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’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.


The Husband:

Well, that was a bizarre week. Both overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time — as Ten Things I Hate About You pointed out, you can’t merely be just “whelmed,” except in Europe — the week taught me, more than anything, that this is a strange show, and America is a fickle bitch.

Predictions I was wrong about:

Jorge + America = Success

Despite his protests in song, the sun did, in fact, go down on Jorge and he had to say goodbye.

Despite his protests in song, the sun did, in fact, go down on Jorge and he had to say goodbye.

I was really pulling for this guy to go far, where certain portions of the country would learn to better accept things they don’t always understand, things such as minorities, other languages and passion in performance. Hell, I actually liked Jorge’s performance quite a bit, and definitely rank it in the top 5 of the week. But he didn’t inspire anybody, and that was the problem. My plan to turn this season of American Idol into a Kumbaya circle of understanding and world harmony has fallen apart. Blimey. The first out of this week’s two contestants to go to the land of Vanessa Olivarez and David Hernandez.

A Danny Gokey Backlash

Now, there’s plenty of time for Mr. Gokey to become the enemy of America with his over-reliance on personality instead of just doing some good performing, but I didn’t necessarily expect that, according to, he’d be the top vote-earner of the night. I’m not jumping on the “I hate Danny Gokey” bandwagon, though. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Boy’s got some major chops. But do I feel his heart and soul with every note? With his story, I probably should, but I don’t. I need to get that he’s here in the competition to win based on him and not his story. But so far, I’m not throwing any votes his way.

America Will Hate Kris Allen And Realize Their Mistake

Look how cold he is without a jacket!

Look how cold he is without a jacket!

I don’t know why Kris Allen got into the Top 13, and I don’t know why people liked his performance of “Remember The Time” this week. People say he’s Jason Mraz-esque. No. Jason Mraz is brilliant. Kris is a cute guy who undersings everything and somehow convinced the country that his guitar bumbling was actually something to vote for and praise. Show me a star, goddamn it, because I’m not seeing it.

Anoop Desei Will Rock You All This Week

Man, his “Beat It” was fucking weird, wasn’t it? I think it got into his head that his Wild Card performance of “My Prerogative” was what got him pushed into the Top 13, and kept with the same fake badassery. No, sir. You got through from your earlier performances, soulful and unexpected. I like unexpected. But not this unexpected.

(A similar mistake happened in s3, when Jon Peter Lewis got into the Top 12 with his Wild Card performance of “A Little Less Conversation,” only to be voted off weeks later doing another Elvis song, “Jailhouse Rock.”)

America Will Hate Megan Joy [Corkrey] And Her Mere Existence

Wow, not even getting saddled with “Rockin’ Robin” could do this girl in. Has she gained some fan base that is currently completely quiet on the Internet? Did everybody come to the same realization that, with about 85% certainty, Megan probably did a coin toss with somebody else for another MJ song — “P.Y.T.” or more likely a more bluesy version of “I’ll Be There.”

Jasmine Would Suck

Actually, Jasmine did better than I expected with “I’ll Be There” — definitely one of the most gorgeous songs from an entirely pre-packaged kid group — but she suffered from Lisa Tucker disease (i.e. too young to perform like a professional) and was the other contestant of the two this week to be eliminated. Or, to be more esoteric, she was the Leah LaBelle Wild Card fail of season 8.

(Clearly, based on all my trivia, s3 was a very important season for me in becoming an Idol maniac.)

Extra Note: Oh, and I actually really love the new Judges Veto twist, but will probably have far better things to say about it when it is used or at least when there’s more dramatic tension on the show.

The Wife:

Because I write the modeling blogs around these parts, my contribution to American Idol is to critique/make fun of how these artists “package” themselves, to borrow Kara DioGuardi’s favorite phrase. So to the Idol glam squad I pose this question: What the fuck, ya’ll?

Can someone please hire him to be in the next Twilight movie? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaase?Can someone please hire him to be in the next Twilight movie? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaase?

