Season 3: A Little Less Conversation

"Here they are," Ryan "Huff You All, Losers!" Sleazebag says as he poses with the Twelve Wildcards on the stage, and proceeds to announce that he's with the Wildcards. The Wildcards thought that they have kissed their dreams goodbye, he says, but tonight the show has brought them back. But there's a twist, he adds, and no, this is not a reference to the abuse his nether parts have suffered from King Tut's overenthusiastic attentions. And then come the credits.

Sleazebag comes onto the stage looking badly in need of a shave. He is wearing a creamy-colored shirt with vertical stripes and gray pants, looking just like someone who has recently been retrenched from his desk job. Hmmm, now that's a nice image. Oh, and he seems to be piling on the pounds... hmm, no wonder Sleazie looks lifeless and weak recently. It seems a bit too soon, but who says nowadays you need to get married first before baking the bun in the oven? Should I be sending felicitations to the Tut household? Maybe the Dowagess Julia can come over to my place for tea and we'll talk about what life as a grandmother is like.

After some inane chatter about how this show is all about second chances, Sleazebag introduces the judges. He asks people to boo King Tut for the morning sickness, and the audience obliges. Boo! He calls Randy Randy the royal footrest for Miss Paula. Or something. Pack up on the calcium, Sleazie. Have you and Tuttie settled for a name yet? I'd suggest something simple as opposed to Trixie Talullah Belle Mason Dixon or whatever other Hollywood celebrity couples name their illegitimate children. Life is tough as a future suicidal drug addict without being saddled with a name like Levi Jeanie Denim Tut. Meanwhile, the Wild Cards smile at the camera, not knowing how this show will twist their necks soon enough.

Sleazebag announces the twist. Good news first, he reminds people that Kewpie was a Wild Card and you know how big he is right now as the clock hand ticks towards his fifteenth minute. I have a feeling that the last we hear of Kewpie will be when a rabid bunch of Kewpinites kidnap him during one of his post-flop Vegas shows and he will never be seen again, a case for the unsolved mysteries of all time. The bad news, Sleazebag says, is that only eight Wildcards will be allowed to sing tonight. The audience boos and hiss "Oh no!" Sleazebag says that the judges have charted "progress" (read: weight charts) of each Wildcards during the week-long workshop held before this show. Which eight that can sing will be revealed tonight. So the twist refers to the snap and rotation of this show's claws along the pride of each Wildcard.

Cue a montage of the judges trying desperately to pretend that they are judging the Wildcards on the merits of talent and not on the merits of the casting couch and No Fat White Girls Allowed principle. Ooh, someone sounds decent. Someone doesn't. Someone is pitchy (read: fat). Someone is too soft (read: ugly).

Miss Paula is interviewed and she says that the judges take part in the rehearsals to gauge how the contestants handle pressure. Miss Paula, after all, knows all the best ways to handle pressures - in fact, her medicine cabinet is filled with ways. She lies and says that they select the Eight from vocals and performance skills. She is proud of all these contestants, naturally.

Randy Randy says that Lisa Looshawoo reminds him of Kelly Cluckson and he thinks that she has potentially the best voice of the bunch.

King Tut is really disappointed with Princess Tinkerbelle of Bulgaria.

Randy Randy thinks that Matt Metzger has a great voice until he gets to chorus, upon which he sounds like King Tut to Randy Randy.

King Tut says that the Wildcards have an advantage over the contestants of previous episodes as they have the chance to look back and change what needs to be changed.

Miss Paula tells J Hu to lose her theatrics. Maybe J Hu can start by dancing and singing with a cartoon cat.

Miss Paula says that this whole judging process is hard and heartbreaking. Then why don't you quit, you stupid cow? Oh, that's right, there's nothing else for you outside this show. Dumb cow.

King Tut plugs his ears as Huff Granddaddy sing. Me, I'd leave my ears open but shut my eyes, but that's just me.

King Tut doesn't think that they will find a star out of this show. What kind of star? Like Kelly Cluckson, the Xtina wannabe now pretending to be the lead singer of Evanescence? Kewpie? Ruben? Gareth? Michelle McManus? Oops, I think I passed out for a moment from laughing too hard at the idea of a "star" rising from the compost heap of American Idol.

More montage of judges looking sober and commenting sagely. Someone sings very well. Someone is inconsistent. King Tut think that America will pick someone who doesn't deserve to be in the Top Twelve tonight. He thinks that his eyebrows, among with many others', will be raised. Oh, and whose fault is that? America can only vote from the selection of turds you judges offer up in the first place. Cow turd, dog turd, cat turd, elephant turd... gee, what to choose, what to choose?

Montage over, back to Sleazebag. He says that after an "intense week-long workshop", the judges have decided on which four are leaving even before they can perform.

Lisa Looshawoo is first on the stage. Randy Randy tells her what he said earlier in the montage - she has potentially the best voice of them all but it's been a "tough week" so unfortunately she is not singing tonight. Poor Lisa looks crushed as she walks off the stage. Does this make sense to you, telling someone she has possibly the best voice out there but because the judges have a tough week, she's out? Why not just come out straight and say it loud: "You're fat, you're white, and fat white chicks are not our thing, so scram, cow!"

