Season 4: You Don't Know My Name

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Ryan Sleazebag prattles solo on the blue teleport chute of Event Horizon, yammering about votes and choices. I step up, push him off, and grab his microphone before yelling, "Bo Bice, will you get the hell over here and marry me?" Ahem, credits. I'm sorry, I am nearly moved to tears at the end of this episode because... God, Bo! The Allman Brothers on American Idol! I don't know whether to gasp at the blasphemy of the concept or to laugh so hard because... God, Bo! Marry me. My hands are still trembling while I am typing this because I am still in a state of shock. The Allman Brothers on American Idol. God. Bo. Something has happened tonight and this is the same something I feel when I first saw Trenyce or Fantasia perform. My love for this show has finally taken seed for this season. All I can hope for now is that Bo stays around for a long, long time. Okay, fangirl purge done, let me put on my Lloyd and the Commanders CD to calm me down before I keep going. (Bo, can you perform Rattlesnake for me?)

Back to show, Ryan "The Whippin' Post" Sleazebag emerges wearing a body-hugging tight black T-shirt with some letters on it. I can make out two "S" and one "E". I don't think the letters stand for "ASSHOLE" though. He talks about the dramatic elimination episode of the previous week but offers his special brand of consolation by saying that there are still ten guys and ten gals left on the show. The Ten Ladies are in the audience. If the guys are Randy Randy's "dawg pound", I shudder to imagine what he calls the ladies. Sleazebag insists that I should trust him when he says that the guys are nervous. Why are they nervous? One of them is going to win. Sleazebag introduces the three people who aren't making their tension any easier to bear (or so he says). Randy "Hard To Handle" Randy! Charmaine Miss "I Love Music" Paula! King "What's Going On?" Tut!

When asked by Sleazebag, Randy Randy says that he doesn't expect to see any nerves showing from the Ten Guys because they will be booted out if they do. Ouch, talk about tough love. Sleazebag says that last week is all about song selection from Miss Paula so he asks her what it will be for her this week. Since she's on a different prescription this week, of course she will think of something else to beat to death. Miss Paula pretends to be lucid and says that she'll talk non-stop about showmanship. She misses the part when she calls everyone beautiful and hopes that they will give her a pity shag after the show. Sleazebag turns to King Tut and says, "Cowell". King Tut says that he'd rather be called by his name "Simon". Sleazebag shrugs it off, whatever, and says that the more King Tut corrects him, the more screentime Sleazebag gets. I guess that explains their Paris Hilton tribute tape up for auction at eBay. Both men find this exchange so funny that they grin at each other and then grins become full-blown laughter that has everyone joining in even if everyone has no idea what is going on between those two. Ah, the Sleazebag-Tut love is still as strong as ever on this show. Yup, the show is back on track. Sleazebag asks King Tut whether King Tut has already picked a winner on the show. King Tut says yes. Sleazebag and he both decide that King Tut shouldn't elaborate on that. That's wise of them. There are already too many conspiracy theories out there without King Tut proving at least one of them true.

The first to perform is Mario "Pipsqueak" Vazquez. In his introductory clip, he wants people to know that he is not bald under those fugly hats he keeps wearing. No, he just wants to hide that "I Love Michael Jackson" tattoo that he is embarrassed to admit that he has. He hopes that his talents will show better than his bald spot. His song is the O'Jays' I Love Music. Now this is the Mario I remember liking during the audition episodes. He dances without letting his moves overpower his vocals and his voice glides effortlessly over notes high and low to produce a song that is like smooth thick caramel on the ears. I'm not sure about his eye-screwing the camera because he seems to have mastered it after watching repeatedly Justin Guarini's performances in the first season. His voice isn't too good compared to some other contestants' but tonight he commands attention like a professional boyband lead singer.

Randy Randy loves Mario's shoes and the performance and hopes that Mario will be able to do something soon that will show off his voice. I have fifty bucks saying that Mario will sing a ballad to do just that and Randy Randy will then slam Mario for not "keeping it real". Here is where Mario becomes annoying: he talks back to the judges in an overdone bootlicky manner. Miss Paula says something that translates succintly to "completely throwaway". King Tut says that he finds some small problems in the singing but he thinks that Mario is an entertainer that is good enough to overcome these problems. He thinks that Mario is already performing like he has been doing this all the time (er, King Tut, guess what - he has been doing this all the time) and he doesn't have any advice that he thinks Mario needs. Mario tells King Tut that he does want advice because he thinks that King Tut knows what he is talking about. See what I mean about Mario loving the taste of boot polish a little too much on his tongue?

