Season 3: Don't Cry Out Loud

Because Sleazebag is running late with more pressing matters - like issuing statements that On Air With Ryan Sleazebag is not cancelled, contrary to expectations, and wondering why nobody cares whether it's still on or not - there is no pre-credits babble today. On with the credits, on with the show.

Ryan "Don't Cry Out Loud" Sleazebag (Respectable Now colors: white, brown, silicon) walks onto the stage and practises his talk show skills on the audience. He insists that he's glad to see everybody in the audience, especially when nobody seems to be tuning in to his other show. He welcomes the only audience in the world that doesn't see him as a walking bag of irritating smarm. He loves these people, awww. As the crowd cheers, he remarks that they are sure kicking it up and he can feel their energy.

The camera pans on signs for Fantasia. No signs for Piggy Di Guano, because the show still hopes that Fantasia will win even if the writing's on the wall and Piggy is drawing in the highest number of votes every week.

Sleazebag reminds people of Latoya's boot last week. The audience booes and Sleazebag chides them, reminding them that it's the audience's votes that count so if they want Latoya to remain in the contest, they should have voted for her in the first place. America doesn't want Latoya to stay, so why are people booing? Sometimes, from Sleazebag's not-so-discreet mocking of the audience, I have this impression that Sleazebag hates this show, hates the audience, hates his life, and wants to run away to a place where he can blend in with the crowd and doesn't have to work so hard at being the center of attention. Or maybe he just wants to be taller. Oh well.

He introduces the judges. He points out to King "Fool In Love" Tut that black doesn't make him any thinner. King Tut raises his eyebrows at him playfully. Sleazebag tells King Tut that King Tut looks old. He's right. King Tut responds by telling Sleazebag that Sleazebag looks tired. He's right. They both go at it for a while, discussing the bags under Sleazebag's eyes and all, and Sleazebag looks jovial again. There's nothing like a little flirtation to cheer that hussy up. Maybe for their weekend fun they'll sign up for Botox treatment together under the couple discount program. Sleazebag then calls Miss "Chain Of Fools" Paula pretty and asks people to bask in the "working mojo" of Randy "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" Randy.

Today's special guest judge is Clive Davis, the Boss Of Everyone and the head honcho of RCA, who Sleazebag describes fawningly as the "most influential executive" and the "real King of Pop" who had discovered and handled the careers of the likes of Whitney Houston, Carlos Santana, and Bruce Springsteen. Out walks the Boss Of Everyone, looking like the deceptively mild-mannered middle-aged man in that gangster movie who will draw out an AK-47 and blast you to kingdom come when your back is turned to him. Which may be the case where Princess Jasmelisma is concerned, come to think of it. Sleazebag bids the Boss Of Everyone welcome and introduces the tribute montage that is designed to show people why they should be "scared" of him. Out comes a clip filled with mentions of Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Santana, Whitney, Kelly Cluckson, Kewpie, Ruben... Er, am I supposed to guess the odd ones out of that list, Sleazebag?

The Boss sits himself down between King Tut and Miss Paula. Sleazebag asks the Boss why he chooses to come here to play guest judge. The Boss talks about how he always wanted to make a name for himself in pop music after getting enough gospel, gold, and glory in the rock music business, and claims that he helped usher in the golden era of pop when he finally stepped in to save pop music from itself. The Boss is nothing short of a paragon of humility. The Boss thinks that American Idol will be a great way to restore pop to its former glory. People are skeptical that this show can create stars, he says, but the success of Ruben, Kelly, and Kewpie proves that the stars of American Idol can compete with other pop stars on MTV and such. The audience are warned not to bring up the Boss' dumping of Tamyra and Justin from RCA or Uncle Nigel will send his men over and beat the insolent fool to death with a glowstick. It's like the Godfather - everyone knows that the Boss dumps the losers and makes them fish food but nobody wants to admit that he or she knows.

The screen comes to life and the Three in the Red Room come on for their daily pre-show Words of Wisdom. Princess Jasmelisma insists that she's feeling great because she's in the Top Three and being in the Top Three is all about having fun. Don't ask. Oh, and she's going first. Fantasia explains the proceedings of tonight: each of the Three will first sing her personal selection of song, then the judge's choice, and finally, the Boss' choice. Sleazebag asks how the Three determine the order of how they perform. Piggy Di Guano says that they used the sophisticated paper, rock, and scissors method and laughingly accuses Fantasia of cheating.

