Before YouTube, recapping music videos is totally a thing and not a waste of time. Really..
Season 4: I'm the Only One
Some people have been writing in and telling me that my recaps of this show aren't as fun as they used to be. I agree with these people because I don't have fun writing these recaps, so I can only imagine how joyless the recaps will come off as to readers. I really try, people, because at the end of the day, I like this show, warts and all. Sure, I call it crap but that's me calling it crap in a good way... once upon a time, anyway. This season is dreary to me because the finalists are here because the show pimped them rather than because they are here on their own merits. And egad, what a joyless bunch they are. Maybe Bo is good, but I realize that if he is competing in a previous season, he can't hold a candle to Fantasia, Kewpie, Ruben, Burger Queen, Trenyce, Kelly Cluckson, and other fantastic finalists that have graced this show in the past.
And this week, when I am hoping that I will get back to loving this show again, the finalists prove me wrong by putting on one of the worst shows I can ever recall watching and when the results come... well, let me just say that if I am the parent and the people who voted are my children, I wash my hands off these children for good. I've tried, people. Hopefully soon I'll really start enjoying myself before the season actually ends.
Ryan Sleazebag (red T-shirt, white squiggles) stands at his usual place in the Thunderdome and reminds people that the Ten is now down to six guys and four ladies. Who will win the title this season? Oh, and this show is live, he says, even if they actually taped the show before a live audience a while ago before the show is aired on TV. So, like everything else this show tells you, it's a lie. Conty Bint doesn't love you and he thinks you're fat and ugly while pretty Cattle won't become your best friend because let's face it, she's pretty and hot and horny old rich men all want to make her their trophy girlfriend while you are just a silly little fat girl playing with your telephone and pretending to be Cattle's best friend forever while spreading fake "insider news" on the official website forums. You may as well grow up and vote for talent that counts, and in this case, cast your vote to Bo. That is, if he wants them because I think he is becoming as bored of the show as I am, as we shall soon see. Nah, just save your money for school.
After yammering about pressure and the judges fighting for camera time - oh, and I should warn people that Miss Paula is all but shooting Vicodin juice from her nostrils because she's as high as a kite, yes, again - Sleazebag then introduces a cheesy flashback scene where the Ten pretend to be happy new kiddies just indoctrinated into the Mickey Mouse Club in the Red Room (drink Coke, biatches) when Sleazebag comes in and plays a game with them. Can they guess what decade he is talking about when he mentions that Donna Summer got a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in that decade? Um, no. But the Ten pretend to care and ask for more clues. Sleazebag says that this decade also sees Geri "Ginger Spice" leaving the Spice Girls. Oh, the Ten now guesses that Sleazie is talking about the '90s! Sleazie jokes that he is thinking of mentioning OJ if the Ten still remain clueless. Because he thinks this is funny, he actually repeats the OJ joke twice. So that's it, the theme of this week: the Nineties. Sleazebag mentions the Macarena, the song that played when he first lay back on the couch and thought of being the Queen of England in order to get his first radio gig.
Hello, Bo. He says in his introductory clip that he doesn't remember the nineties because he is busy traveling the road with his band. You know, playing at weddings, sleeping with the sisters and mothers of the bride and the bridegroom, getting high with the bridesmaids, teaching the underaged flower girls to smoke... ah, good times, not that Bo actually goes into details because this is a kiddie show and everyone pretends that they don't have genitalia, much less libido. He comes out wearing what seems like a cowboy motive, looking like those Native American dudes in old cowboy movies actually, and launches into the Black Crowes' Remedy. The song is boring. He looks bored. He seems to be just playing by numbers as he climbs onto the judges' table and eventually puts the cowboy hat on Miss Paula's head to distract her before the drugged-out ninny actually starts pushing her nose at his crotch. Listening to the mp3 of this performance, he sounds great if lethargic. Watching him, I feel as lethargic as he seems to be. Maybe it's the song choice because his voice is up to his usual standard. Maybe he's bored. Still, he's better than nearly all the other losers on this show so he's okay with me.
