Season 4: She's Gone

The familiar sounds of the electric guitar going zoing-zoing-zoing marks the start of the show as Ryan Sleazebag stands on stage and promises that the Eight will get personal with me today. That's nice, really. I've stocked up on flea medication just for this occasion. And with that, here are the credits.

Thunderous applause greets Ryan Sleazebag as he comes on stage wearing a green T-shirt with plenty of light green squiggles under a darker green suit jacket. He looks like someone has puked undigested celery all over him. He has deliberately kept his stubble for this evening because he has to remind people watching this show once every two weeks or so that he can grow some hair on his face and therefore it wasn't him that was spotted last week in a slinky red dress and butchering Karma Chameleon in some club down in South Hollywood. The camera pans to the audience, where there are plenty of signs including "Atlanta Loves Anwar".

Sleazebag then has the audience agreeing with him that is is shocking that Nikachu is gone and he then proceeds to blame Nikachu's departure on the fact that people didn't vote for him enough. This leads to his bizarre line of reasoning where he says that Nikachu is gone because you don't vote so you can't complain about the show. Excuse me? This is a slap in the face of any Nikachu fans who voted hard for him. Nikachu was eliminated last week because he didn't have enough fans, not because his fans didn't vote for him. Who made Sleazebag the expert on votes, anyway? Lest he forget, he's just an idiotic C-list host of a show nobody takes seriously. Because he is on a fast stupid train to hell, Sleazebag says that if you don't vote but you watch this show, that is comparable to having a conversation with Randy Randy. "Pointless!" he declares as Randy Randy protests at this latest slam on his public speaking skills. Sleazebag tells him that he is reprimanding Randy Randy out of love. Five minutes into the show and I'm already slapped in the face by ten different kinds of stupid.

It's time for the staged "flashback" scene where Sleazebag introduces the theme of the Eight. He holds up baby pictures of Conty Bint, Vonzell, and Cattle and have the Eight guess what the theme is. "Nursery rhymes?" guesses Anwar. He must have used a ghostwriter for his gay personal ad. Sleazebag reassures everyone that the theme is not nursery rhymes, although I'm sure the target audience of this show will be very familiar with said nursery rhymes, but rather, music from the year the contestants were born.

Nadia says that she is born with big hair and bling-bling. That's nice. She comes out in a red lingerie, shows legs that go on for miles, and launches into Crystal Gayle's Dream Of You. Does it matter how or what she sings? The judges hate her and they want her gone. So what if she sounds sweet, controlled, and generally pleasant to the ears? Randy Randy insists that the performance was pitchy. He also claims that he doesn't recognize the song. That's nice. Now we must sing only songs that Randy Randy recognizes and then they complain when everyone sings the same songs again and again. Miss Paula, going with the script, says that Nadia should have sung an "in there" song. Hey, Miss Paula, what's "in there", anyway? There's right, there's nothing "in there" except for a gaping hole where her brain used to be. She's high as usual, although her dosage this week must be lower than usual because she manages to be coherent every other sentence. Because Nadia doesn't scream out some glory notes, King Tut calls the performance "musical wallpaper". The crowd screams him down but he tells them to shut up before telling Nadia that the song choice is appalling and goes for the kill. He tells her that she may be going home. Yes, in a show when there are atrocious monstrosities squeaked out from the throats of some of the male contestants, King Tut singles out Nadia as the one to leave because of song choice. This show used to at least pretend to be unbiased but now it looks like they don't care who is watching as they openly gun for those not in their good grace. Nadia tells Sleazebag that she chooses songs that have messages that are close to her heart and all that and Sleazebag looks like he doesn't know how to answer to that. After all, he has no dreams, only desperate ambitions that he will do anything to achieve.

After the commercial, the three judges molest Sleazebag and he pretends to enjoy being mauled by Randy Randy and Miss Paula as he introduces Bo. Bo explains why people call him Bo. As if it matters whether he's called Bo or Moe because he's singing Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird and... I don't know. He sounds very, very lifeless and bored here. The singing is great but devoid of passion or energy. His stomping the stage seems to be Bo merely going through the numbers. It's hard to find fault with his apparently increasing boredom with the show because I am feeling exactly the same thing when it comes to this show. Randy Randy and Miss Paula love the performance and Miss Paula even says that she will see Bo at the finals. King Tut however thinks that Bo has tackled a "sacred song" that no one at home will get while, contradictorily, asks Bo to use his "rock influence", whatever that means. The other two cut in to tell him that Freebird is a well-known song (tell that to the Stupid Little Girls watching the show, then). He says that Bo won't be getting many votes. The audience boos him out as Miss Paula cackles and giggles like the demented idiot that she is. The meds are kicking in already, I see.

