Ryan does some cleanup as far as the idiots that yelled at Kara last night. (Main idiot was supposedly Megan Joy's brother. -- Angel) She gives yet another canned speech, this time about how getting heckled is actually a sign that she's a part of the family and doing her job and being the hardass that she so continually tries to be. To lots of boos, ironically. Kara, don't sweat it. Getting booed even ten percent of Simon's boos means you're fifty times better than the other two. Paula says something about conviction and enthusiasm and does the cleanup thing after her particular love of Adam last night, saying that all of them are super great. Ryan asks Simon who should be worried: Anoop, Matt, and Megan. And he'll stop there, because that's ... all he needed to say. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_9_results_1.php
The group song is one of my all-times, "Don't Stop Believing," which I experienced live last summer thanks to my friend Joelene, who took me to Journey at the Backyard and pretty much changed my life. It seems less lip-synchy right now than it has weeks past, which is nice... Oh, except for Scott, who makes it very clear indeed that they are lipsynching. Well, it was nice to believe for one moment. I don't care to care, because this song is great and it's not in any way interesting as an arrangement: here's nine people singing in chorus a wonderful song, with people taking various lines for their solo. Thought they were doing it live, had to stop believing. Directly contradicting the song. ( Randy was supposedly in Journey, for a hot minute, or so he constantly claims. Why didn't they let him play with the kids and show off these bass skills he's always bragging about? -- AC) www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_9_results_1.php?page=2
Allison and Gokey are pretty much the standouts, along with obviously Lambert doing his whole deal, so that's nice. Then lots of fists in the air, because don't stop believing, and it's over. Way to pair the most awfullest pimpmercial with the best group sing in a really long time, show. Wednesday really is learning. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_9_results_1.php?page=3
Megan stands up and then Matt alongside her, then Kris. So that's a good spectrum of Not Going Anywhere, Hidden Awesomeness, and Abomination. The second trio is Adam, Lil, and Allison. None of whom should be going anywhere, except maybe Allison just for not always bringing it, and because I worry. Ryan, are you doing that thing where the person has to pick? Isn't that seven people? Anyway, Scott, Danny and Anoop are group three, who I think are all pretty much safe and don't deserve it. So Ryan says one of these groups could be the B3, after David Cook sings.
So obviously the bottom three is Megan who sucks taint, Matt who should win this shit but never will, and Kris who is too many things happening at once, very softly, to ever matter. And I would say based on the fact that they are secretly awesome that they are both safe but in the bottom three, and it's Megan that's gone. But then, I got spoiled and know the facts, so I will only privately pat myself on the back. Because obviously Adam and Lil are okay, so Allison is fine, and Scott and Danny save Anoop by being with him, so either it's Megan or it's my actual favorite, Matt, or my Stephenie Meyers hormonal fantasy boyfriend (and secretly legit) favorite Kris, either of which would cause me to flip out, and they already did that last night, so there you go. Which means in two weeks we'll get to see Danny Gokey do his spin on the "Which group is safe?" thing, which would make even a non-douche look like one. I am frothing for it. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_9_results_1.php?page=5
Adam/Lil/Allison. Lil's "I Surrender" was pretty much boring and not even trying, but of course she's safe -- and looking fabulous! -- even though Simon looks like he's about to start secret cutting. Allison looked retarded and pretended to be fake and stupid, but it was not really pretending, and she will keep doing that shit, and I will keep loving her regardless. She's actually in the B3! So it's stupid hair, stupid tats, and I really hope stupid Anoop to come. Adam was compared to Jagger and Jesus and all the other rockstars of history, and is safe. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_9_results_1.php?page=7
Next up is Kris, who is already cuter than any baby, talks a bit about what they did on their day off. He went to the beach and rode the Ferris wheel, because that's how he rolls. Then the "instructor" [sic] of the Ferris wheel gave him a free ride and asked him to say hi to Adam, which cracks Ryan right up: "So you can't wait to ride it again, huh?" www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_8_performances_1.php?page=3
I am very appreciative about how they put Allison, Matt and Adam at the end. Firstly because I love them with my whole heart, probably about equally, but also because it says that they constitute amazing drama between the three performances. You know how strongly I feel about the way the producers line up the songs in terms of what's going to make it a kick-ass show, which has the ironic feedback logic of making you think that they're putting certain performances in "pimp spots" or whatever, when in fact what is good is good, and it's not a coincidence. But also, I like it because it means my Silver break didn't do something terrible like keep me up until 2AM just so I could hear Gokey and Scott as the last things before I go to sleep and have more dreams about Pander the Panda crashing through LA like the Staypuft Man, snatching people's tragedies and stuffing them into his panda bear mouth for Q points and text votes. I'd rather dream about Adam. I mean, but not like in a gay way. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_8_performances_1.php?page=7
Thank goodness I taped Fringe this week, not that I'll be watching it, because that's the end of the show, and I'm already beside myself wondering what Adam will sing, and what he will perpetrate on it. I would almost like to see him jump in with the whole sweet jam thing they've got going this week, but then given the flops of the singer-singery people like Lil and Matt, tonight might be the night for him to give us the full Whitney. Or... I mean, like there are words for what he's going to do anyway, or it's possible to see into the future enough to guess what randomness he's going to pull, so why try?
Ryan: "Adam. Back in the day. Ever wondered?" HA! Yeah, I'm going to need extensive photo reference to understand how we got from a little baby to this. Assuming 29 January 1982 isn't actually just the date his spacecraft crash landed on a farm. Aquarian and an alien? It's all starting to make sense. Adam discusses his predilection for "dressup" -- capes, masks, hats of various sorts -- over the mundane sports and whatever. He got into a "grownup" period, and his parents obliged with a three-piece and a little moustache. That's the best thing I've ever heard. No wonder he turned out so awesome. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_8_performances_1.php?page=8
"Mad World," the not-Tears For Fears version, sung sitting on a white chair, lit by unearthly blue light. Maybe Adam actually is Donnie Darko. I could buy that. He sings it right at that sweet spot at the place where his voice is high but still strong, and then all the falsetto is completely unscreechy. It's understated and confident, and very beautiful. Ethereal, that's the word you're going to be hearing about this. The crowd goes absolutely nuts. What a lovely rendition, and way better than the rest of the night. Simon Cowell gives his ass a standing ovation, is how awesome it was.
So: Danny Gokey did Al Green doing the hokey-pokey and looked like the ass he always is; Kris Allen was fun but forgettable and a little too slow; Lil did a great job of being somebody slightly less boring some more; Anoop zigged after zagging last week, continuing his record of measured oscillation; Scott just gently sucked and needs to go home already; Allison did a great job but still isn't pushing into the top tier she should be; Matt gave a great performance at the expense of his perfect voice; and Adam Lambert put his dick away just long enough to give us something worth loving.
Anoop I think has pulled out of his slump, and always does better when he actually sings, so I'd be surprised if he went. So of Kris, Scott, and Allison, who has the extracurricular thing that makes up for their continuing inability to distinguish themselves? Kris maybe gets by on his actual raw talent, Scott is here for no reason at this point, and Allison is perpetually imperiled, so I'd say it's a three-way tie no matter how talented she is. America, please do the right thing with Scott and stop being so goddamn patronizing. It's over and we all know it. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_8_performances_1.php?page=9
So they sing "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" so very poorly that I guess they're not lipsynching this week, and they're doing this because of the year American Idol was born. And every time you think they're going to medley, they just sing more repetitive verses of that song, and parade sort of listlessly around the stage in different combinations, and Adam and Lil once again have half the solos, and it's over. Not that interesting, due to the horrible sounds of it all and Lil's weird Thunderdome outfit that looks like she scavenged it from a combination sex club/auto detailer. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_8_results_2.php
You know what's more boring that pimpmercials? Behind The Scenes Of Pimpmercials. And you know what's more boring than that? Watching some hottie emo motherfucker dude too old for his own bangs dressing them all up like if Alex DeLarge shopped at Kmart and acting as though he's an auteur and not ripping off the ripoff of a ripoff that was that one Panic! video. However, I think Adam is wearing a dress, because apparently we just forgot to hate gay people lately. Or maybe it's just Adam.
Okay no, it's a big white trenchcoat. And then Kris and Matt act like stage magicians, which they seem to have interpreted as "effeminate and creepy," probably because they're all so young all they know of magic is having their Minds Freaked. And then for all that setup, the whole thing is like ten seconds long, with lots of dramatic pointing at cars and an exhausted and uninteresting group cover of "Circus," which you have to admit is 99% sound effects if you even like it at all, and then more pointing, and it's dumb. That shit was lavish, yet pointless. I can't believe I'm saying this, but that pimpmercial would have been vastly improved by being twice as long. God, that feels dirty to say.
Anoop talks about his heterosexual pain in having to wear glitter on his face just like everybody else, and people cheer. Ryan asks how Adam felt when Simon stood up ("on his lifts") for Adam's performance, and Adam sends the sweetest of all vibes over at Simon, because he is a pumpkin pie of a person. Meanwhile, Matt's special visitor is the Mayor of Kalamazoo. Though I love them both equally, I submit to you that these two moments illustrate perfectly the difference between the two of them.
Stand up, Adam, while everybody screams and shits themselves for you. Stand up, Kris, so people can do the same but squealier. Anoop, stand up if you're not feeling too snotty to do so. Adam is consistently wonderful and has managed to shove this show in the chest like it's fronting at a bar and needs to cash the checks its mouth is writing. He is obviously safe, and will live to instruct this show on how it should be operating for another week. Kris rearranged that Henley song into "boring," "disappointing" crap; Anoop managed to pull a Bad Boyfriend on us by apologizing just in time, and rising to the occasion once again. But between the two of them, Anoop is wildly inconsistent and Kris -- though boringly consistent and consistently boring -- is sex on wheels. So Anoop's stooling it tonight. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_8_results_2.php?page=2
Bring Out The Gimps By Jacob | Season 8 | Episode 29 | Aired on 2009.04.14
Top 7: Performances - You love movies, you love music, the Idols decide they hate both under Tarantino's tutelage.