The first round - the contestant's own choice - commences.

Jasmelisma struts on stage and performs Saving All My Love For You. Talk about bad song choices - she doesn't have the range to pull off one of Whitney's more melodramatic songs and it shows. Let's try to overlook the ick factor of a sixteen-year old girl singing about making love all night long to a married man, and instead focus on Jasmelisma's loud inhalations of breath and her shaky high notes that rattle the shingles of her tonsils. She hits her high notes loudly but not smoothly. Still, it's not too bad a performance compared to last week, if not too interesting or good either. The last power note is really flat though. She really should stop with the unimaginative vocal theatrics if she can't pull them off well.

Randy Randy asks her what the deal is, picking from his slim repertoire of pre-judging babble, and Jasmelisma calls to someone in the audience that she loves them too. Randy Randy tells her that she's proven to him that she can sing Whitney but he's not keen on her song selection. There were three or four sharp notes, he points out, and overall, it's a good but not great performance. He feels that Jasmelisma is not quite up to par yet. Miss Paula agrees, saying that when Jasmelisma chooses to sing a Whitney song, Jasmelisma should be prepared to sound as good as if not better than Whitney. The Boss insists that nobody can sing better than Whitney. Still, he finds Jasmelisma's performance "came through pretty well" as despite some "sharpness", Jasmelisma manages to capture the "tenderness at the end" of the song. After all, nothing is more tender than infidelity. King Tut compares the performance to dinner with Miss Paula - sweet, forgettable, and lacks the wow factor. The audience laughs. Miss Paula looks like she wants to reach out and whacks King Tut but the Boss is in her way. Randy Randy hoots.

Sleazebag explains how people can vote for Jasmelisma and calls for a commercial break while King Tut and the Boss whisper and shake hands, no doubt plotting on how to sabotage Princess Jasmelisma and raise Fantasia's pedestal even higher.

Next up is Fantasia with her selection, Chain Of Fools, which is incidentally her track on that Greatest Soul Hits compilation CD. She comes out and urges everybody to stand up and dance. Her version is really too slow for my liking but Fantasia is really rocking the house with this song. She channels the perfect defiant attitude into her sassy vocalizations and it's all sweet music to my ears. I especially enjoy the singalong style of the bridge after the second chorus that blend well with Fantasia's ad-libs.

Randy Randy begins his babble ("Yo, yo, check it out!") only to stop and look around in bemusement when the audience keeps cheering and drowning him out. Finally, he manages to say that he doesn't care anymore about numbers. Be she third, second, or first, Fantasia is already a winner in Randy Randy's book. Miss Paula compliments Fantasia for "being unique" and "tapping into the hearts of millions of people". Oops, the meds must be kicking in. The Boss says that Fantasia took on the "national treasure the Queen of Soul", gave it Fantasia's own "stamp" and "uniqueness", "nailed it", and "pulled it off". King Tut winks at Fantasia and grins. Ooh, someone's in love with his Jessica Rabbit! He says that Fantasia has demonstrated the difference between copying someone badly and being original. He thinks that Fantasia is original and hence superb.

Sleazebag comes to stand beside the teary-eyed Fantasia and tell people how to vote for her.

Piggy Di Guano chooses to sing Ain't No Mountain High Enough. "C'mon! Woo!" she goes at the start as she walks in with her latest laughable outfit. Who wears tight pants like those when one has Piggy's hips? It's no crime to be curvy, but it's definitely a crime to dress up like her in a way to display the sweet rolls in Piggy's hips. Her singing is competent but rather mechanical, coming off very strong only when she's shouting out the high notes in the finish.

Randy Randy thinks that the performance was just alright for him and feels that Piggy had tackled a song that is much bigger than her. Ah, but is the song bigger than Randy Randy? Sorry, I just have to ask. He asks Piggy to keep it real. I think he means that she must sing smaller songs from now on. Or something. The crowd booes but Piggy tells them that she is fine with the critique. Damn, she's trying to make me like her this week. Miss Paula thinks that Piggy did great and had fun during the performance. The Boss thinks that the performance is merely "good cabaret" with very little uniqueness. King Tut asks Piggy not to worry too much about the audience (hah!) and agrees with the Boss. He feels that Piggy shouted the song more than she sang it and hopes her next two performances will be better. Piggy nods and says, "All right".

