Wednesday, ax day, the day all American Idol finalists dread, has claimed another victim. Unfortunately but not totally unexpectedly, lean, lovely and stubbornly eclectic Nadia Turner has been excised from the competition and somehow, someway, slovenly sullen squinty Scott Savol, the pride of Shaker Heights, has survived to publicly display his passive aggression another week. The oafish lout vote has proved powerful and resilient, and both major parties would do well to research its mysteries prior to the ’06 elections.
As Ryan Seacrest, dressed nattily in suit and tie, freely admits, Wednesday’s results show is to be stretched, not to its usual breaking point of 30 minutes, but to an elastic-busting 60 minutes. However, this time the outlandish extension is supported by some actual interesting content rather than just air and commercials.
The first bit of “content” is a little documentary on the recording of the finalist’s charity single for the Red Cross, “When You Tell Me That You Love Me,” an appalling piece of tuneless cloying mawkishness, produced by Desmond Child. The song makes my teeth hurt. Hard to believe it received more votes than either “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” or “Everything is Beautiful” – actually, no it isn’t, they all are pretty cliched and wretched. Footage from the recording studio is of mild interest, however.
The next segment is actually compelling, a day-by-day look at the contestant’s week: Thursday, pick a song for the following week’s competition; Friday, interviews and shopping for the next show’s outfit; Saturday, record finalist’s album and maybe do a little bowling; Sunday, shoot goofy Ford commercial; Monday, rehearse with band, finalize song arrangements; Tuesday, the big show; Wednesday, play along with the “drama” of the extended executioner’s song.
We find out Scott is in the bottom three – as is only proper – and he sings his favorite song from the competition, “Against All Odds,” in an outburst of emotion he wrestles the song to the ground and gnaws at it with his canine teeth.
We find out that Carrie and Anwar are “safe” and that Bo – shocker! Simon was right – is in the bottom three. He sings the Black Crowes’ “Remedy” with gusto and confidence, though his dialogue with Ryan about his lack of concern for this turn of events is unconvincing and ill-advised. The voters don’t really want to hear that you already feel like a winner, they want to hear that this is the most important thing in the world to you and that if you don’t win you will likely expire, or at least suffer the vapors. The voters like the feeling of power.
Paula, who seems mildly intoxicated, declares once again that we will see Bo in the finals.
Ryan tells us Constantine, Vonzell and Anthony are safe, and that Nadia rounds out the bottom three. She sings a sultry, emotionally compelling “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” Ryan lines up the bottom three, only one of whom belongs there and he is not the one to go: it’s Nadia, whose adherence to an unpredictable, eccentric vision of pop music history is her downfall. She is probably the most classically beautiful and poised woman to have appeared on the show, as well as a fine singer, and if the entertainment industry doesn’t cling her to its bosom, it is manifestly mindless. I mean even more so than usual.
Ryan closes the show with a chivalrous gesture: he removes his tie and gives it to Nadia so that she might dab her dewy doe-like eyes. He is always gallant in the presence of distressed damsels, it’s a nice trait.
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