By the way, I love the bald drummer and the equally bald guitarist they keep showing on the screen behind the stage during the performance. The bald drummer actually jumps off his seat and smash the cymbal for the last dramatic clang of the performance. Watching him, I feel enthusiastic already for the rest of the show. Too bad they stop showing the drummer boy after Bo because I could use his enthusiasm passing on to me via osmosis.
Randy Randy laughs at how Miss Paula is clutching the hat under the crook of her arm. She snaps that she is not returning the hat to Bo. She, after all, intends to get totally smashed on drugs and cocktails by the end of the night and she will no doubt puke into the hat. Being the consummate rocker, Bo will appreciate the gesture, I'm sure. The two ninny judges love him and talk about how rock looks good on Bo. King Tut, however, doesn't like the song and thinks that with the background and setting of the stage, Bo comes off like a wedding singer. Oh, so now he is blaming Bo for the stage and the setting, just like how he panned Piggy Di Guano in the last season for singing Tamyra's I Believe that he felt was too "old" for her. I wonder what King Tut wants Bo and Piggy to do in situations like this. Should Bo run around and tear apart the stage with his bare hands in order to make the performance "authentic"? Should Piggy Di Guano eat Tamyra before a live audience because Tamyra gave her an "old" song to sing? Maybe we should all together and practice our golf swings on King Tut's head. Because King Tut criticizes a penis and Miss Paula craves penises the way she also craves drugs and alcohol and MMMMMM PENISES, she launches herself into a flurry of incoherent verbal attacks on King Tut.
Sleazebag stands by King Tut and says that King Tut buys his first T-shirt in the nineties, the T-shirt that King Tut is still wearing today. Randy Randy has a "What on earth?" expression on his face as he nudges King Tut over the inebriated Miss Paula to look at Sleazie. King Tut looks at Sleazie and goes into slow, deliberately mocking laughter: "Ha. Ha. Ha." Sleazebag looks like he nearly throws a bitchy fit right there and then when he doesn't get the attention he wants. And then he notices Fatt Gross Bowel in the audience and preens happily. (Yes, Fatt Gross Bowel from the previous season is really in the audience.)
In the nineties, Jessica attended her first concert - the Dixie Chicks' - and she wanted there and then to be like those ladies. She'll start saying things against Dubby and get the rightwing holy-rollers gathered in big groups to crush her CDs using a steamroller. Because she mentions the dirty D word, she loses all the votes from the Guns, God, and Bible people all across the America, which explains why things turn out the way things do at the end of the day, eh? Jessica launches into LeAnn Rimes' On The Side Of Angels, a dreadfully boring song best suited for Disney cartoons. She puts on a good vocal performance but that song is too dull and lifeless to put her in a positive light.
Randy Randy wishes that she has sung a different song. Because Miss Paula can't see any penis standing on the stage before her, she can be critical for once and tells Jessica that the song doesn't show off Jessica's range. If Jessica has a penis, Miss Paula will go, "MMMMM PENIS GOOD WONDERFUL MMMM BEST EVER PENIS MMMMMMMM!" King Tut says that Jessica is not likeable. When Randy Randy protests at this, King Tut amends his original statement to say that Jessica lacks something that can make her memorable. Translation: Jessica has curves and she looks like Toni Collette instead of some Stepford Pop Tart like a certain other blondie on the show. King Tut also wishes that Jessica has sung any of the many other better LeAnn Rimes songs out there. But at the end of the day, little girls will just remember that King Tut has declared that Jessica is "not likeable" and vote - or rather, not vote - accordingly. Bastard!
Anwar's memories of the nineties is being surrounded by children. Which is why he will be singing the Children's Hero R Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly today. That makes sense, I suppose. Now, the song can suck the life out of the listener. But Anwar makes things worse by oversinging in a hideously off-key manner and shouting hoarsely the final glory notes. He believes he can fly but I think he has crashed and burned tonight. Okay, that's cheesy, I know. Anyway, I think Anwar has bored me too many weeks in a row because I'm off his bandwagon after this performance. This one is just too painful to be forgiven.
Randy Randy and King Tut blast Anwar a new one like he deserves, with Randy Randy actually giving an accurate and coherent critique on Anwar's weak middle and low register. But Miss Paula declares that MMMM PENISES she blesses Anwar and wishes God's blessings on him for making her love that song MMMM PENISES. King Tut says that Miss Paula needs a new "CD collection" (is CD short for Collateral Detox?) and she starts arguing with him. Maybe the show could have done her a favor and spare her the humiliation of acting like a freak on TV by injecting some much needed tranquilizers into her.
