Season 2: This Is the Night

Ryan Sleazebag, whom I won't be seeing on TV for the next few months, hallelujah, has cut his hair, or maybe has used more hair cream to sleek it down than usual, but he looks surprisingly well-groomed today. He's weating a blue shirt over a frilly pirate shirt he either borrowed from Captain Hook or from Fabio. Or maybe they borrowed it from him, who knows? He announces that after seventy thousand live auditions, ten oceans of tears, eight million heartbreaks (and another seventy million after the results show), after enduring Carmurp and Josh Don't Tell ruin this show, it's the "showdown" tonight. Aye, people, we have seen the real talents like Burger Queen and Trenyce who come into their own on the nights they get booted just before they don't fit the King Tut agenda. I know I don't like Creepy Rickey's antics, but after listening to his performances later in the finals, I think I can safely say that among the males, he's the most vocally accomplished. Seeing Trenyce again vamping it up for the camera, I realize how much her absence takes away the excitement from the show. Seeing Tomato so confident, so radiant, well, what could have been if she's suffering from less stage fright? I even miss Kimborlee's camera muggings.

But all these performers don't matter because they don't fit this show's agenda - to have a winner different from Kelly Cluckson, ie they want a male non-White winner this time around. The now infamous Newsweek article has proven what were only speculation: the show openly wants Ruben and Kewpie to be in the Final Two, with Ruben emerging winner. By overinflating Ruben's praises while cutting down those that stand in the way of the King Tut Agenda, in the end King Tut and his minions get their way. Which is why the Ruben and Kewpie showdown seems more like a testament to the sheep-like mentality of the AI viewers and voters rather than an indicator of talent. Ruben and Kewpie are talented, yes, but I can't help now believing that these two would not have made it this far if the show hasn't propped them along the way. Way to go, King Tut. Are you so insecure in Ruben's ability and popularity that you must taint his victory this way? And the saddest thing of all, the shifty interferences of the producers aren't necessary - Ruben is easily a Top Four material. Now people will say that Kewpie and Burger Queen would have taken down Ruben easy were not for Ruben getting unfair backup from King Tut and his minions.

For this finale, it is held in the Universal Ampitheatre in LA instead of the usual cheap blue studio set. Okay, this ampitheatre is blue and other than bigger capacity for more morons and washed-up media whores in the audience, the only difference I see between the sets is that the lighting in this supposedly superior Amphitheatre is ghastly. As we shall soon see, the lighting make the Two glow like unholy demons making awful music. Maybe the underpaid and overworked backstage crew are making a statement, and in that case, they are doing it too well.

Sleazebag reminds people that every vote counts, and for tonight, they open up the lines for three hours after the show so that all you people can work those digits until Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is your middle names. More blah blah stupid chatter, then he brings out the Two. The audience cheer because these are the boys they want so desperately to lose their virginities, real or imagined or fabricated or stapled on, to. Ruben is wearing the wall lining of a padded nutcase room while Kewpie looks like the Political Correct Gay Angel #5 in Episode 4 of Touched By An Angel, But Not Like That: A Really Good Christian TV Series. Kewpie and Ruben stand by side, until Sleazebag comes between them and warn them, "No biting, no pulling Ruben's hair" - Sleazebag is so funny, I tell you - "no scratching. Gentlemen, shake at it." I realize that I don't have to hear Sleazebag's Ambiguously Gay Jokes anymore for the next few months, and if I'm lucky, the rest of the year. I can stand three hours of this. It's just three hours.


Then Sleazebag introduces the judges, saying it's their last chance this season to "guide the audience" in making the right choice. That statement is so wrong, I don't even want to start. Except maybe to say, shut up Sleazebag. Randy Randy is wearing Al Capone's Ten Ton Hat. King Tut tests Miss Paula's breath with his hands - AI's own (cheap) detox tests for our darling ingenue. Look hard, people. This is the last time we will be seeing these three wastes of spaces and words for some time. I feel so much better already. Three hours? Bring it on!

Since in that Monday filler special Ruben lost the coin toss, he will start first. But first, we see the Special Video Clip about how Ruben made it this far. Everybody loves Ruben! Kids, moms, everybody loves Ruben! We see celebrity judges praising Ruben again. Wrinkles With Glasses claims that Ruben's How Can You Mend A Broken Heart is the best version he has ever heard. Gliddy calls Ruben "America's Velvet Teddy Bear". Yes, AI, I get it. I'm supposed to love Ruben. But I don't, so all of you can collectively kiss my ass.

He kicks off the show with the song that destroyed Tamyra last season: A House Is Not A Home. That Dumb Ruben is back. He smiles widely as he tells us how a chair is still a chair. He is so happy because there's no one sitting there. Happy Ruben - his chair is not a house, his house is not a home, because there's no one to hold him tight and he is So Freaking Happy! Awwww. Why can't those homeless idiots on the streets be happy like Ruben?

He rasps his way through this song, failing to imbue any sincere emotions that would make this song listenable. How nice. I have this image of Ruben as an abandoned puppy, waiting in the corner, still smiling, even when it rains or shines, never understanding that he is dumped and nobody loves him.

The lighting makes him glow a scary orange. With his outfit, he looks like a grenade from outer space that is here to eat everybody. Camera pans to a wildly cheering audience, who don't mind being eaten by Ruben. (Subliminal message: Ruuuuben!) Raise the bar? Ruben is content to let it rest on his tummy.

