Season 5: Just Once

Ryan "I Am Changing" Sleazebag comes on my TV screen, standing his "You can't touch these!" stance among an audience whose heads are turned to stare creepily at the camera, and oh dear, we have a problem. His hair is now cropped short to the point that his head looks almost rectangular and his ears seemed huge now. And then he's wearing pink shirt with purple horizontal stripes underneath a navy-coloured suit jacket, matched with a bright blue tie and... oh my, he looks like a dorkish accountant. This is not good at all. His head seems bigger, his mouth seems bigger, and... the hotness has died. What happened, Sleazie? He talks about how it is another Tuesday today and it's another challenge for the Six. It's also a challenge for me to watch this show and then write a recap about it, but you don't see me butchering my own spectacular beauty like Sleazie did to his not-that-spectacular hotness.

The credits have barely finished when the doors of the Mothership slide open and Sleazie walks on to the stage. The camera zooms in on Stevie Scott in the audience who shrugs in what she hopes to be a sexy way to the folks at home. I don't think many people remember who she is though. Her appearance on the show tonight is pretty amusing because we have Andrea Bocelli as the guest judge and his music is the kind of music that she claims to be good at, heh. Sleazie says that six wannabes have been sent packing home and he then adds that last week was especially sad for the "ladies" because Ace went home. Shouldn't "ladies" be more accurately "girls under the age of fifteen"? The audience has to be reminded to go "Aww!" and even then, they do so half-heartedly. Poor Ace - I don't think people miss him that much on the show. Sleazie then says that hey, don't worry, "ladies", there are still some heartthrobs on the show. The crowd cheer half-heartedly - sheesh, did everyone take a dose of tranquilizers today or something? - and Sleazie makes an adorable "Eeeuw, can you believe the things I'm saying?" expression as he introduces Randy Randy and King Tut as the "heartthrobs". Honey, the way those two are "heartthrobs" is that if they make the heart beat faster in panic when those two show up on the show wearing only their birthday suits.

Sleazie and King Tut exchange their usual "Damn you!" and "I know, I'm sexy like that!" eye contact before Sleazie reveals that each of the Six will have two phone lines today so that all the people watching this show can bring in friends and hapless family members so that everyone can work overtime to send in votes for their favorite ones. I'm sure fans of Katharine, Elliott, and Paris have their fingers and their minions' fingers all ready because these three (especially Katharine and Elliott) are obviously vulnerable compared to the untouchable Egghead, Airhead, and Bedhead trio of Chris, Kellie, and Taylor.

Sleazie says that it's time for moonlighting and scented candles because the Six will be seducing everyone with what Sleazie calls "classic love songs". That's the theme of this episode and no, Taylor won't be performing the Divinyls' classic ode to self-love I Touch Myself even if it's clear that he loves himself so much that no one can come between himself and himself. Sleazie reveals that Andrea Bocelli is here to introduce himself to middle-America, oops, I mean, to tutor the Six. By the way, if you need more evidence of the kind of morons that watch this show, there's a classic post on a certain forum from a soccer mom idiot where she goes, "Why did he keep his eyes closed like that?" When some sarcastic replies let her know that Andrea Bocelli is blind, she has the amusing temerity to say that all blind people open their eyes so Andrea Bocelli is obviously so very annoying and untalented. Besides, she thinks Taylor is better than Andrea Bocelli. Oh, some of the people watching this show, I tell you. They are walking illustrations of how scary it can be when stupid people keep breeding. Because it probably takes three people to whip the Six in shape (if I count the resident vocal coach Debra Byrd, that is), David Foster is roped in too.

But first, a tribute montage to Andrea Bocelli, the monster that spawns all kinds of gruesome vaguely-Mediterranean bunch of bland and milquetoast warblers like Il Divo that make their fortune from exploiting the fact that many people are automatically touched in the heart to open their purses and wallets the moment some passable tenor warbles over the radio in Spanish, "Ooooo Mama woo-hoo-hoo mi amor wah-wah oooh corazon ai-ai-ai oooh I love women, hot hot women, oooh!" Celine Dion says that if God has a voice, He will sound like Andrea Bocelli. Sleazie calls him the "most successful classical artist of all time", although if you ask me, "classical artist" is pushing it when it comes to describing Mr All Of You Are So Beautiful here. He specializes in serving cheese and sugar wrapped in stars, promises of exotic Mediterranean love affairs, and an admittedly lovely voice that causes me to end up with three CDs from this guy hidden in my underwear drawer. Sad, I know. I blame Con Te Partiṛ, which is later rerecorded as a duet with alien banshee queen Sarah Brightman (who I also love, so feel free to snigger at my lamentable music tastes) and retitled Time To Say Goodbye. Listening to Bocelli in small doses makes me dream of lovely things like a cottage in Tuscany where I'm free to just run around barefoot under the sun while housework and other petty worries magically take care of themselves. He does, after all, have a very romantic tenor.