They spent all their money buying Matt Giraud and Vampire Lamb Bear those fabulous leather jackets and kind of let the girls all destroy themselves. In fact, every dude but Kris Allen had the benefit of a cool jacket, although I know some are tired of the military-inspired outwear donned by Scott and Anoop this week. I maintain my long-stated position that a well-tailored jacket completes an outfit, so for Kris Allen to be the only jacketless guy only cemented my thoughts that he shouldn’t be here. I, too, am in the internet minority in hating his guitar rendition of “Remember the Time,” a song I admittedly do not know at all but hated on a folk guitar. Had he come out in a jacket and with an electric guitar, things might have been different. He is pretty adorable, I’ll give him that. But I have to believe in the power of the jacket to lock in a look. And from the jackets chosen, I know that Michael Sarver wants to be a cool but sensitive tough guy, Matt Giraud wants to be a soulful, blusey rocker (brushed leather, oooooh) and Vampire Lamb Bear wants to be Freddie Mercury. I mean, seriously, he had on steel blue leather with a mandarin collar. Where did the glam squad find that? That thing was the best piece in the whole show tonight.

And then there are the girls, two of whom worked in their style and while the other two came across as complete disasters. It’s evident to me that Alison Iraheta told the glam squad to go fuck themselves, because she came out looking like any kid who likes to go smoke cigarettes by the dumpsters at their high school: skinny jeans, ill-placed belt, lots of greys and blacks. I wouldn’t say this was a killer outfit, as I have a general disdain for anything that comes from Urban Outfitters, but at least it made sense with who she is. I want more Cyndi Lauper-esque stuff out of her, though. More like what she wore for her Top 36 performance.

I'm going to write to EW Style Hunter to find me this crazy-ass dress.

I'm going to write to EW Style Hunter to find me this crazy-ass dress.

The red dress with the macrame straps on Megan Joy was definitely her best outfit yet. She definitely stepped on the red hot mama train with this little number, which was cute, but also too quirky for most people to like. That dress is exactly like the person who wore it and its a perfect statement about who she is as an artist. Over at Best Week Ever, Michelle Collins wrote that she should be the lead singer of a band called “Quirky Quirk Quirk and the Twees.” I agree, and I totally want her to front some kind of swingin’ indie rockabilly band, and possibily have a threesome with Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard, for there can be no more twee a marriage than their marriage will be, unless they have regular sex with Megan Joy Corkrey. Also, I would totally wear that red dress. Just sayin’.

And then there was that strange pink creation that found its way on to poor Jasmine Murray. I can’t even adequately explain why I hate it. I just do. It did absolutely nothing for her, except maybe make her look like she was an extra on Swingtown. And even then, Lana Parilla wouldn’t go anywhere near that dress. Bringing up the rear, literally, was Lil Rounds, who doesn’t understand that when you’ve got a booty like that you cannot put it in tapered white pants! Why did the glam squad let her get away with this? Those pants were doing her no favors, nor was that top, which might have worked if someone had decided to cut off the ruffle sleeve. If Jasmine Murray was on her way to a 70s-themed party, then Lil Rounds was on her way to a high school dance in a John Hughes movie. I fail to understand how people who are paid to make other people look good let these disasters happen. Not to mention that neither of these outfits complemented the song choice or said anything about these ladies as artists.

Why, God, why????????

Why, God, why????????

The glam squad most succeeded with Alexis Grace, whose stirring performance of “Dirty Diana” is still earworming its way into my brain as I write this. Her black exposed-zipper onesie didn’t say much to me about who Alexis is, but it further proved to me that she’s the only person on this show who understands costuming herself for a performance. She sang her Aretha song weeks ago in a slip and trashy heels, like a hooker who’d been kicked to the curb, which fit the character of the song. When she had to do that Jason Mraz group number, she actually dressed up like a lady version of Mraz. And this week, given a song about a very naughty lady who works in the sex industry, she dressed like a dancer in a production of Cabaret. The girl is a performer. She gets it.

