Season 4: That's Life

"From stadium and convention centers..." Ryan Sleazebag's voiceover comes on air over the clips of people screaming and waving at the cameras. Yup, this is the last Boot Camp episode and just like the previous episode, this one is a complete waste of time. How much fun can this show be when it's essentially an hour-long interview session with all remaining 44 wannabes, where the judges will then tell them whether they are allowed to move on or their journey ends at this point?

Sleazebag explains that "several weeks" have passed since the events in the previous episode took place and the judges have apparently watched the tapings of the wannabes' boot camp event and reevaluate their options to pick the 24 of the bunch that will compete in the preliminary rounds. Clips of silly people running out of the elevator or crying or doing both accompany Sleazebag's dramatic voiceover about crushed dreams and broken hearts. Watching this show, I'm starting to understand very well about the bit when he talks about being crushed and broken.

After the credits, the show tries to kill time by showing the 44 roaming aimlessly at the grounds outside the theatre. Some mingle and make friends, others like the Ape Boy stand aside and think about how better they are compared to the great unwashed out there, and then there is Conty Bint pretending that he is more concerned about a fellow inbred poseur rocker like Bo Bint. Some are confident, some are on the verge of a nervous breakdown (hi Tammy Wynette Wash), others don't have camera time at all because this show don't care about those that they haven't ordained the Chosen Ones.

Sleazebag now demonstrates some Dead Man Walking-like nonsense where he points at the waiting area and solemnly intones that the 44 will be sitting there. Of course they will. I don't expect them to sit along the drain outside the theatre, surely, although that would be a hoot to watch, surely? Sleazebag says that the 44 would be called one by one without any definite order to face the judges. Cut to Tammy Wynette Nash whining that she feels "discombobulated" while Jamie Paul Koehler whines that he is terrified to face the nerve-wrecking moment of truth. After "discombobulated", it's an anticlimax to get "terrified" as a follow-up. Back to Sleazebag, he then walks to the elevator that they stole from Trump Towers and steps inside. He says that it is a thirty second trip up and - duh - thirty seconds down. There are cameras installed in this elevator so that everyone can see what people do in elevators. (Elsewhere, the security people are wondering where the tape for the 11:00 pm - 1:00 am camera footage of the elevator disappeared to. I hope they check King Tut's underwear drawer. The tape contains some stuff between him and Sleazebag in the elevator that would make even Paris Hilton blush.) At the proper floor, Sleazebag steps out of the elevator and explains that it is a sixty feet walk from the elevator to the judges' table, but he is certain that for the wannabes, they must feel that every step is much farther than it actually is because they must be so stressed out, those poor things. Sleazebag then turns and poses dramatically before the camera while behind him, our three judges pretend to be hard at work discussing something. Most likely they're trying to decide what to order for lunch.

In quick succession, Matt "Unchained Tonsils" Kester is sent home, followed by five people. The show doesn't even bother to reveal their names. But among these first casualties are Totty Spelling, Donnie "DUI" Williams, and the guy who looks like a very gay Nicholas Lea, Nathan Herron.

David Brown is next. He presses his palm against the wall at each side of him in the elevator in a way that makes me want to go "Come on, vogue, people, vogue!" The show gives me flashbacks to David being cheered on by his church in a very fake scene that I have seen in his audition episode. He gets to be the first to move on to the prelims and everyone cheers for him because the cameras are on them and it won't do to cry and curse jealously instead.

Sleazebag drops that this interview is held in Pasadena before he consoles the predictably tear-ridden overwrought Tammy Wynette Nash who weeps and says that she is trying to be strong but "this" is "so nerve-wrecking".

Jessica Sierra, who is sitting beside Tammy, goes up the elevator. Tammy is hyperventilating now. "Woh! Woh! Woh!" she goes as she tries to breathe. She's such a nervous wreck that I can't help thinking that she will provide some great drama if she moves on to the prelims. She will probably has to dragged onto the stage. Jessica goes through, although for the life of me I don't know why, while Tammy is next to face the judges. Tammy gets the cut. She is calm when she receives the news, probably more relieved than disappointed. Outside the theatre, she embraces Jessica tearfully and tells Jessica that she is so proud of Jessica and will be rooting for her. The two ladies cry together and it's such a touching moment, really, kinda like a loony headcase and the creepy blonde nanny trying to reenact a Mystic Pizza moment.

Osbourne Smith has changed his name to Nikko. Don't ask. At least Nikko is better than Nelly, I suppose. He gets in and Miss Paula tells him to kiss his lucky coin. He kisses the coin and Miss Paula shivers in drug-addled thwarted lust. Sometimes I do pity these wannabes with big dreams who go to Hollywood only to be sexually harrassed by spider-queen hags like Miss Paula.

