The Husband:

I think the New York Times said it better than I ever could. (That’s why they’re the New York Times and I’m not.)


“It’s possible that American Idol viewers’ selection of Kris Allen over Adam Lambert says something about the mood and mores of the country, that viewers are too conformist to anoint a sassy, androgynous individualist. Then again, maybe not: Mr. Allen’s victory may merely reflect the voters’ conventional taste in pop music…Mr. Allen never fell out of character as the humble, earnest country boy from Arkansas.”


Oh, and besides Jordin Sparks (who is still from a Red State in the West), every single Idol winner has been from the South. It’s a hard trend to beak.

I don’t hate Kris Allen. If you’ve been following the show along with us, you know that I grew to love him. But I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed at the outcome. But the above quote shows that there were a lot of reasons Kris won, and some are more valid than others.

A formidble set of opponents.

A formidble set of opponents.

Personally, I think it comes down to more how Adam lost than Kris won. At the beginning of the Top 12/13, I don’t think anyone thought Kris would ever beat Adam, so here are a few items of interest.

Adam became too safe of a choice:

Yes, the wildly flamboyant and sexual Adam was actually too safe of a choice, the complete opposite of what a lot of people may cry about today, that America was being homophobic. (I think that while some Kris voting may be due to this very thing, it will turn out to be a minor blip on the bigger scale.) The bigger problem, and this was way more subconscious, is that everybody assumed Adam was going to win. Simon went on Ellen and said so. Entertainment Weekly did a friggin’ cover story on him most of the way through the competition. The judges kept on praising him until it felt like the end was preordained. Everybody said the same thing. And Adam, well, he did stop surprising us right around disco week. He was consistently passionate and bombastic, a competent performer. And he was humble about it. But after a while we could already imagine the song before he sang it. Which is a great trait, but not for the attention-craving America. America wants to reward the underdog, to keep things interesting, and Adam stopped being dangerous. He stopped reaching for the “holy shit” factor.

Adam was not Danny:

Last week, we already saw that Adam had lost his considerable lead over the rest of the competition when we were told that only one million votes separated first place and second place, while the remainder was lost on a losing Danny Gokey. But where did Danny’s votes go this week? They went to the other good ol’ American boy, Kris. And that pulled Kris ahead. If we’re going by DialIdol, Kris did not beat Adam by very much, so I’m surprised that some of Danny’s votes may have actually worked their way into Adam’s number — perhaps those who liked Danny for his voice and didn’t give a shit about his story or spirituality, but at the same time were originally afraid to vote for Adam — but I’m willing to bet that the majority of them went to Kris or disappeared outright. Kris was more Danny than Adam could ever be, whatever that may mean to you.

Adam strutted too much:

Yes, I actually believe that if Adam had performed “Mad World” like he did originally, sitting down and letting the music and his spoke speak for themselves, instead of descending a staircase into way too much fake fog, he could have won. He definitely could have gotten Simon to agree that he won all three rounds on Tuesday instead of merely two, but he had to indulge in his theatricality. Which is fine. But I think it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, just like he got into the Bottom Two for performing “Feeling Good” in roughly the same way. But this is saying that his performance tactics are bad. No, they’re not. They’re fucking great. But not everybody is like me, and, for some indiscernible reason, there will still be millions of people out there who outright hate musicals and drama. (Then why are they watching television? I’ll never understand it.)

But let’s get down to the bottom of this: Adam is a much better singer than Kris will ever be. You know this to be true. He was damn near perfect. Oh, and that scream you Adam haters consistently complain about like a broken record? That is a perfect rock wail, a glorious sound you can find in all of the best rock ‘n roll music for the last 50 years. A release of sheer force, emotion and performance. All your complaints really tell me is that you don’t listen to rock music, and you wouldn’t know a good rock singer if it kicked you in the nuts and spit whiskey and glitter in your eye.

But Kris is good, and he’ll make a good album for 19 Entertainment. As I said, “his is the face that launched a thousand glittery posters taped to a teenage girl’s walls and ceiling, right next to her dolphin art.” He has a long career ahead of him.

And not to sound like I’m justifying a loss or acting like the battered wife/husband, but Adam losing might be the best thing to happen to him. As I was fine with the competition going either way (with me, of course, leaning toward an Adam win), I considered Adam’s future, and while he is still to cut an album for 19 Entertainment, he will be free of much of the Idol machine that tends to crush people. He has a better chance of making the album that he wants to make (for one, without Kara’s crappy song), he can more easily pursue acting on stage and screen if that is what he so chooses, and he can be a music star and not have to live up to or live down the label of being an American Idol, a label that often turns a lot of people off in the actual real world. And yes, I think if they make a movie version of Wicked, they’d be insane not to cast him as Fiyero. Some have said he would overdo the role. 1.) From the clips of him understudying as Fiyero, he does it just fine, thank you. 2.) If he does overdo it, it’ll definitely help define a horribly underwritten character in an overrated musical. He could potentially save the entire second half of the story.

I think that’s about it. What other stuff can I say to wrap this up?

Had Allison been in the Top 3 instead of Danny, perhaps Adam may have had a chance to grab her votes and win in the finale had she been voted out. The number of votes that would have gone to her despite her losing would have been far greater than her Top 4 votes, which in turn got Danny out in the actual Top 3.

I think Kara is a great judge and should stick around. She is the only one besides Simon who gives actual friggin’ advice to the contestants, advice that is mostly useful, instead of just being judgmental. She knows what she’s talking about, and I don’t know how that strikes most of you out there as “annoying.”