Anwar has only one facial expression on the show. Funny how I realize it only now. That single facial expression never changes from his introductory clip where he talks about his childhood (zzzzz) to his performance of Dionne Warwick's I'll Never Love This Way Again. If the judges can slam Nadia's performance, they have no excuse not to do the same to this performance, which is just as good as or as bad as Nadia's performance. Oh, wait, of course they can. Anwar goes for an unnecessary glory note at the end and this show is all about glory notes. Forget subtlety, all the judges want is a high note. So everyone compliment Anwar for being "technically, the best singer" in the competition. King Tut thinks that Anwar is a "blanket", "comforting and safe", but because Anwar has a penis and they want a man to win, King Tut doesn't say that Anwar should be going home. Meanwhile, Anwar is standing the way he always do in every episode so far, with him tilting his head forward and his body tilted towards his left so that he looks like he's leaning forward and smiling vapidly at the TV screen. Sleazebag comes on to Anwar by making a not-subtle remark about Anwar's gym-honed physique while those two talk about the pressures of the competition. That scene will be so hot if Anwar has more than one expression to show to the camera.

Sleazebag spots Hall and Oates in the audience but doesn't linger too long around them as they are old and not exactly the kind of hot boys we want to see.

Trachea Boi's childhood is predictably filled with drama, like how as a baby he had to crawl through a trench to avoid nasty soldiers and how he swam across the sea to come to America and all that. He then launches into Paul Young's Every Time You Go Away. My problem with this guy is that he is a hopelessly limited performer. He stands in that same pose every time he is on stage, sings the same way no matter what song it is, and he does the same vocal acrobatics for every song he performs. There must be many lascivious pedophiles and Stupid Little White Girls out there besotted with his baby face that they keep him on this show regardless of how much cheese that oozes from that hole in his neck to dribble down his shirt. His performance is filled with unnecessary vocal runs and glory notes. All in all, it's a typical Trachea Boi performance. Still, I must say that he knows which way the wind is blowing because he seems to have started to capitalize on his looks to keep his fans' fingers dialling on the phone. He's as sexual as a celery stick dipped in cheese but there's no way anyone watching him can miss the ridiculous bulge in his jeans. Maybe he should try stuffing a single sock instead of a pair inside his jeans the next time around. Anyway, the judges love him, think he is "back" after last week's horrific performance, the usual. Trachea Boi, after all, has a penis and that's all that matters for now. Sleazebag tries to bait Trachea Boi into saying that he doesn't care for King Tut's harsh words but Trachea Boi says that he takes King Tut's words and learn from them, causing Sleazebag to proclaim Trachea Boi a "politican". Not a politician, just a mini-me version of Ryan Sleazebag, actually.

Vonzell announces that she learned martial arts when she was five. Ooh, that sounds like some bad Walt Disney movie I've seen. She launches into Deneice Williams' Let's Hear It For The Boy. Finally, an energetic and funky performance I can get into! Vocally, Vonzell isn't anything too special in this performance. Still, she smiles and sashays her butt at King Tut as she walks down the stage onto the raised table behind the judges. In another season, Vonzell will be hopelessly outshined by her competitors, but here, she is the only one who knows how to command the stage now that Nadia is as good as gone. Hopefully she'll stay around a little longer. Randy Randy finds the performance excellent, Miss Paula is thrilled that Vonzell sang the song one octave higher than Deneice Williams, as per this show's singular infatuation with high notes at the expense of everything else. King Tut thinks that Vonzell will stay instead of Nadia.

The moment he says that is the moment that I finally stop being indifferent to this episode and really start to loathe it. Why must King Tut keep comparing Nadia to Vonzell? They are two African-American women but they have nothing similar in terms of style and vocals. More exasperatingly, why must only Nadia or Vonzell be allowed to stay on the show? Why can't both stay? What's more, why must King Tut keep saying that one of the two African-American women must leave? Why can't a male contestant leave? The show isn't even going to pretend to be subtle when it comes to its agenda, is it? I hate this show sometimes, I really, really do.