Nadia's memories of the nineties is all about having hairstyles. I don't know if "hairstyle" is an euphemism. Anyway, she launches into Melissa Ethridge's I'm The Only One. This is another song choice issue because Nadia sounds great as this song is right within her comfort zone. But the song has very little of a hook and Nadia is nearly drowned out by the band. She could have done other better Melissa Ethridge songs, surely, even the overused Come To My Window? This is a good performance but Nadia has done better.
All judges agree that this performance is better than her performance in the previous week, which isn't so much of a glowing praise, really. King Tut points out that the Stupid Little Girls with telephones, weaned on Celine and My First Boyfriend crushes, may find little to appreciate in that song as it's not, in his words, "a melodic song". He hopes she can pull this one off.
Conty Bint pretends that he's living out grunge in the nineties. Oh please, we all know he's prancing on stage pretending to be a pansy whiny white boy moaning about AIDS. And because he's so grungy like that, he will sing Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me. I burst out laughing from his first note and now predictable date rapist glower at the camera because... what can I say? This is another performance that borders on sheer brilliance. Believe it or not, pitchwise and performancewise, he is fricking good. He makes the best of his limited vocal range and oozes what I call the Ewan McGregor factor. You know, Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge? Where his voice isn't the best but he sings so earnestly and so sincerely that he can make me forgive any cracks and other flaws in his voice? I won't go as far as to call Conty Bint sincere but dang, he actually emotes a convincing facade of sincerity here. Kinda like that slimy first boyfriend who used you, cheated on you, and you loved him desperately because you were sixteen and too stupid to know better, that kind of smarm, really. And the song? The context? That he can't make me love him if I don't? Dang, this guy is good when it comes to winking subtly at the audience. Yeah, he knows there are people who hate him. Well, he's now shedding his faux-rocker image and daring me to confront his cheesy slimy pop-smegma personality. I have to admire him for that. And yes, I think I like him now. Heaven help me, but I think I like Conty Bint now, as in really, really like, because he knows the joke and he shares the joke with me. He and me? We'll have our last laugh at the Stupid Little Girls and it'll all be alright between the both of us. I love you, Conty Bint. And I'll kill you if you write about us on the toilet door.
I laugh when Randy Randy says that Conty Bint has finally embraced his inner theatre star self and ends up giving his best vocal performance ever. Does Randy Randy know that he has just called Conty Bint a poser? Miss Paula squeals and all but begs to be shagged on the table because she is really drugged out, hopping up and down on her seat, and mumbling and slurring incoherently. MMMM, PENISES. King Tut thinks that Conty Bint has outsung Bo - and I agree, oh no, I'm so going to hell now - and Conty Bint, to King Tut, is a "classic pop star" knows how to play to his "target audience". Is "target audience" the new PC term for "Stupid Little Girls"? You know, those girls that squeal at Rent because Roger and Mimi are, like, so touching, sob sob sob? Those girls that watch Queer Eye For The Straight Guy just to drool over Jai Rodriguez, all the while claiming that they "respect" him for being gay when in all actuality, they just harbor dreams of him meeting these girls, miraculously turning straight, and marrying these girls for a happily ever after of high fashion and bitchy giggles? Those girls who believe that they can be any gay man's best friend because they have watched Queer Eye and write slash fanfictions only to weep in disillusionment when they realize that the term "faghag" in gay lexicon isn't complimentary as much as mocking?
In the nineties, Nikachu watched his father score a victory in some baseball game and he marvelled over the fact that his father cried for the first time... how touching. Why don't we replace him with his father? Nikachu's song is Can We Talk by a guy who may or may not be Michael Jackson's ex-boyfriend, Tevin Campbell. What can I say about Nikachu? Wobbly falsetto all over the song like his previous performances - yup, this performance is typical Nikachu, all oversinging and not one ounce of memorability or entertainment factor.