This is without much hindsight, but I think the finale was definitely one of the best they’ve ever had. And yes, they have done awards in the past. If you thought this was new, either you haven’t watched the show for too long, or you’re an idiot. But I will leave most of the finale talk to my wife. But I do have something to say to the Black Eyed Peas. If you guys really have that “future sound” and are “so 3008,” then why does your #1 hit single sound like techno music from 15 years ago?

I am, above all else, extremely grateful that the top two contestants were exciting, interesting, evocative and [mostly] original. It’s tough to get that on Idol, so despite my misgivings with the results, glad that this show can still surprise me. This was one of the best top 12/13s in the show’s history, with far more talented individuals holding on and only a few non-talented ones eking by. It’s nice to be able to pick on a singer for subtleties instead of just simply declaring that they’re bad, and sparking discussion, even on a show as cookie-cutter as this, is never bad.

And now, it’s time for So You Think You Can Dance, which is, in a lot of ways, a better overall show than American Idol. But if FOX’s decision to also create a fall version of the show right after this summer season ends up overplaying and killing the entire program, I’m going to be pissed.

The Wife:

I’m going to summarize my feelings about Adam Lambert’s strange un-victory per a text message I sent to my friend Magen last night after she had long since gone to bed over in DC:


“Fsdfhsdfgsdfshvgyugsdufh! I die. That outfit was bananas! I was clearly not mature enough to handle that fantasy duet between Adam and KISS because all I did was squee and figdet and wonder where the hell those epaulettes and those fucking boots came from. This was a great finale. KISS. Queen. Allison and Cyndi lauper. Amazing. Even though Adam didn’t win, I cannot wait to buy tickets on his first tour. He is now free to make the gayest, rockingest record ever, and no one will stop him. Glambert saved. Stevecrest out.”


As my husband mentioned above, I think Adam is better off without the Idol win, although I’d have liked him to have it because, well, I love him. He and Kris will both sell records and will both have long careers, and I can have no ill-will toward someone like Kris who is so humble that he conceded to America that he thought his competitor deserved the win more than he did. Both men are winners in my book, really. So now, let me talk about how thoroughly pleased I was with the finale, despite an outcome that didn’t actually go my way.

Idol Awards

First of all, I came late into the Idol game, having only watched since season 6, so the Idol awards were odd to me, but I actually found them pretty enjoyable over all. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Norman Gentle aka Nick Mitchell, and while I hated the idea of him being on Idol, he is funny. And weird. And I’d definitely see his cabaret show, so I’m glad to be reminded of why he’s likeable. I was not happy to see Bikini Girl, especially because she’s so tan now that she looks like she’s been living in South Florida since she was 22 and is now 60. Someone needs to give her the message that pale is the new tan . . . and someone kind of did, actually. Kara. Although I’m bothered by Kara’s pop culture solipcisms, I like her as a judge, and now I like her even more as a singer. Bikini Girl cannot sing at all by comparison and I now know that Kara also looks better in a bikini than bikini girl. She has some damn hard abs, that Kara DioGuardi. I would not be surprised if Bikini Girl has either tried to kill herself or developed an eating disorder after being upstaged by a woman in her 30s who sings better and has a nicer body than she does. As for Tatiana Del Toro . . . I do not know if that was real or not and I don’t care because watching security guards chase that crazy bitch around the stage was funny as hell!

I mean, really, Bikini Girl got nothing on this.

I mean, really, Bikini Girl got nothing on this.

Fantasy Duets!