Sleazebag joins her on stage and prattle about vote methods. They put their heads and talk together after Sleazebag announces a commercial break and Piggy waves her left hand animatedly. They must be bitching about Piggy's mother and the stage mom's very questionable taste in fashion. Having met King Tut's Dowager mom, Sleazebag can relate to the problems of having overbearing mothers from hell.

The judges' selection round now commences.

Miss Paula chooses Natalie Cole's Mr Melody for Princess Jasmelisma because it is an uptempo song (don't look at me, that's what she says) and Miss Paula knows that Jasmelisma loves Natalie Cole. Boy, Jasmelisma must now really regret nodding insincerely to everything Miss Paula said.

"Do you like Natalie Cole, Jasmelisma?"

"When I'm famous I'll buy myself a pink pony and force Justin Timberlake to marry me... er what, Paula? Yes, of course I do! I love Natalie Nicole. She's fun! My favorite female artist ever! Whee! Does this mean that I will get to sing Unforgettable or even better, Inseparable again?"

"No, even better! I'll make you sing one of her more obscure songs! The audience will lynch, er, love you, especially when you will have to learn in two days how to scat for the first time!"


"What's the matter, sweetie? Auntie Paula will take care of you. You can't win, you know. We can't allow it. Here, come give me a hug."


Still, Jasmelisma acquits herself decently here. There are pitch problems and breathy singing, but overall, it is a pretty good performance of an arguably undemanding song that doesn't have much variation in melody despite its title. The only problems are the awkward short scatting and the flat final high note. As I've said, she really needs to stop ending all her songs in a high note if she can't pull off the note well.

Randy Randy compliments Miss Paula for her song choice (read: mission accomplished, Paula) because he thinks that Jasmelisma sounded better then she did during the previous performance. Miss Paula loves Jasmelisma "letting herself go" (heh heh heh) and singing "uptempo songs". You know what's sad? Miss Paula is coming off as a parody of Vitamin C on Superstar USA instead of the other way around. Vitamin C deliberately drops double-edged insincere compliments with a catty gleam in her eyes. Miss Paula isn't even into the joke. The Boss thinks that the singing was alright but he feels that Jasmelisma couldn't pull off the jazzy elements of the song convincingly. Randy Randy cuts in to tell the Boss that at least the song is in tune. The Boss gives him a "Do you know who I am, bitch?" cutting look before ignoring him altogether. King Tut points out that every judge is saying the same thing - Jasmelisma's performance was good, it wasn't "boo", but it was also "so what?" at the same time. He says that Jasmelisma hasn't managed to connect with the audience tonight and she is lucky that she has one more chance to do so. Even if she succeeds by then, expect the judges to find another excuse to play judge, jury, and executioner. The memo has been passed around: Jasmelisma must be stopped tonight at all costs.

Sleazebag comes out to do the necessary prattle and Jasmelisma says in baby voice, "Bye!" as she leaves the stage for Fantasia.

King Tut chooses Tina Turner's Fool In Love for Fantasia because he feels that she's a throwback to a different era and this song will show off the best sides if her personality. And because he chooses this song, he's convinced that the result will be magic. Miss Paula exclaims "Oh my God!" and cackles in exasperated disbelief at King Tut's arrogance.

I'm not sure. This song is fun and Fantasia works the song very well, but it's basically a song where Fantasia spends nearly the whole performance ad libbing. It doesn't show off her singing. But if King Tut wants personality, Fantasia delivers it on a silver platter. She runs into the audience and sings to the judges, even shaking her booty at the Boss' face. I love how the Boss assumes the lap dance receipient position and licks his lips at the booty feast waving at his face. Keanu Reeves must be so jealous. When Fantasia's done - with the song, perverts! - she flips her head back and rolls up her eyes as she mouths silently what seems like a prayer of gratitude. Or maybe she's praying to be strong because the Boss is making kissy faces at her from the judges' table. Just kidding, lawyers!

