Season 3: Take Me to the Pilot

Since Ryan Sleazebag's auto-tan machine caught fire while he was still in it, the medical emergency that resulted means that there is no time for him to pose with the Nine and do his corny pre-credits voiceovers today. Or so I hear. The credits roll immediately into the show, and then the camera pans on the cheering crowd and their many signs ("J Hu rocks!"). Oh yes, the show has started.

Ryan "I've Don My Johnson, Will You Nash My Bridges Today, My Miami Vice?" Sleazebag walks onto the Event Horizon mothership, shaved, in black, looking somewhat worse from wear from his auto-tan machine accident. Hello, he says, calling me his friend. He's very earnest nowadays, calling people his friends and what not. I suspect that he has found religion at the bottom of his shaving cream can. He reminds people that this show is taking place live and we are all supposed to be "loving it" (does that make Sleazebag Ronald McDonald?), and oh yes, we are down to Nine, one sucky performance less than last week. He says that the reduction in numbers means that while the audition sessions need a stadium to accommodate the idiots coming to call, they can now fit the Nine in the tiny Red Room backstage. Who knows, when it comes down to Four, maybe they would just lock the Four up in a tiny ten by ten cell! Are we going somewhere, Sleazie, and I don't mean straight down the drain?

Sleazebag introduces the judges whom he say are here to make the Nine feel welcome. King Tut is described as a man to whom sorry is the hardest word. I don't know - he ate his words last week where Huff Granddaddy was concerned, didn't he? Anyone who can find the courage to tell Sleazebag that he loves Sleazebag to death do they part should have no problems saying anything else, surely? Miss Paula is the "tiny dancer" while Sleazebag wonders whether anyone can feel Randy Randy's love tonight. Dude, so that's what that thing is? Take it away, dawg, I'm a married woman saving myself for Hugh Jackman! Randy Randy goes, "Yeah! Yeah! I love myself!" Sleazebag responds to that by saying that Randy Randy has something in common with King Tut then. Aside from potbellies, that is.

Sleazebag wonders whether I have caught the clues he has dropped in his exchanges with the judges. Yes, Sleazie, you've telegraphed your inner moron to the entire world by now. Oh, you mean that tonight is Elton John Week? Alright! I can feel the cold winds blowing on my candle already, and I can only hope that I'm still standing at the end of the night. Which I doubt, honestly, because hubby and I have devised a drinking game to dull the pain, and I expect us both to be carried bodily to Alcoholics Anonymous before the night is over.

The screen at the back of stage flickers ominously to show the tribute montage to Elton John, the Queen of England himself. The audience is noticeably silent as they take in Her Royal Majesty's big hair, hypnotist shades, bigger teeth, and enough pink and boa to bring everybody back to the 1970s. His latest Vegas show The Red Piano is brought up, apparently it receiving critical acclaim and rave reviews. As if the tattooed drunkards and feverish gamblers of Vegas will notice anything, truly!

The Nine gather around the piano and butcher the songs in their rehearsals when King Tut walks in and says that he is not the best person to judge them this week. Instead, he's brought the Queen of England along with him. The Nine gasp when Her Royal Majesty walks in, bringing to mind Sir Ian McKellan's line in Gods And Monsters, that one about how these people haven't met any members of the royalty, only queens. J Hu is thrilled that she gets to shake the Queen's hand - no doubt that it is the Touch Of Her Hand inspires J Hu to wave the Royal Command Hand later tonight! Latoya has to pinch herself because she has never imagined that she will see the Queen. And if you really believe that the Nine live to see the Queen, come on over and see the bungalows I have on sale on the Himalayas - you can buy them in bulks of six for a million bucks each! Her Royal Majesty commands the piano and the Nine show their talent, the highlight being the Pen Salesman letting his voice go off-key in the chorus of Rocket Man ("A rocket meh-EH-HHHHHHH..."). The Queen is England is so proud of the Nine because they make him sound so good in comparison. He tells them that he will be watching the show tonight. Oh, I'm sure he will. I wonder what changes his mind about this show, seeing that he accused the Pop Idol franchise of treating their contestants as "just another Mercedes Benz" back in year 2002. I suspect that "having stooped so low as to playing at Vegas" may have something to do with his newfound enlightenment.