What the heck. They want him to win, so the judges commence tongue bath. Miss Paula says he works the hardest. King Tut looks at her funny. Maybe he's thinking of asking her to lend him her lipstick. Maybe she means at prespiration. King Tut though says that this is not Ruben's best - it's good but it's not his best. The audience boo. King Tut says loudly, "Here we go again!" as he is rained by boos.

Sleazebag talks to some guy who loves Ruben. Kiddies, Ruben. Vote.

Then it's Kewpie's turn. His Special Video Clip is filled with Special Children Who Need Kewpie's Love. And, er, that's it. No celebrity judge pimpings. Because the show doesn't want you to vote for Kewpie.

His song is This Is the Night, the original song they wrote for him. If by "original" you mean "they ripped off Erasure", because This Is The Night sounds just like an Erasure song. He is even channeling Andy Bell in this song. And I love it. Shut up, people, but I love it.

"You love it," hubby says.

"I don't. He's oversinging and overenunciating the R's, especially!"

"Then why do you download the song and play it ten times a day?"

"I... I... help me, somebody!"

"Lift me up, close your eyes," Kewpie sings, and... oh. It should be illegal to sing such transparently Manilowian schmaltz with a chorus that makes me swoon in its grandiose romanticism. This is the song that Chris deBurgh never sang. This is me possessed by the evil spirit of a Kewpinite as I feel pleasurable little tingly chills up my spine as I stare at the TV at a glowing one-tiny-tinky-eye, one-big-winky eye Kewpie in besotted haze as I clutch my hands to my chest. I hold my hubby, because I know this is not me. This can't be me! But there I go, my body swaying to La Messiah Vegas that is Kewpie's overdrawn "Rrrrrriiiiight!" At that moment, I'm sharing the hysteria of a million Kewpinities who swoon at the thought of having a night with Kewpie to teach them how to be a woman at last.

I need help.

Kewpie, you are my AmerAIKEN and CLAYnadian Idol!


I will ban everybody that writes in to taunt me about this matter from visiting this website again, so there!

But seriously, I love this unabashedly cheesy and gloriously corny song. The chorus is really breathtaking. Even when Kewpie's voice is cracking towards the end when he shrieks "Together we'll fly!" in a range that severely tests his range. It's not good, that voice crack, but I don't care.

In that moment when Kewpie finally grows up and turns into glorious Barry Manilow like we all know he is, with this song, Kewpie, this is your night. Kewpie's elevator doors open wide, bathing me in glorious muzak, and it feels divine.

Then the song ends, and the spell's over. I run into the bathroom and splash cold water over my face. And then secretly ICQ out a request for the mp3 of this song during the commercial break. Shut up, hubby.

King Tut asks Miss Paula to steady her breathing. Oh dear, someone is undergoing withdrawal symptoms. Where's Abu the Street Doctor? Randy Randy says he hates song - oh, blasphemy! - but he says that Kewpie sang his heart out. Miss Paula talks about the matrix of a song. Yes, Paula, close your eyes and think sweet lullabies, la la la. King Tut remarks that Kewpie has become very handsome now, thanks to the show. He thinks the song is a little too "American Idol: The Musical" and thinks that Kewpie can do better. Like what? Miss Independent? This song is fabulous, so all you three crackhead judges can go hang!

"I can't believe you love that horrid song," hubby remarks.

Let's just move on, people, please?

Sleazebag wonders how people can choose between these two. He's still saying the same thing when we get back from the commercial break.

"I choose Paula," Randy Randy says.

"I choose Valium," Charmaine Miss Paula says.

"I choose you," King Tut tells him.

I have tears in my eye as Sleazebag drops the mic and, with stars and tears shining in his eyes, runs and leaps over the gap separating the stage and the judges row to fly into King Tut's open arms. "I love you, King Tut!"

And on the stage, divine, la serenissma, Kewpie gloriously belts out the perfect high note of the show: "I've waited forever for this - this is our night!"

Okay, all this never happened. What actually happened is that Sleazebag shuts up about who to choose and Ruben comes out to butcher John Lennon's "haunting" (sic Sleazebag) ballad Imagine. Wheezing like a broken bagpipe, smiling inanely, Ruben asks us to happily imagine a world with no heaven, oh what a wonderful place this is if we are all atheist, hedonist hippies living for today's transient pleasures! Just like how he smiles and sleepwalks through Sweet Home Alabama, this is Ruben, again singing without seeming to understand a thing he is singing, just smiling. His voice is really off-pitch, missing all the correct notes, as he asks us all to reflect on the world today with all the depth and inflection of a puddle.

John Lennon is lucky that he's dead because the judges' tongues extend another ten feet long just to overcompensate for Ruben's off-key singing.

Crowd goes wild, and the camera takes it all in. Sleazebag reminds people that votes are vital, so hey you, all of you, get off your seats and waste phone bill money on Ruben!

Kewpie repays the finger to John Lennon by his destroying Macca's Here, There, Everywhere. I never liked this song when it's sung by Sir Paul McCrappity, and Kewpie's version is like extra tranquilizer jabs added. The harp is driving me to sleep. Kewpie is glowing a radioactive yellow, and I half expect him to rip open his shirt and transforms into the Hulk soon. The falsetto parts sound especially bad.

