"American Idol": Perfectly Dread-ful
Never in this season of "American Idol" has it been so clear who should get the old heave-ho on results-and-product-plug night. The previous night, Jason Castro mutilated Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" and forgot lyrics on Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" -- two songs he said he chose to sing because he knew them well.
It was one of the most dramatic "Idol" shows ever, Larry King's presumptive CNN replacement Ryan Seacrest tells us right off the bat, while NBC's "Deal or No Deal" star Howie Mandel is seen watching approvingly from the audience. NBC quickly drafts a contract clause banning its ratings star from being seen watching other networks' programs.
The super-dramatic Tuesday show resulted in this season's biggest haul of votes -- 51 million. Ironically, that's in inverse proportion to the number of viewers -- 21.8 million, the smallest for an "Idol" competition since 2003.
But first, it's time for one of our favorite results-show segments: Let's Clear Things Up, Shall We?
Seacrest asks judge Randy Jackson why he made I'm Syesha Mercado! cry the night before. Randy says he saw her after the show and said he was sorry and Syesha assured him he had not made her cry -- judge Paula Abdul did when she stood up and welcomed Syesha to her dream. Syesha's dream, that is, not Paula's.
Seacrest wonders why judge Simon Cowell looked so angry on Tuesday. Simon says he wasn't angry, he was just surprised at some of the disastrous song choices.
Seacrest reminds us the top four will become the top three but not for an hour, during which we will be subject to all kinds of infomercials for this and that.
But first the "American Idol" Results Show Medley, Steely Dan's "Reeling in the Years," which the Idolettes sing while marching around the gimongous stage like a high school band, and Judge Judy keeps an eye on things from the audience.
Then, a look back at the previous night's catastrophic rock-and-roll episode.
"Someone's dream will be crushed," Seacrest intones once that taped bit is over.
There aren't many seats on the Crushed Velvet Sofa of Safety, Seacrest says, bringing out David Archuleta first.
"Um, yeah, um, I'd love to," Baby Elmo says in response to Seacrest's penetrating question about whether he would like to be the next American Idol. Anyway the answer's good enough for Seacrest, who sends him to the Sofa of Safety.
Time for another taped bit, in which the Idolettes are shipped to Vegas to be the traveling petting zoo at Cirque du Soleil's Beatles Love! show. They were transported to Vegas on their own 737 jet and the inspiration for this trip, Seacrest explains, was a trip made by the Fab Four, a.k.a. the Beatles, in an actual plane, lo these many years ago. Seacrest calls the four finalists "our own Fab Four." We resist the urge to put a pillow over our head and smother ourself.
In the taped Vegas bit, a chick is seen grabbing and kissing Jason. He reports it was scary. Then he goes and kisses a dolphin that seems just as scared.
But before the Idolettes are trotted out on the red carpet, they are taken to a Vegas spa for some sprucing up, just like on the "Wizard of Oz" before Dorothy's audience with the Wizard. It's David Cook's first manicure ever. His hair has been done up again to look like the WoO's Coroner Munchkin. I'm Syesha Mercado! is dressed as an artichoke.
Seacrest brings David C. onstage. Randy is asked to give him some advice. "Stay original, dude, and rock it out, baby," Randy suggests.
David C. says he felt off the night before because he woke up in the morning and his head was in the wrong place. He did not mention where he found it. Even so, viewers have voted him through to the Sofa of Safety.
In this week's Ford Vehicle Video, a mustang is playing a bull and the Idoletttes are bullfighters.
"Well -- those pants looked comfortable!" Seacrest says of the costume.
The Phone Company Actual Phone Calls From Viewers segment begins with Emily from Pittsburgh asking David C. to go out with her.
"We can link this up," Seacrest tells her, enthusiastically.
"We'll see," a panicked David C. says.
Sarah wonders what have been the Idolettes biggest challenges on the show. "Stage fright!" I'm Syesha Mercado! says. Baby Elmo can't think of any. But Jason says without hesitation it's being brain dead that's the hardest.
Allison from South Carolina wonders why Simon hasn't been knighted by the queen yet. Simon says he asks himself that same question every day and sends a message to the queen that he's available.
Maura wants to know how Syesha feels about being the only remaining girl Idolette. Syesha says it's awkward because the remaining guy Idolettes are really funny. Seacrest wonders how Paula feels being the only chick on the judges panel. "Fantastic," Paula says.
And, finally, Marla from Cleveland wants Simon to be the next James Bond.
Maroon 5 performs by way of hawking its new tour while Mosh Pit Sorority Sisters try to crawl on stage to get nearer.
Former Idolette Bo Bice performs a tune from his new CD. He makes David C. look less like Chris Daughtry Lite and more like great. He admonishes the Idolettes to "Practice, practice, practice."
Meanwhile, another former Idolette, Ace Young will be the murder victim on an upcoming episode of "Bones" -- hooray!
Finally, it's time to put Syesha and Jason out of their misery. But first, Seacrest bats them around with stupid questions, including asking Jason what went wrong the previous night. He explains it's been getting tough on him due to his "inexperience" and that even when he picks tunes he knows, he messes up.
Syesha is asked again about her good cry and the meaning of one of her songs of choice, "A Change Is Gonna Come."
"We're in 2008; we might have our first female president of the United States or our first black president," she says. Yeah, that's what had her sobbing on national TV the night before -- the Democratic presidential race. That and "what I'm going through right now," she adds.
Jason's out, Seacrest says. Jason's relieved, Jason says, explaining he did not want to have to learn three tunes next week. The producers have him re-slaughter "I Shot the Sheriff" on the strength of his having remembered all the lyrics the previous night.
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