Before YouTube, recapping music videos is totally a thing and not a waste of time. Really..
Season 5: Hemorrhage
The electric guitar goes zzzwang-zzzwang-zzzwang as ten ladies stand before the spotlight on the Podium. Oh, and there's Ryan "I'm Crying" Sleazebag, who is of course not a lady, standing at the farthest right side of the screen blabbering about undiscovered voices and other things that must be a reference to what the crazier fans of this show hear inside their heads when they dial non-stop in support for Kellie Pickler and Kevin Covais. We make the decision, we make the call (the calling part is of course very important), the usual. With that, credits.
Out walks Sleazie onto the circular stage and then stops and makes a "Wow!" face for a few seconds. Ooh, what did he see, what did he see? The camera zooms in on Kevin Covais and Taylor Hicks in the audience. Oh yes. Wow. I'm impressed. Whatever. Sleazie starts off the show by bragging about how wonderful the ratings of this show have been. You know what they say about Hollywood men. Big ratings is a way to compensate for their small little buddies. And since the ratings for the previous show are apparently so huge that they need a brand new galaxy to accommodate the swollen egos of the people involved in this show, Sleazie is understandably if insufferably smug since he is one of the cogs involved in the most successful crapshow of this decade. Or is it century? The magnitude of the success of this stupid show is unbelievable.
Now that he is done with the most important announcement of the day, he can now introduce the ladies who will be performing tonight. And then it's time for some canned banter with the three morons that make up the judges. Hello, Randy "I'm Barking" Randy! There she is, Miss "I'm Babbling" Paula! And of course, King "I'm Lying" Tut! Sleazie makes a bow like he's a slave and King Tut is his genie - make your own rubbing the lamp joke here - before trying to bring up the whole "King Tut is on a different page compared to the other judges" thing that King Tut went on and on about in the previous week. Oh please, like any sane person would want to be on the same page as Randy Randy and Miss Paula, sheesh, two people who can't form a coherent sentence between them. Sleazie asks how it can be that King Tut doesn't agree with the other two judges when they are looking for an American Idol. I'm not joking, that's what Sleazie asked King Tut. Never mind that the question makes no sense at all no matter how I try to interpret the question, I'm just amazed that Sleazie once had a talkshow, judging from Sleazie's stupendous attempts at spontaneous Q&A. Not that I'm saying Sleazie is terrible at Q&As - I'm sure in an unfettered no-holds-barred Q&A, Sleazie will no doubt ask some really bitchy questions about the mysterious stains he'd discovered in King Tut's boxer shorts. It's just that, my god, it's just two minutes into the show and he has to ask something as stupid as that.
King Tut once more gives that canned response about how he's right and how he's the best person you'll ever meet, forever and ever, amen. Randy Randy says something that nobody, not even his mother, bothers to catch while Sleazie continues to say more stupid things only to be humiliated by King Tut. Then again, I'm sure that's why Sleazie is here. He loves it when a fat short guy gets mean and ugly on him. There's one time where Sleazie has his mouth in an "O" and I must say, that must be the answer to the mysterious questions Sleazie is lobbing at King Tut today. Miss Paula wakes up long enough to hiss that King Tut bugs her like the brother she never had and never wanted. She goes on to say some more nonsense but I must say that her zombie eyes and drugged-out vacant expression say a lot more than anything else that comes out of her mouth. I can't wait for her to one day completely loses her mind and starts sniffing up at that very table right before the audience. The end of this humorless scene that has even the live audience reeling in stunned silence sees Sleazie on his knees and thanking them to be on this show, just like how he must be on his knees every week thanking everybody for giving him a chance to be on the show, heh. King Tut says yes, yes, they all play a part of Sleazie. I mean, they play a part in Sleazie. Oh dear, that sounds just as bad. Anyway, let's just move on to Katharine.
Each wannabe kicks off the show with canned responses about their best moments on the show (and no, Kevin, you're not allowed to talk about Miss Paula showing up in your room at night to deflower you) so Katharine talks about how she and Kellie share a room, romp around in a bed, and make stupid faces and sounds because they are both, according to Katharine, "silly and dumb". Instead of, you know, "very fake and forced" like the way they laugh together while the cameras are rolling or the way they pretend that they are so funny that they dry heave. The two ladies also put on make-up together, blah blah blah, they are friends forever. At least when the cameras are rolling, that is. Katharine says that it's nice to be friends with a competitor without feeling competitive towards Kellie. I suspect that it's because she knows Kellie can't sing for crap and therefore she underestimates the power of Kellie's dumb bimbo appeal. She'll change her tune soon enough.