  • I love that Allison Iraheta got to sing one of my favorite songs ever, “Time After Time,” with Cyndi Lauper. I also love that Cyndi plays the dulcimer. She just gets more amazing every damn day.
  • Kris Allen and Keith Urban are very similar in that they both have scruffy facial hair, play guitar, have a country twang and have blonde wives. I liked this duet because it proved that Kris Allen can easily transition into a country-rock artist if he ever wanted to.
  • Kris + Adam + Surviving Members of Queen = truly spectacular way to end the show. This is the point where I kind of stopped caring which one of them won because I saw that they had such an amazing camraderie while singing “We Are the Champions.” It was clear to me that these guys were having the fucking time of their lives, and that’s exactly what I want to see on Idol. Plus, I enjoyed watching Adam touch the guitarist several times during the performance, as though he couldn’t believe he was singing with fucking Queen. That’s probably what I would have done if I were singing with Cyndi Lauper.
  • But, of course, there was no greater fantasy duet (although, really, not a duet) than Adam Lambert in his King Henry VIII-from-Space outfit with the blinged out epaulettes and the giant gold platform boots he clearly borrowed from Gene Simmons’ closet singing with KISS. Magen was right; I straight up died. I mean, this performance was just the cat’s fucking pajamas for me. I had to cover half my face with a blanket because I was so excited that it was incredibly difficult to not ruin the whole performance with squeals of joy. I don’t even like KISS all that much, but Adam singing with KISS I FUCKING ADORED. I mean, this was a perfect moment for him and he performed the hell out of it, as he does with everything. If I had to pick a favorite moment from this performance, though, it would be when he delicately raised his eyebrow in innuendo when he sang the line “Me and the boys will be playing all night.” Oh, I know, honey. And I wouldn’t have you any other way.
Other performances:
  • At first, I hated the fact that the whole American Idol gang was going to sing Pink’s “So What?” as I adore Pink and never want to hear her stuff sung by anyone else, but I think this was one group number that worked really well. It had a ton of energy and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
  • I do not dislike Megan Joy, but she was kind of very not good in her duet with Michael Sarver over Steve Martin’s banjo music. Moreover, while I’m sure Steve was happy to be there, I don’t think he was happy to hear “Pretty Flowers” sung the way those two completely oversang it. My fantasy duet for that song? Dolly Parton and Anoop Desai.
  • Speaking of Anoop, I loved that he and Alexis Grace got to do Jason Mraz right by singing the intro solos to “I’m Yours.” That said, this group performance of the song with Mraz was way better than when one third of the Top 36 tried to sing it back when there was a Top 36.
  • Lil Rounds and Queen Latifah? Strangely disappointing. Although I should note that during this number, I sang a bit of “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago to my cat. And I changed the words to be about my cat. That’s how uninteresting this number was.
  • The minute Fergie came on, I screamed, “SING ‘BE ITALIAN’!” because she’s playing Sereghina the Whore in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Nine and I all kinds of love her super minor-keyed version of a song that, in the stage show, is very bright and somehow not about molestation at all. Here’s the Nine trailer, so you can hear it and be just as excited as I am:
  • But once the Black Eyed Peas came on, I became very frightened of their strange cybertronic zebra dancers. Why were they putting their feet in will.i.am’s crotch? Not okay! (I bet that was choreographed by Shane Sparks, though.)
Fashion notes!
  • I’ve already talked about Adam’s KISS outfit, but in case you didn’t catch it, I fucking loved it. I die. I channel Rachel Zoe and I die.
  • Alexis Grace got to wear two pairs of very sexy over-the-knee boots. She is one hot mama.
  • Another hot mama? Adam Lambert’s mom, who gets a million extra cuteness points for wearing armwarmers!
  • I was very embarassed for Megan Joy’s pink hot shorts during “Glamorous.”
  • Oh, Lil Rounds. No one knows how to dress you. That top with the strange leaf-like skirt just accentuated your huge booty, and not in a good way. I do not understand why everyone is just a step away from making you into Josephine Baker, as you’ll never, ever be as good of a performer as she was.
  • Allison looked amazing tonight. Staight up.
  • I like that Anoop went for a seersucker jacket as if to say, “I’m from the South and you will all deal with my desire to drink sweet tea from a mason jar, bitches! Get me a fucking mint julep!”
  • Janice Dickinson was totally trashed throughout this whole show, or at least she looked that way.
  • I want my legs to be as shiny and toned as Fergie’s.
  • Matt Giraud looked his best during his Santana number. I think Abuelito shirts are really a good look for him, and they work with his obsession with cubano fedoras.
  • It was very bold of Rod Stewart to pair the Coach leather that is his skin with that faux Burbury jacket.
All of that stuff ads up to a wonderful two hours of television. I’ve been saying it all season, but I’ll reiterate: I can’t wait to see Adam Lambert on Broadway someday. If Constantine Maroulis can get nominated for a Tony for Rock of Ages (and let me say that I saw him in Rent pre-Idol, and while I thought he was the most Roger-looking Roger I’ve ever seen, he certainly wasn’t the best), surely Adam Lambert will one day win one. I will see him in anything. I will follow his ass around the country like my mother-in-law does with Clay Aiken because while he may not be the American Idol, he is my American Idol.


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The Wife:

Parks & Recreation 1.6 “Rock Show”

All I can say is that I hope Ann and Andy never break up because Chris Pratt is the best part about this show. I completely understand Ann’s anger upon finding out that Andy had lied to her about when his casts could be removed just to get another two weeks of complete servitude out of her, but I also get how nice it is to be taken care of the way Ann had taken care of Andy. Let me give you a list of how funny Chris Pratt’s Andy is:

  • His songs about things that are physically near him: “Sandwich! Are you turkey or ham?” (To which Ann responds, “Ham.”)
  • The sundry items that fell into one of his casts, including some gummi bears and Ann’s iPod.
  • His long list of band names which appear to change frequently: Scare Crow Boat, Mouse Rat, Fourskin, Threeskin, Teddy Bear Suicide . . . many other suicidal inanimate objects included there.
  • The Pit song.
  • His genius plot to get back in Ann’s good graces, which I infer entirely from the look on his face when he sees the pit outside his door after she kicks him out: fall into the pit again and get hurt.
  • His reaction to Mark falling drunkenly into the pit, which is basically just an excuse to get back in Ann’s house and watch TV while Mark suffers.


Until she finds out that he lied to her, Ann spends her time flyering for Scare Crow Boat’s first concert on Andy’s newly healed legs, which she still attends that night because everyone else on Leslie’s subcommittee has agreed to go . . .except for Leslie, who attends what she thinks is a business meeting but turns out to be a date with a 62-year-old man, set up for her by her mother. Mark spends the evening at the rock show realizing that he has somehow become the third wheel to everyone in the Parks department: Ron Swanson attends with his new girlfriend, his ex-wife’s sister, who hates his ex as much as he does; Tom Haverford attends with his wife, a hot doctor who, he reminds Mark, makes, like, a ton of money; and even Intern April shows up with a gay guy she makes out with sometimes when she’s drunk. Mark tries to get Ann to see the light about being with Andy, but she rejects him outright, knowing that he’s not any better at relationships than Andy is.

Pleasedonteverbreakup!

Pleasedon'teverbreakup!

Leslie and her date show up right as Mouse Rat (formerly Scare Crow Boat) finishes its set, but Leslie’s date is too old and he falls asleep, so she spends the rest of the night drinking with Mark until last call. After which, they go to the pit and have, actually, a really sweet conversation about Leslie’s hopes to turn the pit into a park in which Mark proves to her its already a park. (“Ring Around the Diaper” and “Duck, Duck, Glass” are two games he imagines children playing there.) And then he falls in.

