Season 4: Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

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Ryan Sleazebag stands at his usual spot at the teleport chute of Event Horizon, blabs the usual nonsense about men and votes, and ushers in the credits. Sigh. Is it just me or am I not feeling this season at all? Some of the contestants are good, some are not good, but nobody really stands out and grabs my attention. I like Bo and Anwar, but it's not the same like me liking Fantasia or Trenyce. Maybe it's me getting burned out by the nonsense the show keeps putting out every season. Add to this season's agenda is what seems like instant and unconvincing damage control and it's like being immersed in a neverending election in Florida.

Ryan "Every Little Thing I Do Is Magic" Sleazebag steps out wearing a yellowish-tan shirt that he saw on his niece's Ken doll and decided that he just had to wear it too. He asks people whether they are ready for the first of three fixes of this show. Did someone say "fix"? He reminds people that they have lost four contestants in the previous week and when nobody elicits any reaction, says that it is okay if people want to say, "Awww!" Awww, Sleazebag. That's utterly sad. He wonders whether the winner will be a male or a female. I think he's mocking the show by throwing their nonsense at their faces in barely veiled disdain. He as well as you and me know that a male would win. Anyway, the ladies are in the audience while the guys are in the Red Room. Breathe, Conty Bint, because sticking in your tummy only makes your four chins stand out more prominently.

Sleazebag says that "no doubt", the guys are "a strong group". People, who do you think will win, a male or a female? He wonders whether the guys can hold up to the pressure, a classic question we always asks of our men because we can never rely on them when it comes to maintaining the groove under pressure. Isn't that right, Sleazebag? Sleazebag then introduces the people who will hold these guys' "hand". Hello Randy "Hand = Hamburger" Randy! Hi Charmaine Miss "Hand = Penis, in a death grip"! How are you doing, King "Hand = Your Soul" Tut!

First, damage control. Prompted by Sleazebag, King Tut says that accusations of the show playing favorites with airtime is rubbish because Kelly Cluckson won. He conveniently forgets that there was only one audition episode in the first season and everyone started in the preliminary rounds at equal ground, more or less. In this season, there are two weeks' worth of pimp time for the Annointed Ones during the Boot Camp episodes. King Tut insists that the audience of this show isn't stupid. Obviously he has never visited the forum at the official site, although it's now obvious at this show is hiring people to scour the Web for rumors and stories to be squashed on the show. The fact that Conty Bint remains on this show along with Janay Castine negates all the bombastic BS King Tut spews. I think it's time someone drops a huge shut the freak up onto King Tut's head.

Whose bright idea is it for the judges and the contestants to spin damage control on every episode, anyway? They are doing a horrible job at the spin control, especially, because the biggest problem in this is that Sleazebag is a horrid interviewer. He cannot convey sincerity even if his life depends on it. When he gets into his serious talkshow host mode, his modulation deepens and he starts overenunciating until he comes off like Dubby's overplastic brother reading from a teleprompter or a card in his hand. Maybe it's time the show gets someone like Oprah as a co-host if they want to do the damage control thing properly. Also, when the show gets so defensive, people start to think that there has to be a good reason why it becomes so quick to respond to scurry around and bat at the criticisms.

Miss Paula babble about how she intends to judge the finals next week. Does she even have any judging criteria in the first place? I thought she'd hit it as long as she can see that the contestant has a penis through her drug-addled fog in her mind? Randy Randy talks about song choices, as if we all don't know by now that these contestants have to choose from a limited list of a few hundred "cleared" songs which is why they keep singing the same crappy songs week after week, seasons after seasons. Why are these judges complaining about something that the contestants have no control over? Again, SHUT UP. GOD. Barely ten minutes into the show and already I'm being hit in the face with so much BS.

Ape Boy Savoy opens the show. It's apt, really, because this show is a freakshow pretending to be a family-friendly respectable piece of crap, so Quasimodo's little brother may as well do the honors. In his introductory clip, Ape Boy says that he is a Taurus, which is why he is determined to win and he will do so even if it means that he will have to go apecrap and kill everybody. Or something. What is this astrology crap? The astrologer from the third season, K-Berg, has been promoted to staff member on this show or something? Ape Boy's song is Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch. Good grief, look at him waddle his big backside. Listening to the mp3 of the performance, I actually find his singing listenable if totally unexciting. But watching him, on the other hand, is a different story.

