American Idol: Throne Under the Bus

After many weeks of singing in a desperate struggle for success and acceptance, it all comes down to this: the chance to sing in a desperate struggle for success and acceptance for many weeks. I thought it was just goldfish that did the same thing over and over because of their short memories and low intelligence. This, however, is American Idol. And knowing is half the battle.

Hollywood Week is over, and Ryan says that “today is the only day that matters.” To clarify, that means Nate Marshall could have shoved a live ferret up his ass while doing the hokey-pokey in Hollywood, because today is the only day that matters. Capice?

Things are different this year. Here’s how it works: The contestants wait in a holding area of a fancy-pants mansion. One at a time, they’re summoned down a long hall to a room where the judges sit on thrones like Queens of Narnia pretending to be Alexis Colby. Once there, the contestants are told if they’re staying or going — except in certain cases when the judges “can’t decide” who to keep. Should that happen, each of the two contestants will “sing for their survival.” Only one sap will move forward. The other, based on how the show behaves, apparently gets sent to die in the gas chamber. This happens until there are 36 people left. Next week, the show will find a new way to torture them.

Anoop Desai, my Big Bang Theory brainiac, is up first. He’s safe.

Von Smith, the Judy Garland boy who the show has all but abandoned, goes upstairs and explains how he was trained to sing like a big nellie rainbow, but then the judges yelled at him, so he sung some Stevie Wonder like a real boy — even though his parents would be disappointed by his frantic attempt at masculinity. It worked, though. He’s safe.

Cody Sheldon first (and last) aired during the Phoenix auditions. He was the wee Goth who liked to make horror movies and wax his eyebrows to a distracting degree. There’s also some eyeliner action happening. And eye shadow. And blue contact lenses. From the neck up, he’s Miley Cyrus. The judges make him sing for his life. Performing some Gavin Rossdale song I’ve never heard, his voice is weak and wavers all of the place. Nerves, maybe. Shite, definitely. Simon tells him to go outside and wait.

Alex the Wiseass Nerd is summoned to the judge’s room. He passes Cody in the hall and they realize what’s happening. Alex looks like he’s going in there to get a beating. The judges are like, “Sing, monkey, sing!” Alex performs and he sounds really good. Better than Cody, for damn sure, although he makes faces like a stroke victim.

The judges deliberate. Kara says, “But the face and the whole thing goin’ on, it’s strange.” That could apply to either guy. The boys return. Cody is cut. Alex lives!

Adam Lambert, a.k.a. Pretty Goth, who isn’t so pretty in hi-definition, for damn sure, sings like a hot tranny mess, but the judges like him. He’s safe.

Taylor Vaifanua had a great look when she auditioned in Salt Lake City. She’s since had a makeover and is unrecognizable. Again, I have to ask these people to stay away from the beauty parlor. You’re not helping me to remember you and you’re coming out funny-looking. Whatever, she’s safe, but she’s going to have to work on getting noticed or she’ll go home soon as people can vote.

In rapid succession, we’re told that Jasmine Murray (Mo’nique) is safe, along with some baby-faced girl named Arianna Afsar, and Casey Carlson, who looks like she’s modeled herself after Jessica Lange as the Bride of Kong. Also staying are Megan Corkrey, vaguely familiar, Mishovanna Henson, who we either met weeks ago or just last night, depending on who ask, and Stevie Wright, ditto.

Joanna Pacitti is a plant and ringer. A plinger. She had this A&M contract, which she lost…somehow. She was also on Broadway in Annie, and got fired…for some reason. That says something. If I were a judge (but not Randy, because I’d never be that useless), I’d be afraid to commit to her. We see “flashbacks” from Hollywood, where she forgets her lyrics during Group Day. Later, she goes blank during a solo performance, choosing to “disguise” this problem by shoving the microphone up in her tonsils and “na-blah-nah-ing” into it. Sure, that’ll fool everyone, Pacitti. Bah. Anybody remember Simon’s rule? “Forget the words, you’re out.” That should be amended to: “Forget the words, you’re out. Unless we’re setting you up to move further through the competition because we want you in the Top 12 and, possibly, to win, because you’re pretty in that ‘closing time’ sort of way and while you may not be inherently entertaining, you’re vapid enough that the voting public will cling to you and maybe we can get you a cameo appearance on 90210.” Joanna is safe.*

Three guys we’ve never seen before get eliminated. A tall one, a short one, and one with a rat-face.