Randy Randy compares Fantasia to the "spirit" of Mary J Blige and Aretha, whom he calls "mad bomb" and "da bomb". Miss Paula says that she will go one step further and says that Fantasia doesn't need this competition. Fantasia's "Oh forkie, I'm dead - thank you, dumb bitch!" expression at hearing this is priceless. Miss Paula gushes that Fantasia, a "triple threat", will be in movies as well as televisions and filling stadiums. It's official: she's lost it, that woman. The Boss says that he will sign Fantasia if he finds her performing in a basement in Kansas. Er, is that how he discovers Whitney? Why Kansas? Why a basement? What does he want Fantasia to perform in a basement? Eeuw, eeuw, eeuw! King Tut says that Fantasia needs a sympathy vote so he'll be "tactical". He tells her that the performance was the worst he's heard in his whole life. Everyone laughs.

Fantasia is crying openly as Sleazebag walks on to tell people how to vote for her. He calls for a commercial break before hugging and congratulating Fantasia.

Randy Randy picks Celine Dion's Because You Love Me for Piggy Di Guano because he believes that she has the pipes to pull off the song. Also, the song is written by his best friend Diane Warren, he wants everyone to know. Piggy Di Guano should be glad that Randy Randy isn't best buddies with Jim Steinman.

The performance is quite bizarre. The arrangement is too fast so Piggy seems always one beat behind the accompaniment. Her voice sounds quite nasal, as if she's singing with her nostrils clogged. As usual, she sounds much better when she starts shouting towards the end of the song, delivering glass-shattering high notes at all the predictable places. The camera pans to a strange woman in the audience doing what seems like sign languages in the middle of the performance. What is that all about?

Randy Randy nods and says that Piggy "had the challenge" but the performance was just alright for him. The audience boos. Miss Paula thinks that "everyone" knows that Piggy has the pipes. However, she wishes that Piggy has inserted some originality into her performance to make it her own. Let me guess: Miss Piggy doesn't squeal at the audience to get up, come on, and woo-woo and she's now being called on it. The Boss compliments Randy Randy on the song selection, saying that Piggy proved that she can not only "hit the high notes" but also to deliver "a tender ending" as well. "It was a good song for you - you captured the emotion," he tells her. King Tut gives the performance a seven out of ten. "I'll take that!" Piggy tells him. He shrugs and tells her, "That's a compliment." After all, he wants Fantasia to win. Piggy can belt out a note by note rendition of Nessun Dorma and he'll still give her a score of seven out of ten, with a bonus remark that opera isn't his thing thrown in for good measure.

Sleazebag does his thing (vote, commercial break) while Randy Randy moves to talk to the Boss. Miss Paula is lost in her private world, as usual.

Back from the break, Sleazebag's Hot Boy Radar malfunctions and drives him to point out Ryan Malcolm in the audience. Ryan won the first Canadian Idol thanks to him hailing from a province with the highest number of powerdiallers. He has ditched the glasses for a blue Mohawk. No doubt a second CD is forthcoming where he will sport a "harder" image and sing without irony the songs written by his handlers about how stronger and more independent and in control he has become this time around. Ryan tells Sleazebag that the new season of Canadian Idol will begin in two weeks.

The Boss' selection round now commences.

The Boss announces that Jasmelisma will be shot at dawn. No, he picks All By Myself for Jasmelisma, which is the same thing, come to think of it, because Jasmelisma's performance will come off wanting compared to Latoya's performance. The Boss is simultaneously prodding his middle finger into the eyes of fans of both Latoya and Jasmelisma for last week's result. And for Jasmelisma, this is a death sentence where the show is concerned.

Jasmelisma starts off low - a common trick to ensure that she is still within her vocal range when she has to start hitting the high notes in the chorus. She is still okay when she reaches the first few lines of the chorus. And then comes the hard part when she has to start overreaching and - oops. From there to the end, it's a downhill slide into the Land of Too Pitchy for poor Jasmelisma. I would agree that she has to go, but what the Boss did to her is just plain mean. He has pretty much forced her to embarrass herself in public while laughing at the audience and daring them to admit that they did the right thing by keeping Jasmelisma and tossing Latoya out last week. I don't know whether to admire that man's ruthlessness or wave a disapproving finger at his face.

Randy Randy knows that he must not instigate the Hawaiians into a voting frenzy, so he gently tells Jasmelisma that she needs to work on her lower register. He adds that her performance didn't connect with him. Miss Paula thinks that Jasmelisma did better than her rehearsal of this performance. Ouch, what kind of compliment is that? The Boss points out that the song is all about loneliness but Jasmelisma instead performs the song stridently. The audience and Jasmelisma obviously don't understand him so she nods blankly while the audience don't boo like they usually would. Then again, would anyone dare to boo at the Boss Of Everyone? King Tut says that Jasmelisma is lucky because while she is young and sweet, she is here today only because of the "unbelievable support" by Hawaii. And this has to end tonight, he insists. Jasmelisma just nods and says quietly, "Okay." There are no tears from her today because even she should realize that they are all gunning down on her tonight.