Tonight, apparently, we are going "big time"; this means that we're watching these kids sing music from the movies, in the presence of Quentin Tarantino, also from the movies. [...they screwed up last week because they let the judges talk to much, so each contestant only gets comments from two judges, instead of all four.-- Angel] www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_performances_1.php
The pianist watches QT deal with Adam Lambert, and he's a total fan of course because there isn't a book long enough to contain all of Tarantino's weird sex stuff, whereas Adam's so okay with his that he makes it look easy. Not that stops QT from enjoying, as he says, a "taste" of Adam. Why are you here? Adam is singing "Born To Be Wild," a song that I wish were not so prevalent because the lyrics are really neat, like on paper it's one of my all-time top five favorites, but the song itself, actually listening to the song, it just gets on my nerves. Well, but then add some Adam to it, and you know... Whatever, hip thrust, crazy sounds and scary faces, time changes, giant light show, screaming, head banging, head banging whilst roger rabbiting which is harder than it looks if you've made the right choice to avoid actual skanking, ten-minute ovation. I wish that I didn't find that song so played, so I could have enjoyed that. Instead it just seemed like Barbie, like how Barbie goes to the beach and goes to be a nurse and gets in a rocket ship but really it's just Barbie all the time in different outfits. That was Adam doing all his Adam shit but not really giving you a reason for any of it.
Paula congratulates Adam on "daring to dance in the path of greatness" and reminds him that "fortune rewards the brave," nothing ventured is nothing blamed, a kitchen lime smells fine, whatever whatever. Simon loved the vocals, but thought the overall performance was Rocky Horror, which of course Adam doesn't even understand the problem with that, because he's theatre people, and tells him this week he won't rate as high as last week. Which is totally true. Simon says last week was way better, which technically it was, and but dude, how many awesome songs did he not do? You could get twice the votes singing "Origin Of Love," no matter how many people have never heard that song, because this is one of your weeks. And instead, all your weird shit at once. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_performances_1.php?page=4
If I somehow had to choose this week, the obvious answer would be "Man In Motion." The lyrics, while weird, are not essentially all that different from "Born To Be Wild," but the song itself doesn't make me want to jump off a building, so it's perfect. Plus, that song makes people feel crazy and strong like "Eye Of The Tiger." You could sing the shit of that song, and everybody would go insane and start chewing on their arms and each other. Like, even if you weren't Adam, that song would drive everybody around the bend. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_performances_1.php?page=8
Allison did a rockin' version of the asteroid animal crackers song, Anoop proved he's the Scott Savol and has no reason to be here beyond his ability to pretend to sing, Adam was disappointing but continued to excel at being Adam, Matt G got lost in the shuffle once again with a proficiently boring performance, Danny's wife died some more, Kris blew the roof off the place perfectly for the first time, and Lil gave her best performance yet. So where does that leave us? Adam's fine, and you can't say he was phoning it in so much as having chosen a song that phones it in for you; Danny's not going anywhere; Lil and Kris just bought their way back in. Allison and Matt did the same thing they always do, which is dangerous, and while I'm tempted to say Anoop finally pushed his luck too far, I also think he's pinpointed what he needs to do to stay. Frankly, I'm stumped because I enjoyed few enough of tonight's performances that I'm thinking it's me that is having the off night, so I'm not committed to predicting it this time. However, in terms of technique the pack has left Anoop behind yet again, so maybe it's his turn. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_performances_1.php?page=10
And we are 75% complete, with six kids to go, plus the PoV.
...the pimpmercial, which is bad singing of "Freeze Frame" where they're all on the covers of magazines or whatever, it's dumb. That song is dumb. That song is Kids, Incorporated in the form of a song. I always forget how much singing there is on this damned show.
Kris does a little dance down some steps singing "Maniac" from Flashdance in a pretty lovely fashion, and then Allison jumps out of the audience in Barney-purple cameltoed felt bondage pants -- which manages to combine everything that's wrong with her into a single piece of apparel -- and Anoop sleazes down some more stairs because that's all there are now, just stairs and steps everywhere you look, constantly whirling, and nearly takes a header on the yet more steps; Matt... Everybody looks so spazzy singing this song and pretending like they care, but at least we get to see Randy clapping and dorking out in a way that is so embarrassing it's not even funny, it's just weird and gross.
Adam does his damndest to justify QT's presence with a little speech about how music is important in his movies, just like it isn't important on this show. Ryan and Adam agree that he is "brilliant," with which I do not disagree. Then Allison tells us about how they rode in a limo to the premiere of 17 Again, which if you don't know is about a magic spell which, much like Adam Lambert, instantly turns you into a gay teen.
Then Anoop says he loved the movie, Adam says he liked the bitchy cheerleaders of course, and Lil talking about how she wouldn't go back to being seventeen again, I guess because the sixties were tumultuous.
Anyway, Allison sang whatever she sang, Paula gave her props for authenticity and the having of Special Sauce, and Simon said she was the only girl left. Allison at least knows enough to look anywhere but Lil when he says this, but characteristically is speechless. Bless her heart but she's so dumb, you guys. It's painful to watch her speak. She's safe, thank goodness, and Adam claps her on the back and she is desperately grateful to him for sticking by her through all these scary moments. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_results_1.php?page=2
Then it's Adam's turn, as the "bravest" contestant ever on this show, and he and Simon have an affable and sweet conversation about how being "Rocky Horror" is not strictly speaking a pejorative state, but does contain such an onslaught of troubling semiotics that it's hardly a good thing either. Adam's like, "I'm a theatre kid! I like Twilight, Rocky Horror, Britney Spears and Cheyenne Jackson! Those are like the only things I know about! Tori Amos! 'The Gentleman Who Fell'!" Anyway, he born to be wild and is also safe this week, obviously.
Paula's sartorial nod to the disco theme is appreciated, although Ryan seems to think Simon's white t-shirt is just as respectable. We get a look once again at the Top 7, and remember that two of them are going home tomorrow. Ryan approves of Anoop's Vampire Weekend getup as usual, but I'm more impressed by Adam's return to the Thin Blemished Duke look. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_performances_2.php?page=1Adam Lambert on disco night, dressed as an underworld groom. I have no idea what he's going to sing. I can't say I care. It's got to be fucked up and insane this week to get him forward, because of all weeks all eyes are going to be on him. I am certain that he will deliver, and my fingers are itching to go check out the internet and see what he's going to do, but then it'll be awesomer if he... Is this what it's like for people that love this show? I'm on pins and needles over here. Maybe it's just the constant awesome Glee ads. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_performances_2.php?page=3
Ryan's like, "So everybody's sort of doing the Adam thing this week, how are you going to go even more Adam on that?" By singing "If I Can't Have You," of course. Probably as a ballad, I'm guessing, like with the white lights, and then maybe he will go a little bit nuts on the song in the middle. That is not going to be totally exciting for me personally, but it does mean all focus is going to be on his voice, which is a good thing. I feel like sometimes he forgets how his voice is beautiful like angels ice-skating, because it's just plain more fun to wiggle your wang around all the time while dressed as a serial killer.
...That's pretty much exactly what happens, down to the white lights, and Paula sits and silently weeps the whole time. He does a little bit of the screech, at just the right time. He's pretty much just too good for this show, and the judges know that, and so does the audience, and it's sort of nice. Kara loves him, he's brilliant and raises the bar every week, and she compares him to "the guy from Saturday Night Live" mixed with Clark Kent. What guy? Mango. I'm going to say Mango.
Paula feels she felt his pain and that he performed surgery on himself or something, there's a hot druggie lumberjack cheering for him; Simon says he was expecting Donna Summer and instead he got a totally memorable, well-formed composition with beautiful and perfect vocals. Adam gives props to the person that helped him create the arrangement, which I'm sorry but I didn't catch, and Paula's still fucking crying down there, and Ryan calls her a "pool of Abdul" (+5) and then says up next we'll be hearing "the song that could keep Matt to stay alive in the competition" (-5), which misspeaking throws him so much he looks suicidal (+1) so we're in the black.
So if Allison did the Adam arrangement, and Adam did the Matt arrangement, and Danny did the Anoop arrangement, and Kris and Lil did the same thing they always do, what does that leave for Matt? Especially if he's singing "Stayin' Alive," which if you sing it any other way, or frankly the normal way, sounds like a song about dying horribly. And does this mean that Anoop is going last? On Disco Night? And might that be the perfect storm worst thing to ever happen? Oh, I just crossed my fingers so viciously my knuckles popped. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_performances_2.php?page=4
Recap: Lil is going home, and doesn't seem to care; Kris found the five people who don't think he's sexy and made them think he was sexy; Danny Gokey is building desperation buttresses onto the fortress of desperation he's built over the last few weeks but whatever because his boss is a Jewish carpenter or whatever; Allison has no idea what the fuck she's doing and yet is very successful at it; Adam Lambert wins; Matt was not so awesome but at least pandered; Anoop was the least interesting part of his own performance. I wouldn't even want to guess at this point because I really feel like my personal feelings are going to get in the way, but if I were to do so, I would say: Matt/Lil/Anoop, and Anoop stays. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_performances_2.php?page=6
I wish I could care, but they've settled the finale so early this year that it's really just a group of three or four people and then assorted cannon fodder, and it doesn't really matter what order they leave in.
There's a long, actually enjoyable sequence of Paula Abdul teaching the kids tonight's group sing choreography. She's pretty intense about it, and you spend the whole segment in wonderment at how present and delightful she's being. I imagine it's nice to remember what you're actually for, like The Mouse & His Child or The Velveteen Rabbit; it takes years off her. Lil does a great job, particularly, in the group shots, but mostly it just manages to make the idea of watching them do these dances more exciting than it has any right to be.
