Last Wednesday's results show was a strange cocktail indeed.
First, Season Seven Winner David Cook returned to the Idol stage. He showed these Remedial Idols how to do a Rolling Stone song - with a confident cover of “Jumping Jack Flash."
Next, Orianthi performs, who Ryan introduces - without a whit of irony - as one of music's "newest pioneers." If by pioneer, you mean Taylor Swift wannabe, then, yeah.
Orianthi sings "According To You," which tells the tale of a girl berated by her current boyfriend, while another guy puts her on a pedestal. Sample lyric? "According to you / I’m stupid / I’m useless / I can’t do anything right." By the end of the song, she's still with this neanderthal, while nice guy remains on the hook (just ask Ted Mosby's friends). Throw in a pick-up truck and this woulda been a perfect country song. And the lesson to tween girls everywhere is: Stay in verbally abusive relationships, but complain about them. Bravo, recording industry.
We also meet an entity known only as Ke$ha. I'm irked just typing that pretentious dollar sign; She's even managed to be annoying via punctuation. Her performance? Take a genetic sample of the vapid Sharpay from "High School Musical." Now splice it with the DNA of Pizzazz, evil music rival of Jem and the Holograms. Finally, remove the talent genome. The result is this 'Lil Lady Gaga's "Blah, Blah, Blah," which simultaneously offends television sets, Native Americans and anyone with working eardrums.
Oh, and one of this season's Red Shirts, Lacey Brown, got the lowest votes. She was forced to sing for her life to get the coveted "Judge's Save," still one of the show's cruelest twists. Who are we kidding? They are reserving that for Crystal Bowersox this season. All the others? All those sing-monkeys are missing is a pair of cymbals or an organ grinder. As a result, Lacey's performance is the musical version of Spider's short-lived bar tending gig in Goodfellas. Only with less dignity. She's out.
Tonight's ep begins with another Family Feud style opening. Judges enter and engage in tomfoolery. Simon patronizes Kara. Ryan goes faux-butch on Simon again. Randy, as usual, atrophies in his chair. Rinse, lather, repeat.
This week, the sucktitude of this season is underlined by tonight's guest judge: Miley Cyrus. Who better to give advice than a marginally-talented singer who owes her entire career to a string-pulling father? Well, at least Miley's singing skills are twice as good as her acting skills. And that means everything it implies. "The Best Of Both Worlds," my ass. Taking musical advice from Miley Cyrus is tantamount to soliciting dating tips from Jennifer Aniston. Is The Show officially mocking the contestants now?
The top 11 theme is Billboard #1 Hits. And I'm at least thankful the Idolers aren't choosing from Hannah Montana's Greatest Hits collection. Miley wants people to take her seriously, and goes on to say, nuzzled in her leopard skin chair, "I know that what I think is what my art feels." No, that's not a typo. The girl is either deep or moronic, you decide (hint: she's not deep). She then talks about this season's contestants, "I know how talented they are. I was like, how am I going to go here and tell them what they're doing wrong? I don't see it. I don't see that they're doing anything wrong." That whooshing sound is what's left of Miley's credibility flying out the window.
Suddenly Avril Lavigne as a guest judge - devil horn sweat jacket hoodie and all -seems like Aretha Franklin by comparison.
Lee Dewyze "The Letter"
Lee practices with Miley, dressed like an actor playing a thug on the CW's "Smallville." Talks about his nerves and problems with onstage presence, which has been his main problem. The horns and back-up singers provide a nice complement to Lee's gravely voice. It's a bit of a jazzier, bluesier version, but overall, this works. (Although Lee is still a clumsy performer.) The judges like it, but Ellen uses up what seems like half the show's running time with a dull pen analogy. Simon didn't think it was great, and even was a "little corny," and still wants a "moment" from Lee. I fear Lee is still a few weeks off from a moment. I also fear that this season, asking for a "moment" is a wish you need to make on wee Ryan's Pot o' Gold.
Paige Miles "Against All Odds"
Paige gets the pimp stool this week (they must sorta like her; just wait, Show, just wait). Paige was starstruck over Miley, so we know she's an idiot in addition to being a murderer of Michael Jackson songs. Remember a few weeks ago, when Paige manslaughtered Jackson's "Smile"? Well, that's just a minor misdemeanor compared to what she does to Phil Collins' "Against All Odds." The atrocities she commits.... it's like "The Last House On The Left" set to music. Brutal, yo. Paige's "singing" is thin, warbly, off-key and uneven. I can't tell if her voice is still suffering, or if the girl done plain massacred another song. The judges rightfully hate it, with Ellen mustering up a feeble "you didn't fall down" as the only compliment. And the audience cheers at Paige NOT falling down, because they are dumb asshats. Sadly, it may be the only thing to cheer about tonight.
Tim Urban "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
When Ryan announced that Tim Urban was going to sing Queen, I thought this entire season had to be one big episode of "Punk'd." But he's only singing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," which is probably the easiest Queen song to sing. Miley is encouraging Tim to switch it up, and he goes into some weird ragtime version of the song in auditions. Miley's encouraging words "mean a lot" to Tim. Which makes Tim either a liar or a fool.
Tim's version is strictly karaoke, punctuated by some elementary choreography. It's like the Las Vegas Junior High School Musical. Tim slides (literally!) into the Aryan Mosh Pit of Estrogen, where the swaybots give Tim emotional support. They are saving everything else for marriage. The whole thing is vocally so-so and grossly amateur hour. The judges think it was "High School Musical"-ish, but why needlessly insult "High School Musical" like that? Hate the player, not the game, Show. Tim, only your shirtless internet photos on "Vote For The Worst" can save you now.