Sleazebag blah-blah-blahs and the commercials rah-rah-rahs.

The Boss decides that Fantasia will perform The Greatest Love Of All, which he reminds everyone is the first song he's ever saw Whitney perform. He thinks that someone like Fantasia deserves to sing that song. If this is how he and RCA are going to market Fantasia, as some Whitney wannabe, Piggy Di Guano winning this contest won't be such a bad thing after all.

After all, Fantasia isn't the belting diva type of performer. She tries to scale down the song to fit her range but this song is really not for her. The song is a dreadful sentimental tripe in the first place and furthermore, it doesn't bring out the best from Fantasia. It just highlights why Fantasia need to lose this contest. Just because she's an African American woman who can sing, nincompoops like the Boss immediately stereotype her as a Whitney type. This song will work well for Latoya and J Hu, but it results in Fantasia's weakest performance to date. The best I can say is that Fantasia manages to modify the song to suit her range without twisting the song into something unrecognizable. If I recall correctly, Whitney Houston was a gospel singer who, under the influence of the Boss, ditched many of her gospel influences in her singing to appeal to mainstream America. I shudder to imagine what these people will do to Fantasia.

But because Fantasia can do no wrong - that or nobody wants to offend the Boss Of Everyone - the judges can't commence the tongue bath soon enough. Randy Randy gushes about the "great song" and the "great performance" and reiterates his love for Fantasia. "Props! Props! Props! Great! Great! Great!" he cries. Miss Paula says that Fantasia has had an "amazing night" and Miss Paula is "honored" to be in Fantasia's presence. The Boss has one word for her: "Wow!" King Tut asks her what the word on the stage behind her says. Fantasia goes "Awww!" and reads out "American Idol". King Tut nods. Somewhere, Gigolo Al stops in the midst of his humping a pole in a gay strip club to shout at the TV, "But you can't rearrange the letters to spell Fantasia! That's not fair!"

I like Fantasia but all this over-the-top tongue-bathing is making me quite ill.

Sleazebag makes some throwaway observations on Fantasia's tears and tells people how to vote for her. He kisses her cheeks and they both whisper something conspirationally as the show goes into another commercial break. Maybe Sleazebag is trying to get Fantasia to sing the new theme song for his talkshow. Heaven knows, On Air With Sleazebag needs all the help it can get. And a new host too, but I don't think Sleazebag will agree with me there.

The Boss chooses that Carole Bayer Sager song Don't Cry Out Loud popularized by Melissa Manchester. And from the way Piggy Di Guano nails the song, it can't be a better choice for her - a cheesy song for a cheesy fluff popsicle princess. With its We Are The World-like melody, the Solid Gold inflections, and plenty of opportunites for Piggy to shout the roof down, this song is a dream come true. And Piggy lives and breathes the song, holding out her hand like a triumphant Miss Chilli Pork Ribs Atlanta '04, her face beatific and serene, and she is just beautiful. Poised like a beauty pageant winner, she beseeches the world to listen to her Message of Love and Peace. All that is missing is Kelly Cluckson walking out to place the crown on Piggy's head while white doves take to the air behind her. Meet your new Miss Chilli Pork Ribs, the good people of Snellville - Piggy Di Guano!

Randy Randy insists that Piggy brought "it" back in her performance and says that the song is perfect for her. I think so too. I have tears in my eyes and wait for Piggy Di Guano to launch into a speech about her loving children and animals and wanting world peace for everybody. Miss Paula agrees about the perfect song choice. "Flawless," she purrs. Finally, the first sign in the audience for Piggy Di Guano to be directly captured by the camera, where the signbearer insists Piggy has the connection. Yes, with the nearest Wendy's. The Boss says that Piggy has proven why she is still in the competition, adding that she "nailed" the song. King Tut scowls and tells Piggy to write a letter to the Boss and thank him for booking her a spot into the Final Two. King Tut doesn't like it when someone upstages his Jessica Rabbit.

