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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Idol Finale - The Bringing It All Back Home Tour

Well, as some learned sage once said, all good things must come to an end. And, as Raoul Duke once said, all mediocre things must end too. And so it is we are here in the media centre at the Idol chunderdome for the International Idol Grand Finale, or as I like to call it, The Bringing It All Back Home tour.

Boy am I excited and gee wizz I bet you folk at home are too.
I even got the penguin suit pressed just for the occasion. How do I look?

I bet you say that to all the penguins.

As preparations for this Night of Nights(TM registered) go, I've got an armory of grade A, HB pencils so sharp a catburgler could use them to score glass in a jewelry heist.

Because we're in for a long one, I've also got 5lbs of the finest Columbian coffee money can buy

A couple of grams of crack cocaine (pure)

And, call me sick, two little buoys (don't judge me).

Alright, here we go.

So we open with a slick recap of the Idol series, pan across the Sydney harbor to a rabid crowd of pre-pubescent teens to see the organ grinder's monkey (thanks Redcap) and the camp quality puppet crowd surfing towards the stage.

Next, we cross to everyone's favorite frump, Angela Bishop schmoozing with a who's who of Idol legends. Hey, there's Shannon Noll, oh it's Guy Sebastian and one of the chicks from the veronicas and JESUS H CHRIST! what the hell is that? Oh shit, it's Casey Donovan!

I don't wanna sound unfeeling, but I literally recoiled at the very sight of the girl. Not only did she have a bunch of steel piercings hanging off her face, she looked like a giant mandarine coloured life raft!

Damn, I'm not saying she's let herself go, but the girl was so chubby (insert favourite fat joke here)

As if it's election night, we cross to Darwin to see some crap commercial radio announcer with an unnatural amount of enthusiasm geeing up the crowd and introducing the chief minister of the NT, Clare Martin. So it IS election night!

We meet the judges on the couch. Mark is wearing a creeping white suit, white tie. Marcia, it pains me to admit it, looks stunning and Kyle is reclining on the couch with one leg crossed over the over, in the way, presumably, the producers arranged him before coming on camera.

Our first performance is from the Young Divas, who pull off an uncanny impersonation of Destiny's Child, bumping, grinding speaking eubonics and giving it all that with their smash hit Right About Now.

Next up it's a song from my fellow countryman Tiny Tony Callea, head shaved like a cancer patient and letting us have the first single from his new recurd.

Apart from a creak here and there, my pint sized paesano does a good job on some droll pap that (mark my words) will be the last dance at Italian weddings everywhere for the next 40 years.

There's a boring recap of the auditions and the day our finalists first sheepily ambled in to strut their stuff for the judges before our next musical treat, a funky disco track by Marcia and Deni "remember when I had a career" Hines.

Freak me sideways if Marcia doesn't come out with her shirt collar popped and wearing the spangliest pair of pants I've ever seen. Not only that, but they're so tight we can see exactly where Deni came from. Deni, for the record, is wearing a gold condom on her head.

After the break we cross to the dressing room to eat cheescake and chew the fat with Jessica and Damien's mummys. In her two pack a day voice, Jessica's mum says Jessica's much more mature than she used to be, while Damien's mum says diddly dee diddly dee potatoes.

Next up is Idol grand-daddy Guy "I haven't had sex yet but one time I took a girl to bible study without a chaperone" Sebastian, who is wearing pointy black shoes and playing a guitar so thin I swear he's strumming a piece of plywood.

He's singing some piffle about "elevator love" as the disc shaped stage starts to elevate hydraulically above the crowd. Oh, I get it elevators. Long and tan and fat and ugly, the girl from iponema goes.. Ding, this floor haberdashery, menswear, next floor, shithousen music.

At this point I realise it's 8.30pm and the performances proper haven't started. Sure, Redcap, I'll do cover the Grand Finale. Bollocks. Sigh.

Ahh, but it's Shannon Noll to restore my faith in humanity.
I start listening, I mean, really listening to his lyrics and I'm overcome.

"Yeah, I DO get lonely, Shannon," and yeah, I always wonder if there's a better life." By song's end not only am I teary but I'm more than a bit freaked out.
Has this guy been snooping through my thoughts and feelings?

It's time for a break and just long enough for me to have a quick word to our hosts who come back with a wardrobe change. Out of the casual jackets and band t-shirts and into much more appropriate attire - penguin suits.