Ape Boy insists that he is the real rocker on the show because when he was a kid, he beat drums, guitars, pots, pans... And of course, he grows up to beat the mother of his daughter. Because he is a rocker, he launches into a horrifically flat and off-key version of Hall and Oates' She's Gone. Hall and Oates are happy though because they hope that Ape Boy will reintroduce them to Stupid Little Girls everywhere. Miss Paula is on her feet and jumping psychotically along to the performance. Randy Randy thinks that the performance started out "rough" but it was okay for him because Ape Boy hit a glory note towards the end. Sigh. Miss Paula snaps at him because she loves the performance so much that she will bite off the head of anyone who disagrees with her. Miss Paula doesn't even speak as King Tut just continues after Randy Randy. He points out that there are more "bum notes" than good ones in the performance. Miss Paula leads the audience in booing and heckling him. "Baloney!" she shrieks at King Tut. Oh, that woman. I really don't know what to say about her embarrassing and undignified drug-addled screechings and hecklings. King Tut tells Ape Boy that he is just trying to "keep it real" in his opinions. "Yeah? What's real is that I'm up here and lots of people didn't have the nerve to do this!" Ape Boy retorts to King Tut. That's a nice thing to say. William Hung had the nerve to do "this" too, does that put him in the same league as Ape Boy?

Cattle has a predictably - and nauseatingly contrived - "cute baby story" to tell, something about her mother defending her cute self's right to butcher songs or something. She then comes out on stage in straight hair and trashy, ill-conceived leather-like get-up to bleat her way into Pat Benatar's Love Is A Battlefield. Ah yes, that "Angry Waitresses On A Rampage" song. Cattle tries valiantly to be lively as she leaps off the stage onto the raised table behind the judges but she comes off like someone who has taken hours studying Bo and Vonzell and now imitating those two's movements. Where Pat Benatar sounds strident and angry, like she will dump hot coffee on your lap if you don't tip the waitress well, Cattle sounds like a bleeding goat in pain when she tries to force the high notes to come out from her throat. Her movements are awkward, consisting mostly of her bending forward like Jessica Sierra and then swaying her hips left and right. Her motions are so unspontaneous and awkward that I can easily see her thinking hard to herself, "Shake my butt left... right... left... right..." Points deducted for her not launching into Pat Benatar's Angry Waitress Dance as per the video clip. Why not? She's copying the performance note by note, so why not the dance as well, eh?

Randy Randy doesn't like the performance too much as he finds that she has flubbed some words (she repeats some lines in the song to cover up the ones she has forgotten) and there are some pitch problems. Miss Paula agrees and wishes that Cattle will stick to country. And when Cattle does a country song next week, she'll slam Cattle for not taking risks. This is what happens when this show hires judges who have no idea what they are talking about. King Tut compares Cattle to a kitten trying to be a tiger in the performance. Randy Randy must have read my mind when he says that "finally" King Tut speaks the truth.

At last, closing the show is the Conty Bint. As a kid, he wants to be a drummer. It is apt that even as a kid, he seems to be the veritable desperately show-offish kid acting up for the camera. What is his song for today? Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Okay, let me get this out of the way: the performance is no way comparable to Freddy Mercury's, of course. But who cares, right? Oh God, only a few weeks ago I was saying that Conty Bint needs to go all-out theatrical and I mentioned Freddy Mercury, and here he is, performing glorious aural sodomy on Queen's titular song. I love it! I love everything about the performance, from the tongue-wagging to the scary background vocalists looming in the background screen to the ridiculous date-rapist stare to the out-of-control shriekings! The show people also gives him ridiculously dramatic stage effects, from the lightings to the camera angles to the fake fog. I won't be shocked if the Antichrist is conceived during the performance. The judges love it, although King Tut's "Astounding..." is open to interpretation. Why shouldn't they? This is Conty Bint's breakout performance comparable to Bo's The Whippin' Post.

Sleazebag recaps the show, blah blah blah, out. Best of the night? Conty Bint, followed by Vonzell and then Nadia. Worst? Ape Boy. Seriously, that was a horrific performance!

Results show. Sleazebag stands with the Eight and announces that I'm in for a shock in this episode. What, the fact that Bo is in the Bottom Two? Is that a shock to me? That guy has been losing momentum week after week and he never has the high number of fanatical fans that will spend hours working their fingers at the phone so no, it's not a shock to me. If Conty Bint or Cattle is in the Bottom Two, that will be shocking, given their large number of fanatical fans. Anyway, credits.

Coming out in a smart suit and shirt ensemble, looking like he's worth a million dollars (okay, he's probably worth twenty grand, maybe less if you can help him with his TV show ambitions), Ryan Sleazebag shows up on stage, scans the audience for any sign of intelligence, and failing to find any, smiles and turns to the camera. This show will last an hour so he promises that he will be "definitely earning" his pay by stretching the show accordingly. Sometimes it disturbs me, how he and I sometimes are on the same wavelength when it comes to his failings as a host. The audience groans when he says that he will stretch the show more than Kirstie Alley stretches her cycling shorts. Oh, and over 34 million votes came in. I think by the time the finale rolls in we will hit sixty zillion votes.

