Anyhow, the spaceship of a stage is back, along with the Announcer From Above who is still announcing the judges like some kind of intergalactic beauty pageant from hell. Randy is wearing his Dawg glasses, big old honking watch and a boring black and white cardigan. Kara looks like the costumers from either Space 1999 or Battlestar Galactica designed her silver lamé (or lame) dress. Paula is wearing a fruity kitchen tablecloth that shoves her girls up under her neck. Simon looks like he forget to put a shirt on and instead wearing a plain Hanes undershirt. Prepare for takeoff!
Unfortunately Seacrest doesn't trip on his way down the stairs. Too bad. He gives a shout out to St. Patrick's Day and the stage goes oh-so-subtle in varying shades of green with shamrocks everywhere. However, not a splash of green on any of the judges or on Seacrest.
Randy Travis is our guest mentor of the week and for some unexplainable reason, because I generally detest country music, I have always kind of liked him. True, he does look like his teeth are not only taking over his face but have dreams of taking over the world, but he seems like an affable guy. Idol gives us a montage of country music, which I quickly fast forward thru (thank you, DVR!).
Michael has the Kiss of Death First Spot and he will be singing Garth Brooks' (I think) "Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up". I figure that Michael will be okay this week, as he is from Texas and seems like he's a good old boy who would be into country. We get to see Michael practicing with Randy T. and fanwanking going on everywhere. Michael is earnest and obviously is in awe of being in Randy T.'s presence. I don't know this song, because again I despise country music in general, but it's got a catchy beat and apparently you have to sing really, really fast. Randy T. warns that it's not the kind of song that you can pick back up if you should forget or miss a word. Michael, be warned. So Michael performs and he doesn't miss a word or a beat. It's a fun performance and Michael looks like he's having the time of his life. The audience is even getting into it, which can be practically unheard of for the Kiss of Death First Slot. Randy, he of the big honking watch, is first from the Podium of Righteousness. Kara is next and I'm thinking that regardless of what her opinion is, if anyone is suffering from hypothermia that "dress" she has on would double very nicely as a medical or survival blanket. Paula liked Michael's performance and thought he had found a nice niche with the country angle. Mr. Sassy Pants (™ Nick Marshall aka Norman Gentle) is already in quite a mood because he didn't understand a word that Michael sang and thought on a scale of 1 to 10, he would rate a 1.2. The audience roundly boos Simon and Michael talks back, which immediately garners Michael votes, as far as I'm concerned. Heck, I thought it was fun and Simon was a bit harsh, so I plan on throwing Michael a few votes (okay, 10).
Three Pack a Day Allison and her magenta hair is up next and I really have absolutely no idea what she is singing but it sounds strangely like cats caterwauling in a metal garbage can. I honestly don't understand what the hype is all about over this girl because I think I can go into any hole in the wall bar at 2 a.m. and stick an inebriated 50 year old woman on stage and get the same result. Only the inebriated 50 year old woman will have more personality. So Kara, of course, totally kisses Allison's ass because she got the memo that TPTB want Allison in their Top 3. Kara thinks Allison could sing the alphabet. Hey Kara, I can sing the alphabet too but it doesn't mean anyone wants to listen. Paula thinks Three Pack is a complete artist but wants her to try to be vulnerable next time. How would we know? Three Pack sounds exactly the same, all the damn time. Simon thinks Three Pack gave a solid performance but he found it precocious. Is that British slang for "homicide inducing"? Randy thinks Three Pack's performance was "DOPE!". Unless maybe he was talking about himself.
Kris also now known as Tender Dawg was up next and my gosh, but he just keeps getting cuter and hotter every week. He's getting at least one vote from me just for being so darn cute. Kris ran thru his song with Randy T. with his guitar and it sure did sound pretty but Seacrest tells us that Kris will be performing without his guitar. Feelings of fear settle in my stomach because obviously Kris is not one of the Chosen Ones and it's much too early to lose the pretty. He is singing a Garth Brooks song called "To Make You Feel My Love" or something like that and damn! Who knew that Kris actually had a voice? He sounds very smooth and he is connected to the song, as far as I'm concerned (which may mean the judges hate it). Paula thinks Kris sounded vulnerable and it was a good, good performance without the guitar. Sassy Pants, surprisingly enough, thought it was TERRIFIC. I know, Kris, I think I'm going to pass out, too. He thought it was a great choice of song and Kris was fully in control. He also thought Kris proved he has a shot of doing really well in the competition. Randy stated, and I quote, it was a performance of "tender moments from my dawg, Kris." That guy is such a doofus. Kara thought Tender Dawg (™ Doofus) was very good, although she wondered aloud if it was country? Kara, if it wasn't country, sweetie, I don't think it would be on the approved list. Take a chug of Paula's "coke" and shut the fuck up.