Ryan does a weird little dance, and then Paula introduces them with a swooshing motion, and it begins. They're all wearing disco clothes and look fantastic, except for Lil who looks like Heather B crossed with Humpty. They all sweep past Paula onto the stage -- Danny, of course, finds a way to be five times as in your face as everybody else -- and then Paula does another funny move, and Anoop lip-syncs for awhile, and they all sing toward a camera on the ceiling, and finally the group dancing starts. Now, if you know me at all you know that group dancing ranks just above single moms and right below Ryan Seacrest on the list of my favorite things; even knowing and adjusting for this, the routine is awesome. Awesome! Danny does a fantastic job, while Matt is way behind everybody else both in terms of tempo and skill. In a group dance situation it's sometimes opposite to real life and people who normally have good moves on their own fuck it up for everybody else. And I guess vice versa, because normally Danny Gokey dancing makes me want to... Oh, there are crotches in this dancing. Never good. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_results_2.php
Allison does a little dance past everybody wriggling on the couch, and I have to say as bad as the lip-syncing has been this year, tonight it is a fucking joke. It looks like foreign TV, where they haven't figured out as much as TV as America has. That's what it looks like. God, the lip-syncing. But when they're not doing that, it is amazing. Danny gets disgusting, followed by Anoop, and then I think Adam suffers a critical lack of self-confidence during his solo dance moment, and dorks out. Kris is, surprisingly enough, white hot smokin' sexy, and then Matt redeems himself with kick-ass moves in the solo dancing. Everybody kneels down so Adam can do his stuff, and it's great. This is so good! Look at these guys doing so great! If this show were about dancing, it wouldn't even seem like a fucking retarded waste of time!
Plus, who loves crotch thrusts more than Adam? Nobody on this planet is who. And there are crotch thrusts in abundance. Everybody humps in every direction like a ceremony of thrusting, and Ryan "drags" Paula up to the stage, where they give her a huge bouquet. That's nice. I wonder if something's going on that I didn't hear about? Usually when they give her flowers it's because she raped somebody, or somebody committed suicide. In any case, she deserves them for that. That's the coolest thing to happen on a Wednesday episode since that Megan Joy was taken into the parking lot after her elimination and beaten up by first-graders with week-old baguettes, or so I imagined privately.
While the ladies change out of their disco garb, we see a pimpmercial containing "I'm Good, I'm Gone," by Lykke Li. Is this song, like, known? I heard it on the Unusuals pilot and got really excited. I guess she's cooler than I thought, which of course means I'm way less cool than I thought. I was there when Lykke Li was born, I was actually in the delivery room. Taught her to sing. So the actual content is pretty nil, like, they wash a car or bake a cake, or something, and then go somewhere. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_7_results_2.php?page=2
Adam is also safe, of course, and his "If I Can't Have You" was so brilliant that the audience cheers so insanely that tears well up in his eyes just as Paula starts crying. Brilliant approach and "immaculate vocals," per Simon, will put Adam in the finals, double duh, per Paula. Adam's voice does that thing where you know he's about to launch exuberantly and nervously into an explanation of his artistic choices that will freak Ryan out, timewise, but it's pretty sweet: basically that he didn't want to mess with the arrangement too much, but realized that the emotions of the lyrics are so exacting that even if you didn't recognize the song you'd recognize the words, if they were sung "honestly." It's shit like that which separates those of us who can understand Paula from the rest of you, because that made total sense and was embarrassing at the same time.
Paula's wearing a crazy dress, in a lovely shade of red, that looks like a classroom decoration for Valentine's Day as viewed from a very wrong angle. The band rocks out playing some little jazz tune because of course they're going to both be awesome and enjoy themselves immensely tonight, Kara does a little dance, and then there's the Idols. From this distance, Danny looks fabulous, Allison looks almost properly attired, Matt is wearing an annoying hat and suit like Dick Tracy, Kris is tiny and can wear anything he wants, and Adam's back in all-white, which means drama. Up close, Matt's wearing a blue shirt with a grey suit and has thus redeemed himself away from the swinger ethos he looked like at first glance, and Danny is wearing a hideous chin-beard.
If the surprise mentor is Tony Bennett I'm going to throw a goddamn fit. Is he dead yet? Are there any left that are alive? They play up the suspense by going to the mansion and showing us the makeup lady slathering foundation all over Adam, like they do I guess every second of every day, and Matt's freaking out because if they're taking the "standards" part seriously it could be somebody really atrocious like Rod Stewart or that man with the long hair, and Kris points out that all of those people are, um, dead.
Matt Giraud singing "My Funny Valentine"...should be cake. The only way he's going to fuck it up is by going too far in the Rat Pack direction, and I wish that was baseless but for one thing he keeps snapping his fingers when the camera is on him, which does not inspire confidence, and number two is his outfit, which unlike everybody else's -- even Adam, adjusting for his innate Adamness -- looks like a costume. He looks like that gangster wolf from Mighty Mouse. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_performances.php?page=5
Adam Lambert was always going to be doing "Feeling Good." There's nothing as dramatic, or creepy, or bombastic, or brassy as that song. It's like five songs, like a whole story about feeling things. He won't even have to do anything to it. I mean, he of course will, but he doesn't necessarily need to. And therein lies the wonder of Adam. Plus, good sign that he's going last, because that means drama plus.
Jamie Foxx treats Adam properly, to a fault, like he took a class in properly responding to Adam. Which I feel like we should all take, because after sixteen weeks I still don't know where to look when he's singing. He just treats him like the most amazing thing he's ever seen, which is exactly how you should treat someone like Adam, because it's what they deal best with, and Jamie does it awesomely, just struck wordless the whole time, and laughing hysterically at the end by how easily Adam made all those sounds in front of him. Him! Oscar winner!
But it's true, and Jamie Foxx is only responding out of what he knows, which is that people usually piss themselves around him because he's intensely famous, so how on earth can anybody be that vulnerable or balls-out in front of him. He thinks it's amazing because he's Jamie Foxx, but if you weren't famous you would still want to ask Adam who the hell he thinks he is, because the thing that's best and worst about Adam is how completely unselfconscious and how completely self-conscious he is at the same time, and it just adds up from both sides to this bizarre epic show right in front of you and you can't look at it because it's too much, but you can't look away because it's so amazing.
And of course meanwhile Adam's like, "Well good, because I was shitting it," because it's been so long since he was uncomfortable or able to feel weird professionally that he honestly doesn't seem to understand the undercurrent of shock that greets him after every song. Which is, I think, what I've been trying to say about him this whole time. It's like I used to say on The Apprentice, how born salesmen are aliens to me because I could never say ad copy in a convincing way, because it would be embarrassing, and Adam's that way with singing all crazy. Just who the hell does he think he is? Adam. That's solid on a level I can barely even imagine. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_performances.php?page=7
On the other hand, when I found out the theme I started thinking about Adam, and more generally, about how the best possible, the Blake possibility of this theme each year, is somewhere around that "Ain't No Other Man" album that Xtina put out that I never got into, that double album. And like, if Aguilera can't convince me, I'm not getting convinced, and I never really managed to care about Our Jazz Roots or whatever. And I thought a lot also about Jeff Buckley, and how he was headed in this direction of rehabilitating jazz for our generation before he died, and how somewhere between those two very different people is the optimal way this theme could play out. But of course the things I was leaving out were first that Sarah/Billie/Edith is not the Rat Pack kind of jazz, and also that Adam is canny enough to know that now is not the time for crazy. He's made a decision that "Ring Of Fire" is as far as he's allowed to go, and I think that's the right decision.
All of which is to say that my expectations here were not only unfair, but also unworkable, and I shouldn't have gotten all excited, because what we got was not only serviceable but fairly wonderful. And again, the song has all those Adam elements without him having to answer for having added them, to the point where he could just sing it straight -- which he does, plus that caterwauling thing he's so good at -- and still do an amazing job, because the Adam is built in. And that's what happens. He gets into the falsetto by the third line, and heads downstairs by turns sexy and then just straight up angry, all the way down. In some ways it's more cabaret and intense than before, but if you close your eyes it's just perfect. His voice is amazing. He's harder to look at than usual, between the skin and the puffiness and the scary emotions, but close your eyes and it's so pretty.
There's a breakdown that's just moaning, that way he does, and then a very long, very high screech that pretty much freaks out the whole world, and it ends on a weird echo, and then right when he's done singing, as usual, he goes from a snarling Kenneth Anger movie death goddess person to just like this nice boy. That little moment where his eyes clear and he smiles, that's become my favorite part of the show each week, because you remember you're allowed to breathe and that all of this is just pretend. It was painfully short. I just remembered why I like him so much. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_performances.php?page=8
Kara goes completely aphasic, all about how she is constantly asking, as we all are, "Is he really doing that?" He's "shocking -- in a good way -- confusing, shocking, sleazy, superb, way over the top, and ... I don't know! I love you! Craziness!" Kara always goes nuts like this, but even funnier is Paula going, "Like, exactly." She reaches for words, as usual can find none that will do what she wants, and compares him to Michael Phelps. Simon laughs at Randy calling him theatrical, because it's like yelling at a cow for mooing: theatre is what Adam does, and it's awesome. "I LOVE IT!" screams Paula. Simon goes on to say that anybody who thinks winning doesn't matter is kidding themselves, but Adam and two others tonight obviously are intent on winning, and says in a pretty honest way that this -- the excellence, the voices, the striving, the sheer entertainment factor -- is why he loves this show best this year. Me too, Cowell.
So: Kris did fun vocal stuff while looking like a tiny sex jungle gym, both as per usual; Allison took it a little slower this week, to her detriment, and risked being boring in order to engage a whole new style; Matt did some kind of fucking weirdo deal on the best song of the night, to his detriment: Danny was objectively awesome; and Adam did the whole Adam thing. B2 Matt and Allison, for sure, but I have no idea which one will go home, because I feel like it's Matt's time to go, but Allison was pretty disappointing, so it's personal either way and psychic powers don't work if you care. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_performances.php?page=9
Simon says that he's amazed, on rewatch, by just how good everybody was, which they were, and says that it was the best Top 5 episode ever, which it was. He says any of them have the chance to win at this point, and he's sort of stunned by this realization.