Aaron Kelly "I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing"
Aaron has a little crush on Miley, and he gets all squishy that Miley liked his audition of "The Climb." Um, is Aaron 16 years old, or 6 years old? He probably has Hannah Montana bedsheets. Aaron is creeping on Miley all through practice sessions. He finally scores a hug and gets his very first semi. Idol does indeed give back.
Aaron is singing Aerosmith's overplayed "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing." Aaron almost considers goin' a little bit country mid-song, then reconsiders. It's OK-ish, but pretty vanilla overall. The judges like it, and like his song choice. Aaron also gets a partial-pass based on the fact that he's sick this week.
Crystal Bowersox "Me and Bobby McGee"
Like Crystal needs Miley's advice. Crystal says she's having "powerful, beautiful women sign her guitar." But then she asks Miley to sign it, too.
Janis Joplin is the perfect artist for Crystal. "It's right in her pocket," as Paula might say between meds. Ironically, in singing a song from the boozy mess that is Janis Joplin, Crystal looks like she's actually combed her hair and changed her dirty granny panties. Oh yeah, it's secret makeover week, where all the Idolers are primped and preened to look Top 10 ready. The performance is, of course, very solid. Judges love. Mamasox is clearly light years ahead of her fellow Idolers.
Michael Lynche "When a Man Loves a Woman"
On the results show, Big Mike seemed nonplussed at the critiques of his performance. He said "my people" enjoyed it. Apparently, he has people now. And while Big Mike is indeed a good singer, it comes with a grande helping of fromage. We get a rendition of "When a Man Loves a Woman" that drips or orange-hued Velveeta. Randy and Ellen like it, but Kara and Simon thought it was a little "loungey."
Andrew Garcia "I Heard it Through the Grapevine"
On meeting Miley, Andrew skillfully describes it as "being cool to meet someone on that level." "Level." Ably dodged, Garcia. You get to leave with your dignity... for the moment.
Oh, sadly, that dignity flits away once Andrew hit the stage. Continuing the painful parade of reinvented songs, Andrew somehow gives "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" a soul-ectomy. All the smooth Motown groove is replaced with a tuneless sing-speak Telemundo version. Watch for this performance on Clippos Magnifico! It's the totally wrong song choice. The judges didn't like it, and Simon agrees with me, noting that Andrew "sucked the soul out of that song [...] and tortured it." Andrew, maybe your dad was right about those custodian keys.
Katie Stevens "Big Girls Don’t Cry"
Katie is singing Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry," the damnably infectious pop song. Katie is a good-ish singer for being 16 years, but girlfriend needs more time to hone her skills. Her performance is full of bum notes and pitch problems. In short, it's a big song for a little girl. The judges mostly think it's an improvement over last week, although Kara does call it "mad pitchy." Okay, now they're just grading on the curve.
Casey James "Power of Love"
Casey meets Miley and tell her he's a huge fan.... of her dad! Ooooh, Snap! As Liz Lemon would say, "spit take!" Casey is singing Huey Lewis' "Power of Love." I think he's made a poor song choice, as this song and arrangement is a departure from his bluesy success last week. This performance is bland-bar-band, and does nothing to impress. The judges shockingly like it, except Simon, who says it was like "an 80s cover band" with "nothing original" about it. Simon is apparently the only judge who hasn't been tainted by the sucktitude of the lesser Top Twelvers.
Didi Benami "You’re No Good"
Didi is one of the Top Twelvers that actually almost gets it... sometimes. We just never know if we are going to get "Good Didi" or "Bad Didi." Will we get nice Didi or Mirror Universe Didi? Bender-Didi or Flexo-Didi? Phoebe-Didi or Ursula-Didi? Samantha-Didi or Serena-Didi? Jamie Summer Didi or Lisa Galloway Didi? Give yourself a cookie if you get all those references.
We get mostly "Good Didi," although it's never anything great. The judges all hate on it, which is rather unfair. There were worse performances tonight - and Didi - although not great - didn't deserve this much venom. Simon even dubs her the "new Lacey." Didi, wear the Red Shirt in good health. Until the alien spores get you, that is.
Siobhan Magnus "Superstition"
Siobhan practices with Miley looking like Violet, Screech's nerdy paramour from "Save By The Bell." Siobhan is apparently a level-12 freak, if you read between the lines of Didi Benami's comments. Or, as Vote For The Worst would say, "You know you're weird when rooming with Crystal Bowersox, who looks like she hasn't had a bath in 6 months and has a family of squirrels living in her hair, is a better option than living with the freakiness that is Siobhan Magnus."
Siobhan struts on stage looking like Crocket's wife, Sheena Easton, from the withering 1987-1988 season of "Miami Vice." It's mostly good, but Siobhan gives us a screech mid-song. Unfortunately, it's more like last season's Gokey-like "Scream On" than an Adam Lambert stylized wail. The judges like (relativity is Siobhan's friend) - but Simon cautions them all to step it up.
Simon's sage words that sum up this entire episode: "it was not a good night." This was, to be blunt, the worst episode in American Idol history, with the worst set of Top Twelvers I think the Show has ever seen.
So who's going home? Damn, I'd send 'em all home except for Lee, Siobhan and Crystal. But if I have to choose only one, I'd have to say I'd lay "Odds" that Paige is gone. So take a look at her now. 'Cuz next week, I expect an empty space.