Randy Randy thinks that it's a safe performance, nothing more. Miss Paula talks about being haunting and vulnerable. Yeah, and I bet she sees dead people too. King Tut says that the song is pretty but he's not impressed. Because all of you are supposed to vote for Ruben.

Sleazebag then asks us to waste more money voting for the "Funny Clip" we want to see tomorrow in full. We can choose from "Daddy's Little Carmurp" (the one on Billy Joel night), Pimp Ruben Ownz You (the one two weeks ago with him giving Kewpie a makeover), and The Adventures of A Professional Beard (Burger Queen's starring role, shown last week). I vote for that Hiroshima documentary clip because it's apt for this moment.

Before we go for another commercial break, the camera pans on the morons in the audience, especially that person who carries a banner with the three judges' heads superimposed on a The Matrix poster (King Tut is Neo, Miss Paula is Trinity, and Randy Randy is Morpheus - eeek!).

Then Ruben sings Flying Without Wings, that wretched Westlife song that they make him cover for his first single. I hate this song, and Ruben fails to make me like it. I may like it if Iguanita Barber sings it, because it's all about chilrun flyin' without wings. To be blunt, the song sounds as if it belongs in a broken, unflushed toilet. At the end of the song, Ruben is sweating like no tomorrow. Good luck with the AI Tour, Ruby, you'll need it.

Tongue bath. King Tut says it's the best ever. Because we'll all supposed to vote for Ruben.

Then comes Kewpie. Out comes the Blue Tarbanacle Choir to stand around the stage. What is this? Kewpie's Revival Tent? Yes, it is, as he launches into Bridge Over Troubled Water with the heavy-handedness of a Las Vegas Scientology Revival Festival. If they make him grow wings and send him soaring into the sky, nobody will blink an eye, because this is like the worst excess of a Celine Dion Vegas circus transported to LA. With this, I think we can settle once and for all whether Kewpie is too Broadway or not. He's not Broadway, he's Vegas.

Hubby is howling with laughter because he finds the whole spectacle just too funny. Personally, I find Kewpie's performance more like a parody, except I don't think Kewpie is trying to be funny. He's really trying to win this, if his amazing ear-splitting final note is anything to go by. The choir, the angel pretensions, the ethereal Carebear halo lighting - this is like a set-up specifically prepared to mock Kewpinities, but I don't think the Kewpinities will be getting the joke anytime soon. Those who do, understand what AI is telling you: Kewpie is a circus, vote for Ruben.

Ugh. I have to listen to This Is The Night to soothe my pain away.

Everyone gives him a standing ovation, except King Tut, because he doesn't want to get too excited and let people know that it's okay to vote for Kewpie. Because it isn't - vote for Ruben, King Tut wants you all to! But after the expected tongue bath from the Evil Sweetpeas, King Tut smiles and says that Kewpie's performance can win him the competition. The crowd cheers.

Phew. The contest is over. Sleazebag walks into the Red Room to chat with the Two. Kewpie says that it is now up to God to choose. Gee, I didn't know God votes too on this show. Anyway, God is a Trenyce fan, so Kewpie can just shut his pie hole. Ruben nods and says something, one word to Kewpie's ten.

We then see the recap of the Two's performances. What do I think? Ruben is really sleepwalking tonight, while Kewpie, despite playing up his overdramatic schtick, really rips all over Ruben, musically, vocally, stage presence-wise, everything. I prefer Ruben to Kewpie on an ordinary day, but I can see tonight that if anyone should win, it's Kewpie. That boy is really pulling out all stops and sparing nothing. And of course, This Is The Night.

Sleazebag again wonders how people can choose between these two. Look, why not just bring down a sign from the ceiling saying "Vote for Ruben"? Why even bother to pretend?

To close the show, they bring out one last has-been desperate for another round in the limelight. Hi, Paul Anka. He's here because Sinatra is dead. He sings My Way, only he changes the lyrics a lot as the screen behind him plays a tribute clip to the entire show, self-congratulationary hubris at its stinkiest. They show the Pimp Ruben video moments as Hanky Anky sings "I just have to say/Ruben and Clay/this is some showdown!" Ooh, so clever, rhyming "showdown" with "lowdown"! "You both sung it your way!" he sings, before proceeding to rhyme "Paula Abdul" with "cool" and... oh, I can't go on. They show King Tut's embarrassing Speedos photo and King Tut cringes as he laughs. Hanky Anky also sings about King Tut's hair and finishes with his pearl of wisdom: "You sing it yourrrrrrrr way!"

Sleazebag tells him, "Well done, baby!"

Which rhymes with, "Shut up, Hanky Anky!"

I never liked Hanky Anky anyway.

Hanky Anky then stands beside Sleazebag, between Sleazebag and the Two, as Sleazebag asks us to vote for the best. Okay, so what's the number to vote for Hanky Anky?

As the credits roll, we see Burger Queen and Tomato cheek to cheek making faces at the camera. Aww, so cute. I can see a little of Trenyce at the side, and she has a new haircut.

People, tell me I didn't imagine seeing Carmurp playing the air drums somewhere earlier.

Tuesday - results show. It's two hours long. Oh boy.

