Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bucky: Not the champion, my friends

Wow, talk about a kick in the teeth. Everything was going along swimmingly on last night's "American Idol" results show, which promised a full hour of the unadulterated filler and cheese we've grown to know and (mostly) love, and Ace was in the bottom three, poised to get the boot he deserved, and then...Bucky gets kicked off?! And right after we just watched a moving segment on how much his "Idol" run has meant to folks back in Rockingham? Ouch. Certainly, Bucky deserved to go sometime well before the final two. But did Tuesday's performance of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" really earn the aw-shucks guy a one-way ticket home? I think not. Not after Ace's soul-sucking stab at "We Will Rock You." Then again, it could have been worse - fellow Bottom Three member Elliott, who was excellent this week, could have been ousted instead.

Awkward departures aside, Wednesday's show delivered a hefty serving of cheese, and I liked it. Yes! For instance, we had this: The medley begins!'s only taking up about one-third of the screen, and the rest is consumed by a clip montage! Could this be an attempt to disguise the Idols' silly choreography, or lack thereof? I feel ripped off! Where's the full-on Velveeta? Anyway, at least the singing is good. And Taylor got to belt out "We Are The Champions," after all! And then there's the weekly commercial, this one featuring the contestants singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" at a miniature golf course - and they're all decked out in INSANE golfing attire that strangely reflects their personalities. Was there any doubt that the goofy-grandpa golf gear would look most natural on Taylor? And wasn't Ace's pink argyle vest entirely appropriate?

The segments featuring contestants' families and friends got the waterworks flowing - onstage, I mean, not in my house - and got me thinking, too. In a way, this is also what "Idol" is all about, the backstories that help us make sense of the contesants. Ace, we see, came from a smiling Colorado family that could have sprung from the pages of the L.L. Bean catalog, complete with parents named Jay and Kay and a whole bunch of brothers to roughhouse with. Aww, it's like Ace's own mini-frat! Paris wanted to be...a gynecologist?! Chris' dad and brother work in a lumber mill, but Chris was determined to follow his dream. And despite a format that's set up to be at least somewhat corny, moments of American reality - as opposed to American reality TV - poked through, as when Bucky's dad spoke with sadness about Rockingham's speedway losing its NASCAR Cup dates a couple of years ago. As shots of the empty racetrack and shuttered ticket windows flashed on the screen, Gene Covington explained that the race went to California, because you've got to go where the money is. The inference, of course, is that it's not in a place like Richmond County. Bucky's success has been the biggest deal in town since the race left, and it "just put a whole new light into everybody," Gene Covington said. "I ain't never seen a NASCAR race bring people together like this has," he said. Too bad, then, that a few minutes later his son left the show - very graciously, I should add.

Now, today's randomness.

Model of inefficiency: You know that problem that constantly confounds designers and engineers and makers of items like iPods and Volkswagen Beetles, the whole "how do we fit so much into such a small space" quandary? American Idol results shows are like that, inverted. I can just picture the powers that be huddling in a conference room somewhere, trying to figure out how to fit so little in so much space. :-)

No, seriously, Paula's a real singer: "I didn't realize how difficult Queen songs were to sing," she said at the beginning of the show. What? Really? Are you kidding?

"Cheshire cat" about describes Simon here: "Simon, each week you look more and more agitated to be here," Seacrest commented early on in the night. "I think he is," Randy added. Simon just sat there soberly, but Seacrest pressed on. "You're the grumpiest millionaire I've ever met. Simple question. What will it take to get you to enjoy American Idol?" Then, Simon went for the kill. "Well, I could pretend to be insincere like you, but I don't think that's what America wants from me. I think America respects honesty." Cue a crafty grin. But wait, isn't "pretend to be insincere" kind of a double negative of sorts? If you pretend to be insincere, doesn't that mean you're really...sincere? Oh rats, now my mind's in a pretzel...

Southern "Idol," you're making me hungry! When Seacrest asked the contestants what they missed most about home, three from the South brought up the cooking: Taylor missed turnip greens and barbeque, Kellie missed "okra, fried okra," and Paris missed fried chicken with hot sauce. Yeah, that was pretty much my stomach you just heard rumbling.

Wait, was that a Harry Truman reference? "Give 'em hell, son," Elliott's mom, Claudette, urged.

Cute runs in the family: Round, white-haired Clyde Pickler is quite possibly the world's cutest grandpa (my own dear grandpa excluded, of course), and Kellie's little brother Eric offered his fair share of adorable, too. The shot of the two of them strolling down the street in Albemarle, both wearing fluorescent yellow "Pick Pickler" t-shirts, was straight out of Mayberry.

In which Seacrest is officially commissioned "Captain Obvious": "Have you heard the expression 'too much information'?" Seacrest asked Kellie, after she repeatedly mentioned the "community snot rag" - a.k.a. tissue - she was holding.

Now that's optimism: After a clearly rattled Ace, looking all boy-bandy in a sleeveless t-shirt, learned he was in the bottom three, Seacrest asked Paula if she thought Ace was in trouble. After hemming and hawing, she said, "You know, Ace, I don't think you're in big trouble." Dude, I don't know about you, but I'd call "being in the bottom three" big trouble, especially if you performed as poorly as Ace did Tuesday.

Next week:
Rod Stewart coaches the contestants and - oh, but of course - performs live on Wednesday's show. Rod the Bod's years in the music business should prove invaluable when it comes to dispensing advice. I can just picture it now! "Now Chris, what you really need to do is date a model half your age. Oh, wait, that's wrong on so many levels...back to the music, then..."


Anonymous said...

Too bad they didn't show the bit on Rockingham BEFORE the voting. I bet Bucky would have been safe then.

Shelbur said...

You are hilarious and right on target. I'm an Idol fan from the first moment it aired...Bucky was due a bus ride home. And let's just be honest, if Ace looked like Bucky, he would have not made the top 12. He's cruising through on his looks alone. He's the next to leave. Thanks for the thoughts...

Maggpi said...


I know Bucky had to leave sometime.... but......

[sob] Ace is gonna sing again next week! {sob}

If there's a merciful America, please let it be the last one.

Anonymous said...

Last night was just WRONG! How could Bucky be sent home before ACE??? I'm not sure if my ears can survive another week of hearing Ace "bellow".....because it's definitly NOT SINGING! Hope Bucky keeps his chin up and goes far in the future! Bucky is AWESOME!

Anonymous said...


I agree with you Maggpi!

America! let us please band together, and send Ace home!

I'm ready for "Anybody but Ace" teeshirts!

From My Lips to Your Ears said...

I love your blog.
I could not agree more.

I am officially on ELLIOT'S BANDWAGON, now.
I have not voted this year, but will start pumping out the votes for my jug-eared Elliot.

THanks for the good read.