Back to Event Horizon, Fantasia kicks off the show. Her introductory clip sees her talking about the best day in her life being the day when her baby arrives to this world, but the insincere hussy says that she'd rank the day she meets the Queen of England the second best day of her life. She thinks that Her Royal Majesty is one smooth "cat". The Queen calls Fantasia as the one with the best voice.

Fantasia walks out from the steps separating the audience in another dress that King Tut would call "Mumsy" as she performs Something About The Way You Look Tonight. She hits a few bad notes at the start, which may be understandable given that she's walking and trying to work the crowd at the same time. I really don't like that song, though, so I'm biased in that I really can't get into her performance this week. It's polished, good, but unexciting. I wish she'd chosen a different song. She ends the song with her "yeah yeah yeah".

As the crowd applauds her, I think I hear Randy Randy says, "Crack job! For once you can do it!" to someone - Miss Paula, perhaps? Has she decided to go into rehab? Anyway, Randy Randy tells Fantasia that she sounds like a young Aretha to him and the Queen of England must be proud of her performance. Miss Paula says that there's nothing about Fantasia that she doesn't love. But we all know that she loves everything and everybody, so Fantasia is just another object of her utterly indiscriminate affections. Remember, she loved Arsenio Hall once too. King Tut reminds Fantasia that he loves her, but he feels that her performance tonight was the weakest of hers so far. Randy Randy interjects with a "Come on!" because heaven forbids Fantasia to be described in anything other than glowing compliments. King Tut tells Fantasia that he feels that she had screeched out some parts of the song and the screeching didn't work with him. Fantasia bends a little forward, cocks her head at King Tut, and tells him that she loves her own performance and she had a blast performing. Um, okay, but what's with that unnecessary lack of graciousness? King Tut is quite polite to her and he has given her a mild complain.

Sleazebag chuckles and tells Fantasia that she sure doesn't let King Tut bring her down. I have a feeling that it will take nothing but a swipe from King Kong himself to bring Fantasia down. She can sing, but her ego is huge. Maybe she will write a tell-all book that will be eight hundred pages thicker than King Tut's after her stint on this show. Sleazebag asks Fantasia's fans to dial after the show the number 1-866-43657-0... "Wa-hh-n!" Fantasia cuts in most amusingly. Sleazebag announces a commercial break before rubbing cheeks with Fantasia.

Back from the break, Sleazebag and Randy Randy are pretending that they are at WWE. Randy Randy says that the Queen of England is "da man" and Miss Paula interrupts to chime in her agreement. Sleazebag asks King Tut what he thinks about the Queen. "What?" King Tut asks him, confused for a minute as to which queen Sleazebag is talking about - he, Sleazebag, Miss Paula's hairdresser, Kewpie, Sad Clown Boi, or who knows who else. "Exactly!" Sleazebag crows upon receiving King Tut's answer. I don't think English is American Idol's first language.

The Pen Salesman is up next. The Queen of England talks about how the Pen Salesman has great pitch and good phrasing in the introductory clip. Obviously Her Tone-Deaf Royal Majesty doesn't watch this show or he'd have seen this midget Monkee reject singing about Tony Danza's ladle in his Group Three performance. The Pen Salesman hopes that he will do the song justice.

The song is question is Rocket Man, and just like his rehearsal in the earlier clip hints at, he goes off-key into falsetto during the chorus, and worse, he can't even hit the second high falsetto note during "man" and has to cut short the note to catch his breath. Why he chose this song to perform, I have no idea. He doesn't have the vocal range to pull this song off. Worse, he is smiling smugly while singing a melancholic song! He can curdle milk and stop cats from procreating with this cringe-inducing performance. Whoever thought that he can pull off that Grease look with his jacket should be shot: midgets don't look cool in jackets that make their legs come off as missing the parts from the knee up. The Pen Salesman bows to the audience, thanking them. Thank you, Pen Salesman, for ruining one of my favorite songs from the Queen of England!