Katharine's song is Stevie Wonder's All In Love Is Fair. It's a much better performance this time around in the sense that she is not making exaggerated smiley faces left and right regardless of the context of the song she is performing. Still, she is oversinging this time around and her upper register feels really forced and unsteady. Come to think of it, she sounds like she's at the verge of tears as she slurs through too much of her performance. "Gobbledygook whurrawhurra FAIR!"
Randy Randy gives the whole "not your best but it's okay" nonsense. Miss Paula agrees with Randy Randy and adds that Katharine is beautiful, et cetera. She says that she'll "say it as it is": Katharine is brilliant. Er, despite the problems with song choice as you've just said two seconds ago, Miss Paula? Never mind dear, just be quiet and go chew on a marijuana leaf. King Tut slams Katharine for being complacent in song choices and performance style and thinks that nobody will remember that performance as the show goes on. Sleazie comes out to ask Katharine some insipid question about what Katharine is thinking while she is performing and Katharine pretty much says that she's not paying attention to a thing King Tut has just said. This causes Miss Paula to holler out her support to Katharine, never mind that King Tut and Miss Paula said pretty much the same thing about Katharine's performance.
In the Red Room, Sleazie sandwiches himself between Kinnik and Katharine. Kinnik reveals that she too loves country music. I think poor Kinnik is saying, please, Middle-Class White America Down From The South Who Love Kellie, vote for her too! Kinnick's clip sees her reliving the joy of being in the semifinals. Well, I'm glad she's happy with her experiences so far because I really don't think she'll go much further into the competition, given how little exposure she has received prior to the semifinals.
Kinnik breaks out into Gretchen Wilson's Here For The Party. I must say, I think the poor dear has forgotten to shave off her moustache in her haste to get into her cowgirl costume for this performance. I find myself unable to tear my eyes from her lip fuzz. Oh, and I never realize until now what a huge and shiny forehead she has. She looks like Mr Potatohead with breasts and a cowgirl outfit. Kinnik's a lovely young woman, make no mistake, but her outfit doesn't do her any justice at all. The performance is competent but I can barely hear her over the band and the background vocalists. Still, I appreciate an uptempo song early in the episode to give me a jolt of wakefulness.
Randy Randy babbles about energy and all but claims that the song doesn't do much to show off Kinnik's range. Shut up, Randy Randy, it's not like she'll go far and I will surely fall asleep if everyone sings nothing but ballads on this show. Randy Randy reminds everyone that he enjoyed "the entertainment part" of the performance. How about the lip fuzz? Miss Paula agrees with Randy Randy because nobody expects her to come up with her own thoughts. And still no love for the lip fuzz, damn. King Tut says that it is good that Kinnik tries to do something to stand out but on the other hand, he equates performances such as Kinnik's to Magic Mountain Disneyland. What, they have women with lip fuzz performing in Disneyland? Then again, maybe King Tut visited Disneyland when the GLBT folks are having their annual Disneyland gathering. King Tut is right about the performance not being anything special and Miss Paula, who earlier says the same thing pretty much, once again attacks King Tut because she's programmed by her handlers to be like that. I think they are trying to get people to believe that Miss Paula acts that way because she's seized by hatred for King Tut and not because she's high like a kite from the moment the show begins. Sleazie comes on to mercifully end the "judging" segment which is nothing more than the three judges trying to upstage each other.
