Wednesday, April 13, 2005

American Idol Recap 04/13/05 - It Only Takes An Hour To Break A Heart

It Only Takes An Hour To Break A Heart

We’re in for a shock America! Oooooooh! That’s how the Puppet Masters of American Idol see it, they’ve made it an hour long experience for us tonight…so you know something is up. Shocking indeed. Depressing more like it. Sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, cruel town of Idolville will claim yet another life. In this town any talentless hack can make it big. But we’ll get to that later. Trying to digest the suggestion of an hour long Elimination show with a promise this big is tantamount to eating an entire box of Peeps in one sitting. You just know the outcome is going to be messy and you are left feeling empty.

Seacrest really dazzles us tonight with his appearance from the audience in a sharp pin striped suit. We must truly be in for a big night. Either that or there are talent scouts in search of failed radio talk show hosts…hey Ryan, you are one of those right, what a coincidence! Speaking of hacks, our Billy Bush wannabe host must be reading my mind because he can’t take his mind off of how long he has to host the show tonight. They are going to "make [him] earn his money tonight." Yeah, I feel for ‘ya Seacrest. I know this is seriously cutting into your Smallville time but we’d like to get on with the show, and we really don’t care what you charge your John’s okay?

But tonight isn’t about Seacrest and his fancy tuxedo, it is about you and your precious votes. You voted didn’t you? Oh, and it’s about the kids, forgot about the kids.

This just in...The only sign of the Apocalypse that you need, forget all others! "RYAN SEACREST TO RECEIVE STAR ON WALK OF FAMEWednesday, April 20th Ryan Seacrest will be receiving a STAR on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his career in radio! The ceremony will take place at Hollywood & Highland in the heart of Hollywood at 11:30am sharp!" (clearly I swiped this from the idolonfox website, I wouldn't dare come off so giddy about it) Back to the show.

Seacrest’s spin machine goes into overtime telling us that WOW! 34 million of us voted last night, but no mention of record breaking. But he still makes it sound like we gave birth to toasters. Can ya dig it?! He also points out that of all the moves last night, the one that has stood out in people’s minds is the one made by Constantine’s tongue. I typically would like to stay away from said image but it begs to be called into the head engulfing spotlight. It seriously is a rather large tongue. One in which ‘tine can flip in and out between his yellow teeth at random, it is quite a talent. ‘Tine seems all cool when approached about his tongue technique. He tells us that it just happened and he didn’t really think about it. This from a guy who knows cameraman #3’s name is Carl and who probably has his RFID device programmed to the Production Manager’s call frequency. He tells us that his famous tongue move is a little Kiss; quite possibly an even a little bit Steven Tyler, Prince and I’m thinking a little William Hung. I might add that ‘tine’s hair is greased back in a nice ponytail. America just loves ponytails. Ponytails, leather and cheese eatin’ grins. If your TV doesn’t need a bath by the end of this Season, you aren’t watching Constantine’s performances correctly.

We ask Anthony how he is feeling about last night. Why?! Did he screw up again? Why do we waste our time on one of the Puppet Master’s favorite stringed playthings? I am thinking we need to take a moment to remind the TV audience that he actually did an okay job last night. A. Fed is feeling good about last night by the way, thanks for asking. There is a sign in the House of Yes that screams originality "Vonzell is our Idol" but this one is in glitter! So it’s different! She is asked about highlights of this competition as if this could be her last night with us (The Puppet Master wouldn’t be so kind to us). She wheezes that it has all been cherries and cream and that working with Desmond Child has been a dream. Meanwhile, unicorns and kittens with little top hats dance across the lower portion of my screen. Wait, Baby "V", you weren’t supposed to mention Desmond Child yet, that is one of our surprises to stretch this into an unnecessary 60 minute show. Gaaah! Oh!! Might as well get on with hit then….cue the tape!