Pimpmercial: Everybody's in black and white suits in the black and white desert, racing toward something in slow-motion. The thing is a car, and the way everybody looks is: fucking fantastic. Just as the car is about to hit them like bowling pins, Jesus takes the wheel and it swerves in a slow circle around them, causing like cherry blossom trees to appear and grass on the ground and Kris's hotness to go from monochrome to technicolor. I must say, that was the best one of those I can remember ever seeing. Except for the one where they were Muppets, which for some reason I still remember like it was yesterday even though it was like in 1992 that that happened. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_results.php
The group singing is two songs again that somehow meld into one song. The first one is about how a thing means nothing if it hasn't that swing, and the second is the song about how, having both rhythm and music, one truly cannot ask for more. Two fine sentiments, although I must confess the latter is closer to my heart. Allison sings about "that swing," and its undeniable ontological importance, while the boys snap on either side of the stairs, and then they all gather on the floor.
...everybody goes doo-wah, Adam looks pissed, Matt is horrible more, Adam and Danny get fifty times the cheers as everybody else which must feel great, while Allison pretty much is the only person even trying by the end, and does a great job. Adam's phoning it in, Danny gets to sing the lines, "I got my gal/ Who could ask for anything more?" and the backups do a cool harmony, and it's finally over.
...then they're all making a cake. Which I could swear they already did, in a pimpercial or something last week, but maybe I made that up. Whatever, it's all totally fake and they're all dressed to the nines making this cake for Danny and Allison's birthdays, and their hair is done, and Adam's wearing the obligatory fifty pounds of foundation, and then there's this retarded disingenuous food fight that never, ever ends... www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_results.php?page=2
So Matt, my favorite...Ryan... Sends him to the right side of the stage.
Oh, I am not feeling good about this. Did they put the PoV save in there so they could move the Huff Maneuver closer to the end? That is diabolical. At Top 7 the Huff is just to clinch a producer favorite, but at Top 5? That's a sandbag, because everybody's incredible at this point. Matt is probably going home, so who's the target? Not Adam or Danny, but then what? Kris isn't playing the "real" ticket, he's not Bo Bice, I mean he smells nicer for one thing, so who is it going to be? That person is fucked.
So now Danny. He's going to be on the left side of the stage, obviously... He sang the rain or shine song, and did a really great job with it. Simon loved his swagger and confidence, and called it outstanding. Ryan makes the mistake of asking Danny to tell them what he did differently, and it's pointless and retarded and overlong, all at the same time. It's like the stupidest thing Paula ever said met the stupidest thing Randy ever said and they had a kid that wouldn't ever fucking shut up. Anyway, stage left.
Allison was "rough" and "gut-wrenching," and Paula said she had an "alluring innocence" not unlike a young Corey Delaney Clark, but Simon called her mechanical and questioned her commitment to Sparkle Motion, foretelling "big trouble" for her tonight. Ryan once again pulls the douche move of asking Allison to speak, and once again we are treated to the wisdom of the ages. "I was like really? Okay. What am I supposed to do?" Yeah, for real. He sends her over to stand... with Danny. Wait, what? www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_results.php?page=3
They don't get it either. Allison's like, "Why am I standing over here with you? Are we playing Red Rover?" and Danny's like, "Don't you dare get Bottom Three on me, bitch." They wait patiently for Ryan to fix what is clearly a massive mistake, and he revels in their confusion, he wraps it around himself like a blanket and gazes at them through its misty haze, he drinks it in, he is their God. Kris sang the song about the way you look tonight, which puts me in mind of how nice it would be if Kris sang "Wonderful Tonight" at some point before he goes back over the hotness rainbow to whatever magical place he came from. I said they would say the word "contemporary" a hundred times and they did, and Simon says, essentially, wouldn't it be cute if Kris won. Then Ryan sends him over to stand with Matt. Which means something incredibly fucked up is about to happen.
So Adam sang "Feeling Good," and it was perfect, and all the judges loved it, and Kara was struck dumb, and Paula talked about Michael Phelps, which comparison Adam laughs about but I don't think is all that weird. People who are really, really good at a certain thing -- which for Adam is a category of thing that he invented but even still excels at -- all have the same craziness and drive, the same Not Quite Like Us factor, should they choose to accept and follow it all the way. And damn, but they're doing it.
"Take a look at both groups," Ryan says: Matt and Kris, or Allison and Danny. Which is to say, "Locate the group with Danny in it," which task Adam accomplishes immediately. Adam laughs uncomfortably, because this is disgusting, and because he loves everybody. Ryan apologizes, but there aren't any options at this point: choose. "Based on last night," he says, which is the best possible answer at this point, probably the Danny group. Good answer, neither dramatic nor self-aggrandizing, but you can tell there's more to the story that we don't know yet. "Adam, Allison and Danny are... Not your Bottom Three." Ryan literally propels Adam across the stage over to Matt and Kris, making Adam look even worse, and suddenly Allison and Danny are safe. They literally don't know what to do with this information, because everything just got weird. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_results.php?page=4
Kara and Paula are so thrown they start twisting in slow circles in midair while poodles serve them refreshing drinks, and Paula finally says that she's so proud of them all that "with all these changes," she says without jutting a thumb at Kara, she wishes they could all stay together just like the Rat Pack. Ryan tries to turn it into a Simon Is Fallible thing, but Simon's not falling for it, because obviously somebody has to go, and why wouldn't it be Adam over Allison in this mixed-up world, and finally Simon tells Ryan to stop pulling focus off Allison and Danny, who deserve at least a moment of congratulations since this is going to go on forever anyway because we're not even half done. Kara says some innocuous thing which Randy turns into a joke about Kara sucking Adam's dick, which even Paula notices is hideously off-target and unacceptable, and then instead of immediately saying Adam's also safe, we kick it to the commercial.
The boys come back onstage, and Adam is clearly safe, and all three of them know it. I started to say something about how maybe this little scare and the Huff will cause him to bring the crazy back, but then NO! It is Kris! KRIS IS SAFE! ADAM IN THE BOTTOM TWO! WHAT IF ADAM GOES HOME! WHAT IS GOING ON? I'd be all mystified by that. But before you start wondering what's going to happen next, the answer is nothing. Now we have to watch Jamie Foxx...
This is so stupid I can't even take it. First Taylor Hicks, and now this. I can't even evaluate the song, because the performance mechanics of this are so painful. He walks to stage left, then to stage right, and then does a little jig or a two-step, and... I mean at one point he has the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to hold the fake microphone out toward the crowd. As if they too will suddenly sound like robots. This is embarrassing, this is like a Tracy Jordan thing where his entourage spent sixty million of his dollars to make him feel like a musician, and this ghetto crap was the result. Ryan congratulates him on all his "success," and how great he was with the contestants, and Jamie tells us for the eightieth time how incredibly talented they are. And you know who is qualified to tell us that? Jamie Foxx. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_results.php?page=7
Anyway, Matt and Adam. My two favorites. Hmm. Well, it's got to be Matt. Right? Yes, he is done. Everybody cries and hugs him, and Adam whispers something, but I find myself not that into it.
Simon laughs about how this week is not the week to ask him for advice, but tells the Final Four that next week they should have fun, and above all, "always remember the people that picked up the phone." He's very philosophical this week. So next time we're looking at Rock & Roll Night, which should be awesome, and Slash will be there, which I guess is exciting. I always thought he would smell really weird. Maybe we'll find out. And maybe they'll sing two songs each? Is that when that starts? And then Allison will go home, and then Kris will go home, and then either Danny or Adam will win, causing either a riot or a book-burning, and we can go back to whatever we were doing before this season started. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_5_results.php?page=8
So last week we sandbagged Adam into the Bottom 3 with Matt and Kris, which didn't matter because he was in the Top 4 anyway. Then, more recently, the stage manager was attacked by that damned Hogwarts staircase, probably while it was in mid-swivel. I hope this "Debbie" wasn't the cute goofy one that did ... something last year. I don't really remember the thing that I am thinking about, beyond a certain pleasant feeling about stage managers. While Ryan talks about that, the staircase lights up slowly, sinister and waiting breathlessly for its next victim, like the Mangler. It has tasted human blood and you know it's a slow ride into shit town after that happens.
So there wasn't a real rehearsal, due to the awakening of the hell, which is interesting because I've always gotten the impression that most of the show happens in the rehearsal, so what do we have here? A whole lotta weird, which I forgot it would be because this season has made me believe in all kinds of things, and I completely misplaced the irony or cynicism that would allow me to see the perfectly clear fact that inviting rock into this show is like letting your grandmother pick out your dates: counterintuitive and bonerkilling.
Anyway, tonight we're doing something that can't help but be stupid, which is doing duets. Six songs total, and I'm guessing it's going to be Adam/Allison and Danny/Kris, both of which sound like awesome trainwrecks. Kara's rocking the Stefani bouffant pony I hate so much, Simon is resplendent in gray, and Paula looks like a normal person. Like a very pretty substitute teacher for once, and less like a FIT thesis. The Idols themselves are wearing "rock" clothes. This means that Kris is dressed like Kris plus a leather jacket, Allison looks like Allison with tons more makeup like a little girl playing dress-up, Danny is dressed like a youth minister who is totally out of his depth which is what he is, and Adam looks like a gay pirate from a future gay pirate spaceship. "Rock fans are in luck tonight," Ryan lies through his perfect teeth. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_performances_1.php
And their mentor is Slash. Does he even have a face? I've always wondered what he looks like. I don't know much about Slash. I guess he's known as the best guitar player of all time, at least that's the impression I've always had. Not bad for a man without a face. Ryan tries to sell us on the ugly lie of Velvet Revolver. I mean, technically it's a supergroup, in that I would believe absolutely anybody was in that band. Say a name. If you told me the lineup of Velvet Revolver was Antonio Salieri, Abraham Lincoln, Captain Beefheart and the blue lady from Fifth Element, I would buy it. But there's nothing "super" about that supergroup, and I refuse to acknowledge them.
Oh! He does have a face! A nice one. He seems like a nice guy. He admits to hating this show a way lot, but he likes a few of the people this year, so it's not like selling out exactly. He underlines this concept -- that he's not selling out, and is staying 2 legit 2 quit by making them rehearse in a real live rock club -- several times for us. But you know what, after eight years I'm tired of all the backtracking and eating shit when it comes to this show. American Idol is like Twitter: it's stupid, but it's happening.
