Season 3: She's Always a Woman

"Get ready, America," Ryan "Phoning In, Flaming Queen" Sleazebag says as a sensible warning to the audience, as he poses with this week's remaining Eight. He babbles about how this bunch has so much to live up to after last week's show before the credits roll.

Are those golem thingies in the credits anatomically incorrect blow-up dolls?

Sleazebag walks onto the stage dressed in a simple grayish-blue shirt and pants, a nice change from last week's I Dream Of Klingons outfit. He sports a look on his face best described as "post-shag bliss", which explains today's rather upbeat mood of his compared to his phoning in his schtick on the last two episodes. Something is going on here - Sleazebag is becoming more and more drained in energy even as Miss Paula becomes more and more, shall we say, sober. I smell a subplot here, although I'll have to wait and see what will develop on this show.

He says that he is still reeling from last week. Yes, I too can still hear Latoya's mighty high notes bouncing off the inside walls of my skull and it's not a pleasant sensation. After the usual spiel about how only two of the Eight will go through to the Finals, he proceeds to introduce the judges. He is shocked that King Tut manages to pick up an Oscar for King Tut's cameo in Scary Movie 3. King Tut wonders aloud how he should respond to that, no doubt because he doesn't have the statuette with him now to shove it up Sleazebag's nether orifice. Sleazebag comments that King Tut is better than the entire movie. He sounds jealous - did something happen on the set of Scary Movie 3 between King Tut and Simon Rex? King Tut preens. Sleazebag looks pleased with himself. Oh, those two definitely did something funny before this show started.

Sleazebag describes Miss Paula as beautiful and gorgeous while he suggests that Randy Randy act in a movie called Dawgbiscuit. Randy Randy likes the idea. I'd say we get Sleazebag to replace Billy Crystal in next year's Oscars. Unlike Billy Crystal, Sleazebag and his fake tan will look better in a state of near-nude.

Sleazebag walks into the Red Room where after some inane banter, he asks Suzy Vulaca to teach him how to correctly pronounce her last name. He then asks everyone to go "Vulaca" with him. Vulaca!

Suzy has nice big hair, she is twenty-one, and she is originally from Fiji. She explains in her introductory clip that she won Arizona Idol, thus allowing her to skip the usual auditioning process and head straight to Pasadena. This probably explains why she is never given any airtime until now. She is shown teaching Debra Byrd and Michael O some Fijian words as they work with her on her tune. She concludes that she will not take this opportunity for granted and she will try and exploit her appearance on American Idol to go further in her music career.

Unbreak My Heart is her song choice. It's a decent performance, stylistically accomplished and polished, but I must say that Suzy's performance doesn't actually hold my attention. She's dull. The cheap-sounding piano arrangement backing her only increases the lounge singer vibes Suzy is giving off. But Randy Randy is impressed, saying that he doesn't remember her having such range before. Neither do I... wait, that's because I haven't seen her before until now! Miss Paula calls Suzy a "quissential...", pauses when she realizes that she has no idea how to follow up to that, and finally says weakly that Ms Quissential here is better than she was in Pasadena. Is she? I wouldn't know, because this show prefers to bombard me with pointless subplots that go nowhere like Gigolo Al and Scooter Joan Hart when they could be showing me footages of confirmed semi-finalists Suzy. This show is stupid that way. King Tut isn't impressed with Suzy. He asks the two judges to point out anything original about Suzy's performance. They can't. He says that Suzy sounds just like Toni Braxton, which isn't true in my opinion. Suzy is a polished singer, just an unmemorable one, but she doesn't sound like Toni Braxton at all. Anyway, King Tut launches into a rambling exposition about how Suzy is a good but forgettable singer. Randy Randy challenges him. Finally, Miss Paula cuts in with a "Forget it, the both of you!" and tells Suzy that she did a good job. Suzy nods and walks back to the Red Room.

Sleazebag comments that the relationship between Miss Paula and King Tut aren't all roses and sunshine after all. Suzy explains that since Pasadena, she has been taking vocal lessons to improve her vocal range, thus explaining why Randy Randy has never heard her like this before. And since I have no idea how true this is as the stupid show people refuses to show me anything about Suzy before, I guess I will have to take her word on it.

