Season 5: Trouble

Electric guitars go twang-twang-twang as Ryan "Anyway You Want Me (That's How I Will Be)" Sleazebag stands amidst a sea of audience who have their heads turned to stare at the camera. I have a hunch that the plus-sized lady in red who is staring unblinkingly at the camera as if it is a big chunk of fried chicken and she hasn't eaten in an unheard of two hours must be a Taylor fan. There's something about her tacky red top that screams irony-free embracing of bad taste that is epitomized by the Vegas freakshow that is Taylor. Sleazie says that in just two weeks two "ordinary people" would be entertaining 50 million Americans in the finale that will also be broadcast to 34 countries (according to Sleazie). Eh? Since when are an epileptic grey-haired paunch, an ice princess, an expressionless walking emo-rock cliché, and a walking Adam Sandler parody of Planet of the Apes considered "normal"?

And what a Planet of the Apes hunk indeed, sigh. I actually broke down after the last episode and hastily purchased a copy of Michael Bublé's It's Time before anyone I know caught me in that shameful act because I just cannot get Elliott's rendition of Home out of my mind. I think I've gone to a dark and desolate place indeed when I listen to that CD and find myself thinking that I prefer Elliott's version of Home, unpolished nervous vibratos and oversinging and all, to the polished and too-smooth song on the CD because it lacks the honest raw imperfections of Elliott's live performance to give the song a touch of poignancy. I'm really going crazy to be so into a male contestant of a reality TV show, I tell you. I'm not even like this with Bo last season. This must be what watching five seasons of this show can do to one's mental stability. So please bear with me, people, if I get carried away a little whenever I talk about Elliott.

Back to the show, the doors of the Mothership slide open after the credits have finished rolling and... he-eeee-eee-re's Sleazie! The crowd cheers especially loudly for him, although I can't see why since he's wearing a boring dark-hued variation of those boring suit and jacket thingies he has unfortunately ditched his T-shirts and leather jeans for in the last two seasons. Maybe he has slipped the sound people an extra twenty tonight so that they would amp up the volume of the audience and give the audience at home the impression that the cheerings for him are louder than usual tonight. A sign in the audience greets Katharine from her fans in China. I guess I can make a very bad joke about political refugees watching this show but I'd rather not invite trouble in my mailbox, heh.

Sleazie looks happy today compared his bored expression during the show in the previous week as he talks about how hard it is at this point of the competition for the Four as well as for the audience. What's so hard? The audience at home know who they want to vote for already and their fingers by now must be used to the rapid hammering on phone keys every week. Nobody is changing his or her mind about supporting a favorite contestant so there's nothing hard at all for the viewers. There's nothing hard at all for Taylor as well because he can go on stage and lay an egg while singing, "If you're happy and you know it and you really wanna show it, just spank my behind!" and his Soul Patrol fans will still vote two hours straight for him. If we're talking about Katharine and Elliott, then yes, these two may feel some pressure as they are essentially fighting for second and third place after tonight, but for their fans, there's nothing easier than redialling a set of numbers for two hours straight before hugging each other and screaming in dramatic terror or excitement at the figures on Dialidol as they wait for the results show on the following day. I don't think anybody is going to say, "Oh, wow, Taylor sings better than Elliott so I will vote two hours for Taylor this time!" More like, "This is for you, my baby sweetie Pookum Elliott, I love you! I love you!" as the overworked fingers start bleeding all over a Nokia cellphone.

Sleazie now introduces what he calls the "dysfunctional family" of this show: Randy "Hound Dawg" Randy, Miss "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" Paula, and King "She Thinks I Still Care" Tut. Tonight King Tut doesn't look at Miss Paula first like he usually did in the past few episodes, instead he stares at Sleazie with this naughty tight smile on his face from the get go. It is as if these two are daring the world to see and accept their love that shall not be spoken on this show. Sleazie now explains that the Four will perform two songs each and there will be two lines for each as well, and the theme this week is the songs by Elvis Presley, who Sleazie calls the "original American Idol". Of course, Elvis was also the first very big manufactured superstar that churned out crappy movies and fluffy songs as if artistic integrity can be mass-produced in a factory chain line and for a long time he was controlled by evil managers. Then he finally got to be free of these managers, grew fat and terrible to watch and listen to, and died. Yup, he's definitely the first American Idol in every tragic context and manner.