I’m still not 100% sure about Parks & Rec, but I think it’s starting to settle into its own groove, and I was very surprised at the sweetness and realness of this episode. Often, Leslie’s idealism and naïveté make her incredibly unrelatable, almost like she’s actually mentally insane instead of a misguided go-getter. But here, especially in her scene at the pit with Mark, she seemed the most real to me that she’s been all season, and I’d like to see more of that Leslie.

[Husband Note: I very much like the show and am 95% certain it can find a great groove next season. In addition, it might be my favorite new opening theme music of the year, but I can’t really explain why.]

30 Rock 3.22 “Kidney Now!”

Jack prepares to give his father a kidney, until Dr. Spaceman reveals that they’re not a match at all, leaving Jack to resort to the very thing the liberal media is best at: putting together fundraising telethons and gala concert events to solicit money for causes. So he pulls out all of his favors with various celebrities to get them to record a “We Are the World”-esque diddy coercing the entire nation to donate just one kidney (just one!) to Milton Green, because he really needs it. I think the plea for a kidney was best summarized by Maroon 5’s Adam Levine: “And while you don’t have two beards, you do have two kidneys. Let’s put it this way, if you had two dollars, you’d give me one, right?”

I think Cyndi Lauper might need a new liver soon . . .

I think Cyndi Lauper might need a new liver soon . . .

And how did Jack acquire some of these celebrities? It was easy to get Clay Aiken, because his cousin Kenneth promised he’d do it. Mary J. Blige owed Jack a favor because he got her out of a 20-year concert contract at Seaworld. And as for Elvis Costello? It is best that no one ever finds out that he’s actually an international art thief. Sheryl Crow ended up being the only one to get paid for it. Cyndi Lauper did it for the free booze. (I think that’s also why she was in The Threepenny Opera and on Gossip Girl.) I have no idea why Adam Levine was there, but he got the funniest lines in the whole show. In addition to his kidney appeal above, there was also him pretending he wasn’t a celebrity in front of Jenna (whom Jack didn’t want in the concert) by acting like he was from Europe (“Pleased to meet!”) and his intense desire to harm Elvis Costello in some manner: “When he isn’t looking, I’m going to punch Elvis in the back of the head.” Oh, Adam Levine. I love you. So much.

Clearly, Jack’s insanely overkill kidney drive was the crux of the episode, but there were also two other silly plots. Liz gets dragged onto the Vontella show with Jenna to promote the Dealbreaker sketch by doling out relationship advice (although, Jenna’s usual appearances on that show involve intense catfights with women pretending to be her half-sister). While Jenna is unable to answer any of the questions the audience poses to her, Liz becomes surprisingly adept at dishing out bon mots about fruit blindness (when you’re fiancé is gay and you don’t know it) and other such dealbreakers. My favorite: “Only one snake in the bed. Dealbreaker.” Eventually, because her appearance on Vontella was so popular, the women of 30 Rock start asking her for advice. Angie wants to know what to do when she finds out that Tracy rents a hotel room twice a week for two hours. Likewise, Pete’s wife wonders why Pete doesn’t want to attend their family vacation. Tripping on the power of fake advice, Liz tells both women to “S that D: shut it down,” incurring the wrath of both of her coworkers. You see, Tracy only rents a hotel room so he can shit in peace. (Angie should instead be worried that he only poops twice a week.) And Pete doesn’t want to go on his family vacation because they’re going to work on a farm, and he’s the only one with hands dexterous enough to steer the bull during mating season. But Liz refuses to stop, especially with a book deal in the works and Jack encourages her: Liz is finally getting hers.

As for Tracy, he’s invited to speak at his old high school’s commencement. He refuses because he vowed never to go back there after he left school for crying over being forced to dissect a frog in science class. He also vowed never to cry again, a fact he admits to over a montage of all the times we’ve seen Tracy cry about something. Kenneth convinces him that he should go, though, to prove to himself that he isn’t that kid anymore. When he does give his speech, he is awarded with an honorary high school diploma, which he cries about. Tracy’s plot was the weakest in this whole episode, but because Jack and Liz’s stories were so funny, this all adds up to be a pretty good, silly and weird season finale.

Other funny:

  • “Science was my most favorite subject – especially the Old Testament.” – Kenneth
  • “My Mary J. Blige Foundation is celebrating its 10th year of searching for the Loch Ness Monster.” – Mary J. Blige
  • “We called him Mean Steve. But his real name was Steve Killer.” – Tracy
  • Jack and Milton playing catch.
  • Liz and Sheryl Crow played Kidneys in the 5th grade school play. And Sheryl does not like Liz at all.

[Husband Note: In case you didn’t catch all the celebrities, a commenter on AV Club listed (I think) everybody else. That would include The Beastie Boys, Michael McDonald, Rhett Miller, Robert Randolph, Sarah Bareilles, Norah Jones, Moby, Wyclef, Talib Kweli and Rachael Yamagata.]

The Husband:

And the changes keep coming. Presumably due to the added fourth judge and the fact that the show has finally acknowledged its problem with running over their allotted time (earlier, anything they said always seemed to translate to “Fuck the Fox affiliates and their local news,” which is entirely understandable), this is the first time I can remember the Top 5 not getting to sing two songs. Considering how great Tuesday’s show was – all five were either reallllly good or great – it would have been nice to see twice and much awesomeness from them as well, but it’s also understandable that the sheer amount of talent that was on display was a direct benefit of only having to work with one song. Would Allison’s incredible (yes, incredible) performance of “Someone to Watch Over Me” been merely okay if she had done, say, “My Way” later on in the show? Would Adam have suffered just like Clay in season 2 during the Robin Gibb week, where he dropped Simon’s mouth with his performance of “To Love Somebody,” only to embarrass himself with “Grease” (as in “is the word”) less than an hour later? (And yes, I know that was a Top 4 performance, and Top 5 was Neil Sedaka week, but the principle is the same.)