Next up is John Preator, set to wow America with his receding hairline. He tells Sleazebag that his plan today is to just have a good time and show America what he has aside from a receding hairline.

In his introductory clip, he explains that he is a twenty-two year old college student from Utah. With a receding hairline. He is considered by many as a quiet and reserved type, but he has his moments, he says, which he then demonstrates by acting goofy and doing somersaults in his dressing room. He reminds people that he was one-third of the Bleached Boys in Pasadena (he's the one with the receding hairline) before saying wryly that the Bleached Boys didn't turn out so well. Debra Byrd is shown telling him to let his heart show his passion and not his words - or something to that effect. He promises that he will be "real" in this performance.

He performs That's What Love Is All About. Remember how he said that he wanted to have a good time? He's the only one. That song he is singing - what the heck is that? He starts on a distinctively wrong note and he becomes flatter (and louder) in time. His attempt to hit a high note makes me cringe at the botched effort. Oh, and he looks like a drunk John Cage singing at the Ally McBeal farewell party. Still, he has a nice (if a little creepy) smile at the very least.

Randy Randy is glad that the performance is over because he finds it painful, especially the last (high) note. Only one note was in tune, he adds. He says that sometimes a performance is so bad that he can't help but to tune out, and this is what happens here. Miss Paula agrees, pointing out that John started at a wrong key and never fully recovered. King Tut thinks that should this show be made into an ice-skating musical, John will be perfect as he can see John singing and skating at the same time. Call me weird, but I can totally see that in my mind too. John even looks like those cheesy guys on the rink wearing tacky leotards and sporting scary wide grins. He even has the receding hairline part down pat. Randy Randy asks John whether John can skate. John says that he can't.

In the Red Room, everyone has stood up and applaud John. I guess they do this for every contestant - a show of support, I guess. Or maybe they are just glad that someone screwed up and it is not they. Sleazebag wonders what the ice skating thing is all about. After some pointless and flat attempt at banter, John says that he feels that he has proven, er, something with his voice, although I'm sure "he can't sing" isn't what he hopes to prove, but he did. Anyway, he tries to excuse his singing by saying that he was maybe too excited and that messed up his pitch. Nice try, John, but I have heard that before.

Heather Pinchernoonoo tells Sleazebag that she feels somewhat pressured to perform well today. Why? It is not as if the previous two are that good.

Heather is twenty years old and she is from Spring Hill, Florida. The judges compared her to Kimborlee Caldwell in Atlanta, so she decides to take Miss Paula's advice and change her looks by dressing in the same get-up that Kimborlee favors and colors her hair in that shade Kimborlee sported last mid-season. The delusional fashion fellow tells her that she has been "de-Caldwelled". She concludes the introductory clip by saying that she believes in herself because if she doesn't, nobody else will.

The music starts and she begins moving around. Wa-hey, that's a nice change from the midtempo to slow ballads plaguing this show, but what is that thing she is singing? She starts off really flat and it is only when she gets to the chorus do I realize that she's butchering New Attitude. Vocally, the Pinchernoonoo doesn't have the range to hit the high notes. And why are they putting that image of a town complete with flashing cars ala Madonna's Ray Of Light video behind her as she sings? Are they bluff the impressionable kiddies into loving her horrible performance?

Randy Randy nails it when he points out to her that she should have never tackled that song as her voice is not suitable for it. He feels as if he has checked into a hotel and peered into the lounge where Heather is singing. Miss Paula agrees that it is a wrong song for Heather and Heather sang in an over the top manner. Heather protests that she chose this song because she wanted to show off her personality like the judges told her to in Atlanta. Miss Paula says rather snidely that the judges don't decide what songs the contestants should sing, adding that Heather's vocals are cheesy. See those claws on Miss Paula's hands? Meow. King Tut tells Randy that he doesn't want to be in the hotel Randy checked in. He says that Heather's performance reminds him of a high school talentime show where the performers are trying too hard. He thinks that Heather's performance verges on desperation, adding unnecessarily that Heather's facial expressions are just ugly when she performs. The other two judges protest, saying that Heather is beautiful. Heather, meanwhile, is not so beautiful anymore as she looks like she wants to leap at King Tut and rip his eyeballs out with her bare hands. King Tut tries to clarify that Heather looks ugly when she performs, but the audience is booing and the other two judges keep insisting that Heather is beautiful. Maybe she is, but that's not what King Tut is getting at.

