American Idol: Semi-Finals.1: The Fix is On

Are you excited, people? Are you just about ready to burst? Couldn’t you just die, writhing with anticipation as 12 of the Top 36 take the stage tonight to actually sing? To frickin’ compete? And does it really matter that we don’t know who half of them are? And do you really care that the judges want Danny Gokey to win, anyway? I mean, really, who’s kidding who? Or whom? Which is it? This is American Idol. I’ve always thought a good lashing with a buggy whip would benefit you immensely.

Ryan is dressed like Mr. Rogers tonight. It’s always a beautiful day in that bitch’s neighborhood. He throws us ten more handfuls of new information about how this game is played. Twelve people sing tonight. America votes. The highest vote-getting guy and girl move forward, along with a third party — the one person who comes in next-highest. This goes on for three weeks. Or maybe four. And then there’s a “Wild Card” round, which I’ll watch from the nuthouse, thanks to the nervous breakdown this show is sure to induce. Every week, we watch the game. Every week, the game is about to begin. Every week is the most important week yet. Or rather, yet!! Watching American Idol is like being eaten by piranhas, except the piranhas have hypnotic eyes, so the whole time, you’re like “Oh, what pretty fishies!” Then you realize that you have stumps for legs.

The judges are present, and have little to offer tonight except to tell people to “bring it,” that they were “horrible,” or that they “worked it out, dawg.” I’m not dealing with them much at all. The only judge around here that counts is me.

Jackie Tohn sings first. Remember when she auditioned and seemed really drunk? Then we went shopping at KMart afterwards and Jackie wandered off who-knows-where, but Lisa Poncherelli found her asleep in the dressing room, so we, like, carried Jackie out of the store, but then all the alarms went off, and security came, and they were like, “That drunk girl shoplifted!” and we were like, “Oh, shit!” And then they tried to search Jackie and she farted, like, loud, and Marco DePolo, who we all called Make-Me Do-Poo-Poo fell over from laughing so hard and security thought he was Special Needs? And then when they searched Jackie, they found out that she instead of shoplifting, she had just pocketed, like five dozen of those alarm-tag thingies, for like, a joke, except that she fell asleep and forgot about them? And she was all, “Who put these sticks in my bra?!” And then Marco fell down a second time, and the fat guard was like, “The retarded kid fell over again!” And Jackie tripped over Marco, on purpose, and security tripped over Jackie, and we all ran out and went to DiMeglio’s for pizza, and Jackie paid because she was good like that? Remember?

Okay, in reality, Jackie sings some Elvis, and people, it’s like that time at KMart. She’s all twitchy and making the Seven Faces of Epilepsy, singing like she’s holding a hairbrush instead of a microphone. The singing is more like “Ughhh-ghh-gggh!” but with actual words. Also, she’s wearing Oliva Newton-John’s pants from Grease. With hi-top sneakers.

Ricky Braddy was barely seen before tonight, but I can tell you that they ruined him. He had this whole bespectacled homo-geek thing happening, but they took away his glasses and waxed his eyebrows, and now he’s wearing a wedding ring, so even the homo thing is gone, if it was ever there in the first place. Still, he’s wearing Shirley Partridge’s jacket, so that’s something. The world needs more velour.

Braddy sings “A Song for You” by Leon Russell (or Carpenters). It’s all ballady-ballad slow. The vocals are quite good, especially in light of what’s yet to come, but generally, I’m not engaged. He should have picked a better song, one that would’ve made him endearing and unforgettable. Not that it would matter. He’ll be up against Danny Gokey and Oil Rig Guy tonight. The fix is on and there’s no room for him.

Alexis Smith is all, “I love my daughter, blah, blah.” We’re “reminded” how she arrived at auditions looking like a house frau. Since then, she left her baby on the bus while she got a makeover. Added some pink to her blonde hair. Got some nice new clothes. The baby is probably shitting in a diaper made from the Sunday funnies, but it’s all good. Alexis is on TV! She sings Aretha’s “I Never Loved a Man” wearing — no lie — a black slip, a string of pearls, and some hooker shoes. Objectively, I guess she’s pretty good. I just don’t like her. I just get this awful self-involved vibe about Alexis, and I can’t shake it off. The judges gush over her. Ech.

Brent Keith, the Spencer Pratt guy, has been on the show since forever, but I think this is the first time we hear him sing. Turns out he’s a country fellow. And he has a wife. Those are the only colors in his rainbow. Unless you want to count “hot” as a color. He sings a song called “Hicktown.” Classy. Was “Jewville” unavailable? Brent’s vocals are fine, occasionally shaky, but ultimately mediocre. He makes Ace Young’s Gestures of Sincerity. Nobody will be talking about this tomorrow. Brent should do gay porn. He’d be awesome. Anyway, he’s of the same vocal value as Oil Rig Guy, who the show loves — and who we’ve seen almost daily — so bye-bye Brent Keith.