Sleazebag has Mario show everyone how to pronounce his last name so that little girls everywhere can now call themselves "Mrs Vazquez" without getting their tongues all knotted up. Next week, Mario will teach these girls how to spell his last name.

Sleazebag moves to the Red Room where he talks to Joe Murena about how hard Joe grabbed his thigh and wouldn't let go in the previous week. Joe says that he didn't really want to go because he just wanted to keep singing. King Tut raises a skeptical eyebrow as he loads his silencer.

Next is Anwar. In his introductory clip, he talks about how kids call him Mr Robinson and thinks he looks like Ronald McDonald's token minority sidekick. Nah, just kidding. Once more he hopes to inspire the kiddies. Everyone wants to inspire the kiddies nowadays. He performs Marvin Gaye's What's Going' On tonight. He's a little off at first when it comes to pitching but he becomes more strident and compelling as he starts hitting for the glory notes. I like this great, soulful performance from Anwar and I love the way he twirls his body with his arms stretched out like that while he goes, "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"

Randy Randy uses up all his limited vocabulary to compliment a good performance. Miss Paula says that she can only "ditto" Randy Randy. I like these new barely-speaking judges. Whatever it is they fed Randy Randy and Miss Paula earlier, they should make it compulsory in every meal of these two judges from now on. King Tut says that in the previous week, he rewatched Anwar's performance on TV and found it wanting. He doesn't expect to have the same reaction when he rewatches Anwar on TV after the show because he finds Anwar's performance on stage "absolutely fantastic". It seems like all the excess verbosity of Randy Randy and Miss Paula have been transferred to King Tut today. Oh dear.

Sleazebag tells Anwar that Anwar did a great job and Anwar should "keep working the stage".

Joe Murena, also known as Dead Man Walking, is up next. In his introductory clip, he compares singing before a mirror to singing before an audience. He looks like the love child of DB Sweeney and Sean Patrick Flannery. While Al Green initially performed Let's Stay Together, Joe pays tribute to Trenyce by doing her version of that song. Maybe I should call him Man-nyce? I actually like this performance although I do wish that his voice is a little stronger. His voice is not cut out for glory notes and all those "Le-e-ee-eet's stay to-ge-eee-th-eee-eeer!" really force him to work his voice to the point of cracking. What I love most of his performance is his totally cabaret/lounge-lizard way of saying at the end of the performance, "Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen! You guys are great!" In a way, Joe is telling everyone goodbye because he knows as well as everyone else that this week will most likely be the end of the road for him, barring some miracle where an UFO comes and kidnaps thousands and thousands of Stupid Little Girls to a place where there are no telephones to vote for Conty Bint and Mario.

Randy Randy likes the performance but finds that it lacks that extra oomph factor. Miss Paula says that Joe did better this week. King Tut says that he agrees with Randy Randy and adds that this is year 2005 but Joe could have been at home performing in a Portuguese night club in 1975. Specifically, that night club in 1975 when King Tut met Boy George for the first time and fainted dead on the spot, how embarrassing. King Tut thinks that Joe has "no relevance" to the show and predicts that this is the last we'll see of him.

Some one - Mikalah or Aloha, perhaps - shrieks that Joe did good and everyone claps defiantly for Joe. After all that ribbing she gets on some message boards about not clapping for anyone, Cattle Underwood hilariously claps extra obviously, lifting her hands up so that the camera can see her clapping away. Oh, Cattle, you're as obvious as your fake simple farm-girl schtick.

Sleazebag says that people vote and the show gets all the blame before asking people to check out the official website Of course people have all the right to blame the show. They created the outlet for the stupidity of the electorate to take place, didn't they? He adds that "so far", the guys have come on strong (this show is now the Viagra of the teenyboppers - be very afraid, people) and "so far" King Tut is banned from all the Portuguese night clubs in LA. Wait a minute, is this some sort of ambiguously gay joke thing again? Man, those Portuguese are so wild. They know how to have fun.

It is David Brown's turn now. He holds up this necklace with a microphone-shaped pendant in his introductory clip and says that it reminds him of his roots or something. I wonder whether he sucks on that microphone pendant often. His All Is Fair In Love will really make Stevie Wonder wish that he is deaf instead of blind. David is out of tune and fails to hit the glory notes that he is hoping will impress people. Also, he keeps making these painful grimaces when he sings, making him look like a cross between J Hu and the Predator monster.

The judges all agree that he hasn't lived up to the potential he showed in his initial audition. King Tut and Randy Randy remind him that he is in a competition and he needs to "pull yourself". Yes, "pull yourself", not "pull yourself up". Some men assure me that those two aren't mutually exclusive because one can very well lead to another. I'll just take their word for it.