Sleazebag walks up to her and asks rhetorically whether we all see how important song choices are. Yes, so Uncle Nigel can swallow his foot because I've still not forgiven him over the Holding Out For A Hero fiasco.

After telling people to vote for their favorites, Sleazebag recaps the performances. Jasmelisma is decent tonight but she is so clearly lacking compared to the other two ladies. Sleazebag then announces that the phone lines are open so everyone should get voting ASAP. He says that he's out and then everyone dance on stage as the credits roll. Meanwhile, King Tut and the Boss put their heads together and conduct a hush-hush discussion on what to do should Hawaii foil their plans one more time. I guess they can always make up some Frenchie-style scandal and "leak" the news to the Smoking Gun before the finale. Or better still, create a mock birth certificate to tell people that Jasmelisma is actually Canadian instead of Hawaiian.

Results show. The Sexy Manly Voiceover Guy is back on duty. He points out the obvious - the contestants are down to three - and two will move on to compete in the Kodak Theatre Mothership next week. Who will be leaving tonight? Let's find out!

Credits. Maybe I am seeing things, but I could swear that the naked blue male golem is anatomically correct.

Ryan "Video Killed The Radio Star" Sleazebag steps on stage. Today's Respectable Now colors are white, dark reddish-brown stripes, and black. The camera pans on many signs in the audience, all of them pro-Fantasia. Hmmm, I wonder what the subliminal message in that scene is.

Sleazebag welcomes everyone to a show which he claims is the talking point of the entire American nation, and that's not because he spotted a Mohawk last night, haw haw. Man, that joke is not only unfunny and quite stupid but also vaguely offensive at some many levels that I'm not quite surprised that the ratings of his talkshow is suffering. No, he says that people are talking because they are all interested to discover who is leaving tonight. He asks the audience who they want to see leave tonight. A chorus calling for Jasmelisma's boot is drowned out by a guy shouting out Fantasia's name. Man, the audience must be fed an extra bowl of dumb tonight before they are admitted into the Event Horizon.

Sleazebag also announces that the "international sex god" Gargoyle Sebastian will be performing tonight along with Tamyra. They invite an Australian Idol onto the show but give the Canadian Idol a cut. Those poor Canadians, they never get enough love from everybody. Sleazebag proceeds to introduce the judges and the camera shows two idiots in the audience giving the thumbs down sign. Are all these people tonight trucked in from a WWE match?

After some pointless chatter with the Three (yes, everyone feels fine - surprise, surprise), Sleazebag recaps last night's performances. He then asks Jasmelisma whether she feels that she has done enough to stay in the competition. What kind of stupid question is that? Jasmelisma reaches into her mental dictionary of Girly Cute Phrases and gushes that she's done her best, she's had fun, so yes, she has done enough. Fantasia says that she has been working hard every week to put on something different in her performances, so she believes that she has done enough too. Piggy Di Guano is given a loud applause even before she opens her mouth to speak. See? The judges can pimp Fantasia all they want, but Piggy is winning the competition - she has the popular vote and there is nothing the judges can do about it. Anyway, Piggy says that she has given "400%" into her performances (of, what, eating jellybeans?) and she hopes that America agrees with her.

Sleazebag next introduces someone who is now wowing everybody as an actress as well as performer. Who can that be? Vanessa Williams, perhaps? Oh, it's Tamyra. Bah, a few recurring roles here and there and she's now an "actress". She will perform a new song, Star, which is used for audition montages because they are too cheap to get any other song that they will have to pay to use. I guess this is how the American Idol people work - once you enter the contest but your career isn't going anywhere fast, they'll just use you as an underpaid source for jingles and guest performances. As she sings a forgettable midtempo song about believing in oneself to be a star - a song that she probably hums to herself at night right before she curses RCA for sitting on her contract for so long and then dropping her like hot coals before she can get anything done, but like, whatever, she is a STAR baby, A FREAKING SUPERSTAR, woo-hoo, because she BELIEVES, yeah baby! - the show throws some stupid auditions and finals montage at my face. All I can say is there is too much naked skin exposed from Rank Sinatra and Fatt Gross Bowel. Just go away already, please.

Sleazebag blah-blah-blahs. Commercials.