Adam will be singing "Whole Lotta Love," which is perfectly awesome. Slash praises his effortless range and can't think of much to say beyond cautioning him to improvise less in the high register, you know, like he does, and stay down and low and rock star-like. Adam tells us this is his favorite week, which is not surprising. I'm kind of amazed that he'll be singing this song because it's the scariest sex song of all time, and Adam is the scariest sex person. He goes Adam Crazy all over it for a bit, and sings about the learning and the schooling and the loving and the whatever, and screams all the time because this is the week for it.
Even though he's totally doing a Zeppelinesque cover of a Tori Amos cover of a Zeppelin song, the ending is so totally amazing that everybody is overwhelmed and cries, and all the grownups are overjoyed because for once they're acquainted with what he's doing and it's not like straight-up weirdness for them to do with what they will. I don't know if it's crazy enough to be amazing, because he really just gave up on reinterpreting songs a while back. Mostly, I'm just happy in 2009 to see a gay man sing about giving you every inch of his love without apologizing for it in the slightest. It gives me Obama type feelings. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_performances_1.php?page=2
Kara gets sort of hyperoxygenated about how he's a ROCK GOD and sort of screams and spits for awhile about how awesome he is, and then says something I don't understand about how this is his true genre: "Classic rock from the 70s, glam rock from the 80s, with Nine Inch Nails." That is a not a genre, nor is it a thing that makes sense either separately or as a sum of parts, but whatever. She points out that this is his "lane" and nobody else is in it, because she just invented it. It's loopy enough that the audience just starts laughing about how weird Kara is now, which is sort of depressing.
Paula babbles on about how you can't improve on Led Zeppelin, but he kind of did, but you can't, but he's a "whole lotta perfect," and that's all she's got right now. Simon jokes that the performance was a little understated, for like the eighth time, and then totally goes, "Just kidding!" He says that it could have been a disaster, but is actually the best Adam performance, and nobody is going to top it. We will see that he is almost entirely correct, except for the shit that Danny pulls, which is so awesome I don't really care about anything else. Ryan and Adam giggle about him getting to sing Led Zeppelin, and how excited he was to hear about it, while Adam towers over him and smiles at everybody in more makeup than anybody you've ever seen in your life.
Next, Allison's singing "Cry Baby," because that's exactly how original Allison is. Ryan tries to talk to her, but they've both already kind of given up on that concept, so she talks about how she asked Adam for a stylist hookup and he took her to his "girl." The rest of the story is either so boring it's stupid, or so stupid it's boring, and then she talks about how she wasn't sure which song to choose: "Cry Baby" or "Somebody To Love," and Slash accidentally told her the wrong thing. "Cry Baby" is not a song, it's like this weird screaming poem without a melody, which sort of loses the whole point of being in a singing competition because you have nothing to add to it. I mean, Adam could probably do something with it, but not Allison. And WTF with the fake "rock" songs from billion years ago? I wasn't aware that it was Classic Rock week, and must now adjust my enthusiasm downward based on this new information. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_performances_1.php?page=3
So yeah, now there's Kris and Danny, as expected, singing "Renegade" by Styx.
In the beginning, Danny is very uncomfortable, but once the song kicks in and he returns to his comfort zone -- upstaging and trying desperately to outsing Kris -- he gets a lot better.
Then the judges talk. Why? This is dumb. Simon agrees that it's dumb, and since he has to say something he tells the ugly truth, which is that Danny was really good in that duet and Kris was pretty forgettable.
Immediately after this festival of awkwardness, Kris must sing his actual song.
Simon says it was like having ice for lunch: delicious and crunchy but not nutritive. The fans go insane about that, and there's enough booing and screaming that he goes Fuck it and elaborates about how boring and unspecial it was, "a bit of a jam" he calls it, and then once again mentions how much better Adam is than everybody else in the world. For the third time already. I wonder if I will be proven wrong and Kris will go before Allison. That would be B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
But what Danny does is not failure. I don't know that we have a word for it in our human talking language, but what Danny does is create new levels of creepy, crappy, idiotic nonsense not even Sanjaya could have prepared us for. It's maybe my favorite thing that has ever happened on this show. Imagine if you will that Danny Gokey did a mean-spirited impression of Adam Lambert, and really put his back into it. You know that Danny doesn't get it, whatever "it" is, he's not going to get it. And imagine that he turns this "it" over on its back like a Labrador Retriever that needs dominating, and then, surprisingly slowly and tenderly... Sticks his tongue in its mouth. And then, with everybody watching in jaw-dropped horror, they begin to make rhythmic love. And this is taking place at a family reunion.
I got over Chris Sligh real fast, but the thing that really turned me actively against him, the thing that shot him into Anoop/Constantine territory, was that week where he tried to out-Blake Blake. Like he saw what Blake was doing, and how people were responding to it, and realized that he was seeing something awesome, but was too dumb and up himself to understand why it was awesome, so he just stuck a shitty R&B beat behind some song that never went anywhere, and then had his feelings hurt because nobody appreciated it like they did Blake. That's what this is like: Danny is cognizant enough to know that Adam has a special thing, but that's as far as he got.
Now, it's Danny: he sounds pretty good at the beginning. And props to him for resisting the urge to grin into the camera, yes, because he's singing "Dream On," which is not a song I really understand but I know it's not a smiling song. But at the end of the second line, his voice sort of swoops up in a weird way, and you start to realize this is going to be awesomely fucked up. If he takes it all the way, it's going to be amazing. Then into the chorus, where he sounds really good still -- if a little bug-eyed and desperate -- and he hits that tone we almost never hear from him, that really rough angry voice, which I love. And I guess that means that he is taking the judges' comments somewhat seriously, which is good. And then even the "dream on" part is pretty good, weird pronunciations and some doo-doo-doos that don't really work at all, and the strobe lights coming on, and it looks like he will survive Rock Week. But then! THEN!
Danny totally starts screaming in this primal, hilarious, depressing way, and it becomes unending, and you can tell he honestly thinks this is his MOMENT and they are going to say all kinds of "didn't know you had it in you" stuff to him, and he drinks in this imaginary praise and it lends his shitty screaming even more POWER. He is incandescent! Afterwards he runs around fronting at the band and pointing at himself and yipping, so they know who's in charge I guess, and oh, Lord what a fine, fine moment. What an awesome nightmare that was! www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_performances_1.php?page=7
Kara's like, "Thanks for listening to us when we told you to bring the edge and swagger. Having said that, we are totally embarrassed for you. And by 'we' I mean America. Even Jesus is really mortified right now, because you took it waaaay too far into a waaaay stupid place, and you ended up looking retarded. BUT. We appreciate risk, and taking chances, because that's what rock and roll is all about." Which is a lie. Rock and roll is about being awesome, which that was not.
Paula sympathizes with him about how hard this genre must have been for him, but gives him A+++ for effort. Which, just no. That wasn't awful because it was rock, that was awful because it was Danny being desperate once again, and not getting 90% of "it" in the largest sense. Simon says the ending was like a horror movie. Which it was, and we are the victim. Then he says the worst thing, which is that he knows exactly what Danny tried, and failed, to do: "With Adam it worked, with you it didn't." But, obviously he's going to be safe. Danny just stares at them like a total nozzle, and then gets really defensive about how he'll have to watch it himself before he believes them about how bad it was. "Doubt it, though." He tosses some snotty notes in the direction of how he was trying to move out of his safety zone, which is just the weakest thing for them to say at this point, but also untrue. You moved out of your -- and our -- safety zone... And into a pale, embarrassing version of Adam's. How is that awesome? He is just such a chumguzzling bottom-feeder that I can't even care about his awesome voice anymore. What a dick move, I'm sorry.
After that I simply cannot believe there's more. That had to be the endpiece, right? No. Allison and Adam have to come out and sing "Slow Ride," the stupidest song of all time, and Allison's still looking ridiculous, and Adam's penis is pretty much wearing the rest of Adam as an afterthought, and they sing the whole song and it's neither comfortable or interesting, but it's like: This is what American Idol does to rock. Allison is much more comfortable with Adam onstage, and she dances around really adorably. It's maybe the most appealing she's ever been onstage. But this is the most boring song of the entire universe. It's just five words over and over and over and over. Immediately after, they give each other a huge hug, rendering the judges powerless because they can't issue any comparisons at that point. If Danny had jumped into Kris's arms at the end of their song, Kris would have had a much less grumpy night. Think about it. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_performances_1.php?page=8
Kara says that they pushed each other to do better, which is true mostly, and Paula calls them "the perfect marriage," unnecessarily bringing up her imaginary relationship with Simon, and the whole Judgery keeps yelling about how they need to do a rock duet on their album or whatever. Paula tosses in this weird Catskills-inflected "It's a beautiful thing!" that cracked me up, and Simon tries to talk but some tacky Allison people start yelling a chant of some sort. He praises this duet over the other one, and Adam is God some more, and then he says a very smart thing, which is that Allison might not go home tomorrow, thanks to Adam. We'll see if the goodwill carries that far, but there's some merit to it. Adam says she's like his little sister, and Ryan goes, "So cute!" Which is, in itself, so cute.
So: Adam's "Whole Lotta Love" was pretty much sexy, which is funny because it's so unsubtle and unsexy usually, as songs about fucking tend to be. Then, speaking of unsubtle, Allison did a soundalike cover of Janis Joplin, without the roadhouse gangbangs to back it up, and basically excelled at not being Kris or Danny. Kris sure is pretty, which blinds you to a lot of the awesome details about what he does, which was very elaborately constructed and well-rehearsed this week, but suffered from Gokey proximity and inability to rock out. And then, in the recapperator, Danny hits those hideous notes once again. Awesome. Sabotage! www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_performances_1.php?page=9
The pimpmercial is pretty amazing, actually. It's a fairly decent and fairly different version of that All-American Rejects song "Move Along," that's very soft and not rock at all, but pretty in a whole other way. Good harmonies. So they're all on billboards and newspapers and stuff, but like from new design world; they have those graded tones of like a Twitter background or a cereal box, and there's saint rays coming out of their heads. Then they see a car and they climb off the billboard or newspaper and chase the car; of course, Allison can't even run convincingly. The best part, though, is how Adam and Allison are on billboards, right, and Kris is on the top of a pile of newspapers, but once he becomes two-dimensionally real he does this Care Bear Stare and shoots Danny out of his chest, and then Danny walks all toolishly toward the car. This is awesome mainly because why would Kris ever wear a Danny Gokey T-shirt except in a fantasy.