Matthew Metzger. Miss Paula says that he has a nice tone (tone?) but he's a little pitchy. But they have decided to give him a second chance nonetheless. So they let a pitchy guy in but not someone with a great voice? Wow, that makes sense.

Marque Lynch. King Tut thinks that Marque comes off more like a stage singer so no, he's not singing tonight. "Are you serious?" Marque asks incredulously. "Goodbye," King Tut says curtly in response.

Katie Webber. Randy Randy says that the judges have been agonizing all week over who gets in and who doesn't but they've decided to give her another shot. Big girls are not okay, but skinny girls with big noses are okay though. A nose job costs less than a full-blown liposuction, I guess.

J Hu. Miss Paula says that J Hu deserves another chance as J Hu has proven that she deserves to be here. I guess Miss Paula is not referring to J Hu's shocking pink cannonball look.

Huff Granddaddy. King Tut says that Huff is not going to like what he has to say. Huff obligingly puts on his affected shocked face and chest-grabbing stunt that I am really beginning to loathe with the intensity of a zillion suns. King Tut says that he will tell Huff what the judges have decided after the break. Sleazebag says that King Tut has stolen his line. King Tut says that he did the line better. Sleazebag is shocked - shocked! - that King Tut will pull such a stunt on the show. King Tut rolls up his eyes and quickly says that Huff is in. Of course he's in. This show needs an African American guy to fulfill its racial quota after all.

Elizabeth LeThunderthighs. Randy Randy says that during the rehearsals, Thighs LeThunder has made changes to her "operatic" style (don't ask) and focus (don't ask) so she's in.

Princess Tinkerbelle of Bulgaria, coming soon at good mail-order bride outposts everywhere with a flower in her hair. Miss Paula says that they are comfortable at letting her stay.

The Pen Salesman. King Tut says that it's back to the stale pen anology again. He says that the Pen Salesman has a lot of problems but he's through. King Tut adds that the Pen Salesman should change his middle name to Lucky.

Tiara Purifoy. Randy Randy notes that she has lost her contacts and changed her hair but she's not singing tonight. She thanks the judges and leaves the stage.

Now it's down to Eric Yoder and Suzy Vulaca. Suzy is dressed like a handmaiden of Queen Amidala. They both step onto the stage for the judges' scrutiny. Miss Paula tells them that they saw some growth in the both of them. King Tut interrupts the nonsense spewing from Pollyanna Bessie here to say that Eric is out and Suzy is in. Eric walks back, silently mouthing "Damn!" - I guess his growth isn't big enough to keep the judges happy.

So we have it, the Eight, whatever - stuff it Sleazie. Here, go suck some mangoes.

The first performer of the day is the Pen Salesman. I love how he is mimicking Sleazebag as Sleazebag vapidly chatters to the camera. He tells Sleazebag that he is excited to be here and he is singing an Elvis song.

His introductory clip has him playing a guitar because remember, Elvis is all about the guitars. He says that the judges are not "completely satisfied" with him during his Group Three performance. Maybe King Tut is right, he says, or maybe he's not, but won't it be boring if he is just like everyone else and not the spastic garden gnome that he is? He wants to dance because he's an entertainer.

A Little Less Conversation is his song. That is dancing? That is singing? The Pen Salesman deliberately sings in a lower timbre than he is used to while pausing at places to walk like that Egyptian that drove the Bangles into early menopause. And what's with the mumbling? Someone is obviously taking the "don't enunciate" parts of the song a little too seriously. All in all, a horrible performance - off-key at places and unintentionally hilarious. But you know what? Let's make this grotesque sideshow freak the new American Idol! He'll be the new village idiot that will truly make this show a bigger joke than Harlemm Lee made Fame a laughingstock.

Randy Randy says that the performance is crazy and he is laughing. So am I, albeit in a crazed manner. Is the Pen Salesman having a good time? "You better believe it!" the Pen Salesman declares. Good for him. At least someone is having fun while I contemplate stabbing an ice pick up my nostrils to lobotomize myself. Randy Randy thinks that the Pen Salesman did a really bold thing by dancing especially at a crucial time like the Wildcards show but the Pen Salesman's voice is good. Randy Randy gives the performance a five. Miss Paula laughs, says unnecessarily that the Pen Salesman brought a smile to her face, adds that he "made everyone smile" - speak for yourself, you stupid cow - and gives a shout out to the Pen Salesman's father, who is a castle if Jabba is a hut, resting awkwardly on his back on the couch in the Red Room. She concludes her rambling nonsense by saying that the Pen Salesman's performance was a great way to start the show. King Tut shrugs and says that the entire performance is "horrible", comparable to a subway singer with a hat. And the hat will be empty. Miss Paula protests, having the temerity to compare the Pen Salesman the "entertainer" to Mick Jagger, Steve Tyler, and Beck - maybe she has gotten the mad cow disease. Randy Randy and Miss Paula insist that the Pen Salesman is alright because the man hit all the right notes. King Tut rolls up his eyes as the crowd cheers the Pen Salesman.

