Season 3: You Can't Hurry Love

I am not in a good mood as this is my second rewriting of the recap of a really sucky episode. The first version is lost for good when I accidentally deleted it a few days after I worked for hours on it. And this is a second recap of the same episode, which still isn't good in my second viewing. I'm afraid I'll just have to take out my frustrations at having to take out precious time to rewrite the recap on you, reader.

Ryan Sleazebag voices over the same thing that happened last episode as the wannabes cheer, high five, and act like self-conscious famehos. In fact, if you watch this opening segment, it's actually the gist of everything that happened last week minus the fillers, commercials, product placements, and camera muggings. Sleazebag concludes by reminding people that 87 wannabes remain, of which 32 will advance to the preliminary rounds of the competition.

Day three, Pasadena. A line of posh vehicles - at least, more posh than many of these wannabes are used to - line up by the road outside the Studio That Did Not Pay For Product Placement and a wannabe steps out from each vehicle. They then proceed to get together with their group members for some last minute touches to their act for today's group auditions. Many of them take the opportunity to tell the camera that they are the best, although Michael Eat Crow really stands out as the obnoxious kid who announces that his group will be among the top three best groups today. There's bravado, there's confidence, and there's the Dexter the Genius type of arrogance that rubs people off the wrong way, and Michael Eat Crow's mouth is running a Dexter's Laboratory cartoon marathon today. King Tut shows his unflaggable confidence in today's bunch by saying that he's dead certain that 90% of the groups will forget the words to their song while 95% will sing out of tune. As Randy Randy laughs, King Tut says that today's group audition will be a "musical car crash".

In foreshadowing, the wannabes who think themselves particularly clever now announce the names of their groups to the camera. Fantasia says that her group is called the Divas In Red because they will all wear red and screech out of their lungs. Scooter Joan Hart's group of all-white "I Shop In Limited Too" girls is be called the Ghetto Fab Four, but luckily they scrap the idea before they are laughed out of the building. Michael Eat Crow's team is called Everybody Loves Eat Crow, no, it's the Bleached Boys, apparently because they bleach their hair and their audience get an irrational urge to pour bleach over these gonzos' heads after listening to them. Meanwhile, the guys from Hawaii decide to remind people that they are from Hawaii, they really are!

In an interview, Randy Randy laughs as he talks about how the wannabes always want to pretend that they are bonded together by this event and that they are all a big family when in truth, each of them secretly wants to be the only winner and wishes that the others will fail. It's a competition after all. This is Sleazebag's cue to remind people that there are indeed two members from a same family on this show: the brothers Jesus and Noel. A split-screen interview is next, when each brother vows to win over the others, culminating in Jesus saying that he will slit Noel's throat if it has to come to that. Nicely put, Jesus, nicely put indeed. You're really scary now.

The group auditions are finally about to begin. King Tut addresses them to remember the words to their songs. Randy Randy also tells them to remember the words. But what do these wannabes do? Forget the words, that's what.

The Hawaiian teletubbies are first with a bland and flat version of Up On The Roof. Randy Randy accurately points out that the three guys' harmonizing sounds much better than their solo singing. King Tut thinks that they are just okay, which prompts Jonah Mountainonu to say that "just okay" is a compliment coming from King Tut. He and the other two say "Mahalo" a lot because it's a long-established Hawaiian tradition to wave one's being from Hawaii in the faces of everyone outside the islands.

The Bleached Boys are next, and Michael Eat Crow starts things off by reminding people that this group will be one of the three best groups. Oh, the Bleached Boys should have gone first to set the bar for everyone else! After more hideous verbal masturbation from Eat Crow, the Bleached Boys finally get to sing, and my, they are amusingly horrible, amusing because the Bleached Boys are really crashing after their initial burst of hubris. Randy Randy announces that he feels as if he was in a cruise ship, drunk and not knowing what was going on around him, after listening to them. Even Miss Paula says that the performance is horrible. King Tut calls it ghastly with a capital G. Eat Crow smarmily reminds the judges that he (note that he says he and not they) has been good before and he hopes that the judges will not judge him solely on this performance. How nice. He can't deliver the goods and now he wants people to find excuses to keep loving him. King Tut says snidely that Eat Crow won't be the only one harboring that hope today.

Next is a montage of performers flubbing badly the words to Never Gonna Give You Up. Among them is Noel, which prompts Jesus to declare that he feels let down by Noel. Noel has let the fanily down. Say what, Jesus? Who died and made you... oh never mind.

