It's country music week on Idol! This should be even more horrible than Latin music week. The celebrity guest is Martina McBride, who doesn't even have the Jennifer Lopez advantage of a hot ass, but the upside, if you can call it that, is that all the boring whitebread singers will probably do a passable job with the dishwater-dull Nash Vegas crap we're likely to hear. Randy is wearing some kind of freaky fat-mobster-on-a-gambling-junket shirt, and I've got a jumbo glass of Scotch at the ready, so let's get to it.
PHIL: Phil looks particularly vampiric this evening. He also has a sort of thousand-mile stare about him, since he's been the second-least popular guy in the voting for about a month and a half now, and he's doubtless thinking that it doesn't really matter how well he does tonight, because he's doomed one way or another. He's probably right about that, and this relatively competent performance of a boring song may be one of his best so far, but it probably won't do much to help his cause. I hope he lasts if for no other reason than you-know-who, but America's tolerance for Phil may be at an end. We'll see.
JORDIN: The storyline of this performance is that Jordin is 'nervous' about performing this piece-of-crap song in front of the woman that made it famous, which is understandable, although I would use the word 'embarrassed'. Jordin pounds the poo out of this one, whomping it flat with her up-and-down Whitneyisms, which is bad because it plays up the inherent weakness and interchangeability of the material, but is good because it helps out Jordin, who's growing on me. The judges love it, too, and Simon goes as far as to make me nervous by saying she could win Idol with performances like that. But then again, look who's next!
SANJAYA: Nothing says 'country music' like 'Sanjaya Malakar'! Luckily, I am very likely to hate every song that gets performed tonight, so I don't care if Sanjaya butchers it. And butcher it he does! The momentary ability to not sound horrid displayed last week was clearly an aberration. Sanjaya stands there like a straw man, flapping the crows away who are trying to pick fresh fruit out of his bad perm. Occasionally he tries to do something with his voice, but it is not clear what that thing is. It isn't good, whatever it is. He actually makes the fascinating choice to walk over to his backup singers, allowing us to both see and hear how they are much better than he is. This could be the worst Sanjaya performance ever, which is saying so, so, so very much. Simon finally tears him the new asshole he has long ago earned, and tells Ryan Toothpaste to shut up just as a special little treat, but will it be enough? It will not be enough.
LAKISHA: LaKisha claims she's picking this song because of all the adversity she faces as a single parent, but mama didn't raise no chump and if she says she didn't pick it at least partially because it's instantly going to remind the audience of a previous American Idol winner, she is not just big and fat, but a big fat liar. Anyway, this sort of Jesus-based pop bullshit is exactly why Carrie Underwood is my least favorite Idol winner, and it's hard for me to separate LaKisha's generally good performance from how much I hate the song, so I'm probably judging her a bit too harshly when I say it didn't much do it for me. Then again, the judges were pretty harsh on her as well, so who knows? I am still going to vote for her a bunch of times tonight, because, well, Sanjaya, but it's definitely not my favorite KiKi.
REMAINING CHRIS: I think Remaining Chris may be a homo-sexualist. This comment has no bearing on his performance of a song called "Mayberry" by Rascal Flatts. I was all feeling good about myself because I have lived the kind of life that has disallowed me from ever hearing a song called "Mayberry" by Rascal Flatts, when I realized that in fact I have heard it before, several times. Probably in truck stops. Oh, no wait, I live in San Antonio! That's how I've heard it before, because that is what we have here instead of culture. Anyway, this song, it sorta seemed to get away from Chris, and the fact that he couldn't keep up with the complicated rhythms of a Rascal Flatts song doesn't say much for his overall performance. Not great. After Simon rips him up, Chris launches the intriguing defense that he intended to sing nasally, and in fact has done so every week. Interesting choice, Chris!
MELINDA: Man, Melinda. She kills me with this! Kills me! Kills me in the good "Melinda is awesome" way, not kills me in the "Sanjaya makes me want to end my existence on Earth" way! The tempo on this song (which I kinda like, probably because it actually sounds like an old country-boogie song and not something that didn't make the cut on the latest Alan Jackson CD) is a little odd, and I'm not crazy about her outfit, but otherwise, goddamn, flawless. And the judges love her, and Simon even amuses by calling her out on the humility spiel, if spiel it be. Yay Melinda! Who is gonna get a lot of votes this week from me, because what else am I going to do tonight, pack? HA HA HA.
BLAKE: You know what would be fun? If instead of singing this Tim McGraw song, Blake came out and threw a Tug McGraw fastball. Or if he beatboxed over this awful song. But he doesn't do either of those things, he just stands there in a black and white cardigan sweater-vest (what, are he and Randy going clubbing later tonight?) and sings it in a boringly competent way. This is one of those performances where there's absolutely nothing interesting about it but there's also nothing supremely terrible, which one would hope would get you hammered, but it was just such performances that won it all for Taylor Hicks last year. He's probably safe for now. Listen to Blake's legion of flat-haired blondes cheer!
Thanks for another dull episode, Idol! Never trouble me with this country pabulum again! Worthless prediction time: I'm gonna go out on a bit of a limb and predict that Phil's streak of almost getting cut will continue, and America will decide that there's no compelling reason to have both Blake and Remaining Chris in the show, so…adios, Chris! You will get trod upon by the fickle Tony Llamas of the American will! I was right last week, so clearly I will never be wrong about anything ever again. Too bad for you, Chris.