Film and TV

Idol Beat: The Cult Awareness Network

I thought I imagined it at first, or was suffering the onset of hallucinations brought upon by sleep deprivation, strong drink, and three consecutive nights of watching Steven Tyler undress the audience with his eyes. But for maybe the first time since Season 10 of Idol began, I actually rewound my DVR to rewatch something.

It starts out ambiguously enough that you know something hinky is afoot, then moves into uncomfortably quasi-spiritual territory before flashing the "S"-word. And why am I talking about it so much? Because it was one of the few mildly surprising moments of an otherwise utterly predictable evening.

I included the clip after the jump, because I imagine a few of last night's failed contestants - and not a few of you "suppressive persons" - might need some auditing in the near future.

As for the show, it started with one of Tyler's greatest opening lines, when he said (in response to Ryan Seacrest talking about how many contestants would be going home), "Ryan, I wish we could do all of 'em." I bet you do, Steven. I bet you do.

The "incredible night," would end with 13 of the 24 selected to trudge onwards through the coming months of theme nights, "Vote for the Worst," and "surprise" guests (I put the over under on how many will be Scientologists at three).

It started with 20 minutes of replaying everything we've seen to this point, followed by "off the cuff" interviews with the dudes to prove they're just like us. To be fair, most of them seemed pretty affable, except Scotty, who apparently dresses like every suburban Dallas douchebag I've ever met, and Clint, whom I was going to stop referring to as "The Asshole," until I realized he reminds me of another famous reality TV jagoff: Dale from Top Chef. If the shoe fits...

In a bit of a fucker move, Ryan brings Jovany, Clint, and Jordan out...and sends them all back. And now I feel bad, because Clint was crying like Jimmy Swaggart. You have sinned before Jacee Badeaux, son. Now you're reaping the whirlwind.

The ladies were next, in an identical pattern of recap-interview-fuckery. Lauren and Pia made it, leading the ladies portion off with little surprise. Ta-Tynisa and Julie Zorrilla did not. Again, no shocks here.

Three more of the ladies - Ashthon, Kendra, and Karen - go up, but only Karen moves on.

When Ryan called the next three dudes up, you figured they were about to even the numbers on the couch (one dude and three ladies to this point), and sure enough, Casey and Jacob move on to the finals. Tim...nope.

Great, at least another week of Jacob "The Male Christina Aguilera" Lusk. Woo. Hoo.

It was moving deceptively quickly at this point, with Seacrest setting them up and knocking them down. The next trio of ladies comes up, and...what the fuck? Naima didn't make it? SHE SCRUBS TOILETS FOR A LIVING YOU ASSHOLES. Thia goes through, even though she's probably an only child whose parents gave her a fucking Steinway when she was three.

Oh, and Lauren (Turner) is out. With Alaina already in, we have to be careful of flooding the market with Laurens, which could lead to long lines at Lauren stations and recession.

Brett or Paul? Ginger or balding? Mick Hucknall or Kenny Loggins? It's Kenny, er, Paul. One can only conclude from this that America hates redheads.

And Those leather pants worked for Haley. Rachel, unfortunately, probably creeped everybody out too much. She doesn't make it.

Man, Ryan Seacrest is short. I think the only people on stage he towered over were Thia and Rachel, who I believe was an extra in the Shire scenes in Fellowship of the Ring.

The final men's spot goes to James, which preserves the requisite "one allegedly compelling human interest angle" going forward.

The judges decide they want to hear from six of the potential losers, and this is what takes up the bulk of the remaining hour:

Ashthon ("And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going") - she has the moves, and the look, but...who knows. The judges are ambivalent. Stefano ("I Need You Now") - I'm sorry, all I hear when he sings is Joey from Friends saying "How you doin'?" Kendra ("Georgia On My Mind") - I no longer need melatonin, I'll just play this snoozer rendition of that song when I can't get to sleep. Jovany ("Angel") - Trying that half English/half Spanish shit. Well played. Naima ("For All We Know") - Maybe I'm biased - and old - but I'll take this over Jon Secada any damn day. Robbie ("Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word") - "What do I gotta do to make you love me?" Bit desperate, yes?

And as extra, shitty, torture we get treated to J Lo's "On the Floor" video while the judges deliberate. It's easily the crappiest dance or the danciest crap I've ever heard. And then another commercial. And then Ashthon, who shrieks appreciably, if not convincingly. Plus (oy) Stefano, and Naima. And that's your lucky 13.

Just to recap, let's remember who I picked:

Jovany Barrento [X] Brett Loewenstern [X] James Durbin Scotty McCreery Jacob Lusk Casey Abrams

Naima Adedapo Karen Rodriguez Ashthon Jones Thia Megia Lauren Alaina Pia Toscano

4 out of 6 for the guys; 6 for 7 for the girls, but only because they went one extra with Kendra. 10 for 13 overall is pretty respectable, and on that basis I once again proclaim myself the Smartest Man Alive.

The cull continues next week. In the interim, I'll be hitting the local Spec's for resupply.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar