Season 2: Come See about Me

In this first finals round, "Motown Night", American Idol 2 lets the Twelve murder Motown classics and thoughtfully invites Lamont Dozier to watch and judge. How old is that guy? Is it safe for him to listen to, much less watch and judge, the Twelve? I almost passed out from pain thirty minutes into this episode. The judges are unbelievably grating - I have never seen so many wrong ass-kissing before - and in the end, only Trenyce and Ruben retain their dignity with above average performances that make my enduring the agony of the Motown Massacre worthwhile. Actually, what will be great is Diana Ross herself running on stage to smack everybody but Ruben and Trenyce for ruining her songs, but alas, that never happened.

How sad is it that these contestants make Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act sound like the second coming of Diana Ross? In fact, Kimberweave the Burger Queen should watch that show and learn from Whoopi how to sing Heatwave the way it should be sung.

In case you're new to the show, the Finals are a bit different than the Prelims. This time around, there are an audience, mainly filled with sad and pathetic hangers-on or people who wandered in from the live taping of Life With Avril next door. The minus one tracks the Twelve sing to come complete with background vocals. There is a big thing like a Batman mask that is the stage motive, a chair at the far left of the stage where Sleazebag sits and conducts post-performance pow-wow with the Twelve. In front, down there from the stage, is the Table of Judgement with four chairs. Four, you ask? That's right. From right (facing the stage) to left, we have Randy "Dawg, yo dawg, what's up dawg, I can't shut up, dawg, someone shoot me because dawg, I am irritating!" Randy, Charmaine Miss "You're beautiful, you're gorgeous, you're beautiful (did you see my pills?)!" Paula, a celebrity judge whose function is to say nice things even when they are unmerited, and King Tut. You'll notice that they have placed King Tut and Ryan Sleazebag so that they can stare at each other and scowl while the others are performing. King Tut is still bitter over their break-up, and Sleazebag, well, he just seems determined to flaunt his sluttiness before poor King Tut. In the end, King Tut gets one better by making out with Lamont Dozier before the shocked Sleazebag, but that's towards the end of the show. But I must say, the As King Tut's Idol Throbs soap opera is heating up.

By the way, I've skipped the pathetic "It started with a dream..." windbag narration at the start of the show. Yes, Twelve made it this far, but Ten still torture me in various ways (yes, I'm including Kewpie in this), so as far as I'm concerned, they all suck. We already have the winners: Trenyce and Ruben who better damn well lose. I hate to see my dear Trenyce end up being Kelly-Clucksoned and has to make horrid movies with Ruben. In fact, out of spite, I'd love to have Carmurp or the annoying gnat Corey Vanilli win this thing so that they will completely disappear from the TV screen and radio after the show like magic. Tamyra is doing okay, after all, compared to poor Justin Gurgling and Kelly, so she has the last laugh. Winning the show is one fate I wouldn't wish on Trenyce and Ruben. If you Americans are reading this and you love these two, please, get them to the Final Four where they will be noticed by the people that matter, but for heaven's sake, do not vote for these two soon after! Don't sell their souls to the 19E people!

Sleazebag today is wearing an orange shirt with some stripe motives on his chest and stomach and he has a gray denim jacket over the shirt. He is wearing his typical tight jeans. He looks even more wasted than usual. Those lines on his face, those weary eyes that seem to suggest that he has worked so hard and even sold all he has to sell to get here - he's wasting away in a puddle of melting fake tan, Botox drips, and smarm before my eyes. When I consider that "here" is a host for a show starring predominantly talent-free wannabes hogging for the limelight, I really feel sad for this man. He's a handsome man with nice dimples. Now his looks seem fake and plastic, he seems to be a golem constructed out of hair grease. I hope one day he finds the right man - oh, don't look so forlorn, King Tut - who will slow him down and mellow him a little. Sleazebag, hon, slow down and take a deep breath.

Sleazebag puts on a courageous front - after all, he must be dying inside since his breaking up with King Tut, awww - and grins widely as he looks at the cheering audience. He jokes that they are screaming for him (maybe they are - "Kiss him, Sleazebag, kiss him, King Tut's your true love!", Never Been Kissed style) and says that he is blushing, before admitting that nobody can see him blush underneath his fake tan.

"I can!" King Tut calls out. "He's my soulmate! I can feel his heart beat with mine, and when he smiles, I smile too! When he blushes, I feel his blush down to the root of my - "

Oh hush, Tuttie. You're becoming pathetic. You've grown soft.

I blink. Did someone hold up a sign in the crowd saying "My God is Gay"? Oops, it's not "Gay", it's "Clay", the Hairless Kewpie.

Sleazebag announces to the wildly cheering crowd that they are very good today. They are the best, in fact. Several insane boys, high on advil, leap out of their seats and scream. So these are the typical American Idol demographics? Suddenly I feel so ashamed watching this show and run to pull the curtains close, hoping that the neighbors don't hear the TV from my living room.

