I turned on my Digital Video Recorder last night to find Shakira belly dancing in Kellie Pickler’s prom dress on my TV set. My first reaction was that I’d been on the wrong kind of websites again and my wife was going to catch me. After I saw Simon’s polite but annoyed smile at Wyclef Jean, who had mysteriously jumped on the stage and then begun rapping in Simon’s face, I realized that this was just America’s favorite family program, AI. I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics and mostly I found myself checking out Shakira’s abs, trying to figure out how tall she actually is, and whether Wyclef was hip-synching.
It was like some parody of world music out of The Simpsons. On one level it was kind of fascinating; Wyclef Jean is from Haiti and Shakira is half-Columbian and half-American by way of Lebanon. (I guess that was the belly dancing part.) It had plenty of energy and Shakira certainly sings loud enough and clear enough, but it was like whoever conceived the thing had ADD. If this is the music of the 21st century, then no wonder all the contestants fell flat, sharp, and off the beat on Tuesday night. If this is someone’s idea of “World Music”, everyone’s going to be invading everyone else’s country and boom boxes and MP3 players should be declared Weapons of Music Destruction.
Two nights ago, they slipped in a quick commercial for an American Idol parody featuring Mandy Moore, which appears to be her attempt at a comeback after her parody of Christian schools. I’m wondering why parody something that’s already this funny all by itself?
Through one of my sources, I did get secret tape of the judges’ activities while all the contestants were out cross-promoting Ice Age. Just as I suspected, there was Paula in high priestess robes and Simon in his black t-shirt with cowl carrying out a ritual sacrifice of a fatted calf and one of Heather Cox’s goats under a freeze frame of Mandisa. I’m just glad none of those far right bloggers were around to witness it and tell everyone about how degenerate Hollywood celebrities really are. After all, what do celebrities know about politics as opposed to say, rich people?
In the meantime, Randy and Ryan were at an overeaters anonymous meeting with Jared from Subway, who apparently wants to be a guest judge on the show. Jared was unhappy because the producers kept insisting that they have their standards about the musical bonafides of any guest judge. They said, “Look, we’ve earned a reputation for musical integrity. We’ve had Quentin Tarantino, Barry Manilow, and now Kenny Rogers.”
Subway then offered to sponsor the next season on AI and since Kenneth Lay had dropped his plans to appear as a guest judge, apparently Jared is in for a “Songs about Food and Diets” theme night. Lay’s former company was going to sponsor the show, but the producers drew the line at a “How to Rip Off Shareholders and Avoid Conviction” theme night. As they explained, it was a gesture of respect to Justice Scalia, who apparently has a deep understanding of the history of gestures in the Catholic Church. It would have been fun, Katherine Harris was going to be in charge of counting the votes through Dieblod Cellular.
After Shakira’s security cleared a group of old men in trench coats from the studio audience, the show then did the AI non-musical chairs routine. Can you imagine how long it takes them in rehearsals to get them in place for that? All these screams of “What do you mean you want me to sit near Lisa and Bucky?”
I can just see everyone Wednesday night pushing to squeeze into that front row with Taylor and Mandisa.
“Hey, I was about to sit next to Taylor! You took my seat.”
“Well, kiss mah grits, It’s mah seat now.”
“What if, what if, what if.”
“You know, I don’t really belong up here next to Bucky, but do you see me complaining.”
“Yeah, well did you watch the playback video?”
“Come on guys, can’t we just work it out, unh ?”
“Look Paris, it’s okay that you did Beyonce, but don’t get any ideas about doing Shakira, at least not the way Shakira did Shakira tonight.”
“If I could just tell Kelly Clarkson that because of you, I’m sitting up here by myself.”
This week, the show had two points to make in the eliminations. First, they showed America how mysteriously popular Bucky Covington really is. My theory is that he doesn’t just have one identical twin. Well, if you are one of the twelve people who saw that move with Ewan Mcgregor and Scarlett Joahannson called The Island, you might get where I’m going here? I’m pretty sure there are forty thousand Bucky Covington clones in a holler somewhere in the Carolinas waiting to be cast as extras in Dukes of Hazzard 2 where Daisy Duke pretends to be a dancer at Nick Lachey’s next bachelor party. In the meantime, every Tuesday night the clones dutifully dial a Bucky 866 number on their cell phones while having conversations with one another that no one north of Durham can understand.
Second, with Katharine Macphee’s family denying any connection to the Church of Scientology, Tom and Katie decided to send her a message by jamming her 866 number and e-metering Simon into reversing himself on the “Almost as good as Xtina” thing (now there’s a Thetan name if I’ve ever heard one). Notice that, Katharine pointedly referred to God when Ryan asked her what she thought about being the last two. In the meantime, she was offered a small role on South Park. This is a small point, but I’d worry about a God who spends Wednesday night watching American Idol eliminations instead of say Darfur, Iraq, or even the recovery of the Gulf Coast. At least traditionally, the day of rest was supposed to be Sunday when God used to watch Ed Sullivan, Bonanza, and more recently Married With Children. Word is that God stopped watching Sixty Minutes after that memo about the Ten Commandments was typed up in the Times Roman font.
Throughout the process, Lisa Tucker was doing her best to smile hard and look brave. I admire the fact that she did her seven-plus appearances on the show without trying to affect some Made for Reality TV character/personality. Mostly she sang, perhaps not all that memorably, but certainly pretty well with challenging material. She struck me as an old school show business professional stuck inside a sixteen year old. Clearly, she knew she was a goner as soon as they put her on the top row with Ace Young and Bucky. Sure enough, America sent Nala back to Disney.
The camera kept panning to Paris Bennett crying as Lisa did her sing off. “Because of you, I wasn’t the only African-American female teenager in the final 12 and you took my votes.”
Actually, I think the tears speak to some of the bonds between the contestants that the show doesn’t reveal. Paris was doing all this crying, presumably about her friend Lisa, and I’m still not sure why America didn’t get to see that Lisa Tucker.