Season 4: I Can't Make You Love Me

Is the microphone working? Let Ryan Sleazebag check. He says some vapid "Hello, woo, welcome!" nonsense that he is paid to say. He is at the St Louis arch - which explains which city the show will be plaguing today - and look, there are so many freaks gathered out here to show their stuff. Alas, there will be no guest judge today because David Hasslehoff's implants leaked earlier that day and he has to attend an emergency surgery as a result. But never fear, Sleazebag assures everyone that there will be a "triple threat" on the show. What, threats on my sanity, hearing, and sight - is that what he is talking about? I fail to find the answer in the credits.

Three little blondie triplets who look the result of at least seventeen generations of inbreeding along with a pathetic dog who may or may not be a stepsibling show up. There is something funny about their eyes, which seem to be crossed on all three faces pretty much all the time. It must be a "one eye shared by three crones" thingie from the Greek mythology of yore. They seem oblivious to King Tut's too-oblivious sarcasm and answer that Erin - one of them, although I don't know which one - is the best singer. They all sing together, sounding pretty decent actually, although I don't know why they can't just audition separately. Do they really expect the judges to let all three of them compete as one entity? Oh, they sing It's Raining Men, a song that nobody can sing nowadays without plenty of irony. Unless they are the inbred triplets and dog from Omaha.

King Tut calls them "three overweight Jessica Simpsons". The triplets say they will lose weight. I don't think they should. They can work on the make-up and the clothes but they actually look fine, weight-wise. Besides, King Tut is the one to talk. He gets a crew-cut and now he thinks he can fool people into believing that he has lost sixty pounds during the hiatus of the show.

("Oh, I'm losing weight," King Tut is rumored to say, "I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't even watch porno on my Real Media player without sobbing because the sight of that blond guy screaming and flailing under the steroidal musclehead on Raw And Wild XXX reminds me of Sleazebag. Why must he turn out to be a tamperamental, bitter, jealous old queen like me? I promised him I would give him a new talk show to make up for the one he lost but he insisted on making it on his own merits. And look what happened! He became bitter! He became impossible to live with when he lost his talk show and then stopped bathing and calling me Tutty and... now when I am finally starting to eat and sexually harass the male key grips, he's back and hinting that the door of his dressing room is always open. Do I dare? And... hey, is he wearing my favorite black shirt today?")

Ahem, anyway, the judges try to tell the triplets - slow as I am, it just occurs to me that Sleazebag must be referring to these gals with his "triple threat" thing - that they can't put all three of those Jessicas through. The Jessicas seem unable to comprehend why not. So the judges cut out the non-Erins, who leave the room crying, and then without asking Erin to sing, Randy Randy says yes while the remaining two say no. So Erin join her sisters outside the room for tears and bitchery. One of them - let's call her Mandy - says that the other sister - I'll call her Ashlee - isn't fat, just 150 pounds, which leads Ashlee to scold Mandy for revealing Ashlee's weight on TV. Um, girls? The doggie looks scared of the noise going on around him. Maybe it's time to go back to the hair salon or wherever it is you delightful ladies work at?

Next is Katrina who insists that humans taste like bacon because she has tried eating human flesh in an anthropology class. In a time when people can get into serious trouble just by saying that they are against the military action in Iraq, is it wise for her to admit on TV that she is a cannibal? Oh, and she says that there is a panic room in her house. King Tut asks whether that is where Kat's family is hiding. The best thing is Katrina claiming to work at a loonybin asylum. It's a pity that she won't be the first certified nutcase to win American Idol because she can't sing too well. She sings an infamous dance-themed Whitney Houston song that has already claimed the future careers of Jennifer Wanna Dance With Somebody, Tiara Purifoy, and Elizabeth LeThunderthighs and this time the song claims another victim in Katrina's tendency to let her voice go out of control whenever she tries to raise or lower her voice. Maybe next time she should try bacon instead of human. Randy Randy is indifferent, Miss Paula isn't so sure about her voice (although I'm sure Miss Paula show know that studio magicks can work wonders in making one sound good), and King Tut wants Katrina to eat some excess flesh off the three Jessicas. He then surreptitiously checks out his mobile where there is another obscene text message from Sleazebag ("C wat I M doin wit ur shirt"), smile to himself, and the show cuts to some tanned skeletal creature fighting with King Tut before going to a commercial break.

