American Idol
Top 12: And Stevie Wonders, "Why?"

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: C- | Grade It Now!
Bull On Parade
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Ryan's wearing a really, really distracting tie. It pulls focus all night; for this, we are thankful, because it's so very boring. I love Stevie Wonder, but the thing is that I prefer to listen to Stevie Wonder, not kids singing it who were born after I owned the album. Ryan gives some kind of limp speech about how it's a whole new stage and a whole new game, because it's the Top 12, but the radical hugeness of the stage is not really that noticeable for us out here, because our TVs have not changed size, and will not do so no matter how much they keep bringing it up. There's a sign in the audience that reads I LOVE YOU ALL. How nice. I admire the sentiment, because they are all great people, I guess, but it does seem to run counter to the entire signage concept. The stage looks silly, like an alien spaceship, of course, and Ryan goes on and on about the killer sound system. Which again, we don't know about, because the speakers on our TVs have not changed. It's like a print ad for a color copier. The band plays to demonstrate this indemonstrable thing, and the backup ladies dance around boredly. What this is actually going to do is make the audience act weirdly out of focus with what we're actually seeing, and probably make us adjust our takes upward. Maybe that's the point.

There's a long memory video of their journey and "Keeping The Dream Alive" and the first three things we see are Bucky, Melissa, and Chris in a cowboy hat, so we're fast-forwarding through that. There's a chick in the audience with a sign that says "Paula Abdul is My Idol!" which is excellent. We are introduced to the Top 12 yet again, and they all look very well-kempt. We meet the judges. Randy's wearing another candy-striped shirt, possibly one we've seen before. Paula's hair looks lustrous, but the bangs hang funny and make her one eye look very weird and mushy and drunk. Ryan asks Randy about the Dawg Pound being gone, but Randy says the whole audience is the Dawg Pound now, and I wonder: if the first synthesis was integration with women, and the next was the integration of the non-celebrity audience, then...does that not mean that next week, we ourselves will be the Dawg Pound? Is there anybody in this world that doesn't watch this show? Because they're next, after us. Ryan and Simon are very cordial and tender with each other and discuss how this week is really "make it or break it."

Stevie Wonder is the theme and I'm not entirely sure who that is, but I think he wears sunglasses a lot of the time. He comes into the practice room to visit the Idols wearing a brown track suit, and they start crying. Well, Pickler and Elliott start crying. And don't stop. Of course. They dance around and sing as Stevie plays the piano. I think I would be one of the criers, if I'm being honest. Stevie talks about something, I'm not sure what, something about how, like, the show brings people together, in the heart of music or something. It's very Castaneda-via-Santana, this talking, and they repeat the clip on Wednesday.

Ace talks about how his song was released when he was two years old, and Stevie laughs. In interview, Ace chokes and cries and whines about how he was standing next to Stevie Wonder, and it's moderately okay, but then he says this: "Stevie Wonder is not just battling blindness, but he's battling the same thing that we all are, which is life." I love Ace so, so much. He's like the Ashton Kutcher of music. He cries and it's sweet, but then he gets all smarmy and fake and O Brother Where Are Thou smirky about how he's "overjoyed" to have met Stevie. With the tears still glistening in his eyes. I never know about Ace. Every week I get more paranoid! I hate it!

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American Idol




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