Pointless chatter time. Yes, Conty Bint doesn't know why he does his tongue thing (oh yeah, I believe him) and agrees with Sleazebag that he may be inspired by (read that as "he decided to imitate") KISS. Trachea Boi feels good about last night because it was the first time that all three judges gave him the thumbs up. Sleazebag says that Trachea Boi looks like he wants to throw up, however, and Trachea Boi says that he is just nervous. Why is he nervous? He's a guy. He's not going nowhere, at least not until Nadia and Vonzell are ditched from the show. Vonzell chirps about how awesome it is to be working with Desmond Child on the recording of the charity single nonsense. You remember the charity single, right? When You Tell Me That You Love Me will be released as a single along with the other two tracks and the proceeds will supposedly go to the American Red Cross. This allows the show to cut to a clip of the Twelve recording the song in the studio. I miss Mikalah. Her saying that the studio has better accoustics than her bathroom is the most interesting of the "Sweet! Dream come true! Gosh!" babbles from some of the Twelve.

With that done, the Eight will now perform that song. At least this performance has some awkward but listenable harmonies, I guess. Ape Boy is painful to watch though as he jabs his finger at the camera and warns me to tell him that I love him or he will beat the crap out of me. Is there any redeeming feature about this tosser? He sounds like dog poo nowadays and his attitude is becoming more and more thuggish and yet there are fans out there voting to keep him on the show! Who are these people? Prison inmates? In other news, Anwar has stolen his hairstyle from someone's dear grandmother. He isn't even going to pretend that he's straight anymore, I think. I find myself disliking Conty Bint again when he starts singing in that affected orgasm voice of his as he gives the camera that predictable date-rapist glare, reminding me that while camp is his element, he is loathsomely fake when it comes to everything else. I mean, here he is, singing a charity single the same way that he sings Bohemian Rhapsody. I think that sums up my biggest problem with this season's dull finalists: too many of them have only one performance style and one facial expression. There is not enough charisma to save the season.

The show now deems it important for me to understand how tough the Eight's weekly schedule is, so here's a staged clip to let me know how. On Thursday, they pick a song and chop it up to one minute and thirty seconds. On Friday, they attend the taping of the interviews for the show and then shop for clothes. Cattle insists that she has no fashion sense. She has no personality either but that doesn't stop her from wearing what she did yesterday. On Saturday, they head off to record the charity single in the studio and then have some "time-off" where they have to tape themselves bowling. That way, Stupid Little Girls can happily believe that the Nine bowl in their free time instead of taking drugs, sleeping with each other, sleeping with people for favors, beating up girlfriends with telephones, and other things that glamorous famous people do when they're not on TV. On Sunday, they get ready to film the stupid Ford clip for the results show. On Monday, they attend a dress rehearsal, the footage of which are shown in the recaps. On Tuesday, it's show time. On Wednesday, it's time for an obviously shirtless Bo to show up on camera in bed with a darned sheet pulled up to his neck. Stupid sheet. Oh, and it's the results show too as well as some quality Conty Bint-Bo bonding time when those two play guitars and exchange joints in their room. What a tough life the finalists have! It will make me think twice about calling them untalented in the future.

And now, since the show has more time to kill, it's time for the Ford clip where the Funkadelic's One Nation Under A Groove is butchered over... um, some braindead nonsense about using photocopied images of parts of a Ford vehicle to make a fake Ford so that they can steal the real Ford without the owner realizing it. The show is condoning car theft now? I take that as a tribute to Trenyce then. It's about time she gets some shout-out from the show!

Sleazebag and Cattle now sigh and moan over how she was sick, boo-hoo, yesterday. Vote for her, kiddies, because she is sick, how sad, sob sob. I hate this show and its transparent attempts at audience manipulation. Nadia thinks that everything that will happen will happen because God has a plan. Anwar says that he came off strong last night because he stopped overanalyzing things (read that as "pretending that he is straight") and just be himself. Can I expect him to perform Judy Garland next week? Anwar keeps saying that he wants to "touch the audience" and I wish he'll stop saying that, at least until the Michael Jackson hoopla is done with. I have to adore Vonzell for giggling at Anwar's insipid statement. Sleazebag announces that the "good news" is that each Bottom Three loser has a chance to perform a song today. If that is good news, someone have mercy and put the Eight down before Sleazie delivers the bad news.