Aloha Michaeux, the Hawaiian contestant that the show is showcasing for the first time, wears a flower on her head just like Princess Jasmelisma of the previous season. I suspect that if one pulls the flower away, the air in these young ladies' skull will escape and their entire head will collapse onto itself. Aloha gets through, runs out, and screams to "St Louis" that she is through. She then tells Sleazebag that her feet have shrunk, her shoes are now too big, and she wants a donut. Fantasia did that shoe schtick so much better. Watching Aloha prance around like a gigantic pink pineapple are Mikalah and her mother, both nervous about Mikalah's upcoming fate. Mommalah tells Sleazebag that Mikalah deserves to go through because Mikalah is talented and a "good girl". Mikalah goes up, tells the judges that she had a great time here and wouldn't come back next season to try out (her mother would have banished her to a monastery for being a useless bint by then), and Miss Paula tells her that she is going to be in the 24. Mikalah squeals, screams, and jumps around and out of the room into the elevator and into her mother's arms. Wow, I don't see that one coming.

Trachea Boi is sitting by the elevator, his shoes rapidly tapping the floor. Sleazebag, who never fails to look at a man's thighs, says that it is now 3:40 pm and people are becoming increasingly stressed out. Trechea Boi insists that he is not scared and that foot-tapping thing he does actually makes him feel fired up and he encourages everyone to try it. Sleazebag shakes his hand because he can't touch anything more of Trachea Boi when the camera is rolling. Trachea Boi gets a special confession because he is the Chosen One where he tells the camera that he thinks that he will get cut because his group performance was not up to par. He underestimates the money to be made from the prepubescent little girl demographics and their mothers because the judges are putting him through even if they have to shove him down the throats of everyone watching this show.

In quick succession, some Female Contestants You Shouldn't Care And They Are Putting Through To Fill The Slots get through: Nadia Turner and Vonzell Solomon. Carrie Underwood is the next to get through and Sleazebag again brings on the tired farm girl schtick by saying that there is nothing now to keep Carrie down in the farm. For goodness sake, Carrie went to the Northeastern State University. She had a website as recently as 2003 and she had recorded and performed since she was 13! What is this nonsense about Carrie being a simple farm girl?

Judd "Mustang Sally" Harris goes through, much to his surprise. He's not the only one surprised but I guess we need some white guys in the 24 to create a "balance" like King Tut told Carrie. Erin Furey, whose make-up is set to the level of ho, is cut. Who is she? It doesn't matter - she's gone. She philosophically says that she has lost nothing in trying out for this show because she still has a great family to go home to and she has given her all on this show. It's her make-up. I really think it's her make-up that does her in. Ditto with the gum-chewing Ivan "Who?" Ganchev. I have never seen him before but it doesn't matter because he's toast. Yolanda McIntosh calls herself Tanka now but it is all for naught because Tanka tanks in the eyes of the judges.

Now we have Faith Greenwood, the only reason to watch this show, and a flimsy reason at that. She gets cut and completely freaks out. At first she calmly receives her rejection and leaves the judges. In the elevator, that's when she starts freaking out. She starts moaning that she cannot believe that she has been rejected. "Oh my God!" she keeps moaning as she paces the narrow confines of the elevator. And then she gets out of the elevator, realizes that she is on the wrong floor, and bursts into tears. Heh, I can't help laughing at that poor dear. She and Shunta must never ever go on a road trip together.

Finally, she goes out at the correct floor and tells everyone waiting that she doesn't make it. Some people make sad noises but at this point, most of them are probably thinking, "Er, should I care?" She starts saying loudly that she cannot believe that she gets cut because she is just as good as the people who get through but now she has to call her mother and deliver the bad news. Well, I guess she can always pretend that she gets through and spends the rest of her life waitressing in Pasadena while sending postcards she buys from the official website and signing them as "Your daughter, the American Idol" to her mother. Ivan tries to console Faith but she is not having any of it. She cries that she has worked so hard to be here and she doesn't have a life to go back to. "I don't understand," she screams at everyone in the hall, "This is all I ever wanted! Boys! Jobs! Money! Everythang!" Seeing the money and the hard-bodied boys slipping away from her greedy fingertips, Faith sobs and runs out of the theatre without a backward glance. I look after her in dismay. She, Tammy Nash, and Shunta should have been in the Top Three! They are robbed, I tell you. The drama queens are robbed!

