So. Elliott got booted last night. As the final indignity, since he's going out in third place he doesn't even get to do the whole media-slut thing because he's got to stick around the studio and "rehearse for the finale."
Anyhow. Last night's results? If last week was the jovial SHOCK elimination of the year, this week was supposed to be the teary "special" send off episode. They did their best at this, and I suppose they succeeded. However, for people who knew what was coming and saw the orchestrations that helped lead up to it, it was kind of borderline condescending. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they do like Elliott and all, because he's a great guy and a great singer and yes the show has to maneuver things in the way they did or else it wouldn't have as much payoff. But still.
Anyhow, it followed the standard procedure: recap and then car commercial. I can tell it's nearing the end of the season, or I'm overly bitter about Elliott going because I can't come up with much to say about that commercial last night, other than to reiterate my thoughts of how the commercial producers are on the really good drugs. But I will note that the Idols got double-whored last night though, cause right after the car commercial they showed a clip of them getting the new X-men movie on DVD and they had watch it on their way home and give it a thumbs up for the camera. Hugh Jackman? I wouldn't mind whoring for him a little.
After that, we got to see a recap of everyone's trip home last week. First up was Taylor, and Ryan kicked it off by telling us that Taylor ate lots of ribs, even for breakfast.
Uh. Yeah. We can see that. We can clearly see that even though he's not particularly enjoying the food in LA, he's been stress-eating his way through the competition. I mention this only because, well, I can. Because if it was Kat getting fatter by the week, people'd be all over that shit. (And you KNOW if she'd packed on the 10-15 pounds that Taylor has, we'd have gotten MUCH better screen caps and cattier commentary on the results last night because she'd have lost just enough of the "i wanna bang that broad" vote to get her kicked off.) So as Taylor grows another chin, even though I like him, I'm not letting it slide. On the upside, even though he was so busy going home, Taylor did find time to go shopping, because he got a bigger shirt finally so even if he was stressing results his expanded belly wasn't stressing the fabric for a change.
Anyhow, back in Birmingham, they did it up right for TayTay. They're old hands at this by now, after Ruben and Bo, so they've got a good handle on what they're doing. I was gratified to see that the "I've got to pee but I'll do it with soul" stance has already caught on as his trademark, because the giant welcome home billboard they had for him showcased it nicely:
But Taylor got the whole shebang -- a parade and a couple of gatherings where he sang and got the keys to the city, which he hung around his neck. I know this is a custom, but I'm going to admit my ignorance here in the hopes someone can explain it to me. Exactly what the fuck is with giving people the keys to the city? What the hell do they do with them? Do they eventually give them back? Or do they just keep them? These keys -- do they actually fit a lock somewhere, or are they just any old keys. Like, the mayor hears that Taylor's coming home and doesn't have the actual keys onhand so he just tosses him the keys to his shed out back or something and no one knows the difference?
Then he went to the Governor's mansion, and then he went to a mall near his high school. There were tons of people for him everywhere, everyone giving him love, and apparently plenty of barbecue.
After his film clip, Taylor got up and did "Taking It To The Streets" cause that's his cut on this year's Idols CD. He chose not to reprise the furious arm wind-up thing from his first performance of it. Instead, he got Katharine and Elliott involved and got them up and had them dance around with him. It was cute, even if he's going to that well maybe once too often after Paula last night. But it was funny to see Elliott dancing like a leprechaun and it was quite telling that Katharine really wouldn't dance with Elliott once Taylor left them both in the dust. She was too busy shaking and doing her own thang up there. It would become the theme of the evening.
Anyhow, then we got the highlight of the evening: Katharine's trip home. I can tell she's raw about her trip home, because she made excuses and tried to cover her pain. I'd have made fun of the pathetic showing anyhow, but since she revealed an exposed nerve about it, you bet I'm gonna tap it even harder.