We flashback to the Los Angeles recording studio where the kidlets are busy recording the fantastic single that you didn’t vote for. We see this kids in various forms of dress and posed shots. They each get airtime next to the fuzzy mic with one hand over their ear as you are supposed to do when being filmed in a sound booth. I try this sometimes when I talk in an elevator or McDonald’s but the effect just isn’t the same. We get to meet scary composer of the Season, Desmond Child (you remember scary composers of past seasons Diane Warren and Neal Sedaka). With an expression like "not enough money in the world!" on his face, Desmond puts the kidlets through their paces giving gentle coaching where needed. "It’s a little pitchy!" he tells Pig Boy. Pig Boy no like being told pitchy, Pig Boy sulk in corner and mumble something about tough working with professionals. Ugh. It ain’t the same as singing into a bucket back home but it will have to do. For the most part, the kids look like they are having fun, at least they are told to. We are again told that we have chosen "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" as the single we just couldn’t live without, but "Everything is Beautiful" and "He Ain’t Heavy" will also be on the CD. So everyone wins!!! Thanks for your airtime minutes but they really didn’t mean squat. The good thing about this song is that it has the added juices of our three previous eliminated Idols. Look! There’s Mikalah! Hiya Miks!!! She is totally cutting up at the sound board, this is what I miss about Mikalah. Don’t worry Mikalah, they will mix you so you don’t sound so nasally, I promise. Look! It’s that other blonde girl, Plant City. Look…it’s Nikko. Nikko says that it’s nice to be a part of something that people will actually go out and buy…, yeah….buy. Anyone think it is surprising that the first song that they sing (ala, the one where almost all the contestants are still in) is the one that is "picked" as the single? Oh, I forgot to mention that they are making all three so it doesn’t matter. I already mentioned that? Sorry. More antics around the recording studio. I picture a whole plotline where Desmond speaks to the camera more and even tries to help the kids write their very own song, such as Diane Warren did two season’s ago. I think at this moment though, he has had enough of these ragamuffins. Again, where in season’s past there has been a fortitude of extra eye candy pieces, we are left wondering where all the scary composers and creepy old man guest judges are. We are in a creepy guest judge recession. Look at the possibilities we have already been shown…Hall and Oates! Donnie Osmond! I would love to get Iggy Pop on there and really freak things up! Our short tour of the making of the song is over and we leave the recording studio a better place than when we got there.

But the action doesn’t stop here tonight folks, we are only 20 minutes into the show. You saw how it was voted on, you saw how it is being spray painted and shellaced, now you must hear it live!! Quit your drooling, it’s tonight’s Sing-a-ding-ding! I will spare you the details except for some obvious points. Mostly because I was eating dinner at the time…mostly. I do know that we start off with Nadia fleshing out the mood of the song. I am not really sure what the mood of the song is intended to be seeing as it is a benefit song for the Red Cross but also deals with a woman’s intimate obsession with her man, but she sets it anyway. Nadia is looking radiant tonight. Like a monarch butterfly about to take off if it weren’t for that not very aero-dynamic hair of hers. I still love her though as she is the coolest kitty on the block. She sings her parts really well too! I glance away from the screen as I feel it is safe to do so. The song just sits there like the spaghetti on my plate, not really going anywhere until I stir it with my fork. That was not a euphemism for anything really but I do want to take a moment and focus on how good my spaghetti was last night. Damn good! It had this Puttanesca sauce on it that is to die for, so I’m focusing on my food. The single I am sure I can hear anytime. Really. My timing is impeccable. I happen to glance up just as Vonzell takes the stage wearing a giant yellow swatch watch as a belt. It is as if she shops at Wee The People, a shop for people who like to wear giant’s clothes. The pants and shirt fit from what I can tell but I am assuming she needs the extra security of a very large plastic belt just to make sure they stay up. We get to see the rest of the kids do their part. And I mean do! It is in this stage of the competition that you can see the hamminess of it all. Pig Boy, Bo, Anwar, even A. Fed all play to the camera like a wolf cub to their mother’s teet. All this glomming on to the camera is a sight to behold. The pro at this is still our friend Constantine who happens to Elvis his way towards the camera with an extended arm just as it passes by. It is all so "made for TV" until we near the end of the song where we encounter Carrie Underwood who is like a refreshing spray of Febreze. So calm, cool and into her craft, she out classes just about everyone save Nadia. I notice how we Start with Nadia and end with Carrie, like two great pieces of delicious whole wheat on either side of a crud and mustard sandwich.

There are two signs in the House of Yes as the camera pans out that say "Great Scott!" and another that says "White Velvet" which I am only assuming is meant for Pig Boy as his crew somehow always seem to get their signs near the judges.