Sleazebag whacks palms with the Pen Salesman and wonders where the "moves" came from. The Pen Salesman says that the moves are from his soul. And I bet his soul is really movin' when he gets his hands on a dirty magazine and locks the bedroom door. Sleazebag excitedly mimics the Pen Salesman's "moves", missing the Pen Salesman's slight upward roll of his eyeballs. By the way, Sleazebag is seated on the couch with his legs spread wide towards the camera and damn if the crotch of his light-colored pants doesn't draw my eyes to it. I hate to look at it, but I just can't look away. Help me, I have a deeper understanding for King Tut's plight now. Sleazebag wants to see Jabba the Castle do the moves. The Pen Salesman says he would like to see that too.

Sleazebag crosses his legs to hide his amazing mesmerizing crotch tomato as he turns to talk to Elizabeth LeThunderthighs. After all, Elizabeth's appreciation would be wasted on him, so why even bother, right, Sleazie?

In her introductory clip, Elizabeth reminds people that she sang I Wanna Dance With Somebody during the Group Three performances and received a mixed reaction from the judges. Now she has switched focus a little, intending to "sing" instead of "rocking it out" the last time. Yeah, rocking it out with a Whitney Houston song. Where's the eyeroll emoticon when I need it?

She decides to sing The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, and ouch, I think I am bleeding from the painful first note to the last. She is very sharp, which is bad, and she is also singing out of sync with the piano backing her, which is worse. When she has to hit the high notes, she instead starts screaming. Good grief, that hideous final note! They let this in but cut out Lisa?

Randy Randy thinks that Elizabeth is nervous. Yeah, make excuses some more, you dumb lummox. If Paula's the cow, you're the lummox. He thinks that Elizabeth put on a good performance - it was pitchy at spots but she ended the performance well and he liked it. Miss Paula says that this song is her favorite "to date" (huh?) and she has been waiting for someone to sing it all this while! Gawd, shut up, please. King Tut is pinching his nipples while giving Miss Paula strange looks as she speaks. Miss Paula notices him and pauses for a while, throwing him a murderous glare before continuing to praise Elizabeth for having great vocal controls, knowing her vocal range, and living it on stage, whatever the heck all that have to do with the awful performance I've just heard. King Tut says that he "kind of agree" with Miss Paula. The audience goes "ooh" and he remarks that the show has an audience of experts today. He says that Elizabeth is pretty but she has no "it" factor. Elizabeth says that she's had fun and she'll let America decide on whether she has star qualities. America chooses the Pen Salesman, so I guess at the end of the day she'll go home and apply for a Canadian citizenship.

Sleazebag meets Elizabeth LeThunderthighs at the stage to talk to her for a while before asking people to vote for her.

Back in the Red Room, Sleazebag asks Katie Webber whether she is excited and whether she is surprised to be back for the Wildcard round. Of course she is. What else does he expect her to say? She says that she is singing So Emotional. Sleazebag quickly launches into a few lines of the song and concludes that Katie's version is probably better than his.

In her introductory clip, Katie reminds people that she sang Orange Colored Sky in the Group One performances and Paula wished that Katie had chosen a different song. So today Katie decides to choose a song that is risky and different but still "totally me", whatever the heck that means. She decides to take a risk and do something different by choosing a Whitney song, which is what every other female contestants on this show did in order to be different and "risky". She says that she has nothing to lose at this point by being different, which she isn't, but let's just leave it at that.

Eh, her voice is completely wrong for this song. She is no Whitney, obviously, but that's not the point here. Her voice is not appropriate for this song because it lacks the richness and strength needed to carry the high notes during the chorus. Where Whitney could infuse this song with some sense of fun, Katie's version feels stilted and flat.

Randy Randy is not blown away despite him thinking that Katie's vocals have improved. He likes Katie's "shimmering electric eel" skirt though. Miss Paula thinks that Katie did much better than she did during the rehearsals as Katie had given up her camera mugging. Still, Miss Paula detected some pitch problems in that performance. She quickly adds that she gives Katie props for following the judges advice to stop trying too hard. Say it once more with feeling, people: shut up, Paula. King Tut compares Katie to Jessica Simpson in that she isn't the best singer - Randy Randy and Paula cut in to insist that Jessica Simpson is a great singer - but King Tut thinks that Katie will get all the guys' votes tonight. Obviously King Tut somehow misses Katie's huge nose in his profiling of Katie's beauty. King Tut thinks that Katie's performance is just okay. He turns to the audience and asks "those four" what they think. The camera zooms in on poor Eric, Lisa, and Tiara in the audience. Lisa and Eric nod and Lisa does the two thumbs up gesture, saying that Katie did good. Tiara looks too bitter to care, not that I blame her one bit, poor thing. Getting cut and being forced to watch losers worse than you perform onstage really has to cut real deep.

Sleazebag, in the Red Room, thinks that Jessica Simpson can sing. Yup, the camera is still zooming in on his crotch. Ahem. Anyway, of course Sleazebag thinks that Jessica Simpson can sing. Anyone who has a hit from belting out a song about "letting your love pour all over me" can't do wrong in his books.

Sleazebag continues last week's theme of pimping his buddy Huff Granddaddy when the both of them demonstrate the art of "Hee! Hee! Hee!", which is what Huff does to warm up his voice. Huff is going to sing Lean On Me.

In his very camera-conscious introductory clip, Huff Granddaddy talks about how he was called the backline of the Temptations by King Tut last week, concluding that hey, at least he's still a Temptation. He wants to be in the Finals and wants people to focus on his voice (which I would, if he'd stop being so affected for a minute). He chooses this song from a list of Motown hits. He insists that he is not a backup singer.

He starts out a little rough but soon gains momentum in a rousing chorus. It's a good performance, nothing too earthshattering but easily the best so far. It's the perfect song for his voice. But I hate him again when he ends the song and jumps on stage like the affected fake that he is.

And that affected little dance is nothing compared to his facial expressions when he faces the judges. The judges love him, and they have to, because the Finals have no African American men so far and they have to put him through somehow or the NAACP will come a-calling on Uncle Nigel's doorstep.

Sleazebag comes on stage to pimp Huff some more. "When we watch George Huff, he has so much fun," he declares before asking Huff Granddaddy whether the guy is for real. "Yes, this is good! This! Is! Good!" Huff declares. Dude, stop it. You're a forty-three year old egg flipper, so no amount of forced giddiness will make you look cool. "Vote for him!" Sleazebag cries. You can't pimp a fameho any better than that. "You just make us laugh, George!" he tells Huff Granddaddy, seriously pushing it now. "I wanna be a comedienne," Huff announces. Sleazebag insists that Huff Granddaddy is real because we all won't be laughing if he isn't! Huff is really having a good time making everyone laugh! Sleazebag asks King Tut to smile because Huff Granddaddy is here to make everyone smile!

You hear that sound? That's me falling dead on the floor. Or I will be if those two keep up at their fake and so staged banters. Yeah, yeah, I get it, vote for him, what-freaking-ever, just get those two off my sight before I throw a chair through the TV screen. God. What atrocious cheesiness!

Sleazebag calls for a break and then high-fives Huff Granddaddy.

Next is Suzy Vulaca. She's tied up her hair. Sleazebag again finds it fun to repeat her last name again and again. She announces that she is singing I Will Survive today. Sleazebag asks America whether Suzy will survive tonight. Ha, ha, that funny man. He should get together with Huff, hold each other tight, and jump off a cliff for everybody's endless hilarity.

In her introductory clip, Suzy talks about her performance in Group Four which two judges liked and one didn't (guess who). Randy Randy is shown complimenting Suzy for pulling her hair back. She says that she pulled her hair back because people told her that they couldn't see her face when she performed previously. She practices her moves before the mirror in the studio and concludes the clip by saying that she will prove King Tut wrong tonight.

And I say she did - she really pulls this one off. She performs very nice and she even moves around the stage, singing as if she really means it when she's telling people that She! Will! Survive! I like this one, it's the best of the night for me.

Randy Randy asks Suzy how she thinks she did. She thinkks that she did okay although she admitted that she became somewhat hoarse at parts. Randy Randy says that she "did" her "thing" and changed a bit of a melody, but he's cool with the latter. Miss Paula thinks that Suzy's one-shoulder dress is a "beautiful shirt" and she wants one too. She isn't a fan of that song as it reminds her of bad karaoke (insert joke about Paula Abdul's own music here), but Suzy made her like it. King Tut says that Sleazebag is always playing this song at his place. Miss Paula says that when Sleazebag comes over for a visit, King Tut's house is always playing It's Raining Men instead. I wonder what music they played in the hotel suite when King Tut and Sleazebag went on their Barbados vacation last year. Heart's All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You?

"It was a rainy night, when he came into sight - "

Shut up, Sleazebag.

"Standing by the road, with no umbrella, no coat - "

Sleazebag, please.

"So I pulled up alongside and I offered Tutty a ride - "

Good heavens.

"He said, 'I am the flower, you are the seed! We walked in the garden, we planted a tree!'"

That's it. Out!

Ahem. Back to the show. King Tut thinks that Suzy did very well.

"Oh my God!" Suzy gasps as she runs into the Red Room. She can't believe that King Tut complimented her. Sleazebag says that when King Tut comes over to his place and they are playing I Will Survive, the CD actually belongs to King Tut. The red dress is Trenyce's, the leather nurse uniform is J Hu's, and the leering face in the closet belongs to Huff Granddaddy, but the CD is all King Tut's. He adds that King Tut likes taking the back door approach - I know, the jokes write themselves, don't they? - he winds his victims down and then catch them, presumably at the back door, when they are least expecting him to. "And that's why none of my jeans fit anymore!" he wails, but the show cuts into a commercial break before the world sees him warning Suzy of the dangers of leaving one's back door open to creatures like King Tut.

Matt Metzger is next. Hmm, I don't remember him being this skinny. Matt, please eat a burger or two. He hops around on one leg in his introductory clip, reminds people that he is a substitute teacher, and the show repeats the clips of the judges telling him that his voice isn't good enough but he sure looks purty fine. Now he wants to focus on the song to sing with "power". He has a need for approval, he says, and he hopes to "bring it" and perform well tonight.

His song is When I See You Smile. Gosh, I hate that song. I really don't know what he is singing, to be honest, because I am too busy watching him flash that smile on me. Dang it, Matt, I said tight jeans, not those baggy things! His voice cracks and goes off-key when he sings the chorus, though.