The Husband:

Wow. What a crazy-ass roller coaster week. America shows that maybe it can be trusted slightly more with their Top 12 picks (although they still have some ‘splainin’ to do), the Group 3 performances end up being startlingly good, and the judges, while making some strange picks as to who they wanted to see again for the Wild Card round, made some darn good decisions of their own.

But oh man, it’s going to be a heavily male-centric final group, and I can only attribute that, as I did last week, to the show’s main voting constituency — hormonal teenage girls. It’s a sausage fest. A non-threatening, asexual sausage fest.

But, as I was saying, this was the week where the contestants really stood out, and at least half of the 12 performances could actually be classified as “good” or above. Gee, what a concept.

In which case, I don’t really need to tell you who did poorly, since I think it’s quite obvious to everybody, and I need only to mention their names (Taylor Vaifanua, Aianna Afsar, Nathaniel Marshall) and get shudders from you readers.

Actually, I really have to call out Nathaniel Marshall for giving the semifinals one truly awful performance, where he took one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums (“I Would Do Anything For Love” from Meat Loaf’s classic 90s record Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell) and turned it, as I wrote down but also said by TVSquad, into a Donna Summer song. What a trashy undoing of a powerful song. Nathaniel, without question, should be ashamed.

Idol's Group Three runs hot and cold.

Idol's Group Three runs hot and cold.

So who did a good job, and who did a great job?


Ju’not Joyner (“Hey There Delilah”): While I am never big on people reusing songs, it’s completely understandable if it’s their signature song from earlier rounds (much like Kimberley Locke’s version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” that got her into the Top 12 over Clay Aiken pre-Wild Card), and I thought for a moment that I’d really like Ju’not in the Top 12 just to shake things up. Alas, he did not get voted through, nor was he brought back for the Wild Card.

Felicia Barton (“No One”): An interesting selection from an interesting person who, unfortunately, just couldn’t get enough screentime thanks to her being a last-minute replacement in the Top 36. I hate it when contestants sing Alicia Keyes (they’re never going to measure up), and Felicia’s performance definitely got messier at it progressed, but I thought she was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, she did not make it through and, also, was not brought back.

Scott MacIntyre (“Mandolin Rain”): So here’s the deal. I think that if he weren’t legally blind, that voice wouldn’t have been strong enough to really make much of an impression, but he has a story and a “handicap,” and his heart more than made up for some of his vocal shortcomings. He’s a darn good performer, and I appreciate that, and I appreciate that he “sailed on through” to the Top 12.

Lil Rounds (“Be Without You”): I’m kind of sick of this Idol type, even if I’m quite aware that Lil is trying to be her own person. I mean, she’s basically being touted as Tamyra and La Toya and Trenyce and Syesha, and maybe I’m just finally done with that spot that always seems to be open in the Top 12 for eight years now, but I can’t deny the fact that she has a pretty impeccable voice. But she’s not inspiring joy out of me. Just respect.

Kristen McNamara (“Give Me One Reason”): I don’t know why she chose to do such a sped-up version of the song, ended up with some majorly garbled words, but this NorCal resident gave a cool Kimberly Caldwell vibe that I wish had made more of an impression on America.


Jorge Nuñez “(Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”): I think we may be in for something very special with this bilingual singer. We got a small bit of comment huff a few weeks ago for defending Jorge’s accent on this blog, but like Simon we were aware then that it wouldn’t be a problem, and that with the right song and the right amount of heart it doesn’t matter if he says a word differently here or there. He will do wonders for the American Latino/Chicano community merely by his presence in the Top 12, but the best thing is that he’s a great singer to boot. He could demolish the rest of the competition, and I’m fine with that assessment.

So Jorge, Lil and Scott made it through, which unfortunately left some darn good people in the dust, a fact made worse by the fact that no remaining Group 3 contestants were brought back for the Wild Card round. Why? So the judges could put insane people like Tatiana or jokes like Von Smith in their spots. (Come on, we know that those spots could have gone to Kristen McNamara and Felicia Barton easily.)