Sleazebag calls out the Twelve, who walk out one by one. They look like idiots. They wave at the crowd like idiots. Sleazebag tells Kewpie and especially Ruben not to do any stage diving today. Damn. I want to see Ruben leap off the stage and land right on Charmaine Miss Pau-snap! Kewpie looks up at Ruben and snaps his finger in disappointment. Then it hit me: Sleazebag never qualify that statement he made. Did Ruben and Kewpie actually plan a stunt at the end of the show where Ruben leaps onto Kewpie, Aloha Gay Jungle style? Is that why Kewpie is so disappointed? Should I be disappointed they didn't let those two do their Aloha Monkey Love Dive stunt? Damn!

Sleazebag asks the crowd to cheer for King Tut. Randy Randy turns the mic to him, cups his mouth with his meaty paws, and booes instead. Oh shut up, Randy Randy. Miss Paula, trapped in the middle, looks pretty nice today in a simple white outfit and a discreet black necklace. Sleazebag announces that it is America's opinion that matters - who cares about Iraq, Kewpie for President! - and the judges today are pretty much just three overpaid opiniated mouthpieces.

"You are the best mouthpiece I ever had," King Tut sobs to Sleazebag. "Come back!"

But you didn't hear that. The crowd was cheering too loud.

And today, the person with the lowest votes will be going home. And today is Motown Night. Maybe that two sentence are related somehow. I don't know.

The monitor replays the judges telling the contestants that they chose the wrong song. Today, Sleazebag announces, the judges cannot use this "you chose the wrong song" thing as a criticism, because Lamont Dozier, daddy Motown music man himself, will be the celebrity judge! Now, I don't know how having Mr Dozier here will stop the contestants from singing the songs they are all wrong for, but hey, don't let logic ruin American Idol, eh? Mr LaDoze himself walks up in what seems like a pair of glittering pajamas that they borrowed from the nearest senior old folks' home. Or maybe Mr LaDoze lives there and he forgot to change before coming here? Hmm.

We are then treated to a taped scene of Mr LaDoze playing the piano and the Twelve lined up behind him to screech. He says that the best performers project themselves in the song. His songs are written in times when a lot of things were happening in the world, he says, so the performers must show the feeling. We see the contestants gushing about how great this man is, how an inspiration he is, and how they are forced to say such tripe when they probably don't even know who he is until then because they all want to be famous and they will say anything they think we want to here. Here, Creepy Rickey, fetch! Kimborlee holds up a LaDoze CD and mugs shamelessly to the camera. Oh please, lady, we can all see through you. Your game's up - you're a fake through and through and we all know it.

The first performer is Kimberweave. She is wearing a two-piece red outfit that, alas, accentuates her huge thighs along with her huge bosoms. Not a very flattering outfit, but that's nothing compared to the goat-like bleating that blares from her mouth. Kimberweave is more animated than I've ever seen her before, slapping her thighs and asking the audience to clap, but it's like watching an animated robot squealing during a pagan ritual sacrifice, especially with all those fire images blasting up on the screens in the background. She still seems unable to insert any warmth in her performance. She's just a polished bleating cow. There is none of the playful gusto or sexy flirtation that is needed to make this big song to work. Watch Whoopi, Kimberweave. She may not have that strong a voice, but the way she shakes her rump and hands, she makes Heatwave work. This isn't your darling choir solo like your tedious intro film tells me where you can just stand there and bleat emotionlessly. This is a Motown song. Like Jennifer Wanna Dance With Somebody would say - "Dance!"

After I tune out the "Dawg, yo dude, Dawg!" nonsense that comes from the biggest bleating cow of them all, Randy Randy, I think that man is saying that while Kimberweave has done better, the song is a tough one and he likes her performance. Miss Paula agrees and adds to the backhanded compliment by saying, hey, she likes Kimberweave's dress. King Tut straight up telling Kimberweave that her performance - and those flames in the back - reminds him of a Burger King commercial. Miss Paula interjects that we can always count on King Tut to be nasty. Oh shut up, you narcotized floozie, I like nasty King Tut. He's dead on about Burger King. I like that so much, I'll call Kimberweave Burger Queen from now on in King Tut's honor. LaDoze says that Burger Queen has energy and she is ready for business. Yeah, Burger Queen, it's time to go back to flipping beef patties. Out you go - shoo!

To console Burger Queen after her performance, Sleazebags talks about the "flaming side" of King Tut. Well, he should know. He's King Tut's favorite beef patty, 100% lean meat grilled and good for the health-conscious!

Next, it's time for gay military porn. Yup, it's the intro film for Josh Don't Tell. We see Marine boys staring in a lovestruck manner as Josh Don't Tell in his Manly White Singlet sings a song to them all. And way to go, Josh Don't Tell, by insisting that for you, serving the country to whoop Saddam's ass comes first. While this may be what they want you to say, but I say right now the 19E people are plotting to get rid of you the way they sabotage Livvy Oliverie (as my husband would tell you). Who wants an American Idol puppet that they cannot control 24/7? How are you going to attend Nikolodeon premiers when you are off crushing third-world villains? What happens if you get killed?