Sleazebag, in the Red Room, invites Heather to take a shot at King Tut. Heather diplomatically says that she merely wants to choose a song to showcase her personality and admits that she may have made a mistake in her song choice. Sleazebag reaffirms that Heather is a pretty lady. That's not what King Tut meant - oh forget it. Who's next?

John Stevens (what happened to the IV?) or Rank Sinatra, is next. He's sixteen, a high school student from New York. He reminisces in his introductory clip on how he listened to his grandfather's Frank Sinatra record at the age of five and fell in love with that kind of music. He wore what he called his magic suit in Pasadena. Miss Paula is shown asking whether he can fit pop music into his style. Rank Sinatra concludes that while he is still wearing his magic suit today, he'll try to be more "poppy".

His song is She's Always A Woman, a song that must be dedicated to Sleazebag and friends, no doubt, because a real woman should bloody well be a woman, so this song doesn't make sense unless it's a song about loving a drag queen or a pre-op transsexual. And what does this sixteen-year old kid know about women anyway? He's ugly. He's... swoon. Oh, that voice! Performance-wise, Rank Sinatra is a dead plank on stage and he is noticeably nervous, but that voice! My hubby find Rank Sinatra's voice comparable to the voice of Dean Martin through a player where only mono sound is available but I really like his voice. The timbre of his voice feels rich and has me feeling as if my senses are being enveloped in a warm and silky aural coccoon. I really really like Rank Sinatra and damn, I can only hope that I don't end up as pathetic as those middle-aged women stalking and throwing panties at Kewpie. I will not envision myself being Stifler's Mom to Rank Sinatra here. Okay, maybe once and that's it.

Randy Randy loves the song but he doesn't enjoy Rank Sinatra's rendition. He likes Rank Sinatra's Dean Martin act better as this "poppy" Rank Sintra almost had Randy falling asleep. Dawg, that's because Rankie is singing a Billy Joel song. Almost all of Billy Joel's songs suck like unripe lemons. Miss Paula also misses Rankie's Brat Pack sound. Look, judges, you told him to change and now you're wishing that he didn't? Stuff all of you and the turkey baster you both come along in. Stifler's Momma here is going to get medieval on your fat and twiggy asses respectively. King Tut reminds Miss Paula that they can't do a Dean Martin Week every time to accommodate Rank Sinatra here. He feels that Rank Sinatra doesn't have the versatility to adapt outside the Brat Pack sound. After all, they like his Brat Pack sound but they are bored by his "poppy" sound, so King Tut doesn't see how Rankie can do well. He adds that Rankie is a "terrible performer", but make allowances for his age, but wishes that Rankie will do well because he sounds distinct from everyone else on this show.

Sleazebag, touched by Rank Sinatra lovingly singing a song just for him, calls out to King Tut to ask how that kid can improve in King Tut's eyes. King Tut says that Rankie can start by getting better, bring up Kewpie as an example. Sleazebag asks King Tut whether Rankie can improve. King Tut says that it is up to the American public to give Rankie a chance to improve. Translation: we have our new winner right here, so watch as this show manipulates people into voting every week for Rankie. Okay, I'm no longer Stifler's Momma. I'll leave that role to the thousands of middle-aged soccer moms right now hoarding panties to throw at Rankie as they stalk him from town to town, boo every contestant because Rankie must be the best and they must show the world so, steal backstage passes from children just to crash backstage to molest Rankie, and generally behave like the second coming of the imbeciles known as Claymates. King Tut says that Sleazebag seems to be acting like an expert, so he asks what Sleazebag think of Rankie's chances. Sleazebag has perfect faith in Rankie, he swears this on Trenyce's red dress that he is still keeping (he is evading Trenyce's phone calls asking for it back). He quickly adds that he feels that all of the contestants here can get through. Careful, Sleazie, you'll get people to think that Miss Paula has somehow switched bodies with you without you knowing it.

Gasp! Could it be?

Nah, it can't be true.