The finalists are led to the steps of the Opera house by a horse drawn cavalcade, as cheech and chong describe the action.

"This is seriously the biggest night of their lives," Andrew G says, making the biggest overstatement in recorded history.

Yeah, your weddings, the birth of your children and death of your parents will pale in comparison to tonight, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

The organ grinder's monkey is reeling off statistics like he's commentating a game of poker.

"Damien, I think received four touchdowns this year, which is more than anyone has ever got."

Oh is that right? Didn't he also get a nutflush on the screwdown?

The finalists make it to the steps and the boys ask Jess how she's feeling.

"Hee hehe, blabber blabber dribble drool oh yeah, it's just incredible and you know, they just really love us and love what they do, hehehehehe blubbber drool dribble babble "

Next up is a faux attempt at a theatrical high point - a collaboration between Chris Murphy, Ricky Muscat, Bobby Flynn and the other recent rejects on Coldplay's Fix You. Despite the fireworks, the performance packs about as hard a punch as an aenemic six year old girl.

Another pointless filler package and we're finally ready for some freaking singing!!!! Right? Right? Ba Bow. It's a song from the final 12. Why not, it's only 8.56pm.

As it happens, it's not one song but a ballsy, high energy medely, a vehicle for the vocal brilliance of the top 12. It's all ho hum until Bobby Flynn launches into Never Tear Us Apart by INXS.

When the performance has ended, 3000 people in the Opera House are on their feet - not to cheer but to stretch their limbs cos it's frigging 9.04pm and THE FINALISTS HAVE YET TO FUCKING SING.

Another break and we're back to a packaged interview with Jessica's parents. Let's just say it becomes quickly apparent why speaking English is not her greatest asset. "When I hear her sing, I just get a goosebump, I just sit there....frozen," beams dad.

As if to prove my point she comes out and says:

"It's a very long learning process and I've just go so much to learn and it's just incredible and oh giggle, oh, giggle." Ok, she is a bit cute, though.

We cross back to Darwin for interviews with Jess' high school principal, at which point I start checking if the coffee table will support my weight and look for anchorage points on the ceiling.

Jess babbles incoherently about singing at which point, Andrew says something like, "well, speaking of singing, we know you've got a song up your sleeve(Finally!).... after the break". FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS RIGHT AND JUST!

At 9.22pm, the dam breaks. Clad in a satin jacket, jeans and riding boots and dripping in jewellery Jess winds up to deliver When You Believe.

It's workmanlike, so of course, the judges think it's awesome.

"We know it, she's dynamite," says Marcia

"We loved her the moment we saw her in the desert," says Kyle.

"From the thongs to the opera house, I mean, what can you say?," Mark says. Yeah.

We've made the sponsors some more money and we're back with the organ grinder's monkey, who brings out Damien, or as, monkey boy likes to call him, "the people's tenor."

Leefy gets a twinkly dreamy highlights package too that, I must say, brings a lump to my trouser and we cross out to meet with some of his compatriots at a Gaelic club somewhere. There's also a big surprise for our young lad, with messages of support from the Emerald Isle.

"Best o luck to ya, keep tings goin'" says a neighbnour.

"Congratulations on cummin dis far," says his cockeyed auntie.

We're back from a break - during which we learn Big Brother is coming back - and Leefy ambles out, collars up, to punch out Nessun Dorma, that Michael Bolton classic he melted the judges with a few weeks ago.

He ratchets up to the high notes, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

We take a rare break and we're back up to Darwin to meet Jess' nanna, whose cute in her own way but whose vocabularly is limited to the words "yes" and "yeah,", which she punctuates with lashings of giggling.

Monkey Boy has us in stitches when he crosses to the "gay-lick" club before announcing that the votes are in and our Idol winner is just.....another ad break away. I'll get you for this Redcap.

.............. we're back, or something and blah blah........ zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz another......performance......from the top 12. woo! The New Radicals, Get What You Give. Love that song. Yawn. It's a good song. Yawn. Hmmm, wonder what I have to when I get to work tomorrow? Hmmm do I feel like some ice cream? Yawn.

Oh, they're done, we're back to the action.......ok, another break. Sure. No, I don't mind, why would I mind? WE'VE ONLY HAD 65 CUNTING AD BREAKS SO FAR!!

There's a wrap up from the judges and FINALLY, the money shot.