But I’m more than okay with the judges’ final picks for Wild Card. While I think Jasmine Murray will end up being destroyed by her own nerves and lack of professional know-how in the next few weeks, I’m glad to have her youthful energy around and hope she can recapture some of the magic she had during the auditions. Megan Joy Corkrey and Matt Giraud were no-brainers to move through, honestly, giving the show a more bluesy and adult vibe amidst all the pop shenanigans, and I welcome the variety.

But the greatest part of the week was making the Top 12 into a Top 13 by also accepting Anoop Desai, one of this season’s best performers, into the final group. He needs to tone down some of the overwrought drama in his performances, but he’s now the show’s official underdog, dawg.

The “real” competition is just around the corner, so pick up your phone and start voting with the smart part of you instead of the horny part. Don’t forget, the progression of this show actually does affect mainstream pop culture whether you like it or not, and I don’t want another no-talent, pretty-but-bland personality singing to me on the radio. There’s already enough of that.

The Wife:

This was certainly a rollercoaster week on Idol, and I’m still mad about what Nathaniel did to Meat Loaf. Throughout the entire performance, I was hoping that Mr. Aday himself would burst through the back wall, Eddie in RHPS-style, roar in on a hog and kill Nathaniel with a pick axe as the band started playing “What Ever Happened to Saturday Night?” (Ideally, Meat Loaf would sing that song while murdering Nathaniel and then launch into a triumphant rendition of “I Would Do Anything For Love.”) I wish I could describe the look of abject horror on my face, but alas, it is indescribable.

Like my husband, I was sad to see that Kristen McNamara was passed over for a chance at the Wild Card. Instead, they gave her spot to Jesse Langseth, who has a lovely voice, but I cannot call myself a fan of because of her complete inability to produce consonant sounds. Seriously, she is rarely actually saying a word when she sings. I’d have liked to see McNamara go further in this competition. She’s cute like Anna Faris and has a great, powerful voice. And this week, her outfit wasn’t a problem at all, despite what the judges may have said about it. That dress was adorable, totally made by those little pink rosettes on the shoulders.

I still think a lot of the contestants need help styling themselves, Lil Rounds being a prime example. She went from super hot yellow and black cocktail number for performance night to a dowdy black and white dress that would work, maybe, on Alison Iraheta or some other young white kid who shops at vintage stores and Hot Topic. And I only want to see Anoop in the skinny-tie-and-Rufus Humphrey-cardi combo for the rest of his Idol days. So, so happy they put Anoop through. I think the judges made the right choices with the Wild Card contestants they sent through, thought I agree with my husband that they did make some really weird picks for the Wild Card round.

Competition next week! Let’s see if Megan Joy Corkrey learns to move to music!

The Wife:

Welcome back to the temple of the Goddess of Fierce, everyone! And when I say that, I am not referring to Tyra Banks, but to myself. Because if Tyra can find a way to make last summer’s gladiator sandals still relevant (and yes, that casting special probably was filmed last summer when they were actually relevant) by stealing my theme for my next murder mystery dinner, I can steal her title. With all due respect to Miss Tyra, I’m really more like a Handmaiden of Fierce, but I digress. I’m always happy to have ANTM back in my life, but it’s pretty clear to me that the show is starting to outlive itself when Tyra manages to cast a series of girls who have stolen all of my gimmicks for ANTM auditions. See, next cycle is going to be for girls 5’7″ and under. I’d be too short coming in right at 5’7″ for a regular season, but I’d likely tower over all the shorties next season. The casting call was on Tuesday in San Francisco, and I ended up not going mostly because it was wet outside, but I’ll tell you all about what my dastardly plan to infiltrate the temple of the Goddess of Fierce would have been a little later.

TyTy and company took their 34 semifinalists to Caesar’s Palace in fabulous Las Vegas, made them dress up in Roman slave girl costumes with golden knee high gladiator heels that (I think) are either by Dolce Vita or came straight out of Fredericks of Hollywood. Mr. Jay made the girls take profile shots, you know, like an ancient bust or something, while Miss Jay made the ladies embrace their inner goddess by having them walk down a runway covered in clouds (a.k.a. dry ice). Even during these two funzie challenges, a catfight started brewing between Angelea, a girl who just can’t wait to get the hell out of Buffalo, and Sandra, this season’s high-strung African goddess who says goddess in such a way that I want to rub up against her and purr like a kitten. (What? You know African accents are sexy.) The problem with both of these girls is that they have it in their heads that they both better than everyone else. That never goes well.