Um, right, there's not actually anything to accomplish this week, so here's some more useless crap. Adam -- looking awesome in a rocker scarf and with uncomplicated hair -- and Kris take the first vocals on "School's Out," guitar courtesy of Slash and other dirty folks. Kris, of course, is completely out of place with this song, and with the other three rocking out; once again Danny is way better than he has any right to be. Maybe he will scream again and the cognitive dissonance will go away. Allison smacks them around, Danny gets hit the hardest, which is nice. Then there's a whole -- I hate this song, I don't know it very well -- thing where they yell at each other about "no more teachers, no more books," and that is not very pretty. Once again, everybody but Danny, and yes I do include Adam here, sounds kind of awful. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_results_1.php
Ryan puts the kids on the couch and asks if -- eighteen weeks in -- they're getting used to Wednesdays. Danny offers the observation that "Wednesday nights are the most tiring of all the days," and he's almost asleep right there on the stage. Well, I'm so fucking glad I could tune in, Danny. Kris gives a speech about how bizarre it is for him to be in the Top Four. Ryan and Simon pull this whole daddymommy about how Kris should feel like he deserves it, and to stop being humble. Everybody cheers about how Adam sang "Whole Lotta Love" for the first time on Idol, which is sort of pointless because there's never been a point until now where that song would be appropriate or even exist in the same universe as this show. Although that does deserve applause in and of itself.
Then Ryan's like, "Danny, you know more than all of us, so why don't you tell us how you did last night?" Danny explains that it's the stage's fault, and the crowd's fault, that he was so fucking horrible last night: he couldn't hear how terribly he was doing, so of course he had no choice but to treat the judges like imbeciles. Of course, having "watched it back," which in this context means "read the entire internet making fun of his retarded ass," he has decided that it's a fun, laughable performance and we're all having fun together. Wasn't it so funny? It's so fucking funny and likeable! People are making ringtones of his shitty performance! It's his funniest moment on American Idol, in fact! www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_results_1.php?page=2
So last night, while enjoying the Danny performance for what it was, I was also sort of mystified by the non-Danny response, which was that he would somehow lose votes. No, he will not lose votes for sucking, because we've never been voting for Danny's actual (very high, usually) quality of singing, but in fact for America. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_results_1.php?page=4
Which is a vote against Adam Lambert, to be honest. ...Danny's genius is like Tyra Banks's genius: giving us not what we want, but what he wants, which turns out to be the same thing, because he just happens to be as unthinking and insecure as we are. ...what he's saying is that it's less important whether he was good, and more important that he's on our side. Which Adam is not, because Adam is elite and in league with Simon, who hates America. So this is either a show about who's more awesome, or a show about what America means.
You know I've always looked at it as both, because America herself is in fact awesome, but I would direct you at this point to what Danny's saying, which is that it's not about ideology at this point, just psychology: either Danny deserves to be praised simply for existing, or Adam deserves to be praised for doing something you and I cannot do. I think they're both valid, but I also think we cannot fix ourselves until we understand that the conflict lies here and nowhere else: not in tax breaks, not in people's wombs, not in my big gay bedroom, but in the fact that everybody does their best to live in the house of their best accomplishment and not leave it, no matter the cost. It's about the question of aspiration versus the question of satisfaction, which are two measuring sticks that will never equal out. If you pride yourself on intelligence and fairness, you're not going to hear the words coming out of anybody else's mouth, and if you pride yourself on success and values, you can't hear anything but that. It's tricky to see the validity in both, and I'm really bad at it, but I think that's the goal. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_results_1.php?page=5
Kris still can't believe he's safe after the walloping he got last night, and now who else is safe? It's in "random order," but at this point it's all just pretending it matters anyway. The next person is Adam, which I guess makes sense if we're pretending Danny's fuckup last night had any kind of real impact on his future. Danny awkwardly puts his arm around Allison's shoulders, and they stare at Ryan for awhile, and then he's safe and they hug.
That's too bad. This has been like the best Top Six ever, so it's going to be a bummer every week because they all deserve to be there. And I mean, I understand voting and democracy and math, so I get it, but it's still a bummer. Oh well, Allison. The video journey is kind of painful because it contains a lot of voiceovering from Allison. Live Allison watching her history is much older-looking than she ever has been, and they do a good job of showing the best things about her: her voice and her incredible talent, her cuteness, her goodness. I wish they'd dropped in at least one or two references to the way she was constantly imperiled, because I do believe that voodoo worked on me. I love, love her voice, but I think I took her more personally because for so long it felt like nobody got that.
And then, of course, the more she toned down her true weirdness and roughed off the edges, the more people liked her. Which is the truth about every single thing in the whole world, but I feel like she kept her shit together really well. Considering where Adam started and where he is now, I feel like Allison possibly stayed truer to her shit. But then, where Allison started was not a very interesting place to begin with, so the road to accessibility was shorter. I never thought she'd make it this far, and that's nice to see her do it. Her singout is really powerful, and Ryan is more solicitous than usual with her, because she's awesome and very young, and she climbs all over Adam, and it's over. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_4_results_1.php?page=9
Next week: Judges' choice, and personal pick. I predict we're going to be dealing with a lot of clichés in the Judgery pick because we always are, but I also think this sort of enforced limitation is the kind of thing that pushes artists into wonderful work, so for the first round I'm actually really looking forward to Adam, and I think Kris will do an awesome job with that too, depending on their choices. I'm more worried about Kris's choice, because it's going to be in that Jack Johnson/DMB/Jason Castro vein and no matter how good it is, I won't care about it. Danny, they are going to pick the most obvious thing they can think of, like Archuleta, and it's going to be a showstopper.
Personal choices, I think the standout for votes and awfulness will be Danny for sure, obviously, because he will pick the most obvious thing too, which works, and of course this will be the reason Kris goes home, but I'm intensely curious as to what Adam possibly will choose. It will either be something random and counterintuitive that he does something cool with, like Roy Orbison or something; something deeply personal and weird that will succeed based on his passion, like I don't know, "Flying Dutchman" or "Suspended in Gaffa," or something from Wicked, I can't say because honestly I still don't know what he's actually about because he's good at everything, but I'm thinking along the lines of Cook's "Innocent" or Giraud's "So Small"; or finally something completely hysterical that will get him talked about, like "Don't cha" or "Toxic" or "Umbrella."
Achtung, Maybe By Jacob | Season 8 | Episode 37 | Aired on 2009.05.12
Top 3: Performances - Gokey plays to the cheap seats, Adam goes buckwild as usual, and Kris does something astonishing.
The boys are all lined up in the white lights and doing the following: Danny is smarming and then going completely dead inside while you watch, Kris is staring into space waiting to be sent home tomorrow, and Adam is mentally doing his grocery shopping. Ryan reminds us that we're doing the hometown visits, which is good because I have to be nice during those or I get letters.
This is the 300th episode of the show. Jeez. The Top Three come out wearing similar silhouettes: Danny and Kris in t-shirts under vests or whatever, and Adam with his shirt buttoned down to here.
Ryan brings everybody back to being normal for a second by shocking them so hardcore, like he literally goes, "Check out this mindfuck: Simon Cowell picked a song for Adam Lambert." I almost started crying right there, because whatever he says they both know Adam's going to do something amazing with it, because they understand the show and the way selling things works. So outside a stripmall in whatever place he's from, Adam learns he'll be singing "One"! Yes, that one!
It's one of Simon's -- and my, and yours, and everybody's in the world, which is why it's one of Simon's, and my -- favorite songs. And he says, by way of praising Adam and sending him encouragement vibes, that Bono called him on Sunday to grant permission for the performance, and said it would be U2's pleasure. Of course, not even Ryan can resist a smirk about Simon's name-dropping, even though that's not what this was, but Paula makes it okay by blurting, "We have lunch!" Which is a callback to a similar conversation that took place sometime in the last five years, which for Paula to remember and perfectly reference is like if your little sister suddenly started insulting you in iambic pentameter. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_performances_1.php?page=4
I am so ready for this show to be over. I try to think about dealing with this year without Adam and Allison and Matt and Kris, and I literally feel sick. Seasons Two and Three would have killed my ass. So anyway, the performance is way too short, not only because it's a pleasure to listen to but because it jumps from the highs and special and memorable parts of the song without actually building to them. The song's a huge, huge thing, just gigantic in there, and this was like a little songlet.
I'm not sure, actually, that the heart in that gigantic room of a song is actually located in the bits that Adam kept, but maybe it's just a lack of building because I couldn't tell you where it actually is. The crowd goes wild, and either it's real or there's a great edit that makes it seem as though he and his father are having a total moment. It gave me chills either way, because A) when your Dad looks at you like that, you can automatically do anything, and B) if Adam was my son, I would look at him like that every second of every day.
Hey quick, ask yourself the name of the song that Danny Gokey sang. Yeah, that's what I thought.
So Randy, and I don't disagree, was not in love with the "displacement" of the melody, in his performance. Simon boos him, which act demeans every single one of us. If you're not part of the solution you're part of the precipitate. Kara calls Adam a "strategist" and praises his artistry and vision, pointing Simon to the disconnect of him calling her out for trusting Kris not to duff it.
Paula makes it all about Paula, who is finding it hard to be Paula because Simon is next to her gloating, and then makes a little play on words about how it was one brilliant song, one superb performance, and one American idol that she's staring at right now. Droll.