Kendall Beard, the perky blonde we first met last night is safe and I really don’t care.

In American Idol: The Lost Tales, pretty Jenn Korbee and her husband auditioned in New York and got put through to Hollywood, where they hoped to become the first Idol Marrieds. But after making it through Group Round, he was cut. Now she’s come to face the judges, who want her to sing! Sing! So she does, and she’s okay. Decent vocals, a little melodramatic in execution.

Kristen McNamara, best known as Blondie Blonde from Group Round, was in the middle of a lot of Hollywood drama. Crying, arguing, a happy little “fuck you” from Fierce Girl. Stuff like that. The judges want her to sing, too. She does some Dolly. Nice voice, good control. Kristen steps out.

The judges deliberate. Simon wants Jenn, because she’s pretty. He doesn’t want Kristen because she’s apparently a Morlock. Kara and Paula want the one who can sing. Randy is counting his feet. “One…one…wait! One…three…wait!”

Jenn and Kristen return. Jenn is eliminated, Kristen is safe. Paula attacks Kristen’s outfit. Paula, who is wearing a halter dress that makes her tits look like bags of fertilizer. Simon let’s it be known that the wrong choice was made. “It was absolutely the wrong decision,” he gripes. Simon hates losing his eye candy.

Alexis Grace is “torn between spending time with her young daughter and the opportunity of a lifetime.” Whatever. Don’t cry to me about how much you love your kid when you’re here on Reality TV instead of, ya know, working. Alexis is safe. The baby can stay in storage for a few months, it’s all good.

Scott McIntyre is still blind and still somewhat wonderful. He’s safe. Fingers crossed, he’ll make it into the Top 12 so we can see him do the group-sing choreography and make sport of his personal tragedy.

Lil Rounds has three kids and no house (because a tornado ate it), but her husband watches the kids while she’s here. See how easy that is, Alexis? Lil Rounds is so in.

This girl, Felicia Barton, gets cut.** This other girl, Ashley Hollister, also did not make it. This third girl, Devon Baldwin, gets the heave-ho.

As we hack and slash through the mothers of this competition, mom Frankie Jordan takes her turn. She has no real presence, and when she sings for her survival, she panics. Her vocals are uneven and off-pitch (and snoozy).

Jesse Langseth auditioned, they say, in Kansas City. And word is, she did well in Hollywood. But who is she? Who knows? She sings for her survival, too. The sounds she’s making are somewhat appealing, but I can’t understand a word coming out of her face. It’s all word-mush. But “somewhat appealing” is better than “snoozy.” Jesse is in, Frankie is out.

Commercial. I’m looking forward to watching Dollhouse, but I really wish it was about people who were shrunk down to live inside an actual dollhouse, instead of whatever the frick it actually is about. Because a show about tiny people living with toy furniture would be enjoyable to me.

Shera Lawrence and Derik Lavers, whoever they are, get sent home.

Allison Iraheta is another random individual who means nothing to me. She’s safe, but say her name three times and, poof, she’ll vanish.

Danny Gokey (Dead Wife) and Jamar Rogers are best friends. Still. Danny has aced every round, so there’s no doubt he’s staying. The judges confirm this. Danny is staying.

Jamar goes in. Friendly, talented, stylish Jamar. Friend of Danny. Pal of Danny. He’s safe, right? No. The judges slit his throat on national television. Okay, they just send him home, but really…given some of the people who we’ll soon find out are staying, they’re cutting Jamar? Tools.

Staying: Ricky Braddy, a never-before-seen hot geek, Matt Giraud, the dueling pianist, Ju’not Joyner, introduced last night, Jorge Nunez, a.k.a Menudo Wig, and Brent Keith, the Spencer Pratt guy. Expect all to quickly fall through the cracks.

Stephen Fowler fouled up his lyrics in Hollywood and walked off the stage, all mopey. Yet he’s still here. Yet he’s staying here. Apparently, the main rule of this game is: The rules mean nothing.

Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle/Disco Assclown is pretty sedate for judging. Almost normal. Paula doesn’t want him to “change it up.” Kara misses “the schtick.” Nick says that his dream is to “do the character” when he performs, and Paula says, “That is what we all are looking for,” and they put him through. Is there a scientific term for when the rectum of the universe turns inside out? Because that’s what’s happening here. Tomorrow it will rain monkeys and oak tress will write poetry. “Do the character.” Do my nuts. Jamar went home for this idiot.

Jackie Tohn, Jackie Tohn…barely a word I’ve written about her has been true. But oh my God, do you guys remember that time we took a field trip to the Bronx Zoo, and Jackie wasn’t supposed to come but she stowed away on the bus by hiding under Fat Ruthy’s coat, even though it smelled like GAPO, and then Jackie got into the ostrich pen and Ben Hogan took that photo of her riding the ostrich with a bottle of Rolling Rock in her hand, and then we put it in the yearbook because Jackie was such a panic?!  Jackie is safe.

Tatiana Del Toro. The minute she enters judging, she’s howling. Simon says, “Just try, for once, not to be annoying.” Because he, like me, hates her like poison. Tatiana is wearing a piece of Paula’s jewelry, a ginormous, star-shaped bracelet that looks like something you get out of one of those machines with the grappling hook. You know those machines? There’s some retardation about how Tatiana doesn’t have the matching ring, so Paula, who has crates of this shit at home, just gives her one off her own finger. Maybe it’s a consolation prize? Maybe she’s going home? Maybe I’m on crack, because Tatiana is fucking staying. See? The rectum of the universe…

Nathaniel Marshall, a.k.a. Gay Jughead, has apparently broken into his mother’s stash of Lady Clairol Sunshine Blonde, because there is some mad artificial color happening up on that head. He’s wearing tight red pants and a snug t-shirt which he should really reconsider if he’s not planning on visiting a gym in the near future. Plus, the usual hairband and dopey piercings. We get a sob story now (why now?) about how his mom is in prison and his life is a misery, and you know, that’s terrible, but the boy needs to act right. Honestly, I’d feel better about him if he wore a dress. Then I’d be all about supporting the trans-kid. A skirt, I think, would somehow make him less of a freak. Because part of me actually wants to like Nathaniel. He’s talented and funny, in a way, but he’s just so hard to take. Whatever. He gets into a sing-for-survivial thing against some big guy we’ve never seen before and never will again. Nate is staying.

Other citizens are forwarded through to the Semi-Finals. Jeanine Vailes, who we’ve never heard sing a note. Kai Kalama, who has the sick mother. Anne Marie Bocovich, who, if being forgettable was a skill, could teach a class on the subject. And Kris Allen, who I think might look good naked.

There are only two contestants left.

First is Matt Breitzke, who we met many moons ago. Bald fellow, family man. Sort of a tough-looking, leather daddy-type. The judges make him sing, and I’m reminded that he has a moderately appealing voice, despite his gruff appearance.

Second is Michael Sarver, Oil Rig Guy. He’s had plenty of play through these early rounds, which almost guarantees him votes, come Semi-Finals. He sings, and although he makes me uncomfortable in that “Red State” way, his voice is much more appealing than Matt’s.

The judges announce their decision. Who stays? Both stay! Suck it, America.

And with that, we have our Top 36. For the next three weeks, they’ll perform in batches of 12. We vote. (Or you vote, because I’m only getting involved if Anoop needs me.) Four will survive each week until we have a Final 12. And then…more of the same. So why do we care about the Top 36 again?


*This just in: Joanna Pacitti is out! Disqualified for having personal relationships with two execs at 19 Entertainment, which produces the show. Sweet!

**Joanna has been replaced by Felicia Barton, who we’ve seen for all of three seconds, lo these many weeks.

Back to the season guide.


    1. I understand it’s “just a dumb reality show,” but I hate being lied to, and when Simon says, “If you forget the words, you’re out,” and then proceeds to promote people who forgot their lyrics into the top 36…I want to break things. Not *my* things…but things.

      (And since when do bathroom BJs count as “personal relationships”?)


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