Earthquake. The Towering Inferno. The Poseidon Adventure. 2012. Showgirls. Tonight disaster takes a new form, as Our Dear Show hits rock bottom (again). If you thought things couldn’t get any worse, you were wrong. Taylor Hicks? He was a blessing. Chris Sligh? A superstar. Comparatively, I mean. I haven’t lost my mind. This is American Idol. “Someone get me a fucking wiener before I die.”
Everyone huddles backstage waiting for the show to start. The Idols look like they’re ready for a death march. The judges are in the thick of a group hug. Or maybe Randy died and they’re trying to Weekend at Bernie’s him. Ryan encourages Simon and Ellen to make out, so Cowell kisses her. Hey, she’s kissed Anne Heche. This is nothing.
Tonight’s theme is R&B/Soul/songs I don’t care about. Thanks, Idol! Our mentor-of-the-week is Usher. He’s famous for that time they covered “Confessions II” on Glee, as part of a mash-up with “Livin’ on a Prayer.” I’m sure he’s recorded other songs, too, and he seems to be a dancer of some kind, like Timberlake. I’m sure someone watching, somewhere in America, is thrilled to see him.
Siobhan Magnus is told by Usher that she shouldn’t dress so flashy and weird because it distracts the audience from her vocals. Then Usher jumps in a TARDIS, goes back to 1983, and after giving the same advice to Cyndi Lauper, erases her career entirely. Shut up, Usher. Siobhan sings Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” as if her interpretation were literal. The quiet parts are shaky, and the louder parts are just a shrieking mess, like her fanny is aflame. Not good for her, and the judges tell her so.
Casey Jones? James? Who the fuck knows. He’s singing “Hold On I’m A-Coming” by Sam and Dave. You’d know it if you heard it. Usher says he’d keep his eye on Casey, winner or not. So would Kara. And Ryan. The performance is lively. Casey’s voice is strong, he’s confident, and is obviously having a good time. This is loads better than previous weeks, but the judges are lukewarm. Even Kara criticizes her boy-toy — but I think that’s because she’d rather avoid the lead role in Corey Clark II: Mother May I Sleep With Casey? Simon was pleased, and is like, “Ignore the other dumb bitches on this panel.”
Big Mike is going to play guitar while singing, and Usher wants him connect with the audience. “Play to the back row.” So Mike, singing “Ready for Love,” has positioned himself behind the judges — with his back to them — so he can literally play to the back row. Fuck the front row. They’re twats. Vocally, he’s fine. But the song is soooo long and boring, you could digest three meals waiting for it to end. The judges are happy, and Simon says that despite the song being gloomy, Big Mike was original and “had a moment.” I had a moment, too. Of sanity, when I considered not watching this crappy show. But here I am…
Didi Benami, while rehearsing “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted,” starts blubbering all over Usher. Don’t leak on the guests, Didi! Apparently this song gets to her, but I suppose it’s better than crying over “Who Let the Dogs Out.” Poor Didi. This is another ambitious performance that fails to play out as she hoped. Her vocals are flat, and the song, at various points, feels likes it’s both dragging and rushed. Worse, overall, it comes off as angry. Fair play to Didi. I’d sing angrily, too, if the judges told me how much I suck every week. As they do tonight. Bottom 3 tomorrow, watch and see.
Tim Urban should stop singing and just be Ryan Seacrest’s sidekick. The two of them are adorable together in their little jackets and ties. They just need utility belts and a secret headquarters. Besides, it’s past time this show found a replacement for Dunkleman. Tim will be singing Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love,” and Usher wants Tim to sing to him (Usher) like he’s the woman he (Tim) loves. Or something. It’s far less creepy than that time Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted David Cook to pinch his nipples in the name of romance. The performance…well, it’s not good. But it’s not bad, either. Tim stares longingly into the camera like a little puppy dog that needs a home, distracting from the somewhat flat, occasionally off-key vocals, but aw….those eyes! The voice is pitchy, but…swoooon. Is this how Frank Sinatra got famous in the olden tymes? Because that dude couldn’t sing a note, but the ladies bought his records. Randy wished Tim had “put a little grease on it.” Yeah, Tim. You do that. Then I’ll tell you what to do next.
Andrew Garcia is singing Chris Brown’s “Forever.” He will conclude the performance by beating up Rihanna. He’s going the acoustic route again, in his never-ending quest to recreate the glory of his “Straight Up” performance during Hollywood Week. Vocally, this is probably the best he’s been since then. He’s still a dullard, mind you. And it suddenly occurs to me that Andrew looks like a female-to-male transsexual. That’s not a dig at FTMs. They’re lovely people. I’m just painting a picture of Andrew for those unable to see his lady-man visage. I’m a giver like that. The judges are like, “Good, but…meh.”
Katie Stevens is…still on this show? Are you fucking kidding me? She sings “Chain of Fools,” violating the very laws of nature with that drowning gurgle she calls a singing voice. Absolutely, positively no. Not on my watch.
Dweezil is singing “Treat Her Like a Lady.” That is, when he’s not melting into mush in the presence of Usher. Really, Dweezil? It’s Usher, not Prince. And even then. The performance is okay. Solid. Dweezil has talent, but this isn’t his genre, and despite the guitar he’s playing, and his effort to put a “rock” spin on the song, it mostly plays as a bland cover. If this were a bar, and if Dweezil were singing live, you’d have no problem wandering off to pee at this point. Maybe you can still hear him from the can, and that’s fine, but he doesn’t demand your complete attention. Get me? Simon, however, says that this “may be the night (Dweezil’s) life changes forever.”
Crystal Bowersox is singing “Midnight Train to Georgia,” a song which will forever remind me of General Hospital‘s Nurse’s Ball. Remember when Lucky was little and Luke was a human being? Good times… Anyway, Crystal is gonna rock this thing out — on a piano? Yep. But only for the first few minutes, then she’s gonna get up and kick its ass, sans instrument, which she does with ease and class. Then Simon is like, “Don’t let this competition turn you into something you’re not.” And Crystal is like, “It’s all good, I just wanted to wear a dress.” And then Simon is like, “We totally understand each other, girlfriend.” And Crystal is all, “For really’s, hun. You be sweet!”
Aaron Kelly will take on “Ain’t No Sunshine When He’s Gone.” Specifically, he’ll be singing the “I know, I know, I know” part for two-and-a-half minutes. Usher thinks it’s the most important part of the song, probably because it’s the part with the least words. Aaron is okay. Bland, but he’s trying. It’s nice of them to let him close out the show, but he’s not exactly flooring the audience here. I sort of look at Aaron as a work-in-progress. Six years from now, he’ll be hosting a travel show on the Logo network and he’ll be absolutely fabulous. The judges generally liked it, but it’s more that they like Aaron and don’t want to hurt his wee feelings, and everybody knows he won’t win, anyway. But he still should get all teh hugz.
Oh! It’s over! That’s my favorite part of every episode this season. Tomorrow, I think Didi will go home, because Katie leaving is too much to hope for. See you in 24…