On another note, I’m starting to understand all the love for Kris Allen. No, I don’t want him to win, but I’m finally getting that his performance style is pretty damn spot-on for those who, say, listen to Alice Radio here in the Bay Area. He’s easy-going and confident even when the song is difficult, and his is the face that launched a thousand glittery posters taped to a teenage girl’s walls and ceiling, right next to her dolphin art. I still don’t think I could simply listen to an album of his just yet, but this late in the competition, he is oddly growing on me. I guess the turning point was “Falling Slowly” two weeks ago.

Feeling a little awkward about this suit choice, actually.

Feeling a little awkward about this suit choice, actually.

And no, I wasn’t entirely surprised about Adam being sent to the bottom two. Okay, I thought he was great as usual, but it’s time for me to pull a Children Of Saint Clare Kibosh on “Feelin’ Good.” Yes, it’s a great song, so it’s not like I’m putting the COSC Kibosh on it because it’s entirely overused on the show. My thing is that it seems to be the American Idol song of death. I remember it being performed at least three times before, all in the semifinals, and not once did any of the contestants who used that song advance to the next round or the finals. Hell, I think in season 4 (the first one with a “guy night,” a “girl night” and a results show all in the same week), two people sang it within a day of each other, and both bit the dust. Something about it just rubs people the wrong way. I guess because it sounds angrier than it really is. Or the imagery is a little too strange. (It does, after all, demand that we share feelings with blossoms, dragonflies, reeds and pine scent.) Maybe I should just eliminate any song that could potentially be covered by the band Muse. America doesn’t really get prog rock. (Hell, I don’t half the time.)

And yes, Allison’s performance was the first of the year to move me to tears. This is the performance people have been waiting for, even if that person isn’t Simon. I don’t understand why he thinks that she lacks confidence, because damn, that girl is a performer. Maybe he’s just thrown off by the fact that she’s a minor and/or isn’t dressing like a hussy.

And sorry, Jamie Foxx, you may be an Oscar winner and all Zen now, but you can’t fool me. You will always be Wanda.

The Wife:

There’s a lot of talk from Simon about Allison’s “likability” or her perceived lack thereof. If only Simey read the interwebs and knew how much we all did, in fact, like her. I think her excellent performance this week and her garnering a Silver Stool of Safety were aided by one additional detail: the reveal of a softer, yet still totally Allison, look.

Happy Birthday! You look fabulous!

Happy Birthday! You look fabulous!

That multi-tiered black and white skirt paired with the black bustier? That was exactly what Allison needed for people to see her as serious. She looked appropriate for her age, and for the music of the Big Band era without being too literal or kitschy (say, by picking up a cherry print halter dress from Hot Topic that I totally used to have and coveted and loved the shit out of back when I was a 16-year-old Goth). She was the whole fucking package on Tuesday, from the new black streaks in her pink mane to the thick black straps of her sandals, and she was imminently likeable.

Good job, girlfriend. You fuckin’ earned that Silver Stool of Safety.

And, actually, so did Gokey, who for the first time in this competition actually sounded like more than just a fun wedding singer. Though I’d still like to see him go next week and have a Kris-Adam-Allison final three. That’d be sa-wheet.

I can’t say much about men in suits, but I wonder if it wasn’t Adam’s shiny, shiny white suit paired with the song my husband has just put the offical kibosh of this here blog on that did him in? How can you wear a white suit and not look like an asshole? I think grey or sand are the lightest colors you can safely enter into on the suit spectrum before people start writing you off as a complete douchebag. That said, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the suit in context with the performance. I can stand by a white suit in that context. And I can stand by Adam Lambert, even if he’s only wearing a loincloth. In fact, especially if he’s only wearing a loincloth:

The Wife:

Apparently, the acting lessons in this episode started even before Paulina’s teach and Clay’s challenge, because back when this was filmed (during Thanksgiving! thanks for fucking with my sense of time even more than Lost, ANTM!), Natalie acted like a spoiled brat and didn’t help clean up the dishes, but thanked everyone who did (which is what you do when you’re an asshole, right?) and then Aminat acted like what she said was somehow racist. That is the most interesting interpretation of that scene any actor could have possibly found, and Natalie furthered that interpretation by saying some nonsense about how, in the part of California she hails from, people don’t do their own dishes? I think her point was that she doesn’t have to work hard because she’s not from the ghetto, but I feel the need to point out that I do my own dishes and I am not from the ghetto. Since when is cleaning up after yourself and acting like a human being “ghetto”? Clearly, whoever wrote that scene is a genius beyond measure because I’m starting a PhD program in the fall and I didn’t even understand what was going on here. Waiting for Godot makes more sense than whatever happened between SquishyfaceNatalie and Aminat.

The acting continued when the girls received a Tyra Mail reading, “Tomorrow you will be molded into a fine piece of Clay,” and they all pretended that they had no idea the C was capitalized and suggested they’d be doing things like art modeling or painting or something. But no! Clay with a capital C is always Clay Aiken! The person who should have bested Ruben Studdard in American Idol season two with his breathtaking rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”! The person closed out the role of Brave Sir Robin in Spamalot! Leader of the Claymates! The man my mother-in-law has an oil painting of in her office! The one and only Clay Aiken! What fools these models be!

I mean, seriously, yall should bow in my presence.

I mean, seriously, ya'll should bow in my presence.