Miss Paula and Randy Randy are full of love today. King Tut says that Ape Boy should never dance again and he finds the performance comparable to an amateurish party act. As usual, Randy Randy and Miss Paula are jumping on his every word so he can barely utter a complete sentence. Everyone else boos on cue and Ape Boy says sinisterly, "Well, he's got his own opinion so he can speak it!" King Tut has better start locking his door before he takes his showers. Sleazebag asks Ape Boy Savoy why Ape Boy chooses a song that was performed in the Boot Camp. Because his other song choices aren't cleared as the show is too cheap to spring money for royalty, perhaps? Ape Boy says that he just wants to show the fun side of him before he leaves the show. When Sleazebag picks up on that, Ape Boy insists that he is still confident that he will remain on the show. We'll see, we'll see. As it is, he needs to show some spark in his performances, but I think he has plateaued on the show.

In the Red Room, Sleazebag talks to Mario and Nikachu. He asks Mario whether it is a curse or a blessing to receive high praises from the judges. Wow, another question from Sleazebag that begs for an insightful response like "Duh, stupid!" Mario says that it is both a curse and a blessing to be praised by the judges because, while he likes to receive those praises ("I love you," cooes Michael Jackson), it also means that the judges have high expectations of him ("I love you," cooes Michael Jackson). Nikachu says that everything is up to America so he just comes on to the stage and performs with all his heart. Sleazebag turns to the camera and says, a-ha, that means the pressure is on America. Vote, America!

Bo, looking exactly like Jason Mewes' Jay character in his fugly hat and homeless crackhead clothes, reveals that he is a Scorpio, which means that if you mess with his family, you will be stung by Bo here. Ooh, that sounds kinky. Oh, Bo, why do you have to choose that horrible Edwin McCain song I'll Be? Isn't Rattlesnake cleared? How about a Bruce Springsteen song, at least? But oh well, he knows what is best for him, I guess. Bo isn't the strongest when it comes to delivering stereotypical glory notes in power ballads but this performance is pretty solid. Bo starts out a little bit pitchy but he manages to regain his footage and finishes the performance strongly in a satisfying high note. Bo may seem like a rocker but I find that he actually displays some nifty vocal control in his performances. After the shaky start, I'll Be features some of the most satisfying well-controlled singing that I've heard this season.

Randy Randy takes note of the shaky start of the performance but he and the other two judges are all over Bo tonight, with King Tut even declaring that the competition is Bo's to lose because that is how good King Tut thinks Bo is. It is nice that this show is finally slowly shifting its allegiance from the Conty Bint to Bo. Sleazebag walks up to Bo and asks Bo why Bo chose that song to perform tonight. Bo says that his uncle made him promise to sing I'll Be so hi, Uncle Bice, here's the song. Sleazebag also brings up the fact that Bo sings this song often at weddings. Hmm, Bo is available for weddings and parties? Can I hire him to serenade hubby and I with some cool tunes? Bo laughs sheepishly and admits that yeah, he sings that song at maybe one out of every ten weddings he performs at.

Sleazebag wonders whether the stars will align for Trachea Boi. Trachea Boi reveals that he is a Taurus, which is why when he came to America at the age of nine without knowing any English, he mastered the language so here he is today, singing in English. After all, Taurus is synonymous with determination, or so Trachea Boi says. It occurs to me that every thing about this young man is some Hallmark movie waiting to happen. Near death experience! Near-loss of voice! Struggles to speak English and the touching fight to lose one's virginity to wholesome American cheerleaders! He has way too much drama for me. His song tonight is Marc Anthony's I've Got You. Hey, has he been reading my mind? Anyway, his performance is an uncanny, nearly similar impersonation of Marc Anthony. I don't know whether I should approve of such educated mimicry but it's a pleasant performance of a song that is created for beauty pageant contests and other inane events. The performance in fact feels like background music for the beauty pageants to walk onto the stage to strut around in bikinis while telling the audience that men respect them for their brains and not beauty.