Lil Round Rapper is next and Seacrest is sitting with her and did he do this with the other Idolizers and I missed it? Or are TPTB being completely in your face about the Idolizers they want in? Major pimpage, regardless. So LRR is going to "honor country" (WTF?) by singing "Independence Day" by Martina McBride. Um, okay. Randy T. thinks LRR has "big pipes". Did Randy T. catch an eyeful of her booty because that's big in my book, too. LRR appears to be wearing a huge fuchsia dinner napkin across her chest and I find myself completely distracted and entranced by it. Her performance, in my humble opinion, was boring. She appears to be skating to me, just waiting for the moment in every song when she can foghorn out that big note. Randy (because I suppose Sassy Pants refuses to give the first critique, like, ever) thought LRR was "interesting" but should have picked Dolly Parton. He thought it was an ambitious song but didn't think LRR felt comfortable during the performance. And to respond to the few boos that came in (unjustifiably), he's "keeping it real". Well, thank God for that. Kara states that she must be deaf to not know LRR is a great singer, therefore we all must be too. I agree there - - I must be deaf because I don't get it. Kara gives LRR props for standing her ground and choosing a song she wanted to, which perfectly demonstrates that LRRL is one of the Chosen Ones because no one else has gotten props for choosing whatever song they wanted and singing it. Doesn't everyone do that every week? Where were Marlboro's props last week for that drive-by audio assault of "Rockin' Robin"? One would assume she chose that, as well as choosing to "caw caw" at the end. I don't recall Kara giving her props for that. Kara seriously needs a big jug of Shut the Fuck Up. Paula starts off by telling LRR her hair, her makeup, her napkin was beautiful so you know LRR's performance basically sucked ass but the ladies, at least, are going to ignore the big pink elephant (or napkin, as it were) in the room and attempt to convince us that LRR was all that. Sassy Pants thought LRR sounded like one of those women at a wedding that is forced to sing a song they don't feel comfortable with. Thank God for Sassy Pants! I'll go back to calling him Simon, so long as he doesn't do something boneheaded. LRR attempts to talk over Simon, which is never a good thing. Simon repeats that the performance was simply not LRR, with LRR insisting (repeatedly) that she was trying something new. Like meh and boring? Seacrest comes out to break up the melee and very randomly tells Simon that Randy (not Travis, but Doofus) calls him "the little judge" behind closed doors. This statement reeks so badly of closet homosexuality that it's jawdropping because I'm sure that Seacrest would love for Simon to call him (or a part of him) the "little judge".
Adam Fucking Lambert is next and Seacrest chats him up on the red stools instead of the Confessional Couch in the Red Room of Coke. Seacrest asks if his song will be "signature Adam" and Adam says of course it will and the lyrics are awesome. We find out that Adam will be singing Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" . . . but a "Middle Eastern version". What? Randy T. is just as confused because he doesn't even "know what to think about this boy". Love it! Randy T. says Adam Fucking Lambert threw him for a loop and he doesn't see men wearing nail polish all that often. He gives Adam points for uniqueness though. I can't wait! So Adam comes out and starts the song and while, at least in the beginning, it sounds nothing like Johnny Cash, it does sound strangely enough like a Jim Morrison Does Country in the Middle East kinda thing. Adam is even dressed in very tight leather pants like JM would have worn. Adam overdoes the eyefucking and even does some vocal fucking and at one point, I think he's going to begin to hump the mic stand because he is really getting all hot and bothered. Nevermind the sitar and the random smoke bellowing out across the stage. It does appear the cameraman likes Adam because I think I can count his pores due to all the close ups. He does have some big pipes, to quote Randy T., though. Kara has never seen that type of country rendition (neither have we) and although she got her fix of Adam Fucking Lambert drama and the "eye thing" (code for eyefucking) she found it strange. It left her confused and yet strangely happy. This is the first thing tonight that Kara has said that makes absolute 100% sense. I completely agree. It was confusing and yet I loved it in ways I still don't understand. It was like an audio drug that took me to Paula's Happy Place, where unicorns frolic, there are rainbows aplenty, along with sitars and smoke machines. Paula gave Adam earned props for staying true to himself as an artist. She loved the song and the sitar. She figures Adam is either a quick study or a born natural - - or both. He raises his own bar each week and so now we will expect more and more from him. Simon is still laughing, as is Adam, over the performance and wants to know what the hell that was. He says there are probably a lot of people throwing their t.v. sets out the window and he found Adam's performance to be "absolute indulgent rubbish" and "really, really horrific". A bit harsh, Sassy Pants. Randy, very surprisingly, disagreed with Simon, and thought Adam sounded like Nine Inch Nails doing country - - "current, young and fresh". Wow, something relevant and sensible from Randy. Randy T. is still laughing in the audience.