Now it is Jesus' turn to perform, and he reminds people that his fellow groupmates George "I'm In My Twenties" Huff and Matt "Me Too!" Rosebowl have slept when Jesus wanted them to keep singing all night. What happens next is Jesus getting egg on his face as while the Two Men That Lie About Their Age remember all the words and sing in perfect key, he forgets the words and is off-key. The other two are quite embarrassing to watch though as they are decked out in tight jeans and other clothes that will look good on teenagers but not on desperate middle-aged male famehos pretending to be in their early twenties. Randy Randy compliments George on wearing that stupid wooly-cap thing to look young, which prompts George to insist that he is young. Yeah, and I'm even younger. Randy then zones in on Jesus' awful performance and Jesus tries to say that it is somehow George and Rosebowl's fault because Jesus was up all night while they slept. Rosebowl correctly points out in a backstage confessional that it is Jesus that flubs up while he and George remembered all the words to their parts. So who's the screw-up here, Jesus?

More guys forget the words to their song, leading to King Tut declaring that were this a karaoke competition, someone would have turned off the power supply by now.

In the afternoon, it is time for the ladies to impress the judges. Sleazebag points out how many of them are hard at work to remember their lines and touch up on their singing to avoid screwing up as badly as the guys earlier that day. One group though is getting upset as they haven't seen their group member Meleana since early last night. Sure enough, Meleana is avoiding her group members for some reason, even deliberately turning the other way when she stumbles upon them and they call out to her.

Meanwhile, Leah Vladowski announces that her mother has agreed to help her and her group members Dina Lopez and Elizabeth LeTendre with a cheorography and singing. Mom explains that she was a pop star in Bulgaria back in the 1970s. Wow, a rare stage mom that is actually useful! Whatever Mom taught them, they really learn fast because the ladies' Young Hearts Run Free is energetic, lively, and very listenable. They end their very choreographed performance with some pose and draw a standing ovation from the judges and the audience. Randy Randy and Miss Paula are all praise while King Tut announces that he doesn't care if the Top Twelve are made up of ladies only. We all know why, don't we? Operation No Hot Boys is underway.

Meleana's happy group is next and as expected, they suck majorly thanks to lack of rehearsal and awful singing. Meleana does not even know what song they are supposed to sing, flub up badly, and move out of sync with her group members. Sleazebag says that after this performance, the other two ladies are the ones that begin avoiding Meleana. As a testament to the ineptness of this show's editors, I am not even told why Meleana and her group members act like idiots that flush down a chance to shine and earn a ticket to Hollywood for what seems like petty misunderstanding problems.

King Tut in his interview says that he always watches the audience at the same time that he watches the performers - that third eye at the back of his head may have something to do with his omniprescience, I guess - and it always amuses him that the wannabes in the audience light up in joy when someone screws up, only to put on a sympathetic hangdog face when they see the cameras on them. The camera pans to the Pen Salesman as King Tut says this, which I'd take as a comment on that guy being a major case of insincerity.

Scooter Joan Hart's bootylicious-wannabe group is next. Scooter worries that the fourth member Lana whom she describes as "the weakest link" will ruin their performance. They stupidly put Lana to sing last. While Amy Adams, Scooter, and the third member Sara acquit themselves well, Lana forgets the words to her part, thus causing their performance of Tell Him to start out strong but end on a low note. Randy Randy thinks Scooter sang the best while Miss Paula likes Sara. They both let Lana off lightly for forgetting her words. Scooter says backstage that she hopes to make the transition from Scooter Girl to "Nicole with a big voice and a really big passion to share the gift that she has". Boy, she sounds really delusional there. Does she really think that the world will be a better place if she sings and make lots of money while we buy her CDs? Maybe that is what Michael Jackson believes too before he starts inviting lil' boys to his house to play choo-choo train.

Some lady talks about how she mocks the wannabes last season for flubbing but now that she has experienced the same stressful auditions (read: she screwed up too), she now understands what the others are going through. It's like saying that she's shot herself in her knees so now she's kindred spirits with other idiots everywhere that accidentally shot themselves in their knees. This is a cue for a montage of groups flubbing up You Can't Hurry Love. Sleazebag apologizes to Diana Ross and the Supremes while King Tut wonders whether any of these people are ready for the big time. I don't know why he's complaining - two-thirds of the acts managed by his boss Simon Fuller can't sing for peanuts so it's not as if you need to sing in order to be a celebrity. All you need is some exploitable good looks, susceptility to skanky sex and drugs, a wild craving for attention, and you're set to rock the world. Just ask anyone. Heck, ask Paris Hilton.

And then we're done with the auditions. Many people weep and cry, saying that they will be cut, while others are sure that they will advance to the next stage of the auditions. Hey, lousy editors, what happened to Bri Can't Dance and Mono Lisa, whose problems with their groups were brought up in the previous episode? Have you guys ever heard of "coherent editing" or do you get off leaving me with dangling subplots? These editors must be rejected editors from some soap opera, methinks.