The Elvis homage video comes on to salute the first very famous white guy to perform the kind of music that mainstream America didn't really care as much about as when the same kind of music was performed by African-Americans. Same old story, repeat every decade, really (see: Vanilla Ice, Eminem). I had a big crush on Elvis after watching his crappy movies on late-night TV and now as I think back to his sad fame-is-screwed-up life story, I have to shake my head at the tragedy of him dying while trying to take a dump at home, at that time scorned by all but the same Vegas-flocking people that most likely sired the fans of Kewpie and Taylor today.

The Four are flown to Graceland where they received a welcoming reception by women who are told to pretend that they are actually getting to meet real celebrities that will share pot and more with them at the back of a limo. Priscilla Presley comes out to greet the Four and I am startled by how much she looks like Katharine a few decades down the road. Those two have the same hair (different colors) and facial structures and all, they could pass themselves off as mother and daughter when standing side by side. The Four's "tutor" that week will be no other than Tommy Mottola, Mariah Carey's former jailkeeper and a person that Elvis will no doubt appreciate polluting his home should Elvis be alive like his crazier fans insist that he is. Tommy then gets his own homage montage. Priscilla tells the Four that Elvis will cheer them on if he's still alive today. That reminds me, didn't this crazy woman once say that she gets messages from Elvis from beyond the grave, or am I confusing her with one of Jim Morrison's two kooky wives?

Back to the Mothership, Sleazie wants to know who the next American Idol will be and the audience cry out what seems like "Woooooooooh!" I think the teleprompter must be broken and they have therefore no idea how to respond to Sleazie's question.

Starting off the show is no other than Taylor. He promises to have some fun in his introductory clip so here it is, people, Jailhouse Rock, complete with what he calls "dancing and the whole nine yards". On one hand, I admire the abundant self-confidence he must possess to be able to dress in the ugliest and tackiest clothes possible, stick his paunch out, and wiggle his big fat thighs and brick house behind like nobody's business without feeling an ounce of self-consciousness. His "dancing" is no different from his previous "dancing" - moving in a series of small Gollum-like hops while making claw-hand gestures at the camera and retaining a half-squat posture that has me thinking, "Is this how Elvis was when he tried to reach for the roll of toilet paper... and died?" At least Kewpie has the excuse of looking like a bizarre breeding accident between kd lang and ET, but Taylor is just a hammy greying uncle singing and dancing at his kids' wedding party. I suppose it is easy to find his confidence charming but at the end of the day, he still remains cheesy and ridiculous.

It is a good thing, I suppose, that if I close my eyes and listen to him, his performance is actually really good. He's on key, he's singing with gusto, and with my eyes closed I can actually shake my shoulders and bop my head to his performance. Still, Taylor is cruising to the finals by playing the class clown and ham. Sure, people always like watching a spastic performing monkey, but Taylor needs to do something to sustain a career once the novelty of his stage antics wear off. Of course, that's his problem. The people behind this show can't care less what happens to his career after the show as long as his fans keep the money pouring in via text-message charges and tour/merchandise purchases while the iron is still hot and the sun is still shining over the fad that is Taylor Hicks.

Hey, Jeri Ryan is in the audience. She should be, I suppose, since it's not like she has offers knocking on her door since Boston Public got cancelled. Wow, the kid beside her - her son? - has the sharpest cheek bones I've ever seen. He can use them to grate hard chunks of cheese.