David Foster and Andrea Bocelli are here to promote Amore (A-Bo sings while D-Fo produces the CD) so they lower themselves to spend a few hours of staged mentoring sessions with the Six. D-Fo, by the way, has won fourteen Grammy awards according to the tribute clip and you know Randy Randy is burning inside to hear that. Sleazie also mentions these two's Vegas show Amore Under The Desert Sky which comes complete with fireworks - whoosh! - to make up for the fact that A-Bo's stage shows see his merely standing still on stage and singing. As those two praise each other for being the best everything in the world, I am pleased to say that I do not have A-Bo's latest CD because A-Bo's romanticism dissipates very quickly when he starts singing in English (see his duet with Celine Dion, The Prayer) and he is exposed as what he is: a guy who sells sentimental sop with an "exotic" accented tenor and contrived optimism .

The Six meet the D-Fo/A-Bo duo in the Taj of Beverly Hills where it just happens that A-Bo is warbling while D-Fo is playing away at the piano when the Six walk into the room. Obviously this show would love me to believe that the D-Fo/A-Bo duo are the best of friends that spend their free time launching into impromptu concerts of unparalleled brilliance. Unfortunately, A-Bo ends up warbling what seems like "Me monke-eee-eee-ee-ey!" when the Six walk in. Elliott must feel really honored that A-Bo is singing Elliott's song. The Six stand there looking reserved, no doubt not knowing who A-Bo is, instead of squealing and jumping like they always do in this kind of clips. It is even more hilarious when D-Fo gets A-Bo to demonstrate some vocal warm-ups by doing some runs and only Katharine - whose mother is a voice teacher, remember - seems to get it while the other five end up causing D-Fo to stop playing the piano and go, "Whoa!" Even then, Katharine chuckles with the others while looking aside and clearly rollng up her eyes. D-Fo asks aloud about the Six to the direction of the camera, "What are these?" He tells the camera that anyone that cannot "cut" in his studio is "gone, period" because "it" is "hardball", whatever "it" is.

D-Fo then starts criticizing the Six (Elliott is flat at a high note, Chris is not singing from his stomach, Kellie... well, she just acts like it's a joke when he tries to say something to her, et cetera) and says to the camera that if people can't sing, they will die in the real world. Tell that to Britney Spears, D-Fo. A-Bo suddenly says, "You will become great only if it's in your destiny!" Right. This is the kind of sentimental nonsense that Bocelli sells as his public image so I'm expecting him to say this kind of rubbish, really. D-Fo sarcastically asks, "Oh really? You think?" A-Bo misses the sarcasm and rambles about how you will get a break only if people want you to sing. Omigosh, that is destiny! Isn't that romantic? A-Bo is so dreamy and wise in the ways of love, I tell you, I think I'm pregnant with his septuplets after just listening to him say the word "destiny", each alphabet in A-Bo's Dreamy Word of Seduction fertilizing my eggs like the Powerful Italian Seed that only the Voice of God that is A-Bo can command.

Katharine gets the go first. She will be performing Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing. Is there a season where this song is not performed? Still, D-Fo wrote and produced the song so at least this time Katharine has some decent reason to choose this song. D-Fo and A-Bo told her to soften her tone and perform a smoother run in the chorus instead of blasting out the song, which makes plenty of sense, and Katharine manages to please D-Fo enough in her singing to have him saying that Katharine has a beautiful and clean voice. This brings up the possibility of Katharine singing opera and the duet with A-Bo in an impromptu piano-led The Prayer.

