Film and TV

Idol Beat: He-Man Woman Hater's Club

55 million. That's how many votes were cast to determine which two unfortunates would be given the boot last night on American Idol. To those who like to get up in arms about the "outrage" that the show draws such massive numbers from an otherwise apathetic population, I'd remind you the show allows as many phone calls and text messages from one person as they can make in a two-hour period, and you can vote 20 times online. And as far as I'm concerned, as long as people that devoted to the show aren't doing other more destructive things, like breeding, I have no problem with the number of votes cast.

Besides, there was an increased sense of urgency because two finalists were going home this week, and god forbid anyone sends current tween heartthrob/weak links Scotty or Stefano home before the pre-adolescent female population of America has fully had their say.

Anyone doubting my assertion that the overwhelming majority of Idol voters are young girls is free to look at the evidence. All four of the eliminated so far are female, and the only two men who've recently shown up in the bottom are Casey (last week) and Paul (last night). What do Casey and Paul have in common? Beards, which are totally gross. Plus, Paul is the oldest remaining contestant (a doddering 27) and has the temerity to sing songs by artists not lodged in the Hot 100 (Ryan Adams).

The contestants break into smaller groups instead of the big singalong we've seen in past weeks. First up are Lauren and Scotty. She does all the heavy lifting, which hardly comes as a surprise. I know Scotty's got decent odds in Vegas, but he has - at best - a half-octave range. Seacrest calls them to the stage first, like there's any chance either are in the bottom three. Neither are.

Naturally the show can't go on until we get through the requisite Ford commercial. I understand now I was wrong to rail against these in the past. After watching the execrable duet between Jamie Foxx and later in the show ("Hot Wings" from the upcoming Rio), I realize the entire show is essentially one long infomercial, populated by whatever sliding-from-the-spotlight star needs to give their latest project a boost. Shit, at least Ford is honest about it.

Next came some perfunctory banter with Casey (he trimmed his beard!) and James (he has fans!) before Jacob and Naima duet on "Solid As A Rock." How...convenient to put the two remaining black contestants together. I had bad feelings about Naima after last night, and I was right. She's in the bottom again.

Oh look, here's Fantasia. What does she mean by "taking it back to old school Idol?" Is William Hung waiting in the wings? I hope her appearance last night was a contractual obligation and not just a naked attempt to sleep with Steven. Not that he would probably object.

Sorry, I had to take a moment to figure out Steven's shirt. The only explanation I came up with is that he's taking over for Big Gay Al on that boat ride.

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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