Sleazebag is now all in black - he looks pretty handsome, I must add, despite the fact that he has deliberately kept an "unshaven" look just to look pretentiously disheveled. He's outside, separated by a sea of idiotic, ravenous teenybopper media-whores-in-training fans by a yellow gating. These fans are wave extra heart and mouth "I love you"s to their friends and families that they believe are watching this show. After he has chattered his special brand of inane, special satellite view splits the TV screen and lets us see the crowd in LA (that's Sleazebag's turf, to the left of the TV screen), and then we first see Birmingham (205 for the geographically challenged) - people are cheering. Then we see Oklahoma - people are also cheering.

Slezebag says that the results from last night's three hours voting are "unbelievable close". The crowd cheers.

Then we see Sleazebag talking with the three judges. They all talk about the early auditions, which is just another excuse for them to show those clips of the Virgin Keith, EnREEEEKay Iglesias, Nathaniel of the Split Pants, the Choo-Choo Train Lady, the Beaver Boy, Genie Get Back In The Bottle, and more. After a millionth time they reshow these clips, the losers in these clips aren't funny anymore, just sad. Except for the Virgin Keith, that is. That one never gets old.

Randy Randy wonders why these losers "destroy themselves beyond recognition". Maybe because you give them a chance to do so in the auditions, dawg? Miss Paula calls them "terrible". Someone please dig up the video for The Promise Of A New Day or Crazy Coolin' and let's us all do a comparison as to who is more terrible, Miss Paula or Nate "I'm spent!" Scary Splitpants.

Then it's another clip of people being interviewed into announcing their favorite. It's quite funny that everyone interviewed come off like either insane or desperate mediawhores, especially that skinny guy who says that Kewpie is the champion of Skinny White Guys everywhere. Subliminal message from the show: normal happy people love Ruben, Kewpie is for weirdos with self-esteem issues.

Then we see Sleazebag walking in the backstage area into Ruben's dressing room. Ruben's dressing room is all red, the color of Coca-Cola, because this show is sponsored by Coke so everybody drink Coke now. Ruben is propped up against a seat, trying to look happy but only comes off looking like an uncomfortable overstuffed Thanksgiving turkey needing a forklift to get him off the chair. With much difficulty, he raises himself to look at the TV screen to his left as Sleazebag points to the crowd in 205. A big crowd are gathered in a 205 church to cheer Ruben, an enthusiastic female announcer announces, and then she introduces Ruben's uncle and Ruben's college voice coach. Both men tell her how much they love Ruben, and the crowd cheer - "Go Ruben!" We see some cheerleaders doing their thing. Sleazebag remarks that Ruben's place has nice cheerleaders. Oh cheer up, Sleazebag, just because they beat you up when they caught you trying on Suzie Cheerliddy's stockings and panties in the girls' locker room after a game, that doesn't mean you will never live your dream as the head cheerleader one day. Don't be bitter, be positive, be like Miss Paula!

Sleazebag tells Ruben that he has eaten, oops, taken Alabama. This is just like the elections, kiddies! Isn't it exciting?

Then Sleazebag, having successfully fought off bitter high school memories of unfulfilled dreams, crosses the hall to go to Kewpie's room. Since Kewpie's fans are predominantly kiddies, Kewpie must come off as Non-Sexually Threatening as much as possible. So they paint his dressing room with whorls of pink, red, and Carebear love and sunshine. Sleazebag says that this room looks just like his room. Maybe this is his room, who knows? This is the room where Kewpie and Sleazebag, newfound soulmates and girlfriends forever, sit together and reminisce over the difficulties of growing up wanting to be cheerleaders but always never able to do so because The System frowned on Sleazebag's refusal to wear underwear under those short cheerleader skirts. As they did each other's nails and hair, Sleazebag will reaffirm that one day he will show the world, not just King Tut, what a Great Underwearless Pom-Pom Queen she is. Kewpie will sigh dramatically and tells Sleazebag that Sleazebag is his hero and one day he too will find true love like Sleazebag did with King Tut. Right now he is happy to sing This Is The Night at the wedding reception of Sleazebag and King Tut. Sleazebag promises to match Kewpie up with that hottie Alden Wynn. The room, people, holds a lot of lovely memories of true friendship between Kewpie and Sleazebag. Isn't it sweet?

But that is the past, and now is the present. Sleazebag and Kewpie sigh one last time and try to focus on the present. Kewpie tells Sleazebag that they "have built up this for six months now."

("I think he's talking about getting ready for the competition tonight." - Mr G).

The TV on Kewpie's table switches on to Raleigh, North Carolina. A scary-looking Alan Thicke impersonator guy announces that there are eight thousand Kewpinities gathered in this hall, all of them seized by Kewpie Mania. He then introduces Allison, Kewpie's voice teacher, who squeals that everyone in Raleigh loves him. Then we also see that infamous Amanda, Kewpie's "true friend" who reveals all his conversations to her to the online message boards and papers in the spirit of true friendship. Isn't it sweet, they only get the women to come out and declare their love to Kewpie? These are sweet, unthreatening women so that Kewpinities will not get their Hello Kitty panties all wadded up in knots over bitter jealousy while reassuring them that Kewpie has, like, two female friends so he is straight, he has to be. Sleazebag announces that Kewpie has taken North Carolina.

"But it's the other way around!" Kewpie starts to correct him, but luckily, the Vanilla Coke commercials come on air and cut him before a million Kewpinities commit mass suicide by drinking brandy-laced Ribena.

