American Idol

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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"Sexy And Scary: It's A Fine Line."

Ah, Hollywood. Tonight is the Project Runway shock-lineups, which is not my favorite part -- I like the group breakdowns, of course -- but it does mean we'll actually see good singing. And there's Ellen, which is the best possible thing that can happen to you at any point. So of 181 tickets, we're going to spend the next three weeks weeding them down to 24 hopefuls, and tonight we cut them in almost-half, to 96. That's a respectable rate of culling. Oh and look, there's that totally awful girl. Man, I forgot how I have to look things up during this part. Mary Powers. Man, if I ever thought about this show except when I am actually watching it I would just go around kicking things all day because of her.

"An Honest Mistake," by my longterm go-to second-favorite band, The Bravery, plays over the whole "everybody getting to the hotel and talking about their dreams" part, which is pretty hilarious. This song, which is really quite good, always reminds me of one of my favorite single shots in the history of television, which is in "The Dearly Beloved", which is famous for that one amazing Imogen Heap song but which I also remember for containing this one shot, where Floater Girl -- her name was Jess but we called her Floater Girl because she was first discovered floating in the Cohens' pool but just like Swamp Thing rose up way stronger than when she went in there -- has just dicked some guys for a bag of cash, flashed a gun, and left everybody to deal with the consequences. This goes down in the Bait Shop. So there's this shot of her from below while that song is playing, walking over this catwalk, that is so terribly bad-ass and so right on-target for the song that it makes me cry just thinking about it, even years later. Like, my friend Lily can just look at my face and go, "Are you in actuality thinking about when Floater Girl was walking that one time?" Yeah. I am. And chances are I'm pretending in my mind that I just fired a gun in the Bait Shop and stole a shitload of money from gangstas because beauty's where you find it.

Owl City, I still can't decide about them. They're like Postal Service fan fiction.

Ryan introduces Ellen to the kids, and she kisses Ryan, and they are sort of identical, and it's sort of like a wonderful picture to carry in your mind forevermore. She tells the kids that she knows what it's like to be pressured onstage -- but instead of showing her amazing standup career, they show her walking out onto her talk show set -- and Ryan asks her this long question about Simon to which her answer is, "Sorry, I wasn't listening." Ryan giggles. But I mean, isn't the point of this season that authentic is okay again and so we have Ellen to explain how you can be a brand but also a person at all times? I guess it doesn't matter, plus knowing these kids these days it's all Dane Cook and that white trash with the puppets. Ellen and Simon have a tender moment about how she's coming in and he's leaving, but I don't want to think about that. At all.

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American Idol

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