Seacrest reminds us that these kids eat, sleep and breathe Idol on a daily basis so we must watch what a week is like in the life of an American Idol. (assume during this montage that we are complete novices to the show…it helps).

Thursday - Pick Song
Constantine is shown picking his "Bohemian Rhapsody" from last night’s show. ‘Tine is hilarious because he shows how he was actually going to sing the "I see a little silhouette" portion. "You have to do that part" he tells the show’s composer. There’s not enough talent in the world Constantine!

Did you know the kids sit around for hours listening to music on Thursday? It’s true! That’s what I would do if I lived in L.A. Come on! It isn’t a question if you can sing the song or not, you pretty much already know what is safe to sing and what isn’t…just pick one! Don’t take 30 hours like Vonzell did on Show Tunes night. Vonzell would like to be an artist and paint beautiful pictures if she wasn’t on American Idol. I looked it up on her profile. I feel we are better people for knowing.

Friday - Pre-Song Package is Filmed
We get to catch a glimpse into the genius that is the video intro on Tuesday nights. It’s swell!
Clothes Shopping
Friday is turning out to be my favorite day in Idolville. Look at all the vintage clothes!! TeeHee, Constantine is wearing funny glasses! Look! Vonzell is trying on a large plastic swatch belt. Put it down Baby "V"!!! Put it down!!!! How is it that Nadia and Carrie can come out of these shopping trips looking like a million bucks when you might as well have given Bo a $25 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops?

Saturday - Record Album
Yeah, we know it’s a joy working with Desmond Child. Carrie is wearing a shirt that says "V is for Vegetarian." Interesting Carrie, I was just saying about your fashion sense….
Go Bowling
I am serious. Not sure if this is what they do every Saturday night but again, I am just absolutely sure that this is what I would be doing in their given situation living in the culturally boring town of L.A. Drink some Coke and go smash some windows for Crunkssake!!!

Sunday - Film Fauxmmercial
And you thought Sunday was a holy day…
Anwar is surprised that he is a part of this each time he sees the commercial. "I’m in a commercial!" Yes Anwar, the entire show is a commercial really. I won’t get too existential about it but you see, there is this sponsor Coke….

Monday - Rehearsal
This is when the Idols get to fully realize what a horrible decision choosing "The Thong Song" was to begin with. Just hope you ain’t going first on Tuesday!

Tuesday - Show Day
1) Walk through Camera blocking (editors note: make sure Constantine gets his 6 hours of practice with Carl and the boys)
2) Dress rehearsal (editors note: extra large brush for Bo’s wookie hair, rouge and eyeliner for Anthony, refill Vonzell with air)
3) Fill Paula’s Coke cup with Vicodin and Lime Flavored Coke

Wednesday - Elimination Day
No explanation needed for Wednesday, but they feel we must hear one (again, pretend you don’t know anything about this show). BoBice! greets us from his gritty sheets in the morning. The video saves you from having to find out what it is like waking up next to Bo, you are off the hook. We see the kids running around getting ready, each one of the not knowing what the day holds for them. Which one of them will be leaving the Idol House…..wait a second! Are those apartments? What kind of hook up is this?! I thought that they were all being put up in a gigantic mansion together only to have hilarity ensue! Oh, silly me, that was Season One. Tsk. I just imagined a little nicer living arrangement for our kids this season. They must be saving money to pay for Seacrest’s suit and highlights.

We come back from commercial break to see this week’s fauxmmercial. I am not exactly sure that is going on with this high concept commercial. The eight remaining kids stand and look at a Ford (product placement) and scratch their heads as they try to get in, but I don’t think they have a key. But everyone has a digital camera in their pocket so instinctively they all take a photo of various parts of the car, run them into the nearest convenient vacant office building and proceed to enlarge high quality color copies. They also make a copy of the key that was missing before?! The kids then take them outside and glue them onto this cardboard car the perfect shape of afore-mentioned Ford (product placement) and voila!, a perfect replica of the bucket of bolts they couldn’t get into. So…..they dash off in the car leaving Anwar and Vonzell and someone else scratching their head while trying to get into the cardboard car while the others drive off. Confused? Before you launch into an all out assault on me please first understand that #1) I am tired and didn’t feel like going back and analyzing this wannabe Kubrick piece of experimental film and #2) I am the consumer and need to be fed an nice gentle storyline, typically involving large human-like puppets or small miniature people. I clearly get that I missed several key plot points and probably got half of the names/places/actions wrong, but I don’t particularly care about this one as it didn’t go anywhere….literally.

