Okay. So this week wasn't the uber-celebration of awful and boring that last week was for the guys. It still wasn't what I'd consider a crazy good time, but it's starting to fall into a bit of a groove, as evidenced when Seacrest gave us his Cowell impression.
Ryan wasn't the only one finding his rhythm again. Randy still babbled meaningless trifle, but my girl Paula is starting to hit her loopy kind of off-balance equilibrium again, no doubt because the props guy adjusted the amount of ketamine in her Coke. Instead of the rigid demeanor she had last week, she dusted off some of her greatest hits in go-to moves. In order below, we see her Oscar highlight reel, showcasing first her misty-eyed gaze of adoration, then her ebullient, gesturing pose, and then, finally, once the ketamine takes over, her head-holding, room-is-spinning slump of desperation.
Welcome back, Princess. Your crazy ass was missed over the winter. She even mixed up her commentary in patented Abdul fashion, sometimes shockingly conveying relevant, coherent thoughts, and then other times babbling shit like, "No one can tell you how it feels to dedicate something to someone inside your heart and I can feel your heart and America will know that." When called on it, she then explained to Simon: "You don't know what I'm trying to say." And I think we'll just leave that quote as is as it doesn't really require commentary.
The performances were markedly better. Phil Stacey can sing, but so far he's shown a penchant for treacly songs, like last night's "Missing You." I don't really love Phil, but I do feel a little sorry for him, as the interwebby peeps have taken to comparing his looks to Nosferatu.
But, come on now. Stunning similarities and cheap giggles aside, let's be honest with ourselves. Phil does not look like a monster who creeps into people's bedrooms in the middle of the night and feeds from their jugulars. Sundance looks like a monster who creeps into people's bedrooms and feeds from their jugulars... and their bodies... and their appendages. And then sucks their marrow. And then raids their fridge... and their pantry.
That was mean and uncalled for. But my excuse is simple: I don't like Sundance. I don't hate him, but I think he was horribly over-pimped and even though he sang fine last night, he's not winning me over.
Also still not winning me over is Brandon "I sang backup for Xtina" Rogers. He pandered for the Grandma vote last night and sang a lame-o "Time after Time" that never went anywhere. Just like Sundance, he was fine, but nothing great. I think he thinks he's going to skate by on his pre-pimpage and winning smile.
He IS foxy looking and has a decent voice, but he's also a whole big bundle of blah.
Also raising the bar on blah is Nick Pedro, who sang a nice version of "Fever" while making sure to dedicate the song to his girlfriend so that he wouldn't be mistaken of being part of the gay brigade. I'm still not sure that'll be enough to keep him from getting picked off tonight, though.
Bravely leading the cast of the gayest crop of contestants ever is my man, AJ Tabaldo. And last night, even though he tamed things down a bit, he didn't put the fire out. If he was any more flaming he'd have spontaneously combusted on that stage.
God, I love him. He proved he really can sing, too. Even Simon had to grudgingly give him that it was "almost really good," and then doubled down on the backhanded compliments by adding that he looked "strangely comfortable" on the stage. Let me translate that for you. What Simon means by that is that AJ looked openly gay and completely at ease and normal with it. Simon's had a hard time with the gay contestants over the years, and I think (hope) part of that is because they never looked comfortable. Much in the way that the Claymates so rightly insist that Aiken is heterosexual -- blatantly heterosexual! -- any gay guy on Idol seemed like he was struggling with his own self-realization or was closeted while on a stage in front of millions.
AJ? Not so much. AJ is darling. AJ is fabulous. I still have a sneaking suspicion that Simon is going to keep sticking the pins in him, but it should be interesting to watch.
But, speaking of awkward, effete, or not-yet-self-realized, Sanjay needs to fucking go. He makes me squirm, and not at all in the good way. He sang "Steppin' Out" in tune and with a jaunty hat, and I'm sure he'd love to be compared to a young, wiry Michael Jackson and that it'd be healthy for him to stick around backstage and have some "self-realizing" experiences where he can grow into his tendencies under the tutelage of AJ and Blake (and maybe Brandon?) or learn convincing ways to deflect suspicion from other cast members (like by dating Teri Hatcher). But it's really time to roll out the voting equivalent of euthanasia and send him home to his family in peace. I don't want to see him get brutalized by the judges and I don't want to keep making fun of him. But if he stays, that's what'll happen. Maybe the grandmas want to keep him around so that he can have one good performance and go out on a high note. Stop it. Fucking, enough already.
Blake grooved some Jamiroquai, and it was pretty good. He's definitely the stand out among the boys already. The two interesting things about his performance were:
1) Simon made a complete ass of himself with his critique. Usually, even if Simon's being purposely assy there's some truth to be found in what he's saying. But he was self-contradicting by telling Blake he was a copycat in the performance even though the middle was unique. You know we've hit a milestone plateau on Idol when Simon makes as much sense as Pauler. Let me translate what Simon was really saying to Blake for you: "You're the most unique person we have this year and everyone will enjoy watching you, but even though you're hip and cool the queeniness seeps through at unexpected times and it makes me uncomfortable."
2) Regarding the middle portion of his performance, Blake said there was some vocal entendre going on.
Ryan ran with it and repeatedly called it "entundry." So, I'm now coining "entundry" as the new euphemism for "gayness" this year. Ryan is great at this shit. (Remember last year one night when Pauler was skunked out of her gourd and Ryan called her "compassionate?") I have a feeling that this year, we'll be using "entundry" quite often, friends.
Even more publicly embarrassing, Simon doesn't think Blake is all that original, but yet he has the unmitigated suckitude to say -- out loud, and on tape -- that Chris R. is. Who does he think he's shitting? Every calculated move this kid makes has already been patented by Justin Timberlake. (But again, we get this sort of tease, and yet no "Dick in a Box." I guess we should be happy that he doesn't pull Pauler onstage with him and then suddenly rip off part of her shirt and expose a nipple clamp.)
Yeah, yeah, Chris was able to avoid stumbling over the words to "Geek in Pink" but I'm still not buying it. His voice is thin, man, thin. His moves are calculated, and he really does love himself. Look at him fucking the camera here:
My God. He contorted himself nearly as badly as Simon contorted his verbalizations about Blake. He's like Ron Jeremy on Viagra the way he works over the camera.
Speaking of the hedgehog, anyone else think that snarky Chris must have something in common with him to land a woman that looks like his wife? Me too. He sang alright, doing Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble." But there was a noticeable absence of snark and for those who'd hoped that he was there to mock the whole thing have to now accept that he's been assimilated.
Who else? Oh yah. Jared performed and made a strange facial move.
Randy made a big deal over it, thinking it was sexy or whatever. Whatever. I think he's probably gone this week, and quite likely my boy AJ with him. (sob!) Because although it's hard out there for the pimped to live up to their exposure, it's still more difficult to slide by at this stage without it. But you never know. If there's justice, Nick will go and the fabulous entundry will live to sing another day.