Yeah, but the last part's pretty bold. Adam takes it in the whoa-inducing sense it was intended, and Simon makes a joke about how the song choice was excellent (Have you noticed he only makes these lame little jokes with Adam, and always goes, "just kidding!" afterwards? I think he likes making Adam giggle almost as much as he does Ryan) and says that it was a brilliant performance. He words his next statement -- that Adam will probably win -- in a very smart way, which is by making it both negative and subjunctive, downplaying it by saying if Adam isn't in the finals next week it will be "ridiculous," a theme he will continue to develop tonight: wouldn't it be fucking horrible if you didn't vote for Adam? www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_performances_1.php?page=5
Ryan pokes Simon again about the namedropping and then dicks with him, asking if he helped Adam put that together the way he said Kara should have done with Kris, and Simon blows him off. Meanwhile, Adam's too sincere to even see the joke there, or else just didn't hear the precursor to it, and immediately goes into his usual babble about how beautiful the lyrics are. Which, don't put too fine a point on it, Adam, because we can all agree that the song gives us a good feeling, but the lyrics are not something you should be urging the audience to look into. You Adam'd when you should have Danny'd, and just talked about how inspiring and American and dead-wifelike the song was. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_performances_1.php?page=6
Ryan cracks Adam the hell up with this little list: "You've done Queen, you've done Cher..." Of course, this is a joke setup because Ryan knows what he's singing, but at the moment he's saying it I was like, "Leave Britney alone! I hope he fucking says Gwar." In fact, he says Aerosmith, which is like the real Gwar, because they are monsters, and the song he's singing is "Cryin'," which... huh. That's like a song.
Lots of songs, actually. Is this the one where Alicia Silverstone bungee jumps with the finger, or the one where she makes out with Liv Tyler? (Remember when Garth was so scared of the leprechaun that he saw the leprechaun in Alicia Silverstone's blurred-out finger? Was that real? It sounds like something I would imagine.) I wish Adam Lambert and David Cook would drive a tractor over Danny Gokey while I logged photobooth time with Kris Allen. Oh, and animal crackers. There, now you know everything I know about Aerosmith. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_performances_1.php?page=8
And it's great. It has that whole blockbuster sensibility they like at the end of the show, and his voice is so much better suited to doing this stuff. Screechy is not lovely for a song that's meant to be lovely, but is very good for a song that's not very special. The camera does the swoopy thing, even, and the crowd goes wild, and it's almost but not quite as amazing as when Cook did the Aerosmith song and won this show. I guess I just don't understand Aerosmith until these boys explain it to me in my own language.
Kara's like, "How do you even sing like that and then talk the next day?" and welcomes him to the finals. Paula talks crazy. Simon tells him that it's easy to assume he'll sail through that people might get stupid and not vote for him, and he urges nobody to get stupid. That's like the third time Simon's been incredibly transparent about his agenda this season, second time this episode. He must really care about this. I know I do. My buddy Karen has a good theory about Adam and Simon, which is that Adam is adept at giving Simon exactly what he wants, sometimes I think before Simon knows what he wants, and that this is the genius of Adam, because Simon knows everything and is always right. I want to be on a team with Simon Cowell like that, how fantastic would that be? So very.
Playlist, besides the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs I'm not allowed to like: A. C. Newman and Jason Molina; Passion Pit and Ruby Isle; and Benoît Pioulard.
Tomorrow: Jordin Sparks and what is sure to be at least three pages about what's wrong with Katy Perry, but I have no freaking clue how the votes will go. Danny was sucky-good like he always is, and Adam continued to manage making himself more accessible, but Kris pulled out a serious Namath out of nowhere. I've been so resigned to the obvious Danny/Adam of it all that I can't honestly consider Kris making it, but that really would do something to my insides if it happened. I'm going to go listen to it again right now. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_performances_1.php?page=9
I mean, I am checked out like a John Irving hardcover tonight. I'm really sorry if I'm being weird but I mean what the fuck? I can remember feeling like Wednesday night was mostly filler and that was when it was only a half hour. This is just like, fifteen unrelated bullshitty things they throw at you, and Danny Gokey talking and all that. The only way you can possibly render a Gokey/Keys/Perry triple threat is by having a Kris/Adam finale, and that's about as realistic as Jordin Sparks's next single being awesome. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_results_1.php
Adam's like, "Some lady took her top off and came running across the stage in my hometown so yeah, I have effectively left the bubble." Ain't no crazy like motherfucking San Diego crazy. Those people will blow your mind. He puts makeup on some newscaster and discusses shoes with another one and charms the pants off the like three people in the world that still have uncharmed pants, and it's a whirlwind. Grandpas and people in wheelchairs and screaming teens with braces! Amazing. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_results_1.php?page=4
This week's been weird for media coverage because everybody wants to talk about the gay thing and doing that weird millennial move of talking about how gay he is for 9000 words and then turning the about-face at the end like, "But who really cares? Let's all rise above the gay question and mourn the fact that we have come so far and yet have so far to go and blah blah blah."
Who really cares? Um, everybody that wrote the same article you did, dick. Adam Lambert is fabulously, intensely, brilliantly gay. That's not a topic, it's a word: he's also tall, wears too much makeup, and can make his voice do tricks you won't see in Thailand. More importantly, yes, he is awesome, but getting meta on it and saying you're not saying what you're totally saying is not only lame, but not actually writing.
Gokey informs Ryan that his timetable is unacceptable, and that it's stupid to waste time with commercials and pimpmercials and Jordin Sparks and Katy Perry when we could all be finding out what's going on with Danny Gokey. Awesomely, somebody cracks Adam up during this whine speech by yelling "I WANT TO SEE KATY PERRY," calling Danny on his pointlessness and giving Ryan a platform to explain to Danny Gokey that this is not Ryan's poor planning or secret vendetta against Danny, but in fact reality that is the problem. Again. (I think it was actually Adam who said he wanted to see Katy Perry, which makes this so much more awesome. -- Angel) www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_results_1.php?page=5
Okay. So the first person in the finale is... KRIS! AWESOME! Simon's a little teary-eyed, as am I. Dad's having a meltdown again, and Paula can't even believe it. She really looks beautiful. Thank God once again for Kanye West.
Except oh shit, because what does that mean for Adam? Danny's never been in the B3, and Adam has. Kara is on tenterhooks. Please God, Simon, please let your magic voodoo last night win. I can't even handle the concept of living in a world where Adam and Kris are the finale. I honestly can't picture... OH SHIT! Is this real? Am I having a stroke? What the fuck was I doing going on and on about Weetzie Bat when I could have been finding this out? Why can't I just shut the fuck up sometimes? I could have known this information minutes ago. [Ah, the beauty of a Gokey-free finale. -AC] www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_results_1.php?page=7
Next week: I've been saying it's the best season ever since auditions, and you didn't believe me. Can you possibly join me now? Because check out your Top Two: KRIS and ADAM, which is the equivalent of winning two new cars in a raffle you forgot you entered. One of them goes really fast, changes from one just-invented color to another, gets its satellite radio from an unknown star, and takes you to wonderful, frightening lands of the future. The other has automatic transmission, sleek lines and touchable faux-leather interior, and always smells like heaven. And the biggest dilemma you face in your life is: which car am I going to drive today? That's a lot like having no problems at all. See you there. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/top_3_results_1.php?page=9
So let's ask gay-adjacent Ryan Seacrest what it's really about. He says: they don't know either. "Acoustic Rocker vs. Glam Rocker, Conway vs. California, Guy Next Door vs. Guyliner" is what it's about. Those are ... words. I keep looking for the semiotics of this matchup and I can't find them. I think the producers were as shocked by the Gokey elimination as everybody else was, and just didn't even have time to scramble. "Let's just go with Everybody Wins and say fuck it." www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php
So Kris won the coin toss, and he's going second...
It's so weird, because while we seem to have been presented with this cornucopia of songs and choices and flavors, this is the only week where the contestants don't really have any choices at all. One song they both have to sing, one song is going to be a Golden Oldie chosen by a golden oldie, and the first one they already sang. I mean, it makes sense, as a sort of survey of the show, but wouldn't it be crazy to get one more truly insane Adam choice here at the end?
So predictably, Adam will be singing "Mad World" again, from The Year Of Your Birth. He comes out in a trenchcoat surrounded by mists, which means Randy is going to be screaming about Twilight at some point, because he only knows three things at any time. Actually, it's more like Donnie Darko and Thomas Anderson going on a date at the haunted opera.
There's a cool scraping sound in the background the entire time that either means it's going to build all crazy, or it's just an awesome effect that will sound really good on the studio version. I say B, although considering how moody the song is, watching Adam finagle a way to go truly insane on it in some counterintuitive way would be really fun. How cool would it be to transition into the Tears For Fears version at the end? I've always thought it was funny that the only crap this Gary Jules version got from anybody was that it was somehow less badass than the Tears For Fears version. Can you imagine being told that you're like a softer version of that band? You would like automatically grow a long ponytail and start listening to jazz.
The first one was successful because we didn't know he could do stripped down and vulnerable, so it's nice that this one is more dramatic. His voice is beautifully controlled, and somehow less in-your-face, and then... It's over. I still think the techno would have been cool, and Adam would have been able to pull it off. So at this point I was going to reproduce exactly what Randy said about the song, just to show you how I was wise to stop recapping him, but my fingers don't want to type it. They all put on footie pajamas and grabbed teddybears when I tried.