"The winner of Australian Idol, 2006 is..... Damien Leith."

Damien is sufficiently stunned by the win and Jessica is humble in defeat.

"Good on ya, Damien, good on ya," she says.

In the best performance of the night, Damien gives a good account of himself with the half-decent winning single, Night of My Life, clearly at precisely the same time as a set-designer is angle grinding at the back of the stage sending sparks showering down on to the stage.

Despite his Irish heritage, Leefy proves he's worthy of the tag Australian idol, saying "I can't thank yous enough".

I blame all you pricks who voted for him

We're out. Roll credits. Raoul.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Idol wrap up: Grand Final

Howdy all. Redcap here again, since Petstarr is freezing her arse off in Chicago right now. Let's all say "ohhhhh" for Petstarr's arse, shall we?

All righty, here we are at Idol Stadium. Bang a gong, we are on! It's grand final time and Andrew G has grown a huge porn moustache for the occasion. "I am here... to clean... zee pooolll." It's a little on the bumfluffy side, though, as you'd expect from a muppet, and I can't help wondering whether he made it from Aquadhere and pubic hair that he found in the washing machine. Why doesn't anyone grow a nice handlebar moustache for Movember? Or something that could be waxed into evil little points and then twirled like a '20s film villain? I'd also accept an enormous muttonchop experiment, but that seems even less likely.

Let's see you make that from glue and pubes!

For some reason, the judges have been gagged tonight. With lolly snakes. Gypped! Um, are we sure Marcia should have anything with sugar food colouring in it? Where's the fire extinguisher, just in case?

Holden is, as usual, all kitted out in black - black suit, black shirt, black bowtie - except for a single white rose on his lapel. The rose is ridiculous. Is he trying to romance everyone's nanna? Doesn't he have to get back to his coffin full of dirt before sun-up?

Marcia is wearing a red top and a spangly black sleeveless thingie that may or may not be part of a dress and may also be her homage to Chairman Kaga. Forget the clothes, though - the the scary thing about Marcia tonight is that she appears to grabbed her Create-a-Bruise kit instead of her foundation jar. Or perhaps she just lost consciousness this morning when she opened the fridge door and spent the day face-down in the crisper drawer. Who knows.

Kyle appears to be bitterly disappointed that he won't be allowed to rip shit out of anyone tonight. Poor Kyle. He screeches something about having had plans to destroy us all and then bites the head off a snake.

Jess is going first, so we're treated to a blow-by-blow of her entire Idol journey. Again. Come on, people, I need to go to the loo here! Wind it up! But no such luck - we see everything from her dusty outback audition through the thongs incident and are even treated to some tears as she tells us how extremely proud she is of herself. Wait just a moment, Little Jess, is your head outgrowing its alloted space?

Finally This Is Your Life is over and Jess is ready for her first song, which is apparently THE Idol song, Night of My Life. She's wearing a cute little raspberry dress with one of those huge black leather belts that are running around on summer frocks at the moment and earrings that look suspiciously like IUDs with Swarovski dangles. Nice - disco contraception!

She opens her mouth and from the first note you can tell this song is going to be a turkey. In fact, it's godawful. I keep waiting for her to sing Time of My Life instead of Night of My Life. Christ, this song is dull. And I still need to go to the loo! Comfort stop, please, for pity's sake!

She finishes off with a warble and is ridiculously excited by her own performance. "It really makes you believe," she says. She's right, that song did make me believe. It made me believe in hell.

Oh, thank God! Loo break!

Oddly enough, Damien O'Tic-Tac is up next. What a surprise! Naturally, it's This Is Your Life - the Irish Years. Oh, his son's name is Jarvis. I don't know how that escaped my attention before - there's a shallow bush grave name if ever I heard one.

Finally, Mike Munro and his book are dragged off the stage using a large hook-shaped implement and Damo starts singing. He looks like he got out of bed 15 minutes before the show started, scratched his hair and said, "Fuckitthatlldo". Well done, Damo lad! I see you're adapting to the Aussie way.

He's chosen an Alex Lloyd song, Never Meant to Fail. He's pulled out his accoustic gee-tar and he's strumming away like a man possessed. The song's all right, but I usually find Alex Lloyd pretty boring. To be absolutely truthful, I've never taken to old Lloydy because he looks, well, retarded. I know, wash my mouth out.