"What's going on? What's going down?" Randy Randy asks the Pen Salesman. I love the look of barely veiled contempt and impatience the Pen Salesman casts that man before answering dryly, "Elton John." The Pen Salesman may pretend to be cool and idiotic like the class clown everyone loves to laugh at, but I don't think that he's that sporting or cool with the flow, so to speak. Randy Randy loves the jacket, saying that it's something a dog will wear (that's a compliment, I'm sure), but Randy Randy isn't sure about the vocals. He wonders whether the Pen Salesman is nervous or shy because he is missing the Pen Salesman's spirit. When will these idiots wise up to the fact that the Pen Salesman can't sing to save his life?

Miss Paula says that it is always the hardest to perform the Queen of England's songs because these songs are full of range (Please Don't Go Breaking My Heart will test the vocal range of even the best vocally accomplished sopranos in the world!) so the Pen Salesman did well enough for her. Is she saying that it's okay to sing badly because she thinks that the song demands too much from the singer? She also thinks that the Pen Salesman is looking for a style that fits him. I love the Pen Salesman again when he shoots her an exasperated "Oh shut up!" look, cocks his head condescendingly at Miss Paula, and says drolly, "Oh." The veiled insult flies over Miss Paula's head, naturally. When the Pen Salesman is dishing out the contempt these judges deserve, I actually start to find all those camera close-ups of his face pretty melt-worthy. As long as he doesn't sing, as long as he keeps mocking the judges, the Pen Salesman is quite dreamy, I must say.

King Tut likes the jacket too but he thinks that the Pen Salesman needs noice lessons. He calls on the Pen Salesman for not wowing "anyone" at the stage of the competition and for not going anywhere performance-wise week by week. "Do bear in mind that we have seen over 70,000 people," King Tut tells him, before concluding that the Pen Salesman's performance is "not great". Randy Randy chuckles and asks King Tut not to hold anything back.

The Pen Salesman just shrugs, says, "Thank you", and walks towards Sleazebag. Heh heh.

Sleazebag asks the Pen Salesman whether the Pen Salesman agrees with King Tut about his performance needing some fine-tuning. The Pen Salesman shoots him a "What on earth?" look before saying that yeah, maybe. Sleazebag leers at him and makes "fine-tuning" come off like an invitation to experience puberty to the Pen Salesman. The Pen Salesman just shrugs, not wanting to be pulled into Sleazebag's pointless and inept vandetta with King Tut. He makes faces at the camera instead.

Princess Jasmelisma and her tired flower in the hair are next. In her clip, the nauseating Aloha Kitty reveals that she's nervous about the performance because she's not feeling well. She hopes that she can make the song her own. The Queen of England loves the Princess and the Princess hopes to make the Queen proud. A Princess Diana joke is probably too much of a bad taste here.

What else will Jasmelisma sing but another ballad? Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, what else? After her performance, I won't be surprised if Little Good Girl Schools everywhere start getting her to sing Don't Let Your Son Go Down On Me for their chastity and abstinence pledge campaigns. As usual, her singing consists of just showing off how high, how often, and how loud she can hit the high notes - everything is an excuse for her to move into melodramatic mode. Unfortunately, I don't think that she has fully recovered from whatever illness that plagues her, because she starts off very sharp and she only recovers late into the song.

Randy Randy says that she can breathe now. She of course makes a show of heaving her flat bosom nervously like the refugee from those crap kiddie TV talentime shows that only preteens and pedophiles can enjoy. Randy Randy predictable cranks out the "you're alright, it's pitchy, just alright with me" thing he dishes out at least five times per episode. He adds that Jasmelisma needs support - eeuw, get your mind out of the gutter, people, he's talking about vocal support. Miss Paula sadly agrees with Randy Randy that Jasmelisma is pitchy and gives a detailed and totally incoherent rambling about how Jasmelisma falters only when she tries so hard to "go for power the whole time" and oversings. It took me three listens to decipher what Miss Paula has to say, mind you. She has a point, but the way she makes her point - meh. King Tut says that he doesn't understand a word she says. "That's okay," she tells him. "It's music," Randy Randy answers for Miss Paula. To Jasmelisma, King Tut tells her that she is not good enough with her performance - it was just average, and Jasmelisma isn't doing enough to win the competition. Randy Randy agrees with King Tut. It's dressing room appointment tonight, young lady! Okay, I'm just kidding, lawyers!

Sleazebag and Jasmelisma shake hands, two pink princesses together forever, aaauw.

It is Rank Sinatra's turn now.

"I have the Cognac!" hubby announces.

