American Idol 2, May 19's Final Two Show: Gonzo and the Turkey Sandwichby Sting7 -- 05/20/2003
It's the night before the final performances. What better time to get inside the final two who are on the lips of everyone in America! Ryan gets awakened by a production assistant who tells him he has three shows to do this week. He springs to action, dressed, hair perfect, and holding a microphone - "I can do this!" he exclaims.
"They are paying you!" I exclaim. And on with the show. Ooo-whoa-ooo-whoa-ooo!
Ryan compares it Ali/Foreman, Bush/Gore, Harding/Kerrigan and so on, it's Ruben/Clay! The winner gets a million dollar recording contract and instant celebrity. The loser gets nada. (Not true, we all know that Clay, Ruben, and Kimberley will get contracts no matter what happens tomorrow!)
Ryan introduces the judges for a little pow-wow about all that has happened. We see the evolution of the judges. Since Season One, Paula has been the supportive one. Nothing has changed but her hairdo and wardrobe. (Actually, Paula has been a bit tougher.) Randy was the laid back judge who apparently has "spent too much time with Simon." (Randy has always been fair, this year he was a bit harsher in his criticism, but I still think he is the most constructive of the three.) Simon was evil and remains so. (If Simon doesn't like it, he doesn't like and he doesn't have to tell you why. That is a problem in my opinion.)
Ryan asks Simon if he likes being in the spotlight. Simon says he can't take Ryan's questions seriously considering who they are coming from. (A good point.) Ryan whips out a Simon bobble-head doll. Randy and Paula sarcastically chide that Simon doesn't want the attention, nooooo. Simon deadpans that he had the dolls made because he "wanted to give something to the children." Something besides nightmares?
In the audience are Hayley and those two dudes left from Mr. Personality, Will and Chris, still in their masks. Ryan asks her who's it going to be, and she looks like she was caught with pot in her purse. Did she not see this coming? Ryan bails her out, and says he means Clay or Ruben. She babbles something about wanting to see them perform with masks on. Whatever.
Ryan says even celebrities have an opinion about who the American Idol will be (since Hayley couldn't scratch one up): Amanda Bynes (she is everywhere all of a sudden! Who is her agent??) says Ruben. Jamie Kennedy says Ruben. Lisa Ann Walter says Clay. Frankie Muniz says his girlfriend loves Clay, so he's rooting for Clay (Frankie isn't old enough to be that whipped. He can't have an opinion of his own? He's doomed to be sucked dry by some fly trap like Kirsten from The Bachelor and he'll be sitting next to Hammer on Surreal Life 5, mark my words!). Shannon Elizabeth says she thinks it will be Ruben.
What's that sound? It's the huddled masses known as Clay Nation, buzzing that Ruben got three celebrity votes and Clay only got two! Further evidence of the Mass Media Conspiracy to deny Clay his rightful place as the American Idol! Pant. Pant. You should see the email I get.
Next, we revisit with the American Idol finalists, with Vanessa, without Josh! Or Corey. Ryan explains that Josh is back on duty, but no explanation of Vanessa's sudden reappearance when American Idol shut her off the single, album, and tour. Whatever the reason, she looks glad to be back. They perform "What the World Needs Now."
All but Clay, Ruben, and Kimberley head back to the couch. Charles says his life hasn't returned to normal yet, and he doesn't want it to. Their dreams are starting to come true. Kimberly is doing FOX Sports, though she says she knows nothing about sports (if you ever watched FOX sports, they have the hottest collection of, ahem, sport anchors doing updates I've ever seen. Eye candy? Nooooo! ). Simon interjects that Ryan is doing the show, but he knows nothing about music! (Ryan is a disc jockey by day. Thought I'd mention that.) Vanessa says she holds no grudge about what Simon said about her butt, he's a "sweet little man." Carmen will be opening for Dave Matthews in the summer. Trenyce is excited about the tour (she had more to say, probably about how she truly loves me and not Phil Kural, but Ryan cut her off. Tool.). Rickey says the tour will be "bananas, dawg" (translation: very exciting). He also says it's gonna be "crunched up" (translation: very hectic, 40 cities in 55 days).
Let's welcome back Kimberley Locke! Ryan asks what happened right after the show. (She went to her dressing room, busted a mirror, collapsed to her knees and screamed to the lord above that he has forsaken her?) She said it was all very emotional. Ryan asks who does she think will win? (Is he asking inane questions on purpose or is he deviating from the script?) Kim gives a deft political answer worthy of a presidential campaign. She must know what Clay Nation will do to her if she dares to say Ruben.
Speaking of Ruben, let's watch his journey. We do. Ruben talks about going home, seeing his band, friends, former teachers. Ryan says they gave Ruben's brother, Kevin, a quiz about Ruben.
