Okay, hold your breath, there's a novella here, and let's get started!
Yeeeeeee Hawwwwww!!!!! It was country night on AMERICAN IDOL last night, or as Kara called it, "Opryland," not, say, the Grand Ole Opry. Maybe she just really likes the hotel. Or misses the Screamin' Delta Demon from the old amusement park where I had my sixth-grade field trip. There were a few surprises, not the least of which is who is at the top of my rankings:
1. ANOOP - I know! Seriously! When he doesn't get all cheesy and karaoke and Sanjaya-esque the dude's actually got a decent voice. Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind" was the perfect choice. I was only more surprised when Val really liked that McDonald's filet-o-fish song with the singing fish on the wall.
2. ALEXIS - Memphis' "dirty" girl went with Dolly's "Jolene" to success, though the judges have decided to pigeon-hole her as a bluesy "naughty" singer, so up yours, judges. I do think, though, that she's not building a connection with the audience and I fear she'll be gone in a few weeks.
3. DANNY - Iron Man started slow with Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel" in a jacket he borrowed from the set of "Ice Station Zebra," but built into a slammin' chorus of big notes. Points taken off for flipping his collar up. Stop that, guys, unless you have the T-Birds logo on the back of your jacket.
4. MATT - He may be boring and I still have trouble remembering he's in the contest, but he does have a soulful voice.
5. LIL - Memphis' own went with Martina McBride's "Independence Day," which took too long to develop, and with the audience clapping along sounded a little too peppy for my tastes, what with the song being about domestic violence and all. The judges wished she'd have sung something like "I Will Always Love You," except that Whitney already covered that, and if Lil had done it they would have said she was being obvious. Simon truly is an a-hole, isn't he? Why did he keep calling her "Little?" Her name isn't Lil', like Lil' Kim. It's Lil as in Lilian, and she's said that many times on the show, which just proves that Simon doesn't actually know anything about the contestants, doesn't care, and spends all his time off camera spiking Paula's drinks.
6. SCOTT - He took a risk and I don't the judges gave him enough credit for making Martina McBride's "Wild Angels" into his own style. Did Paula really advise the blind guy to get away from the piano and sing in the middle of the stage? Does she know how awkward that looks? Would she ask that of Stevie Wonder, or say that his keyboard is his "crutch?"
7. KRIS - Extra points for singing Garth's "To Make You Feel My Love," which is on one of the six Valfrey mix CDs (I jest you not), but it was a slow and forgettable performance, though Simon called it "terrific," which might help.
8. ADAM - Whoa. That was interesting. Sorry, dude, you may think you're pulling a David Cook by taking a classic and using someone else's remix of it, but that was a joke, a Middle Eastern version of "Ring of Fire." He pulls this high-pitched falsetto crap, and dresses like he saw someone on NYPD Blue dressed like a rocker 15 years ago and thought that's how they all dress, and he's a big fakey faker, and Simon was spot-on to call it "indulgent."
9. ALLISON - Her Patty Loveless wasn't that bad, she's just not our style. Her voice is so raw and deep that she'll always sound the same.
10. MICHAEL - I expected more out of the Texan. He couldn't keep up with Garth's "Callin' Baton Rouge," which will always come off as karaoke. A little disheartening after I defended him all week.
11. MEGAN - She may "Go Out Walking After Midnight," but only so long as she finds somewhere to buy a bra for that dress. I'm not saying she was loose, but even Princess Leia was all, "Wow chickadee, get some support." Don't pretend you didn't notice. I have nothing else to say about her voice. There's no room for growth or surprises. She is what she is, and she's not our style.
By the way, Ryan, funny St. Patrick's Day reference at the beginning and the joke about getting a few drinks down, but dude, your audience is made up of 14-year-old girls. Inappropriate!
24 - Looks like we'll be skipping the next several weeks. Val decided the preposterousness of this Jack-on-the-run story is too much for her, and it doesn't bother me to skip it. After reading the recap online, it looks like we made the right decision, since apparently Jon Voight's goon killed Senator Red from "That 70s Show" and Jack's blamed for his death as well. Stupid.
CSI MIAMI - I don't normally review this one, since it's the same week in and week out, but I felt I needed to express my displeasure that this season has done away with Horatio's quips before the opening credits. Such a disappointment. And we could really, really, really do away with Horatio's son, Kyle, and his ex, Elizabeth Jessie/Showgirl Berkley, who are both wastes of minutes that could be spent on people in their swimsuits, showing off fancy new equipment that just happened to be bought the week before the crime in question, and Horatio saving the day.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - I just want to point out that this is the funniest show on television. Hands down. And I don't even know what "hands down" as a cliche means. All I know is that we look forward to laughing out loud every Tuesday afternoon when we watch it on our DVR. This week, between Lilly sabotaging Ted's relationships that included a "You need me to help you!" "A Few Good Men" moment, to Barney and Marshall sleeping side by side in nightgown, er, "night shirts," and then all the conversation happening with the TV on mute while no one notices that on Robin's morning show there's a guy on fire, a baby born on set and the weather guy collapses at the green screen. Just a hilarious episode, as most are nowadays.