Randy Randy chuckles. "What's up, dawg?" Matt asks him. How cute. "You chilling?" Randy Randy asks him. "I'm shaking," Matt answers. They're so auditioning for the TV version of The Fast And The Furious. Randy Randy likes the first line, which he says sounds great, but he feels that Matt misses the next few lines. Then Matt sounds good in the chorus. Randy Randy concludes that Matt is not consistent in his performance. But Matt has good looks and is cool "like me", Randy Randy adds. He repeats again that Matt lacks consistency as the middle of the song "goes crazy" on Randy Randy. The crowd booes. "I'm honest!" Randy Randy tells them. Miss Paula says that nobody will be as cool as Randy Randy. She is a little angry at him though as she feels that Randy Randy is too harsh on Matt. After praising Matt for his looks, she says that Matt however lacks the "rock edge" to carry what is essentially a rock ballad. Still, she thinks that the title of the song suits him perfectly. Matt flashes a big smile at her. What a nice smile, if I may say so. Will I ever find a pretty boy that can really sing on this show? King Tut jokes that the other two judges are being too vague. He tells Matt that Matt "tickles the boxes" with his good looks and nice smile. I think King Tut means "tick" and that "tickle" must be a Freudian slip on his part. Anyway, King Tut feels that something is missing in the overall package however, and he doesn't know what it is. "Confidence," Matt suggests. Randy Randy thinks that Matt has nailed the answer. "Like Paula, when she judges this show," King Tut suggests dryly. "'You tickle the box'?" Paula fires back to King Tut, asking, "What does that mean?" Matt suggests that nobody will ever know.

What the heck was that all about?

Sleazebag tells Matt in the Red Room that Miss Paula has a crush on him. He also mentions J Hu crying earlier. What else is new? J Hu is always crying.

Princess Tinkerbelle of Bulgaria is next. She is wearing one of her mother's popstar outfit, no doubt, because that outfit has been out of style since 1984. She tells Sleazebag that she will do great tonight.

In her introductory clip, she says that she is shocked that she didn't go to the Finals despite two of the judges loving her. Er, maybe because the rest of the country dislikes your fake and affected bony ass, perhaps? "Obviously America has a different opinion," she concludes with a sniff which suggests that she feels that she is too good for America. Whatever, you mail-order fake from Bulgaria.

And she really gets on my perky mammaries when she launches into Let's Stay Together. She wants me to feel "it", and by "it" I think she refers to my finger stabbing the back of my throat as I throw up because what the heck is she singing? "Lehhhhh's stehhhhh togehdehhhhh...." she bleats like the mail-order goat bride from Bulgaria. Or is it "Mehhh let's meeeehhh togehhhhhdehhh..."? She is also trying to make some faces at the camera, "sexy" faces, I'd guess, but she comes off as desperate instead. Her mother should stop teaching her to act like a weary cabaret dancer on stage. I have to listen to Trenyce's glorious version to cleanse myself of this horrid, bleating performance.

Randy Randy likes the performance even if he feels that this is not Tinkerbelle's finest performance. He feels that he is finally seeing the real her. I do too - are those cloven hoofs I see on Tinkerbelle? Miss Paula commends Tinkerbelle for following their advice ("Bleat like a goat"?) and thinks that she is a seasoned performer. King Tut disagrees, thinking that Tinkerbelle is "shaky" and "ordinary". The other two judges protest, saying that Tinkerbelle has nothing ordinary about her. They get that right - she's extraordinarily painful on the ears and annoyingly affected to boot. King Tut says that if this is the first time he is seeing Tinkerbelle in action, he'd think, "So what?" Miss Paula announces that she is arguing with him "because America has to vote". I think we have evidence there and then that Miss Paula is positively on crack. "Because America has to vote"? What on earth? King Tut snorts and tells her that if she thinks that Tinkerbelle is so great, she can put Tinkerbelle in herself.

So like how King Tut is to blame for Carmurp last season, he is to be blamed for Miss Paula's actions on the following night.

Princess Tinkerbelle of the Bulgarian Goat Pastures tells Sleazebag in the Red Room that she's had fun and she did well despite what King Tut said. Sleazebag says that he doesn't understand how King Tut has money and a big house but King Tut is more miserable day by day. Duh, Sleazebag, King Tut is miserable because he also has you.

J Hu is next. She's all pink, maybe in a valiant attempt to come off as skinny and cute so that everybody will love her too. She has a pink hairband, a pink neck choker, and a shoulderless pink gown that accentuates all the wrong curves of her body. Sleazebag points out that she is in tears. She says that she is crying tears of joy because all she wants to do is to fall on her knees and thank Jesus for her being here. I can picture her now, several weeks from now, weeping joyfully that she is so happy to be singing for America for the sixth time in a row, sob sob sob. What a fruity suitcase, that J Hu.

J Hu poses around in her introductory clip and says that she last went home disappointed but now that she's here, things are looking up again. Her friend made her the "special" pink outfit she is wearing (although I suspect that the dress is more likely an old tablecloth passed to J Hu). She is shown trying to lose her "gospel jaw" with the help of Debra Byrd. She hopes that America will love her this time around.

I Believe In You And Me is her song. She sounds good on the lower register but her high notes are all over the place, with her missing the first few high notes and nearly overlooking the key change later into the song. Overall it's a decent performance but it could have been tighter. J Hu sings as if she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown, which she probably is. And what's with her handgestures? I especially love the part where she seems to be pulling up the waist of her imaginary pants as she screeches about believing in you and me.