King Tut, unaware of the body swap that may or may not have taken place between his spouse and his nemesis, snorts that he now knows why he's the judge while Sleazbag is only the host. More stupid banter ensues until finally, Sleazebag asks Rankie whether Rankie can improve and Rankie says yes. Because this show wants Rankie to win, they spend extra time indulging in "banters" that serve only to get impressionable members of the audience to vote for Rank Sinatra.

Jasmine Trias is next. Not one peep has been heard from her until now, but word-of-mouth about this young lady's talent spread like wildfire through the fan community since three weeks ago, so much so that she's dubbed The Annointed One by some skeptics.

She's seventeen, as she explains in her introductory clip, and she's from Hawaii, if you can't tell by the flower she has on her hair and her pink floral outfit. Why do Hawaiians love to stereotype themselves so much? She says in the video that she wants to bring Hawaii to the world because the world is ignorant of the existences of the hula. Sure enough, Jasmine is shown in a montage showing people how to do the hula. Because the hula will change the world and bring world peace, y'all. King Tut is shown telling her that she's possibly the best in the competition. In Pasadena, King Tut asks her how she is going to cope with the pressures of fame that even twenty-four year olds buckle under. Is this what those horrid Hollywood bigwigs say before showing these impressionable seventeen-year olds the casting couch? Don't do it, Jasmine! We need someone to remain pure to teach us the hula!

Jasmine sings Run To You. Meh. Talk about being the Overrated One. She is oversinging this song worse than Latoya - if the word "melisma" hasn't been invented beforehand, it will be invented just to describe her performance. She tries to hit some high notes even higher than they are actually are in the original song and then higher, while jamming every single enunciation with at least a thousand variations in key. I am underwhelmed after all the hype about the Overrated One.

Randy Randy likes her voice, thinking that it has potential, but he wishes that she has chosen a better song to sing. Miss Paula thinks that the performance is okay. Randy Randy asks her whether she detected the pitch problems in Jasmine's performance. Hah, that would be the day, surely! Miss Paula says that Jasmine made the song her own. Yes, I'm sure Jasmine even invented some new upper register notes for that song. King Tut says that he doesn't doubt that Jasmine will get a lot of votes as she is seventeen, has a nice smile, and she wears a flower in her hair. Jasmine is good enough for him, he says, as she is "unquestionably" a good singer. Miss Paula says that Jasmine's flower reminds them of Hawaii. King says that it doesn't - after all, he hasn't frollicked in Hawaii with Miss Paula, he did it with Sleazebag and... oh, no! Miss Paula really did switch places with Sleazebag. What is she up to? How did she do it? Miss Paula frowns, unaware that he is no longer Ryan Sleazebag and is now hurt that King Tut doesn't remember their Hawaiian honeymoon.

Sleazebag welcomes Jasmine back in the Red Room and commends her for putting on a "great" performance. Jasmine is relieved that it is over and she garners positive responses. She tells Sleazebag that she isn't stressed duting the performance, just anxious. They talk about her being at school, with Sleazebag comforting her by telling her that soon she'll be done with school. Is this what a family friendly show is supposed to tell the kiddies out there?

Next is George "Huff Granddaddy" Huff, the lucky son of a dog that gets to be here because someone else is stupid enough to drink and drive. Sleazebag says that Puff Granddaddy always has a smile on his face.

Huff Granddaddy states that he is forty-three twenty-three in his introductory clip and he flips omelette for a living. He brings up the judges calling his sound "old" and insists that he is young. He screams "I'm here!" and jumps, all the while carrying a kiddie schoolbag on his back, and acts like an overexcited idiot. The fashion advisor hands him a jacket. Huff Granddaddy still insists that he is young. Keep saying that, granpa, and maybe the cows will fly and I'll believe you. He wants to win the audience with his voice and he's still insisting that he's young.

Always And Forever is his song. Funny, I half expect him to sing Forever Young instead. Anyway, he starts off on a wrong note and while he recovers nicely, he is utterly dull. Bland song, bland delivery, dull, dull, dull. And yes, he's as young as the Pyramids. Randy Randy asks Huff Granddaddy whether Huff's dawg is looking up and is chillin'. Or something. He finds the singing shaky at first but becomes "really good" later. He thinks that Huff is the best male singer here tonight. Miss Paula says that Huff has a great light around him. Nah, the body switch didn't happen - Sleazebag will never be this inane. Or will he? Hmmm. King Tut compares Huff to the "back line of the Temptations", using an analogy of Diana Ross versus the Supremes, where he says that Diana isn't the best singer but she is the lead singer for a good reason. Huff doesn't have any star quality that King Tut can see.

