Wear a Costume to Work Day on "American Idol"
It's the start of a very dramatic second week of Hollywood Week on "American Idol." I know that makes no sense, but we're operating on "Idol" time, where one week can be drawn out over two, for ratings purposes. Work with me here, people.
On Tuesday night, we are introduced to The American Idol Flashback. This episode, started near the end of the story - the Idolettes sitting in four separate holding rooms, waiting to find out whether they will live to sing another day, or return to their "everyday lives" as show host Ryan Seacrest explains. All of their performances were shown as flashbacks - an homage to the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.
Next week: Sam Peckinpah's American Idol.
Another new twist is introduced: all the "Idol" principals are in costume.
Seacrest has come as a young Arnold Palmer, wearing one of Palmer's trademark golf sweaters. He will perform all of tonight's hosting responsibilities in golf tourney announcer's super-hushed-speak.
"Idol" judge Paula Abdul appears to have chosen Charlotte Bronte's famous heroine Jane Eyre. Her conservative hairstyle and somber outfit scream "governess." And hung around her neck from a simple black ribbon is a shiny, Lowood Boarding School's Best Teacher Award, made from the tops of the cans of tinned meats to which those students who survived the school's annual typhus outbreak had be treated.
Maybe we shouldn't have taken so much cold medication before this episode started.
Anyway, "Idol's" newest judge, Kara DioGuardi has come as The Merry Widow -- the Ernst Lubitsch interpretation -- complete with saucy come-hither lace bodice and sexy, tousled 19th century hair.
"Idol's" least relevant judge, Randy Jackson, has updated Jacob Marley's Ghost from Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol," wearing a T-shirt on which has been silk-screened those yards of chains and locks Marley is doomed to drag around for all eternity.
And, finally, Simon Cowell, the only "Idol" judge worth listening to, has come -- as Simon Cowell.
"Here's how it's going to work today," Seacrest whispers urgently, explaining that each of the Idolettes will get to perform with a band and backup singers, and may opt to play an instrument while singing.
"After the song - no judges' comments, no results," Seacrest whispers, tragically. Instead, Idolettes will have to wait until the end of the day "for the brutal and final cuts."
First flashback: Musical Theatre Guy, aka Adam Lambert, who tells Seacrest he's going to perform Cher's "Believe."
"Oh boy," Seacrest says, looking like someone who's just heard a golfer ask for a driving iron to execute a 3-foot putt.
"But I won't do disco, I promise," Lambert reassures Seacrest.
"I can feel some thing inside me say I really don't feel you're strong enough," Lambert wails.
Adam's risky song choice wows Paula, who gazes at him adoringly, just like Jane Eyre looked at Edward Rochester before discovering he had an extra wife locked up in the attic.
Next flashback: Matt "You Remind Me of Elliott from Season Five" Giraud, who plays the keyboard while singing "Georgia." The judges love it.
Back to the Holding Rooms, where BFF's Jamar Rogers and Danny "Just Lost My Wife" Gokey are getting tense.
Cut to Jamar and Danny flashbacks. Jamar's performance is pretty good, but when Danny takes to the stage, Paula wiggles excitedly in her chair, like Jane Eyre when Edward Rochester told her he was going to take her into town to buy her trousseau in preparation for their wedding, before she discovered that extra attic wife.
Back to Idolettes in Holding Rooms, waiting while the judges are deciding their fates out on stage at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre which, Seacrest whispers earnestly, is the most historic theatre ever built in a shopping mall.
Flashbacks to Jorge Nunez being goodish in his performance and Scott Macintyre performing at the keyboard. Next up is bouncy blonde Kendall Beard of Texas, who'd been the first auditioner to receive a thumbs up from the judges during auditions in Puerto Rico - where "Idol" judges had gone for the first time in the show, in hopes they'd find some prospective Idolettes with accents. Simon alone seems to have picked up on that bit of irony, demonstrating once again why he's the only judge worth listening to. Kendall had a shaky start during Hollywood Week, Seacrest whispers helpfully, because she auditioned in a black dress. Black is for funerals, Kara told her at the time - and not in a good way.
Flashback to Kendall's next Hollywood performance; Kendall's no dummy - she's wearing a kaleidoscope.
The flashback performances are now coming fast and furious: Stevie Wright, Lil Rounds, Kristen "Blonde on Top" McNamara, Tatiana the Terrible, who actually has a nice voice - she's just nuts.
"I feel incredible!" she says after her performance and flings her arms about a bit and meanders aimlessly. We're clearly on the same cold medication.
More flashbacks: Alexis Grace, Kenny Hoffpauer -- whoever he is. Jasmine Murray. Nathaniel Marshall who is just as terrible as ever, and just as dramatic.
Idolettes we can barely remember from the fly-over auditions are seen performing and being shoved into one of the four Holding Rooms.
Tatiana the Terrible gets pulled from one Holding Room and sent to another, where the inmates react in horror.
Nick Mitchell can't find the courage to perform as himself and dons his campy Norman Gentle personna. Nick is sent to Holding Room Four; his fellow inmates think this can't be good.
At least 50 percent of the remaining Idolettes have all chosen "I Hope You Dance" as their audition song. Only one of them has noticed.
We learn the same Holding Room that contains Nick/Norman is now also housing Tatiana. The room's other inmates begin to look around for sharp objects with which to slit their wrists. Tatiana once again breaks into her performance of Mary Queen of Scots on Execution Day - eyes rolling around in their sockets, wimpering noises, little hands clasped in prayer. Really, it never gets old.
Seacrest whispers us through the four rooms, ticking off their various members, and their performance flashbacks.
Finally, mercifully, Simon has to catch a flight to London and the remaining judges -- Jane Eyre, The Merry Widow, and Jacob Marley -- are sent off to put the Idolettes out of their misery.
In room after room, we see the judges break into their "Golly, we're so sorry, this is the hardest decision we've ever had to make, but - You're Going Through To the Next Round!" gag. Oh, except in one room -- sadly, not the one containing Tatiana and Nick/Norman -- in which they're all given the hook.
That's show biz!
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