As of this writing, it’s impossible for The Only TV Column That Matters™ to say who will be the Final Two facing off in the American Idol: The Search For a Superstar (Fox; Tuesday, Sept. 3 and Wednesday, Sept. 4) showdown. Due to our weekly deadlines and the printer’s unreasonable resistance to waiting an extra day for me to watch the live Wednesday, Aug. 28 viewer vote-off (City Weekly goes to press on Tuesday evenings), it just ain’t gonna to happen.
Pure speculation, on the other hand, knows no deadlines.
American Idol, the glitzy talent show that’s become the rage of summer 2002, is by default the classiest “reality” program of the hot months. Sure, CBS’ Big Brother 3 gets better ratings (mostly from pervs also scanning for naked boobies on the show’s uncensored Internet feed); NBC’s Dog Eat Dog attracts more celebrity guests (if you consider ex-Survivor hacks and jiggling Playboy Playmates celebrities); and a single episode of their horrific Meet My Folks makes you feel smarter than 10 Blind Dates (why are we encouraging these imbeciles to breed?). Next to all this, American Idol can’t help but look like high art.
Last week, Tamyra Gray was voted off Idol by the country’s dialing digits—not a huge shock, a big percentage of those 15 million voters being dependable dolts and she being the most boring of the Final Four—a stone fox and fabulous singer, but the inexcusable eviction of Ryan Starr last month proved that just isn’t enough for the phone-in constituency of America. Starr’s vote-off was as mind-boggling as the fact that it takes not one, but two talentless hair-gelled pinheads (Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman) to host American Idol. They should be dragged into the alley, pistol-whipped within an inch of their misbegotten lives and forced to listen to the Paula Abdul box set, but I digress.
Paula Abdul is, of course, the so-called “ineffectual” judge in a competition that’s demonstrated no actual need for judges at all—neither hers, nor Randy Jackson’s nor Simon Cowell’s opinions and criticisms mean a damned thing on a show where the Great Unwashed are making the final decisions via 1-800 numbers. Never mind the recent flap over “phone phreaks” using autodialing software to cast thousands of illicit votes: Not allowing Cowell to pull the trigger on these caterwauling contestants himself is the bigger crime. Well, that and the continued intake of oxygen by Seacrest and Dunkleman …
Nikki McKibbin (the white girl), Kelly Clarkson (the whiter girl) and Justin Guarini (the white/black guy/girl … hairball) remain to sing against each other in this week’s penultimate (for you Meet My Folks viewers, that’s “next to last”) contest. Here’s where it gets tricky: This issue of City Weekly hits the streets mere hours before that three-way American Idol smackdown, making it difficult to write about next week’s finale with any degree of certainty.
Let’s say next week’s two finalists are Clarkson and Guarini, thanks to a late-coming backlash against McKibbin’s ill-advised song choices last week—no Melissa Etheridge cover goes unpunished. Then let’s say dumb-ass Dunkleman’s pronouncement that “anything can happen” in the final competition actually comes true, and instead of the musical theme being Broadway show tunes or something equally predictable, it’s … Slayer Night!
With the death-metal tone set, Clarkson belts out a flawless “Mandatory Suicide” (“Kelly, Kelly, Kelly,” says Jackson, “I really believed you were a fat, hairy metal-head stoner”). Guarini, however, falls flat moonwalking through “Angel of Death,” much to the judges’ displeasure.
Cowell: “You bubble-headed sideshow freak—you’ve unequivocally destroyed a classic for me, so I must return the favor.” [Pulls out baseball bat, creases Guarini’s skull through his afro]
Abdul: “Oh, Simon! You’re such a meanie!”
Seacrest: “Well, after the break, we’ll see how America voted … Ow! Ow! Ow! [Cowell pounds Seacrest and Dunkleman into crumpled heaps]
Cowell: “You’re all idiots, America. You can shove your Coca-Cola and Fords up your arses—I’m going back to England.”
Can’t wait for American Idol 2.