Sleazebag makes a big show about how magnanimous he is to run after Faith and console her. If I am ever depressed and start throwing temper tantrums left and right, please just let me kill myself before sending Sleazebag after me. Sleazebag tries to tell Faith that he knows that getting through is a big deal to Faith, adding that he knows how hard it is to be given the cut on national television. Wait, he's supposed to be consoling her, right? He asks her to take a deep breath and think about what he has said. What, that getting rejected on national television is a very big thing? Pass Faith the bottle of Paraquat, please, and stick a card to it, "Compliments of Sleazebag". Faith finally calls her mother, whining about how unfair it is that she doesn't even get a chance to sing in the prelims. She'd rather be booed by the audience than to be cut out like this, she tells her mother.

Sarah Mathers goes through. I wonder why. (Hubby: "Two reasons. Left mammary. Right mammary. Alien face notwithstanding.")

I don't know who Celena Rae is because this is the first time I am seeing her on the show but she gets through. Oh yes, I can see her commanding votes over the likes of Carrie Underwood and Mikalah Gordon. I can also see myself winning the lottery. Celena hugs Nadia on the way out of the elevator.

The next few people are given the cut. No names are given. I'm not supposed to care, after all.

Janay Castine's mother wonders how she will console a dejected daughter if Janay doesn't make it through. Yes, she has never forced her daughter to sing like the stage monkey that mommy endured childbirth for to train and make money out of. Janay goes through so her mother doesn't have to take up the Powerpoint and show Janay what went wrong in their grand plan for fame and how Janay would work overnight to remedy those mistakes.

Here comes Jamie Paul Koehler telling the camera that all of them can never be the same again after coming this far on the show. Yes, they will all change for the more bitter when fame doesn't beckon and they have to return to their waitressing or supermarket gigs.

Joe Murena, who looks like a sleazy porn star, goes through. He is shocked. Well, he better hope that the Smoking Gun doesn't come up with X-rated pictures of him doing some strip dance in an adult sex club. Randy Randy says that he feels guilty about disrupting Anwar Robinson's teaching the kiddies to sing (not in a Michael Jackson way, of course) but the judges are putting Anwar through. Anwar tells Sleazebag that he hopes the kiddies will look at his getting into the 24 as some sort of inspiration to believe in themselves. Hey, why not? Telling people that he worked with children worked wonders for Kewpie.

Jamar Jefferson is given the cut, thank goodness. John Zisa is also given the cut, apparently because the judges think that he has a problem with discipline. Oh no, Don Zisa will be sending someone a dismembered horse head soon. Sleazebag reminisces about the Archies' flop of a performance at the group audition episode and points out that while Kurtis was an early casualty and now John is given the cut, Jamie Paul Koehler, who fumbled the worst of all three, will be facing the judges next. He wonders whether Jamie Paul will go through where the other two Archies don't. Oops, Jamie Paul is given the cut. He can't believe it and the judges have to repeat several times that he is out before he thanks the judges and walks out, his face red with unshed tears. As Jamie Paul tells the camera how badly he wishes that he is part of the show because he is 28 and there is no more second chances for him, the show plays a clip of him that is backed by him singing That's Life. Ah yes, I know, he falls flat on his face but he will pick himself up because that is life. Talk about heavy-handed anvils.

Sleazebag recaps that fifteen of the 24 slots have been filled. Jaclyn Crum pipes to the camera that there are only three more slots for female wannabes. Meanwhile, Lindsey Cardinale, now wearing her lingerie over her tank top when in the previous episode she wore a short mini-skirt and sat on the floor to show the world her precious moneybox, is going through. May she never experiences a wardrobe malfunction along the way. Also making it to the 24 is Melinda Lira. Who is she again? Mario Pipsqueak goes through. I read on his official bio that his proudest moment in his life was when he worked with Michael Jackson. Oh dear, I hope he doesn't have to be called away during the show to testify in Michael Jackson's court case. Hmm, come to think of it, the ugly hats Mario keeps wearing in the tradition of Wacko Jacko have now become even uglier. Meanwhile, Kim Holloway is rejected.

The camera zooms in from an angle so that Conty Bint, lying flat on the chair, has his crotch smack in front of the camera. All those silly girls and little boys screaming in excitement about how he is "so big" should understand that he wearing jeans and the thick denim fabric bunches up and creates an illusion of things being bigger than they really are. Besides, I've seen his "professional" photos and he not only has no bum to speak of, his shirtless photo is vile beyond belief and he is sniffing his armpit. The pretentious bint tries to pretend that he is worried about Bo Bint. Meanwhile, Bo, who speaks like a very slow redneck kid after one generation of inbreeding too many, is allowed to move on.