Sleazebag announces proudly that Ruben and Kewpie have received a higher number of votes than that in the Presidential election. Dubya announces that from now on, presidential hopefuls will compete in American Idol instead of "doing the boring old way of elections". He already has his song planned - Billy Don't Be A Hero. I hear Al Gore is right now getting Naomi Wolf to brush up his vocal performances for It's Better With A Union Man, the song Barbra Streisand magnanimously donated to the Democratic Party for this special event. Now poor Al has to listen to Barbra's constant haranguing of his performance. "You think I'm rude and mean, Al?" she is constantly heard to yell, "What until King Tut is done with you!"

A clip comes on before we go to yet another commercial break. This time it is of a strange woman who ponders the question of whom she prefers to see crowned as American Idol and takes ten minutes answering the question as if she's contemplating solutions for World Peace. She ends up saying that she loves both of them but she will prefer Kewpie. Still, she will "cry for the one who walks away" and "laughs with the one who wins". Someone people are taking this show way too seriously. Again, the show is telling us: Your strange and embarassing mother and your crazy aunts love Kewpie. You want to be cool, you should love Ruben.

Then we see some desperate media whores, including Wanda Yikes, several bimbos, and a loser named Tarantino, declaring their allegiances to either Kewpie or Ruben.

Now we're with Sleazebag in a plush hotel room with the three judges. Randy Randy is in tux, Charmaine Miss Paula is wearing a Red Harlot dress but her hair makes her look as if she's just got out of bed. King Tut is in a suit, but he leaves the top three buttons of his white shirt open so that I can see a little bit of chest hair at the triangle of bare skin around his neck. Maybe he and Sleazebag are all dressed up so that they can have a quick wedding ceremony before the show starts. Miss Paula is the bridesmaid and Randy Randy is the best man. You read about The Secret Wedding of King Tut and Ryan Sleazebag-Tut here first.

Miss Paula remarks on how handsome Sleazebag is. She also calls Randy Randy handsome. I find it amazing how she can act like a drugged-up kook when no doubt she is sober for the big day. I look forward to the day she wins an Emmy for best actress in some inspiring TV movie where she plays a recovering junkie who finds salvation by making exercise videos. Sleazebag and King Tut make some kissy-make-up sounds and hug tight for three seconds, not that I am timing it or anything. Ah, I love seeing people in love, it's so inspiring.

It's time for the first music performance of the day - a spliced together video of performances by some of the rejects of the show. The song is Sing, Sing A Song. It's a nice, tinky-tinky piano song where we see EnREEKay, Fishball Boy, the Hawaiian Frank Sinatra, Terrordona the Mariah Carey stalker, Cedric the Pimp, Monica Sogood (not), the Barbie Twins, the Ugly Boy Twins, and even Patrick Lake. I personally thought Patrick Lake shouldn't be here, since he was third in the fourth prelim round, but hey, nobody asks him to be in this video. He's a desperate media ho, so good for him. I don't think the Barbie Twins and the Hawaiian Frank Sinatra are that bad, but they and EnREEEKay are obviously hamming it up for the camera. The Hawaiian Frank Sinatra has to refer to the lyrics sheet to sing "La, la, la, la, la", EnREEEEKay even asks where the next auditions are, the Ugly Boy Twins pretend to bicker, and Patrick Lake says he can't do this. Meanwhile, Mariah Carey jumps off the window ledge because this clip keep focusing on the photo of Terrordona and her when Terrordona is singing as if someone is performing real-time tracheotomy on her while she's still conscious.

The whole thing is tragic, really. Have they run out of Mentos commercials for these poor desperate fame-hungry kiddies to humiliate themselves on?

Finally, we get to see the inside of the auditorium. The show is starting at last... or is it? Sleazebag announces that this show has divided the nation, ruined marriages, destroyed families, and caused indigestion. Uh, no, I think only Josh Don't Tell suffers from indisgestion. We're all fine, thanks. Then he introduces the Two - as if we don't know who Kewpie and Ruben are by now, oh please. Ruben and Kewpie are in white. Kewpie still looks like the Politically Correct Gay Angel in Touched By An Angel In A Platonic Non-Sexual Way, while Ruben looks as if he's swallowed a giant pumpkin before the show started. They and Sleazebag remind everybody that Kewpie and Ruben are friends. Really, they are friends. Isn't it great that they are friends? Isn't it wonderful that showbiz is such an innocent, happy place? Entrust your virginal kids to American Idol Junior, moms and dads, and watch as we turn them into happy little crackwhore nympho addicts in our pursuit for the Almighty Dollar. At least they'll all still be friends with other fellow crackwhore nympho addicts.

There are 18 million votes, Sleazebag announces, and one person commands a 51.28% share and the other 49.72%. Only 13,000 votes separate them, he adds. If you do the maths, you will see that he is wrong. 1,300,000 is a more reasonable amount. But it doesn't matter, because only Ruben wins, we have Kewpinites insisting that 130 or 1,300 or 1.3 zillion votes apart, it is a tie and we should make both American Idols because there are Kewpinities who can't get through the phonelines to vote so it is NOT FAIR and Kewpie would have won because THEY SAY SO, blah blah blah. Stupid kiddies can be so amusing sometimes, especially when they start calling Kewpie the new Al Gore. Sleazebag then lifts his card so that Kewpie can tilt down a little to read what's on it. Maybe it was "Friends forever". Maybe it was the winner's name. Who knows?