BIGGEST LOSER - We didn't watch very much since Idol and Dancing With the Stars were also on, and we had no interest in what happened when the remaining contestants went back home for the week. Blah blah, big cheers from family and lots of temptation. Once back at the ranch, the Curse Of Kicking Off Dane continues for the Blue Team, losing big time when Kristen gains weight and mom Cathy loses a pound, then takes one for the team and volunteers to go home. Once she's gone is actually the best and most inspiring part of the show, with Cathy working out with her two other daughters who are losing all kinds of weight with her, which was pretty neat.
THE AMAZING RACE - This episode was classic for one thing, Phil stripped down to his boxer briefs in Siberia to demonstrate the Road Block. Phil's the best. Still in Siberia, the show hasn't explained why many pit stops are longer than 12 hours this season. Too cold at 3 a.m. to leave? One of the Detours involved a "Russian bride," which to me was an awesome acknowledgment that the major export of Siberia to the U.S. is its women who are trying to flee the drunk unemployed jerks in their homeland. Most of whom took the time to ogle or hit on the Racewomen who ran the Road Block, 1.4 miles in below freezing temps, in their underwear. Including the stewardess who only had on a thong. Her parents? So proud. I would have either annoyed or thrilled half the country during my run by yelling out like Sly in "Rocky IV," "You can change. I can change. We can all change!"
DANCING WITH THE STARS - I'm surprised and a little miffed that Belinda was told to go-go this week. (Sorry, had to be done since this was her last time on the show.) Jacka** star Steve-O was hurt, couldn't even perform live Monday night, and yet he survives another week? If he can't dance next week with his bad back, I'll be even more upset, far more than I should be for a cheesy reality show. Speaking of focusing on silly stuff that doesn't matter, what was with Samantha's dress last night? Did they add pockets so she'd have somewhere to put her hands, because she's too dimwitted to figure out what to do with them otherwise?
Anyway .... Here's how the contestants stacked up Monday night in their second dances:
HOLLY - Hef's former Girl Next Door did the Quick Step, which spent 15 seconds on the stairs and then she fussed with her dress, but give her a few more weeks and she'll be pretty smooth. Len points out that her "bust is a little bit forward." Yeah, and she paid a lot for the privilege!
Hey, new glittering point paddles! Sparkly!
DAVID ALLEN GRIER - He and Kym did a salsa, and she did all the work. Not as good as last week, now that we have raised expectations.
DENISE RICHARDS - I was distracted singing along with "Grease," but since Denise makes me nauseous it's for the best. (Really, how did she end up the prude and not get topless in "Starship Troopers" instead of that other girl?) Maks is actually growing on me, through, so either I'm getting more slimy or he's getting less so, or it's because he got her to pinch Tom's butt at the end.
BELINDA CARLISLE - A salsa that featured mainly her shaking her chest at the judges, otherwise very slow, deliberate and awkward.
TY - I'm hoping he sticks around longer if only for Chelsie from last season's "So You Think You Can Dance" as his partner. Last week I thought that he actually preferred the risk of getting gored in the booty on a weekly basis, but he actually moved around in the quick step and provided a pleasant surprise. Plus, they danced to the Rascal Flatts' version of "Life is a Highway," so bonus!
Courtesy Samantha, the Metaphor Queen, afterwards, "The cowboy turned into a caterpillar and blossomed out there." That's at least three in that sentence, right?
SHAWN JOHNSON - The gym pixie wasn't as good in a salsa as last week's waltz, but the judges disagreed with our assessment. We didn't see any fluid shaking of the hips, especially in movement, but the judges were too distracted by all the, "Ohmygoodness she's so cute!"
APPLE STEVE - Dancing with a fracture in his foot, he's having so much fun it's a shame he's so clunky and the dance is all antics, no substance.
CHUCK - Girlfriend and partner Julianne gets him to salsa, and like all the other guys ever on this show he has to act manly and pretend not to like the hip-shaking. C'mon guys, let it loose, have some fun, stop thinking that if you shake your hips that the viewers will start thinking that you prefer to wear buttless chaps in gay pride parades. We thought he was pretty good, but the judges thought she did all the work. I think they were distracted by her outfit, which looked like she looted Big Bird's feathers.
LIL' KIM - She's adorable, I don't care if she was a federal prisoner recently. I'm sure it was a misunderstanding. She rocks the floor and is stylin', so book her for the final four.
BACHELOR REJECT MELISSA - They say the best revenge for a break up is to live life fabulously. I'll say she's got the upper hand here, since Jason is relegated to being hounded by paparazzi on "TMZ" and making out with Molly to avoid answering their questions. Melissa did a salsa, and she's ready to be a professional, she's that good.
WHO DAT? GILLES - So he's French? Did we know that? And has he done anything else than be the naked guy in the "Sex in the City" movie? At least he's a good dancer, very technical, and for flair I liked the Clark Kent-turns-into-Superman routine that partner Cheryl cooked up. But like Albert a couple of seasons ago, if the audience doesn't know you, don't expect to last long.
STEVE-O - He hurt is back during the week and in the final rehearsal it bit him some more, so the judges ended up judging he and Lacey by their rehearsal, which is apparently in the rules and is stupid. There's no audience, no live dance, it's a dumb rule. They score it accordingly low, but instead of dropping out like he should he sticks around. Boo.