I tell you, 19E will not want this guy to win.

And here's anothing thing that pisses me off. If Josh Don't Tell is going to do Motown, why isn't he dressed for the occasion? Why is he in loose white shirt, jeans, and the Secret Necklace of Gay Marine around his neck?

Baby, I Need Your Lovin' is not his song at all. I can see him pulling off something less challenging, like maybe My Girl, but Josh Don't Tell really cracks when it comes to this one. The breathing is off and he seems unable to bring forth the powerful booming voice one needs to bring the glorious chorus to life. He also has only one sole repertoire when it comes to performing: bend a little forward - I bet he learns this one in the Marines alright - sticks the mic to his mouth - another handy Marine survival skill - and then sing as he presses his left palm over his heart. He does this every time I see him perform, and it's becoming laughable.

You know who he reminds me of? Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys - and with just as much (read: zilch) personality.

Josh Don't Tell stands straight, hands behind his back, at attention as he waits for his judgement. Randy Randy who needs a big fat ugly piano to drop on him says that the song isn't Josh Don't Tell's style but he thinks Josh is cool and the Marine stud did a decent job. "It was good." Miss Paula says that Josh has been consistent and has proved what this contest is all about - she is a reliable canned tape player that plays some hackneyed compliment when prompted to. Mr LaDoze says that Josh Don't Tell "comes with the heart". Oh, really. No wonder the Marines in the intro film look so happy to have Josh Don't Tell around. King Tut reveals how much he has been stripping the Marine stud in his mind when he asks Josh Don't Tell to lose a few pounds. Apparently King Tut doesn't mind Ruben, but he wants Kimborlee, Livvy, and now Josh Don't Tell to lose weight. Either he's one inconsistent freak grasping at straws to be mean or he really goes for skinny white kids and Ruben is safe because he's not just King Tut's type.

Josh Don't Tell decides to prove his masculinity and virility by doing some push-ups on the stage. Marines everywhere stand up at attention at this misfired display of masculinity. If I were you, Josh, I'd stay away from the showers during peak hours - no pun intended - during the next few weeks.

Bigboy is next. He was a supermarket boy who sings, the intro film tells me. I am reminded of that slow, rude lazyass cashier down at my local supermarket who holds up the queue because she's too busy singing with the guy at the next cashier. I think I don't like Bigboy anymore. His insincere boss is full of praises and gushes, and the staged scene where the boss calls through the intercom to reprimand Bigboy only to have Bigboy sing to him and the crowd claps? That is too corny for words. I suddenly miss Iguanita Barber and her chil'run.

How Sweet It Is, yes, but Bigboy ends up struggling to keep up with the bouncy song rather than taking command of it. The music drowns him rather than he controls the music. He complements the background vocals, not the other way around. His performance isn't bad, but his performance lacks bite and his vocals are on the timid bite-free side. The camera thoughtfully pans up his baggy jeans and is it me or that thing looks kinda packed? Like Josh Don't Tell, Bigboy isn't dressed for Motown at all. His denim patchwork outfit seems more appropriate for a Harlem performance of Oliver Twist rather than a performer in a Motown tribute.

This is rather blah. Next!

Randy "Shut UP, dawg!" Randy says that Bigboy is good but this performance isn't Bigboy's best. Miss Paula isn't impressed either, so she chooses to compliment him on his "interesting" intro film. Bigboy goes awww and thanks her. Mr LaDoze says that even Marvin Gaye struggled with that song, but Bigboy gave it all his best. King Tut, when he's not playing twirly-fingers with his new friend Mr LaDoze, agrees and says that Bigboy pulls through this one. Barely, if I may say so.

Sleazebag's hand is already reaching for Bigboy as Bigboy hurries towards him, and their handclasp is firm and strong as King Tut closes his eyes and looks away in pain.

Kimborlee's intro film is pretty sad. Her mother shares the limelight as much as her in there, and together, they inadvertently reveal the empty artifice in Kimborlee's life. It is telling that it is the Evil Stage Mother who announces that Kimborlee is most unhappy when she is not performing. The Evil Stage Mother happily reveals that Kimborlee has been performing non-stop since she was a tyke, and in the end, I feel so sorry for Kimborlee. Run away from your mother in that truck you want to marry, Kimborlee. Flee to your darling Kewpie!

By the way, did anyone catch JD Adams clapping for her with her family in the audience? I can see it now: Kimborlee Caldwell in From Kimborlee to Kewpie. Will she choose the simple, lovelorn, kd lang lookalike Mr Right (Kewpie) or the ambitious insensitive conventionally cute Mr Wrong (JD)? The world awaits her decision with bated breath.

"I choose Sleazebag!"

Oh hush, King Tut. Nobody is asking you.