1. What kind of food won't Ruben eat?
c) what kind of question is that?
Ruben says he hates sushi, so Kevin will say sushi. Nope. Via videotape, Kevin laughs and says, "what kind question is that?"
2. Did Kevin support Ruben's singing?
a) in every way he could
b) he can't sing his way out of a paper bag
c) I beat him up to shut him up
Ruben says C decisively. Kevin says Ruben sang incessantly. To every song on the radio. When they'd get home, he'd beat him up. Ding!
3. At 12, why did Ruben knock out his brother?
a) a sandwich
b) a football game
c) a chick
Ruben blushes, and chuckles, "it was over a turkey sandwich, dawg!" Kevin says that he looked in the fridge and saw a turkey sandwich, suddenly there was this fist, and the lights went out! When he woke he said Ruben was glaring down at him. Yikes!
Ryan says Ruben went to dinner with Neil Sedaka. Ruben says they went to Mr. Chow's and Neil gave them all signed sheet music of the songs they performed that week. Ruben says Sedaka is a "real, genuine person."
Ruben performs "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," even better than he did in competition!
Now, let's meet Thumbelina, Paula's (admittedly adorable) dog. Thumbelina sits on Paula's lap like it's her birthright. You know that dog is eating better than people in third world countries.
Clay strides out and we look at his journey. Ryan notes that Clay was a Wildcard entrant and has made it all the way. Clay notes the irony that he was in the Top 3 with the two people who "whupped" him in Group 2. He says he realized after the results were read last week that he was going to be with Ruben in the same position that Kelly and Justin were last year. (Shoot to the audience, there is a beaming Justin Guarini, who holds the number one spot on the Top 20 Greatest American Idol Performances Ever). Ryan asks about the difference in Clay's hair and appearance, Clay says he's pretty much the same person. He also adds, since he was a Wildcard winner, he didn't get to go home until recently. He went directly into Top 12 preparations. He says it's all been surreal.
Ryan pulls a card-carrying member of Clay Nation named Erin from the crowd. Clay comments on her "Clay Mates" t-shirt and graciously hugs his future stalker. Time to put Erin to the test. How much does she know about Clay? (Too much, I'm already saying.)
How much was the red leather jacket he wore performing "Grease." She says she "believes" it was about $1,200, pretending she doesn't know it down to the penny and holding the actual receipt in her pocket as we speak. Clay says that's about right.
What was Clay's nickname at the YMCA? Erin says she too is a YMCA counselor (imagine that), and she knows it was Gonzo! Clay asks how does she know this, with a nervous little giggle. Be afraid.
How old was Clay when he was the high school mascot? She says she "believes" he was 5. Clay says that is true. Wows are heard from Randy, who is probably thinking he may have to bum rush this girl before the night is over. Clay explains it was more like carrying the tiara in for the Winter king and queen, whatever.
Clay sings the song that helped him advance from the Wildcard Round, "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me," and he too is better than he was the first time. Tomorrow's show will be incredible, you can just feel it!
Now, audience questions.
Joanna asks Ruben who he wants to record with? Funny you should ask, it just so happens that he is recording a song with Tamyra Gray called "If This World Were Mine."
Sarah asks Clay what it is about being the American Idol that he finds appealing. Clay says that the influence he'd have as a celebrity will give him a chance to do some good things. Ryan, realizing how Miss Universe that sounded, asks about the money. Clay says he wouldn't turn it down, but you take a job because you enjoy doing it, not because of the pay.
He's still in his twenties.
Dan asks Randy what's up dawg? Randy says something like "yo baby, dawg, chillin, dawg baby dawg." Dan's real question is what advice would Randy give the other judges to be better judges.
All three actually answer, but they say nothing useful. So, I will answer for them. Randy needs to do nothing. He's honest, he's direct, if he doesn't like it, he'll usually tell you why. Paula needs to understand that she isn't doing anyone any favors by pretending to like something that was not good. (Earlier, she said that she was a performer and knows what it's like up there, and she sympathizes.) Simon needs to understand that while giving good soundbite is great for television, if you give nothing constructive, you haven't done your job as a judge.
Ruben and Clay convene with Ryan at centerstage. Time for the coin flip to see who goes first tomorrow. Ruben calls heads. It's tails. Clay, do you want to go first or second. Clay thinks a moment and announces he wants the second spot (he can hear Ruben perform and know what he has to do to outperform him - very smart). Clay's fans are pleased with his decision.
The finalists perform "God Bless The USA" and I say God Bless us all that we make it through these next two nerve-wracking nights!
Sting7 can be reached at email@example.com.
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