Randy Randy likes Taylor's performance, especially when it helped Taylor slip back into the box that Randy Randy has put Taylor in since day one. Miss Paula misuses the word "original" to describe Taylor when Taylor is just doing an Elvis impersonation on stage but I don't think anyone ever expects Miss Paula to be coherent, sane, or even lucid. King Tut tries to inject some sense into the proceedings by pointing out that at this point of the competition it isn't the best time to start being self-indulgent and put on performances that reminded him of "terrible impersonation" that is "hideous; karaoke with a capital K". I think the singing is actually much better than King Tut believes it was, but on the whole I agree with him. As Sleazie joins Taylor on stage, Taylor's only coherent statements are "Soul patrol! Soul patrol!" and how he is having a good time. Is Taylor capable of saying something that isn't as insipid as his stage theatrics? Perhaps I will find out when he wins and he has to start giving interviews to the media if I actually care. Meanwhile, Sleazie accuses King Tut of not living in the real world because apparently people in real world must love Taylor. Is it because people in "unreal world" like King Tut have expensive cars and big houses and more, like Sleazie claims, and therefore they can be more discriminate in their entertainment? We mere mortals in the real world, I suppose, will have to find what entertainment we can even if it's in the form of the biggest Vegas freakshow since Siegfried and Roy commissioned a giant mural of themselves sporting oversized penises while taming tigers and receiving blessings from God to be put up in their living room.

Chris takes the stools with Sleazie where he reveals that he wears boxer-briefs. No, not over his head, in case you're wondering, heh. Chris also reveals that he shamelessly keeps tab of what his online fans call themselves (my particular suggestion to my husband early in the season when we came up with ridiculous names for each fandom, A-Daughterous Wives, never caught on, alas) and greedily accepts gifts from the A-Daughterous Wives in question.

He takes the stage with Suspicious Minds, a song that he claims is his favorite Elvis song. Hey, it's one of my favorites too. Oh, Chris, if my heart isn't chained with bananas to a certain Monkey Boy, I could probably start sending him cheap boxer-briefs that I will pinch from the nearby Salvation Army donation pile because I'm cheap and I also find his performance good enough for me to give it a two thumbs up. He sort of lets things peter out towards the middle when he slows the pace down and doesn't really manage to get back the urgency he displayed at the start of the performance, but that's okay with me. I like this performance and I'm really starting to get into this more versatile side of Chris that can pull off Elvis as easily as he pulls off Fuel, but then he has to leave just when I'm starting to have fun. How typical of my luck when it comes to this kind of shows, really.

Randy Randy likes the performance even if he doesn't think that Chris delivered his best vocals in that performance. I don't know what Randy Randy means but I suspect that it's because Chris didn't conform to the rocker box that Randy Randy wants Chris to always stay inside. Miss Paula claims that we all forget what a great song that is until Chris sings it, which is pure silliness since Dwight Yoakum also did a pretty good cover version of that song. Is it possible that Miss Paula has never even heard of that song until tonight? She says that she will see Chris at the finals. Wait, aren't we already in the finals? Never mind, she's crazy. King Tut simply says that aside from Chris' sunglasses, the performance worked very well for him. Sleazie and Chris then assume the same "Why is this homosexual rubbing my back?" pose that they do every week after Chris' performance. They're too funny, really, especially when Chris' facial expression in this scene for this episode is pretty much the same as that in the last episode. Sleazie then educates Chris on TV that boxer-briefs are also called "hybrids". I learn something new for once on this show so thanks, Sleazie!

Elliott now steps up to perform If I Can Dream, hoping that he can show his "love me tender" side to his audience. Will I embarrass myself by pointing out that a less refined form of "love me tender" comes to mind when I watch and listen to this performance? I will? Okay, so I won't, heh. Tommy Mottola has reservations about what he calls Elliott's "Bar Mitzvah performance" during the rehearsals but I, being the unbiased Elliott fan that I am, of course think that he sounds pretty good in this performance. I normally don't care for sentimental "You can do anything if you dream and fly!" songs like If I Can Dream but Elliott seems determined to drag me screaming and kicking into loving even that schmaltzy song. Oh, for once, the volume of his sublime voice soars loudly and clearly - thank you, sound people, I will never insult you guys again! - and his performance actually gets bigger and bigger in volume and epic drama proportions until he hits a crescendo that has the audience on their feet clapping for him.