Then we see a picture of Ruben delivering a mean upper on Kewpie's jaw. Don't worry, kiddies, it's just a reenactment and yes, Kewpie is still straight and he wants to marry all of you. Then we see an image of Kewpie and Ruben face to face, almost kissing, in fact. Sugar Ray Leonard comes out of nowhere to announce in a fake boxing match thing that tonight is a "Kewpie versus Ruben" match. He compares the stats. Ruben is six feet four, Kewpie six feet one. Ruben weighs a lot, Kewpie not so much. And on and on. S-A-D.

Then people are coming out on the stage. Ooh, it's the Blue Tarbanacle Choir again. A piano begins tinkling. Then we see Kewpie and Ruben walking out between a woman who is shouting at the top of her voice. Who is that abomination? Ohmigosh, it's Kelly Cluckson! "All it takes is one voice singing," she shrieks, and I must say, yeah, it only takes one voice. Kewpie and Ruben join in this Bacharach crappy song. Then the choir and the three and all the remaining Top Twelve all come out and go "la, la, la, la, la" and "aah" together. Throughout it all, Kelly, the Shrieker of Liberty, screams in a voice that makes me wonder just how the heck did this tuneless banshee won this thing last season. The remaining Top Twelve are dressed in some white one-piece Roman toga thing, except for Trenyce whose two piece navel-baring outfit and short skirt only accentuate her twiggy legs in an unflattering way.

Sleazebag is among the audience to talk to that The Shield guy once Kelly Cluckson is thankfully done with her humiliation ritual. Shield Guy flexes his muscles and Sleazebag makes appreciative sounds as Shield Guy admits that he is shameless and he would swot King Tut a big one if King Tut dares criticize him the way King Tut criticized the contestants. Yeah, yeah, your show sucks - okay, it doesn't, but you suck, so shut up, Shield Guy.

The next filler is Sleazebag announcing the arrival of Clive Davis. He lies that Clive Davis, CEO of RCA records and Overlord Of The Pawns, is the only non-performing guy indicated into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. The kids cheer, not really knowing that there's an entire category in the Hall of Fame for studio tyrants rich enough to buy a space for their names to be added. We are reminded that Clive Davis is hot because he works with hot acts like Alicia Keys, Aerosmith, Annie Lennox, blah blah blah. Clive Davis says that America has chosen well and Ruben and Kewpie "will not let you down". He vows to take good care of Kewpie and Ruben - don't laugh, people - and as evidence of his sincerity, he cites how RCA by "rising to the challenge" has succeeded in making Kelly Cluckson enter the Soundscan Album Charts at the number one position. The crowd cheer. He then says that Kelly's single Miss Independent is "exploding" on all the singles charts in America. Payola, payola, payola. He then says that Thankful sold 1.3 million copies, again a big lie, the CD shipped 1.3 copies, duh. Then Ruben and Kewpie present Kelly with her platinum record trophy thing and she pretends to be surprised.


At the rate these people are going, the finale for American Idol 3 will be eight hours long.

Then comes a really horrifying "funny" clip. Miss Paula and King Tut are having a romantic dinner. We see her rubbing her toes against his leg in what she hopes to be sexually suggestive, but it looks as if she's trying to use his leg as a scratching post for her itchy toes. Scary music comes on. If the clothes start falling off, I'm joining a monastery in Tibet. King Tut pops open the champagne bottle in a cheesy "I'm Oohing" gesture. They clink glasses, and then Miss Paula whips out her ten-foot long tongue and runs it all over her mouth. Hubby and I hold each other tight, petrified yet mesmerized by the ghastly sight. King Tut feeds her strawberries and then dips his fingers into whipped cream and shoves those cream-slicked fingers into her mouth. I feel like throwing up. Iguanita is right - whaddabout the chilrun, you bastards? Miss Paula says with this insane gleam in her eyes how she is glad that the season is over and they don't have to pretend anymore... and then those two smack lips and start sucking on each other like two monster hoovers possessed by evil spirits. Then King Tut wakes up from this "horibble nightmare", sighs in relief to realize that he was just dreaming. Then Randy Randy leans over, in bed with King Tut, and they both look at the camera and scream.

I won't mind borrowing Miss Paula's Red Harlot dress for myself, but I don't want to see her Species impersonation on TV ever again. And King Tut? Shame on you for not being naked on the bad. I feel so sorry for the kiddies seeing this clip. It must be like stumbling onto your grandparents having sex. It must be traumatic. Let's all get together and sue this show.

And damn it, when is the show going to start?

After the crowd stop laughing and cheering at the clip and after King Tut composes himself, Sleazebag is now standing at the stage and saying that he loves how the audience always react as if it's the first time they see him. They don't care about him, but they pretend to. He concludes this by saying with a cheesy grin, "I love Hollywood!" To celebrate, he asks Clay fans to scream. Scream! He asks Ruben fans to scream. Scream! He asks Jim the Sad Clown Boy fans to scream! Three really daring people scream.

Then Sleazebag introduces the judges. Randy Randy insists that he and King Tut are platonic buddies. Why is it so easy to believe him? The camera pans on the relevant faces as Sleazebag announces the presence of some celebrity judges - Captain Hook, Uncle Les, Miss Physical, and Gliddy - in the audience. To celebrate the momentous occasion, the Top 12 will perform a special medley just for these judges.

