We are greeted tonight by Ryan standing next to a woman so desperate for attention that she wears a candy apple red dress and sits under a spotlight creating this ginormous beam of energy, resembling a pitcher of Kool-Aid as-still-life. She has her head cocked ever-so to the side effectively making herself the new poster gal for Glamour Shots. The best part is her exact resemblance to Mary Jo Catlett's character from Serial Mom, Rosemary Ackerman. "My Faberge Eeeeeeggs!"
It was foretold last week that tonight would be Elvis week, or the songs of Elvis Presley, to be exact. Or as I like to call it....Elvis week! You could have called it Kitsch-O-Rama week more appropriately. This episode has the makings of a very disturbing profile on one of the most messed up families in Rock n' Roll...now that Michael Jackson is out of the country. And wouldn't you know that somehow even that still makes sense in this wonderful freak show as well. Greeting the kids at the door to Graceland is plastic surgery disaster Priscilla Presley (now apparently a 13 year old) and Tommy Mattola. Tommy Mattola! The decision to have an Elvis night makes me want to declare two statements. One gut feeling and one blanket statement. First, from the glutes, I feel that it's genius to have a King of Pop night...why now after 5 years?! Secondly (the blanket statement), every single one of these performances have the potential to get Simon's "it sounds as though I'm in a bar watching a horrible karaoke performance" comment. Let me explain: With a person as iconic and influential as Elvis Presley, his songs have transcended the conventional pop song category and have been placed on a very high pedestal. It's as if when you hear a song like "Hound Dog" you are almost listening to the national Anthem. It has been around and popular for so long that anyone else's voice singing it, just sounds like karaoke...literally. This is unless of course there are some pretty tricky arrangements going to be made and I'm sure that with the Presley Estate's people involved, that is as likely as Katharine McPhee winning this thing. (Oh yes, people....I did).
Like a poetry reading reality show where someone tackles Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," Taylor almost amusingly picks "Jailhouse Rock" to start with. There is a sign in the audience that is way too ugly to live but says "Taylor Hicks: taking over where Elvis left off"...with Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches one presumes. Randy and Paula love the energetic performance, the vocal however is just under greatness. Simon doesn't like it at all. He says (dare I?) that it is like karaoke!!!! His next song for the evening is "In The Ghetto." Can I tell you, I'm so excited! This is like the first goth song ever!!! Not that I'm into goth (nor should one be so enthusiastic about it...it is so not scene) but this is definitely a depressing song about crack babies and whatnot. Randy and Paula say yeah for this fer real ghetto performance. Simon thinks that he has sung his way into the semi-finals by saying "I think you've just sung your way into the semi-finals."
There is some disparaging news about people sending our friend Chris perfume so that they will "know what he smells like" (shudder) and an unprovoked comment sure to make the cat ladies over on chrisdaughtryfans.com light up the message board basically answering the age old question of "boxers or briefs?" Pssst, the answer is...boxer briefs. Up for actress of the year is Ryan Secrets who pops up from his seat "shocked" and "disgusted" as if he has just found his deepest thoughts about this issue somehow broadcast over live TV. "Gasp! Was that my outside voice?" Please Ryan Secrets, don't act like you haven't already thought about this...a million times! Except I am guessing he was hoping for Chris to say "au natural." All of this sidetracking to get to "Suspicious Minds" which is one of my fav Elvis songs next to "Viva Las Vegas" which is so decadently Elvis and pretty much about hookers and gambling. Almost bypassing the karaoke curse, this is clearly the best performance of the night. Paula shakes up the competition by saying that she loves it. Way to go Paula. The next song Chris sings is "A Little Less Conversation." You may have heard this one lately...everywhere!!! But all I can think of is Danny Ocean trying to think of how he is going to convince a little Chinese guy into a room service cart. This song is such a funky and fun song that it transcends all the other what I would call musty-but-revered Elvis songs, although it's from his fat period. I do however prefer the current Junkie XL version. If you've been lost during the last half of Chris's recap at anytime, I apologize. A little less conversation then?
It looks bad for Elliott. His choice of "If I Can Dream" does not get a great endorsement from Tommy Mattola who says grimly that "he's really going to have to pull this off." Great! Elliott basically writes us a dear John letter at the start of the song, you can see it in his eyes. He is very shaky and nervous when the first few notes go south. "Dear Skinny Tiedol, this is hard to say in a letter..." Suddenly Elliott gets a second wind and creates a very rich and textured performance from what little crap he had to start with. The cameras catch a live mic'd Paula talking to the audience, "it's his best" she says. Who are you talking to Paula?! Randy ignores the beginning of the song and says it was hot. Paula tells us again what we already know. It was his best performance so far all season. Hey! Do we have ESP (Extra Sensory Paula)? Simon thinks it is the best performance so far also. Up next is "Trouble." Speaking of trouble, I can't seem to stop wondering why they let the big video screen remain damaged through his entire performance. It's true, look at the bottom left corner. Also, the back-up singer in the middle (the one whose puppies are always giving her "trouble") is dressed like Daisy Mae from Li'l Abner. THEN, as they show Elliott's mom, the camera man hits someone or something as he backs up making the camera shake and this "thud" sound. It's so randomly hilarious that I had to You Tube it for you.
Randy and Paula choose now to make Elliott a star by giving him his best review all season. Simon predicts that he is still in the show after tomorrow. Sadly, America is stoopid.
Anyone got the McPheever? Noooo? Whaaaa? Come one!! She's going to be doing "Hound Dog" and a remix version at that apparently. Is that allowed? Why is she doing this? I don't get it. It must be the McPheeeever talking. It makes you do crazy things. Her performance is akin to a little girl up in her bedroom in her sock feet singing in front of a mirror. It was only meant for her one-eyed Cookie Monster plush to hear. Poor thing. Instead of this being a seamless mix of both "Hound Dog" and "All Shook Up," it was disjointed and basically just snippets of two different songs. There was a beginning, middle and then end...nothing amazing. DVR moment though when she awkwardly (too awkward for my taste) like, touches the front of her pants during the lyric "fuzzy tree." I have never been able to understand that part in the song either. It just makes me feel weird. It's like that strange neighbor who tells the same story every time you see him about his "boys" and you just smile nervously like you understand and go on even though you know that he has no children. Randy tells us that she forgot lyrics which I didn't even realize because I couldn't care less. Thanks Randy. Paula is glad she worked on her choreography. Simon equates it to someone auditioning for a Broadway show...like Urinetown? Katharine's final song is "Can't Help Falling In Love" which is what she needs now, a slow song. A really slooooow song to win us over. Maybe someone out there will take pity on her for being the lone female. I guess it depends on how many times they show her daddy crying during this number. Which oddly they don't. Okay, I just realized that she spells her name Katharine, with an "a" instead of an "e." Ooooops, my bad. Kind of like this performance. Randy thinks she ran out of air at the end. Randy, do you mean right now, this season or just at the end of the song? Help me out here! Paula says she likes her dancing. Huh? Seriously Paula..even for you,...Simon analogizes apple pie somehow.
The King is still dead. Katharine tries to decide whether to sing "Hound Shook Up" or "Can't Help Falling In Love" tomorrow.