Why isn't this beautifully bombastic epic performance scheduled to be the closing performance of the night, I will never know. Maybe he should try control his vibrato a little, a criticism often levelled at him that I find fair enough, but when he sings about flying like an angel, I want to stand up and clap for him as well. Damn, he's really good. I don't normally care for the whole jazz-blues sound that Elliott clearly excels the most in and he's going to indoctrinate me into the genre if he keeps up with what he is doing. Is it just me or "indoctrinate" seems like a dirty word that I should feel vaguely guilty for using in the previous sentence?

Randy Randy calls the performance superb ("You laid it out!") the best of his ability considering his limited vocabulary and all. Miss Paula, who was earlier seen telling someone behind her that this performance was Elliott's best, tells Elliott that King Tut told her that Elvis used this song as a big closer for his performances and then changes topic to tell Elliott that the performance was his best. King Tut tells Elliott that he came into this show tonight as an underdog and chose a comparatively lesser-known Elvis song but Elliott delivered the best performance nonetheless so far. Props to Sleazie for finding a way to use the word "evolve" when speaking to the dear, dear Monkey Boy, by the way. Ooh, did you guys catch that? Elliott is winking at the audience again. Big ears, manic eyes, imperfect teeth, an aversion to shaving, his fascinating "I'm king, hear me roar/I'm nervous and shaking in my feet" personality dichotomy, and a voice that makes me sigh - I don't think I will ever find on this show in the near future another non-generically hot and fascinatingly ugly/beautiful fellow with a voice that sends chills up and down my spine.

Sleazie earns his pay by plugging for Cingular, the dialtones one can find on the official website, and pretends to give the phone away to a random fellow in the audience. Oh please, as if this show will be so cheap as to give anyone in the audience something without demanding cold hard cash for it!

Katharine closes the show with a first of sorts on this show: instead of performing an entire song, she's decided to perform instead a medley of Hound Dog and All Shook Up. She's determined to be different in some way in her performance, it seems, and I like that. She clearly flubs the lyrics to the All Shook Up part in the middle of the performance, which is a pity because the parts of Hound Dog that opens and closes the medley are really good. I tell you, this is the best final four ever because I find all of them equally enjoyable to watch and listen to... okay, in Taylor's case, just listening to, I'll pass on the watching part. Katharine manages to strike the perfect mix of cheeky flirtation, sass, and poise to rock the joint with Hound Dog. Her volume falters in All Shook Up, no doubt because she forgets the words and her confidence takes a beating at that moment, and that's a brief hiccup in an otherwise fabulous performance.

Hey, Nikachu from the previous season is in the audience.

Randy Randy enjoyed the performance but is concerned about the weak middle. Katharine admits that she forgot the words but points out that she "turned it around", which her way of saying that she quickly turned her back to the audience, maybe to distract them from her boo-boo with her behind or something. I'm pretty sure that method of hers worked with my hubby, heh. Miss Paula really likes how Katharine showed her behind to the camera, saying that the choreography is the best part of the performance. If that isn't a backhanded compliment, I don't know what that is. King Tut thinks that the performance was a desperate and manic one, comparable to a shrieky "I can sing! I can dance!" audition for some theatrical production. He doesn't find the performance good enough but concedes that it won't be easy for Katharine to pull of Elvis' songs. Maybe because she's female, I suppose, which is probably true in some way since we have all seen how the guys couldn't pull off Gloria Estefan back in the third season. He adds that she has one more performance to wow the audience. Sleazie tries to get everyone to agree that Katharine, being female, will have a tough time competing with the guys in a theme that will favor the guys. Katharine simply says that she's had fun, this show's shorthanded way of saying, "Um... whatever."

Taylor is up again and this time he will perform In The Ghetto. After a pointless attempt at comedy at the stools with Sleazie, he takes the stage to demonstrate that he can be as sedate as he is manic. "Sedate" as applied to him means that he only spasms in the shoulders with every syllable while having some motor control over his legs. Again, the singing is great, although a part of me wonders why a whitebread guy like Taylor is singing about hard life on the streets. I know he was busted for possession of marijuana once upon a time, but that doesn't mean he can pull off a song like this convincingly. I personally think even Elvis couldn't pull off a convincing performance of this song, so at the end of the day I think Taylor should've chosen a more fluffy song to suit his cheesy stage persona.

