Well. The auditions are over, and last night the top 12 boys all sang on AI. What a bunch of shit, huh? Pfizer couldn't have come up with a more effective sedative than that 2 hours of television. By the time it was over I was pissed off that I'd missed "Bam's Unholy Union" and mildly embarrassed that I'd become unguilty about having such an affinity for this show in the past.
With the exceptions of AJ (who'll be gone soon anyhow) and beatbox Blake, everyone looked scared and tried to play it safe. Not cool, guys. Not cool. Especially considering that it's really not a 50/50 shot for most of them. There aren't 12 guys competing for 6 spots. At this point already, there are 8 guys competing for 2 spots.
Why? Because barring some horrific meltdown, Blake, Brandon, and Phil are probably going through. And Sundance and Chris Sligh are probably going through -- at least one of them for sure is.
We can see that even though he's sucked for a while, Sundance is a judges' darling, and even the camera crew did its damndest to zoom in tight on his face to reduce the wobbly-arm effect he was putting out there. Remember in "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie's little brother Randy got all bundled up in his snowsuit and he couldn't put his arms down? Yeah. Sundance's movements last night were reminiscent of that.
Chris Sligh knows he's been set apart by being a funny guy -- but both of his attempts at humor last night bombed: When he called the other guys pretty, Ryan -- fucking SEACREST -- had the audacity to make a vaguely homophobic remark about it, asking him to stay on a separate couch. Then, after Simon gave him crappy feedback, Chris tried to be witty and stick it to Simon by saying that he's singing contemporary stuff -- not Il Divo or Teletubbies. And, of course, Simon cut him right back down to size by saying that he could do the latter.
It's always a dicey proposition to tangle with Simon, and especially dangerous this early in the competition. If you can't take a little negativity from Simon -- especially when he's correct -- it makes you look petulant and bratty. This is a shortcut to stardom, but you still have to pay your dues. And the dues are taking shit from Simon on national TV. If you've taken the barbs from him for a while (like Taylor) and know for sure you have the fans behind you, you can get away with finally standing up for yourself and saying something in retort, but it had still better be worded properly or you run the risk of having Simon still get the last cutting word -- as he did here. So you not only ended up looking smarmy, but also like a failed smartass. Not pretty.
I believe it was at this point that Simon told Seacrest that he'd made it uncomfortable for everyone, which was pretty funny. Translation -- he'd made it uncomfortable for Simon, because Simon's impulse to snark back got away from him and his comment was a bit more bruising than he usually is. But it's all good. Somehow Simon kept his mouth shut about how Paula has now definitively crossed the invisible boundary of looking like a caricature of herself and into the uncharted territory where she looks like a drag queen version of herself.
She was all puffed up herself, last night. It could be from "medication" or water retention, or just that awful puffy shirt she had on, but her hair was lightened and poofed into a farrah-like atrocity, but she still gave us the only charming moment of the night when she gladly massaged her own chest as she tried to give Sundance stage-presence lessons. Yes. She of the egg costume handing out advice on how to move when you're egg-shaped. Fitting, I suppose.
Anyhow. My point is this -- playing it safe with songs right now is a very bad thing, but it is wise to play it safe in overall comportment for now.
Playing it too safe was, well, everyone else. Brandon Rogers is quickly becoming a one-note wonder when it comes to personality. I want to like him, and I have the feeling he can charm me, but he's just not doing it yet. He needs to stop reminding us that he was a background singer because that really doesn't qualify as a "sob story" and he needs to step it up. Beatbox Blake sung well and got nice purple-pink backlighting to show off his tats, and I have little doubt he'll be going far, but even his song was really blah. Phil Stacey is sticking with the bald look, and instead of drawing Daughtry comparisons his head reminds me of Uncle Fester's and he's shown an affinity for really crappy music so far. But I think he'll pull his shit together.
Effectively blowing his chance last night was Jared Cotter, who sang a song that involved counting. Right now, the only song with counting that people are into is "Dick in a Box." So it just left me wishing he'd sung "Dick in a Box." AJ Tabaldo was fun, but it came too late in the show after too much depressing shit, so it was kind of like flat champagne. Sanjaya absolutely butchered "Knocks Me Off My Feet." But old ladies will like him and he's so sweet and innocent that people will possibily vote him through to be "nice." Bad move. Bad, bad move. He doesn't have a prayer's chance and at this point a mercy killing would be kinder than dragging him along week after week so he can do his best fierce catwalk and simpering Michael Jackson shy-boy routine while Simon eviscerates him and Pauler talks about his gentle soul and Randy says whatever.
I was fully prepared to be a Pedrophile if Nick was going to stick with crooning and modernizing shit like "Fly Me to the Moon." But he didn't. He looked only slightly less terrified than the Runaway Bride and sang something -- I don't even remember what he sang. But it bored me. He felt good about making it through Hollywood, but now he's like Sonny Corleone at the tollbooth. Paul Kim is depending on his bare feet to be enough of a gimmick to get him through, but I think pretty soon he'll be singing "These boots are made for walking" as he trots right off the Idol stage. I don't know what the fuck Rudy is thinking, picking that "Free Ride" and wearing a shirt with a target on it. But it would be impossible to intuit what he's thinking anyhow as not a single emotion registers across his preternaturally smooth skin
And that leaves us with Chris Richardson. You know I've got it in for this fucker already, right? You know why, right? Oh yeah, I may be miffed at Yamin right now for letting me down, but still. I was willing to let it go that this Virginia boy came in with a buzz cut and green shirt and auditioned with "Song for You." But that was enough. Now he's just getting cocky about it -- prancing around stage with his good teeth and healthy blood sugar and two good ears while he Timberlites his way through "I Don't Wanna Be." Oh, it makes me so mad! Look at his official picture:
So smug with his bland, adolescent-girls-love-him good looks and melismaing his way through songs like a vocal Olga Korbut. Yilch. Also, he loves the camera, this one. Loves it.
I pray he sticks around. I really do. That glint of annoyance is something I can work with -- a small spark of emotion among the otherwise boring wreckage of a catastrophically, uncomfortably boring premier.