Ape Boy is in the Bottom Three. He sings Against All Odds and turns it into a horrifyingly angry performance where he keeps pointing at his face and yelling at the people out there about how mean they are that they don't love him but just they wait, those bastards, he will come over with a truck filled with telephones and beat the crap out of them. Just they wait! Oh, and take a look him now, by the way, because there is an empty space in him. I guess I have to agree with him about the empty space. Poor Ape Boy. When the camera pans to the audience, they are actually laughing at his angry "look at me NOW, bitch!" pointing gestures instead of sympathizing with him.

Bo is also in the Bottom Three. Bo starts to chuckle. He says that he auditioned because of a bet between him and his mother. She said that he wouldn't audition and he said that she wouldn't sleep with him (eeuw, that comes out so wrong) on the convention room floor. Bo says in response to Sleazebag's question that he probably ended up in the Bottom Three because he wants to just "have fun" as he believes that the worst that can happen to him is that he will go home and play with a band like he used to before the show. Some fans are annoyed by Bo's can't-care-less attitude but I find it a refreshing attitude in the face of this show's many BS and manipulations. It is great to see that Bo doesn't want to jump through hoops and kiss ass in order to win. Unlike Latoya in the previous season whose "We're all winners" remark comes off as smug because she seems certain that she is destined for greatness, Bo's carefree attitude is different from Latoya's because he doesn't think that the world owes him a record deal. He will just pick himself up and move on in life. And that attitude makes me a big Bo fan all over again, just as Conty Bint's sour performance in When You Tell Me That You Love Me undid a considerable amount of goodwill that I have for him in these recent weeks. This season may be dull but the proclaimed rocker dudes sure are confusing me week by week!

And finally, the old Bo is back as he kicks butt with Remedy. He runs energetically around the stage, even hugging Ape Boy hard, and making me want to jump up and bang my head against the wall with him. If he keeps up this energy in his next performance, I'd be sending him my underwear through first class mail.

Nadia already knows that she is in the Bottom Three as she has been holding her microphone hard while Sleazebag was talking to Vonzell and Trachea Boi and she gets up to move to the dais before Sleazebag announces that she's in the Bottom Three. Her song is You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and it's beautifully appropriate as a screw-you-people song in so many ways. She falters at first, no doubt knowing that she will be leaving since the judges have been gunning for her for so many weeks now, but when the audience cheers her on, she gains confidence and starts belting the life out of the song. She tells people that they don't have to say that they love her, so there! And she sings this song beautifully to an audience who will never appreciate the sad irony about how they are sending this contestant away while keeping the likes of Ape Boy and Trachea Boi on the show.

Sleazebag asks the judges what the audience should be looking for when they vote, which is precisely the asinine and condescending question he always asks when he has nothing else in his mind. After all, the Stupid Little Girls can't think for themselves except when it comes to which asexual boy is hotter and the three idiot judges are the authority when it comes to music and good taste. King Tut insists that song choice is what killed Nadia. It has nothing to do with his telling the audience to kick her off yesterday after slamming her week after week, of course. Nadia tells Sleazebag that she has no regrets about her song choices as she always chooses songs that are personal to her and hopes that the audience will appreciate that. She laughs because they obviously don't. Why is there so much focus on Nadia anyway? Is it because the show is working overtime to justify her boot, a boot that it has been doing its best to bring about in these few weeks?

Ape Boy is safe. He happily hoots, thanks Jesus, and runs back to the Grill, ignoring Bo and Nadia and acting as if we should all be happy that he is safe. I think we should revoke the TV and telephone privileges of inmates in prisons all over America next week. Although, to be honest, a part of me is cheering him on merely for the spiteful reason that the show will die if Ape Boy is crowned the new American Idol. It's now down to Bo and Nadia. Everyone in the audience acts horrified. Randy Randy reassures them that Fantasia and Ruben were in the Bottom Two before and these two went on to win, so there was no worries there. He neglected to mention that Fantasia and Ruben were extensively pimped by the show. Poor Nadia. Miss Paula doesn't even pretend that Bo may be going - she ignores Nadia and tells Bo that she believes in him. Thanks for revealing the boot so early, Miss Paula.

To my shock (snort), Nadia is booted. They play her eulogy video where she says that she is happy that she is being herself. She thanks her fans and the show for the opportunity and then she's gone. It looks like King Tut has gotten what he wanted all along, no matter how much the media tries to rationalize that it was song choice that killed Nadia's chances in the competition. Good for him, really. Now all that's left to be done to give Ape Boy to King Tut on a silver platter as the new American Idol. That is the only way this joke of a season can be salvaged. Ape Boy for American Idol!