Sleazebag is at a baseball field. He throws a ball. It misses, or so it seems until it hits King Tut in the head. King Tut, who is scanning the crowd for a man who is molesting a familiar black shirt in hopes for a quick steamy rendezvous in between auditions, rubs his head, prepares to deliver a blistering scolding at the son of a dog who threw the ball at him, only to stop and give Sleazebag a helpless, thoroughly besotted smiley-faced expression. If you're a lawyer, the previous sentences are all fabricated rubbish except for the first two sentences.

More bad singing follows in a montage, although one guy who sings Angels gets through because he's a guy and this show needs guys as it wants a guy to win.

Sleazebag talks about the next fellow, Osbourne Smith II, the son of some celebrated St Louis baseball player, whom he says is a better player than he is. How nice, I'm sure Ozzie is glad to hear such high praise from Sleazebag. Ozzie tries a little too hard to be "chillin'" but his version of Stevie Wonder's All I Do isn't bad, although I don't find it special in any way either. Miss Paula dances to the music in her mind because in her mind, she and Ozzie are making love amidst a fog of marijuana fumes, yeah baby. King Tut says no because... well, just because. Miss Paula and Randy Randy say yes and Ozzie acts as if he has won the show already and dedicates his "going to Hollywood" to the entire St Louis. Talk about being prematurely celebratory.

Sleazebag now checks off the list of famous people who are born in St Louis. Tennessee Williams, Chuck Barry, and Phyllis Diller, he rattles off his list. Ozzie Smith I must be heartbroken that he isn't on the list, uh-oh.

Some kid, who claims to be adored by his family since he was three for apparently being some singing prodigy, walks in and sings entirely through his nose. No wonder they love him. Nobody else will.

And here comes Sleazebag with the gruesome twosome of the day, Miss Angel and her "student" Jeremy. Apparently Jeremy is Miss Angel's student and Miss Angel, the good singing teacher that she is, accompanies Jeremy to the audition (the expenses no doubt borne by Miss Angel here) and she decides to also audition in what is supposed to be some impromptu decision on the spot. Miss Angel is beyond creepy. She comes look like an unmedicated lunatic as she jumps and howls at the camera in her special section, saying how she floats like an angel, stings like a bee, or some such nonsense. The only reason she isn't arrested for statutory rape is because she is the only one too dim-witted to see that Jeremy is just stringing her along and he is probably playing with all the boys in the yard while laughing at her behind her back.

Miss Angel goes first. After seeing her on the show, I can believe that she is a voice teacher though, because she has the pipes. Unfortunately, she is too technical and too showy, singing high notes and inserting unnecessary melismas all over the place instead of just actually singing. She also tries to dance a little, her feet going one way while her hands going the other way, so I guess she won't be offering free dance lessons to go along with her voice classes. The judges let her through though because I suspect they want to see her reaction when they... well, we'll find out what they will do to Jeremy soon enough, heh. She runs out and dry humps Jeremy in what passes for a teacher-student embrace. Oh, Miss Angel, there is no happy ending to this story.

Jessica Pontius thinks that just because she uses a tanning machine and plenty of peroxide, she has the look for the show. Hey, it works for Sleazebag. She says that she loves to shop as well. She will have to keep shopping for interested parties because her Somewhere Over The Rainbow in a high-pitched voice that is just irritating on the ears. The judges slag her off and ever the diplomats this season, Randy Randy and Miss Paula suggest that Jessica does voices for cartoons. Maybe if there is a cartoon about a singing road drill, I guess. This degenerates into an unfunny joke where the two male judges laugh at Miss Paula's incoherent babbles about how being the voice of a cartoon rat is nothing to laugh at. Poor Jessica, forgotten, leaves the room. Miss Paula then stops babbling and admits that she is just playing all along. To get Jessica out of the room? Why, that sly old junkie! King Tut looks at her with newfound admiration. He will let her borrow his mascara now.