Kimborlee performs Nowhere To Hide like every lounge husky-voiced singers in America out there, and these lounge singers are probably wondering why they never signed up for this show. Husky but not much else, Kimborlee bleats - really, she bleats - valiantly but futilely. The song is all wrong for her, even when it's one of the least vocally challenging songs in this night's list, and no matter how little range she has, she just cannot sing Motown. And what is she wearing? She looks as if she has stopped the nearest streetwalker on the way here and paid that lady ten dollars for the outfit.

Randy Dawgcrap Randy says that she rocks the crowd. And to this Mr LaDoze and I must agree with. She sings most mediocre, but she can definitely perform, working the crowd effortlessly. Actually I don't dislike Kimborlee like many online folks I know, but put her next to someone who can perform and sing, like Trenyce, and she fades into inconsequence. King Tut, driven insane by heartbreak, announces that Kimborlee is the best so far tonight. Miss Paula, you should consider sharing your pharmaceuticals with that poor man. Miss Paula blathers some inane positivity crap. What's amusing though is that Kimborlee is barely listening to them. She is aglow with pleasure, waving at the cheering crowd, air kissing them, ignoring the judges because she is well aware that in the end, the crowd's love is all that matters in poor Kimborlee's empty, fame-hungry life.

Kewpie's love, I hope, will help her heal the way Sleazebag's future lover will help him heal. So many young beautiful people, so many broken hearts, what is the world coming to? It's like a big country song. Maybe we should do a "Country Night" one of these days.

Before we head off to a commercial break, we see the Twelve's "excited" reaction to their first glimpse of this set, taped before the show. As a gauge of how well these people can muster up fake emotions when prompted, all fair miserably. Except for Livvy, whose "Corey, it's so big!" is amusing because I am actually twelve years old at heart. Whoever wins this show, I think those makeover people will have seizures trying to turn turd into gold.

Next is Creepy Rickey. Is this guy autistic or something? If he is not, then he's pathetic. A twenty-three year old man who jumps around like a hyperkinetic Corky La-la-la-life-goes-on-gone serial killer and who calls his sister "the female version of me" is not a very nice thing to see on TV. His college Dean insists that Rickey is the man I will want my daughter to marry. So why didn't you marry him yourself, Mr Dean? Or give your daughter to him like some medieval overlord? Freak. You and that overgrown lummox deserve each other. With hope, the walking Barney the Purple Dinosaur will hug you to death while he has that grin on his face as he giggles non-stop. Again, as it cannot be said enough: freak.

But he does a really good rendition of 1 2 3. This is one sing that suits his high tenor perfectly, but even so, it is not an easy song to sing, but Creepy Rickey pulls it off with shocking ease. The hardest parts - the bridge and the chorus that really works the diaphragm - are made to seem so simple to be sung by this overgrown lummox. Seriously, I'm shocked at how good he is. I mean, I caught myself clapping hands and bopping my head along with Miss Paula on TV and has to lie down on the couch during the commercial break because I'm in shock.

Creepy is still creepy, but he's actually... good. Wow.

Randy Randy is in love, and so is Miss Paula. "I feel it! Excellent job!" she squeals, and it's not as obscene as it sounds, trust me. Mr LaDoze is all smiles, while King Tut levels off the sugar shock by saying that Creepy Rickey is the nicest guy here, but he hates the film piece. The silence regarding Creepy's performance speaks volumes in itself. Creepy Rickey says that King Tut will understand the intro film if he sees where Creepy lives (where, the Fraggle Rock kingdom?). It's the ducks, see. Not really, King Tut counters, they have ducks in England too. Insert your own quack about queer ducks here.

Sleazebag is going on in his typically garbled way about Fred Durst and Britney Spears and Tomato... er, I sort of tune out Tomato's "My Life As A Southern Hairdresser Stereotype" intro film. She looks good though - a low plunging black top and knee-length complementing black skirt and a black stringy choker around her neck. It's like Boobs Gone Posh. Her glazy-eyed lifeless karaoke rendition of Where Did Our Love Go?, where her notes vary in range from flat to very flat to absolute flatness of flat, however, sucks major lemons. Watery voice, watery performance, there is absolutely nothing - nobody's at home today when Tomato is singing. Is she high on something? This performance is shockingly bad.

Randy Randy says she looks hot and, uh, she's okay, dog. Shut up, you fat ugly parody of yourself. Miss Paula agrees with the hotness but says that Tomato need to work on performance. Mr LaDoze says that the song is meant for her. Men are such suckers for big mammaries and of course, Mr LaDoze was one of the biggest tomcats in his time, so no surprises there. King Tut saves the day somewhat by calling Tomato gorgeous (but asks her not to take any bows) but saying that he's not impressed. Tomato missed the Supremes, he says. Miss the Supremes? This gal missed talent and nosedived into the suck, I say.

Tomato just stares ahead and then asks the crowd, "Do you like it?"

Of course they scream yes.

Satisfied with this pathetic show of defiance, she walks off the stage. Idiot.