Stevie Wright…have we ever seen her before late-Hollywood? I have no idea. She reminds me of Andie McPhee off Dawson’s Creek. Stevie sings some upbeat Taylor Swift song from the Miley Cyrus department of Hilary Duff pop. Ooo-eee, this is not sexy. It’s pitchy. No. It’s the big, hairy grandfather of pitchy, hungry for pancakes and puppies. Stevie is all smiles, though, as she does her best Tiffany mall-dance. All the keys of the song flee the stage so fast that she can’t catch them. Awful. And awww…

Dudes! There’s Neil Patrick Harris and Ted Danson sitting in the audience. (And it’s really them, not like that time I thought I saw Bonnie Hunt sitting behind Danny Gokey, which, it was totally her, so shut up.) All we need is for Kirk Cameron to take a seat beside them so a time vortex can open up to suck us back to 1989.

Anoop Desai is the king of this show. Period, end of story, cased closed. He showed up at auditions, all Big Bang geeky, sang wonderfully and without a sob story, and made it all the way to these here semi-finals, where he sings…huh? What the hell is “Angel of Mine” by Monica? I’m told it’s some old R&B thing. Why doesn’t anybody on this show sing some Winger, huh? Maybe a little Warrant? There were other songs in the past. I have heard them. Anoop sounds good but the song is boring with a capital Zzzzzz. The judges…well, Paula, at least…say he’s popular, so maybe he can take the third slot. Maybe.

Casey Carlson has a giant head and should really eat a sandwich before her body collapses under the weight of that giant head. She’s very plastic, this one. I bet her joints crack like a Barbie. Maybe it’s just rickets. For some random reason, she sings “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police. For some other random reason, she makes some really gross faces, including the “come hither” look of a 67-year-old toothless prostitute. There’s some nasty winking, too. And some jacked-up body language, like she’s a Transformer who can’t transform all the way into its intended form of a vibrator. The judges, essentially, are like, “You’re a shameful abomination.” Casey pouts the whole time. She’ll be gone tomorrow.

Michael Sarver, Oil Rig Guy is next. You know the drill, no pun intended. (Okay, maybe pun intended.) Working class, risky job, family man, American values. He sings Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be Anything,” made famous by the more-better ex-Idoleer Bo Bice. I don’t think he’s that great, but I suppose he has a certain charm. He’s good enough — familiar enough — that Brent Keith is packing up his paper clips, his stapler, and his Ryan Seacrest bobblehead for the long walk home.

Ann Marie Boskovich, who I always forget exists, is the girl who auditioned looking normal, and Randy was all, “Tart it up so I can masturbate later!” And Simon was like, “I second that motion. Wear something low cut. Boobies!” So Ann Marie went to hair and makeup and somehow that made her a better singer. Then she was forgettable and super-King-Kamehameha boring for weeks and weeks. Now she’s here, singing “Natural Woman,” looking classy and sounding pretty good. Better than most of the other schlubs. She’s actually performing the song instead of just doing karaoke. Good on her. The judges think Ann Marie is a disappointment to the human race.

Commercials. God, I hope Wolverine doesn’t suck. Most importantly, please let it jibe with the other X-movies, especially since Cyclops and Sabretooth are in it. And holy shit, was that Emma Frost?!? I think I just came a little.

Stephen Fowler forgot his lyrics in Hollywood, breaking the established rules, but whatever. Stick the rules in your little brown eye, says Idol. He’s up in here, singing “Rock With You” by the gloved child molester. No, not Freddy Kruger. The other one. Allegedly. I don’t mind the performance. Stephen appears to be having fun, at least. And his vocals aren’t a Stevie Wright apocalypse. The judges are like, “How dare you sing this Michael Jackson song we put in our pre-approved song list,” and “Nobody sings Michael but Michael!” and “You were better when you forgot the lyrics!”

Tatiana Del Toro has been a wonderland of crazy these past weeks. There’s not much more to say about her, except that tonight she’s on her meds. It’s a very subdued Tatiana that sings Whitney’s “Saving All My Love.” She doesn’t sound bad. There’s a tone to her voice that I don’t find enjoyable, personally, and her lower register is shit, but this performance could keep her alive. I mean, what are our options? The judges are more concerned about Tatiana’s lack of Fruit Loops than her actual singing. They want more of the crazy, so they can then attack her for being crazy.

Danny Gokey. Wife still dead. He sings Mariah’s “Hero,” which is a little yucky. I mean the vocals are as solid as ever, but will Danny ever stop trying to be An Inspiration to Us All? Till now, it’s been the show’s push, but now Danny is going there himself, via song choice. I want to like him, and I have no reason not to, but he needs to dial it down or America will obliterate him. Great performance, anyway. Strong ending to a generally crappy evening.

So who lives?

Danny Gokey is staying. Oil Rig Sarver will be the second-highest vote-getter, and he’ll stay (although I want Anoop to make it so badly that I’m going cross-eyed). The girl…the girl is trickier. In a sea of bad and boring, Tatiana could survive. But Alexis Smith has the judges support and pink hair. America likes pink. It’s a crapshoot, but I think Alexis is our girl.

Tomorrow: results!


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