In the introductory clip, the Queen of England is worried for Rankie as Rankie chose to sing a novelty song. Rankie thinks that this song will show his personality. And indeed, his personality is on full show tonight and it looks the backside of a donkey as Rankie absolutely butchers Crocodile Rock. If I am ever cornered by a serial killer holding a bloody ax, that serial killer will be singing "Laa! La, la, la, la, la!" the way Rank Sinatra is falsettoing like an overflowing broken toilet bowl. Hubby, after drinking an extra helping of Cognac, remarks that the "la, la, la" part will be a nice accompaniment to the act of sawing one's wrist off after enduring the tuneless, off-key, undersang performance that comes off like a fraternity humiliation ritual rather than a genuine performance.

Randy Randy sighs. "How's it doing?" Rankie asks him. He tells Randy Randy that he is having fun. Here's my firstborn, Rankie, just stop singing, please, I beg you. Randy Randy calls the performance "valiant" and then loses the gloves and calls it the "worst high school performance" he has ever seen. "It was really bad, you could do better," he tells Rankie. Miss Paula goes into apology overdrive mode, saying in a rambling manner that Rankie is better off having fun and making the audience love him and appreciate the "courage" he displayed in that "leap of faith" rather than to actually perform well. Shut up, Miss Paula. Your career tanked, remember? King Tut says that Miss Paula should be the first female President because she could actually make something good out of Rankie's performance. Yes, Miss Paula spearheading the Middle East talks would be such a riot, won't it? King Tut compares Rankie's performance to Planet 9 From Outer Space. Hey, I like that movie! Shut up, King Tut. Like Fantasia said, you have no class. Randy Randy agrees with King Tut. "That was awful," King Tut tells Rankie, reminding the kid that he likes that kid, but the performance was "excruciating".

Sleazebag tells America to vote for Rankie if they want Rankie to stay on the show. Die, Sleazebag, die! "Now it's time for the hard sell," Sleazebag says next. "Camile Velasco is next!" "Hard sell" may refer to the commercials, but it's funny juxtaposed with Camile's upcoming performance, because as I shall soon see, Camile's performance is indeed a hard sell of the hardest proportions.

Camile is next. She is so starstruck at meeting the Queen of England that she's moved to tears, it seems. In her clip, she is inspired by her meeting the Queen of England to sing the best for everyone and of course, Her Royal Majesty. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is her song of choice, and the best I can say is, hello, road? Meet my face. I don't think there's any part of the song that is in tune. The "ah-ah-ah" part sounds like some melodramatic suicide wail of a raccoon as it lies on the road and waits for a truck.

Randy Randy shakes his head and says that the performance was not Camile's best. Dawg, he's been saying that since the Finals started. Why not just admit that she too cannot sing? But it's a hard song to sing, Randy Randy concedes weakly. Miss Paula thinks that the problem lies in the song choice and Camile sounded "shakey". King Tut says that somewhere in Vegas, a TV will be thrown out of the hotel window - the Queen of England's window. He thinks that this is the end of the road for Camile.

Sleazebag tells Camile that she has fans from all over the country. Is he trying to comfort Camile? It's not working. Shut up, Sleazie.

Next, an American Idol special: Special Huff, the Magical Sensitive Boy from the Projects, meets the Queen of England, brought to you especially if you love Forrest Gump and Simon Birch! Special Huff hopes that his gospel and R&B treatment of the music will be well accepted so that people will love him and creepy big eyes and he doesn't have to feel so sad in the rain ever again.

He wants people to Take Me To The Pilot. Even he sounds rough tonight - has Jasmelisma's flu bug been spreading around? Still, it's a competent performance, but that damned Toilet Ladle dance is in full swing tonight, complete with that Talk To My Special Hand gestures and the Wide Eyes, White Eyes glare of petrifying doom, and don't forget the Acre Mouth Smile. I won't mind listening to him, but I don't want to see him on TV.

Randy Randy goes, "Mr Huff! Mr Huff! Mr Huff!" The crowd cheers and Randy Randy remarks that he can't even hear above the cheering crowd. He tells Huff that Huff "walked at it" and he gets better every week. Miss Paula says that Huff is "in the pocket" and he is a "singing machine" who "makes a sport out of the competition". No, I have no idea what she is saying. King Tut thanks Huff for "saving" the competition from being a "bad karaoke competition". "You have the confidence..." he starts to say, but the crowd cheers once more and drowns him out. He turns to them and yells at them to be quiet. Of course they don't. I am starting to suspect that if I want to lay claim to being an intelligent person, I really should not get too close to those people that attend this show and bring with them those stupid signs they spent hours laboring over.