When the girls were brought before the judges, we got to meet a select few of them, and I’ll provide you here with a list of my preliminary notes:

  • Sandra – Girl, keep it together! Now is not the time for crying!
  • London – You are the worst street preacher. Ever.
  • Tahlia – This girl is a burn survivor, and I think her scars are beautiful. I am also really mad at her because she totally stole my “girls with scars” angle, although, really, her scars are much worse than my cancer hole. (More on that later!)
  • Monique – Conspiracy theorist! She’s insane, but I like her peacock shirt, and I kind of love her killer poses.
  • Aminat – Bitch, you fierce! And tall!
  • Kathryn – Your pen collection is a shitty pen collection. Tyra, the queen of gimmick, can indeed spot a gimmick a mile away. It’s disappointing that Kathryn can’t name any working models other than Agyness Deyn, but she rolls with designers pretty well, and that counts for something.
  • Isabella – She has epilepsy. I do not think fashion shows are going to go well for her.
  • Felicia-who-goes-by-Fo – She’s a self-proclaimed Blaxican, which Tyra claims is a term she doesn’t know. I highly doubt that Tyra. I highly doubt that.
  • Angelea – Uh, you’re 22 and your daughter is dead? I suddenly feel awful about hating you.
  • Celia – Holy shit, this girl is leaps and bounds above the other models in terms of her personal style. Her circle flare mustard skirt and purple sweater combination are fabulous and remind me very much of Claire Danes. I love this girl!
  • Kortnie – Token plus sized model. Used to date Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Her parents hate her because they spelled her name that way.
  • Alison – I saw a photo of this girl prior to this episode and I was like “WHAAAA? Where did Tyra find a lemur?” That said, you do not forget a face like Alison’s. You also do not forget that she loves blood and misuses the term hemophilia. Considering that’s when you can’t stop bleeding, I would probably refer to her love of blood as “sanguinophilia.”
  • Teyona – Quoth Tyra: “Her face looks like its in a wind tunnel. Wind tunnel in a good way.”

Only a lucky 21 girls got to go to final elimination that night, so Mr. Jay made them all sort through jewelry boxes in the slave girl costumes to find some pretty laurel wreath headbands. Here, we said goodbye to the conspiracy theorist and a ghetto white girl from Tampa. The remaining 21 girls then got to do a final test: a photoshoot in which they were asked to pose exhibiting the qualities of a goddess. I had high hopes that ANTM was going to be somewhat educational here and be like, “Your goddess is Hestia, the goddess of the hearth and childbearing. Your goddess is Kali, the goddess of chaos. Your goddess is Inianna, the queen of the heavens. You two will be the Wawalak, the aboriginal singing sisters who guard the Rainbow Serpent.” But no. Just goddess of victory, goddess of justice, goddess of love, goddess of success and so on. During this shoot, the catfight between Sandra and Angelea came to a head, and Mr. Jay seemed to side a little more with Sandra, chastising Angelea for starting shit with a well-placed, “Really?”

At the end of the evening, Tyra awarded 13 girls a spot in the house on New York’s Upper East Side. They were: Aminat, Natalie (who has a squishy face, but legs for days), Fo, Alion, Tahlia, Celia (who wore yet another adorable piece of clothing), Nijah (who I’m going to start calling Ninja), London, Teyona, Kortnie, Isabella, Jessica (she’s from Puerto Rico) and Sandra. Ever graceful, Angelea continued to hate on Sandra well-after her elimination from the House of Tyra.

