Okay, fine, I'll take a turn bashing these poor little infant boys up there singing on stage for American Idol. Everyone else is doing it, and I've always just been so very susceptible to peer pressure.
Contestant #1, Phil Stacey, Mr. Sings in the Military and Probably in the Shower Too: If your shirt has a little detailing around the collar, a little tie or button or whatever, that's fine. But when the detailing is so unattractive and weird-looking that it gets embarrassed and starts to creep away, and in fact makes it almost all the way to your left shoulder before the end of your performance, then it's probably time to meet with the wardrobe folks again. But, nice idea, taking a very raspy-voiced original song and singing it, you know, melodically. I'd start examining the discography of Rod Stewart and Bryan Adams now, too.
Contestant #2, I can't remember your name but you're really pretty: It's a little bit creepy to dedicate a song to your parents and then sing "Let's Get It On." You know? Really.
Contestant #3, A.J. Whatshisname: I can't remember you, but you have a wide smile and somehow your eyebrows make me think of Howdy Doody. That can't be good.
Contestant #4, Sanjaya Malakar, with the Really Big Toothy Smile: If you could see what those yutzes look like, fake-dancing on the balcony up behind you and pretending to cheer you on, even you would get a big mean frowny face and kick some ass. But you can't see them while you sing, so instead you just keep looking younger and younger, despite dressing like a grown-up this week. And I would like it known that, as Willem is my witness, I said it sounded like a high school talent show at least two full minutes before Randy said it.
I bet they make Paula Abdul walk through a metal detector before she sits down. I don't think she independently possesses the self-restraint necessary to leave the boxcutters at home. Not because I think Simon Cowell actually is that infuriating or whatever, because I don't - just because I think she's hovering right on a very fine line between 'roid rage and crystal meth withdrawal, though I'm willing to accept it as gospel that she is not on drugs. Just because she says so, and she's so darn nice it must be true. No?
Ah, Contestant #5, Chris Sligh of the Big Puffy Hair and Potential Sense of Humor: Please stop clapping and dancing in the background. I've clued Sanjaya in, so you're on notice. But, oh, my goodness, what a cute guy you were in your wedding photos! Until I saw that, I just thought you had a face made for radio. Now I know it's just the hair. You sang, "I've been saved by a woman," on national television, to your cute blonde wife, thereby guaranteeing that you will Get Some Tonight.
Willem has informed me that if he went on this show, he would dedicate a song to me: "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw."
Contestant #6, Nick Pedro of the How Many Times Can I Quit and Come Back: Willem doesn't like you. When he imagines failure, he pictures you. Sorry. Okay, now you're singing. You are not black, not soulful, not female, not charismatic, and not sexy. Any one of those things would suffice, but in their absence - Do Not Sing "Fever."
Is this the first year that Simon has seemed so wildly uncomfortable with any vaguely homosexual reference? Which leads to, is it a new thing for him, perhaps a bad experience in prison in the off-season? Or is it just a newly-discovered weak spot because Ryan Seacrest's version of humor stopped developing about the time he was allowed to choose between music class or an extra study hall?
Contestant #7, Blake Lewis, cute grin and I'm just not cool enough to grok the beatboxing: You look a little like my OB. My very cute OB. The OB I was willing to shave my 8-months-pregnant legs for. I'm just saying. You're singing Jamiroquai. I would be so inexpressibly impressed if you figured out a way to walk around the walls and ceiling, a la the music video.
Three left. We can do this.
Contstant #8, Brandon Rogers, who happens to share a name with the son of a coworker, though I never would have guessed that there was that much soul in her house: Um, dude, you're so not Cyndi Lauper. But, okay, go ahead and sing her song, that's okay with me... as long as you promise to Start. Using. Consonants. Seriously. All those T's and K's and L's and stuff, those have a place in our great language. Often, at the beginning and end of words. Look into it.
I'm waiting for Randy Jackson's ad campaign with the ASPCA, "Dawg," to come out. He'll find a way to endorse things in strong words without ever actually voicing an opinion.
Contestant #9, Chris Something, whose face looks totally new to me and I realize I didn't pay attention to him at all before: Willem likes that you're dedicating your song to your grandmother, and he wants you to sing "I'm Too Sexy." Instead you're singing a song that those of us in the uncool-30ish-sweatpants-wearing set have never heard of. But it seems almost as inappropriately sexual as Right Said Fred would have been, in re: Grandma.
We made it.
Contestant #10, man am I glad I didn't do this last week because they were boring then, Sundance What Kind of Name is Sundance Head: You look, every time I see you on my television, like you're waiting for someone to kick you out. That makes me sad. And, okay, guy getting verklempt about missing his newborn son's smiles, that wins points. Back when I lived closer to home, my mom and I would go out and listen to live bands, and they always played "Mustang Sally," and I would drink illegally and pretend like I was loose enough to dance in public. Now I don't live close enough to go out, I don't drink, and I could dance in public because I'm not self-conscious enough to protect my friends and family from public embarrassment... so, whatever, thanks for the memories.
Amen. I don't pretend to be a music critic, but now you know what it's like in my living room a few nights a week. Only I'm much thinner and more eloquent than your mental image.