Say hi to Joseph Schoen. He and Sleazebag talk for a while and my, those two look alike. They even have the same smarmy eyebrows, although Sleazebag colors his yellow while Joseph is brunette. Kinda like an egostical version of Romi and Mitchell, really, how sweet. Joe Schmo here says that he has been called back from work by a "family emergency" and it turns out that his family has tricked him and made him audition today. Hmm, why is it so easy to believe him and the fact that his family wants him gone from their sight if only for a while by making him come here? Joe Schmo sighs and says that he has to be here because of the insistence of his fans. That silly boy, doesn't he know that mothers are supposed to love their kids even when they sing worse than an epileptic walrus?

Okay, he doesn't sound like an epileptic walrus. After an irritatingly smug speech where he tells the judges that he has been on some Texan TV station reading the news (Texas - George W Bush - reading in public - enough said), singing in some cruise ship, and even training other cruise ship singers, he launches into My Girl. It's not bad, although it's not as special as he'd like to believe it is. It is just very ordinary, his performance, the kind of music that I will put some coins down into the bowl for if someone is singing like him by the roadside. The thing is, he lets King Tut push his buttons so easily and all of these buttons have "Self-Destruct" written on them. King Tut calls him a cruise ship singer - which is of course the truth if I am to believe Joe Schmo's earlier speech - and Joe launches into an overly defensive diatribe. Among other things, he insists that he sang only once on a cruise ship and even then, they made him do Broadway. Yeah, I believe that one, if we are talking about the Very Gay Mandy Pantikin Appreciation Cruise. He keeps going on and on, insisting that he can sing in all genres, et cetera, and generally annoying King Tut until the judges send him out of the room. King Tut says, once Joe has left, that he is starting to find Joe Schmo annoying. Poor Joe Schmo and his contingent of desperate fans must seek succor elsewhere, maybe at the next Kewpie concert.

A deceptively nice-looking kid turns Proud Mary into a war siren, leading Sleazebag to announce a montage of this season's Most Overdone Song, all sang in dreadful variations of off-pitch by weird, ugly, fat, Chinese (after William Hung, "Chinese" is now synonymous with "delusional loser" on the show, sigh), and even a cowboy. Don't ask me why a cowboy is singing Proud Mary. I guess he wants to be stripped of his membership card at the Nashville All Straight, Manly, and Macho Are We Society. King Tut sighs and says that he doesn't like music anymore. Poor thing. He must be missing the songs Sleazebag hums in the shower every morning during their happier moments together.

Here's Aa'shia Jackson (did I spell her name correctly?), who seems determined to be known as Lil' Ow Ow if her gangsta suit and hat outfit is anything to go by. She can rap and beatbox very well, and the judges like it, no doubt seeing in Lil' Ow Ow at least one novelty album that can sell very well. And then Ow Ow sings I'll Be There and she sounds just like the Chipmunks would sound after these Chipmunks have overdosed on three tanks of helium. I swear that last note can sterilize people if she is not careful with it. King Tut says no, Miss Paula says yes, and Randy Randy tentatively throws his support for Miss Paula. So Ow Ow is going to Hollywood. Ow Ow tells the camera that she will prove King Tut wrong. That's okay. But Ow Ow's mother launches into a misguidedly self-important "Bitches, don't you dare doubt my daughter, bitches!" rant directed at King Tut that will kill any goodwill towards her daughter.

Next is a fifty-year old man pretending to be 28. He's Maurice and he thinks he sounds like Brian McKnight. He doesn't. He sounds like Brian McKnight only if a truck has run over Brian McKnight's face and broken all the bones in the man's lower jaw. The judges tell him no but Maurice can't understand why. He stops on his way out and asks one more time whether they are really serious in asking him to leave. After all, as he tell the judges, his family always says that he sounds just like you-know-who. Miss Paula, who is taking a sip from her Diet Coke, chokes and spits out the Coke. King Tut asks Maurice to sing again and Maurice obliges, sounding as wooden and ridiculous as before. King Tut insists that Maurice's family have been lying to him.