The finalists all gathered atop NYC’s Empire State Building to get their house keys from Paulina and Nigel, who told the keymistress Celia that she could have first pick of beds. The Top Model Townhouse’s ground floor is covered in Tyra’s “Sofia Loren” series of photos from last season, including my ultimate favorite in which she is draped in an American flag bathing suit with a head full of curlers. Other floors had Tyra-shot portraits of past ANTM winners, because Tyra loves herself just that much. (She’s a pretty good photographer, in all honesty, no matter how much I make fun of her incredible narcissism.) Distracted, perhaps, by all the pretty shiny photographs of people more famous than she is, Sandra began starting some shit by stealing Celia’s bed. Everyone then pretended they’ve never seen this show before and acted shocked that there were only 12 beds in the house, meaning one person would be leaving very soon. Sandra and Celia got into a crazy-person-versus-person-who-is-obviously-correct standoff about the bed, and London decided that it wasn’t worth the fighting, taking a cue from her man JC to be a blessed peacemaker by offering to sleep on the floor so crazy-ass Sandra could have a bed. Look, I like Sandra and I’m glad Tyra chose her over Angelea, but the bitch is already more haughty than Nenna and Fatima combined. And I fucking haaaaaaaaaaaated Fatima. (Nenna, her I liked. She was only haughty because she was smart. Fatima was haughty because she was a fucking bitch.) I do not know why every single African girl they get on this show somehow falls into the category of aloof/haughty/utterly bitchy. I realize there are cultural differences between growing up in Africa and growing up here, but you would think that someone who fled a desperate political situation when they were young and had been living in, oh, say, Maryland for half of her life might have acclimated a little more than these girls do.

The girls then received their very first Tyra Mail: “Get ready to bridge the gap between good and bad.” They were shipped off to the 59th St. Bridge to Gustavino’s to walk in a fashion show for Laura Peretsky of Abate, who explained her current collection as a mixture of naughty and nice. Each of the girls would be asked to play either a good girl or a bad girl in the show. When they received their clothing for the night, Tahlia grew distressed that she was the only girl in a full suit, feeling that the designer had intentionally chosen to cover up her scars. Tahlia needs to realize, and fast, that not everyone is going to want to see her scars on the runway. Some designers will book her because of them and show them off, some designers will book her only if they can cover them up and some designers won’t book her at all. That’s just how it’s going to be for her, and the sooner she accepts that, the better. I would also argue that she was put in the suit because she’s almost the same size as Kortnie, the plus sized girl. I’m sure that had just as much to do with it as her scars did.

Scars or no scars, this is not a rail-thin lady.

Scars or no scars, this is not a rail-thin lady.

Isabella got a little freaked out at the runway show because it utilized strobe lights, which are every epileptic’s worst nightmare. I wasn’t planning on taking this angle if I had actually auditioned for ANTM, but I may-and-or-may-not have epilepsy. My sister is epileptic, and I’ve had one seizure in my life and received an inconclusive diagnosis from it. If I do have some form of the disorder, it is not nearly as bad as my sister’s, and it’s certainly not as bad as Isabella’s. Nevertheless, I am wary of strobe lights. I generally don’t go clubbing for that precise reason. So I totally get Isabella’s fear, but I’m proud that she strutted down that runway with a smile on her face in that little candy-striped dress that said, “If I have a seizure here, I’m going to make it look like I did it on purpose.” All my doubts about Alison were quelled on the runway, as well, because that girl is freaking fierce with makeup on. She has the face for it. And those giant lemur eyes! Celia also became a favorite of mine when she rocked out her bad girl persona in that Phillip Lim-ish yellow dress. And then there was Sandra, who became a huge disappointment when she only made it half-way down the runway. What the fuck? It’s not like she has night-blindness and couldn’t see the end of it! And even cycle three’s Amanda made it down the runway in that very dark and windy Heatherette show! (Thought: what if Amanda from ANTM Cycle 3 hooked up with Scott MacIntyre from American Idol? I don’t know where I’m going with that.)

