"Paula Abdul has made it," says Ryan Toothpaste, I guess admitting that given her heavy drinking, there's always a risk that she'll just turn up in a culvert somewhere. (Speaking of which, what happens if you're an Idol contestant and you get a cold? Has that ever happened? Because, I mean, the show is on for like 15 weeks. I wonder if they're all just mainlining vitamin C and chicken soup.) Let's get goin' with the gals…
JORDIN: You have to kinda suck to sing a Pat Benetar song. You have to suck in that special way that only horsed-up white girls like Pat Benetar can suck. Like, if Haley had sung this song? She'da ripped it up. As horrifying as this to say, I think Jordin is actually too good for this song. So, overall, eh. (To my lack of surprise, I agree with Simon on this one. And yeah, it's not like Jordin is gonna get booted or anything.)
SABRINA: If I were a horribly boorish person, I would say that Sabrina has had some sort of mulatto Barbra Streisand makeover. But I am a good and decent person, and it was the dog who told me to write that line, and also to shoot couples in cars. I don't know what this song is, but it's dull. Sabrina does a decent job with it, but the last note sounds super-sharp to me, and the whole thing is just workmanlike. (The judges seem to agree, with the exception of Paula the Nice Drunk, that Sabrina is strictly MOR.)
ANTONELLA: I was really, really hoping for a terrible performance from Antonella so we can finally get her off the show. And you know what? My hopey hope came super true! If Antonella wants the internet porn career, God bless and keep her, and let's get her there quickly so she can stop gunking up my Wednesday nights with this botched attempt at being soulful. Booooo, Antonella. Boooo. (If I was playing the drinking game where I take a shot every time Randy says 'pitchy', I would be dead by now. But yay, here comes Simon to behead Antonella with a machete.)
HALEY: I keep wanting to like Haley, because she's not really terrible, but Christ, is she boring. This is a boring song, she delivers it in a boring way, and she does it with a boring smile on her face that you see on every young woman in the San Antonio area who wants to sell you real estate or tell you about Jesus. There's no way she's gonna last long against this kind of competition. ("Pretty much in tune" is the best compliment that Randy can muster. Everyone is saying this is the kind of artist Haley is, which means she's got a great career ahead of her doing bad white church gospel.)
STEPHANIE: Man, who is doing Stephanie's wardrobe? She always looks terrific. It's kinda sad, though understandable, why Haley and Antonella kinda went apeshit at Simon for being so harsh on them, because here comes Stephanie three minutes later and demonstrates without a shadow of a doubt why they're gonna get booted. Honestly, this wasn't even Stephanie's best performance, and she still blew everyone else out of the water. (Drunk Paula gets in her one insightful comment of the night.)
LAKISHA: LaKisha got a badly needed image upgrade – the little black dress always looks good – but I actually think this was her weakest performance to date. Not bad, of course – she's terrific, with a powerhouse voice – but just sort of lacking in personality and flash. No way is she gonna get dumped, so she can afford an off night like this. This, I think, may be the first time since the giddyup that Stephanie outshone LaKisha. She's still gonna go far, though, and I'm sure that she'll blow me away next week. (The judges were a lot more impressed than I was. I am a bad predictor.)
GINA: I've kinda hated on Gina for a while now, but tonight, I thought she was pretty good. She picked a song that actually suits her vocal style quite well, flashed it up a big, and delivered big on energy, which is something she needed to do. I liked her a lot tonight. Unfortunately, it's not gonna be enough – she'll last into the dozens, but she just hasn't got the voice to compete with the Stephanie/LaKisha/Melinda bloc. (The judges pretty much agreed with me completely. I am a good predictor.)
MELINDA: They save the best for last here. Melinda is just far and away the best singer on the show – best voice, best delivery, best style, and best choice of material. I really can't see her not going down to the finals, and tonight's performance was just another layer on the cake. She actually brought some Mussel Shoals funkiness to the performance of what could have come off as a sorta hokey period piece. She's just terrific, that's all there is to it. (Simon actually likes Melinda. I be goddam if Simon isn't kinda rooting for her, the fucker.)
Incidentally, Yahoo! Music has an Idol contest going right now, featuring this graphic:
Yeah, boy, that's a real showdown, all right! Another question in the contest is this: "Best Idol Ever: Clay or Fantastia?" Gaaaaaaah. CLAY DIDN'T WIN YOU FUCKIN JACKASSES
So, again, my picks for tonight's relegation: Phil and Sundance are doomed, as are Haley and please, God, please, Antonella.
Man, Lost, way to pull me back in just when I was ready to quit. Bastards. You started out nice and weak, with another Hurley-teaches-everyone-to-laugh-again subplot and a go-nowhere flashback with Sayid (then again, when was the last time anyone gave a shit about a Lost flashback?), and I was all ready to make it my last episode, what with the shark in the rear view mirror and all. But no, you had to go and make the main story tense, suspenseful, exciting, and -- gasp! -- actually marginally relevant to the overall progress of the story! Thanks a lot, jerks. And here I thought I was gonna get an hour of my life back and cut down my weekly TV-watching from three shows down to one.