We're hitting the long, grueling Middle Passage of AI -- those weeks after the giddy, blood-crazed ritual of slicing off four contestants at a time, but before it gets down to the really talented people in the final rounds. So this means a lot of dross to fill the inordinate minutes between the tip-off and the weekly cut, including celebrity coaches a-go-go, as with this week's bad-toothy "British Invasion" theme.
Lulu is one of the celebrity coaches. Lulu, of course, is a former Eurovision song contest winner, which I mention only because I am just saying. Anyway, I like Lulu, which is more than I can say for the other celebrity coach, the extremely doughy Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits. Herman's Hermits, as you may remember, sucked a fat wad. Noone thinks "everybody's equal now as singers", which demonstrates that he isn't paying any attention whatsoever and just wandered in to pick up the first non-casino paycheck he's gotten since 1979. Also, Simon Cowell obviously loathes him; every time Noone's talking and they cut to Simon, he's got this death glare.
Anyway, my recap of this week's show won't be any more interesting than the show itself, but here goes:
HALEY: Randy exclaims: Haley's back in the competition! When was she ever in? This was sort of a last-ditch effort to stay alive since she's clearly the least talented of the remaining women, so she flashed it up, wore a naughty-girl outfit, and sang some girlsexy pop sauce. And it probably worked – as Simon sez, people are going to talk about her today, but it ain't gonna be because of her singing. It's probably enough; she'll survive on the strength of a bunch of dudes noticing that she's kinda hot when she doesn't wear many clothes.
THIN CHRIS: Chris says he wants to convince people that he can sing, which, I dunno, maybe six weeks into the competition is a little late for that. Nice mic feedback at the start of his performance – not his fault, but it's a bad sign. And sure enough, he seems a little bit off through the whole performance; thank goodness he didn't go for an really stripped-down acoustic accompaniment like it seemed he would do early on, because his voice just isn't strong enough to carry the shit. He says he wanted to show people he can do more than jump around and perform, but face it, dude: jumping around and performing is what you got instead of a good singing voice. Luckily, he's handsome and popular, and he'll survive a while.
STEPHANIE: Hey, a Dusty Springfield song! She's the greatest musician in rock and roll history, according to some fucked-up maniac who used to post on a music forum I frequented at the time. Anyway, Lulu says she's really focused, which is hard to deny: she's got an intensity this time out that she hasn't really had before. Also, crazy-looking boots. This is a good, not great, performance of a song I don't really care for. I have nothing much to say about this, I guess, because Stephanie seems like such a lock to get the to final four, I'm more looking forward to the fuckups than performances like this. Still, the judges thought she was pretty off, so what do I know? My recaps are worthless!
BLAKE: Oh, my goonies. This is the worst possible song that Blake could have sung. It's way, way, way out of his range, and doesn't fit his performance style at all. That is to say, it is not a song written for a jackass. It's not a completely horrid performance, or not as horrid as it should be, but it ain't good; he continues a tradition among the guys of getting outsung by his backup singers, and he slaughters the last note of the second chorus. He oughtta get eviscerated by the judges for this, but they like him! Why do they like him? There is nothing to like about this performance, even given that I have a soft spot for Blake. Maybe it's me. It's me, isn't it? Oh, God, I'm getting voted off tomorrow.
LAKISHA: Maaaaaan, the intro totally got my hopes up that she was gonna do Edmund Starr's "War", which believe you fucking me LaKisha would have belted so far outta the park that it would have landed in Siberia. But no, it's "Diamonds Are Forever", and, well, you know. It's LaKisha, so she hammers it. The song's a good mix of belting and cooing, and so she gets to show off a little. It's not her greatest performance, but it's still pretty damn good, and she beats the last notes down like they stole her car. She's got terrific phrasing, does LaKisha. Once again, the judges tell me I'm full of shit. But it's always hard to tell when they criticize LaKisha whether it's actual criticism of her performance or just the fact that they hold her to a much higher standard than they do anyone else except Melinda.
PHIL: Man, Phil, you blow. He gets overshadowed by his accompaniment, because he is a Max Schreck-lookin' geek instead of a rock singer. As horrified as I am to say this, I think Ace could have done a much better job on this song. He seemed to be enjoying himself, but musically and performance-wise he was really lost up there, flailin' around like he couldn't find his pills. I still can't predict what the judges are gonna like tonight, but at least Simon didn't like him. Way to suck up to the crowd there at the end, Phil, you sweaty dildo.
JORDIN: I agree with Lulu. Which is going to be my new catch-phrase, "I agree with Lulu", although I think it will only be useful in a very limited context, which is to say, when I'm watching this episode of American Idol. Anyway, this is a good song for Jordin to sing, is what I specifically agree with Lulu about, and I think Jordin pretty much nails it despite some Whitneyish vibrato at the end there, but Paula and Randy love that horseshit, so it probably worked in her favor. Best performance of the evening? Hell, no – Miss Melinda ain't sung yet.
SANJAYA: Ryan Toothpaste promises us that tonight will feature "the wild side of Sanjaya", which is a cruel lie, because Sanjaya has no wild side. This is like promising the audience the wild side of celery. Singing "You Really Got Me", a song designed for snarly rockers like a fierce Ray Davies or a swaggering David Lee Roth, just shows how utterly out of it this poor fucker is. This may…THIS MAY BE THE SINGLE WORST PERFORMANCE I HAVE EVER SEEN THIS LATE IN THE SEASON. Please get hit by a bus, Sanjaya, it will be better for everyone. I don't even know if the legions of teenyboppers and grandmas can rescue Sanjaya from this utterly abysmal performance. But, no: look at that fucked-up little girl. That alone will save him through the next three rounds. Way to cheat it, AI. He's gonna be around until the final four, I swear to Christ he is, and he's just awful.
GINA: Well, if someone's gotta do this song, I guess it's gotta be Gina, right? I rescind my previous catchphrase and instead say that Lulu was wrong: this song is really dark and angry, and needed some growl in it, so I think she maybe should have taken it down a key instead of up. I dunno, this wasn't bad, but the song just demands so much, and I didn't feel like Gina had it to give. Not her best work; not bad, really, just not up to the material. I hate to say it, since she kinda won me over last week, but Gina could be in a little trouble, here, given that Haley looked all tarty and this stupid country refuses to have Sanjaya deported.
FAT CHRIS: Man, this could be my favorite male vocal performance of the season so far, no shit. Sligh really nailed this one all around, probably because he's got a lot of affection for the material, and also because unlike most of the guys, he's not a mediocre singer. He seemed to lose his air for a second (BECAUSE HE IS FAT!), but all in all, a terrific performance from the best guy of the lot. Nicely done, Chris! Too bad you are crappy compared to Melinda!
MELINDA: Okay, seriously, it would save me so much time over the next couple of months if we could just give the title to Melinda right now. Every goddamn week she comes out and slaughters everyone else except LaKisha. It's kinda interesting that she's so intensely self-critical – and in a smart way, not like, say, me – because I think it’s probably one of the things helping her be so good. For real, she's just so far beyond everyone else, it's ridiculous. I'm beginning to think zulkey is right about her oh-gosh-thank-you bit is just an act, because there's no way she doesn't know how goddamn good she is. She tore it up again, and that's all there is to it. Not even LaKisha came close this week.
So, my DOOMED prediction: Should be Sanjaya, will be Gina. If it's not her, it'll be Phil, which wouldn't break my heart.