Sleazebag says something to David after the critique, but he is speaking out of the range of the microphone so all I can catch is he telling David that David learns something new on the show every day. What, like Portuguese nightclubs being the den of Ambiguously Gay festivities?

Conty Bint hogs the camera. In his introductory clip, he and his four chins simultaneously insist that he is a wild guy who likes to live dangerously (read: appeared on Elimidate). He will prove tonight that he is dangerous! (Read: ladies, don't ever take your eyes off your drink.) And when he sings, I... I don't know what to say. He announces that he's going to "rock this thing" and then emits a painfully off-key howl that has me suspecting that "this thing" is my brain experiencing huge tremors that shatters the Richter scale. Is there a tune in his version of Otis Redding's Hard To Handle? All I can hear is him trying to sound "dangerous" by howling and screeching like an incontinent pig that ran out of diapers. He keeps staring at the camera in what he hopes to be a seductive come-on move but all I can see are his four chins quivering from the effort of producing yet another insane shriek. There is more to being a "rocker" than looking like he hasn't bathed in ten months or screaming that he is a dangerous bint, especially when he's screaming like a little girl. Conty Bint is a fake poseur who looks like he's self-abusing himself so much that a fifth chin is threatening to protrude from behind the fourth.

The judges think that he's better this week while King Tut says that he can find idiots like Conty Bint performing in any bar in America.

Sleazebag, standing next to Conty Bint, says that he is short. If he stands next to me, he is shot.

Travis Tucker and Sleazebag sit on a red couch in the Red Room while Joe looks on approvingly. Those two discuss about Travis' upcoming performance, which Travis says will be upbeat and hot. Oh goody, does that mean that he is going to strip on stage because there is no way his singing can be considered "hot", much less "upbeat"?

Someone's grand idea of making Scott "Ape Boy" Savoy appealing to the masses is by dressing him up in glasses, chubby pink shirt, dork tie, and puff up his cheeks with pink blush. So now "Ape Boy" has transformed into "Quasimodo's Pink Little Brother". He talks in his introductory clip about how he doesn't think that he will make it because he doesn't look like an Idol. Well, he should be happy then because if he does make it, it's because people think he's mentally unsound and people love to vote for Special Mentally Unsound Children, like those vegetable little girls that come somehow paint with their toes that people love to say they adore even if they have no intention of actually helping any of these people. Ape Boy Savoy launches into Luther Vandross' Never Too Much. The performance is dreadfully boring. It's competent but that's all it is: another competent ballad that doesn't rise above being safe and predictable.

Randy Randy thinks that Ape Boy Savoy could do better and he has never lived up to the potential he showed in his initial audition. Miss Paula and King Tut however think that Ape Boy did well.

Travis laughs in his introductory clip and says that he is doing American Idol only for himself, ha ha, sorry about that if people don't like that answer. I think I can fall in love with him, if he doesn't sing, that is. All Night Long by Lionel Ritchie is his idea of an upbeat song. First he launches into some cool moves that has me wondering whether I've stumbled upon a Chippendales audition session. Well, I won't pay to hear Travis sing but I won't mind paying to see him do that jiggy with that booty. And then, he sings. Sigh. His voice isn't up to par at all. He's entertaining to watch but not as entertaining as Mario because dance moves don't come naturally to Travis on stage. Maybe he's just self-conscious. The thing is, he should have ditched that yellow shirt since he's already leaving it unbuttoned and just dance on stage wearing that tight singlet. Those jeans are disappointingly baggy. Here's a tip, Travis. Next time, capitalize on your assets on stage. No, your voice is not among these assets.

The judges love his performance, although King Tut thinks that Travis made up for his vocal inadequacies by being a "natural performer". Yes, Travis is a natural. Get naked on film or in print soon, Travis! Signed, a fan of your true natural talents.

Sleazebag is in the Red Room talking to Trachea Boi about Trachea Boi being compared to Kewpie. Trachea Boi demurely says that he is honored to be compared to Kewpie. Since he deliberately "nerds" himself up to look like Kewpie and sings nothing but ballads in hopes of snagging votes from soccer moms and Baptist virgin schoolgirls everywhere, by golly, I'm sure he is indeed flattered to be compared to Kewpie. That means his scam is working. What a cool guy. I like him better than Kewpie for his sneakiness alone.