The now familar "pow pow-pow pow pow-pow-pow" refrains of Let's Groove Tonight kicks off the show. Creepy Rickey says "Yeah!" and proves that there is really no guy who does falsetto as good as he is. I don't like him that much, but he's really missed on Bee Gees night. He sounds really good tonight. Then it's "Ooh!" as Trenyce gets a solo in Baby Love. Carmurp, Kimborlee, Tomato, and Livvy Oliverie are her Supremes as Trenyce performs a sultry and sexy version while vamping it up to the camera. Ruben takes over with a really good - if hoarse - solo in Tears Of A Clown and I'm really ready to party. Then Burger Queen really brings down the house with an unbelievably good rendition of Midnight Train To Georgia, a performance that has Gliddy quietly singing along because Burger Queen is really damned good. Her solo is too short - if it goes on, she will really humiliate Kewpie and Ruben because it's apparent that she is miles better than any of them at this point of time. Then the guys sing Words - the voices don't blend and the performance is lifeless. Then comes the White Trash Barbie Brigade - Carmurp, Tomato, and Kimborlee - as Carmurp murders the first three lines of Physical. Tomato sings one line, her voice more superior than the other two, making me wish that she has sung solo here. Kimborlee is flat. The song is flat. Camera pans on Miss Physical, who is clapping half-heartedly as her face is stuck in a half-grimace expression. Then Carmurp does this strange crotch gyration dance around an invisible pole that sees her getting all down. I hope none of her Church members see this. Bigboy and Livvy get to duet in Happy Days. Bigboy is sweet but his voice lacks punch, while Livvy sounds somewhat breathless from running around. Still, it's nice to see them perform. Kewpie kicks off his solo in Hello, sounding just like Kewpie always does when he does his ballads. "I love you!" he goes. And then everybody finishes by running down to the audience and back up the stage again as they sing Rhythm Of The Night in a flat way that robs the song of any life, ending with a Dramatic Pose. The crowd goes wild, and I must admit, it's nice to see all Ten performing again. I can do with Carmurp because yay, there's no Josh Don't Tell and no Corey Vanilli! Thank you, Marine People who are right now whipping Josh Don't Tell back in shape on the treadmill, and thank you, Courts of America, please ask the guys in prison to treat Corey nicely for me.

As the Ten bask in the glow of the applause, Burger Queen whispers something to Trenyce that sees Trenyce grinning even wider as she lifts her hand that holds the mic and does a "Yes!" gesture with it. What are they saying? "Aren't you glad we both aren't in the Final Two so we are more free to do our own thing?" Also, Tomato, Trenyce, and Kimborlee places their arms around each other, proving those backstage gossips right when they say that the three ladies are actually very close, contrary to the show's attempt to hype the Tomato-Kimborlee catfight.

Watching the medley and listening to the downloaded track, I can say that Creepy Rickey should be placed higher than he was on the show. Trenyce losing to Josh Don't Tell is definitely a crime, but Burger Queen today proves that she's the one who could have - should have - won.

Sleazebag announces a voting update. Apparently Kewpie has won in New York. Since this "election" is not taking place live, why are they even doing this? Everything is counted and tallied last night and earlier today, so damn it, just drop the pretensions already.

Sleazebag brings back Kewpie and Ruben along with "the woman that gave them a run for their money" Burger Queen. Each performs his or her track from the American Idols 2: Classic Love Songs CD. Ruben smiles, grabs hamburgers, and sweats himself through Superstar. Cardiovascular PSA, take note. Burger Queen performs Somewhere Over The Rainbow, sounding much better than Ruben and Kewpie, humiliating both again one more time and even humiliating Tamyra as she proves that she's a much more accomplished singer than any of them. Kewpie rrrrs his way through On The Wings Of Love in his usual way, emphasising the wrong consonants all the time, drawing out the notes. Then all conclude by singing a line from their song. "Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly," Burger Queen sings, followed by Ruben's "Don't you remember you told me you love me baby?" before all three sing, "Flying high up on the wings of love".

Oh, no Clocke action today, heh. Poor Kewpinities. They are so killing themselves before the night is over.

Then we have another "vote update" - Ruben has taken Florida. "How apt," a million angry Kewpinities screech. Give it up, people. Kewpie lost. Move on with life, you people. He'll be okay.

The Blue Tarbanacle Choir comes out agaib. Oh no, please don't. We have Ruben coming out to sing Flying Without Wings. Again. Oh please, Ruben flying without wings is more like a bomb falling down on us all. When he's done, the satellite beams us the update from Birmingham. A really high-pitched pastor tells Ruben that they are all praying for him. They better pray for his soul when he starts taking up drug habits and cavorting with Ja Rule's sloppy seconds. Ruben watches, breathing and panting and sweating heavily, as he lifts one paw and waves at the screen at the stage like a complete doofus. He mumbles that he loves them all. Ruben, honey, the camera is over here. They can't hear you when you talk to the monitor.

