Judges Patronize on "American Idol"
Tuesday is leftovers night on "American Idol." It's the final batch of 12 performing, and most of them we've already forgotten from Hollywood Week, it's been so long since we saw them last. Three from this batch will become members of the Final 12.
Von Smith, aka Hollywood Shouter Guy, wants to show us he can sing "You're All I Need to Get By" without screaming. Mission mostly accomplished, Von.
"Idol" Judge Randy Jackson asks Von if he knows what's funny about tonight -- Randy's standard opening line.
What's funny this week, Randy reveals after Von gives up, is that Von was the night's first performer, yet he did a lot better than the previous two weeks' first performers. Yup -- a regular laugh riot.
Judge Kara DioGuardi, whose head seems to be settling lower between her shoulders every time we see her, applauds Von for having paid attention when judge Simon Cowell called his Hollywood performance an indulgent mess and suggested he take things down a few hundred decibels.
Judge Paula Abdul says Von knows when to pull back and when to push forward. The American Idol Decency Police all have their vacation time cancelled.
Simon says Von reminds him of Clay Aiken, including his sense of fashion, which Simon says is "appalling."
Taylor Vaifauna, 17, takes a whack at "If I Ain't Got You" and gets lost in the lower notes. On the other hand, she is wearing a bangin' pair of boots.
Kara says Taylor has talent but she's still trying to figure out what it would be like to go shopping with her. Paula nicks Taylor for singing a song she'd already sung during Hollywood week, which viewers did not get to hear, and Simon's still trying to figure out Kara's "shopping" gag.
"Shop for what?" Simon asks. Then Randy and Simon break into a shopping cross-talk act. Simon wonders what breakfast cereal Taylor eats; Randy wonders if she puts soy milk or regular milk on the cereal.
Taylor, who has been crying, tells show host Ryan Seacrest they are tears of joy.
Alex Wagner-Trugman is never going to win "American Idol" because "American Idol" is never going to be won by someone named Wagner-Trugman. But he's been reading what people are saying about him on the Internet -- Hi, Alex Wagner-Trugman! -- and they're saying he's dorky, so he's been going to the gym to get more cut, like Simon, he says. Only all he can manage are "short reps of low weight, because I'm very weak."
Alex sings "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" because, he explains, he's been in a long-distance relationship for some time and if anybody else in America has a special someone they miss, they can think of him and he will be their boyfriend for a while. At some point in this competition Randy must have asked Alex if he knew what was funny and Alex must've said 'no,' and Randy must have told him that what was funny was that Alex reminded him of Joe Cocker -- which, actually is pretty funny. So Alex decides this week to perform an Elton John Tune as Joe Cocker, only he accidentally tips over the mic stand and growl at all the wrong places -- not that there are any right place to growl in "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."
KarPauRan adores his dorkiness; Alex keeps insisting that knocking over the mic stand was an accident. Simon -- the only judge worth listening to -- likens Alex to a hamster trying to be a tiger. I'd buy that CD.
"American Idol's" first ever Abba tune! Cute-as-a-button Arianna Afsar does not want to be judged on the basis of her cute-as-a-button-ness so she wants to make "The Winner Takes All" her own. She does so by singing the tune while simultaneously practicing her scales. Simon can't decide whether "absolutely terrible," "huge mistake," or "dreary arrangement like being at a funeral" best describes her performance.
Randy says nothing worth repeating. Kara reminds Arianna that when she first auditioned she was "like a beam of sunshine."
"Shiny button," Simon corrects.
"Cute as a button is a compliment," Kara explains.
Paula tells Arianna that next time, she should just stick with the melody. Paula wins.
Ju'not Joyner does nothing for "Hey There, Delilah" but the judges all love him and his "ridiculous pipes." Ju'not explains he just got a big o' cortisone shot in his heinie, which he describes as being similar to having 10 cups of coffee. We've had 10 cups of coffee before and do not remember it in any way resembling getting a shot in the heinie, but Paula appears to know what he's talking about. Simon, on the other hand, says he doesn't want to know what goes on behind the scenes on this show. The "American Idol" Decency Police send Seacrest in to clarify that the cortisone shot was administered to help with voice issues Ju'not was having, even though the shot was administered in his "tush." Ju'not begins to babble about his whole "little" asthma/smoking thing.
The good news about Kristen McNamara is she's lost the purple hair. The bad news: she's dressed as Stephanie from "Saturday Night Fever." And, she's told the "Idol" judges she's a karaoke host -- the kiss of death. Though her performance of "Give Me One Reason" is the night's best performance so far, KarPauRan wants her to be a rocker and calls the performance "karaoke" -- I rest my case. Simon calls her outfit "atrocious." Kristen says she's always been the girl wearing the stretch pants with the wrong color T-shirt and the bow in her hair.
Nathaniel Marshall believes Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything for Love" is a disco anthem. The judges disagree, and Simon can't get the terrible image of Nathaniel's awful Olivia Newton-John headband out of his mind. Paula remembers that Nathaniel sang "Disturbia" during Hollywood Week. Simon finds that incredible -- Paula remembering stuff, that is, not Nathaniel singing "Disturbia." Seacrest, noting Nathaniel makes Simon uncomfortable, brings Nathaniel over to the judges' desk and tries to get him to sit in Simon's lap. Nathaniel wisely opts for Paula's lap instead, but generously offers his Olivia Newton-John headband to Simon.
Felicia Barton is this season's comeback kid, having been booted in Hollywood, only to be brought back when another Idolette got pulled after news reports were released about her alleged friendship with "Idol" production company staffers.
Felicia, who has grown bangs, belts out Alicia Keys' tune "No One" but badly misses a couple of the big notes. Weirdly, Paula, not Randy, begins to ponder how funny the universe is because Felicia is back. The judges are all terribly nice to her and no one mentions how Felicia actually got there.
Scott MacIntyre sings "Mandoln Rain." He's not that good. But he is that blind, so the judges fawn over him.
"I can feel the passion...props to you, job well done" (Randy). "You move mountains when you step out on stage" (Kara). "Whatever challenges you faced to get here, I'm so happy and proud you made it" (Paula). "In a sea of forgettable people you're the only one I'm really going to remember...I'd be amazed if you don't sail through to the next round, young man" (Simon).
Kendall Beard picks country tune "This One's For the Girls" and, though she's off key, she's pretty and blond and bubbly and is wearing a yellow bubble dress. Everyone approves.
Jorge Nunez picks a song that will best show how hard he's worked with his dialect coach -- "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." Paula is so proud of him for working so hard with the coach that "you can't even tell" he's from Puerto Rico.
"I think we were wrong to say to you you shouldn't sing with an accent, because why should we?" Simon interjects.
"You're from Puerto Rico, you've got a good voice...I think you should be who you are...And, believe it or not, there are Spanish artists who've actually done incredible well -- they have an accent, because they're Spanish. Who cares?
Undaunted, Paula continues:
"Will you just speak, so we can hear your accent?" she asks Jorge Oh yes. She does.
"Actually, I don't think I have an accent, but if you think I do..." Jorge begins.
'Not any more!" Paula gushes.
"That is so patronizing!" Simon snaps.
And, as usual, "Idol" saves the best for last. In this case, Lil Rounds singing "Be Without You."
"Brilliant," says Simon. KarPauRan seconds that.
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