Sleazebag makes a rather tasteless crack about Tomato needing a lot of support as he hands her the Tomato placard her mother is waving in the audience. She looks as if she doesn't get it, but I don't think she is dumb. She only plays dumb because she knows that with her mammary overhang, she can manipulate men easily that way. Good for her, but woe, I have to hear her sing. Ugh.

Next is the Kewpie. The crowd goes wild. Firstly, let me say that the online Kewpinities (or Claymates of the People's Republic of Clay as they call themselves most grandiosely) are the scariest, creepiest, most pathetic losers in the universe. Seriously! Treating this skeletal love child of Annie Lennox and kd lang (only with scarier eyelashes) like the second coming of Le Messiah Broadway is ridiculous. I am itching for a backlash.

As his rendition of Sugar Pie Honey Bunch goes, can I say that he is not convincing at all? The voice is good, but it's not for Motown, honey. In fact, it is as if Ronan Keating has possessed this guy during the verses. But the most irritating is this guy's sharp, cackly snappings of his chin. It's like watching a cobra dancing to an epileptic snake charmer's flute playing. Like all the other men, he is dressed as if he's been dragged here from a nerd orgy. Nice voice, polished style, but that chin snapping thing and the lack of range in his showmanship are all wrong.

I love his intro film though. At least he manages to come off sincere in that one. A teacher for special children, studying to teach special education, and it's really all about the music? I'm in love. Here's how you do a nice intro film without going overboard on schmaltz. Then again, he is one of the best contestants here so he is secure enough to do a downplayed intro film. Good for him. Now stop moving that chin, open your freaky eyes, and learn to dance, honey. Those Kewpinites won't be around forever.

Randy Randy says "What's up..." You know what, he's dead to me. He is. I'll just pretend he's crushed under the giant piano for being so bloody irritating. Miss Paula and Mr LaDoze give a standing ovation. But King Tut is not impressed. Kewpie sounds like Motown the Musical, he says, and I agree. King Tut, when he's not trying too hard to play the nasty Brit, makes a lot of sense. That Dead To Me Freak That Shall Remain Unnamed, however, asks the crowd to boo King Tut, and they do. That's so mature, isn't it? First, become an unbearable parody of himself and now booing out his colleague who he disagrees with. I swear, if next season comes on and the judges are only Miss Paula and Randy Randy, I cannot watch. I will fall into a coma ten seconds into the saccharine mess that will result.

Shut up, dog. Shut. Up.

Kewpie, getting King Tut's middle finger for the first time in the four times he perform on this show, flees to Sleazebag, whose left hand is already extended even before Kewpie starts running to him. Is Kewpie Sleazebag's true love? Is that why Sleazebag mocked Kimborlee openly on his radio rounds? Than what about Kimborlee? Will she go back to JD? Or will she fight Sleazebag for Kewpie?

"And what about me?"

King Tut, please, pipe down. Nobody cares about you, okay?

"It's not fair! I love that man. I did everything for him. I even wore a dog collar and let him spank my ass! And we *censored to protect the fragile-hearted* and *censored* and he *censored* me and we *censored* *definitely censored* each other! Why doesn't Sleazebag love me?"

I don't know, King Tut. But please, quiet down. No, no - don't scream!

Too late. Sleazebag is telling Kewpie to toss what King Tut said: Kewpie let the crowd have fun, and that's all that matters. "Good job!" he tells Kewpie. He even says that he and Kewpie have the same hairstyle. Kewpie makes his orgasm face and sticks his cheek close to Sleazebag's so that we can compare hair. King Tut's incoherent howls of agony before he is sedated by Miss Paula's emptying a bottle of her favorite brand of antidepressants into his wailing mouth are not shown on TV thanks to a timely commercial break.

Livvy Oliverie, all red, is next. Her intro film shows a rather nice story of a bubbly girl who is probably a little too eager to be noticed that she suppresses her naturally gorgeous looks under a super thick cake of make-up and hair color. She has a potbelly pig named Bacon - honest! - and a really cute lil' brother. I can't help wishing that I will get to know the real Livvy, not this trying-too-hard Livvy, before the show ends.

Her You Keep Me Hanging On however is nothing fancy. She has the voice to carry the song at a competent level, but she lacks the extra edge - an extra boost in her voice, perhaps, to push it from being competent to being extraordinary. She doesn't make me feel like jumping or even tapping my feet to her. Nonetheless, a solid mid-tier performance, better than many, but many are also better than her.

Shut Up Fool says that Livvie has some pitching problems at the start, but it's alright. That's all he can say today: "It's alright, yo!" Miss Paula agrees with the pitching problem, but quickly says that she likes the personality. She seems unaware that if you praise everything, the praise becomes worthless. Mr LaDoze, a man incapable of negative criticisms, says that Livvy is good. King Tut however brings up Bette Midler and says that Livvy is a better entertainer than singer - she's not what this show is looking for.