Randy Randy says that J Hu is the best of the night but he's not sure about the pink outfit. J Hu is surprised that Randy Randy, of all people, is critcizing her outfit. "It's an original!" she declares. Randy Randy, looking annoyed to be reminded that he was once fat, says that well, at least she can sing very well. Oh, and he liked J Hu's leather nurse outfit. The camera takes the opportunity to focus on the corner where the four cut contestants are standing, but Tiara has joined Marque in going out of sight, leaving only Eric and Lisa there. Eric is clapping while Lisa is looking quite down. Maybe the both of them should hook up, get drunk, "borrow" a steamroller, and crush down King Tut's car as a nice way to end the night. Miss Paula says that J Hu's voice has "muscle" and it can tell a story that can touch everyone in the building. Are the aliens coming to get you, Paula? No? Then stick a fork down your throat, you incoherent dingbat. King Tut chortles and says that J Hu is lucky that this show isn't judged by the merits of the contestants' outfits. He asks for the name of the designer. J Hu reveals that someone named George made it for her and George made her feel "freeeee!" by dipping a tablecloth in melted chewing gum and tossing it to her. King Tut says that J Hu has a fantastic personality ("We love you!") but she needs more control over her voice as it is running all over the place. Thank you for bringing that up, King Tut! J Hu always sounds as if she's singing on the brink of hysterical tears. She may be the rare performer that needs to be sedated before she performs.

Sleazebag spends some time chatting with J Hu before calling for the last commercial break of the day. I think Sleazebag wants Designer George's number.

Now Sleazie is standing on the stage to talk to the judges. He asks them whether they feel that the right persons have been brought back to sing tonight on the Wildcards show. Randy Randy and Miss Paula, obviously now sharing a single brain between the two of them, say yes. King Tut mysteriously says that he feels that one person that was cut earlier deserves to be in the Finals as this person would give the others "trouble". He has better be talking about Lisa Looshawoo, but there's no point complaining now - angry Lisa fans are on the loose and they are out to make the Pen Salesman the new American Idol out of spite. J Hu is great as he'd expected, he adds, but she has fashion issues. Suzy is good too for showing a lot more of her in her performances than previously. But on the whole, he is "not overjoyed" with tonight's show.

Sleazebag has gotta go, but before he does, he reminds people that America will choose one Wildcard to advance and the judges each choose one. He recaps the performances, which, by the way, also reveals the choice of ugly "video clips" that flash at the back of the stage as each performer sings. Elizabeth LeThunderthighs has an ocean, for example, while Matt Metzger has a screen of chocolate-colored ripples. Princess Tinkerbelle of Bulgaria has the same ripple screen but hers is blue instead of chocolate. Suzy Vulaca gets the night city and neon lights scenery while Huff Granddaddy gets the space background. J Hu gets cloudy skies on her back, because she's a private butterfly garden for one. Back to the show, Sleazebag poses with the Eight and announces that the phone lines will be open for the next two hours, don't miss the next day's result show (Ruben is performing), thanks everyone, smacks hands with the Eight, and then he's out. As the Eight hug, the Pen Salesman breaks apart from the happy circle to dance. He's shorter than Sleazebag. The credits roll, and that's a wrap.

Results. Today's episode is brought to you by Camera Whores Incorporated and Age Shavers Anonymous, come to Bulgaria because we have a selection of Tinkerbelles for the lonely in exchange for a green card ("Lehhhh's stehhhhh togedehhhhh!"), and Lisa was unfairly screwed and humiliated again. This show really must die.

The Sexy Manly Voiceover Guy talks about "last night" where the show brought "them" back as the light shines over the Eight posing on the stage. Tonight, the Voiceover Guy continues to say, only four will advance to the finals. "Who gets in? Who goes home?" he wonders. And then, credits.

Ryan "I Huff Myself, And Everyone Should Too!" Sleazebag arrives on stage wearing a purplish jacket over a T-shirt bearing a skull logo and a slogan "I Got Huffed All Over At The Bikers Bar Down Town And All I Got Are This T-Shirt And Six STDs". He starts the inane show by talking about the pain the Eight must be feeling as they would be kicking themselves should they lose a second chance at advancing to the Finals, especially at this late stage, so close to the Finals. Well, maybe, although any decent performer willing to work hard for his or her art would more likely be kissing the ground at having escaped the fates of Kelly, Ruben, and Kewpie. I mean, singing horrid hand-me-down songs and performing at shows attended by middle-aged women in hideous costumes and screaming teenagers while the critics mock them? When most of the money flows over and around them into the pockets of the studio fat cats? Yeah, I bet many people will be kicking themselves alright.

Sleazebag describes King Tut as "puffed up with self-importance" and calls the man "the ego has landed". He also mocks King Tut's new flat-top haircut. King Tut, pleased with a different kind of puffing up going on in Sleazebag's tummy, decides to just smile. He's going to be a daddy after all. Maybe the Finals this year will end with a baby shower. Won't that be delightful, people? Sleazebag calls Miss Paula an "unadulterated beauty", which must be an inside joke as I'm sure Miss Paula only accepts the pure high-quality stuff for herself. He describes Randy Randy as having worked with Whitney and Mariah and... er, let's just move on. Move past the painfully contrived Q&A with the Eight (Matt is advised by Kewpie to quit thinking so much about the performance; J Hu says that Designer George is getting a lot of business - maybe he'll be becoming a window curtain maker soon, I guess; the Pen Salesman is real - really spastic; Suzy will survive, haw haw; Katie is "so emotional", snort), straight to Ruben's performance.