But before his Royal Clayness could be revealed as their scene partner for the acting challenge, Paulina put the girls through a teach in which they had to say common phrases with different emotions, drawn from a bag. Allison, being a Lemur, is simply not very good at pretending to be a human, and Tahlia evidently doesn’t know what words mean. Everyone else does okay in this, and so Paulina unveils Clay and hands the girls scripts for their scene . . . which, insultingly and disappointingly already have the proper emotions for the lines noted in the margins. Really? You guys really have no faith in these girls at all, do you ANTM producers? I get that not everyone is a great actor, but I have to assume that the girls aren’t so untalented that they can’t figure out a way to interpret a line for dramatic effect. I’ll be insulted for them, though, because apparently none of them cared. They seemed like they all had fun with their scenes, even the Lemur. Tahlia, however, was fucking awful, and Natalie carried on the character she created during the Tgives feast into her scene with Clay, which she did not appreciate. He is from Le Aiken de Clay! How dare you insult him with your hands, unsullied by dish soap!

Paulina and Clay, though they both loved Celia, deemed London the best and awarded her with $5,000 in Joe’s Jeans merch . . . which she sadly couldn’t wear because she struggles with her weight? Uh, really? It’s not like she’s Salome whose fat ass (Husband Note: If by “fat” you mean “sweet.”) is constantly measured over on Make Me a Supermodel, so how were we ever to know? London’s weight drama came the fuck out of nowhere and might be just another fine bit of acting, if you ask me. That girl looks great.

The next Tyra Mail put an end to London’s weight drama, reading, “Do you play well with others? It’s time to find out!” And so the girls headed off to their CoverGirl commercial shoot, where McKey was filming and looking absolutely fabulous in that purple dress because she’s gorgeous. Mr. Jay puts the girls in groups and tells them that they’ll each take turns in the lead role in the commercial and, further proving that this show has no faith in the models it claims it will produce, he gives them a TelePrompTer. Le sigh. Spokesmodels need to be able to deliver lines naturally, people! Just hire me, the girl with the giant skin cancer hole in her arm! I can read real good!

My preliminary thoughts on the commercials:

  • Celia: Although I think her face’s natural angles are a little harsh for TV, she was excellent. Clearly, this was going to be the commercial to beat.
  • Teyona: Oh, God, the poor girl can’t even look at the camera or read English.
  • Aminat: It was like she didn’t even want to be there, delivering a performance that seemed, to me, kind of like she was angry to even be asked to do a commercial.
  • Lemur Allison: Because Lemurs are afraid of technology, she had a lot of trouble looking at the camera and reading at the same time. I’m amazed Lemurs can read at all.
  • Natalie: For some reason, she was given an outfit that made her look like a Can Can dancer. Her commercial was okay, but a little flat.
  • Fo: As cute as she is, Fo did not sound natural delivering these lines at all. She is for looking at, not for talking.
  • London: London’s commercial was really good. I think she’s a natural in front of the camera (her family is comprised entirely of actors, she says) and I want her to be cast on 90210 immediately.
  • Tahlia: Someone should just kill her now because this steaming pile of crap was the worst of the bunch. I was surprised, though, that she didn’t cry about being asked to wear pants. You know, because that means someone didn’t want to hire her because of her burns. The best part of her commercial was Mr. Jay telling her that modeling will be hard for her until she quits the business. Truth!


At panel, Tyra forgot to include a Guide for Finding Your Inner Fierceness commercial . . . am I to assume she didn’t include it because the recap special was just laced with the things? (I didn’t even DVR it because Lost was way more important.) I did not miss it, and neither did anyone else. I hope she lets them go for the rest of the season.

The judges’ thoughts on the commercials:

  • Celia: Clay thinks she’s excellent at being in character, but Tyra says something strange about how Celia “acted” a little too old for the CG demographic in the commercial. As in, she felt like Celia was the prim auntie to the little models in her commercial. Ouch. 25 is totally dinosaur old in model years.
  • Teyona: Nigel tells her that she’s photogenic, but not telegenic and that her commercial was too squinty, like she was having a hard time reading the prompter.
  • Lemur Allison: Girl, you should know that you cannot wear the same dress twice when you appear at a judging panel on a reality show! Tyra never wears the same dress twice and neither should you! In fact, this upsets Tyra so much that she asks Alison to change clothes with another girl during deliberations. As for her commercial, her Lemur eyes become dead doll eyes, but Tyra compliments her on looking like the 14-year-old girls CoverGirl products are sold to.
  • Aminat: Nigel does not like how she cuts off the ends of her words and Tyra says her commercial sounds exactly like Teyona’s.
  • London: I guess the judges and I watched completely different commercials, because they thought London sounded like a street thug. To add insult to injury, they told her that her shorts made her look fat. Poor London!
  • Natalie: Miss J called her performance stiff, Tyra says it’s unmemorable and Clay Aiken mentions that she does not play well with others.
  • Fo: Miss J thinks she sounds like she has a mouth full of marbles and, sadly, everyone notices how good Tahlia looks in Fo’s commercial more than Fo’s performance.
  • Tahlia: In the reverse of Fo’s commercial, everyone notices how cute Fo is more than Tahlia’s performance. Nigel sums this up very well: “You know that it means? It means you’re both background.” Also, Tahlia still has no idea what a model looks like, showing up in a cast-off bridesmaid’s dress from a springtime wedding.


