The Boring Bit.
Chris Medina : Oh very dear. You know, normally if people get cut off early in their performance at this stage in the game it’s because they’re tanking, the judges are feeling guilty about letting them get this far and want to spare their blushes along with the contestants. In the case of Chris Medina you rather get the impression that they did it because they knew he was staying on the show whatever he did, given all the time and effort and StevenTylerTears that have gone into him, and with that fact in mind, letting him buzzsaw his way through that song any longer was going to make the whole enterprise look a bit wobbly. Of course they still showed him messing up on the tv so…maybe IT’S ALL PART OF THIS SHOW’S GRAND MANIPULATION. Who can say? Hopefully he does better in groups.
Jacee & Hollie & Robbie Too : Grouped together because they were all small and cute. Grouped together by the producers, I mean, not grouped together by us. We had no say in the editing of this episode. More’s the pity. Anyway, you’ll remember at least two of these: Jaycee’s the precociously talented child who looks older than his years and definitely sings older than his years, Hollie cried a bit, and Robbie has a huge charming grin. They had perhaps the second most facile contrived narrative of the evening (we’ll get to the one above it in due course) which amounted to “These children were all very nervous at their first audition. Will their nerves get the better of them now? (Three auditions later.) No. No, they won’t.” That’s precocious children for you. They never fail when you need them to.
Lauren & Stormi : (Hollywood Voiceover Man Voice) One of them…impressed Steven Tyler…with her talent…the other…impressed Steven Tyler…with her TITS. Who will make it through…HOLLYWOOD WEEK?(/Hollywood Voiceover Man) Hey at least this time justice prevailed, and the nagging shrew she-judge got her way. Back in the old days (not to harp on about them too much) Simon and Randy would have just made that “UG UG UG” noise that Tim Allen used to make on Home Improvement and carried on passing the pretty mediocre one through, trying to drive the female judge so insane that she’d strip naked live on the Final just to prov…no it’s gone. Why did Kara do that again? Anyway, Lauren is through, albeit with a tiny bit of bloom off the rose, and Stormi has now gone home, although she seemed nice, and not at all Bikini-Girlesque. I liked how she seemed to realise that almost everyone there was much better than her before she left. It’s more than Tiffany’s going to cop on to.
Paris & James : I have to admit that I don’t have much to say about this segment, so much as I have about “The Only Living Boy In New York” being played the whole way through this segment in the background. Why has nobody ever sung that song on this show? It’s the only one of the Simon & Garfunkel Big Four that has yet to be performed on the show, and yet it’s totally the best one. Maybe it just doesn’t fit into the required Idol song dynamic? I’ll tell you now if Brett Lowenstern did it, I’d totally be voting for him in the parallel Universe in which I could. Anyway, both Paris and James have kids, and disability/differently capable issues swirling around them, and both of them sang quite well and both of them got through. Onwards and upwards, sprog producers.
The Rob, His Chelsea, Their Nick And His Jacqueline : Two couples, both alike in their lack of dignity. Except Rob and Chelsea are an ex-couple: they’ve got Jennifer Lopez in their corner hoping they’ll get back together, but clearly all those romcoms she’s been in have warped her perception of love in the real world because so far, it ain’t happenin’. By a massive and not at all entirely contrived coincidence, the two couples ended up rooming with each other. WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Anyway, Rob and Chelsea both got through to be functionally dysfunctional again some more, and so Jennifer can learn a few lessons about how these things work in the real world, while Nick and Jacqueline – the happy, smiley couple that Chris referred to first time around as “like Same Difference, without the sexual chemistry” – had, of course, to be split up, because showbiz is cruel. At least the judges had the sense to separate them the correct way: Nick was crap, so he got cut, and Jacqueline was decent, so she got through. Nick begged for a second chance, Randy repeated the lyrics to ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem at him a few more times, Nick sang all the way out of the room in time-honoured American Idol fashion. Oh, and in case you’re wondering what the Number One Most Facile Contrived Narrative Of The Evening was, it was the producers showing us Nick singing poorly and Jacqueline singing well, and then putting a trailer before the ads that tried to trick us into thinking that Nick got through and Jacqueline got cut. Nice try, editors, but you weren’t fooling anyone.
Steve Beghun : You’ll remember this guy from his first audition? He cracked that joke about being a “big goon” that the judges didn’t quite know what to do with, but defied expectations by actually having a rather lovely singing voice. This time around, of course, he didn’t really have the benefit of lowered expectations and said lovely voice wasn’t really enough to counteract the fact that he is still, when all is said and done, a big goon. He seems like a well-grounded sort, though, and took his elimination on the chin. He thinks getting to Hollywood is an achievement in itself, though he also thinks that it means there’s a place for him somewhere in the music industry. Looking around at the rest of these people, Steve, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.
Tiffany & Travis : Tiffany arrived on the stage and told the judges in no uncertain terms that she was tired of watching people try to do something that she knew she could do. For a while I wondered what that might be: knit a sweater? Make a three-cheese omelette? Burp the alphabet backwards? But no, apparently she meant caterwaul a song that was barely recognisable beneath all the riffing and ridiculous vocal affectations that left dogs howling for several blocks. And to be fair to her, she could indeed do that. Travis, bless him, was much nicer than Tiffany in an “inspirationally disadvantaged” kind of way, but despite being cute and smiley and seemingly decent he failed to advance, and was basically just there to be juxtaposed with Tiffany and make us hate her even more. Mission accomplished.
Victoria Huggins : Poor wee thing. I thought they might drag the train-wreck out for a couple more rounds, but you could see with every 5 seconds of this segment why they didn’t. For a start, she was ageing at a precipitous rate. I mean that’s going to be a problem for a few other contestants as well (Jacee for instance, if his voice breaks), but already she looked about 10 years older than her audition. Then came her performance, where she stomped around clapping her hands and grinning, and the entire audience (apart from her adorable family) just sat there in stony-faced silence. Then when she was finally turned down, her face turned to pure rage. If she’d been put through to Groups I can imagine her entire group self-eliminating and promising themselves they’ll give it another go next year. Somebody helicopter this girl out of her own life before she turns into that crazy Ukranian girl from San Francisco. It’s only a short hop from this to the Youtube videos in the shower.