After their photoshoot, Sandra got really mad at everyone for talking while she was trying to sleep and let her discontent be known in the rudest of ways. Really, this is why you go to college people, so you can learn to be diplomatic with roommates. Instead of saying, “I’m trying to sleep! Go have your dumb conversation somewhere else!” You should politely try something like, “Hey, guys? Could you go talk in the living room? I’d really like to get some sleep.” If she keeps this up, Sandra is well on her way to being murdered in the shower by Alison just so the girl can see some blood.

The next morning, the girls got the following Tyra Mail: “Eenie meenie mynie moe! Make it fierce from head to toe!” I hope to the Goddess of Fierce that little girls on playgrounds across America adapt that version of the phrase. In keeping with that theme, Mr. Jay showed up in Central Park riding a bike in what I can only assume was an outfit leftover from Tron or a paintball tournament he just had with Sutan. He told the girls that they would be doing a shoot about good girls and bad girls shot by Fadil Bershin. Like the homelessness shoot from Cycle 10, the girls would have three “bad girls” in the scene that they would have to model with and stand out from. This shoot went really late into the night, which was surprising, but it seemed like they had to start late in the afternoon due to the rain. During the shoot, Tahlia noted that she was again covered up and started to feel shame for herself. Girl, that is the wrong emotion. You can feel insecure, but you cannot feel shame. That is the incorrect emotion to have.

At panel, Tyra talks about the importance of her good and bad girls photoshoot, because she feels girls in America grow up too fast, citing some statistics she gleaned from a very terrifying episode of her talk show in which she featured girls who were 15 and seriously trying to get pregnant. I agree with Tyra on this point, and you will likely never hear me say something like the following again, but I’m pretty sure that the dominant media in our culture tells children to be adults far sooner than they should be. I am never one to blame the media for anything, but it’s Tyra’s particular medium of fashion and beauty that keeps insisting that girls in middle school start acting like they’re four years older. There is a problem when we are marketing thongs at the Limited Too. No twelve-year-old should give a shit about panty-lines, but they’re being told they should by the rhetoric they encounter in the junior versions of adult fashion magazines. As with any blame laid on the media, it’s largely the fault of those who buy into it. And sadly, children are really impressionable, creating an epidemic of kiddie thongs and, I assume, the birth of tween culture as a whole. Anyway, I digress. Here were the reactions to the photoshoot at panel:

I believe London more as a small child than I do as a street preacher.

I believe London more as a small child than I do as a street preacher.

  • Sandra: Miss J scolded her for not completing her runway walk, and none of the judges like her Hide and Seek photo, saying that she looks lost and that she may have misunderstood the game.
  • Celia: Tyra approves of her high-waisted jeans and compliments her fashion. I now think that she reminds me of Chloe Sevigny, who is a risk taker in the fashion world if ever there was one. The judges all love her Hula Hoop photo, saying that she faked hula hooping really well.
  • Fo: Tyra tells her that she looks adorable in her Ring Around the Rosy shot, but not like a model. Paulina later comments that the photo has nothing to do with Ring Around the Rosy.
  • Aminat: Miss J tells her to be conscious of her long legs, which look knock-kneed in her London Bridge photo. Tyra compliments her on her fierce runway presence, but does not like that her face is the same in her innocent little girl photo as it was on the runway.
  • London: Her Tug of War shot turned out totally great, but she looks like a hot mess at panel. Tyra makes her fix her hair and take off her oversized leopard print Cosby sweater.
  • Jessica: Today, I learned that people from other countries do not know the game of Jacks, because Jessica said she didn’t know what it was in her photo shoot and Paulina also insisted she’d never heard of it. This is odd to me, because I think its something we Americans picked up from the British. The judges like her angle in the photo, but not much else.
  • Teyona: The judges love her Hopscotch shot, but Tyra and J warn her to tilt her head forward in photos because she, like me, is a Little Head. They remind her about the basics of perspective, which I found oddly insulting.
  • Isabella: Nigel complimented the dance-like qualities of her pose in this dodgeball shot, but the rest of the judges agree that it’s weird and totally not good. I am reminded of the Beat Freaks’ illusion-based performance on America’s Best Dance Crew.
  • Nijah: Her photo was Musical Chairs, and the judges thought she looked fabulous in the face and hair in this shot.
  • Alison: Her Double Dutch shot, although there wasn’t much actual jumping rope, was definitely the best of the night. She looked freakin’ amazing.
  • Tahlia: Like about six other girls, Tahlia had one leg up in her Tag photo, which the judges found kind of weird. Tyra talked to her about her insecurities at the runway show and laid it down for her as I did earlier. Some people will book you, some won’t. Just deal with it.
  • Natalie: The judges had mixed reactions for her Leap Frog shot. Tyra saw potential, Paulina didn’t.
Like a high fashion Emily the Strange.