Seacrest confirms that Adam Fucking Lambert has no plans for Nashville and reconfirms that Randy T. is still speechless over the performance. Good times! I fucking love Adam Fucking Lambert.
Scott is up next and he will be singing Martina McBride's "Wild Angels". Randy T. admits that he was thinking "not good" when he first heard Scott's song choice and after hearing his first run thru (with Scott on the piano) thought Scott should pick up the tempo a bit but was vocally fine. He stated that Scott surprised him more than anyone thus far. I thought Scott's performance was fluid, smooth and solid. He definitely is sounding better each week and sounds better with his piano. The high notes are a bit shaky but overall, I think a good choice for him. Paula found Scott impressive and lovely but thinks the piano might be a crutch for him and it doesn't allow the audience to see and connect with him. Scott interjects with "we can move it closer" and I immediately love that. Paula thinks he's a brilliant pianist and vocalist but thinks he should mix it up more. What do you want him to do, Paula? Come out on stage and break dance? Do handstands? The judges originally loved him because he could play piano and sing. Why try to change that now? Simon agrees with me and tells Paula she is not only stupid but disrespectful toward Scott. He says Elton John used to sit behind the piano, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Paula doesn't help her case by adding Billy Joel to the list. Randy bleats out a "Ray Charles" but nobody cares. Simon did find Scott's performance very similar to last week's performance. Scott does say that he is losing out on the song choices each week and, of course, the judges quickly try to cover that up because they don't want us to know that the all the Idolizers don't get to truly choose their own music. Randy was looking for hot, crazy, unbelievable vocals from Scott. Kara asks Scott to up his game, to wow us but says he does bring class and poise to the stage. Seacrest comes out and saddles up to Scott, who gets a wonderfully horrific look on his face. Seacrest does inform everyone that Scott works harder than most in the competition, and works with the band on song arrangements. He asks Scott who he is going to listen to - - Paula or Simon? Scott says if he makes the Top 10, he will eventually hit the stage without the piano but he's not saying when.
Alexis is next and she will be performing Dolly Parton's "Jolene", which I remember Brooke performing last season. In her little chat with Seacrest, Alexis says that not only everyone from the south loves country (not!) but she wants to show America her softer side. Randy T. thinks Alexis did a great job and understands what telling the story, vocally, is all about. He proclaims her "perfect" with nothing needed to be changed. He says that Dolly would be proud. Personally I thought Alexis gave a performance full of emotion with an almost unbelievably strong voice. She is far more impressive than Three Pack Allison, even if it looks like Hefty designed the bodice of her dress. Randy thought Alexis had some pitch problems and wasn't sure that she hit the notes "quite well". He thought she tried to bend it too much in a bluesy way that sometimes doesn't work. I think Randy is a DOPE! He thought it was a good song choice but not a good performance. Kara thought Alexis lost her edge a bit and found her a bit flat. Paula thinks the song was more effective for Alexis than Randy and Kara gave her credit for because Alexis took an artistic approach by showing all sides of her vocals. Paula doesn't care about pitch problems, she just enjoyed seeing Alexis' vulnerable side. Simon thought Alexis was "okay", but a little bit soundalike. The vocals were okay but ultimately forgettable. Seacrest asks Alexis if she would have done anything differently and Alexis promises to dirty it up next week.