Sleazebag and Huff both do the Toilet Ladle dance. The world is dead to me now.

Forget Ruben, forget Kewpie - meet Huff Granddaddy, the most overrated pidgin Special Boy Contestant ever.

After the nine-millionth, six-hundred, and eleventh commercial break, Sleazebag is back. He's in the control room, hitting on the sounds guy (so that's why the sound system is so much better this episode!), and announcing that Piggy Di Guano is taking the stage now.

The introductory clip? "Ohmigod! I'm cute! I saw the Queen! I'm so cute! Cute! CUTE!"

While Hillary Duff is trying valiantly to appeal to a post-pubescent audience, Piggy Di Guano seems to think that it is a great idea to get more and more girlish each week. If she makes it to the Final Five, I expect that she'll show up in diapers, a bib, and a pacifier one day soon. She wears what seems like an aluminium foil pointed with many swirlish colors in a level of artistry equivalent to a nursery art class, accessorized by a pink bra strap. Her song is I'm Still Standing and she performs while walking between the audience and touching the hands of the front row people. She sounds rather off tonight, but that's probably because she's also trying to focus on moving about and working the audience.

Randy Randy thinks that the performance was just alright, pitchy but okay. Miss Paula knows that Piggy Di Guano is under the weather but she applauds Piggy's not letting that get to her. Coherence has left Miss Paula's building six years ago. King Tut shrugs and says that he has, er, nothing to say. Piggy Di Guano says, "I'll take that!" She has two months start in becoming just like Miss Paula.

Sleazebag and Piggy talk about Miss Paula's love. Ugh.

Latoya finally comes on stage. Let's see if she can save what has until now been a hopelessly mediocre episode so far. In the introductory clip, it's all raves for Latoya as the Queen of England pronounces Americans as idiots for putting Latoya last week in the Bottom Three. Expect Tony Blair to tender an apology to Dubby soon for the Queen's motormouth faux pas.

Sitting down, Latoya performs Someone Saved My Life Tonight. She looks more and more like Trenyce, hair- and clotheswise, every week. Is that some attempt to get me to like her? Hmmph! She starts off very nice, very controlled, and I am really digging her, until she stands up and starts going to very loud melisma towards the end. Is that necessary, all that loud oversinging?

Randy Randy and Miss Paula love her to bits, but King Tut feels that the pre-screamfest parts of the song was something that he could hear in weddings all over America. Yes, King Tut has been to many American weddings, I know. He will book her should he and Miss Paula ever get married, but he's not moved by the performance although he feels that it is so much better compared to the performances that came before hers. Because on this show, remember, it isn't talent until you're coughing out your tonsils hitting that high F for fifteen seconds!

Sleazebag and Latoya have nothing much to talk about because Sleazebag is too busy giving King Tut the evil eye for that remark about marrying Miss Paula.

Back from the commercials, Sleazebag singles out Crate Tin Can, one of the hosts on Pop Idol, and asks her how this show compares to Pop Idol. Crate loves Huff Granddaddy, and I guess that's supposed to answer the question. Sleazebag asks Crate how King Tut here compares to King Tut in Pop Idol. Crate says that King Tut is equally out of control and unbearable on both shows. Now I know that they get hosts of this kind of shows from the same Idiot With White Teeth Factory.

J Hu comes on to close the show. In the introductory clip, the Queen of England proclaims that J Hu's performance will be the best of the night. J Hu hopes that she can live up to the Queen's expectations.