Callouts: After announcing that everyone was week this week, Tyra awards Celia with the first call out, then Natalie, Teyona, Fo, London and Aminat, leaving the Lemur and Tahlia in the bottom two. Thankfully, Lemur Allison was given one more chance and I no longer have to sit in agony as I wonder why Tahlia doesn’t know that one of her eyebrows is, like, a half inch higher than the other. Nor will I ever have to hear her whine about anything ever again. The Goddess of Fierce exists, and she is good and just.

The Husband:

So, one of the things Natalie mentioned during that dishwashing brouhaha and its aftermath (and their quick talk with McKey behind-the-scenes) was mentioning how she was from California, not like the other hicks. Now, I know a lot of people get the wrong idea about California, from thinking that SoCal represents the entire state to thinking we’re all beach dwellers to thinking our entire population is simply a bunch of wacko liberals. But here’s the thing – if we’re talking area-wise, California is about 90% “hick.” Get outside the major metro areas and you’re dealing with conservative suburbs and rural areas that look just like every other state. Hell, even IN the San Francisco Bay Area, basically once you lose sight of the city or the hills of Marin. It bothers me that Natalie thinks, or even jokes, that California is not a “hick” state. Oh, it is, alright. Just visit. I dare you.

Just remember, Los Angeles County may be 4752 square miles, but go directly to the right and you’ve got San Bernadino County, a massive 20,000 square mile sprawl of desert and cactus and tiny oases with fast food chains you’ve never heard of, and it looks just like any other Southwestern state.

The Wife:

And so the fallout from Celia’s actions last week begin. And friends, that fallout was not pretty. For some reason, Sandra absolved herself from the entire discussion of addressing Tahlia with Tyra and went turncoat, reporting how every other girl in the house had planned to ambush Tahlia at panel. Actually, let me make that more accurate: every other non-black girl in the house. Somehow, this battle came down to a battle across racial lines, with Sandra, Teyona and Aminat backing up Tahlia while Natalie, Lemur Allison, Fo and London sided with Celia. (Did Fo somehow lose her blackness in this fight in favor of her Mexicanness?) As Celia and Tahlia stood on the stairs uninvolved, Teyona and Aminat took it upon themselves to scream and hoot and holler at the other girls, culminating in Aminat screaming in Natalie’s face about . . . something. I don’t really know what this fight ended up actually being about, because once everyone else got involved, it stopped being about Celia and Tahlia.

After about seven minutes of girls screaming at each other, they all magically reconvened to read their first Tyra Mail: “Cut it out. I don’t want to see anymore blank faces.” The PlaidMobile spirited them away to some mannequin-filled alley, where Mr. Jay told them he did not want them to ever be called “just a clothes hanger,” because America’s Next Top Model cannot be merely a stick with clothes on, she has to have a face, too! To make his point, he then destroyed a mannequin, in exactly the way I would have liked to do to those super-creepy talking mannequins in Shopaholic and to Old Navy’s extremely un-clever “Super Modelquinns.” Any talking mannequin that isn’t Kim Cattrall deserves to be given the slow topple to the ground and left alone, shattered in an alley somewhere in New York.

Once away from the carnage, Jay introduced the girls to Howard Stern’s wife, Beth, who is a model who gives good face. She helped them practice The Only Three Expressions You’ll Ever Need as a Model by putting the girls in front of make-up mirrors, and gently demonstrating how they can go from whatever awful face they were making to the correct ways to express “sensual,” “mystery” and “alluring,” which all sound more like cheap perfumes than expressions, possibly because only one of those is a noun.

Jay and Beth then went on to remind us exactly whose show this is by asking the girls to pose with their faces . . . inside a cardboard cut out of a photo of Tyra. In this moment I fully realized what I have always known: this is not a show about modeling, this is a show about Tyra. And every girl on this show should aspire to be like Tyra, so much so that a contestant should inhabit the spirit of Miss Banks by sticking her head through a cardboard cutout of her mentor/surrogate mama/idol/megalomaniac. The idea, Jay reminds us, is for the girls to learn to pose with their face and to make their face match the body pose provided by the far superior Tyra Banks. This challenge proved to be too hard for everyone but Natalie and London, the only two girls to correctly match their faces with the photographs of Tyra. Natalie won this teach, by the way, and was awarded with 50% more frames in the upcoming photoshoot. Considering I’ve never seen an ad where someone sticks their head through a cardboard cutout of something else, wouldn’t Jay’s lesson have been better delivered by finding some other way to show the girls how to connect their faces with their bodies? Ah, but another way wouldn’t have worshipped the Goddess of Fierce, and may have angered her. And no one wants to anger the Goddess of Fierce.

I think this is one of the most disturbing things Ive ever seen.

I think this is one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen.

The next Tyra Mail alerted the girls to the theme of their photoshoot: “You’re all looking a little pale. I think you need some color.” After deciding that the shoot will likely be a rehash of Cycle 10’s paint-on-the-face shoot, Tahlia and Celia have a nice quiet chat in a strange hallway about their feelings toward the incident at panel. Celia maintains that she wasn’t trying to be mean to Tahlia, but merely that she wanted the competition to be fair, and Tahlia tells Celia tales about her various self-esteem issues while eating a bag of Cheetos. Girlfriend, if you are a model and you are eating a bag of Cheetos, I think it is obvious to everyone that you have self-esteem problems. Through the healing power of Chester Cheetah, the girls work out their issues like adults and agree to be cool.

At the photoshoot with Keith Major (who shot Tyra for the Ebony cover – did you guys know that??? wow! he shot Tyra!), the girls suspicions are confirmed in re: paint on their faces. Jay tells them that they’re going to be doing a beauty shot where they have to emote their power colors. Look, I think we all get the abstract notion that colors represent certain feelings, but I honestly don’t think any of the girls conveyed the “emotions” of these colors very well, except maybe for Fo and Tahlia, although I say that last name reluctantly.