Here is where my husband will insist that the producers sabotaged Livvy. While bantering with Sleazebag, Livvy says that she is a real artist while Sleazebag is merely a performing monkey. I'm not sure if what she said is scripted - not when she quickly backtracks and apologizes afterwards, and when I recall Livvy in the past, she has often talked too much and did too much. It's not a wise thing to do in a show where the majority of the voters are usually (a) without sense of humor (see Kewpinites), (b) too young and stupid, (c) Avril Lavinge fans, and (d) too old and still stupid (see adult Kewpinites who go online and flood online forums with inanities like "Ohmigosh, 8 more hours until I see Kewpie perform IWANTTODIEOHMIGOD"). I laugh at Livvy's lines, I think it is the mildest thing on this show compared to the things King Tut said on the contestants, but apparently later as we shall see, the Voting Americans are not amused. If Livvy's line is scripted, then the producers have really screwed her bad. My husband tells me to wait and see - the producers will screw the fatties and the non-WASP pretties episode by episode until only Kewpie and Carmurp will remain (Carmurp is brought in because Kimborlee is deemed too old by the Pedo19E people, my husband says knowingly - "It's all a conspiracy! Watch as even Ruben will go soon!").

Then again, this is American Idol 2, where the winners are sold to the devil and chained to eternal corporate slavery for life. It's like a legalized slave auction. That's why I will be happy if Ruben and Trenyce get kicked out as long as I get to hear and watch them a few more episodes. They are screwed more ways than one if they win this thing.

Sleazebag, professional where it counts, realizes instinctively that his darling girlfriend whom he gets hairstyling tips from is targetted for boot. He holds up his scripts and tries his best to spin damage control by saying that this is all scripted. No harm done. I warmed up to him a lot in this instance. Looking back, he has shown an actual tender, even protective side on these contestants, like how he reassures the contestants in the second prelims round that they are good and they may be back in the Wild Cards rounds, how he tells people like Kewpie what really matters (entertaining the crowd), and how he, like now, can sense when a contestant is in deep trouble and tries to help her climb out of it. Maybe Miss Paula isn't the real mama hen here, maybe Sleazebag's the one. Hmm.

I think I need to lie down. I'm reading too much into this silly show.

Next is the sleazy Corey Vanilli who looks as if he's wearing an onion ring on his head. His intro film is predictable: how he bums in school (the "I'm antiestablishment!" thing), how his grandfather was the first AA officer (cue scenes of Corey looking at his medals and trying to pretend that he's responsible and mature now). It's like a massive and insincere attempt to portray him like some kind of ghetto cool when this loser probably listens to ABBA in the privacy of his bedroom and dances to Olivia Newton-John in his underwear when he feels blue and sad.

I groan when he sings This Old Heart Of Mine. I love that song - Corey, you monster! He is, dare I say it, just fecking awful. He cannot reach the high notes in the chorus, so he just shouts instead. He is rushing through the bridge in a tuneless screaming style that I tremble like a crack addict experiencing withdrawal as my poor, poor lovely favorite song is murdered by this high-pitched girlie Prince-wannabe princessy knobhead. He can perform, I give him that, and the camera and the crowd love him. And unfortunately, sometimes such superficial artifice is enough for superstardom.

Mad Fool Dawg Who Won't Shut Up says that the Corey freak is the best he has seen. Miss Paula loves his unique voice (read: shag me!) and that suit he is wearing (read: take it off!) - pathetic. Keep your tongue inside your mouth, you silly woman. Mr LaDoze, senility beckoning, calls the freak the new Smokey Robinson. You better stop smoking that, good man. King Tut is just as delusional. He says Corey is great and that he is "honest" in his wild side. As opposed to "wild Frenchie" whose wild side King Tut can't take because he has a phobia of big beautiful sexy women who actually dare show that they are sexual creatures. You deserve all the heartbreak Sleazebag brings onto you, you twit. First you schmooze 17-year old Carmurp on even as you say you will not sign underaged kids into a music contract and now you love Corey Manilli. I'm with Sleazebag now. Kill him, Sleazebag! Step on his testicles and grind it like crunchy M&M's!

Carmurp is next. I have my crucifix ready. Her intro film is like a made-in-Utah Mormon version of the Village of the Damned, with special DVD footage on how to put on make-up like an overly-desperate hard-up tart in a pick-up bar by yours truly, Carmurp the ViBAAAAAAto herself!

"I need lOooOOOoove," she goes as she trips and stumbles into You Can't Hurry Love. It's like listening to radio on a bad frequency trip. She is obviously out of tune at so many instances in the song, I think even prion-infected sheep can do a better job that this wretched, wretched girl. If she wants to yodel, bloody hell, let's just buy her a one-way-trip plane ticket to the Alps where she can cause avalanches all she wants. Just get her off my TV now!

My ears are bleeding. Oh. My. Head.

Stupid Dawg Shut Up says that this is the best he has heard her sing. Miss Paula agrees. This is a backhanded compliment alright, as they have only heard her sing twice, not counting the perfunctory audition. King Tut smugly says that she has justified his choice. Like he will admit he screwed up? Carmurp can stand there and use her intestinal gas to make music and he will still say the same thing.

