I swear, the Wednesday night episodes of "American Idol" can make me feel like I'm in a bad relationship. Everything's wine and roses on Tuesdays, when the contestants perform and we hear the judges' comments, but then Wednesday comes around and it's as if everything has changed -- nothing I want seems to matter anymore; it's all filler and advertisements. I'm even starting to doubt whether the emotional ups and downs are worth it. But for now I'll just try to think about the good times.
One of the few pleasures of the Wednesday "Idol" is finding out who got voted off. If you've been watching the show with any regularity, you know that 27-year-old LaKisha Jones had been on shaky ground for a while, never having quite been able to recapture the brilliance of her performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" earlier in the season. It's almost as if she'd stuck around on potential alone -- if we kept voting for her, maybe the magic would come back. But it never did. And it never did because Jones wouldn't let it; she kept trying to shoehorn her explosive voice into songs that stifled her inner Jennifer Hudson. Jones' almost uncanny obliviousness to her own strengths finally caught up with her this Wednesday night, as the single mother and bank teller from Flint, Mich., was sent home, leaving Blake Lewis (who wore a tuxedo print T-shirt -- seriously), Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks as the only contestants left.
And with one important exception (which I'll get to) LaKisha Jones' exit was the best the night had to offer. Not only was our time completely wasted with dross like a video recap of the previous episode and host Ryan Seacrest's intensely inane man-on-the-street bits, but the producers continued to jam commercials in an hour that already feels like an excuse to air commercials. The show spent time hyping the "Idol Live" tour, introducing an upcoming program meant to find the "next great band" and giving us a sneak preview of the new "Fantastic Four" movie. Thanks a lot, "Idol." You think you can just give me anything and I'll accept it? If the Silver Surfer hadn't looked so cool, I might have left you right then.
Don't think you can blind me with star power, either. I barely remembered who Pink was, so hearing her sing an unremarkable, slightly grungey rock ballad I'd never heard before didn't exactly set my world on fire. Jessica Alba was a nice try, but it was offset by a bizarre Judge Judy appearance. Maybe instead of pointless celebrity cameos, give me more segments like the one in which the contestants talked about their pre-show lives -- that was actually sort of sweet. But come to think of it, that was so like you, "Idol," thinking you could make up for all your self-absorption with two minutes of sensitivity.
At least Barry Gibb knows how to treat me right. He may have a voice that sounds like a neutered goat; he may have taken tanning tips from George Hamilton; and he may even have the chutzpah to wear a mesh shirt through which his nipples are plainly visible, but he understands that relationships are about give-and-take. He came on, he sang us a killer version of "To Love Somebody" and, in return, he got to bask in the attention of millions of people, ending the song with his head tilted back in ecstasy, his hand raised triumphantly in the air. Something for him, something for us. That's the way it's supposed to work. I don't know, I'm not really mad, "Idol," I just wish you'd think about me a little bit more sometimes.
But were still on for next Tuesday, right? Maybe we can order some Chinese or something.
-- David Marchese