Nikachu Smith comes on next and says in his introductory clip that he wants to make people all over the world feel good about music. Thanks, Nikachu. Humanity needs a prophet to start a global musical renaissance. We can all start by illegally downloading everything he puts out on CD. The trouble with Nikachu is that he is a competent singer and his rendition of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On is polished, soulful, and nice on the ears. But he doesn't have stage charisma. He's like Latoya in the sense that I like him when he's singing and I can't remember what he sang after he's stopped. Anwar Robinson is going to make Nikachu irrelevant to the show if Nikachu isn't careful because Anwar has not only just as good a voice but also a better stage presence.

Randy Randy thinks that Nikachu is an example to everyone because Nikachu sings his heart out no matter what song it is. Miss Paula says that she is a little... "You know," she trails off. I don't know. Horny? Experiencing withdrawal symptoms? Insane? King Tut just gives her that look that causes her to ask him to just start talking and stop looking at her. King Tut apologizes for Miss Paula to Nikachu, saying that this show is supposed to be a family show. Except, you know, when they are talking about Portuguese night clubs and King Tut's wild weekend parties when his girlfriend is away and all those Portuguese come over to play. King Tut thinks that Nikachu's performance is "a 100% improvement" over that in the previous week but thinks that Nikachu looks like Bobby Brown.

Sleazebag, when he stands beside Nikachu, says that King Tut looks like Whitney Houston. I hope not, for King Tut's sake, because Randy Randy will start sexually harrassing King Tut if he does look like Whitney Houston. Sleazebag also asks what King Tut, sorry, "Simon" and Miss Paula are doing. He nearly succeeds in masking the jealousy in his voice.

Trachea Boi is caught in his introductory clip in a high moment, I suspect, because he is blabbering about seeing good luck messages in his fortune cookies, lockers, and, I suspect, the thing he left behind in the toilet bowl. Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is is his latest weapon to win the hearts of the little sisters of Kewpinities everywhere. The first few lines are atrocious because he is singing in the wrong key but he soon recovers and builds up the song to the predictable glory-note fest that every ballad in this show inadvertently turns into. That's the problem with this performance - it is so predictable to the point that it becomes cripplingly dull on my senses. Also, they put this stupid sunset background on Trachea Boi that they used previously on Kewpie when he performed I Could Not Ask For More on Diane Warren Week back in the second season. That will make the Kewpinites hate him more, I'd bet. By the way, what's with those hideous jeans with little rips all over them?

Randy Randy says that he was worried after the poor start in the performance but he thinks that Trachea Boi "brought it home" at the end. Translation: he hits some high notes just the way Randy Randy likes it. Miss Paula has nothing to say. Fortunately. King Tut isn't too keen on the jeans but thinks Trachea Boi did a "fantastic job". He also likes the "sea at sunset" background that the producers set up for Trachea Boi's performance. Sleazebag is puzzled by this.

Hello, Bo Bice. Because he's cool, I'm going to use his real name instead of spoiling his greatness by suggesting in any way that he and Conty Bint have the same foul DNA. In his clip, he laughs over how his band fired him when he wanted to come on to this show because they couldn't have a lead vocalist spending so much time away from the road. Aw, Bo, don't worry about being unemployed - I'm certain that just by being on this show and being the first beautiful anomaly on it, the opportunities will come after this show is over.

His performance of the Allman Brothers' The Whippin' Post is a defining moment of this show. It is the kind of magic that can happen if you allow a genuine dude with the heart of a rockstar onto this show and teach the posers a thing or two about being authentic. Because unlike that pussycat Conty Bint who only wishes that he can be nearwhere as good as Bo, Bo is the real deal. His performance is sublime. It will either drive the little girls screaming to bed or bring on pleasurable pangs of nostalgia to the older audience of this show. Effortless, he rips up the stage, rocking it up by delivering a blistering performance that has me jumping and squealing in delight like a little girl. He ends the performance by pretending to break the mike stand. Effortless, Bo proves that he is the real deal and he can easily kick the butt of some other poser on this show.

Randy Randy and Miss Paula gush about how "authentic" and "real" Bo. I hope Conty Bint will look back at his condescending interview at the Boot Camp episodes where he said that he was worried about poor Bo and cringe in embarrassment. Then again, he's probably right now poking pins into a voodoo doll shaped like Bo. King Tut says that Bo's performance surprised him in the way the performances of Latoya and Fantasia surprised him previously and King Tut is blown away for the first time in this season. Take a bow, Bo Bice. This night, you freaking rule.

Sleazebag reminds people to tune in tomorrow for the ladies. He poses with the Ten Guys and then mumbles quickly that he is out and everyone should now vote. Hmm, sounds like a GLAAD slogan, that one.

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