Tell me that she doesnt look like shes surprised and horrified by the murder she just committed.

Tell me that she doesn't look like she's surprised and horrified by the murder she just committed.

  • Allison: Pink was her color, and although she kept saying things about how she wanted to be girly, she mostly looked to me as though she were some frenzied animal who had just eating a very raw steak and smeared it all  over her face. I guess that’s girly, if you’re from a Hell dimension.
  • Aminat: She had green, which she said represented the Earth and thus she wanted to be “earthy.” I am pretty sure that isn’t an emotion. But I guess she’s not a good enough model to convey jealousy or greed.
  • Tahlia: The photo Tahlia ended up with actually really captured the regality of purple. She had serious bitchface in it, and that worked. But throughout her photoshoot, it was pretty clear that she was trying to go for sexy, telling Keith Major that she was pretending he was her boyfriend and that she was posing for him. She lucked into doing well on this.
  • Teyona: Assigned yellow, Teyona apparently misunderstood the entire concept of yellow and, dear Lord, I thought she looked hideous throughout this entire shoot.
  • Fo: The Blaxican beauty had red and conveyed it’s passionate intensity flawlessly.
  • London: She had blue and her performance reminded me a bit of Tilda Swinton as The White Witch.
  • Natalie: Squishy face Natalie had orange, and Mr. Jay wanted her to convey firey passion. She didn’t deliver, though, until her extra frames kicked in. Personally, I would have gone for exuberance or boundless energy with orange, not passion. Jesus! Not ever color can be passionate!
  • Sandra: Sandra had white, which would have been beautiful because she’s so dark, but she started thinking of angels instead of Aborigines and it all went to Hell from there.
  • Celia: Stoic Celia was given a stately gray and I was reminded of the living statue challenge from Cycle 5 where winner Nicole failed at being perched upon by birds.

Easily the artiest shot of the bunch from the only girl who truly understands aesthetics.

Easily the artiest shot of the bunch from the only girl who truly understands aesthetics.

At panel, though, the judges apparently saw different pictures than I did, because they seemed to love nearly everything . . . either that, or no one explained the concept of emoting a color to them. And that’s probably for the best, really, because it’s a ridiculous notion.

  • Aminat: The judges thought she nailed this picture and that she looked “natural.”
  • Natalie: She took a straight-on shot and thus had no angles in her face. And that’s not good when your face is squishy.
  • Tahlia: Rather than spending time talking about her photo, the judges talked to Tahlia about last week’s panel incident and how it’s okay to question yourself because that’s how you improve. Tyra also suggested that Tahlia spend more time questioning how she looks in person because although it’s a model’s job to look better in photos than in real life (uh, sometimes, Tyra!), Tahlia is a fucking hot mess in person.
  • Celia: After deciding that, if she went home, she was going to go out swirling, Celia strode into panel wearing the most fucking fibbity fab fab outfit I have ever seen anyone wear on Top Model. She slicked back that bob, donned a voluminous golden skirt and topped it with a hardcore leather jacket and looked like a fucking force to be reckoned with. The judges complimented her on her personal style, as well as her graceful embodiment of the color gray in her picture. Keith told her he wanted to shoot her more, which is basically the ultimate compliment.
  • Teyona: While I think this picture is terrible, the judges think her skin looks amazing and that the picture is so hopeful Barack Obama should put it in the White House. Uh, okay . . . if hope looks like a crazy homeless person, then sure.
  • London: While I like this picture, the judges think it’s weak because they recognize that London is giving the same face in it as last week. And that’s no good if she’s already relying so heavily on her strongest face.
  • Lemur Allison: Keith says he hated working with her and the judges give her the same criticism about relying on the same look as London. I fucking hate the picture and they love it. Go figure.
  • Sandra: The judges and I finally agree on something in that Sandra’s shot is horrendous. It’s bare and emotionless.
  • Fo: I think Tyra said it best when she purred, “Weerrrrrrrrrrrrrrk! Majah!” in response to this photo. Fo is hella hot in this pic, no joke:
Like TyTy said, Fos face is fabulous.

Like TyTy said, Fo's face is fabulous.


After the girls were sent away so the judges could privately pick them apart, the producers continued to focus on the Tahlia vs. Celia drama in which Nigel comes to the realization that I’ve already come to and admits that he hates Tahlia’s personality, and Paulina, likewise, finally picks up on my observation that Celia is the most stylish girl to grace Top Model . . . ever. I don’t know why they’re wasting time on this, as neither of those two girls is going to go home because their pictures this week were really strong.

Callouts: Fo(!!!), Teyona, Tahlia, Aminat, Lemur Allison, Natalie, London with Celia and Sandra in the bottom two. Celia, it seems, was only put in the bottom this week so Tyra could further express her displeasure with the girl’s actions last week. She spends some more time upbraiding her for getting in between another model and her money, which is a big no-no in the Book of Tyra (aka The Guide to Finding Your Inner Fierceness, now with 50% fewer adorable children!), and then lets Sandra go home. I am grateful that Sandra is gone because she’s a terrible person, and my opinion stayed unchanged as Sandra’s final confessional played over footage of her packing her bags in which she came across as completely ungrateful even for the opportunity to piss me off in my living room. And yet another haughty African girl fails to win ANTM. Maybe they should try, oh, I don’t know, not being so aloof?

This doesnt read serenity, it just reads drunkenness.

This doesn't read serenity, it just reads drunkenness.

Next week: Bad acting and Clay Aiken? Have I died and gone to a production of Spamalot?

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