American Idol 2, March 5: Justify My Loveby Sting7 -- 03/06/2003
Got an hour to kill? See Fox! Sure, tonight's wildcard results show could have been a half hour, and an exciting, satisfying half hour. But, naw. There are advertising dollars to be made. Don't be so sensible... and naive. Tonight, the judges and America get to send four of the nine Wildcards to the prestigious Top Ten, er, Twelve. In a night I thought was a slam dunk, I learned again... you just never know. And, sometimes, life just ain't fair.
Ryan Seacrest welcomes us (I will say again, I just don't miss Brian Dunkleman. Do you wonder what he thinks watching American Idol now? Is he throwing old socks at his television every time he sees Seacrest? That's all the space I'm willing to give him). It's the wildcard results show! Fluffy nonsense.
Ryan reintroduces the eight finalists already in the Top 12. They are: Charles Grigsby, Julia DeMato, Ruben Studdard, Kimberley Locke, Rickey Smith, Vanessa Olivarez, Joshua Gracin, and Corey Clark.
Ryan asks Simon what was his deal last night? Simon was especially crabby. There are shots of Simon in full bloom last night. Holding his face, head thrown back, the essence of boredom. Then a couple of rigged photos with a bib and a pacifier. Ryan says he needs a hug. A group hug! People from all over come out for a hug with Simon. I mean from everywhere. People are frigging dropping from the ceiling!
Okay, I laughed. Simon says there was a "dark side" to his mood last night, and says producers Nigel and Ken are "a pain." Randy and Paula tease him about feeling secure about his job. I don't buy a second of this.
Ryan talks to the Wildcard contestants (finally). Kimberly Caldwell says Clay Aiken has become something of a chick magnet. Ryan, out of nowhere, asks her if something is blooming between her and Clay. Kimberly gives an eyeroll only the beautiful can master, and says she is as single as single gets. Ryan asks Trenyce why she should advance, and Trenyce's immediate grimace indicates she knows there is no correct answer to this. She says because she likes to light up a stage and she is a good performer. She thinks. Ryan notes that this is all new to some of them, like Carmen Rasmusen. Carmen says she didn't feel good about her performance and is basically kicking herself.
Ryan recaps their performance and the judges' critiques, which we covered last night.
It is time for America's choice. And it is... oh no, Ryan can't read the card! He's serious, toss him some glasses. Gee, they look just like Clay Aiken's glasses that he wore on his first audition! The glasses don't help... he goes to Simon who can't read it either. Bruce, cue to me a break! I don't buy any of this.
Back from the break, and the Fox think tank is working on the indecipherable card that is apparently written in arabic. So, let's go on to the judges' choices.
Starting with Randy Jackson. Randy says his selection hasn't performed exceptionally yet, but has been pretty consistent. He also believes she can be a star and will be fun to watch throughout the competition. He has chosen... Kimberly Caldwell! Kimberly looks genuinely shocked. She runs over and hugs all the judges. Ryan tells her she could be the next American Idol, and her knees seem to give out. She drops right off the screen.
Kimberly then sings "I Feel The Earth Move" again, and she is sent to the back with the other advancees.
Back from commercial, they are still working on that card. They have called in Kreskin. Paula is to announce her choice, but says that Simon should apologize to the producers first. Randy says that they have made Simon famous and a millionaire. All of the judges, millionaires. Simon says he's sorry he called them a pain, and says he should have called them "jerks." Then he says he is really sorry. Awww.
Ryan asks if all the judges are millionaires. Randy hems a little and says yeah. He is clearly thinking about all of the video girls who will be catapulting themselves at him with visions of ice and bling-bling dancing in their heads.
Paula snarkily barks, "Yeah, like I didn't have a career before this!" Simon counters, "Or after." Paula tosses her bangs and carries on with her selection. Her performer has been consistent from the beginning. They are unbelievably polished, the song choices in the beginning weren't great, but they made her take notice. She is a star inside and out. And she is... Trenyce! Trenyce is visibly trying to compose herself and joins Ryan centerstage. She then belts out "Let's Stay Together" and is better than last night. How in the world did I overlook her before?
Ryan says he has no idea who Simon will pick after his foul mood the night before. Ryan again recaps Simon's critiques on the remaining Wildcards who are looking perfectly miserable on the red couch. Clay Aiken in particular. Simon says that he watched the performances a second time, and he says in the studio, he can't hear properly, and sometimes he thinks someone is wonderful and they aren't, or they were terrible but on second listen he thinks they're not bad. (Chip! Chip! He has to mean Chip because his critique was just flat-out wrong.) So, he is taking a gamble, but he heard something in their performance and that they had a unique voice (Uh-oh, Chip's voice ain't that unique!), and thinks they could go far in the competition. He chooses... Carmen Rasmussen!
(I noticed a momentary look between Ryan and Chip that could only be described as complete disbelief. Chip mouthed 'Damn.' If they were thinking one of their names should have been called, they are right.)
Carmen hugs Simon, and sheds a couple of joyous tears. Her mother backstage is a wreck. She sings "Can't Fight The Moonlight" mostly off-key, but she was excited... I'll give her a break.
The card has been deciphered! Glory Hallelujah! The person America puts through, the highest vote getter last night was... a surprise to no one... Clay Aiken! Clay hugs all of the judges, Simon says Clay's performance last night was the best of the season so far! The rest of the Top 12 come out and prepare to have their lives changed forever. Remember, they are going to live in the big-ass house and stuff! Hokey Coke commercials soon to follow!
Ryan asks the judges if they have any advice for the advancing 12.
Randy - "Consistency is the key, you got to bring it every week!
Paula - "Eat, sleep, have fun, enjoy the journey, don't take anything too serious. Especially what (Simon) says."
Simon - "Be afraid."
And so ends the show. How'd you do? I got 3 out of 4 of who I thought should advance; I still feel bad for the unappreciated of my picks.
Chip Days, I am angry for you. There is no doubt in my mind that his performance was better than Carmen's (and they said over and over again last night that the performers would be judged on what they did last night, yet that was not the case for Kimberly or Carmen!). I hold the opinion that American Idol had to advance someone who was not in the Top 32 to justify bringing those four back in the first place. Chip is an exceptional young man, working with troubled youth, and has been a professional throughout the whole process. Best of luck to him in everything he does. Good things happen to good people, by and by.
Next week, the real fun begins! This is when America takes control! There will be surprises. There will be tears. There will be disasters! (There will be handicapping!) There will be one American Idol!
Sting7 can be reached at email@example.com.
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