In the Red Room, Sleaze manhandles Lisa, one of the several singing female bots on this show, and asks her about how she feels about the judges being "tough" tonight. Is "tough" some euphemism for "Randy Randy is still stupid, Miss Paula is still on drugs and addled, and King Tut is still bored out of his mind"? Lisa executes her harmlessanswers.exe program and gives some "I love everyone! Everyone is nervous! But still cute! I love everyone!" answers. Sleazie can't resist trying to correct Lisa's hair because he nearly entered beauty school, you see, until he realizes that being a radio DJ with a big mouth is a faster ticket out of his podunk hometown compared to being a hairdresser. But I'm sure he still loves to do people's hair. Lisa's clip sees her oh-so-subtly reminding everyone that she was in The Lion King when she was still in her mother's womb and that she has performed in front of millions of peple before but oh, she is still nervous performing on this show so it's not like she's arrogant, people. She admits that she thought it would be a "walk in the park" to win this show since she has all these wonderful experiences (Kellie: "Please bitch, are we talking about that kind of experience?") but now she thinks that everybody is good so she's not arrogant, not at all. I love how Lisa concludes this clip, which is supposed to be about her best experiences on the show so far, by saying that she wants to win more than anyone else on this show. I can see a collective eyeroll coming from the audience watching Miss Precious Thing here in action, I tell you.
Lisa's song is the Jackson 5's Who's Loving You, although some people may recognize the verse of the song being sampled in En Vogue's big hit Hold On. While she is singing, the camera pans to the guys where David has this hilariously dead open-mouthed expression as he stares at Lisa. She's that hot, David dear? Or is she that terrible on the ears? Heh, heh, heh. Lisa isn't that bad but she isn't that good either. Her performance consists of too much rehearsed oversinging, with every word stretched out and overenuniciated with as many notes as possible crammed in one single syllable. It's telling that despite her supposedly vast experiences in public performance, she still needs to be on this show. Lisa has the charisma of a tree stump. It is too easy to forget that she's singing on stage.
Randy Randy babbles about how he wished that Lisa had done something in that performance that makes her stand out, like singing the verse acapella the way En Vogue did on Hold On. He finds the performance "just alright". Miss Paula disagrees because she thinks when Lisa "got it", she's "got it". She can't imagine why Lisa hasn't been signed to a recording label. If this show sacks her for daring to OD, Miss Paula can surely be a talent agent because clearly she has an eye for discerning raw talent that will be tomorrow's superstars! "You're a star! All the way! Everywhere!" she gushes to Lisa. Bless you, Miss Paula. Everywhere! King Tut tells Lisa that she needs to impress her audience by coming off as more than just a young girl singing songs by grown-ups. Lisa immediately deepens her voice to sound older and goes, "Right! Right!" What a kiss-ass, eh? King Tut however "guarantees" - hopefully with no strings attached - that Lisa will "sail" through tonight regardless of her performances. How nice. Lisa is, after all, a star. Altogether now: "Everywhere!" Sleazie steps on stage - he's been hanging out with the guys, that skank, all this while - and helps Lisa burrow deeper into the delusion that she's a star (everywhere!). Poor Lisa.
Melissa talks in her clip about how she has problems determining what to wear before a performance. She has more to say but the thing is, the more she speaks, the more I look at her lips moving and the more problem I have making sense of what she is saying. It's all "Babble babble babble babble babble!" from start to finish. I can see why she has no screentime prior to the semifinals.
She performs Reba McEntire's Why Haven't I Heard From You and I'd like to think this is her not-so-subtle middle finger to this show for giving her no screentime prior to the semifinals. I like her performance although she could inject more volume into her singing since I can barely hear her at times. She has a smoky voice that I really like and she also manages to inject some sauciness in her performance. This isn't what I'd call a great performance but hey, does it matter? Melissa is not going to last long in this competition.
Randy Randy says that the song suited Melissa and she has improved from last week. "That was hot!" he cries. Miss Paula babbles that Melissa is unique and she loves the voice and "the tone" which she can hear already from a radio. Miss Paula listens to the radio? For some reason, I can't imagine her doing something so mundane and normal like this, hmm. King Tut claims not to know what Melissa's problem is. Other than the fact that nobody knows who she is and she isn't one of his chosen ones? He thinks Melissa is not making any connection with the audience. Gee, I suppose the fact that nobody has seen her before last week has nothing to do with that, compared to the fact that I've seen Taylor, Chris, and Ace so many times at this point in the competition? King Tut can pretend all he wants that screentime and exposure make no difference to how long one lasts in this competition, but I suspect that Kevin won't last this long if the show doesn't shamelessly pimp him out as an absurd character rather than someone who cannot sing and shouldn't be on this show at all. Besides, don't forget, people: King Tut chose Carmurp the Goat Girl to advance in the Wild Card round back in the second season. That act alone should nullify any credibility he has as an arbiter of taste on this show. King Tut and the other two judges soon end up mock-quarreling because they clearly imagine that the show is all about them. Melissa says flippantly that she chose the song to showcase her personality but she shouldn't have bothered. Sleazie comes out and stands beside her, only to argue some more with King Tut. Melissa who?