Carrie Underwood is a sweet farm girl. The fake "home video" the show puts forward for people it desperately wants to be in the finals drives home that she is a simple and homely farm girl. It stops short of proclaiming Carrie's virginity but if Carrie is smart, she'll play that card even if she has slept with the entire county because virginity is a very powerful bait for votes on this show. Stupid Little Girls love to vote for Virgin Princesses when they are not powerdialling for the Fratboy Next Door that they want to lose their virginities to. I don't know why. Stupid Little Girls have been behaving like this since the day of the Beatles when everyone deludes herself into believing that the Beatles are saints who don't do drugs or have sex. Unlike the Virgins on the show who can't sing (Carmurp, for example), Carrie can sing very well. Her I Can't Make You Love Me is great. She's going to Hollywood. Oh, and she loves Martina McBride. Will that be before or after Martina turns herself into a Shania Twain clone?

Miss Angel's gay student Jeremy is next. He is shown sitting before his audition with Miss Angel and telling her, as he waits for his number to be called, that he will be going to Hollywood with her (translation: he expects her to pay for his way there as well as the sleeping accommodations) and they will have "fun" (translation: she'll buy him some nice stuff when they go shopping). But Jeremy sings in an off-puttingly over-ornamental manner so the judges see right through his affectations and when he proves that he can't lay off the BS, they cut him off. Miss Angel starts howling and crying and wailing that she didn't come all the way here for "herself" and pretty much collapses onto the floor while still screaming and sobbing. Well, if she does end up in the prelim rounds, good luck in her getting anybody to vote for her. Who wants to make a certified nutjob the new American Idol? (Okay, all you "Vote For The Worst" contingents can put down your hands. You're the exception from the norm.)

Sleazebag waxes soliloquoy about friendships formed on the show. Aww, cut to some scenes of people bonding. Is this my cue for another lame King Tut and Ryan Sleazebag joke? Okay, not this time. And now, it's time to meet Adam and Dirk, two dorks who just met but became fast friends. Maybe that's because they both love Canadian Idol, perhaps, because this "buddy losers" schtick is ripped off completely from the neighbors up north. Or maybe the show contrives to introduce these two as best new friends as some "tribute" to Canada? After all, between Kewpie and Ryan Malcolm, both countries have plenty to bond over. Sssh, don't anybody mention Avril Lavigne, please. Adam is the skinny, nerdy kind who will become a really hot Kewpie wannabe if he loses some testosterone. Dirk is the big, meaty jarhead type, the brawn to Adam's brain if you will.

Dirk goes first. He says he loves David Hasselhoff, whom he thinks is the best singer ever, and he will sing a song from the "soundtrack" of Baywatch (they have a soundtrack to that TV show?). I don't know if he's trying to be funny or just strangely deluded. Saying that he loves David Hasselhoff is too obvious if he's pretending but he must also be a good actor to meekly and happily accept Randy Randy's "You sound almost as good as Hasselhoff" as a compliment. It's a no for him, but he gets an ovation from the remaining wannabes outside the audition room when he comes out from the door. Adam is heartbroken but he stoically enters the audition room next. He is quite cute. He makes fake gangsta mannerisms actually quite endearing and he cracks me up along with the judges when he can't remember what kind of animal Miss Paula (his inspiration) danced and sang with and when told it was a cat, responded with a careless, "Whatever!" Everyone just laughs until Adam has to ask whether he can sing to them. He has to spoil the magic by singing because he is a better comedian than singer. Again, the judges just keep laughing and laughing like demented coons. When he asks whether he should sing again, they go, "No!" When he asks whether he should at least finish his song, they go, "No!" Look at the bright side: Adam can make these jokers laugh and that is something. Think "MadTV" or "SNL", perhaps.

Adam and Dirk make a show of waving bye-bye and leaving together. Nope, they're not ripping off from Canadian Idol, definitely no. Sleazebag voices over that those two may have their dreams dashed but 32 happy people are going to Hollywood from St Louis. Maybe 31, since Miss Angel doesn't look too happy to be going now that she has no underaged kiddie to channel her creepy attentions to. Sleazebag promises New Orleans the next time around, with Gene Simmons of KISS as the guest judge. Good heavens, Gene Simmons. What have they done to him? Until then, Sleazebag goes out. Bye bye!