Gokey is next and, naturally, he will be singing "Jesus, Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood. This is so obvious that Idol should just go ahead and tell the other Idolizers to fuck off and give Gokey the crown already. So we see and hear how Gokey was totally nervous in front of Randy Travis and he proves this by fucking up his run thru - - repeatedly. I would have paid good money to see Randy Travis look over to the camera and say "can you please get me someone who isn't going to waste my time and fuck up lyrics that every Chosen One on American Idol is contractually required to know?" So Gokey is basically laughing about being a big fat goober in front of Randy Travis and Randy T. says "it's one of those, on that night, you had better hope you are close to 100%" and "the pieces that Gokey actually knew, wow". Ha ha ha, this is one of the most unintentionally funny things ever on Idol. Seriously, Randy T. should get his ticket into heaven just for having to spend an afternoon with the Gokey One. So Gokey takes the stage in a mad scientist white jacket/lab coat and new clear framed glasses to match his "heavenly" appearance. Ye gads, enough with the connection to the God Squad already. So the performance is typical Gokey and the entire time I'm thinking "yes, Jesus, take the wheel and drive the fuck into a brick wall already because I'd rather deal with head trauma than being forced to drink any more of the Gokey juice." The audience, predictably, goes buck wild from the Gift of Gokey. So wild, in fact, that Kara cannot begin her critique and instead whoops into her mic. Help me, Jesus! Help me, Tom Cruise! ( ™ Ricky Bobby). So Kara finally tells Gokey that when he hits his stride, he's like none other. I really can't comment on that because has Gokey hit his stride? Where was it? What was it? She thought the front half of his performance was nothing spectacular but halfway thru, she thought "here comes Gokey!" Paula trips over her tongue because she is so dazzled by the Gokey brilliance. Didn't she see what happened to Pamela on Supernatural? Some angels sent by God are so bright, they just flat out blind you. Of course blindness could explain Paula's apparel choices. Paula disagrees with Kara slightly but then babbles so much Vodka-induced nonsense that not even Simon can understand her. She does eventually say that she thinks Gokey is brilliant and believes that Carrie Underwood would even go out and buy Gokey's record. It's the Vodka, people. Simon agrees with Paula although he doesn't think Carrie Underwood would waste her damn time or money on buying a Gokey record (or CD, as the case may be). He does say that the song can't be screamed from the beginning (Kara) and his only problem is what Gokey is wearing. He wonders if Gokey is going on some sort of polar expedition and why wear such an outfit when it's 80 degrees in LA? Gokey laughs because he has the Power of God behind him and tries to make a joke about how someone thought it looked like he was going to jump out of an airplane and reach for the pull cord out of one of the many pockets but, like Gokey, the joke falls flat. Randy admonishes Simon not to mess with the Gokey fashion. Of course, this is coming from a man who thinks Mr. Rogers' cardigans are fashionable and who himself has worn orange-tinted glasses to match his orangey cardigan. Case closed. He agrees with Kara. Thinks Gokey is a great singer, "crazy", was a little pitchy but will get it together. It's official, people. The Gokey Machine isn't going anywhere. So Seacrest be-bops out and wants to know if Gokey really let go and was it intentional? Has Seacrest always been such a douche?
Anoop is next and Anoop had damn well better bring it this week because I am NOT ready for Anoop to go home yet and I think he could be dangerously close to being in the Bottom Three for real this time, not like the shenanigans of last week. So Seacrest doesn't do a sit down chat with Anoop and what the fuck is that all about? We are forced to listen to his sit down with LRR but no discussion with Anoop Dawg? So very wrong. So Anoop tells us he is very apprehensive about country week because it's not his forte. Anoop will be singing "Always on My Mind" by Willie Nelson and I love this song, even being country. Elvis sang the hell out of it and I once played it for a piano recital. Randy T. tells us that it's hard to get Willie out of your head with this song but all doubt was gone once Anoop got into the first few lines of the song. (Go, Anoop!) Quoting Randy T., "heck, that was good, man!" He even goes further to say "people will rethink his capability as a singer" and "this will be the best anyone has heard from Anoop". Is there hope for my little Anoop? Anoop sings and, in my completely biased opinion, I think his performance is full of emotion. He has got PIPES and he shows them. And he is totally singing to me because I begged him to bring it this week. Love him! Paula starts off the judging by stating Anoop is back! Paula says she is so proud of Anoop and thinks he gave a great interpretation. He has tender, honest, sweet and amazing vocals that touched Paula's heart. Anyone else thinking Paula was wishing Anoop and his vocals would touch her elsewhere? Simon states, astutely, that Anoop went from zero to hero in a week. He proclaims it a good choice of song and one of his favorite performances of the whole night. He also tells Anoop "good for you" for taking a kicking last week but Simon takes back what he said, that Anoop deserved to be in the competition. He says Anoop delivered a great vocal and he's glad Anoop is back. Randy says this is the reason they wanted Anoop Dawg in the competition and Anoop proved it by really showing his vocal skills (mad skills! ™Doofus) and the arrangement was DOPE! Here we go with Doofus and his DOPE! obsession again. Kara says that what Anoop did was very hard to do, he took a classic song, basically one that is "untouchable" and made it amazing. Best performance of the night according to her, as well as the biggest surprise. Seacrest bops on out and asks Anoop if he is surprised by the feedback. Anoop says fuck, no. No, really, he said he would have to say no because he expects himself to do the best every week. Damn, I really love Anoop.