Sleazebag talks about Ruben selling two million copies of his CD and embarking on a tour soon. Ruben has fourteen U's in his name, Sleazebag adds, that funny fellow. Ruben lumbers onto the stage like the bowling ball from the past. The audience doesn't seem too excited. I bet they'd prefer Kewpie. Then again, Ruben doesn't look too excited either. He is wearing what seems like his new trademark - a cap and a tent. Without much ado, he launches into Sorry 2004, which must be the theme song of this entire season. Yes, Ruben, I know you're sorry for the dismal sideshow this season has become, and trust me, so am I. He's still smiling as he talks about hurting his lady. No wonder his concert is not selling well. Who wants to spend two hours watching this guy standing there and smiling non-stop as he sings without any understanding of the words coming out of his mouth?

Subdued clapping greets the end of his performance, which isn't unexpected as it was mainly Ruben duetting with a disembodied male voice. Sleazebag says that it feels like old times as he comes out and hands Ruben a towel. What do the judges feel about Ruben's performance? Randy Randy: "Hot!" Miss Paula: "Touchdown!" King Tut: "I'll pay you to reenter!" Which begs the question: just how different is an AI event from an AI show? They are all performing monkeys at the end of the day, so why even bother?

Ruben and Sleazebag share more vapid chit-chat about Ruben feeling good to be singing and picking up an NAACP award (beating out Beeyatche and others) and living out his dreams. His tour is kicking off the next day in Philadelphia at the Barbecue Pit, Sleazebag helpfully informs the audience, adding that people can go to the website to check out the complete details. Sleazebag then asks the Eight whether they have any questions for Ruben. J Hu asks what it feels like to be in the Top Twelve. Ruben says that the rehearsals will be hard work (for the losers not annointed the winner from day one by the producers, that is) but it's fun hanging out at La Meridien and all. Princess Bulgarian Goat Lady asks whether Ruben is still in touch with anybody in the Twelve. Ruben says that he still talks to Kewpie, Burger Queen has a single out soon, and oh yes, Creepy Rickey is here. Sleazebag calls out Creepy Rickey on stage - "Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!" - and the loser actually runs out on stage and preens for the camera for five seconds before being banished back to obscurity once more. How pathetic!

Pointless recap of the previous performances.

Even more pointless recap of the judges' comments for each performance.

But I guess Sleazebag has to earn his pay somehow.

Randy Randy is now going to choose his selection to go through to the Finals. He first offers some good news as in that he has rewatched last night's performances and it is interesting for him to see who is performing well. That is the good news? Die, twit! Anyway, he chooses J Hu. J Hu is crying - wow, surprise - as she thanks everybody. Miss Paula and Randy Randy encourage her to "work it out" and "pull it down". I'm afraid to ask what all that is about. King Tut tells her to control her voice and find a right style of music that will suit her voice. And so J Hu sings. She believes, y'all. Boo hoo hoo.

Miss Paula is next. She wishes that she can pick everybody. King Tut snickers and she turns to tell him to stuff it. She says that she chooses the singer that entertains her the most and she picks... Princess Tinkerbelle the Lonely Bulgarian Goat Wench! Just like King Tut dared her to last night. King Tut, I hate you, I really do. Are you well, Paula? That isn't Trenyce standing before you, you know. It's a third-rate carbon material reject imported from a wretched third world country that is only more well-known than Latvia. Princess Tinkerbelle, today wearing what seems like the National Service uniform of Bulgaria (the tramp unit), starts weeping crocodile tears while her mother in the Red Room weeps more openly. After all, Mommy's Bulgarian Electric Boogaloo is finally happening to her sweet little daughter. Randy Randy says that he has the Princess pegged from day one. King Tut snorts and says that she is just lucky that she has a "fairy grandmother" in Paula. Miss Paula is outraged at being called a grandmother and tries to cover his mouth. He tells Tinkerbelle to prove him wrong in the Finals.

"Lehhhh stehhh togedehhhhhhh...."

I can't do this.

Sleazebag says that it is now time for King Tut to do something good for someone for once. King Tut says that he didn't sleep last night, thinking over the show and having to comfort Sleazebag as he throws up all night, the poor dear. King Tut says that his decision is due to whom he believes the audience most likely wants to see. And that person is Huff Granddaddy.

Huff makes a disgusting display of looking shocked and Sleazebag makes an equally disgusting show of comforting him. I refuse to recap that and the cringe-inducing banter between Huff Granddaddy and the judges. There's being spontaneously funny and being painfully contrived and Huff is firmly in the second camp. He sings, the show goes on, and now we move on to America's choice. But first, Sleazebag brings out the previous eight finalists.

Di Guano! Um, who the heck is she again? Hate.

Fantasia! Annoying camera ho. I like her voice, but I expect her antics to annoy me thoroughly soon. Indifferent.

Camile. Who? Hate.