Randy Randy and Miss Paula like the performance, no surprises there, while King Tut finds this performance a world apart from the first performance in terms of how much enjoyed it. He thinks that Taylor is moving on to the "semi-finals" - what, weren't the semi-finals over some nine weeks ago? - and calls Taylor "young man". I'd like to believe that King Tut is secretly laughing inside at Taylor when he calls Taylor that. During all this, the camera zooms in on Will Farrell in the audience, which feels somehow most appropriate indeed.

It's time now for Chris to strut his stuff one more time and it's A Little Less Conversation for him this time around. I find overall the performance is a little too much of a one-note until the end when he steps up a key and injects more energy into his singing, but I really love Chris' rapidfire delivery of the song in his sexy masculine low register. I wish he has kicked up things by midway of the performance instead of the last few seconds, but on the whole I find myself once more enjoying myself immensely. I think this is the best episode ever in all the seasons I've watched because I'm pretty much loving every performance so far. It's a pity that he doesn't actually follow through with his mock swinging of the mic stand at the floor and really break the mic stand at the end, heh.

Randy Randy and Miss Paula like the performance but King Tut finds the performance too monotonous for his liking and says that he prefers Chris' first performance. That's fair of King Tut, I think. I also prefer Chris' more lively first performance but I certainly won't mind seeing Chris perform A Little Less Conversation on stage again, preferably in its full length where he can finally get wild and break the mic stand at the end. If he does that, I think I'd let him rescue me from my life of sin and depravity anytime. When Sleazie comes out to join him on stage, Chris most amusingly is already bending his body forward in anticipation of Sleazie putting his hand on the man's shoulder, which of course Sleazie does the moment he reaches Chris. It looks like Chris is getting used to how things are done in Hollywood. Those two men talk about how Chris want to "stay true" to Elvis before hysterically striking the same pose that they always do while Sleazie rattles off Chris' number. Do these two rehearse getting into that pose every week or something? And Chris of course once more has the same facial expression that he has every time they strike this pose. Oh, these two twits are too funny for words sometimes!

Elliott is back again and this time it's Trouble, which if you can remember was also performed by Cattle in the previous season in the final five episode. He picks this song because he wants to show his "wild" and "rebellious" side to the audience. What, Elliott has a wild side? Those fangs and wild wolf hair on his face sure could've fooled me! He comes out wearing a shirt that, if you ask me, is nicely unbuttoned enough to make me wish that it is unbuttoned a little more, that tease. After a relatively weak start where he comes off like a weary guy instead of a rascally one, Elliott manages to notch up the volume and brings on the runs to deliver a very good performance. I would have preferred Elliott displaying some rascally attitude to make this performance more convincing but hey, the singing is sublime enough that it's okay if guys fake it once a while. When Elliott finishes the performance with his rare confident expression, as if he knows that he has scored a home run vocally with this baby and he's pleased as punch about it, that is the kind of attitude that I would have loved to see in him when he was performing. This song needs a cocky pleased-as-punch he's-too-good-and-he-knows-it Elliott with a big swagger to make it work. Still, for me, this performance is good enough!

Randy Randy and Miss Paula blab in their pointlessly moronic way about loving the performance and King Tut says that Elliott has come out with guns blazing, so to speak, to make sure that everyone knows that he wants to and he deserves to move on. To win. To marry me. To get me to administer his insulin shots. Or something. Ahem. Can we move on to Katharine now before I lose what little that is left of my dignity altogether? Sleazie joins Elliott on the stage where Elliott does some cute begging for votes, which is cute because he really needs them since he never has enough and also because he is genuinely pleased that he's given a good performance. He is sweating like crazy while muttering that he has got to step things up, which explains why Sleazie doesn't even try to touch him like he always do to other male contestants. Instead, Sleazie "jokes" about how Miss Paula was dancing like a stripper to Elliott's performance. The punchline is that Sleazie thinks Miss Paula's dancing is worth a tip of only one dollar. King Tut tells Sleazie to remember that this is a "family show" - which explains why Mom has Dad, the two teenagers, and the baby all dialling phone numbers for two hours after the show or she will make sure that they will eat dog food for the rest of their lives - and Sleazie tells him to stop spoiling his fun. Pleased with his own jab at Miss Paula, Sleazie forgets that Elliott is sweating buckets and places his hand on Elliott's back. Watch Sleazie's abruptly stoic face when that happens. He's a riot to watch tonight and I love that.

