American Idol
…Love, Rupert Murdoch, Part II

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Joe R: B | Grade It Now!
...Love, Rupert Murdoch, Part II
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
Ryan is dressed like he's attending prep school back east as we begin our show. I mean, it's a girls' prep school, and it's likely out of one of those late-night HBO movies starring Dominique Swain, but that's the place the sweater-vest-under-jacket look is taking me. He tells us that the ten male contestants will "do what they do best" tonight, which is as honest an assessment of this show as I can conjure, mostly because "singing" isn't necessarily anywhere near that sentence. He gives us a rundown of the different singers whose songs are in danger of being massacred tonight, calling it a "cornucopia of primetime pop." What asshole scripted that Cobb salad of a line, and what did Ryan do to prompt it? Ryan introduces the ten remaining men, who parade across the balcony, trying to jog our memories of them from last week. Taylor effing hugs himself, of course, spontaneously and without even a second's thought as to who Ray Charles is and why imitating him might help him stand out in a crowd, I bet. Elliott is also going the sweater vest route, though he manages to look like a boy while doing so. Ace busts out a thumbs-up/winking combo I've only seen work for one person in history, and Ace is just no Buddy Christ, I don't think. Gedeon maybe thinks he is Jim Broadbent's character from Moulin Rouge!, with the "ladies and gentlemen!" arm flourish, and also has his shirt unbuttoned to a trachea scar degree. Kevin opts for the double thumbs-up, no winking, because coordination like that doesn't really develop until the third trimester. Itsy, bitsy Sway fires imaginary handguns at us, which in retrospect might explain some things. Will Makar is just way cool, and super incredibly tall, at least in relation to the Lilliputians populating the male half of this show. The camera actually pulls back from Bucky Covington, not even making that up, but -- or perhaps as a result -- he's looking way less like scabies this week. David blows a kiss to the camera, but can't keep his wrist from swinging like a gate. And Chris flashes some gang symbols, or perhaps a fraternity hand gesture, or maybe it's arthritis, because he is way old.

Before we can get to the actual business at hand, we simply must rehash last night, even though it has absolutely no basis on anything that will happen tonight. Isn't that the basic rule of previouslies? How we never saw Quentin Travers say, "She isn't a demon, she's a god," unless Glory was going to be in that particular episode? Even Simon's little "I give myself a ten," and Ryan's subsequent Pavlovian bended knee response won't have much of an impact tonight, at least not beyond being one more piece in the jigsaw puzzle. Kinnik is better in retrospect than I remember, Kellie is worse, and Mandisa really is the only one who makes me sit up and pay close attention. Then we meet the judges, who will be enjoying a one-night oasis in between immature and really fucking immature. Ryan wants to make sure everyone will stay in their assigned seats, and Simon offers (threatens?) to swap positions (oh, grow up) with Ryan. Ryan's like, "What, whoa, whoa. Trust me, I've seen you try and do this? We'll never make it through on time." Paula and Randy laugh it up, knowingly -- has Simon tried hosting before? Is this about that dating show he did? Simon gets a weak comeback in about how his lines aren't scripted, which: riiiight. Randy, who has really nestled comfortably into his role of pitting Mommy against Daddy, tells Ryan not to take that crap. Ryan agrees with me on this one, and hauls out a few old Cowell chestnuts: "ghastly, horrible, nightmare." What about "appalling," Ryan? What about "appalling"? The pre-song video theme this week is "My AI Journey So Far," a theme amorphous enough to cover just about everyone's chosen niches. Taylor, for example, talks about how much his gray hair makes him stand out in a crowd. I know, right? Strangers on the street come up to him and tell him he's the gray haired, harmonica-playing epileptic from American Idol! What an unexpected consequence of sucking all the attention in the room to you like the world's spazziest Shop-Vac! Taylor has resorted to wearing a "toboggan" around town, which makes it harder for his silvery light to act as a beacon for unwanted recognition. Now, lest you think wearing an actual sled on his head is yet another desperate stab at attention, "toboggan" actually serves as Southern slang for a knit cap, or so the internet tells me. You might refer to it as a "beanie," if you're Ace, or a "tuque," if you're Canadian. If you're not Canadian and you say "tuque," that just means you're pretentious. So Taylor's wearing his purple tuque and learning to cherish his anonymity, a less-is-more lesson he's sure to carry into his performance, right? He's singing "I'm Easy," which is officially a Commodores song but is mostly from that Levi's commercial with the guy on the bus. Or perhaps I'm a bit young? Taylor's back with the chicken-dance posture, all hunched over, elbows at forty-five-degree angles. He's eschewed the post-stroke DeNiro face in favor of more smiling, which is nice in theory. Over in Suffragette City, the girls are swaying to the music, and I notice that Melissa is dressed like if Aileen Wuornos got a Queer Eye makeover. We won't see her much tonight, so I have to mention that now. Taylor's singing is pretty good, not like the song gives him much of a challenge. He makes up for this with lots of yelping and finger-snapping and jerking his head not unlike how Kanye does whenever he performs "Gold Digger." He's using "Woo!" as punctuation, at this point. Hella annoying.

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