In keeping with Nikachu being this season's Huff Granddaddy, the emperor with no clothes who gets pimped regardless of actual quality of the performances until Nikachu's role as the Your Token Black First Boyfriend is no longer needed, the judges give him a tongue bath. It looks like they're still trying to force Nikachu to play Mario in this show.
Trachea Boi is all about "dying" (hah) to be an American in the nineties. Maybe he should marry Princess Tinkerbelle of Bulgaria from the last season - remember her? - and be done with it. His version of Elton John's wretched Something About The Way You Look Tonight is dull and overly-shouted. In short, he is completely forgettable. Trachea Boi has ditched the glasses and comes out in a lime-green tight shirt, coyly unbuttoned to expose a slight triangular expense of chest that will rate as PG on this overly-sanitized show. So this twentysomething kid now looks like sixteen instead of ten. Maybe he ditches those hideous ripped pants he'll look twentysomething. Hey, I can wish, can't I? Not that I find him sexy or anything, just to make this clear, I just want to see what he really looks like when he ditches those contrived nerd mannerisms of his.
Randy Randy thinks the performance is just "alright". Miss Paula of course goes MMMM PENISES. King Tut thinks part of the song is "excruciating". Miss Paula demands to know which part. "The beginning, the middle... the end," sighs King Tut. Those two argue over whether Trachea Boi deserves to be on that stage. Why shouldn't he be on the stage? The show forces him down our throats, the Stupid Little Girls put him there, so why are the judges now arguing over what they have done or at least abetted to? At times like this, I believe that the show will be so much better if the judges will just go far, far away.
Cattle talks about her mother screaming while her father is loading the shotgun as he scares away the boy who wants to put his battery into Cattle's slot. Oh, those crazy nineties! I must hand it to Cattle, she has, in a simple scene, won the votes of the NRA members watching this show and whom she hasn't won over she will when she sings Martina McBride's Independence Day, a song horribly misused since the first bomb falls over Baghdad. Now, here's a puzzle: when I listen to the mp3 of this performance, I am blown away by Cattle. Of course, she sang this song during the Boot Camp but here, in a longer version of that delicious ear candy snippet offered in the Boot Camp episode, Cattle sounds amazing. Her voice is crystal clear and when she stridently declares her day of independence, it is a strident cry that resonates with passion and conviction. Without doubt, she has the best voice in this competition. In fact, I would argue that her voice is even better than Kelly Cluckson's because Cattle has a little bit of Fantasia in her in the sense that she can inject subtle but effective little nuances into her beautiful voice to make the song her own. I've never seen Kelly Cluckson really make any song her own as much as she just glory-notes a song from start to end, but Cattle on the other hand emotes enough - or pretends to, convincingly - in her singing.
But watching her, on the other hand, is a different story. She stands there, mostly, looking lifeless, her face expressionless... she's a freaking robot on stage. So when I am watching her, her wretched stage presence overpowers any nuances in her singing that could have made her great to watch. Cattle is, until she improves, a strictly radio and album artist. She has a great voice. But she is dead wood on stage. Her voice doesn't take wings if people have to watch her performing like a reanimated zombie who can sing really well. Am I making sense here? I don't like Cattle when I have to watch her perform because she oozes insincerity from every pore. But when I am only listening to her, she comes off like a fiery and feitsy singer who embraces every passion she is conveying through her music. Cattle needs to find a way to believe in and embody her music, so to speak (very bombastically), because right now she can sing well but she can't share her music with the audience unless she holds a screen between her and the audience.
The judges love her. King Tut says that Cattle has the "it" factor. So that's it. She has "it", this boring zombie, while Jessica doesn't have "it". What is "it", according to King Tut? I suspect that "it" is either "skinniness", "Stepford Blonde Barbie appearance", or both. King Tut has a fetish for self-proclaimed simpleton blonde Barbies anyway. Remember Carmurp? King Tut, like the rest of them, is just another dirty pervert at heart.
Ape Boy's nineties are all about odd jobs and making a big drama about how tough his life is because he is such a sad, sad boy. Why aren't you people weeping over his sad life? He decides to perform Brian McKnight's One Last Cry and it's exactly like his previous performances: a lifeless paint-by-numbers R&B number performed with the verve of a karaoke gormball. People keep saying that he has a great voice but what good is that voice if he can't use it other than to perform subpar and unimaginative oversung anthems?