Huff tells Sleazebag in the Red Room that he hopes that America will vote him in and give him a chance to show them more of what he can do. Oh, and he's still young. Life is a party, he tells Sleazebag, and this is a party! Whatever - I'm getting creeped out by Huff Granddaddy's constantly smiling face and his forced attempts to act hip and young. On King Tut's comments to Huff Granddaddy, Sleazebag says that the tanning machine must have ruined King Tut's head. He says that he has been "messing" with Huff before the show - ah, no wonder King Tut is annoyed with Huff! - and says that Huff does a killer impersonation of Randy Randy. Huff, always eager to prove his hipness, obliges with an unimaginative and barely passable impersonation that is greeted with forced applause and laughter by the others in the Red Room.

The Mono Lisa is next. Sleazebag looks jealously at her legs and tries to act as if he's excited by them. The Mono Lisa is twenty-three, a waitress and a part-time model, and her introductory clip has her posing in photoshoots. When she steps on stage, she claims that her nerves disappear. She loves the attention of the thirty million people watching the show. She lies on the stage and tries to embrace it, saying that she loves this show. She decides to try something different, "out of the box", to sing tonight.

Well, the world is watching alright, in fascinated horror, as the Mono Lisa proceeds to butcher Come To My Window. The first line is okay, but the Mono Lisa proceeds to just shriek and shout out the rest of the song - no proper enunciation, no proper breathing, no modulation control, just loud and off-key all the way to the end, after which the audience claps in a noticeably subdued manner. Hubby and I are laughing so hard all the way through this performance, especially when the Mono Lisa opens her mouth so widely for an extra loud shriek that she could have swallowed the microphone and still make way for a few more Big Macs at the same time. The Mono Lisa is so hilariously awful, she surpasses my expectations of gawdawfulness. Vote for her, people! We need comedy like her in the Finals!

Randy Randy asks her how she thinks she did. She thinks that she did okay. Randy Randy asks her whether she thinks that the song is right for her. She thinks so. Randy Randy chuckles and says that the Mono Lisa was very pitchy - she was shouting her way through the song and the song was out of her range. Miss Paula agrees with Randy Randy and adds that the Mono Lisa was pushing too hard to the point that the performance became grating on the nerves. King Tut feels that the Mono Lisa performed as if she was in a band. He also comments that he has never seen anyone open her mouth so big during a performance. He could have driven a car into her mouth. The audience boo and the other two judges recoil because it really does seem as if King Tut is talking dirty at that moment. The Mono Lisa sniffs and asks King Tut to show them how big his mouth opens up compared to hers. Oh dear, is there some sort of backstory to this feud? Did the Mono Lisa trounce and humiliate King Tut in some personal competition to fit cars in their mouths? King Tut says that he doesn't think that she has a chance to advance to the Finals. After all, only King Tut can have the biggest mouth in the land. The audience boo again. The Mono Lisa says that at least someone loves her, even if the judges don't.

Sleazebag, fuming inside, asks the Mono Lisa in the Red Room about the cars that have passed through her and King Tut's mouths. Let's just move on to the next performance.

Tiara Purifoy, another unknown, is up next. In her introductory clip, she reveals that she's twenty-two and was vacationing in Hawaii when she decided to attend the auditions at the very last minute. She obviously got through only to find Pasadena a nerve-wrecking experience that ended up with her in tears. She thinks of a song to sing, and chooses - oh no - I Wanna Dance With Somebody. What is with the contestants of this season and their obsession with that song? Is this month the Jennifer Fuentes Appreciation Month?

I must say though, she really comes off well on stage and I like the soulful richness in her voice. Her performance starts out okay but by the last refrain, she is screaming and ad-libbing so much that the song is barely recognizable as a tune. She does have stage presence to mask the weaknesses in her song, but there are nonetheless problems in her performance. Still, I enjoy watching her perform. If she gets through to the Finals, I'll be interested to see how she will go from there.