The Irishman is also immensely pleased with himself and we cut to toilet time. After the break, Jess reappears and Dumb and Dumber announce she's singing a Christina Aguilera song. The raspberry dress and black leather scoliosis brace have been replaced with some rock chick kit she found in Amanda Street's locker. Jeans, good. Black T-shirt with white print, not bad. The problem starts with what appears to be a faux fur shrug. However, it could be a pair of black ferrets stapled to her shoulders in a salute to Alice Cooper. She tops it all off with another pair of IUD earrings (is she being sponsored by the Zero Population Growth Movement?) and hair that's as big as Texas. It's so big it looks like the hairdresser put a cheeseburger on her head as padding and then pulled the hair over the top for that extra je ne sais quoi.

Apparently the song is one of Little Jess's favourites and yes, it does give her a chance to show off her vocal range, but I'm still distracted by the live ferret epaullettes. I'm worried one of them will smell the pickles on that the cheeseburger, because then all bets will be off.

Just before we cut to the ad, they flick backstage to the Idols' mums. Aw, isn't that nice? The camp stylist has picked out dresses for them to wear to the Opera House next week. Obviously there was some concern that they wouldn't be able to dress themselves, since Jess's mum has rocked up in leopard print. She's done quite nicely out of it, though, with a dark blue dress, but Momma O'Leprachaun has really drawn the crow. Mrs Leith is in her 50s, has a fairly matronly figure and is a ginger, so naturally the camp stylist has picked a frock that would suit a 20-year-old in spew pink. I'm a bloodnut myself, so believe me when I say pink and ginger, uh-uh. Even though she's just been handed a dress suitable for Tramp Barbie, Mrs Leith says, "Oh, isn't it lovely, sure and begorrah". But I can see her plotting to set it on fire in her hotel room later and claim there was an accident with the iron.

Post-ad, Damo's up again and he's doing Ben Harper's Waiting for an Angel. Wearing a poo-coloured suede jacket. Mm, nothing says "class" like poo-coloured suede. He kicks it off and Bloke growls something about him knowing his demographic, mentions vomit and stalks outside for a cigarette. If the Irishman was aiming for the demographic that likes The Furies, then he was bang on the money. The falsetto makes its first appearance of the evening, but it seems a bit tired. Sorry, old sport, not convinced. I thought he did a good job of Nessun Dorma last week, and Crying had me in raptures, but tonight he's looking pretty mediocre.

Ad break time again and, HELLO SAILOR! It's an ad for House. Ahh. I know it's a repeat, but I heart House so with his snarkiness and his stubble.

One of the other ads in this block is for something called an iCush. Apparently, you can plug your iPod into it and then enjoy the music vibrating through your arse. I just can't help thinking of the press release I saw last year for the iBuzz, a vibrator that plugs into your iPod. Frankly, I'm a little bored with things you can plug into your iPod. When you can plug it into a robot bartender who looks like George Clooney and mixes a mean mojito, call me.

Oh, and the poor little Idols! They whored them all out to make hamburgers for McHappy Day. But I suppose Lisa should get used to it, since it's her likely career path. Kyle jumps at the chance to speak, claiming that he's a cone man. He refuses to mop toilets, he refuses to make chips. He just does cones and drivethrough. Does Kyle come from Adelaide? I think that’s usually the order it happens here, too. Then he points out that the Macca’s people don’t like you to wear the cardboard hats upside down and full of chips. Oh yes, cones are a distinct possibility. Just eat the snakes, Kyle, and the munchies will go away.

Jess minces out wearing black skinnies and a purply-pink velvet jacket that's really quite flattering. And, thank God, she's pulled out a song that has a bit of life: Shining Down On Me. She sounds good and its her best effort for the night. When it's over, she simpers a lot. Just for something completely different.

More ads. Ha, I don't mind that one for the air freshener. It would stand to reason that an octopus household would smell a tad fishy, wouldn't it?

The final song of the night is Damien singing the same unspired piece of tripe that Jess opened with, except he makes it sound like Paul McCartney's No More Lonely Nights. ~shudder~ The song is such a bloody lame duck that even a half-blind, toothless, arthritic red setter would say, “Shit, man, I could catch that duck, but it just wouldn't be fair.” Who wrote this twaddle?