Fatt Gross Bowel.

Oh. My. God.

In an extreme attempt to be young, that gross jerk has gotten himself some hair plugs that look like a bathroom rug badly glued to his scalp. He prances onto the stage like some big girl's blouse while acting like a mildly brain-damaged ten-year old kid. Utter loathing.

Amy. Pink hair, going on fifty, still trying too hard to pretend to be twenty-three. Hate.

Latoya. Oversinging suggests that she will either irritate me at worst or leaves me indifferent to her at best.

Jasmine. Still trying too hard to be cute. I prefer Lilo, so get lost, you flower-headed oversinging dingbat. Hate!

Rank Sinatra. He's too boring for me to really care.

Sleazebag waits until the eight finalists are seated with Huff, Tinkerbelle, and J Hu before asking them how their lives have changed. Rank Sinatra is recognized by forty kids during a hockey game - wow. Amy has fresh pink hair, as opposed to stale pink hair I presume, which she calls "fluorescent", and says that she can't eat nowadays as people keep recognizing her. She's not mad, she says, just hungry. I hope she doesn't win, or the next season will see an onslaught of fortysomething hairdressers pretending to be twenty-three. Di Guano says that she is embarrassed when people in her hometown dig up her past performances and play them. Jasmine vows that she will have a flower on her hair for every week that she sings. She has many flowers, she threatens. I hope that she will only need to use three of those flowers at most. Gross Bowel says that he misses everyone here. He says this with a psychotic gleam in his eye. I could have felt sorry for the others that will have to live with him in some Beverley Hills mansion if I don't hate nearly every one of the freaks in the Finals. He and Sleazebag talks about "good game", because other than hideous hair plugs, an aborted college football career is all the pathetic loser Gross Bowel has to sell.

Now the remaining five Wildcards stand on stage as Sleazebag gets ready to announce the last person to go to the Finals. America chooses, with 22% of the total votes, the Pen Salesman! The Pen Salesman falls over backwards in an affected shocked gesture. Suzy has to pick him up. I give him credit at least for not taking the opportunity to press his face to her chest like he'd have done were this his summer vacation frat party. Between he, Gross Bowel, Amy, Huff Granddaddy, Tinkerbelle, Jasmine, and Fantasia, there will be no shortage of freaks trying to hog the camera and putting on contrived displays of cuteness during the Finals. I'm so excited, yay!

Jabba the Castle gives a two thumbs up from the Red Room. I don't think they have moved him from that position since last night.

Randy Randy says that America has made a good choice. Miss Paula says that America loves the Pen Salesman because he can sing. Those two must be sharing the same crack pipe because they have officially lost the plot. Sleazebag asks the judges on how the Pen Salesman can improve, because Sleazebag really cares for the Pen Salesman, I tell you. Freak. Maybe King Tut should get a paternity test on that kid Sleazebag is carrying before... oops, sorry, Sleazebag. I hope I didn't spoil anything in the happy Tutty household. Miss Paula advises the Pen Salesman not to take himself so seriously. Thank you, Miss Paula! That is like telling an alcoholic to take it easy and help himself to another drink. King Tut says that his eyebrows are raised (Sleazebag, I'm so sorry, I didn't know he heard) and he still stands by his opinion on the Pen Salesman. For what it's worth, he compliments the Pen Salesman for being "brave", maybe "brave" as in "doing what countless oily salesmen have done to lonely wives and seducing my darling - YOU BASTARD, just you wait, JUST YOU WAIT!"

Sleazebag congratulates everyone here for, er, coming here and singing, I guess. The Finals will be good, he promises. Judging from the murderous glare King Tut is giving him and the Pen Salesman, I can only hope that the fireworks will provide some entertainment where the performances won't.

The Pen Salesman puts on a monkey freakshow, stomping his feet on the stage which is how he would run when Sleazebag's brat pops out looking like the Pen Salesman here and King Tut reaches for his gun. He should win. He's like the spastic kid brother of Greg Buis that will ruin what little credibility this show has. His fans are going to be as pathetic as the Kewpinites. Let's give this show a reputation for crowning freak magnets as its American Idol!

The others are allowed to join the Pen Salesman. Here's what that's equally creepy and amusing: Fatt Gross Bowel runs straight to Rank Sinatra and crushes the guy in a bear hug and pretty much molests that kid until Rankie finally breaks apart from that embrace and tries to dance so that Gross Bowel can't find any excuse to approach him. Gross Bowel then charges straight at the Pen Salesman, only Fantasia steps in in time to dance with the Pen Salesman and saves the Pen Salesman from getting assaulted live on stage. Between this and Gross Bowel's disturbing attentions to Camile in the official website behind-the-scenes video footages, I should worry if I'm one of the other eleven finalists sleeping in the same house as Gross Bowel. I hope these people watch their back doors carefully. As Gross Bowel pushes his way around to the male contestants, Sleazebag announces that he's "out" and King Tut presses his palms to his forehead. I know, Tutty, between paternity mysteries, an explosive sexual harrassment lawsuit waiting to happen in the Finals, and a spastic monkey leading twelve contestants made up of oversinging divas, age-shavers, camera hogs, annoying perky young ladies, and just plain ugly men, I feel like weeping too. It will be a long and painful journey to June, methinks.