Sleazebag says that Carmurp looks more comfortable on stage this time. If we're lucky, she'll never get on stage ever again. Maybe Burger Queen can hire her in the Burger King restaurant she is going to run after this season ends.

Next is Trenyce. Trenyce! She's fast becoming my favorite female contestant this season. Her intro film reveals that she and her mother didn't know she would be back for last week's Wild Card show until they saw it on TV. Also, Al Green personally commends her for her rendition of Let's Get Together. Wow. "You've won me over!" Al Green says. Wow.

Trenyce dresses... well, let's just say that she's more like hip hop than Motown. White top showing lacy black undershirt and white bell-bottom pants to match, she also has a strawberry shortcake beret on her head. I like it. I like how she just has to put on subtle colors on her face to look gorgeous in an unconventional way. Most of all, I love her smokey, full-bodied voice that has demonstrated its versatility by having pulled off country (That's Love Sneaking Up On You), uptempo R&B (Let's Stay Together), and now midtempo Motown (Come See About Me). "Com'on y'all!" she calls before slipping into a truly sexy and entirely her own version of that Diana Ross' song. She lacks Ross' higher register, but she manages to lower the keys to fit her own register perfectly. And yes, no growling this time! I am also in awe in that she can project her voice powerfully without having to resort to shouting - she obviously knows how to sing right where most of her fellow contestants fail miserably. Her voice has body and soul and this girl performs with ease, driving everyone to his or her feet to move along. Amazing, considering that her song is a midtempo tune compared to some of the more upbeat songs her rivals had sung.

Me and hubby are standing on my feet and clapping when her too-short performance is over, along with the four judges and too many cheering people. She's amazing. She's like a jolt of caffeine that kick us both awake after too many so-so to outright bad performances before her. Why do we even need to go on? We have a winner already! Just give her the contract and make her a star! Oh, wait, this is American Idol. Okay, give her third place and give her a contract.

Trenyce, take a bow. You're the Queen of Motown Night, the Grand Trenyce.

Dawg From Adipose Overload Hell whoops out, "You're very good! You're truly original!" Miss Paula gushes that Trenyce is "born with it" and that she's like a fresh Diana Ross. I won't go that far as comparing Trenyce with Diana Ross, but Trenyce is really good. Mr LaDoze says that she makes the song hers. And I love King Tut back when he grudgingly admits that he has to congratulate Miss Paula for championing Trenyce. "That was outstanding!" he says - and take that, people! How many contestants have King Tut praise this effusively? I also has to give credit to Miss Paula. King Tut's admission only cements what I suspect all along: it is Miss Paula who brings Trenyce back for the Wild Cards and chooses her to stand here today. Whatever I can say about Miss Paula, she makes a truly excellent choice in her Wild Card.

Even Sleazebag loves her. "Well done, sweetheart," he says. He never calls the female contestants "sweetheart". Maybe one day he will start holding their hands the way he holds his favorite male contestants' hands. But he has good taste in music. I like him. I like everybody now because everybody loves Trenyce.

One last gush, I promise: this lady gets better and better each time I hear her sing. If she keeps this up and not slip up too badly once or twice (come on, everybody slips up once or twice on this show), she can actually go really far in this show.

Next, Ruben! The intro film is scary though. Alabama has a Ruben Studly day. On this day, kids in that town are on holiday because Ruben is on TV, in the finals of American Idol 2. And oh my, Ruben! His Baby I Need Your Lovin' isn't as good as his Prelim 2 performance, but like Trenyce, he easily exudes star power in that he has the audience and the judges on their feet in no time. And invigorated by Trenyce, it's not that hard. The man's booming voice projects easily and clearly, and he infuses enough soul and emotion in the song to make me stand up and listen. He forgets a few lines in the chorus, oh dear, but hey, that man sings so well and his obvious pleasure in the act of singing is infectious.

To think, I only remember much later that Josh Don't Tell sang the same song earlier. Josh who?

You know what will be cool? A Ruben and Trenyce duet. I get the chills just thinking about it.

Of course, they love it. "Brilliant! Brilliant!" Randy Randy - who is forgiven because he loves Trenyce and Ruben - cries. "Excellent! I love your voice, it's like you've been singing the song forever," he continues. "Your voice is truly amazing," Miss Paula exclaims. Then she turns to Mr LaDoze and says that his songs are really great. No objections from me on that one, but why is she stealing Ruben's time to schmooze Mr LaDoze? (Please don't answer, I am afraid to know.) Mr LaDoze thanks Ruben for singing his song so well, and King Tut actually says that Ruben gave an amazing performance and it was brilliant and sensational - "You work the crowd!" he concludes.

Sleazebag extends his hand even as Ruben smiles and waddles towards him. "Booty seats," Ruben complains as he tries to balance himself on his seat. Sleazebag gives him his own seat so that Ruben can have both for his ample buttocks. Which is just an excuse for Sleazebag to touch Ruben's shoulders. They both say they are happy that kids in Alabama has no school that day, but we all know why they are happy, right?