Marlboro Megan is next and, fuck me, she's going to be singing Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight". I love this song. Maybe I'm a secret closet redneck but I really like Patsy Cline. If Marlboro fucks it up, I may be enticed to fly to California and pull her hair out by the roots. So Randy T. says this song has been done "every possible way a human could think of . . . um, okay?" and I'm thinking well, maybe Marlboro will bust out the caterwalling cats like Three Pack Allison did. I'm sure Marlboro will do this song a way no one has ever done it before. Randy T. also says that Marlboro's version is "totally unique". I read into that as meaning it's awesomely craptastic. If she "caw caw"s at the end of it, this will be one of the best days of my life. So Marlboro comes out, wearing an evening dress with that horrendous tattoo showing and she's got one hand on her hip again, doing that weird sway and her boobs look like two oranges fighting to get out of the bodice of her dress and it's totally distracting and the tattoo is totally distracting and the weird swaying is totally distracting. Marlboro's voice shows some strain on the high notes. Not a total disaster, surprisingly, but still somewhat of a mess. I could actually hear Marlboro singing a 40s or "big band" song based on this performance. Not sure how commercial that would be today. Randy starts the judging by saying "I'll bet you're glad that's over!" Yep, we are too, Randy. He says he thought it was going to be a trainwreck (bring on the brutal honesty!) but he turned out being "quite impressed". Whatever. He called it rocky, bluesy, country soul jazzy and says it all really worked. Well, I do agree with the "rocky" part. Kara deemed it a perfect song, with a perfect look. She also tells Marlboro that she is a "winner". WTF? She elaborates by saying not many people with the flu would get up in front of 25-30 million people and do what Marlboro did, blah, blah, blah. I disagree. I think anyone on that stage would do exactly what Marlboro did because they all want to win. Nothing particularly admirable about it. Does it suck? Sure. One of the last things I would want to do if I was suffering from the flu would be to dress up and trot out on stage to perform but if I was competing for a record contract, etc., I sure would get up. Paula tells us that Marlboro has been to the hospital and back and she's a real fighter, a consummate professional. Lord, please. Can't Gokey touch her or look at her or something and immediately heal her? Simon tells Marlboro she should be sick every week as she sounded better this week than last. I'm not sure if that's a compliment or an insult. He also said she looked gorgeous, while I'm thinking she looked like a broken down, busted Crack Barbie.
Matt gets the Pimp Spot and he too will be punishing us with yet another Carrie Underwood song. Can Idol please remove the Carrie Underwood songs from their catalog? Randy T. says Matt's song choice, which I'm too lazy to look up, was an interesting choice, but he's not sure it's a great choice. He changes his tune (pun intended) when Matt sings his own version of the song, and his soulfulness came out. The camera then pans and shows Paula either sniffing or licking Simon's arm. Obviously Paula cannot handle these 2 hour shows. So Matt is decked out in a suit, very nice, and playing piano while he sings. He seems very comfortable performing and Matt and his voice (and even that huge bump on his forehead) are growing on me. The last note was a bit sketchy but shouldn't be a problem, based on the rest of the song (and the Pimp Spot). Kara says "there ain't nothin' small about you, that's for sure!" Uh huh. I can read so many things in the judges' comments. Kara also says Matt is an artist with true talent and, oh hell, she just loves him. Paula thinks Matt is authent - - uh - -authentic. It's a hard word, people. She thinks he was unparalleled tonight and "piercing thru so many people's hearts". I just write it, I swear. She also kudos Carrie Underwood. I think Paula is right roundly smashed. Simon says that yes, Matt is a heart-piercer (???) and doesn't believe he gets enough credit for his vocals. He even outsang The Gokey tonight. Yeah! Simon says Matt reminds him of Michael Buble, very comfortable, a terrific performance, one of the best of the night and very well done. Randy says that Matt's was his favorite performance of the night, has mad skills (™ Doofus) and "you got it goin' on, baby!" Ryan prances out and says "it's on!" and "now we have ourselves a competition."
Overall, a good night even with the normally crappy country theme. The best? Kris, Adam, Anoop and (yes) Matt. The worst? The ladies, once again, most especially Allison and Megan. Who will go home? Possibly Michael, as he got the craptastic First Slot of Death, but should be Allison or Megan who both need to get the fuck off my t.v. I am going to throw a few votes to Kris (okay, 10), Anoop (okay, 10) and even Matt (okay, 10). I'm even voting for Scott (10) but absolutely not for Allison or Megan who need a ticket to paradise or wherever it does not involve me listening to them any further.
Tune in for results on Wednesday night!