Sleazebag bends and places his face side by side to Crate's so that everyone can see the barcodes on their foreheads and announces J Hu on the stage. And ooh, here's J Hu. What is she singing? She's performing Circle Of Life from The Lion King. Hubby and I really have a great laugh at this performance. She's good, but this performance is as dramatic and overblown as it is good. Every note is injected with full-blown drama, and when J Hu calls for everyone to be in the circle, she means it. She even slowly lifts her right hand, filmed up close on camera as it moves in its upward arc, like a messiah as she booms out the last glory notes of the song. I'm not sure whether this performance is genuinely as good as it is staged to be good. There is a lot you can do with lightings, camera close-ups on J Hu's dramatically constipated face, and slow close-up shots of that Hand Of Glory, to make me understand that this performance is Very Important for whatever reason. But I like this performance because I've had fun watching it while the other performances leave me cold at best or in pain at worst.

She gets a standing ovation and the camera pans on the "It's Jenn Time!" sign in the audience.

Randy Randy declares that her performance was the best of the night and the best he's heard from her. Miss Paula hopes that J Hu realizes that "this" is who J Hu really is and that J Hu stays on "this" road. What "this" is, I have no idea. Disney musicals? Miss Paula seriously needs that Shut Up Pill fast. King Tut says that J Hu has proven for the first time why she is in the Top Twelve. Gosh, King Tut can't see why she should be in the Top Twelve? He must be blinded by the luminous talents of Rank Sinatra and the Pen Salesman.

Sleazebag encourages J Hu to wish her sister a happy birthday and Sleazebag fires off a rapid, monotonous instruction on how one can vote for J Hu. J Hu giggles. Then he recaps the show and poses with the Nine as he announces that he's out and the show is done for.

Results show. The Sexy Manly Voiceover Guy talks about how the Nine "put their lives on the line" and how "one dream" will be extinguished tonight. I don't know who is worse, he or Sleazebag. Credits.

Ryan "I'm A Rocket Man" Sleazebag changes black for brown as he walks on stage, wishes everyone a good evening, and I wonder whether he has resorted to sniffing helium to escape having to deal with his and King Tut's marital discords. He announces that tonight he will divide the Nine into groups of three according to the number of votes they receive. Maybe this is an attempt by the show to stop fans from complaining that they can predict who will leave just by studying the seating pattern of the contestants on the couch. Sleazebag reveals that over twenty four million votes came in last night - wow. He reminds people that their money support means everything to the show. But alas, the votes also mean that someone is leaving tonight, Sleazebag says, and boo-hooes the fact that some members of the audience will have to throw away the signs they spend hours and buckets of glitter working on. Tell that to the idiot Kewpie fans who still carry Kewpie signs when they attend this season's live shows. He also announces that Tamyra will be singing. Does that mean that this show will be three hours long tonight?

Because he can feel the beady eyes of the judges on him, Sleazebag now remembers to introduce the judges. If you can't tell by now, this show is painfully unfunny and I wish Sleazebag will just suck on a strawberry and be done with it. King Tut! Miss Paula! Randy Randy! And now, Sleazebag introduces the Nine.

He then recaps the night before. Or rather, he's not recapping as much as taking things out of context just to make cheap potshots at King Tut. I refuse to play his silly game so I'm not recapping what he said here. He should be professional enough to keep their personal arguments on the kinds of auto-tan machine replacement he wants out of the show. He then continues to abuse the Q&A session by inviting the Nine to take potshots at King Tut. The Pen Salesman mumbles and shrugs, not biting Sleazebag's bait. Idiot Fantasia however gleefully proves what an idiot she is by suggesting that King Tut must be lacking sleep when he failed to appreciate her greatness. I have this feeling that it takes just a little prod to get her raving and foaming at the mouth like a Tasmanian devil. Camile wishes her father in Japan a happy birthday. Latoya wants to sing at King Tut's wedding and she doesn't take King Tut's wedding remark as an insult because she loves wedding and thinks that a wedding is a beautiful event. Rank Sinatra still insists that he has a personality. Princess Jasmelisma and Piggy Di Guano confirm to be suffering from laryngitis, tonsilitis, and pinkponyitis.

Sleazebag pimps the new CD, Greatest Soul Hits. Tom Ennis ruins what little that's left of his reputation by asking everybody to buy it. Gladys Knight proves that there is life after sell-out by explaining the closeness of Soul music to the music performed in churches, and as evidence, the montage shows Gliddy performing Midnight Train To Georgia, although what that has to do with singing at a church, I have no idea. Fantasia wants the world to know that she loves singing at churches. If you don't like that, you have no class. The Pen Salesman butchers My Girl in the studio and says that to him, you either have soul or you don't. Ha ha, he knows how to invite the potshots coming. I like that in a fellow. Too bad he can't sing, though.