Randy Randy says that she has chosen a difficult song to sing. It started out good but the arrangement soon went crazy on him. He feels that the vocal modulation is ridiculous but thinks that Tiara gave almost the best performance of the night, oversinging aside. Miss Paula thinks that Tiara can be one of the Top Two tonight, but Tiara oversang to the point that Randy Randy and Miss Paula's knees crack together during Tiara's botched key change during the "Say you wanna dance, don't you wanna dance?" parts. King Tut wonders what the other two judges are listening - he thinks that Tiara's performance was a "complete mess". Tiara's expression turns murderous and I love the way her eyes bulge out at his comments. As the audience predictably boo him, King Tut says that one has to watch Tiara perform on camera. The audience can boo all they want, but he knows he is right. He calls Tiara's perfomance awful and all over the place. Tiara just shakes her head and says curtly that she will let America decide for themselves how good she is.

Sleazebag asks Tiara how she feels once she's back in the Red Room. She says that she feels great.

Sleazbag concludes the show by beseeching the audience to vote for the next two hours, if not for the contestants then for him as he gets commission from the calls. Ha, ha, what a funny guy. He thanks everyone for watching, and then he announces that he's out. And proud. And done for tonight.

The results show. Ooh, that studio thing again, that zooming into a monitor to get the results show thingie. If they want me to remember that this show is premeditated and fixed in the backrooms of the studio, they are doing a great job - keep it up! The Eight stand in a line on the dimmed stage as the Sexy Manly Voiceover Guy talks about how their fate lies in America's hands, blah blah blah, woosh, credits.

Ryan "What Kind Of Fruits Do You Like?" Sleazebag walks in wearing what seems to be last night's outfit only with a jacket added in. Welcome, thanks for joining him, blah blah blah, and oh yes, today he will also reveal next week's Wild Card selections. He introduces King Tut as the living proof that money can't buy happiness. Miss Paula is gentle and gorgeous la-di-da. Sleazebag has no idea what Randy Randy is saying but he thinks the dawgman is really cool. I wonder when wit died on this show and cheesy lame banters take its place.

The camera pans on the Mono Lisa's legs, at her back of knees specifically, before moving on to the others while Sleazebag introduces the Eight. Why do they have to be reintroduced? Anyone that watches the results show without watching the previous night episode and still demands to be let in on what is going on is a certified idiot because what is the point - just change the channel already. Sleazebag then recaps last night's "showdown", emphasising the judges' division of opinions where it is King Tut versus The Other Two. The show obligingly shows just how big the Mono Lisa's mouth opens up during her performance. She really should go to the Finals if the show's current sorry state of amusing banters is going to continue, because she'll be prime comedy gold.

The judges predictions, also known as "Who gives a dang?" time. Randy Randy predicts Jasmine and Huff Granddaddy. Ditto Paula. Didn't this silly cow say that Tiara will be Top Two last night? King Tut predicts Jasmine and "Redhead John". King Tut should know - the show deliberately focuses extra time on his predictions. They want a giddy sweet girl and another Kewpie to milk in the moolah.

Sleazebag tells King Tut about the current music video contest held by Ford at the website, hinting that making videos is King Tut's thing. King Tut calls him not to call him "Cowell". I wish they would all just shut up.

The results. John Preator isn't what America is all about. The Mono Lisa drives America away from her window - dang, now where the comedy in the Finals will come from, I don't know. Huff Granddaddy - yup. I love how Sleazebag says that Huff performed Unbreak My Heart last night. Obviously he doesn't pay attention to the show that he hosts. Tiara Purifoy won't be dancing in joy. Jasmine Trias of course will run to the Finals - we need more generic young things in the Finals to bore people to death. Now it's Rank Sinatra versus Suzy Vulaca. Sleazebag will announce the results... here, he cues the audience who then say "After the break!" Wow. This show gets more lively and funny day by day. Of course, is there ever a doubt who the third member of the Top Three will be? King Tut makes a smug "See? See?" gesture as Rank Sinatra joins Jasmine and Huff Granddaddy at the grand seats.