Katharine shows up on stage with a cleavage-bearing yellowish dress that must have come from the same person that made Trenyce's red dress in season two. Maybe there's a law about looking glamorous while you're supposed to sing this song. Watching her, my husband goes, "Becky O'Dona-who?" The first time I watch this performance, I find myself staring at her cleavage in reluctant fascination because I am very sure that those kittens will somehow pop out of that dress. But when she starts walking furiously a few steps on the stage as she goes into high runs, a button clearly pops open. Katharine quickly grabs her skirt to prevent the high slit from showing too much but that doesn't stop her inadvertent yellow-panties peekaboo from being screencapped and posted all over the Web, heh. When I rewatch her performance again, this time not distracted completely by her dress and wardrobe malfunction, I have to say that I don't know what the judges are listening to because Katharine sounds good. She can't fully reach the higher register that one would expect from Whitney's version but on the whole, I feel that this is a pretty competent performance. Trenyce's version is still the best but Katharine's version is not too bad. Is it because she's a white woman singing a Whitney Houston song that draws out all the knives in the judges' drawers?

Oh look, Sasha Cohen is in the audience. She's turning into a reality TV fixture, isn't she?

Randy Randy complements the song choice but says that the song was way too big for Katharine. How can the song choice be good then if the song is too big for her? Only Randy Randy will know, I guess. He thinks that the performance wasn't close to that of Whitney in her prime. I checked back my recaps of the previous season and Randy Randy praised Vonzell's intensive care unit performance of that song. I don't know what to say. Vonzell was barely on key in that performance and she can barely reach what Katharine reached in this performance. Yup, must be the white woman singing Whitney thing. Miss Paula babbles that there were pitch problems and says that the song was tough. She then says that Katharine must know where her "money... back-pocket... is". Miss Paula is trying to tell Katharine that Katharine tends to go flat in the high notes and Katharine should therefore stick to her midrange (or "imtimate vocals" as Miss Paula calls it). But Miss Paula being who she is, everything comes out in a jumbled mess of incomplete sentences and off-tangent ramblings. King Tut tells Katharine that by singing a Whitney song, Katharine just demonstrated how unlike Whitney she is. He then uses his favorite word, "cabaret", to describe the performance. "Bad advice!" he says. I wonder whether he's talking about D-Fo/A-Bo's advice to Katharine. Sleazie tries to be funny but he ends up insulting Katharine by saying that she'd get many votes if people have the volume of their TV sets turned off because she has some "great moves" in that dress. Yes, yes, Sleazie wants everyone to know he's a chauvinist pig who loves hot women. It really doesn't work, that whopper, so he really should stop pretending. Katharine merely thanks him as he goes on to tell her how beautiful she looks tonight.

Elliott and Sleazie are at the stools. I love how Elliott can wear the best suit in the house and he still comes off as very out-of-place and even uncomfortable in it. Elliott tells Sleazie that he feels "popped up" for the night - oo-er - and he'll be performing Donnie Hathaway's A Song For You. He says that he has always wanted to sing that song because it was his first song that he sang to the executive producers in the early rounds of his audition in this season. He says that he wants to honor Donnie Hathaway's music and brings his music back to the limelight. He also wants to point out that one of the background singers is Donnie's daughter. What is really endearing about Elliott here is that as he is talking, he is so clearly nervous that he is close to stammering. Elliott's clip is almost as negative as Melissa's though - D-Fo is shown slamming Elliott's run in a certain part because D-Fo thinks that Elliott is imitating Donnie Hathaway too much and he wants Elliott to inject some of his own style into the performance. He concedes that Elliott sings well though.

Elliott, big tie with big boy clothes and all, steps out on stage and I melt into a puddle of goo. He sounds terrific even when sometimes he doesn't have the volume to overcome the too-loud band's attempt to drown him out. I don't know how to say this without turning into some blubbering Kewpie fan but dang, Elliott is almost indescribably beautiful when he sings. The soulful voice, the melodious runs, the always sublime way he embodies his song like he's just an ordinary guy with a big voice that turns on the charm when he sings... how does Elliott do that? I can understand why some people find him boring and uncharismatic on stage, but personally I find that he actually seems to come alive on stage. Outside the stage, he is always jumpy, brash, and excited. But when the spotlight's on him, he's the charming and soulful gentleman that serenades beautiful love songs in a divine manner. It's like his performances are perfect romance stories and he's the hero that I can easily fall in love with. How can I resist?