Like a high fashion Emily the Strange.

Callouts: Alison, Fo, Teyona, London, Celia, Nijah, Kortnie, Natalie, Aminat, Tahlia and Jessica, leaving Sandra and Isabella in the bottom two. Tyra decided to give Sandra another chance, which made me kind of sad because Isabella is just so beautiful. However, I do think this will probably be better for her overall health, as runway shows are not going to be her forte. I see her as a print girl, and I know Tyra sees her as a commercial girl, per this quote:

“Isabella – I just wanna buy cornflakes from her. But model fierce cornflakes.”

Uh, Tyra, where can I get me some of those?

So, now that recapping is done, I promised I’d tell you about my plan to infiltrate the House of Fierceness and how it was ruined by this season. I thought, since I have this hole in my arm and a giant scar from the melanoma I had removed last year, that I would go and campaign to be on the show, talking about how important it is for girls to have scars and, with respect to skin cancer, how the beauty industry needs to step it up and make safe products with UV protection. After my diagnosis and surgery, I became pretty obsessive about what products I’m using on my skin. There’s a whole list of sunscreens at the Environmental Working Group’s website that show only the select few that are actually effective, and I only buy those. I also have switched to buying beauty products from Bare Essentuals here in San Francisco, specifically because their mineral foundations have high SPF in them. I’ve even toyed around with making myself some cute, lightweight jackets and dresses for the summer out of UV protective fabrics. That, and I’m bringing back the parasol. My goal, I planned to tell Tyra, was that even if I didn’t win, I wanted to change the beauty industry from the inside out and to become a spokesperson for the Skin Cancer Foundation. Getting melanoma when you’re 23 will do that to you. At the very least, I figured that I would get 30 seconds in the casting special and get to be told by Tyra that I’d be a good spokesmodel, but a spokesmodel is not America’s Next Top Model. (She tells someone that pretty much every cycle.)

But then came Tahlia, and her burn scars certainly trump the hole in my arm. She totally stole my angle, but I’m okay with that. I just wish she didn’t doubt herself so much. If Padma Lakshmi can make a career with her giant arm scar, Tahlia can work around her burns.

The Husband:

I really don’t know what they were thinking in keeping Sandra. To use some Mr. Jay words, she’s a hater, and I can’t remember a Top 13 contestant having so much time dedicated to her in the first 13 episodes as to what a complete hater she is. There’s something that almost every ANTM winner has, and that’s humility plus an aversion to that drink known as Haterade. Drama is one thing, but to quote Mary J. Blige, “don’t need no hateration.” Slow your roll, Sandra. Because anybody who doesn’t even know where the end of the runway is need boast of their greatness.

On another note, I’m finding myself having a particularly hard time with the names so far and who, in fact, has said names. They all seem to either end in “ah” (the curse of my generation) or just be something I’ve never even heard of before (I still wasn’t sure, until the callouts near the end of the episode, how to pronounce Nijah or Aminat). But it was far worse for me before they were whittled down to the Top 13, so I guess the fact that my wife and I were watching ANTM somewhat later in the night than we usually do (a two-hour Modelfest after Idol results AND Lost is a fairly tall order as far as sanity is concerned) will be my excuse. I’m sure I’ll be fine in a week with matching everybody’s name to a face, and will look back on this paragraph and shake my head in shame.

At least nobody has had to make up an arbitrary name like last season. But if they did, I suggest Wackamolé, just to see what Tyra would say.