Randy Randy thinks that the performance was pitchy. Miss Paula insists that she can't hear any pitch (her words, not mine). Yes, there's a very obvious punchline in that remark, I know. Miss Paula insists, "I closed my eyes." So did I, Miss Paula, although I'm sure my reason for doing so is different from her reason, seeing how I am lucid while she can barely keep her eyes open. She continues, "I was listening, swaying back and forth." Swaying back and forth? Trust me, everyone watching this show can see that. The camera captures everything perfectly. "You got my heart!" she shrieks at Ape Boy. Yeah, and be still, my heart. King Tut compares the performance to a karaoke performance and says that he would have switched off the mic if he was at that karaoke performance. Ooh, that's harsh, snigger.
Vonzell reminisces about the wild sex, drunken orgies, and free-for-all drug parties in the nineties - just kidding - and steps out in a beautiful slinky brown dress. The lighting takes on a matching hue of autumn and look, there are violins and all. This performance is meant to be classy and artistic, ooh. I even like Vonzell's crisp-fried curls. But egads, she has to perform Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing. Isn't there any other song by Whitney that she can sing? I'm partial to All The Man That I Need. As for the performance, look, I know I said that she is a poor man's Trenyce but she doesn't have to take the effort to prove me right. Trenyce nailed that song perfectly in the second season and no lesser mortals that tried ever came close since, not even J Hu from the last season. Vonzell's version falls short even when compared to J Hu's. Vonzell's glory notes are completely flat and her voice lacks the range and energy to deliver. This performance has, in fact, no crescendo, so to speak - the song just goes on and on without building up into a climax and just ends more or less after a while. Vonzell has a nice smile though. I think the problem with her in this performance is that she is overwhelmed by the song, which to me is obvious from how her voice subtly cracks at some of the glory notes in the song. She seems to be trying too hard here.
The judges love her performance and overcompliment it. I think that they are just relieved that the show is coming to an end that they just want to get it over with.
Sleazebag recaps, poses, and goes out. And with that, this show is done. Best of the night? Cattle, followed by Conty Bint, with Bo or Vonzell coming in a distant third. Worse? Anwar.
Results show. The Ten stand on the Thunderdome pod as Sleazebag voices over about one leaving at the end of the day. Who will this person be? The credits come and go but Ryan Sleazebag (white suit and grey jacket, an outfit which sets off his unnatural autotanner-induced tan beautifully) prattles on about how the show has reached a new high in the number of votes (excluding comparisons to finales), 32.5 million, and how someone has to go home because the electorate are cold-hearted creatures like that. He asks people whether the previous night was amazing. I take that as a sarcastic rhetorical question. He mentions that the show has generated some "strong opinions" - like people showing two middle fingers instead of just one - among audience and of course, among the judges. Warning: Miss Paula is still a national hazard today.
Sleazie recaps the show and then introduces the final group song for the show's Butcher A Song For Charity thing: Ray Stevens' Everything Is Beautiful, which is appropriately started off by Ape Boy. Everything is beautiful in its own way, people, doncha know that? In this show, that means the fat and ugly people are to be respected as well, because these people are the only ones buying crappy products from this show since these fat and ugly people wretchedly dream that they will marry these beautiful pop stars that they work so hard and spend so much money to elevate to stardom if they will just buy one more CD, write one more badly-punctuated and badly-spelled email, and shed one more tear. I think this performance is the best of the three because (a) it doesn't have screamfests like the previous one, and (b) everyone sounds at least in tune for once. Stop kicking at the camera, Conty Bint, and keep that fist down. This is supposed to be a time when you guys pretend to care for and respect fat women so at least try, okay?
And now, commercials. But wait, before that, there is an adorable Ford clip where the Ten are Muppets dancing around on the street in a typical bling-bling MTV music video style. The Muppet versions of Bo and Conty Bint are too adorable. I want two of each! And Ape Boy's Muppet is very flattering and is nothing at all like the original. I can't tell the two blonde female Muppets apart. I love this clip so much, I think we should replace the people with Muppets for the rest of the season. Anyone? The rap, by the way, is the Digable Planets' Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat). It's a great piece of rap - nothing like the mealy-mouthed mumbly rubbish passed off as "rap" nowadays - and it actually sounds good coming from the Ten.