Kevin Nealon is in the audience doing the thumbs up sign to the camera. I don't care, but I suppose someone reading this may care.

Randy Randy really doesn't like D-Fo, heh, because he now complains that the arrangement of the performance was "way too confusing and way too much" while calling Elliott the "bomb". Me, I'd take a credible music producer D-Fo over a useless hack like Randy Randy anytime so Randy Randy can stuff his D-Fo jealousy up where the sun doesn't shine on Randyland. Miss Paula is crying. She babbles and blubbers that she is moved and she watched Elliott on the tape as a handsome evolved performer who is an American Idol in Miss Paula's eyes since day one. It is so embarrassing to watch her because she is obviously high and flying past the point of no return even if it's barely twenty minutes into the show. King Tut is laughing at her. He tells Elliott that he's said in the past that Elliott is the best singer they have and tonight he considers some of Elliott's vocals "superb; a vocal master class".

It's now Kellie's turn to shine. She sits on the stools with Sleazie and banters with Sleazie about how she doesn't have a boyfriend and she loves the movie Ghost, especially the pottery scene, and says that she has no one to play pottery with. Sleazie turns to the camera with a barely-concealed "this bitch is braindead" expression of disdain and says that he's sure at the end of the season Kellie will find her own "pottery playmate". Kellie will be performing Leann Rimes' version of the Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody. A-Bo calls her voice "sweet" and D-Fo tells Kellie to perform the song in her falsetto when it comes to the "I need your love" part. Meanwhile, A-Bo demonstrates his ability to discern a woman's hair color - probably one he puts to practice by seducing countless women enamored with the whole "Stevie Wonder with a Spanish twist" that he has going, heh - and says that it is very important that he likes Kellie. Or something. English and A-Bo go together like Sleazie and wit.

I don't know what possessed Kellie to choose this song but she sounds like a dying goat in that performance. She is either too soft and too low or she bleats in her normal register, it is as if she has lost all control of her singing. She sounds much better whe she stands up and goes into the "Oh, my love, my darling... I hunger for your touch" part, but on the whole, this is an uneven performance that is just okay at best and horrid at worst. She attempts a dramatic crescendo with "I need your love" but the performance until then has been either too low or too dull so her piercing falsetto is like a sudden wake-up call when I'm already nodding off to her performance. It's like she's calling the dogs home but alas, the dogs have all died slowly and painfully while she was singing. Hubby and I are laughing hysterically at Kellie's imitation of a dog whistle. If she's to stay after this tragicomedic performance, she should try and top this horrible performance just to keep me laughing!

Sela Ward is in the audience. Oh, how I miss that TV show Once And Again! Anyway, she is giggling behind her hands and I fully understand why since I'm doing it myself.

Randy Randy talks about pitch problems and how the performance was "weird" and never really came together for him. Once more, he's slamming D-Fo for some arrangement issues, heh. Miss Paula says that Kellie hasn't raised the bar and while she adores Kellie, she feels that now it's all about "greatness" and she doesn't get "greatness" from Kellie. King Tut calls the performance that of a "neverending song". Remember, this song is King Tut's self-proclaimed favorite song ever. He says that Kellie's performance had "no heart and no warmth. "In fact, you were like a robot during that performance. It was like you..." he says when the music comes on to interrupt him. He says that he isn't finished - although it looks like he is when it comes to Kellie, snigger - and Sleazie says that if King Tut isn't finished, they'd have to go off the air quicker than planned. That must be some really inside joke between those two because I don't get that at all.

Paris lisps and wheezes in her clip about how she will be singing Barbra Streisand's The Way We Were. She then says that she's seventeen and hasn't much experience at love (her mother probably forbids her to see boys because Paris must not become a doctor or do anything else but to sing, you see). D-Fo and A-Bo repeat the same "Paris is a kiddie singing genius" thing that every guest judge sees fit to say. And then Paris performs.