Then Kewpie sings Bridge Over Troubled Water. Again. Then we see Raleigh. The really overexcited Alan Thickey announcer says in his grammar school enunciation, "Outstanding, Mr Aiken!" and that people are talking about the song at homes and around water coolers. What an insincere brown noser. Then we see a girl named Amy who's Kewpie's roommate and Alan Thicke asks her whether Kewpie is a neat or untidy freak. She says that there are many girls out there who are willing to clean up after Kewpie. All these girls are fools. Then we have another girl. And another. Yes, yes, I get it. Kewpie is straight. Kewpie has a lot of faghag, oops, female admirers. Kewpie is hot. Whatever. Next!

Sleazebag wonders who is more excited, Kewpie or Alan Thicke.

Sleazebag asks members of the audience - no, not the celebrity mediawhores but some scary Punky Brewster lookalikes who they like. Two says Kewpie, one says Ruben.

Then there's one more medley. I feel like I've aged ten years after watching this show. This time Kewpie and Ruben sing Ain't No Stopping Us Now, except that they don't even bother to harmonize their voices and the whole thing sounds dreadful. Both try to do that one-step front, hand-lift-high dance thing. Ruben looks cute doing it, although I fear from the look on his face that he will keel over from the effort. Then it's over, they smack palms - because remember, they are friends forever - and Sleazebag invites them all to take some booze. Kewpie says he needs practice. Remember, he doesn't drink in front of the kiddies after all. He's responsible that way. All you Kewpinities can breathe easy. He doesn't have sex (although he's straight, of course), he doesn't drink, he is an angel, he's innocence untainted, and he will marry you and your mother and all three of you will live happily ever after. Suuuuure.

Another "funny" clip. Remember last night when Sleazebag ask people to vote for the "funny" clips of previous episodes they want to see here? The Pimp Ruben one won, so damn, I can't escape seeing Josh Don't Tell tonight. My night is ruined. I hate this show again.

It occured to me that 90% of this results show are recycled materials from previous episodes. Way to go in wasting two hours of my life.

Finally, Sleazebag recaps last night's performances again. He invites the judges, who have been blessedly quiet all this time, to offer their thoughts. Randy Randy says that the best man will win but those two are his dawgs. Miss Paula shoots off eighty thousand clichés in five minutes, offering gems like "Nobody is born to be a critic" and "This is the journey of your life" and "Give me dopamines". King Tut says he doesn't understand a word Miss Paula just said. Miss Paula tries to be funny, he tries to be funny and grabs her hand, Randy Randy pushes his meaty hand for Miss Paula to grab, and King Tut talks about some rot regarding image versus talent.

Sleazebag talks about 1,335 votes separating the Two, which is a smaller figure than the number he stated earlier and even smaller than the actual number. King Tut must be the one handling the expenses of their upcoming wedding blitz, because Sleazebag is a moron that way. Then, quickly, "The winner of American Idol 2003: Ruben Studdard!"

205 cheer and pandemonium erupt. Miss Paula hugs Randy Randy. King Tut smiles - his lambs have come home, time for mutton. Kewpie cheers - "Ruben!" - and the crowd takes him up on it, going "Roooooooben!" Sleazebag walks and comforts Kewpie. Ruben's words? "I'm feeling okay. Thank you all. I love you all." Well, unlike this show, at least he will be sweet and succint. Sleazebag laughs weakly and says that Ruben is speechless. All the time, man, all the time. Then Ruben sings Flying Without Wings. Again. Aaargh! The Ten comes out, and Tomato wipes Ruben's forehead while Kimborlee stands beside Ruben and asks the camera to look at her. White confetti, or maybe the 250,000 chads Kewpinities swear are stashed away somewhere, rain on everybody. Kewpie says he feels great because he's proud of everybody and he and Ruben are friends forever - it is very important we all remember this - and so while he will beat Ruben later for stealing his title - "He's joking!" Kewpinities insist on behalf of their Messiah - "Ruben told me not to cry, so don't you dare cry, Ruben!" Ruben mumbles his thanks to everybody. Who's crying? Not Ruben, who's right now counting the minutes until he can eat the wedding cake. Everyone hugs everyone, Ruben's mom hugs Kewpie's mom, and Miss Paula flails around as she falls off the stage. Luckily, Kewpie and some stage hands dash forward in time to catch her, which upsets Kimborlee because she is aiming to be the bridesmaid at the wedding of the century. Not that I am saying Kimborlee pushed Miss Paula, oh no. Sleazebag yells over the noise and the credit track that we should all join him again next time.

"What are you waiting for, people?" King Tut grabs the mic and shouts. "We're late for my wedding. Come on, love! Our life awaits!"

"To love!" Miss Paula calls out as she tries to stand up. She brightens up when she finds herself clutching a hunky security guard for balance.

"To Sleazebag and King Tut!" all cheer.

"What flavor is the wedding cake? I like raisins," Ruben asks Kewpie.

"Rube, do you know what this means?" Kewpie asks him.

"Nope, Kewpie. What?"

"They're releasing our singles at the same day. We will be forced to do interviews and reiterate our friendship every day for the rest of the year while they pit us and milk our fans' rivalry dry. We will be making corny buddy movies and I will be forever be known as David Spade to your Chris Farley. I think I want to die."

"Will there be raisins in the cake, Kewpie?"

"Ruben - "

"I hope there are strawberry ice cream too. I love strawberries."

"I - oh heck, never mind."

Oh, and if you must ask, yes, I made the entire wedding thing up. Do join me again next time when Sleazebag, King Tut, Miss Paula, Randy Randy, and an entire new batch of fresh meat return for more cacaphony on the TV!