The robot-like Piggy Di Guano promises that people will hear the performers' "personal side" in the songs of the CD. Sorry, it does not compute. Amy says that they made the songs their own, and after listening to her, I guess that's because the Stylistics have disowned their music after listening to these contestants. Huff Granddaddy chooses to put a jazzy spin to Me And Mrs Jones. At least I don't see him while I'm listening to the CD, although if I close my eyes, I can still see him staring at me as he bops up and down and shows me his hand. It's Jasmelisma's first time recording in a studio, and she performs Midnight Train To Georgia which promises to show me the lifelessly dull personal side of hers. Gliddy says that it is important for one to choose the correct song. I am starting to suspect that she's talking about something else, maybe about last season's Movie Week performances, and they just splice her interview with this montage because there's no one else willing to endorse the CD. Fatt Gross Bowel says that the last time he holds a CD like this one, the CD has the Season Two finalists on the CD artwork. Now he's on the CD art, and he thinks that it's awesome that he is. Yeah, and he's the only one.

Thank you, American Idol, for warning me in advance not to even think of this CD!

Back from the commercials, Sleazebag invites Julia Tomato, who is in the audience, to stand up and pimp her single Let It Rain, available for previews at

Now it's time for the group performance. The women kick off with Bennie And The Jets which is pretty good for an exercise in disharmonious singing. Then the guys come in and the Pen Salesman leads off Daniel. Wave goodbye, Rankie. Wow, the Special Child Huff is telling me that he misses Daniel who was caught in the tail lights of a plane just before the plane... oh, the pain. Thanks, Rankie and Pennie, for ruining another of my favorite Queen of England tune. Huff sounds good, fortunately. Everyone gets together for Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting. Why is the Pen Salesman getting the limelight? That sweater is hideous, he can't dance, he can't sing, so what the heck is that?

As the audience gives the Nine a standing ovation - and I'm pleased to say I do not know anyone personally in that audience - Sleazebag talks about how the Nine work so hard but they also get some time off occasionally. This leads to a lame clip about the Nine pretending to sing to the piano before they all cheer and run out of the studio to gape at a long limo. They get in, head off to Nickolodeon's Kids Choice Award to present the best music act or something (OutKast won - what is the world coming to when kiddies are allowed to listen to Andre3000 asking them to shake it like a polaroid picture and give him some brown sugar?), and that's it. At least I get to see Hugh Jackman in the montage, I guess. Piggy Di Guano, seated in the limo, looks out the window and tells me to see her on the Kids Choice show. Camile shoves her head in and says, "Yeah, yeah, yeah - see you on the show!" No thanks. I have an appointment with the ear specialist on that day.

Sleazebag asks people to vote for the best Ford commercial on the official website

Even though the first season is over, he eulogizes, the journey doesn't end, thus proving that obscurity is a limitless abyss and you can keep plunging down forever. He asks everyone to welcome the epitome of stardom, Tamyra Grey, who will sing her own composition Raindrops Will Fall.

Well, she's at least cut down on the big hair. The song, however, sounds like a Whitney B-side and it comes complete with deep and thought-provoking insights on life like "I'll keep holding on, raindrops will fall! The sun is gonna shine, so I won't run away! When hope is gone, I'm gonna get through the storm! Because - raindrops - will - fall!" This culminates in a dramatic assertion of female strength and resolution with the poignant lines, "I'll walk through the fire! And the raging storm! And - raindrops - will - fall!"

I wonder whether she has anything to do with Tomato's Let It Rain.

Moved by Tamyra's wisdom, the audience gives her a standing ovation. Sleazebag kisses her cheek and says that it's good to see her here. How does she feel? Tamyra says that she feels a little nervous but she's happy to be here. They talk about her new CD, out in June. Sleazebag asks her why she took so long to come out with the CD. Instead of answering the truth ("I got dropped by my label, 19E ignored me for Kewpie and Ruben after they saw how Justin tanked, so what the hay-ell am I supposed to do, huh, Sleazie?"), she diplomatically answers that she has been acting, working on her album, and "just hanging out". Sleazebag and Tamyra remind people to tune in to next week's Tru Calling, one of the worst television shows ever made, because she's going to be in it. Haw haw haw. Er, wait, that's supposed to be a good thing? Okay then. Sleazebag asks her which she prefers more, acting or singing. Tamyra likes both and thinks that both activities aren't too dissimilar. Of course, given her schedule, she has plenty of time to do both, I'm just saying. Sleazebag exclaims that Tamyra wants to be a mogul.