Katharine closes the show with Can't Help Falling In Love, although the post-1970s crowd may be more familiar with UB40's perplexing cover version of that song. Katharine tries to do justice to what she considers the most romantic ballad Elvis had ever recorded but she oversings more and more to the point that she sacrifices melody for glory notes. It's Who Wants To Live Forever all over again: there are some good moments here, especially when she's singing more subtly at the start of the performance, but she's shouting so much towards the end that she comes off sounding like a hot mess of tuneless overbelting. Ugh, this is definitely not one of her good performances. In fact, I think it's her worst performance, which, at this late stage of the competition, could be fatal where the votes from random not-so-invested audience at home who may otherwise be moved to vote for her are concerned.

Randy Randy thinks that Katharine "ran out of air" towards the end of the performance, which is fair, but he thinks this performance is better than the first one, which gets a big "You're kidding me!" from me. Miss Paula on the other hand likes the first performance better, which gets a big "I'm agreeing with Miss Paula. Huh?" from me. King Tut reasonably says that tonight is not Katharine's best night. For this particular performance, the arrangement and the singing were too over-the-top for King Tut. He tells her that she is in danger given her song choices tonight as well as the fact that King Tut feels that she is at a natural disadvantage in a night where the theme is Elvis songs. Again, that's a reasonable assumption so I don't know where Katharine's detractors are getting the impression that King Tut is favoring her above their darling Chris or Elliott.

Oh yes, let me go on a tangent here - Elliott fans out there, we all love Elliott, but if you insist that this show refuses to acknowledge his greatness, you're freaking crazy. In this episode alone he's lauded as the breakout superstar by all three judges. Speculating about conspiracy theories is fun and I do that myself, but it is ridiculous to start making up conspiracy theories out of thin air to explain why your favorite contestant gets the boot. Elliott receives more than his fair share of praises, so all those constant wailing about the show supposedly trying to put Elliott down is plain crazy talk. Calling Katharine the "stealth chosen one" or some nonsense like that to explain why Chris gets the booted is also crazy because Chris is one of the heavily pimped contestants on this show and just because he gets the boot doesn't mean that he's automatically not the chosen one anymore. Conspiracy theories made in the name of fun using things that actually took place in an episode help make watching this show a more enjoyable experience. Making up things that never happened (like the Elliott Oppression and the Non-Pimping of Chris) just to blame other contestants for the boot of their darling favorite contestants however is ridiculous, even more so when the people who come up with these things insist that their own delusions are facts and start long and bitter flame wars with fans of Taylor and Katharine in the process. Katharine is not the Whore of Babylon just because Chris gets the boot because... seriously, people! The few times I happen to peek at the show forums in this season only make me wonder why so many crazy people seem to make up the dominant faction of the fandom.

Back to this show, Sleazie recaps the performances and tell everyone to go vote until their fingers fall off.

Results show. Sleazie babbles about someone getting sent home and other canned babblings before the credits roll. Sleazie comes out on stage while the camera zooms in on Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romjin in the audience. I'm always impressed by the calibre of the stars that this show attracts as fans every season. Sleazie in the meantime reminds everyone that the finale is only two weeks ago but one poor sod will leave tonight, hopes crushed and all. It occurs to me as I squint to catch some signs in the audience that it seems like fat people like the Lady in Red I've seen at the start of yesterday's show are shoved to the back while the skinny and more photogenic folks are allowed to sit in the front row. I suppose this show wants to maintain the delusion that nobody watching this show is overweight and everyone looks like a teen star centerfold.