We come back to the kids sitting on the elimination couches (which are nicer by a long stretch than the ones in their "El Hacienda" apartments). The dramatic computer processing music is on in the background as it is time to get down to business. We start with Carrie who was apparently under the weather last night. Remember last season when it was all the rage to be sick as your excuse for sucking wind on stage? Nadia is asked how she deals with the pressure of American Idol. She quotes God and says that he has a plan for her. Special. They ask Anwar, who is giving great Muppet face tonight, what made the difference in last night’s performance. Anwar says that he just allows himself to become part of the song, something he wasn’t allowing himself to do before. Anwar is very strict with himself. Anwar causes alarm when he says he wants to touch the audience there and in the TV. You know we aren’t really in the TV don’t you Anwar?

Seacrest wants to play a game. Each contestant must say what song was their favorite from this season and if they are in the bottom three tonight, they must sing it. Sounds great. "For example" he says "Scott, what was your favorite song from this season?" Pig Boy gives two songs but of course we are only looking for one. He narrows it down to "Against All Odds." Seacrest tells him to go ahead and sing it…he is in the bottom three. Just like that. Seacrest relishes in his evil Jedi Mind Trick!
I really hope Pig Boy wasn’t foolin’ and actually likes singing this song, hope he remembers the lyrics, but then again who cares! This might be his last song (oh Puppet Master please!) Not sure if it is the on-the-spot-surprise or the fact that he sucks without singing into the bucket first but he is all jittery and quivery. The spirit of Pig Boy catches though and he does the Pillsbury Dough Boy dance one last time around the stage shifting his weight from right to left and back again. He gets momentum and comes off all mad and angry…comin’ at ya! The vertical stripes are working for him tonight, although I dare say that they let the kids shop for clothes to wear on elimination night. I have seen better rags in National Geographic specials.

Pig Boy is our first in the bottom three. No real surprise or tears for me there. Not to waste any time, Seacrest goes for Carrie mentioning the kitten to tiger comment from Simon last night, oh and she was sick to boot. It didn’t seem to phase Carrie or the rest of America because she is safe.

Anwar Robinson had a pretty good performance last night and sister is safe.

BoBice! rocked the Free Bird last night and shook the holy doors of Skynyrd fans everywhere. Although he doesn’t get to mention his favorite song this season, he is told that he too is in the bottom 3. As the words are forming on Seacrest’s lips, the House of Yes bursts into uncontrollable boos. Quite right, I am shocked as well as I didn’t expect Bo in the bottom 3. Then again, I haven’t been impressed much lately with any of the performances that he has given. Even still, we haven’t gotten to A. Fed or Vonzell yet so there must be some justice left in the show, right? Bo is calm and cool about the entire decision. Hey, this entire thing started as a bet between him and his mom anyway so why sweat it? What a cool attitude to take man. Tell me, did this bet occur under the influence of Milwaukee’s Best? Bo graciously pleases the haters by singing "Remedy" from Nineties night waaaay back when. Again, I am confused as to how they knew what song Bo would be singing as he didn’t mention what his favorite song was from this season. Hmmmmmm. He must have been ready for whatever they started playing. Yeah that’s it. "Hey American Idol, you’re script is showing!" He performs the song and we get a shot of the kidlets dancing like some un-rhythmic white boy choir. It is very funny. I do watch that again.

With Pig Boy and Bo making an interesting start to our bottom three, it is clear that the producers are getting the effect they were after, milking this to it’s full hour long potential even without the aid of creepy guest judges or appearances from Fantasia "She on Crack" Barrino. Who could be next. Wait, Nadia is sitting last on the couch. This doesn’t look good.

Constantine, you have hit both our 12 year old and 60 year old female demographic, you are safe. Shots of Constantine’s strange white bread nuclear family, all smiles and sunshine, are cheering from the audience. His sister is in a blue taffeta dress with billowy shoulders and a ribbon in her hair, I swear!

We are left with Anthony, Vonzell and Nadia.