Jared Yates also moves on to the 24.

So now Conty goes up and tells the judge most insincerely that he thinks he has next to zero chance of moving on because Bo went through. Because only one pretentious rocker is allowed on this show, after all, just like only one Whitney-wannabe is allowed per season. Conty Bint of course goes through because he has the most gushy-adora posts in forums where nobody posting there is over the age of fifteen. While these punctuation-free girls who are overly attached to their caps lock button will never have the money to buy multiple copies of Conty Bint's CDs, that is RCA's problem. These girls can keep text-messaging and dialling on their mobile phones, which is where the money comes in anyway. So yes, Conty Bint is through to the 24. Make them plenty of money, sucker! Randy Randy completely loses the plot by hollering that "the rock-and-roller" has made it to the 24. What the hell does this antiquated Jabba the Hut relic know about rock music? He is a pathetic has-been who is still stuck in a time warp because his idea of "great music" revolves around Diane Warren, Whitney Houston, and other people who are at least fifteen-years past their sell-by date. Shut up, Randy, here, eat a burger.

Amanda Avila and Jaclyn Crum are the only female wannabes left in the waiting hall and they hold hands. Amanda says that there are two spots left for two females. Ryan Sleazebag corrects her - there is only one spot left for a female. Jaclyn quickly says that this show can come up with crazy twists so she is sure that anything can happen on this show. Yes, anything can happen, like the show asking her mother instead of her to move on to the 24. The show asks both women to go meet the judges because it's more suspenseful this way. Amanda tells the judges that if she doesn't make it this time, chances are she won't be trying again next time because she can't stand the rejection. Jaclyn says that she will try again. I don't know whether these answers have anything to do with King Tut telling Jaclyn to go home and Amanda to go to the 24. Nope, I suspect that they have too many teen pop tarts already and they need a woman with actual breasts and a halfway decent face (which is to say, someone who isn't Sarah Mathers) to - what's the word, King Tut? - "balance" things out.

Sleazebag is now excited because there are three guys left and only one spot for them. Hmm, he seems to think that they have to fight over him or something. Anyway, Scott goes next because the show wants to have two Black guys fighting each other for the last spot. Scott gets to go through despite King Tut being skeptical about his age. His age, King Tut? How about his face? His attitude? And the potential scandals involving dead bodies buried in his garden? I will laugh when Scott goes through to the 24 and ends up winning because King Tut will have a stroke when that happens. Good luck in trying to pass Scott as a pop idol. Sure, people can talk about how it is the voice and not the look that matters in the music industry but these people, unfortunately, don't buy CDs. If they do, Thom Yorke, instead of Adam Levine, would be called one of the world's sexiest men in music.

So it is down to Travis Tucker, who is adorably cute in a bland, asexual teenybopper way, and Warren Nolan, the not-that-cute one. Both auditioned with Stevie Wonder tunes and no doubt the judges go for looks because... well, this show already has David Brown so any one of these two would be the spare Token Black Guy. So Travis goes on and Warren goes home. Travis is cool because he utters an expletive when he gets through.

Next is a montage of audition clips of really freaky losers while Freiheit's Keep The Dream Alive plays on. At the surface this seems like a touching tribute to the rejected wannabes but the show is playing clips of the mental nutcases like Mary Roach to this song about how we have to keep trying even if what we want to achieve is beyond our capabilities! So this whole "tribute" is actually a very sneaky backhanded slap to the morons that made the bad audition portion of this show possible, as if they need more humiliation on the show. I have this feeling that the people behind the show are getting tired of it as much as I.

Sleazebag recaps that on the next Monday, twelve guys will battle it out for votes while the twelve ladies will hack it out on Tuesday. On Wednesday, two males and two females who receive the lowest number of vote on their respective nights will get the boot. Every week, two guys and two ladies will be eliminated until we have six guys and six ladies to start off the finals which, as you can see, are no different from the prelim rounds except that in the finals, only one person is voted out each week. By the end of the day when one is crowned the new American Idol, he (let's face it, it will be a he) will have sung every week for fourteen consecutive weeks. I hope these folks stock up on lozenges.

The show ends with clips of the 24 dancing goofily before the camera. Joe Murena dances like a stripper. Conty Bint kicks at the camera. Trachea Boi acts like a dork. Sarah Mathers shakes those kittens of hers. She knows her greatest selling point, a fact which I must give her credit for. And finally, Sleazebag closes this long, interminably dull show with one of the most stuperfyingly dumb catchphrase in the history of TV and radio. He's out.