In the Red Room, Sleazie asks everyone to visit the official website kingtutnakedwebcam.com where one can find cool stuff like audioclips of Miss Paula reciting her favorite pharmaceutical material, ringtones of Randy Randy's singing in the shower, and wallpapers of King Tut's hairy behind pressed against the glass of a Xerox machine. He then brings out Heather, whose presence on this show so far seems to be due to the color of her hair and bra size because it's certainly not her singing that is doing the trick, and gets her to reveal that she's singing Mariah Carey's Hero because no Mariah Carey song has been performed on this show before. Ah, but that's because Mariah Carey for her own reasons has never allowed her songs to be performed on the show until now. Maybe she's seen the light and realizes, like every person that has ever guest-performed or guest-appeared on this show, that having someone butcher your song before an audience of adoring tone-deaf housewives and little girls is the best way to get them to buy your CDs. Unfortunately for dear Mimi, her song will be performed by Heather rather than someone that gets the hearts of these dear homely housewives and their daughters throbbing with suburban jungle mall lust such as Chris or Taylor, so I don't think there will be a mad stampede to buy Mariah Carey CDs after Heather's performance.
Sleazie and Heather then discuss how Heather qualifies as an American Idol stalker. Even Sleazie looks like Heather is crazy and he regrets humoring her with his question. Then again, if Heather really tapes every episode of this show and rewatches it again and again, that means she must have sat through performances by tone-deaf tunemonkeys like Carmurp and Fatt Gross Bowel a million times by now. I don't blame Heather if she does turn out to be crazy. In her introductory clip, Heather talks about how she is a small-town gal who is thrilled to be on the show and that one time when she gets friendly with this lady with a huge boa constrictor. I wonder whether Heather realizes the kind of jokes people would make about her, with a name like Heather Cox, talking about playing with snakes in her video clip.
Her singing is as flat and uninteresting as it was in the previous week. She's not a terrible singer, but she's also a very ordinary singer, the kind whose singing will be passable in a beauty pageant. Compared to some of her competitors, however, poor Heather is way out of her league.
Eh, why is Miss Paula speaking first? Has Randy Randy passed out during Heather's performance? It's not that bad. I mean, Kevin isn't going to sing until tomorrow so the worst has not come yet, surely. Miss Paula in absolute gravity praises Heather for being beautiful - in Miss Paula's world, a girl is nothing if she's not beautiful - but says that there is a "big problem": when Heather takes on a song by someone as "iconic" as Mariah Carey, she runs a "huge risk" of being compared to Mimi dearest and Heather comes off poorly in comparison. Miss Paula thinks that Heather "did a good job but it wasn't great". Poor Heather. She should've chosen a song more to her level. Maybe something like Los Del Rio's Macarena. Randy Randy, who's switched places previously with Miss Paula because Miss Paula apparently needed to get away from King Tut before she explodes into a shower of pills, says pretty much the same thing and wants everyone to know that he's worked with Mariah Carey before. He's also probably wondering why Mariah isn't picking up his phone calls. Doesn't she know who he is? He's the great Randy Randy! While he's babbling, Miss Paula reacts to some interjection by King Tut by resting her head against Randy Randy's arm. My goodness, her face is truly scary to watch. Very dead eyes, each threatening to roll in different directions, and a grimace straight out of Mommie Dearest. I can watch Miss Paula do the crazy all day long, I tell you. King Tut agrees with the two judges, mentioning "ghastly pageants" where someone always gets up to sing "a Mariah song or something". It's "pointless", he says, if Heather can't perform as well as Mariah. Poor Heather. She insists to Sleazie that she does not regret her song choice but she does seem shaken after listening to the judges.
