American Idol
Top 6: Performances

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B- | Grade It Now!
Caring Is Creepy
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

There's two kinds of cynical. There's the Simon Cowell kind that looks at something sincere and says, "That is not genuine, we're all slime," like, that's a cynical person, a negative person. But there's the other kind, the Ani DiFranco kind, that says, "I know you can't tell the difference; so buy my fake sincerity." One thing I've never been able to discern is whether Ryan Seacrest is either of these, and I have thought about it over the years until my brain did a backbend, and I am no closer to figuring it out. This week the show is like a Turing Test of that. The sincerity's sitting in another room doing its nails, while the whole song and dance is distracting you from the fact that five million dollars, which FOX/News Corp will be donating tonight, is not that much money. It has nothing to do with voting, or who votes, because there's a five mil cap on it. So not only does the show want you to vote because this show made you crazy, like every week, but now you get to feel like you're making a difference in some way, by being one of the first 50 million crazy-person votes. I don't remember how many votes the show's been getting lately, but that doesn't seem like an unattainable goal -- add the complete laziness of sitting on your couch and dialing your phone a few times, which you were going to do before you even knew it made you a hero, and everybody wins.

Except for how five million dollars is not ten million dollars, or twenty million dollars, and how no matter how much money you throw at a problem, if the problem exists on the level of national and international policy, as the nebulous "poverty" problem does, the problem itself will not change. You're putting Band-Aids on a cancer victim and calling yourself a hero for doing it, and I really cannot stand that disingenuous self-aggrandizing shit. Doing one cool thing doesn't let you off the hook, no matter how easy or hard it is. You don't get permanent cred for doing something good, because the sun's still going to come up tomorrow, and there's still going to be stuff that needs getting done. The problem isn't that there's not enough money going to the right places, it's that our society is built on keeping that money in the wrong places, and you and I both benefit from that. Deal with it. You eat meat, you deal. You buy clothing, you deal. You get legally married, you deal. Just understand what it says above the fountain you're drinking from.

Anyway, so tonight is all about the live performances and how tonight's a very special show, with the same three judges and the same six finalists we've come to expect, but with one huge difference: the calls you make can save your contestants...and also save LIVES. This is Idol Gives Back. This is also a lie. There's a $5M cap on the donations NewsCorp's willing to make on behalf of IGB, which means that if they donate 10 cents per call, that's 50 million calls, and then the Giving Back stops. So...your vote means less to those people than usual; usually they want you to vote so they can brag about it (and in order to appease Cingular, "the new AT&T," who benefits every week along with the rest of the cell networks, who gets the public handjob every week) but this week they want you not only to brag about it, but so that you'll brag about it too. Because you found the one way to sacrifice and give of yourself in a way that demands neither sacrifice nor giving of yourself. Because they found a way to leverage even the meaningless bullshit of this show against your own sense of well-being. Since apparently I need to explain these things now, I want to be clear: this recap is not tomorrow's recap, and I'm not going to talk about tomorrow or the ultimate result of this shit, because that's not what's going on now, in this episode we're talking about now. Tomorrow night, I'm going to wuss out and cry and donate money, but we're not talking about Wednesday, we're talking about Tuesday, and Tuesday is one million times more bullshit than Wednesday night's amazing amount of bullshit.

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American Idol




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