The Irishman appears to be embarrassed by being associated with it, because his voice cracks nastily in the second stanza, but since all three judges have slipped into diabetic comas from too many lolly snakes, there'll be no bitchery about it. But we heard, Damo. We heard. The rest of the song sounds like someone has him by the dim sims and is twisting. By the end, he actually seems to be screaming in pain.

The Organ Grinder's Monkey taunts him by saying, "It's pretty exciting, isn't it, thinking that that could be your first single?" Hmm, let's see. No? In fact, I think Damo might be asking all his friends to vote AGAINST him just so he doesn't have to have anything to do with that steaming turd of a song. If you love the Irishman, vote him out! Do it for Tic-Tac Teeth.

Not that it will probably be necessary, though, since it's clear that Jess has outclassed him, despite the ferret epaulette incident. They both tried to make the best of the Idol song, but you know the old saying: you just can't polish a turd.

Righto, off to the Opera House next week. Tag, Raoul - you're it.

PS Did anyone watch Dance Idol, sorry, So You Think You Can Dance? It looks like the auditions could be as funny as a hatful of arseholes since the female half of the first couple appeared to have 18 inches of spaghetti attached to each boob. She doesn't seem to be able to swing it in opposite directions, though, so she'll lose points there. Over and out.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mr Dylan and Mr White, together for the first time outside of Petstarr's twisted fantasies

Long time BC readers and friends will know that I have what could be called a rather unhealthy obssession with Bob Dylan (folk and rock music superstar of four decades) and Jack White (of the White Stripes, Raconteurs, Saboteurs, and my fantasies). Others can catch up on my sad musings on both men here and here.

That being said, scoring a ticket to see Bob Dylan and The Raconteurs live, TOGETHER, in Boston on Saturday, November 11 was akin to my personal nirvana. It could only have been bettered if the concert promoters had decided to reschedule the event in my hotel room, and limit the number of tickets to one.

Oh. Yeah.

Given my level of excitement approaching the concert date, I was all prepared for one of the following to occur:

1. For my flight into Boston to be cancelled.
2. For the concert to be cancelled.
3. For my ticket to be lost/counterfeit/accidentally eaten.
4. For me to collapse of heart failure in one of the few places in America without a defribulator on hand.

Fortunately, none of these things happened and yes, dear reader, I spent a glorious 2.5 hours in some of the finest musical company a girl could ask for, high as a kite on rock-god lust and pure rock and roll joy.

At first I didn't think such happiness would be possible, given that my ticket had placed me next to the two fattest Dylan fans in the entire country, who were wedged into their (by comparison) tiny seats like two giant marshmallows. "Sod this" thought I, and began devising ways of sneaking into the centre section where people were allowed to stand right at the front of the stage.

Unfortunately the security nazis manning each of my potential escape portals were far too diligent and purposeful to let me through, so I had to settle for standing at the front of my section, about 20 metres from the stage.

Apparently America doesn't know who The Raconteurs are yet (that's The Saboteurs for us Aussies), as most of the audience remained seated for their blistering half hour opening set. Seated, that is, apart from the mingling masses going back and forth from the kiosk with drinks, hotdogs and popcorn. Um, HELLO? THIS IS A ROCK CONCERT, NOT A BASEBALL GAME. WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU EATING A HOT DOG?

This of course meant that all of about 10 people lucky enough to be seated in the centre section were bothering to take advantage of the front-of-stage privilege, which allowed anyone to stand and cheer and dance about six metres away from the band. THAT'S ONLY SIX METRES OF SEPARATION FROM JACK WHITE, LADIES AND GENTLEMAN. AND PEOPLE REMAINED SEATED. 'Flabbergasted' is probably a good word to describe my mood at this point. 'Pissed off' is also an apt descriptor. While Jack and his band were ripping Store Bought Bones to shreds, slowing it down to a funky blues jam and then tearing it up with an out of control guitar solo and tooth-shattering organ riffs, most of the audience were chowing down on nachos and looking impatiently at their watches. One kid was even playing his PSP. Yes, a KID. AND he had a better seat than me. If I had been able to take my eyes off of Jack for half a second I would have slapped him, but as it was I was otherwise occupied.

Simply put, The Raconteurs rocked my fucking world. They basically did every song off Broken Boy Soldiers (well, what else are they going to do?) as well as a bit of Bowie and even did a thrashed out version of Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang. I only wish I could have beaten those security guard nazis and gotten closer to the stage - I doubt I'll ever have another chance to see the band that close with only 10 people to fight for standing room.

