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In a Pickle

A late recap of this week's American Idol machinations...

The big story is the final destruction of Kellie Pickler. What an odd situation. Pickler started out strong, so strong that Simon Cowell predicted her as one of the final three, if not the eventual winner. She was cute, she was country, and she was sweet.

I'm not quite sure who sabotaged Pickler the past two weeks, but her songs were awful and her cuteness was transmuted into a horrific look that combined terrible hair, hideous make-up, and ugly clothing to erase all memory of Kellie the Cutie.

And of course, the huge shock is that the American Idol voting public actually kicked off Pickler, rather than reflexively protecting a "nice" contestant from elimination. I'll grant you, Pickler was clearly the worst of the six remaining contestants... but merit doesn't always win out on Idol.

Powered by Diet Mountain Dew, on to the sucks-bites-blows-eats recap of the performances...

Katharine McPhee, "I Have Nothing": I thought she was great, and didn't even notice the wardrobe malfunction that exposed her panties to the American public. Although I will cop to noticing the massive cleavage. Mystifying was the judges ripping her a new one for a performance that was good enough to make her a certain final-two perfomer in my book. More mystifying was that the next night, the judges apologized. The Web is full of analysis about how the apologies were tactical or political, but I don't buy it. I think that the show just looks and sounds far different when you're sitting in the theater than it does at home, and sometimes the judges' perspective just doesn't match up with what viewers see and hear. It would almost be better if the judges sat in a soundproof room off of the theater and watched the show on TV.

Elliot Yamin, "A Song For You": Best performance of the night, and on merit he's your leader in the clubhouse. But remember what I said above about merit?

Kellie Pickler, "Unchained Melody": Eats.

Paris Bennett, "The Way We Were": Blows. To amplify something Randy Jackson said, her voice is a great instrument. It's too bad that the person with the instrument is a 17-year-old who has no clue what she's doing.

Taylor Hicks, "Just Once": Cop-out. Does Taylor want to end up in Vegas in a Michael McDonald/James Ingram tribute show? Next week, he should sing "Ya Mo Be There." There's square and then there's painfully square. Get out of the middle of the road, Taylor, or you'll be run over by a bus. More Ray Charles, less Adult Contemporary Hits, okay?

Chris Daughtry, "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?": The song itself hits the grand slam of crapitude: sucks, bites, blows, and eats. In diving, your scores are multiplied by the degree of difficulty of the dive. If American Idol was diving, Chris would have perfect scores -- multiplied by zero. If you wanted to prove that you can even sound good singing boring crap, congratulations!

Hat tips: Alan Sepinwall and TV Tattle.


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