Back to the show, Sleazebag points out that there are Idols in thirty countries and tonight we will all be treated with a performance by the Australian Idol winner, Gargoyle Sebastian. The tribute montage shows that there is a good reason people make fun of Australians because there are many weirdos that want to copy Gargoyle's "trademark afro". He performs Crazy In Love in a flaming fur coat. He and a guy named Shannon hug when he's announced the Australian Idol. He sold many copies of his debut CD. Oh, and like Kewpie, he's the rightwing-friendly type who insists that he's a virgin and he will never sing songs about sex, drugs, and parties - Crazy In Love is about loving God and Beeyatche rubbing her ass against a God-fearing guy's crotch, after all - not that it's revealed anywhere in the montage. This is why he will be singing Angels Will Puke All Over Me, sorry, Angels Brought Me Here.

Gargoyle and Sleazebag indulge in some half-hearted banter where Gargoyle talks about how his life has changed for the crazier. Sleazebag asks Gargoyle whether the Gargoyle has any advice to give the Three. I give credit to the Three for not laughing in derision. Gargoyle tells them to "take it all in" (yeah, baby) and "live the moment" (woo-hoo) because every moment is special (like the first time, ooh). Sleazebag touches Gargoyle's hair and says that Gargoyle has inspired Sleazebag's new look for the next year. The better for angry folks to grab him by the hair and swing him around the room, I'm sure. Finally, Gargoyle sings.

What can I say about the performance? The song is a standard overwrought ballad in the vein of A Moment Like This where the strength comes from the overpowering potency of the saccharine goo dripping from every syllable uttered by the Gargoyle. He stands there and sings and he sounds quite nasal. Also, the song is so tedious and so long that I begin to fear that it will be another two-hour Tamyra's Over The Rainbow remix of the original song. Yes, people, it's true - the same brand of mediocrity taints the Idol winners regardless of which country they come from. Only Will Young has succeeded in ditching the suck in his second CD. I wonder how many others can follow suit.

Speaking strictly from the shallow side of the pool, why are nearly all the high-ranking male Idol contestants so ugly? Thank goodness South Africa, the Netherlands, and Germany show some taste in their selection of high-ranking male teenybopper contestants. UK, Australia, America, and especially Norway - shame on you!

Sleazebag compliments Gargoyls on his "nice work" and Gargoyle shouts out to Australia, saying that he misses them all. He probably should - I don't think his recent attempt to break into the American markets will be going anywhere at all. Stick to Australia, Gargoyle.

Now it's time for the highlights from Princess Jasmelisma's recent homecoming trip to Hawaii. Woo! She can't believe how much support she receives from Hawaii. Okay, she amends that she knows how much support she has (bitch) but she finally realizes how overwhelming it is when she's confronted with her fairweather fans. Wee! Hee-hee! It's Jasmelisma Day on May 13. I never understand why they announce stupid "Celebrity Days". What happens when the celebrity is no longer famous, do they just pretend that the Celebrity Day never exists? There are signings, radio shows, TV shows (where the host calls Jasmelisma's fans "groupies"), torch lighting ceremony at Jasmelisma's future workplace Sheraton Hawaii, more fans, more screaming, and more giggling. "It's the most incredible, amazing, whatever, experience of my life!" she faux-groans at the end to day, saying that alas, she has to go back to LA for this show.

Sleazebag recaps the critiques of Jasmelisma's performances and calls for a commercial break.

Sleazebag is now seated with Tamyra. She drops a bombshell: she has co-written the original song I Believe that the Two will perform next week, which the winner will release as a single. She says that the song comes from her heart, for she has lived the Idol experience and so, now She Believes. How... deep. I guess that rules out a chance of Fantasia winning: there's no doubt that this single will be a vacuous overly-sentimental ballad filled with loud, gratuitous high notes more appropriate for Piggy Di Guano. Sleazebag and Tamyra let it be known that her new CD drops on Tuesday. Tamyra proceeds to give everyone a preview of what I Believe sounds like by performing Raindrops Will Fall one more on time on the show. Isn't there any other song from her CD to sing, for heaven's sake? All I can say is I'm not buying her CD. I don't think I can survive listening to the words of her songs without laughing to death.