The judges study the photos of the wannabes on their table and then call out the wannabes, group by group, to stand in line on the stage. They will call the wannabes by their numbers (such as "Number 54332, please step in front") to either step in front or step behind. Sometimes they cut members that step in front. Other times it's the members that step behind that get the cut. I guess the show wants to teach these wannabes what it feels like to be in prison. I half expect someone to break into "Two... four... six... oh... ONE!" The judges almost cut Rosebowl but change their minds at the last minute. Dang. In the meantime, Cliff Iokia and Draeh Hancock are the first ones cut. The show reminds me of King Tut telling Draeh that she sounds unique but he isn't sure that she will go far. Of course, I never get to see her sing to make up my mind. Likewise, Jasmine the short person and Bao the Vietnamese lad are cut but I am never shown their performance. I'd think the show can spare a few more minutes to their performances. Why even bring these wannabes up if the show is going to reduce their screentime to a mere sentence in Sleazebag's voiceover? The people that splice together this montage show are idiots, I tell you. Lana is cut and Meleana's group that can't get together to rehearse are however leaving together. At least these people's cutting makes sense because I've seen them perform. Michael Eat Crow is also booted in what must be one of the most satisfying eliminations ever. He doesn't go down easy though. He reminds the judges that his performance of Unchained Melody was one of the best King Tut said he had ever heard. He wants to know why they cut him now. Because he's a repulsively overconfident but underachieving freak? King Tut says that Michael Eat Crow fails to shine in this moment to convince the judges to keep him on. Eat Crow has to accept that but tells the judges that they will see him again next year. Yo, Eat Crow, if you're so good, shouldn't you be able to get your own recording contract instead of chasing after this show like some desperate loser?

Sleazebag says that at the end of the day, 57 wannabes remain. Tomorrow is the solo audition and the last chance for them to impress the judges and make the Top 32. What will these wannabes do? Some choose to take an early rest to get ready for tomorrow. Others choose to act like buttmonkeys. Scooter molests a revolving door for camera time. Give it a rest, lady - you aren't that good!

The last day arrives and everyone is geared up for the solo auditions. Some people say they will make it. Scooter thinks that a feather boa thingie will impress the judges. The wannabes draw numbers from a box to see which order they will perform. Jonah is first and he says that in all the singing competitions he took part in, he is always the first performer for some reason. He's really out of breath too soon into the song. They will have to hire double the number of Ruben's trainers for this guy. He is followed by a bland montage of singers performing nondescript and cheesy versions of standard ballads and midtempo tunes.

Scooter sings I Will Love Again and while I like her voice, there's something too calculated and methodical about her performance that fails to warm me up to her singing. Randy says that Scooter needs to move away from the "Broadway sound", because to Randy, everything that is not pop must be Broadway. King Tut thinks that she is boring now. Miss Paula tries to advise Scooter on fashion, which is like Elton John advising Cher on the fine art of subtle dressing. Scooter tells them that she can do "left and right" and "left of center". I'd suggest that she start "top and bottom" by trying to be less calculatedly quirky, but that's just me. Backstage, she says that should she make Top 32, she'll take the judges' "advice" and search for the right image for her.

Erskine Walcott dresses up like a raccoon-colored pimp from a Depression-era Vegas, and the judges praise him for dressing up for the occasion, whatever that means. Some lady sings yet one of the many Celine Dion tune massacres on this show. Some guy gives himself a fake "moron in da house" intro and is screaming "Kansas City! Kansas City!" over and over for a few lines before the judges quickly run him off the stage. Some wannabes sing boring songs some more. Jennifer Hudson screams her way through some song, only to hav King Tut comment that her outfit looks like something people wrap turkeys with.

King Tut's final words to the wannabes before culling proceeds are that while yesterday was a new low by his standards, today is a new high in "raising the game". And my threshold for pain, but don't mind me. The wannabes cheer.

Now the wannabes are separated into three groups and herded into three separate rooms. Room One has Rosebowl - did you know that he played at Rose Bowl when he was in college? - and Rank Sinatra as well as the Mono Lisa. The Pen Salesman is there too to sell me his pen - shove that fountain pen up yours, dude, I can't stand you. The Christmas brothers Jesus and Noel are here too. King Tut tells them that he is sorry, takes a dramatic pause as the wannabes prepare to cry, and adds that he is sorry that they will be seeing him in January 2004. Everyone cheers. The Pen Salesman breakdances. I hate this Room, oh, I really do. Room Two has Gigolo Al and Scooter along with George Huff and Sarah Silva. They're cut, as Randy tells them. One last proof that the people that put together this show are idiots: after showing so much of Gigolo Al and Scooter, they don't even have the decency to show these two people's reactions to being cut. Have these people ever heard of "closure"? Some silly girl who must be related to last season's Jennifer Wanna Dance With Somebody thinks that she's in, leaps up to cheer, only to collapse and sob dramatically when the truth sinks in. That is funny. Room Three has Fantasia, Bri Can't Dance, Amy Adams, Erskine Walcott, Eric Yoder, and Jennifer Hudson. Miss Paula tells them that they are all invited to return next year, and everyone celebrates.

Sleazebag is now posing with the Top 32 as he reminds people to tune in next week for the first preliminary round. Finally, the show is about to start.