Now Sleazebag invites the Nine to ask Tamyra some thought-provoking questions. The Pen Salesman asks her how she deals with pressure, because the answers given by Ruben and Kewpie to the same question two and three weeks ago aren't enough. Tamyra can't hear him at first - lucky girl - and tells him not to allow criticisms to get to him - stay optimistic, people! Latoya asks Tamyra whether her not making Top Three on her season is in any way a disadvantage in her career choices. Tamyra says no as one just has to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. So yes, despite playing two or three minor roles on TV and having a CD out that will most likely sink like a stone, Tamyra is a bonafide star - cool! Fantasia asks Tamyra advice on dealing with bad criticisms. Like what happens when you are told by someone that you have no class, I presume. She has best listen to Tamyra when the latter tells her to listen to King Tut but do not let him get to her personally. Millions of people will be judging Fantasia even more harshly once she puts out her work for public consumption. Fantasia will need to handle criticisms, listen and follow them as she sees fit, but never let them get to her personally.

Now it's time for more rubbish - Huff Granddaddy in a huge afro, flanked by Piggy Di Guano and Latoya like a scene from some blaxploitation revival festival. Rank Sinatra sports a blue mohawk thingie, then they play basketball - seriously, what on earth was that? Lamest clip ever.

Finally, Sleazebag starts dividing the Nine into groups of three. Group A consists of Piggy Di Guano, Camile, and Princess Jasmelisma. CuteHos United Forever! Group B has Fantasia, the Pen Salesman, and Rank Sinatra. Latoya, J Hu, and Huff Granddaddy are in Group C. Instead of revealing which group gets the highest votes, Sleazebag just say that Groups B and C are safe. Oh no, which one of the three CuteHos is leaving?

Upon Sleazebag's questioning, Randy Randy thinks that America is voting on personaliy and not performance because at least two people shouldn't be in the Bottom Three this week. Miss Paula agrees. King Tut dares her to repeat what Randy Randy has just said. People are entitled to vote, he says, for whoever they like. This is why people are stupid and they shouldn't be allowed to vote on American Idol, but that's just me. King Tut hates to single someone out so this person shall remain nameless (although he's sure that she knows who he is referring to) but this person deserves to go tonight.

Piggy Di Guano is safe. She hugs the other two while saying "Muah, ooh, I love you!" I actually shudder when I hear that because she sounds like a robotic, slightless less wooden Small Wonders robot.

"Hello, Hawaii, this is your Bottom Two," Sleazebag tells the camera as he stands with Jasmelisma and Camile. Ouch, Hawaii, how could you? Let's do it again next week! Sleazebag asks the two whether they can perform better tonight. Jasmelisma says yes, and Sleazebag promises that they will be given the opportunity to do so after the break.

Back from the break, Miss Paula is missing. "Where's Paula?" Sleazebag asks sarcastically. The other two judges mumble something about Paula looking under the weather before exchanging a pointed look with each other. Sleazebag now asks the Bottom Two how they are feeling. The two give predictable canned responses because they are emotionless performers. Camile sings first. Jasmelisma sings next. Camile goes. She cries. The judges (Paula's back) don't look too upset though.

Sleazebag asks them for their advice to Camile should she choose to pursue music. Randy Randy tells her to get better, work hard, blah blah blah. Miss Paula asks Camile to move to the West Coast, get a studio to "work the craft", probably rob a bank or worse to finance the studio, and oh yes, Miss Paula asks Camile to stay true to R&B because that's what the "real" Camile is. Great advice, Paula! Sleazebag doesn't even bother to ask King Tut, because King Tut's answer would most likely be "Sew your mouth shut!" or "The adult movie business is always looking for new talent!".

The eulogy video commences, with has nothing new to say about Camile. Sleazebag then says goodbye and the remaining Eight come down to hug Camile as the credits roll. I'm now off to get drunk. Who's with me?