Once Tamyra and her Meaningful Epistle of Beautiful Colors and Words of Love and Faith are gone, it's time for Fantasia's homecoming visit clip. Welcome to the furniture capital of the world! Radio and TV shows! She bobos with the old codgers at the TV station! She tells the kids at her old elementary school to stay in school and finish their homework! The factory where her grandfather used to work gives her a sedan sofa as a present! The mayor gives her the key to the city! Performances! Adulation! And then, potluck dinner with her fellow church members. She concludes the clip by saying that she will make High Point proud of her.

Sleazebag asks Fantasia whether she got to eat chitt'lins back home (for those who missed the pointless Final Three special episode, she and Sleazebag discuss her favorite hobby - eating - and favorite food - chitt'lin - in that episode) but she did have pig's feet. Sleazebag laughs and tells her that he's glad that she's still with them. So am I. Ugh, pig's feet. I've eaten and enjoyed chicken feet and frog feet but I draw the line at pig's feet.

Sleazebag recaps the critiques of Fantasia's performances and Piggy Di Guano has a sour expression on her face. I don't blame her for feeling bitter. As far as the judges are concerned, the winner has already been crowned. And then it's time for the commercials.

Now it's time for Piggy Di Guano's homecoming trip clip. TV show! She makes adults giddy and speak in baby voices too! Ugh! Piggy becomes the weather girl for the local news show! Piggy goes home! See Piggy's dog! See Piggy's leopard-print bedroom! Madam Mayor loves Piggy! CD signing! High school fanfare! Actually, despite her baby voice which is grating on my nerves, Piggy is actually quite likeable in here. She's too perky, too preppy, and will no doubt be very annoying unless taken in small doses, but she's quite charming in this clip.

Sleazebag recaps the critiques of Piggy's performances and then calls for a commercial break. Before the break, there's a Ford clip where the Three sings Somebody's Watching Me even as they valiantly try to escape the media that crash into their bathroom, bedroom, jogging time, and driving time. Isn't it a bit premature to be moaning about the price of fame, ladies?

Back from the break, the Three stand with Sleazebag at the Seats of Shame. Sleazebag invites the judges to speak their mind. Randy Randy hopes that the correct two people will advance to the finale. Miss Paula advises the Three to live their dreams, have fun, and... shut up, King Tut! Randy Randy says it is "so rude" of King Tut to interrupt Miss Paula. Pot, kettle, you're all black, Randy Randy. King Tut tells Randy Randy to "go to hell". Randy Randy booes him in response. Sleazebag interrupts to make some crack at King Tut's shirt before asking King Tut whether he can be sincere for once and say something to the Three. King Tut congratulates the Three for putting on one of the best shows he has ever seen last night. When everyone gapes at him, he insists that he is not joking. Okay then, everybody cheers. Idiots.

Finally, finally, finally, Sleazebag reveals who will be leaving tonight. Princess Jasmelisma of Hawaii will be no longer competing on this show. "Yes!" some people actually scream in the audience, tsk tsk. All the ladies embrace and Jasmelisma blows kisses to the audience. Sleazebag tells her that she has to deal with so much pressure and she always does everything with "passion". Eeuw. He insists that "we" are all proud of her. He asks her for a favor. Can she flip a coin to determine the order the remaining two will perform next week? Of course she says yes. What else can she say?

Fantasia gets to decide since she guesses correctly (heads). She wants to go second. Piggy squeals "Noooooo!" and playfully shakes Fantasia. The ladies group-hug one more time where Piggy and Fantasia tell Jasmelisma that they love her so much. Er, girls, dial that down, please, the mawkishness is becoming embarrassing to watch. Jasmelisma exclaims, "You said you're not going to cry!" as she catches Fantasia crying. Sleazebag interrupts the sorority lovefest to introduce Jasmelisma's eulogy video, in which she apparently shakes her ass all the way into the Top 32. She learns a lot about singing, friendship, stage presence, expressing emotions, and passion, she says in her clip, and even if she doesn't make it all the way to the end, she feels that this point in her life is where she has always wanted to be. Awww.

Sleazebag again insists that "we" will never forget Jasmelisma's smile. Speak for yourself, crudface. Jasmelisma thanks her fans and family and says that she can't ask for more now that she's the opportunity to share her talents with everybody. Yeah, yeah, I'm glad for her, can she just sing now and then go away? Jasmelisma closes the show with Inseparable while Fantasia cries and Piggy blows air kisses to Jasmelisma. They're friends to the end, after all, Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel and all that. And then the credits stop rolling and it's the end. Oh, and Sleazebag's out.