It's a good performance - a very polished imitation of Barbra Streisand's performance. But I still cannot get over how it seems that every time Paris performs, she turns into someone so different from her nasally-wheezing poor little usual wunderkind self. It gets to a point where I am starting to feel sorry for her every time she puts on a polished and well-performed show on stage. Maybe I'm just overreacting to her family clip two episodes back where her parents came off as really aggrandizing stage monsters, but every time Paris puts on a role to perform on stage, I find myself wondering whether these facets of Paris' eeriely too-old, too-adult, too-weary stage persona are fragmented pieces of Paris' personality that she never gets to fully explore and get to know because she's too busy being made to sing and dance all the time. Let me put this way: I'd love to see how Paris would interpret a song full of daughter-mother angst. She may get carried away and stab her mother in front of a horrified audience for all I know! Paris' performance is good but I wonder whether the voting audience must feel the same disconnect I have with Paris since she seems to be always in the bottom three every week. Then again, maybe she has a small fanbase because everyone wants to touch Chris' biceps.

Randy Randy gives his usual "I ain't blown away but that's ai'ight" spiel. Miss Paula says that Paris oversang but Paris still had the best female vocals of the night. Looking at Miss Paula, I'd suspect that she's raided the hotel room wine bar and then ordered at least three more restocks before she came here, but Miss Paula seems to be even more determined to judge today than she normally would. Maybe if she gets really drunk after a certain point, her guilty conscience kicks in and she finds herself trying to do something to justify her pay. King Tut pulls out the "you're too young for the song" card. Perhaps he'd like the performance better if Paris shows the booty and humps her way through a Pussycat Dolls song. He also says that Paris' performance felt like she was impersonating an "older singer". Of course she is, duh.

Sleazie lingers behind the judges as he promotes the official website and being Sleazie, he has to place one hand behind Miss Paula's chair right and being King Tut, he has to place an elbow on Sleazie's hand. Having gotten exactly the reaction he wanted from King Tut, Sleazie reprimands King Tut for acting like a child. He then introduces Taylor as the next performer.

Taylor and his rounded belly as well as two chins make their acquaintance with D-Fo and A-Bo in his clip. He tells them that he wants to perform James Ingram's Just Once. D-Fo and A-Bo are all praises for Taylor but they praise everybody tonight so Taylor is in good company. D-Fo says that Taylor has "potentially the most charisma". Only on this show, of course, where a man can have a gut and two chins while looking like he's at least forty and still be loved like he's the second coming of the Hunk of All Hunks.

Heh, Taylor tries to pretend that he's just holding up his palms like that gesture is part of his performance when he's actually sneaking glances at the words of the song written on his palms. The problem with this performance is that James Ingram has a very soulful baritone that can make me swoon (listen to I Don't Have A Heart and tell me if you don't melt inside to him) and this song, Just Once, needs that kind of voice to do it justice. Taylor's tenor is a little on the thin side and the song ends up being too low in so many spots for him. He ends up speaking-singing his way at the start of the performance and when the band builds the song up to its dramatic crescendo, Taylor fails to bring on the volume and the flourish that are needed. This song exposes very cruelly his inadequacies as a singer - his voice is too thin and he fails to take command of the performance. Any charisma D-Fo sees in Taylor is absent in this performance. The only reason Taylor isn't the worst performer tonight is because Kellie is still in the competition.

Ooh, No-Tori-ous Spelling is in the audience. Am I sad that I actually looked up the name of the handsome man with her? He's Dean McDermott, by the way, and he's engaged to her. That's his son with them in the audience.

Randy Randy calls the song a completely wrong choice for Taylor and adds that the performance felt "weird" to him, like "bad karaoke". Miss Paula says that she loves James Ingram and thinks that Just Once is a "perfect love song". She then babbles about a "serious" side and a "playful" side of Taylor before abandoning that direction and sidetracks instead into how "every cell" in Taylor's body is born to be on stage. And then, despite having said earlier that Just Once is her idea of a perfect love song, she now says that the song isn't her favorite and what the heck, Taylor looks handsome on that stage. I know Miss Paula cannot listen to herself since her mind is completely added by whatever happy pills she took along with her happy drinks prior to this show, but seriously, she should try because she comes off as an embarrassing mass of inconsistencies within a space of five minutes, changing her mind as she goes along apparently because she somehow finds Taylor handsome on stage. It's like watching a really drunk friend coming on another friend's father in a party - everyone knows she will be really mortified at her own behavior in the morning and the father in question will be embarrassed at the notion of a woman having to be that zoned out of her mind in order to find him attractive, but nobody knows how to stop her other than to show some tough love, knock her unconscious with a rolling pin, and leave her in the shoe closet for the remainder of the party. King Tut says that Taylor looked "uptight" and brings up how how the "phrasing" and "the entire performance" reminded King Tut of a "hotel performance". Since most of the losers on this show will most likely end up singing in hotels anyway, that may not be such a bad thing. Miss Paula completely loses it, interrupts King Tut even if what she said earlier to Taylor wasn't so glowing, to the point that she stands up and starts stabbing a finger at Taylor while shrieking like an insane fishwife that "we" love Taylor. Oh, Miss Paula. She's so going to be on the front page of something like People in the foreseeable future talking about her continuous addiction to painkillers while Uncle Nigel will have to get people to stand in front of the ladies' room so that they can check her nose every time she emerges from it. As Sleazie rattles off the numbers for Taylor, Taylor pumps his fist and chants, "Go! Go! Go!" like the weirdo he is.

