Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ace's Low

As a nation duty-bound by laws, traditions and a deep commitment to cheesy pop music, we may get the American Idols we deserve. But whatever our sins in the voting booth, however wide-ranging the ways we've neglected our civic duty, we did not deserve Wednesday's "Idol" bottom three - well, except that it resulted in Ace getting kicked off.

This week featured American standards - because we sure do have standards here, after all - and accordingly, Ryan Seacrest was doing the usual. As he separated the contestants into groups to determine the bottom three, everything seemed to be making sense, with Elliott on one side of the stage, and Chris and Paris on the other, and - well, this is interesting, an embarrassed-looking Kellie joining Elliott. But then - WAIT, WHAT?! - Ace is next to Paris and Chris? Katharine is next to Kellie and Elliott? The earth is spinning off its axis? And Taylor, who is safe, is all by himself on the couch, about to be forced into the impossible, Seacrest-compelled position of "joining whichever group you think is safe." (Wouldn't it be great if just one week, at least, a contestant would refuse to budge, decline to pick sides? Is it possible Ryan's head would explode?) He heads over to shake hands with Chris, but - oh, no! - Seacrest is telling us that Taylor has chosen wrong, and that Chris, Ace and Paris are this week's lowest vote-getters. As Chris laughs in the face of elimination, Elliott stands at the side, looking all "Wow, people liked me this week! I guess I'll stand here, then!" Kellie and Katharine leap up and joyfully hug each other, and Kellie then hugs a puzzled-looking Taylor.

After Paris is sent back to the couch, Chris and Ace remain center stage, looking pretty much identical in black button-down shirts and jeans - well, minus the hair (or lack thereof). Our only consolation comes when Ace - a nice, likeable guy, don't get me wrong - gets the less-than-surprising news: He's going home, and he can take his flowing locks, kind smile and boy-band leanings with him. ("I bet you he'll end up on a soap opera," my mom advised me in a post-"Idol" conversation.) But did we really come that close to losing Chris, even after a just-ok performance? Ouch. Harsh. Not good.

So what does this mean? Well, in the grand, planetary, geological sense, absolutely nothing. But otherwise, it means that at this point in the season, every contestant left has been in the bottom three except Kellie and Taylor. Both have understandably won loyal fan bases that vote for them through thick, thin and just plain abysmal. So will anything be enough to sway, jar or otherwise alter that course? Actually, on further contemplation, I'm wondering if Kellie's awfulness - and gracious conduct afterward - Tuesday may have actually won her more votes, simply out of "aww" and sympathy and things of that nature. Hmm. Either way, she can't seem to go wrong, even when she goes wrong, if you see what I'm saying.

On a related note, though I'm not fond of quoting myself - chalk that up to the whole "journalism school" thing - I should point out I said this after Tuesday's show: "And if, after a performance like Tuesday's, Kellie doesn't get to finally experience the bottom three for herself, we might as well just all throw our CD collections into a bonfire and give up."

Those logs you smell burning? Those flames you hear crackling and popping? Those overpriced silvery plastic discs you see melting? Man, I give up. At least for now. If Kellie's run enters Nikki McKibbin territory - and it may well, with other talented contestants biting the dust while she soldiers on - then perhaps the war is on.

Da ya think I'm...oh, nevermind: Listen! The "Idol" band is playing a brassy, rollicking arrangement that sure sounds like the intro to Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" Rod strolls onto the stage! Could it be he's going to dispense with that whole Songbook spiel and go old-school (even if technically, the classics in the songbook are older than "Sexy")? Could it? Could we hope? Oh, wait...that's just his walk-on music. Then he gives us a laid-back take on "The Way You Look Tonight," full of the raspiness and that typically Rod sort of winking slyness that's somewhat embarrassing, like the randy old uncle in the Bridget Jones movies, and yet shamelessly winning. Say what you will, but no one can say the man lacks personality.

Seacrest would point this out: "Where'd you get the jacket?" Ryan Seacrest asked Stewart, who was sporting a dapper dull-gold blazer. "It's an old Dolce and Gabbana," he replied. "It matches the highlights," Seacrest quipped. Ah, now that's the clean-shaven metrosexual we know and...well, I guess, just know.

That'll stop traffic: Last night's "Idol" commercial - to Kim Wilde's "Kids in America" - featured, among other things, Ace hopping around a "billboard" wearing - of course! - a sleeveless shirt. The words next to him read "Ace: Greatest Hits." Wait, they exist? And while we're on the subject, Taylor's blue, black and white sign was definitely featured the coolest design.

Cheese is on the menu: "Next week, make a date with Idol. Sparks will definitely fly," Seacrest said in the kind of voiceover that makes you simultaneously love and hate this cursed show.

One appearance of impropriety, coming up! Ace's farewell clip montage included a shot of an adoring Paula saying, "Those eyes? Hell-o!" In other words, clearly having learned nothing from the whole "sleeping with a contestant" debacle.

Next week: Love is in the air, and on the air, as opera crossover star Andrea Bocelli schools the Idols in The Greatest Love Songs of All Time. Wait, you thought they were going to make them try opera? (Ok, so I admit I feared that for a few seconds, as Seacrest was introducing the biographical montage.) No, Chris, nothing from the Nickelback oeuvre counts. And yeah, you could say I'm already looking forward to watching, say, Taylor practice with Bocelli. (Oh, the gray hair! Oh, the possibly unintentional comedic gold!)


Maggpi said...

Kellie has a lot of potential. You have all sorts of "stars" who can't sing worth anything, (okay, force me to name names...Cher, Paula Abdul...) but you get them into a studio where their voices can be modulated and regulated and regurgitated (yep, know what it means) and they sound great. Kellie has a sweet personality and most people love her.

Does anyone remember when Shania Twain did her first tour? It was awful and the critics hated it. Praised the recording studios for getting her voice right on the records. But live....AWFUL... but she had the looks and the desire, but mainly the look.

So does Kellie. And if Carrie Underwood, who did NOT, (SO did not) have a great personality. Try watching her interview with "Jaded". That was painful.

Anyhow, LIKE I DID YESTERDAY, America got it right.

And, by the way, MY PROFOUND THANKS! No more Ace.

If you could have taken his head off his body and put a different one on it, then he would have been sexy. But I never did get why people felt he was so cute.... oh well....

We still have Taylor....! WOO!

Maggpi said...

Oops, I side-tracked myself there...

Carrie won without personality.

How can anyone think Kellie couldn't win with the personality that she's got???

It's dynamite.

anonyMoses said...

I think Bocelli will favor Kat over Kellie, so to speak, as Kat is more likely to be able to commission Sarah Brightman...which may be over the head of Kellie.

As much as I like Kellie and Chris, I really do think Kat has the best chance. So far.

America could stand to idolize talent and intelligence. Kellie needs work on that second half.