And now, it's the time of reckoning. Nikachu is safe. Conty Bint is safe. Here, Randy Randy is seen conferring with King Tut. Maybe they are discussing the possibility of getting Conty Bint to take a bath without having to hire prison guards to do the trick. Cattle - duh. She's going to be the sole female to go against a guy in the Final Two and she'll end up in second place. I am willing to bet money on that outcome. Bo is safe. Sleazebag makes a crack about Bo singing at King Tut's wedding. The Whippin' Post will be appropriate for that event. Nadia is once more in the Bottom Three. Jessica is also in the Bottom Three. Thank you, King Tut, for announcing to the Stupid Little Girls that she is not likeable. Ape Boy once more puts on the Tragidrama of the Wonkies and raises his fists as usual when he is announced safe. Maybe when he gets eliminated he will finally realize that life isn't like The Chariots Of Fire and bursts into tears in front of the camera. Am I evil to want to see that happen? Sleazebag makes a fuss about how the show put Anwar, Vonzell, and Trachea Boi in suspense mode just like they did last week. And he makes it seem if the show has pulled off something so stunning and brilliant just by telling the three to sit where they are right now. If only we can all call ourselves as stunning and brilliant just by doing something this mundane, really. "Hey, I told Mary to sit in the same chair as last week! Ooh, I'm a genius! Give me my scholarship!" Anyway, Anwar (who is being punished for having his gay Friendster ad spread all over the Web) joins Nadia (who is still being punished for admitting on TV that she wants to have wild sex with Mario) and Jessica (who is punished for not being liked by King Tut enough).
Sleazebag asks "Jackson" for his opinion. Randy Randy explains in moron language that this show is a "singing competition" and not some "popularity contest" and other OH PLEASE I'M NOT THAT STUPID TO BELIEVE THIS CRAP nonsense. I've said it in recaps of previous seasons and I'll say it again now: this show is a popularity contest and Randy Randy should either shut up about the singing competition part or start practising what he preaches and start offering constructive criticisms instead of saying that everything is "alright". Oh, and Randy Randy thinks that Nadia and Anwar don't deserve to be in the Bottom Three, even when Randy Randy has criticized Anwar's singing in the previous night. Miss Paula is too drugged out to think so she'll just say, after hesitating long enough to string together two words, that she agrees with - she pauses, trying to remember the name of the guy seated next to him - "Jackson". Sleazebag asks the two whether the audience should judge the contestants on a particular performance or on their entire performances so far, and Miss Paula just says that the audience should vote for who they like. Her answer contradicts Randy Randy's response about voting for talent, a response which she has just said that she agreed with. But that's Miss Paula for you. "Rumors" have it that she practically lives on cocktails and drugs nowadays - she must be between boyfriends - and watching her, those "rumors" are starting to come off like the facts of life. The sun rises in the east, Miss Paula is a drugged-up junkie, that sort of thing.
After chiding the audience for taking their favorites for granted and hence causing them to be eliminated (yes, that statement is insane in how illogical it is but what can I say about Sleazebag?) and getting King Tut to announce that he'd replace Nadia in the Bottom Three with Ape Boy if he could (cue Ape Boy's murderous glare), Sleazebag reveals that Jessica is going home. Bye, Jessica! Say hi to Mikalah and Tammy Wynette Nash for me.
Does she deserve to go tonight? Of course not. But she has to go because the Stupid Little Girls are voting for their Best First Boyfriends and the Girl They Want To Be (that would be Cattle). Be ready to say goodbye to Nadia and Vonzell in the next few weeks because this is - sorry, Randy Randy - a popularity contest and women are second-class citizens in the scheme of things. Oh, and as Jessica sings and nobody cries for her because she's not their friend, the camera zooms in on an emotionless Cattle. When the cameraman realizes that there will be no tears from Cattle, he zooms in on Anwar, who also doesn't have any tears to show. Drats. Finally the cameraman zooms in on Miss Paula's face. It's... LOL.
The cameraman quickly zooms away and cuts wildly across the Thunderdome as the show finally fades to black. And with that, the show and I are done for today.