Sleazie is in the Red Room, seated with Brenna. Brenna gives this creepy and posed smile to the camera because she says that America loves this smile of hers. She tells Sleazie that she's going to perform Donna Summer's Last Dance because she thinks Donna has the same type of hair as hers. She vows to "own" the song. Her clip sees her saying that the best experience she's had so far is her deflowering of some half-deaf monkey-like fellow named Elliott Yunkey or something under the dinner table while Kevin was serenading everyone with his new song, How Miss Paula Made A Man Out Of Me - hey, just kidding about the Elliott thing, Yaminions, we all know he's remaining virginal and pure because he's going to marry every one of us, our sisters, and our mothers as well in a beautiful wedding. Brenna loves to be photographed and be the center of attention, no surprises there.
Oh, Brenna. How did she become from an amusing trainwreck in the previous week to a grotesque parody of herself this week? Perhaps a complete lack of self-awareness when it comes to restrain can do that to someone. The singing is very flat and utterly nasal. But then again, Brenna shouldn't be doing songs like Last Dance. She should be humping the stage with a Ciara song.
Miss Paula can't see the magic. Oh no, the pharmaceutical effects are wearing off! Brenna however thinks that America can see the magic. Randy Randy thinks that Brenna is similar to King Tut because those two think they can't do anything wrong. Now I know this whole exchange is scripted. Like Miss Paula, he can't see anything special in that performance. King Tut would've changed the song title to "Last Chance" because he thinks Brenna is truly finished this week, comparing the performance to a drunkard's warbling at a bar. Sleazie gives Brenna the rope to hang herself by asking her to tell him how she really feels and Brenna for once restrains herself enough to merely say that the judges are tough and everyone tonight did a good job.
Back in the Red Room, Sleazie is seated with Paris, who currently looks like the most unnatural thirtysomething woman in the world, and gets Paris to mention that she'll be hot tonight. In Paris' clip, she talks about how nice it is to be "just her" on the show, which will be nice if I believe that she even knows who the real her is. Like Lisa, Paris comes off as an unnatural singing robot who is trained so well to put on different acts on stage. Unlike Lisa, Paris is more fortunate in that she comes off like a ten year old girl forced never to grow up by her mother, a more sympathetic character compared to Lisa who is already a jaded and cynical forty-year old club singer trapped in a young girl's body.
How "hot" can Paris be if she is singing Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings, hmm? I can easly see poor Paris being forced to sing this song every year on Mother's Day, Teacher's Day, Father's Day, and any other Day for her school and everyone else willing to pay Paris' mother to see Paris put on her performing monkey act. I bet her mother has even trained Paris to perform this song on that day when Paris wins a Grammy for best new artist, a performance that Paris will of course dedicate to her mother who will also be her manager. Paris is polished in this performance, her singing is nearly faultless as always, but then again, being perfect and polished is what she is programmed to do. Poor Paris. Poor unnatural Paris.
I love how Ms Paula rubs her left eye like she can't care less about anything as she mechanically praises Paris for her clothes and singing. She calls Paris "another young one who blows..." and then realizing how that comes off as, shakes her head and tries to change tact. "Just makes this competition incredible!" she concludes. She tells Paris to celebrate the "fun" in being Paris, whatever that means. Randy Randy says that Paris is a versatile singer but claims that Paris is being safe in choosing such a song. He wants Paris to be the "hot young one". Paris should perform a Ciara song next week then, but then Randy Randy will say that the song is "not Paris". King Tut thinks Paris sounds too old in that song. Sleazie pretends that Paris can choose "hundreds of songs" to sing when we all know that the cheapskates of this show won't pay for the performance rights of many of today's biggest hits so the contestants are forced to choose every time for a selected and small list of songs. He asks Paris why she picks this song - the same question that he asked Paris back then in the Red Room, mind you - and Paris says that her great-grandmother likes that song and she likes Bette Midler. Is she trying to say that her great-grandmother forces her to sing that song again and again until she's perfect? Poor Paris.
In the Red Room, Sleazie approaches another singing songbot, Ayla, who says she will be singing one of Celine Dion's lesser hits, I Want You To Need Me. I love that song, by the way. Her introductory clip sees her playing up the fact that she's a tomboy who is thrilled to apply her own make-up, et cetera for the first time. What, no jokes about her wealthy Republican senator father hiring Mexican maids to apply her make-up for her?