Sleazie now humps some... thing in the sound room and announces that Chris will close the show. Our hardcore Jesus-screamer-rock guy will return to his roots and sing... Bryan Adams' Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman, which may or may not be his subtle way of telling Sleazie to keep his hands off Chris whenever they are both on stage. I know Bryan Adams is a bit of a joke nowadays, but that guy has created some really good songs in the past like Heaven, Run To You, Cuts Like A Knife, Thought I'd Died And Gone To Heaven, and Sleazie's favorite song, Summer Of '69. So why oh why must Chris perform one of Bryan Adams' worst songs ever, a deliberately corny cheesefest written for a movie that caters solely to Johnny Depp's legion of fangirls to drool over that man's shirtless scenes? And poor Chris, he may want to protect himself from the legions of degenerate homosexuals' itchy fingers but there is no escape even in the introductory clip when D-Fo and A-Bo get him to lie on the floor and sing. He describes the whole thing as "awkward" but thinks it's kinda cool anyway, especially when he says that he "got to use" his throat and "learned a new technique", heh heh heh, which will most likely be the same reaction down the road when he ends up in some gay porn movie to make ends meet. Poor Chris, everyone wants his body while pretending that they only want to check him out to make sure that everything is in working order. D-Fo says that Chris will be great as long as Chris "gives the performance of his life". Which shouldn't be hard, really.

Putting his mastery of a new technique that involves his throat, Chris steps up on stage and performs competently a very boring song that never fails to put me to sleep. He's also trying to recapture Bryan Adams' vocal style, which he shouldn't given that he's supposed to be an original guy with his own style. I really don't like the song which could have cloud my views of this pretty competent performance, but this performance comes off as dull and uninteresting to me. Chris sings well but I am not exactly jumping around in excitement over it.

The judges, on the other hand, are certainly doing so. Randy Randy is reduced to blabblering in an even more useless manner than before: "Yo! Yo! Amazing! Love you! Love the jacket! Love you! Amazing!" Miss Paula takes it further: "Love you! Love! Love! LOVEYOULOVEYOULOVEYOU!" And she's shrieking all this while hopping on her feet and waving her hands around like she's at the brink of an overdose. King Tut makes a pretty comical look of disgust at Miss Paula's complete lack of, er, inhibition. King Tut, when prompted by Sleazie, turns away from the spectacle that is Miss Paula to praise Chris for a very good performance and a good choice of song. This is, of course, from a man whose favorite song of all time is Unchained Melody. Sleazie shakes Chris' hand and of course runs his hand along Chris' back, saying that Chris went out on a high note and as he rattles off Chris' numbers, Chris again has this forced "Why are all these homosexuals always rubbing my body and making me lie down and do weird things to them?" smile on his face. Chris' face is hilarious because he just looks at the camera impassively, his face stuck in that half-smile half-grimace of his for a minute or so before he suddenly winks at the camera. It's like seeing a wax statue suddenly coming to life and winking at me. And after the wink, it's back to his previous facial expression again. Maybe I'm just crazy but I find the whole thing about Chris' expressionless face hilarious to watch.

Because time has really run out, Sleazie quickly launches into a recap of the performances with Chris still standing beside him. While Katharine is performing in the recap, I can easily hear King Tut going softly but still audibly, "God! Look at her clothes!" and Miss Paula going, "Yeah!" Obviously the guy splicing together the montage for the recap must be new or asleep at the wheel, heh. Best of the night? Definitely Elliott. Paris is good too but she's still a creepy performing monkey. Katharine and Chris are okay while Taylor and Kellie can take a hike.