Sleazie recaps the performances of the previous night. Then it's time for the Ford clip, with the Four singing you-know-who's What A Wonderful World as Katharine drives a Hybrid - no, silly, a Ford kind of hybrid, not Chris' boxer-briefs - into the lane of some house only to realize that Elliott, Taylor, and Chris have stuffed the garage with their rubbish and she can't squeeze her Ford Hybrid into it. Those three men then clear the garage with Elliott using the hose for a tired and just played out "Look ma, I'm shooting huge spurts from my hose" moment, plant greens and bring in birds and fish into the garage to create some bizarre jungle scene, and Katharine then parks the Ford inside. If that isn't a perfect depiction of how Ford automobiles rape nature without mercy, I don't know what is. Oh, and Kermit makes a guest appearance, which of course unleashes the inevitable torrential outpouring of "Katharine is Miss Piggy" jokes. I tell you, sometimes this show seems to be deliberately mocking everything about itself.

Sleazie plugs the upcoming tour that kicks off on July 6 - get your tickets now, Yaminions, for a chance to witness Elliott's stigmata on stage! - before introducing the filler of the day: a clip of the Four's antics in Graceland. Lisa Marie Presley takes time from her busy career of being Elvis Presley's daughter and Michael Jackson's ex-wife to give the Four on a guided tour around the place and there are some screaming girls here and there, all in all a boring advertisement for Graceland because there's no Taylor reenacting Elvis' possible last few seconds in this world to make things interesting. Back on the Mothership, the Four then take the stage for a medley of Elvis songs. Elliott is too soft but he sounds eeriely like Elvis in his solo during Don't Be Cruel. Then the guys perform Blue Suede Shoes with Katharine twirling rather dramatically on the stage. Taylor takes a solo in Heartbreak Hotel while singing like a twitching creepy Igor before Katharine gets her solo during Are You Lonesome Tonight. Chris then gets his solo during Love Me Tender. He sounds the best of the Four in his solo, by the way. The Four then get together to sing I Just Can't Help Believing. Each of them then gets a solo of a few lines each during Burning Love. The Four sound so lifeless and lethargic during the group singing moments but I'm glad that group performances are back in this season so I won't complain too much.

And because this show hasn't made it so obvious that Taylor is going to win, apparently Rebecca Romjin doesn't just want to pitch the upcoming X-Men movie, she also wants to see Taylor reprise the performance of Jailhouse Rock. Taylor then obliges this "spontaneous" request even as I feel a few blood vessels in my head spontaneously explode. Where's my remote control? Let me just fast forward this scene until... ah yes, results time. On Sleazie's right are Elliott and Taylor while on his left are Katharine and Chris. Which pair are the bottom two? Why, Chris and Katharine, of course. After Taylor's "impromptu" pimp moment, can you even believe for a moment that he's in any way close to being in the bottom two?

Taylor immediately goes down on his knees and hollers when he's declared safe, a fact that those imbecile fans conveniently overlook when they criticize Katharine for being too happy when their favorite ones get the boot. Down to Chris and Katharine now, Sleazie gets King Tut to say that the man feels that Katharine should go based on the performances of the previous night, as if he actually believes that the quality of performances matters at this point in the competition. Katharine looks like she believes she is leaving and Chris believes that too. So it is most satisfying to see his shock and subsequent anger when Sleazie tells him, "A lot of people predicted that Chris would be the American Idol... Chris, you are going home tonight." He delivers the coup d'grace slowly like he's a schoolteacher explaining things to a slow student, complete with him bending his body forward a little so that he can look at Chris face to face. Katharine is shocked too but not as shocked as Chris is, bwahahaha. Miss Paula breaks down and cries while poor Chris' goodbye performance after the eulogy clip is cut short because Taylor stole all his airtime.

Taylor has officially won at this point of the competition because Katharine and Elliott will never find enough fans to threaten Taylor in any way. Are you happy now, people? One more episode, and then, the spectacular kaboom.