges loved the performance, especially David Ian, who calls it “theatrical Viagra.” Gross. SERIOUSLY, GROSS! And you just know Ryan Seacrest isn’t going to let that comment go for, like, the rest of the season.
Next up: Austin and Laura, singing “I Don’t Know Much [But I Know I Love You].” It’s a ballad, which normally means naptime, but Austin and Laura sound great and keep me engaged the whole time. They spend most of the song looking into each other’s eyes very intently. I’m buying it. That’s the thing, people say Austin is too fey, but, um, hello? It’s musical theater. Not all, but really, A LOT are that fey in real life. That’s why it’s called ACTING.
Austin and Laura are also aggressively hands-on. Driving home the point, when asked about his partner, Austin replies she’s “a sizzling hot woman.” Okay, Austin, we get it, you like women for the purposes of this show. No need to overdo things. The judges all comment on how they believed Austin was into Laura. So this week really was all about Austin convincing the judges he could play a straight guy. WE GET IT.
“It Takes Two” is next, performed by Max and Ashley. Max may not be a typical heartthrob type of Danny, but this performance shows how he really knows how to work his quirkiness to his advantage. Danny Zucko has a bit of dork in him (think about that first scene when he sees Sandy at Rydell High and he bugs out, all “SANDY!“), and Max can convey that better than any of the other potential Danny’s. You can see him reacting to all the little moments created by the choreography. So good. Oh, and Ashely? Fine. Cute, as per usual, but Max totally steals the show.
The judges seem to agree, as they all really liked Max (I mean, he got that haircut, so he basically is Danny Zucko now.) but feel that Ashley could have given them more and needs to move beyond cute.
So what happens when Whole[sale] Danny meets Serious[ly, guys she's got a mullet] Sandy? Bad notes and no chemistry, apparently. They’re singing a ballad: “From This Moment On” and it’s Snooze City. Derek, after all the praise last week, just does not deliver tonight. He struggles on some of his notes and is an unconvincing actor. Kate is serious and emotionally reserved as usual. So not my favorite anymore. Hey, you know what I hear helps? Playing doctor.
The judges agree with me and find their performance boring. But next up are saved (or in Kathleen’s case, Saved!) contestants Kevin and Kathleen. I don’t quite get how the pairing or repairing worked with the eliminations, but I don’t think Kevin and Kathleen were originally meant to sing together so this should be interesting. In a pre-performance interview, Kevin talks about how he’s glad he was saved. Kathleen is honored and thankful to be Saved! and can’t wait to show the judges she can perform. So can they back up that talk performing “Something to Talk About”?
Eh, not really. On a good note, Kathleen’s dress makes her look so little! She looks like the New and Improved (Now Ryan Phillipe-Free!) Reese Witherspoon with crazy eyes. Seriously, sometimes I think Kathleen can see through the TV and into my SOUL with those eyes. Kevin’s chin is keeping him in my good graces, but this performance isn’t that exciting. Individually, they’re both fine and charming in their own way, but they’re not on the same level, like they’re not engaging each other. This is what no chemistry looks like.
The judges agree. David Ian says they made the right decision this week, but next week will be a challenge for the two of them. The judges criticize the song choice saying that both singers have more legit Broadway voices that aren’t well suited to pop. Who picks these songs if not the contestants and not the judges?
So if it wasn’t Kevin and Kathleen, who were the panel’s Danny and Sandy tonight? David Ian chooses Austin and Ashley. Kathleen goes for Chad and Ashley. Jim Jacobs and John Secada both preferred Chad and Allie. My picks? Max and Laura. Yeah, I know I said Chad before, but I’m fickle. Deal with it. And I like Laura cause she’s my favorite brunette left in the running, but I’d take Allie or Ashley too.
Before we sing good-bye to this week’s losers, Ryan Seacrest mentions “Theatrical Viagra” again. I’m starting a tally. It sucks that the losers have to sing with all the remaining contestants doing backup. Like, did those girls just call Juliana “a poor man’s Sandra Dee?” Then it looks like they’re going to rip off her costume like the Wicked Stepsisters in the animated Cinderella movie, as if Juliana were some sort of disgrace to the Sandy uniform. During their last moments of camera time, Jason and Juliana totally eat it up, giving us their best “sad goodbye” faces. Eh. Still not buying it. Bye losers!
So what did you think of this week’s episode? Are any of these girls going to give an exciting performance in the coming weeks? What does it say about the state of acceptance for homosexuals in America, when this industry which is dominated by men and women of that persuasion, are told they can’t be who they are on TV?