Sleazebag now asks for the judges' feedback on the Top Three. Who will be the Final Two? Randy Randy and Miss Paula quickly say Jasmine and Rank Sinatra. King Tut says that it is clear now who is the experienced one among the three judges. Randy Randy and Miss Paula say that King Tut's ego is swelling his head. Sleazebag says that the head swelling took place a long time ago.

The person with the highest votes (28%) is... Rank Sinatra! Yup, the Stifler's Momma Brigade is coming out in full force. Rankie sings the same way that he did last night, while Randy Randy and Miss Paula, now eager to show their love to the performer they claimed bored them last night, shake their heads and bodies in rhythm left to right and back again. Awww, that's so sweet. I hate to see what will happen if Miss Paula slips and Rany Randy falls on top of her.

After the performance, when Rank Sinatra stands next to Sleazebag, he towers over Sleazebag so much that it's not even amusing. How tall is Sleazebag? Four feet two? King Tut says that he is proud of Rankie. Miss Paula says that Rankie is better tonight. King Tut says that someone is backtracking, heh heh. Sleazebag says that Rankie can be the new American Idol. Boy, this show is so blatant in its pimping of Rankie and it's not even the Finals yet. I guess they want either White Guy or a Black Girl to win this season after a White Girl and Black Guy won the previous two seasons to complete this show's United Colors of Benetton image.

After pretending to call for a break when it's not really time yet, Sleazebag announces that Jasmine is the second person to qualify for the Finals. Boy, I didn't see that one coming, I tell you. Jasmine, to her credit, looks more genuine than Camile in her surprise that she has won. Sleazebag calls her the quietest finalist ever. She says that she is just overwhelmed by the results and proceeds to thank everybody in her life for, er, I don't know. Shouldn't she be thanking the voters instead?

Now Sleazebag explains how the Wildcards work - twelve people whom the judges feel deserve a second chance for whatever reasons will be brought back to reaudition. Four will be chosen to fill the remaining slots for the Top Twelve in the Finals. Sleazebag announces that three of the Wild Cards will be chosen from tonight's batch. Ooh, who are they? But first, the nine other Wild Cards - J Hu, Tinkerbelle, Elizabeth LeThunderthighs, Lisa Looshawoo, the Pen Salesman, Mummy's Boy Lynch, oh-so-pretty Matt Metzger, Katie Webber, and Eric Yoder. I like this bunch, mainly because I feel that J Hu, Lisa Looshawoo, the Pen Salesman, and Elizabeth LeThunderthighs do deserve a second chance and also because there are no non-Top 32 contestants brought back like last season's Carmurp. Bleh to Tinkerbelle but yay to pretty-so-pretty Matt Metzger whom I hope wear an extra tight pair of jeans next week. Pretty Boy has darn well get through because the other two guys in the Finals can only set the house on fire if ugly is new cute. You hear me, people? Vote for Matt Metzger! I don't care if he can't sing - that's what earmuffs are for. Pretty is rare on this show and we can't let Pretty, Pretty Matt get away like that.

I don't know what the heck Eric Yoder is doing there. But still, a nice selection altogether. And now, the judges will choose one more Wild Card each to complete the list. Randy Randy chooses Suzy. Miss Paula chooses Huff Granddaddy. King Tut lets me down by not choosing the Mono Lisa, instead choosing Tiara on the basis of a "previous" performance during the auditions and the road show. Still, Tiara has a second chance, which is great.

Do note though that only eight of the twelve will perform next week, according to ET! where Miss Paula says that four will be cut by the judges during rehearsals. There are also rumors that aren't confirmed at the time of writing that the four winning Wild Cards will be chosen entirely by the audience. If this is true, the usual race/gender politics this show is so hung up on may not apply if fans of "no-hope underdogs" like Suzy, Tiara, Lisa, and J Hu vote hard enough to give these contestants a chance over expected winners like Tinkerbelle (yucks), Matt Metzger, and the Pen Salesman.

Sleazebag announces that he's out and gets Jasmine to (over)sing to close the show. The other seven come out to stand behind Jasmine as she sings, and they all hug each other as the credits roll. This episode is pretty ho-hum, and I suspect that next week will be a more exciting episode. Then again, the Wild Cards always try harder, so the overall performances are usually better. We'll see. And I definitely hope to see Matt Metzger a lot in the future.