For all her blatant desire to be an actress, and for growing up with a stage mother and living in LA, Katharine really has horribly poor control of herself and her emotions. I get the feeling it's because she's never had it "rough" before, and this shit the show is putting her through, like someone telling her when she sucks, and not getting a parade thrown in her honor, are just too much for her fragile, pampered sensibilities to bear. But she really needs to learn to hold her cards closer to that money-making chest of hers. Because right now, she's in a fishbowl. But now that she's made it to the finale of Idol, immediately after she gets rudely shoved aside and as she's shaking Taylor's celebration confetti out of her hair and while her heart is still breaking, she's going to be tossed out into the ocean of LA. Her immediate future is going to be so shark infested it's going to make the last 10 minutes of "Open Water" seem tame by comparison. I'd have thought her great-white of a mother would've trained her a bit better in this regard, but it's obvious that Mrs. Mommy McPhame-whore is a bit too blinded by ambition and drunk with arrogance to be savvy or have some guile (or class) yet.
Anyhow. Here's how she revealed her disappointment. Katharine told Ryan, "I may not have had thousands of people show up but I really felt the support."
Did you now, Princess? Taylor got a parade and the mayor and governor and screaming, cheering throngs all over the city. Kat got a high school gymnasium, stocked with the students whose attendance was mandatory!! It was fucking hilarious.
Especially because, it wasn't even a big gymnasium! The JV cheerleaders did a little cheer for her and kids held up signs as she trotted her twat ass around the basketball court, looking directly at girls who in three short years would be replacing her as flavor-of-the-day piece of ass.
So, then, of course, the producers not only finally gave Elliott the pimp spot he'd so well earned the previous night and been fucked out of, but they also gave him his performance time back that they'd given to Kat's "Rainbow" last night for his "going home" segment as well. Saving the best for last? Sure.
Anyhow, bitterness aside, Elliott's trip home was pretty awesome for him. He got the whole works, including thousands of people cheering and waving, the key to the city, a parade, tossing out the first pitch at a sold out Braves game, and meeting the governor. Of course, he was all excited and gracious and overwhelmed by it all. When he met the governor, he didn't shake his hand -- he dove right in and gave him a big hug. Oh, I swear, if he were anyone else, my jaded ass would have a field day raking him over the coals. But for whatever reason, for Elliott, all that crap just kind of works. And, I was personally delighted to see that when he threw out the first pitch, he hurled a strike right in there, using a full wind up! Go E!
It must've been at least three times they showed him saying a variation of "this is the best day of my life." Here's the AI machine translation for that: And it's the best it's ever gonna get -- loser! They kept hitting that "he's so grateful and lucky" button, and of course, we the audience automatically associate benevolence and generosity with AI for "giving" him this day. The whole idea is to ease the sting of him being voted off and to keep AI in a favorable light. So. Here comes the traditional response after a hardcore screwing like Elliott just took -- Was it good for you? Really. Did it work for you? I'll be honest -- as nasty as I am, I was happy for Elliott and glad he got such a nice day. And, as much as I'd like to play the blame card, it still boils down to this -- Elliott signed up for this. Maybe the producers didn't play "nice" or "fair" with him, but no one ever said it was going to be nice or fair. We don't watch it because it's nice and fair, at least I don't. And yes he's the underdog, but I still can't really muster too many tears or anguish for a guy who got a parade thrown in his honor for simply singing on TV. I'm not saying he (or Taylor) doesn't deserve a parade. I think it's nice. But it is a hell of a thing, you know?
Watching it, Elliott cried. Paula cried. Of course. Then, still half-choked up, Elliott sang "Moody's Mood" again for us. He was choked up, so he was a bit off, but I'll take it.
So. After that, they did a little segment where they brought out Clive Davis again and he stood there and told us how artistic and wonderful AI is and how many "units" of product they've moved, because that's the benchmark for success and happiness and goodness, you know! It was smarmy. But, whatever.
And that took us to results. I don't know what to think of the veracity of the numbers they flashed. The kneejerk impulse is to think they did this to make Elliott feel good about coming so close, but really, what the fuck's it matter? Losing is losing, you know? The whole purpose was actually to put the question mark in people's minds (and maybe shake up Taylor) by letting them think his margin isn't that great and to therefore build "suspense" for the finale. Here's how they said it shook out:
Over 50 million votes, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd getting these percentages:
If those numbers are true, sure, it was close. But that's still a 210,000 vote difference between one and two. Now, here's the fact: People who voted for Elliott? If they bother to vote, they're gonna toss some Taylor's way. Why? Because he's not a selfish, phony twunt and he can sing, that's why.