Randy Randy and Miss Paula agree that Trachea Boi is "back" and has given the best performance of all his performances. How can he be "back" and still deliver something better than "back" at the same time? King Tut, amidst boos and interruptions by the two supposedly polite judges, says that the performance is awkward because King Tut finds Trachea Boi's gruesome short crotch thrusts that pass for "style" comparable to Kewpie's gruesome crotch thrusts during Grease in the second season. He thinks that Trachea Boi has as much Latin flair as a polar bear. Sleazebag asks the judges to quarrel, er, sort out Trachea Boi's performance issues among themselves and asks Trachea Boi why he chooses the song. Trachea Boi says that he wants to show the "sex... fun" side of himself. What, is "sexy" censored on this show too? But if Trachea Boi is talking about "sex fun side of him", then I heartily approve. It is time for girly boys to come out and shock their vapid teenaged fans into realizing that these girly boys'd rather screw these fans than to hold these fans' hands and exchange insipid poetry. Trachea Boi also reveals to Sleazebag that he and Travis have spent hours backstage writhing naked and cavorting wildly like beasts in heat... er, sorry, "playing chess" and apparently Travis is the top, er, I mean, Travis often beats Trachea Boi in these wild competitive sessions. Sleazebag thanks Trachea Boi for not saying "ass" on TV. Okay, that's quite funny in a typical Sleazie way.

Sleazebag announces that Nikachu, "the man who get Paula purring last week", is up next. The show cuts to Miss Paula whispering to King Tut. Hmm, I wonder whether this mysterious exchange has anything to do with Nikachu and purring. More likely, it's Miss Paula offering to barter her lipstick and medicine reticule for a copy of that tape King Tut has of Travis and Trachea Boi's chess game. A girl needs to spend time on enlightened cultural pursuits at least once a week, after all.

Sleazebag sits on a stool on stage and announces that people can enjoy eight of the best undiscovered talents of America on this show. Oh, and he invites people to visit the official website and watch the entire six hours of chess tournament for free. Now it makes sense, doesn't it? Picture this montage. "Hold on to the nights," Trachea Boi wails. "My cherie amour!" croons Travis. "I wanna know what love is," cries Trachea Boi. "All night long," promises Travis. "I've got you," purrs Trachea Boi. "Every little step!" says Travis with his wide smile. Swoon. That is love at its finest, American Idol style.

But first, Nikachu hangs his hat on the mike stand while he holds the mike and sings as he sits on the stool. His song? Georgia On My Mind. Yes, it's that song by Ray Charles, some guy that nobody cares until they made a movie all about him and now people think he's some fictional guy played by Jamie Foxx. He is no Ray Charles, obviously, but his voice isn't entirely strong enough, hence this performance comes off like a polished karaoke version of the song performed by a guy with a tenor that is not entirely appropriate for the song. But because he clumsily shifts into his falsetto for the predictable final glory notes, everyone thinks it's the best performance ever because dude, he does that screamy thing at the end, woo!

The judges love his performance although Randy Randy and King Tut point out several shaky spots in the performance. Miss Paula says that she can't imagine a Top Twelve without penises in it. Mmm, penises. My problem with Nikachu, though, is that when his performance is over, I cannot remember anything about it other than it is sweet. He really needs to work on standing out a little as a personality on stage. Sleazebag asks Nikko an utterly ridiculous question as to why Nikko sings a song about Georgia when Nikko is from St Louis. Yes, we can only sing songs that are autobiographical. Sleazebag promises that Travis is next and he will take on Bobby Brown, an event which Sleazebag promises "can be dangerous". To the eardrums, perhaps?

In the Red Room, Sleazebag and Conty Bint take the opportunity to drop the name of Conty Bint's band Granny Frilly Panties of Betty about, oh, sixty times.

Travis says that he is an Aries, which means that he has confidence to do anything he puts his mind to. Like coming out looking like a New Editions reject while butchering Bobby Brown's Every Little Step. His voice is completely out of tune at several noticeable places and when he's not out of tune, he's out of breath. The thing is, I know Travis is an awful singer but I can't help liking this guy. When he beatboxes, I actually chuckle at how bad that is and when he throws off his hat, I wait for the pants to follow but alas, I wait in vain. Why I like him is because he is obviously not concerned about winning and he just wants to come here, sing something that he likes, and hopefully gets a few groupies and a TV break out of this after his run on the show. Such irreverance to the show is something that I find myself liking him for. I'm also shallow enough to find his million-wattage smile too adorable for words.

