'American Idol': Notes on a Scandal

The Atlantic Wire

So here's the deal, folks. Time Warner Cable does not like me. It does not like you. It does not like American Idol. And so, even though I checked in the morning before I left the house to make sure it was scheduled, American Idol did not record. Nope. Two hours of ladies singing their lady hearts out, lost to the ages. Well, not entirely lost, thankfully. No, if one is clever enough to, uh, ask one's Twitter followers for help, one can find clips of almost the whole show online. Which is what I did last night. So I kinda know what happened, but I still don't have a sense of the episode's narrative, which is a shame. To that end, I can only do one thing. A list. I know we all hate lists, but sometimes they are necessary. Here's a list of things from last night's Idol that I have observed.

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Kez Ban is annoying. Kez Ban is that weid gypsy busker lady who works part-time as an Amanda Plummer impersonator. You know, the one who came in all weird-talking about her strange street jobs and then opened her mouth and let out some surprisingly nice notes. The one who then had a super-duper awkward interaction with Ryan wherein she joked about filling out paperwork and other things for way longer than she should have. She's not so good on the ol' social cues, basically. But, she can sing. Or at least she could sing. Last night she said she was getting a cold and then opened her mouth and terrible grinding noises came out. Really bad, your-car's-not-making-it-up-this-hill noises. That seemed like it for her, this odd novelty contestant. But then, no. No, she was through to the group round. What's happening here, judges? Do you know something we don't? Have you heard noises we've not heard? Mysterious. Kez Ban's group mates were all bubbly sunshiny girls of the typical Idol variety, so naturally Kez did not want to sing with them. She kept dissing their song choices and kinda making fun of them and annoyingly asserting herself as some sort of independent artist who doesn't truck with pop songs and other silly mainstream things. Except she's on American Idol. She took herself to the initial audition, waited all day to see the judges, waited until Hollywood Week, got on a plane, flew to California, and yes, filled out all the paperwork. So, lady, if you're too good for pop music, why do all the work of going on the nation's poppiest of cheese pop shows? I don't like this shtick from anyone, but it fits Kez especially poorly. Oh, well, it was no problem, because she sang terribly with her group, actually the whole group sounded bad. She was done. Totally over, right? NOPE. The judges put her entire group through! All of 'em. Even Kez. Apparently they want to keep Kez Ban because she's a weird gypsy and Idol loves its awful novelty acts. Which is terrible. I have to imagine there are better weirdos this season than this lady. Ugh, she's going to be annoying. Hopefully she goes tonight. Or during Vegas week. Sometime soon. I do not want to be a prisoner of Azkezban for much longer.

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Everyone else is the same. Did you notice that? Everyone else is the same lady. They are all named Jenell or Ashley and they all have vague Southern twangs and gloop out big brassy notes that we know are "technically good" but kinda hurt our ears. That's everyone in this competition, except for Kez Ban and maybe one or two other girls. Man, oh, man. Should American Idol just stop having women on the show? It's been so long since one actually won the damn thing, because every year they throw us a hundred Lauren Alainas and we all sigh and say "OK, if we have to..." Say what you will about the roster of oafs they assemble on the guys' side, but at least they're interesting. Sure we've had a few fun gals in years past, your Haley Reinharts, your Allison Irahetas, but for the most part? All buttery senior class vice-presidents who like Sugarland. And I'm sick of it. I'm plum sick of it. Figure it out, Idol. This is boring.

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Some good people went home. And when I mean "good" I mean they were good people to go home. You know who they sent home? That Miss University of Arkansas girl who Randy ambushed with a surprise audition number. Remember her? With the husband who, uh, seemed to have a close bond with Ryan? Yeah she was all fake humble and "Oh my goshhhh" during the original auditions — her certainty that she was going to go through was positively radiating out of her bump-it and it was unpleasant. But now she's cut. Back to Arkansas with Gideon and all his guy pals who he's always going on trips to Atlanta with. Oh, well. Also gone is that girl who risked a terrible leg infection to audition. That was some craziness that I just did not approve of, so I think she needs some time to get her priorities straight. Really think long and hard about what's important to you in your life, peg-leg, and then audition for the show next year. Think about if you like your legs, if you enjoy walking on them, and using them to kick things and whatever else you use your legs for. Then think about losing one of them just to sing on American Idol. I just want to make sure your heart is in the right places, in the right order. The order should go something like 1) Legs and then down at like 7 or 8, American Idol. So, yeah, a wise decision on the judges' part. You can't have some crazy leg-reckless person on your show. It's just not safe.

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There was a group called Handsome Women. Yeah. I don't have much to say about it, I just thought we should all take a second to remember Handsome Women. The group consisted of Lily Tomlin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amy Madigan, and Mary Carillo. Bunch of handsome women belting out handsomely. Well done, ladies.

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I'm afraid that's it! Blame TimeWarner. Blame the cruel gods who are trying to deny us our full-bodied Idol fun. Maybe blame this season, which, so far, has not produced a lot of gems. I mean, it's early days, but I'm not feeling any Colton burns or even any Allison tingles just yet. We may get there, but right now this is looking like we've got a long lonely road ahead of us. Maybe that all changes tonight. Maybe things will suddenly feel new and exciting. At the very least, maybe the damn thing will record.

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