I'm telling you right now, Kat beating Taylor can only happen in a world where George Bush can beat Al Gore in an election. You know what I'm saying, right?
Anyhow, rudimentary math done, the loser for the night was revealed, and as you all know, it was Elliott. What'd he do? He gave a half smile and shook his head. Didn't look devastated or anything like that.
Yep. That was his elimination face. And he just got better and classier from there, you bet. But let's take a minute and relive recent history and see if we can learn anything. Notice anything different, other than the over-plucked and penciled eyebrows, between Chris and Elliott and how they handled the rejection? I gave you a hint in case you're having trouble picking it out:
So, then the real fun began. Elliott took it well, but the look on Katharine's face and Taylor's face was immediately telling. I'm afraid I shrunk this maybe too much for you to pick it out right away, but yes, Katharine is already smiling, while Taylor has the class to be upset for Elliott -- or to at least feign such a response.
But, as you can see, Katharine comes by it honestly. Because her grin was nothing compared to the McParents and how they just immediately beamed at the news of Elliott's departure.
Yeah. That was grand. No wonder all these LA people keep telling Elliott what a good guy he is. I mean, I'm not disputing that he's a good guy. But I'm just saying -- CONTRAST really makes it obvious, you know?
They were also kind enough to deny us any verbal reaction from the judges, because really, what could they say? But they did immediately cut to Paula, who was upset, of course. But best, as most people had their eyes glued on Elliott and his reaction in this big moment, look at Randy's reaction! He's eyeballing Paula, cringing away from her, wondering if the crazy bitch is gonna unhinge any second!
Right about this time is when the McPhees can't even control themselves anymore. Smiling and being quietly smug just isn't enough. They actually have to stand up and celebrate!!
Oh yah! Just when you thought you couldn't see a better reaction than Chris's, we get this whole distasteful thing unfolding -- during ELLIOTT'S EJECTION! Katharine, she can't take it anymore either. The smile is full-on by the time she gives Elliott a weak hug goodbye.
Then, as Elliott trots off toward Ryan, Ryan mentions that Taylor and Kat are the final two. Not even a shred of compassion is left for Elliott in Katharine by this point. I mean, hey, her parents are celebrating, why shouldn't she?
Again, let's just revisit that moment from the immediate past. In case you're not seeing the difference between the way Taylor behaves and handles himself and the Katharine does, I've got a hint for you:
So that was it, really. Elliott stood middle stage with Ryan and wasn't nearly as photogenic for mocking purposes as Mr. Daughtry. He used words like proud, honored, blessed, privileged. Seacrest patted him on the shoulder and said something like he shouldn't be unhappy or disappointed, he should be proud of what he's done. In other words, "You never had a chance in hell, ugly one. We gave you the time of your life. Damn right you're grateful." (Yeah, I'm bitter.) Really though, it sounded much nicer the way Ryan put it, but still nearly as patronizing.
After that, they rolled Elliott's "Bad Day" montage. Shocker here -- Elliott got choked up and cried. Here's the thing about Elliott's crying though -- he doesn't cry at the sad or bad shit. He gets overwhelmed and cries at the good stuff. (you do the psychoanalysis there, I'm not touching it.) And since he's had a whole bunch of good stuff on AI, the montage was a whole lot of tears: When he made the top 24, when he met Stevie Wonder. When he sat in an interview and said how lost he was before AI.
Overall, extremely well played by the producers. But like I said before -- they really did get hold of a ringer of an underdog in Elliott. Trust me, I'm a fiction writer, and you can't make this shit up!
Anyhow, Elliott, he pulled his shit together and Ryan gave him a tissue, because Ryan's dapper and prepared like that. We can only hope it was a whole new, fresh one though, and not Pickler's re-used snotrag which was previously flung at Elliott.
And then he sang. Sang that very fitting Ray Charles number again, and they even let him get all the way to the part where he name-checks himself before cutting him off before he'd quite reached the end.
Silver lining -- There's a whole fucking lot of 'em, let me tell you. There will be no humiliating rainbow song for Elliott. There will be no 19E control of what he does. He'll make some cash on the tour, and get more experience.
Touch of grey in the silver lining -- It's really not gonna be easy for him to get a major career going. But for Elliott, I don't think much has been easy in his life. And yet he's already ended up with his own fucking parade!