They tease us by asking what song Vonzell would sing if she was in the bottom three. I can sense that this would be too easy and of course I am right. The Puppet Master has his way and Vonzell Baby "V" Solomon is safe.

Anthony Federov is asked what his favorite song from this season is. He say’s "Every Time You Go Away" without even batting an eye, mentioning his one good performance from this season; as if he would say anything else!

Nadia says that she would sing "You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me" and Seacrest (who I believe is evil incarnate) tells her that she better go ahead and sing it because she is in the bottom three. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! I surprise myself that I scream like a girl at this news. It was completely rational and as per the formula for this show. She is quirky, picks little known songs that she likes and define her personality and the clencher…she went first last night. Of course she has to go! Maybe there is hope, she is up there with Pig Boy of all people.

Seacrest decrees into his microphone, because he has the power, that you can’t complain if you don’t vote. Really? That’s not why I’m mad Ryan. I’m mad because I do vote yet there are others out there also voting for ridiculous no talents like that horse Vonzell. Sorry to make it personal Baby "V" but just because you got the prettiest signs don’t make you queen of the prom.

Lots and lots of diatribe ensue from the judges. Randy says that you really have to want to win this thing and not to be discouraged because both Ruben and Fantasia were both in the bottom three several times and look at them now. Hmmm, Randy is right. Maybe it is better to not win this thing. If you win you really don’t do much. I’d much rather be a Clay than a Ruben. Although Ruben got to be in "Life on a Stick"…fair trade. Paula’s earrings have caught up with her necklace from last night. Unfortunately the necklace is no longer being worn. Instead there is a mixture of bells and silver chains and what sounds like a cowbell hanging around her neck tonight. The camera turns to Simon but we still hear Paula tinkling and jingling into the microphone. Simon speculates that poor song choice led them to this spot in the bottom three. We really know that he is talking to Nadia because she responds that she still feels that she needed to remain true to who she is and choose songs that mean something to her. I like this perspective because it really isn’t about song choice as much as it is being a freak and getting lots of sympathy votes. Nadia is clearly not a freak and will do well on her own. I think she knows that. Simon tries to also interject how the kids need to listen to his advice because he has been in the industry for so long and doesn’t just make up this crap so he can hear himself talk…loosely translated. Paula mimics a swollen head to Randy in regards to Simon’s being full of himself. It is either that or she is declaring in Martian that she is hungry and low on Vicotin and Lime Flavored Coke.

True to formula, we let someone off the hook tonight. I won’t bore you with the clever trick that Seacrest uses to make us think that Bo or Nadia are actually safe because it is Pig Boy who gets to go back to the couches tonight. And not to be subtle or anything, he punches his fists into the air and yells "YEAH!!!!!’ as he gets the heroes welcome by the rest of the kidlets. It is that kind of selflessness that just really makes me hope he succeeds in life. Good times, good times. So now we are left with Bo and Nadia and my gut tells me that this isn’t going to go the way I want it to.

Seacrest milks it for all the drama it’s worth, the Producers are wringing their hands with delight. Paula gets to ask Bo a question. "Do you believe you have what it takes?" Bo says that he does have what it takes to get up there and do what he does every night when he signs. Then Paula makes it perfectly clear that he needs to keep doing that week after week. As if Paula already knows the answer to tonight’s eliminated Idol. Either coincidence or planned outcome, we prime Bo for a trip back to the couches and another week or extra crispy southern fried rock. The lights dim and Seacrest gets all serious with the results in his hand.

It is a couple of seconds before I realize that Seacrest has said Nadia’s name. I am sort of ahead of the show in my mind already picturing what the post elimination video for Nadia is going to be like. I have told many people when asked about this season, that I am not wrapped up in a commitment to any Idol, no strong emotional attachment to anyone in particular. I love to feed off the false importance of an Idol I will never buy a concert ticket to see or purchase a CD from. But with all that being said, Nadia is different. She didn’t seem to belong in the bottom three because she didn’t seem to belong on this show at all. To me, the show was in a way beneath her (not her words of course). Nadia had her own thing going and because she is who she is, I am sure that she will become something better than a Ruben or Fantasia in her own right. Any girl who uses American Idol as an opportunity to wear a Mohawk is righteous in my book! Nadia is my American Idol!

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