Oh, what a night. It's amazing how two great acts can cause the rest of the Parade of Mediocrity fade from memory - well, almost fade, that is. Coming up next is the results episode. Will Sleazebag finally go back to King Tut? Will Kimborlee choose JD or Kewpie? Stay tuned.

Well, we're back. Look at what Sleazebag is wearing: a dull grey shirt and a necklace that is probably Josh Don't Tell's... oops, I told. Sorry, King Tut, oh no, please don't, don't -

"How could you do this to me, Sleazie baby?"

- don't cry, King Tut. Oh damn.

Sleazebag reads my mind when he says that hey, why should we waste time listening to the judges yammer when we could be... er, he gestures at the Twelve seated on one corner and the crowd cheers, so I guess he means that we should be cheering at the Twelve. Personally, I'd rather pick my nose for better fun and entertainment. Apparently thirteen and a quarter million people voted the night before. I hope many of those are for Ruben and Trenyce.

But before we get to see who is going home tonight, the Twelve all perform a group rendition of Heatwave. They're very passionate about this: the harmony is off, the chemistry is not there, heck, they don't even have outfits for this act. Most amusing is how Corey Vanilli is coming on to Trenyce but Trenyce just pretends he is not there. Someone - Kimborlee or Burger Queen is my guess - is shrieking like a banshee in an attempt to outsing everybody else. Must be Burger Queen. She's shown herself to be a selfish, thoughtless vainglory famehog to do such a stupid thing.

As the results are read, I notice some interesting reactions. Kewpie, the touchy-feely guy, is kissing Livvy's cheek and rubbing her hands up and down, but that woman looks repulsed and trying to just keep quiet at the same time. I guess Kewpie's foray into heterosexuality isn't working out too well. When Kewpie is revealed to be safe, Tomato reaches out to hold his hand, but after a brief touch, Kimborlee quicky uses her own hand to cut them off. Is Tomato the fourth person in the increasingly convoluted From Kimborlee To Kewpie soap opera? (Stay tuned next week!)

The final (lowest) three are Burger Queen (no surprise), Tomato (deservedly so), and Livvy. Livvy's presence there flabbergasts me. As I've said earlier, she performs better than Carmurp, Corey Vanilli, Josh Don't Tell, Bigboy, Kimborlee, as well as Tomato and Burger Queen. She's a solid mid-tier performer last night, and she definitely does not deserve to be here. I am horrified when Burger Queen, revealed to be safe, waves and cheers and jumps around before running back to join the others on the seat, without even looking at the other two. What a thoughtless, vainglory, icy hog! Burger King is too good for her.

I am shocked when Livvy gets the cut. Tomato looks shocked too and she is even holding back tears. Of course, it's probably all an act, but I wonder if she knows that she deserves to go, not Livvy.

And how insulting it is that Livvy has to sing one more time before she goes. Her closing film thing is even sillier. All that tinkly piano music and slow confessionals are more appropriate for an eulogy, and Livvy is definitely not dead, so sheesh, really! Still, that closing film sequence does reveal at least a little of the Livvy inside: maybe, underneath all that red make-up, she's just someone who wants to have fun. She says we won't see the last of her, and I say, good luck to you, Livvy.

I'm disappointed with you Americans. What the heck? Of all the worthy targets for elimination, you let Livvy slip through? She's not good, but she's not bad enough to be the first to go.

Hubby says that Livvy's defection makes sense though. Here's his theory: never mind that the idiots voting on this show are swayed by Livvy's monkey remark to Sleazebag, the demographics of this show, women mostly, favor men over women. Women have to be really good or fit either the fat criteria ("politically correct" votes from women) or beautiful but not too-beautiful to be threatening ("I can like her" votes here - see Tomato) or beautiful but not sexually threatening (the "wholesome, I like her" votes from judgemental lil' girls - see Carmurp who can slowly leech off Kimborlee's votes). Men? They can croak like a frog but if they're remotely cute, idiot teenage girls will still vote for them regardless. Kimborlee's perceived relationship with Kewpie is hurting her badly: already the legions of insane Kewpinites are calling her all sorts of synonyms for prostitute. Preteen virginal girls calling out the perceived sexual threat to their crush can be really scary.

Livvy doesn't fit these neat labels the demographic audience use to vote for women, my husband says.

Personally, I think he's bonkers. Most likely the monkey remark did hurt her as well as the fact that maybe voters thought that Livvy will be safe and neglected to vote for her. Let this be a lesson to all you kiddies: if you like someone, vote, damn it! Every vote counts. This week sees Tomato pulling a Florida on us all, and let's hope it doesn't happen again. Kiddies, put these names on your "Do Not Vote Ever" list: Corey Vanilli, Carmurp, Tomato. Got that? Let's get rid of these three awful noise pollution and then we'll see who we should gun down next.