Film and TV

Idol Beat: I Am The Smartest Man Alive

Sure, I admit it: I felt like an idiot calling my shot yesterday and putting all my money on Ashley Sullivan, only to watch her melt down during the final Hollywood round. What a fool I was, I thought, there's no way the judges will pass her after that utter mental breakdown. No. Way.

Never underestimate the power of good ratings. With the departure of Chelsee and Jacquelyne removing any lingering interest in the "couples" angle and Tiffany Rios a distant, sweaty memory, that just leaves Ashley, the beautiful wreck who cries more than John Boehner. She's the anti-feelgood story; the contestant we don't feel guilty about gaping at in abject horror.

And as for me, well...

Oh, and Ryan Seacrest, your bullshit is getting tired. "The most powerful performances in the last ten years?" "Some of the best singing to hit the Idol stage?" I mean, I may be suffering from some disconnect since I've never watched an entire season before, but the querulous Ashthon Jones and sad sack Jaycee don't seem to make for a very strong field.

Jaycee reminds me of that kid Tyrese Gibsonl recruits to distract Evil Josh Charles in Four Brothers, so I'm good with him for now.

Last night was the big "cut the 100 down to 50" event, which made the last segment seem -- to me, anyway -- pretty anticlimactic: the contestants are divided into four groups of 25 after their audtions to await the judges' ruling. But really, come on people: if you're sharing a room with Naima and Julie Zorrilla, do you really think you're getting cut? The AI editors should receive an Emmy every year for making any of this look surprising.

My biggest beef with this round is the song limitation. I don't know how big the actual selection list is, but it seemed like everybody was singing "Georgia On My Mind" (or maybe my perception was slanted following Clint the Asshole's overwrought interpretation) and "I Hope You Dance." It's like the world's shittiest karaoke bar.

Then again, "shitty karaoke bar" is redundant.

In the absence of any real conflict (at least until Jaycee exacts revenge upon Clint), Carson Higgins -- he who resembles a Leif Garrett just transitioning to heroin -- and world's greatest fiancee Chris Medina square off with different versions of "My Perogative." Both moved on, nothing to see here.

The instrumentalists were featured next, but perfunctory keyboard jockeys (Colton Dixon, Robbie Rosen) and staircase guitar plinkers (Caleb Hawley, Simply Brett Loewenstern) are put to shame by Casey Abrams and his bull fiddle. I like his beady eyes, I like his beard. Dude is going places.

And I really wanted to find that clip of Belushi destroying the guy's guitar from Animal House for the above paragraph, so you'll just have to imagine it. As Bluto himself might say: "Sorry."

So let's handicap the final 50: you have to like Lauren Alaina, Jacob Lusk (who actually cried more than Ashley), Casey Abrams, Simply Brett, Chris Medina, John Wayne Schultz (for token C&W representation), Jovany Barreto, Jaycee (for token unattractive kid representation), Naima Adedapo, Julie "Go Go" Zorrilla, and whatshisname with the bandanas.

Christ, are they really doing "Beatles Week" next? I'll pay everyone who reads this blog $100 if someone sings "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"

$500 if it's Ashley.

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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