Randy Randy and King Tut find the performance horrific although Miss Paula naturally disagrees because Travis has a penis and she likes all kinds of penis provided that they are attached to a living male. Randy Randy likes Travis but finds the performance "pretty bad, pitch-wise". King Tut says that Travis' performance is of a theme park quality and believes that Travis comes off tonight as a dancer first and a vocalist second. Travis says to Sleazebag that his nerves got the better of him so America, please help him out! And then he flashes this smile that has me melting into a puddle on a couch. Hey, if we're going to have a talentless male winner, we may as well have one that is good-looking, right?

Mario is a Gemini. He says that there is a duality in his personality. No, that doesn't mean that he becomes Mariana on Fridays, dresses up in his mother's clothes, and visits tranny bars in LA like those nasty rumors suggest. He says that he will sing a ballad tonight to demonstrate the "serious side" of him that is a representation of his duality. And so he launches into How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?. I do not like this performance at all. Here's why: he isn't singing as much as he is making this irritating I'm-going-to-orgasm affectation with his voice. Every note and every gesture of his is a calculated attempt at seduction of the audience through the camera. His entire performance screams, "Look at me! I am sexy! You love me! You want me! You swoon when I crams as many notes as possible in every word of the song! Don't I sound like I'm caught in a breathless orgasm when I sing? Baby, don't you wish that you're the one giving me the orgasms?"

Even worse is his insincere talkbacks to the judges. Forget Miss Paula, for she is as usual driven into an insane fit of babbling thanks to the addled combination of her latest prescription and her penis-mania. Randy Randy and King Tut both agree that Mario isn't the strongest singer around but Mario has charisma or charm to make up for his vocal weaknesses. And Mario has to go ahead, nod, and says that he agrees when a judge compliments him or spreads his hands and put on an affected hurt face when King Tut says that Mario isn't the best singer in the competition. Mario is too affected for my liking. When a guy becomes too obvious in his attempts to get people to find him sexy, he comes off as oily or smarmy. Mario is smarmy.

Conty Bint is a Virgo, which means that he is very hard on himself or something like that. If that is the case, why hasn't he committed suicide yet because he really, really can't sing? His song is the Police's Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic. It's a catchy, vapid song that I really like. Conty Bint's performance, however, is flat. He seems incapable of actually singing beyond one note so the entire song is performed in a monotone, with the only variations seen is him singing either loudly for higher notes or softer for lower notes. Shockingly enough, it's not the worst performance of the night - the honor goes to Travis - but it is flat, unexciting, and exhibits Conty Bint's inability to sing in a diverse range. I shudder to imagine how this guy sounded like when he was butchering One Song Glory or Another Day in the musical Rent.

Randy Randy thinks that the performance is Conty Bint's best because he was in tune. Such a generous praise, eh? Miss Paula likes Conty Bint because she likes penises. Mmmm, penises. "You've got this magical thing about you," Miss Paula gushes to Conty Bint, her medications making her forget how to say "penis". King Tut says that the other two judges have "lost the plot" because Conty Bint sounds like a bad Sting impersonator. The judges argue about this while Conty Bint puts on an affected poor-me face.

Anwar is another Taurus. Goodness, how many Taureses are there on this show? Anwar says that being a Taurus, he gives his all to a song after he has selected it to perform. His choice is What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. He starts out a little too melismatic for my liking but he soon ditches the melismas for glory notes instead and he sounds absolutely divine when he starts hitting the glory notes. Is he the one coming up with this jazzy arrangement of songs that he wants to perform? Like Moon River, this performance is a lush feast on the ears while sounding different from the original version. I love this performance. I think that he and Bo are the only ones capable of sounding like grown-ups at performing instead of pretty boys fronting a boyband.

The judges adore him, as they should. "Dawg, cat, whatever!" Randy Randy gushes. King Tut says that Anwar's charm lies in him being a genuinely very nice guy and thinks that Anwar and Miss Paula should get married and have children. No, don't marry her, Anwar! Ship her off to Iraq instead!

Sleazebag banters with Anwar who just stands there and smiles instead of actually talking to him (smart guy). Foiled, Sleazebag recaps the performance, reminds the few who care about the ladies to tune in tomorrow, and then he's out. Out, out, out - out!

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