Ryan "I NEEEEE-EEEE-EEED Your Love!" Sleazebag stands in the audience in his usual "Keep away from my babies, suckers!" stance as he talks about how the previous night was about romance ("I NEEE-EEE-EEED your love!") and wonders who has melted my heart ("I NEEEE-EEEE-EEED your love!") and who has left me cold ("God speed your love to-OOOH ME-EEE-EEEE!").

Having known the results beforehand, Sleazie is all smiles today as he walks to the stage. Oops, he nearly trips on the way there. That will teach him to hum inside his head, "Lonely Tutty sigh, Wait for me! Wait for me! I'll be coming home, wait for me!" and not paying attention to where he's going. He thanks the audience for coming and he also thanks them for the "signs". Yes, a sign that the world is not crazy and some dreadful dim-witted fake is finally going home! He also says that they have a new record: apparently twenty million votes came in for Katharine's twin babies so there are a total of 47.5 million votes altogether, the highest non-finale number ever. Yay! This show is never getting cancelled and it's all your fault.

Sleazie now introduces the Six - love Elliott's awkward wave at the audience; this guy must be the biggest dork ever - and the "emotionally unstable panel" that are Randy "Lovely rivers flow" Randy, Miss "To the sea, to the sea!" Paula, and King "Are you still mine?" Tut. King Tut sniggers and Sleazie gives him a really evil smile, no doubt planning something really dreadful for King Tut when the man comes crawling on all fours later that night to kiss Sleazie's toes in repentance. Sleazie tells Randy Randy that the man is the only sane one of the three. That is true, if by "sane" Sleazie means "babbling incoherently in such a lowkey manner compared to Miss Paula's drunken shrill shriekfest and King Tut's obvious boredom". Unfortunately, at the end of the day nobody respects Randy Randy.

Sleazie now starts off the "Oh no, we saw the vote numbers so it's now time to save our faces by eating back our words" moment by telling the judges that "many people" called Fox to complain about the unfair judging in the previous night. If some people actually called Fox to complain, I don't know what to say. If you called, I don't know you, you freak. King Tut says that he was unfair to only one person last night so he'd like to apologize to Katharine. There you, people: she is obviously a top vote-getter this week. Kellie reaches out to pat Katharine's hand, which, I must say, is very nice of her. On the other hand, crazy Stagemom McPhee stands up and claps and the show makes it seem like she's the only one who stands up. Freak. King Tut says that when he watched back the show, Katharine's performance is better than he initially thought. Randy Randy chimes in that he was a "little harsh too". Of course he would, since in the past he has shown that he'd revise history and change his mind to dance the party line as long as he gets to remain on the show and be the Uncles' good little pet. Miss Paula on the other hand insists that she wasn't harsh and she was nice, which is understandable since she obviously can't remember what she said last night, given that she was completely high to the moon and she obviously didn't watch the episode again because she was probably passed out in her own vomit after a happy party in her hotel room until the show people had to show up three hours before this show started and pumped her stomach to wake her up. King Tut brings up the Sleazie-Miss Paula feud that were in the news last week and those two insist that they are still talking to each other. Oh no, does this mean that Sleazie lied when he told those interviewers that he never talked to Miss Paula or is he lying to the audience of this show? What do you think, people?

Sleazie recaps the performance where A-Bo tells the Six in the montage, "To sing a love song... we are lucky if we are in love because... to find inspiration inside is important." Please tell me A-Bo is just playing up to his hopeless-romantic "blind irony-free Spanish lover/sugar-swill monster" PR image and he really doesn't mean that, because I will really have to perform a ceremonial burning of his CDs that I own if that is the case, Con Te Partiṛ or no. Once the montage is done with, Sleazie poses with the three stooges and talks about how they are all one dysfunctional family. Yes, play off the rumors of bloodbath and voodoo dolls as a happy joke. Somehow, there are enough dolts watching this show that are gullible enough to buy that.