Ayla starts out strong in her performance but curiously enough her voice fades off during the chorus as her voice seems to lack the strength to project itself clearly. This song has a powerful chorus that Celine Dion delivers with deceptive ease and I believe Ayla is realizing only now how deceptive that ease is. This performance is one that simply just fades away without making much of an impact.
Miss Paula stupidly says that clearly Ayla wants to win and claims that Ayla picked the right song and sang well. Randy Randy likes the performance and commends Ayla for choosing the correct song that accommodates her strengths very well. King Tut on the other hand calls Ayla an overachieving star, which Ayla denies vehemently, and explains that Ayla works very hard to win and he fears that Ayla is becoming too mechanical as a result. Well, what he thinks of Ayla, I think of Paris.
Oh, here's Kellie. In her clip, she reminds everyone that she is stupid, dumb, simple, and therefore lovable unlike the hideous Ayla that arouses the tall poppy syndrome in us. People who are too good are hateful! They make us mediocre people feel bad! Love Kellie, she's one of us! She's stupid and so-ooo-ooo cute in the process!
Kellie's performance of Bonnie Raitt's Something To Talk About is actually quite good though for her, surprisingly. Then again, this performance is probably one she has done many times before and the song doesn't force her to make grotesque vocal contortions, so for a Kellie Pickler performance, which is usually synonymous with ghastly noise pollution, this one is actually very good. It's not good by any standards, but by her own standards, this one is a homerun out of the ballpark.
Miss Paula uses "adorable" and "unpretentious" to describe Kellie. She really is a brilliant judge of character, that Miss Paula. Randy Randy also overpraises Kellie, calling her "a hot one". King Tut says that everyone cannot help but to like Kellie, so really, it's okay if she sucks as a singer, we must adore her because she's cute, likeable, and don't forget, calama-reeeeeeee. I really wonder why these judges are falling over themselves forcing everyone to adore Kellie. Kellie and Sleazie get more moments where Kellie gets to play out her dumb blonde shtick some more even when it's clear that Sleazie can't stand her, heh, and there you go, people. Kellie must be doing something to or with someone important on this show because I can't fathom why this ordinary-looking and unimpressive bimbo is given such a ridiculously obvious special preference on this show. There has to be an agenda somewhere, surely.
And finally, Mandisa closes the show. She tells Sleazie in the Red Room that she will be performing Faith Hill's Cry, a song that she has never performed before but one that she intends to perform anyway in order to represent Nashville. I notice for the first time at that moment that the sofa in the Red Room actually has Coke bottles as its pattern. Anyway, Mandisa's clip sees her saying that a highlight of her experiences so far is barking for Sleazie after claiming that she has "dog jaw". Sleazie should know all about being a dog, I suppose.
Mandisa's performance is easily the best of the night. It's not that good because there are some clear pitch problems during the performance, but this is the only performance that has energy. Mandisa sweeps the song up into a powerful gospel-like crescendo. This performance ends too soon because I really wish to hear more of it.
The judges are predictably lavish in their praises, too lavish actually, as if some human part of them that is still capable of feeling guilt needs to overpraise Mandisa to erase the bitter taste of having to overpraise Kellie a while earlier. But I'm all for overpraising someone who's pretty talented as opposed to trying to pass off poop as diamonds, so I'm all for the Mandisa Agenda. Randy Randy and King Tut however feel that Cry isn't her kind of song though. Mandisa and Sleazie reprise the dog jaw thing and Sleazie promises to try that trick on his mother. Knowing him though, his mother would probably assume that dog jaw is another imaginary physical defect Sleazie imagines himself to have and simply tells her son to go straight to his favorite nip-tucker without bothering her, although as always if Sleazie encounters a Christian Troy lookalike in his favorite plastic Ken doll factory, he should be considerate and introduce this doctor to Mrs Sleazie instead of trying to grab that man for himself.
Sleazie recaps the performances of the night and then tells everyone to go vote. The camera pans to the guys in the audience where David is mugging for the camera by making some really spastic faces. I think the howling noise is from him. As the ladies dance on stage or mingle, the credits roll and the ladies are done this week. Next up, the guys.