Kara remembers how that song proved to her that he was a true artist, and says something cool about how when he did it the first time, he scared the shit out of everybody and they started strategizing to keep up with him. That's awesome. You know I've always thought that she was here basically because Blake started an avalanche that led to Brooke and David Cook, which is the same reason I'm still here, because this year everybody was like that almost. But imagine if she'd been here in Seven to explain him to everybody else. Danny and Anoop both look like they've eaten whole lemons out in the audience, and Giraud looks bummed to have to sit with them. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=3
Meanwhile, Simon literally has his shirt unbuttoned to his navel. You can see all the way down to like his childhood and formative experiences. He says that the original was Adam's best of the whole year, but that this one was a bit overly theatrical, reminding him of Phantom Of The Opera of course (And guess what Randy starts screaming?) But Adam's awesome, because he's like, "They told me they had dry ice!" Like that's all it took to convince him. I bet it was. Simon says that another factor reminding him of that musical was the lurking of Ryan, who then comes out and almost holds Adam's hand. Not, we'll see, for the last time. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=4
Simon Fuller chose "A Change Is Gonna Come" for Adam Lambert, wearing a cool sharky suit and doing Sam Cooke? Yes please. It's right in the middle of his range, that sweet area that he always seems to see as a platform for jumping off. It's so fun to hear. And I mean, who knew Adam could do oldies soul like this? Well, Adam can do anything, but you know what I mean. It's like seeing a trapeze artist do tai chi, just calm down for a second and be awesome. He's got all this intensity and stuff, right, and to bring it to a soul song and play it mostly straight is really exciting. His voice sounds insane on this song, even without the screeching... And there's the screeching. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=5
That's fine. I like how sometimes even Adam seems shocked by the sounds coming out of him, and does a little Betty Boop move with his eyes wide to indicate that he's not entirely in control. I'm mostly just stuck on: What an awesome choice, Other Simon! This is why you have the job that you have! I mean, there's a semiotic thing here, having to do with Obama and hope-type words, and it's an ideological mashup with the electric backup and the awesome organ, but consider an alternate universe where Danny was here, how different this song would be coming off.
Without Danny to push against, it's like he's singing for everybody, and not just half of everybody. Whatever Kris does, he could have sung exactly this same song and it wouldn't mean anything much different; either way it's like, "Today is a really nice day and I'm glad we survived." You know? That whole foot pain is not a fact of life, life is much better than that thing. I keep waiting for the bad shit to show up and it keeps not happening. Maybe that's for tomorrow. Maybe Rihanna will come and somebody will yell something inappropriate, or something.
Kara's decided that was his best performance and interpretation of all time, just like every time he sings or she talks, but she's right: he was able to combine those screeching high notes but also do the emotional side. She calls this the winning combination, using "both sides of [himself]," which is not only true and sort of amazing, but also makes him cry. Paula also thinks it was the best he's ever sung. Her van der boobs are also doing the best job they've ever done. She mentions the way he commanded the stage, and calls him iconic and a superstar. Guys, you know if you keep going there he's going to break down, and he's still got like a hundred songs to sing tonight. Simon welcomes him back to the game, and he chuckles with how awesome Adam is. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=6
Yet again, Ryan and Adam are holding hands. This is the best. They keep holding hands and forgetting not to hold hands, and then sort of regretfully remember and let go. Simon also finds this awesome, but man, you know I would have to be wearing some kind of shock collar not to be always reaching for Ryan and grabbing and snatching and fixing his tie and ruffling his hair and imagining lint and whatnot. I cannot think of anything more comforting in this universe than Ryan holding your hand, obviously, but I also was reading up on Alien Hand Syndrome for my other job, and learned about this related syndrome called Utilization Behavior where your hands have a mind of their own and just grab everything, like, if there's a hairbrush on the table near you, you pick it up without even thinking about it and start brushing your hair, but like compulsively. And that's how Ryan is to me, and apparently how Adam Lambert is to Ryan, because he won't leave him alone for anything.
So they finally let go and butch up for one second, all "Game on!" and then... right back to holding hands. They are some handholding motherfuckers. I have never once in the history of this show wanted to be on that stage in any capacity -- maybe for a boxing match with David Archuleta -- but right now that hot mess is exactly where I... Katie and Suri. KATIE AND SURI! I saw them! Look, it's Katie and Suri! Katie's holding Suri to her chest, with one hand over her ears. Probably it's pretty loud in there, but if you're Suri Cruise I bet it's just deafening after being raised in quiet contemplation like that. I know we love Adam Lambert but it's so loud, Mommy! www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=7
Adam is a performer singer, and Kris is a musician who sings. That's like their whole personalities right there, musically. If Adam had a guitar how could he stomp around and scream and show us his business? And if Kris were just standing there nervously shivering... Well, we've seen that. ...I totally forgot to make the Marry/Fuck/Kill joke about the Top Three last week. Dammit, that would have rocked. The answer might have surprised you!
No, no it really wouldn't have. And if I have to marry Adam Lambert in order to finally meet Ryan Seacrest, I'm sticking by it. Besides, the one thing you can count on iconic superstars for is leaving you alone when you're trying to do shit, which is my main issue with getting married. Well, that and the fact that it's inherently sexist. Well, and the fact that I still resent marriage for being a fake political issue that gets everybody all riled up and self-absorbed so they don't see the sneaky shit that is actually going on in their politicians. Yes, marriage is the Whites Only water fountain of the millennium, but it's like: should I really get aggro about that when the water itself is irrelevant and tastes like the '50s? I'll take Diet Coke instead, it's not a problem, don't get up. I know where the vodka's located. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=8
I've been excited about the final two for years now, haven't you? The only difference between Archuleta/Jordin and Kris is that he wasn't constructed in a Beanie Baby factory, and the only difference between Cook/Blake and Adam is... I was going to say nail polish? But that would be precisely wrong. I feel like he's got something happening the other two don't, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is.
Adam's too close up on the mic, but the beat is pretty nice. The lyrics to these always starts a bit darker than you're expecting, I guess since Fantasia it's had to be that way: you have to start out pretty dark in order to end up in Rainbowland with the talking ponies and pots o' gold and whatever. But still, it's weird because you can't really know how much is you liking or hating the song until they both sing it, and this song has the advantage of being imminently singable by both of them, in terms of its tone and story. Adam's a little too big for the backup singers, and a little ahead of the band I think, so there's more crosstalk than necessary, which is bad news. And he's always going to have slightly more energy than songs like this are going to contain. However, in final analysis before we move on, I think he's going to end up doing a slightly better job.
Pain and hurricanes, eh? You know, it's been so long that I can't remember, but I'm willing to bet that time and accreted associations has made "A Moment Like This" a much more palatable song than I may have thought at the time. When I think about coronation songs, that's the only one I respect, but it's entirely probable that I also found it totally queer at the time.
Randy says it's "a little pitchy," which it was, and Kara says she's both moved and proud to have had Adam do such an amazing thing with something she wrote. She thanks him sweetly for such a proud moment at the end of the season, and he's suitable moved by such a powerful statement, then professionally thanks her for giving him such a song to work with. Paula, adjectives fail her. She's got fake tan/bubblegum lipstick, giving her that deranged look Janeane Garofalo used to effect. Who knows what she's saying? I can't even pay attention to her now that I've noticed the homeless Miami makeup job. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=11
Simon makes fun of the lyrics, and Kara is beyond gracious about that, but reminds himself to judge the singer, not the song. He then completely forgets to do so, and gives a little narrative about how amazing Adam is, and how original and wonderful Adam has been from start to finish. He says that the whole point of the show is, for him, about finding a worldwide star, and says he genuinely believes with all his heart that Adam is it. Not a word about the performance, tellingly, but then he has no idea what Kris is going to do to the song.
Ryan asks him some question I don't even know, because Ryan! You are touching the talent too much! Even Adam is like, "Dude?" But the secret key is that this isn't a boy/boy thing with Ryan, it's just that he's attracted to gravity and loves attention, so the fact that Adam has the eyes of America on him right now, and the energy of the whole theatre is so Adam-directed, that he's like a moth to a flame. He totally has Utilization Behavior! It's what makes the concept of Drunk Ryan seem a little scary, but mostly it's what makes him so excellent at his job: he knows where the gravity is located. If we were at the Louvre he would have to keep himself from grabbing and snatching at the art. One piece of sushi left, he's going to stare at it until somebody eats it. You know? He's done this with other contestants too, the pawing, but usually it's girls who crawl all over him in return, or Bices that get all jumpy about it.
So Ryan very seriously tells Adam that he is a class act, which he truly is, and then gazes at him delightedly. Aww, Ryan loves him! I love how he's not even trying to be impartial. Ryan, you are a class act. Then he gazes at Adam for awhile, and Adam's like this nervous bird staring around at everything, and then Ryan grabs him! Again! Because he looooves him! He's like at a birthday party when they bring out the bunny and all the kids stare unmoving at the bunny, like little feral statues with fingers atwitch, because they have to touch the bunny. It's like Ryan Reynolds. I think Adam should win just for putting up with it. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=12
Kris's "No Boundaries" seems to have a more dramatic mix, and he starts out stronger than Adam in the first few lines. I was thinking about how, after Cook won over Archuleta I was sort of flummoxed because I had a certain amount of beliefs taken away at that point, but sending Gokey out over Kris has demolished them further. I thought we could depend on that. So now I don't know. I want Adam to win, but Kris is my favorite. So it seems to me that Kris will win, because it's not brains that win this fight, but I think Adam brings in people who don't watch this show, and they might vote out of nowhere. www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/american_idol/finale_performances.php?page=13
And being naturally a very angry person, a person who will always choose fighting over any other activity, this gayest of all possible ideas has given me a lot of secret support over the years. What would that man do? Somebody's fucking with your life or trying to keep you quiet? Stab 'em. Somebody's going to hurt somebody you love? Kick his head in. But at the same time, if somebody honestly wants in, you have to submit to that and let them in, even if it's super scary and the thought makes you panic, you have to occasionally put your head in somebody's lap. I'm still learning to deal with that, with the idea of other people having the ability to be awesome and not let you down, and I think as a country, it's very hard to get that trust back, and actually believe in good intentions.
Especially when things are incredibly fucking rough like they are right now, it just makes sense to crawl back in the cave and growl until things are better -- which of course they never will be, until you pull it together and realize that acting like a man doesn't always mean acting. David Cook was good at this too: what you have here are two men who are adept at this, in a generation who are just showing their ability to really shine at it, without losing anything in the process: keeping the balance, without letting anybody push them onto one side or the other. And if that's the choice that America's handing us -- the choice between these two men who are soft, but manage to be anything but weak, and are the only two out of the whole Top Twelve you could say that about -- that's the best news I've heard in a long, long time.