Ford clip time. This time the Six really, really destroys Blondie's Call Me as Kellie hands out flyers of a missing dog (no, not Elliott - you people are so mean) before they split up in teams of three and hop onto their vehicles to locate the really cute missing dog. Interspersed are scenes of each of the Six posing in a dead end of an alleyway. I like the lighting and I really like the doggies. I think this is my favorite clip of the season, even if the singing is really terrible and it condones premarital sex and out-of-wedlock pregnancies among canines. (Shameless fangirl mode: Elliott is looking really hot in that clip, squee!) Sleazie reminds everyone that the video and more can be viewed on the official website and soon the tickets for the upcoming July 6 tour will be on sale there as well.

And now, D-Fo on piano and A-Bo behind the mic stand will entertain everyone and kill some time. Of course, they have to talk with Sleazie first and it's time for me to fast-forward that scene the moment I hear A-Bo talk about how much he loves the Six. I love his voice but I will happily eat my own fingers if I have to hear him talk about how much he loves everybody and how love is love and love is lucky and it is destiny that he is getting me to buy his CDs and UGH. A-Bo performs Because We Believe because it is not A-Bo until he's singing some disgustingly sappy toxic-muzak crapioli about how it's destiny and fate and love and siring illegitimate children with groupies. Doesn't A-Bo get it? He can only fool people like me when he's singing in Spanish. In a language that I can understand, he really comes off as a nauseating cotton-candy factory.

Sigh, he has such a beautiful voice. I hate myself for being so codependent when it comes to these disgustingly sickening artificial sweeteners than come from the boatloads out of Spain or Italy or wherever it is they find these blind or young blandly handsome men with big voices that will be abused in the name of saccharine ballads. I hate myself for making a mental note to buy Amore. Or, maybe not buy - I'll just borrow it from a friend. And don't return it. That should make me feel better.

Back to the show: after A-Bo is done, everyone acts like A-Bo is the best singer in the world. No, he's not, he's just miles better at doing what he does compared to the people that have come onto this show.

Results now. Sleazie banters with Lisa Tucker in the audience and pimps her guest-spot on the dying show The OC the next night. Speaking of The OC, before they give this show its mercy cancellation, they better throw everyone a bone and get that idiot Ryan to confess his love to Seth, I tell you. The finale can end with Marissa and Summer catching Seth and Ryan in bed together and the two ladies then getting so enraged that they pull out AK-47s and shoot those two idiotic male imbeciles to death. And then Summer will shoot Marissa as well and she will be dragged away to jail where she will be punished for a long, long time by having Lana Lang from Smallville as her cellmate. That will be a fine happy ending indeed for that stupid show. Meanwhile, rock on, Supernatural!

Oh, where was I again? Oh yes, the results. Sleazie divides the Six in groups of two, like he did every season at this stage of the show. We have Chris and Katharine in one group, Elliott and Taylor in another, and Paris and Kellie in the last group. That's pretty devious of the Uncles, really, splitting up the three Chosen Ones so that there is no clear idea which of the teams are the highest and the lowest vote-getters. Paris looks pleased to be paired with Kellie, since Kellie has never been in the bottom three before, while Kellie looks less than pleased because Paris has been in what seems like the last three hundred bottom threes in this season. Quickly, Elliott and Taylor are declared safe. Chris and Katharine are then declared the group with the highest votes and as they celebrate, the camera shows Elliott and Taylor on the couch, with Taylor sporting the most displeased expression on his face ever. Oh, Taylor, it must be tough not to be loved all the time, eh?

So the bottom two are Kellie and Paris. Miss Paula says that Paris had the best vocals while Kellie is "adorable" and "deserving" but oh well, someone has to go home. I think she is saying that Kellie should go. Kellie and Paris reveal that it's their first time in the bottom two, although of course Paris is a veteran of holding a seat in the bottom three. Kellie tells Sleazie that she has watched her own performance last night and she "truly" believes that she deserves to be in the bottom two. Kellie turns out to be the one who's leaving. She then effectively kills my petty pleasure in seeing her leave by effectively leaving with class and giving some nicely self-depreciative post-show interviews that make me squirm with what could even be guilt at having said some very unkind and cruel things about her in my recaps. Damn her. But Kellie leaving is a really good thing, and for the first time ever, we have a final five where there are no true clunkers and losers polluting the scene. Somehow, a dreary season so far is starting to look very good indeed.