Have you ever had one of those really bad nightmares, the kind that is so horrifying it wakes you up multiple times during the night? And even though your subconscious is trying to offer you escape, each time you manage to get back to sleep it picks right back up where it left off, victimizing you until the alarm clock finally goes off and sets you free, exhausted and enervated, for the day?
That's what season 10 of American Idol feels like. Each time I come back, it renews its assault on my fragile psyche. And like the unfortunate sleeper, return to it I must.
And the next two weeks are brutal: two-hour episodes last night and tonight, and three nights (!) in a row next week, consisting of two 90-minute episodes and a two-hour reveal of the season's finalists on Thursday.
The worst part is, this thing doesn't wrap up until June, so using nightmare mathematics, it's only 1:00 AM Idol time.
And last night was the chance for the remaining 61 hopefuls to butcher the Beatles. I am officially not getting paid enough for this.
The challenge -- their "toughest yet," according to the never hyperbolic Ryan Seacrest -- was to learn a Beatles song in just 24 hours. It didn't sound tough, then again, several of these little shits have never even heard Rubber Soul all the way through (which should automatically disqualify them from the music business).
There's an old Bloom County cartoon that I feel pretty well represents the problem with younger generations and seminal rock groups like the Fab Four:
This generation's is all about the exploding porpoises.
The front-runners for the drawn out "final selection" became apparent early on. Naima Adedapo (she's like Erykah Badu without the batshit) is going to be in this thing until the end, as is Julie "Go Go" Zorrilla, that Jovanny dude, and just about anyone who's performing when Steven Tyler goes "Yeah!" or "Woo!" So they'll likely keep Kendra Chantelle and Paul McDonald, he of the breathy voice and bad comb-forward.
I felt bad for the contestants on the bus to Vegas (a clumsy excuse to pimp Cirque du Soleil's Love and cram in more Coca-Cola product placement than you'd find on an Atlanta city bus) whose names we haven't learned yet. If you haven't been introduced to America yet, kiddos, you're fucked.
Ashley Hamilton found another way to one-up the proceedings, marrying her own Kevin Federline in the same chapel where Brit Brit tied the knot. But in an utterly anti-climactic development, she doesn't make it to the next round. What's worse, she does it sans freakout or crying jag. Ashley, I am disappoint.
What does it say that I can't remember what anybody sang? None of the performances stuck, which of course is the problem for 99 percent of these kids. They may have the technical chops to carry a tune properly, but I had to rewind to remember what any of the selections were. Lack of memorability is probably the main reason most of you aren't able to recall who won two seasons ago. Hint: It wasn't Adam Lambert.
After dumping more dead weight (Molly DeWolf Swensen, the White House intern we hadn't seen since her Milwaukee audition, and the kid who looked like Leif Garrett among them), they headed back to L.A.
How much of what followed was staged, I couldn't tell you, but we only got through naming five of the 24 semifinalists before Jennifer Lopez suffered what Seacrest, subtle as always, referred to as an "unprecedented breakdown." And why? Because she had to give Fiance of the Millennium Chris Medina the heave-ho. Another one I didn't see coming, but Jesus Christ, lady... you starred in Gigli. How much humanity could you possibly have left?
Buh-byes were also in order for Lakeisha, Alex Ryan (who?), and Holly Cavanagh.
The first five semifinalists, on the other hand, include Clint the Asshole, who makes it through in spite of singing "Hello" by Lionel Richie. What an asshole. On the up side, his eventual downfall will give me the fuel I need to keep watching.
Beyonce doppelganger Ashthon Jones also makes it, along with Haley Reinhart (whose obvious discomfort at letting Steve Tyler touch her should make for continuing amusement), Naima, and McDonald, who busted out the Nudie suit for his final performance.
The remaining 19 will be divulged over an excruciating two hours tonight. Woo hoo.
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