And then...the lights dimmed, some portentous voice said "MR BOB DYLAN", the audience roared, and THE MAN walked out. THE man. The man resposible for me losing my mind almost completely from the age of 15 onwards whenever I hear the opening bars to Don't Think Twice It's Alright or Ballad of a Thin Man. Surrounded by his five band members, all dressed in identical suits, it was hard at first to tell which one even WAS Dylan, but soon my eyes adjusted and I saw he was in black, while the others were in grey. Seated at the organ, he launched into Maggie's Farm and it was away. She Belongs To Me was next, and then my absolute favourite, Don't Think Twice. Reader, I cried. I lost it. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

The set was full of oldies, even The Ballad of Hollis Brown and It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding, You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine and Tangled Up in Blue and Highway 61. Oh. My. God. Forget the defribulators, I can happily die right here, right now.

No chatter, no banter, just music. And then it was all over. Except...the lights stayed down, the audience kept cheering, an encore was imminent. Most importantly, however - the security nazi was looking the other way. And so, dear reader, I did what all true rock chicks should do at least once in their gig-going career - the bolt. Past the nazis, past the fatties, into the expensive seats and through to the front. Another nazi almost stopped me but I ducked and weaved and OH MY GOD I'M SIX METRES AWAY FROM DYLAN. BOB DYLAN. THAT'S HIM RIGHT THERE.

And he played Like A Rolling Stone. And All Along the Watchtower. I couldn't have been happier.

The Bronx is up and the Battery's down...

New York, New York, it's a wonderful town! And hey - so is Washington DC, where I'm currently getting FREE internet access at the delightful Holiday Inn Capitol. God Bless America. But I believe a recap is in order, so let's pick up where I left off, shall we?

By the way, I have updated my first post with photos from NYC, if you're interested in a goosey gander.

Our second day in the Big Apple (Sunday) saw us head to Central Park to check out the NYC marathon, in which about 37,000 athletes converge on the city to run some ridiculous circuit through the five boroughs. The streets around the park were closed off for the event, and there were thousands of people everywhere wearing silly hats and waving banners and cheering friends and family members on as they crashed through the finish line in Manhattan (and collapsed shortly thereafter).

So...really fucking fast, then?

Speaking of collapsing - if you DO have to keel over from heart failure at some point, America is the place to do it. There are defribulators (those electric pads TV doctors slam onto your chest to give you an electric jolt) mounted on the wall in almost every public place - train stations, hotel lobbies, restaurants. Clearly Americans are dropping dead in such significant numbers that the government felt it necessary to install expensive E.R equipment in all public places likely to provoke a heart attack (ie: anywhere with stairs.)

Actually, the apparent heart attack rate is not all that surprising, given some of the bizarre foods on offer here. How about Ben & Jerry's "Chubby Hubby" ice cream - if the name doesn't turn you off, the ingredients list might: peanut butter, fudge and PRETZELS. Yes, pretzels. Or any of the extensive range of cereals including marshmallow pieces. Breakfast of champions, that.

Who said the American diet was unhealthy?

Although any of THIS is absolutely acceptable. Dean and De Luca patisserie section, Broadway, Noho.

There are also posters in every restaurant and cafe detailing how to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre - something I have never actually seen anyone do. I can only assume this is because enough Americans have choked to death while eating their Chubby Hubby with fried dough that someone decided something needed to be done. I say - if people can't survive walking up stairs or eating, maybe they should be left alone to stop polluting the gene pool, but that's just my opinion.

Tuesday I checked out Macy's on Broadway, "The largest store in the world".

"The largest store in the world"

This is not a lie. It is freaking HUGE. In fact it's SO large that most of the staff don't even know where anything is. I was directed by confused staff to three different floors before I found women's sneakers, and by then even I'd forgotten what I was looking for.

On my way uptown I passed "Fashion Ave", which as cable TV enthusiasts after my own heart might know is home to the Parsons School of Fashion and Design, otherwise known as the home of the delicious Tim Gunn and PROJECT RUNWAY!

You're either in, or you're out...

I hung around outside hoping to see Tim so I could get him to sign my T shirt a la "Carry on - Tim Gunn" or "What happened to Andre? - Tim Gunn" but alas, he never showed.

I continued up Broadway to Times Sq, "The crossroads of the world" (does EVERYTHING in New York have a tagline? Yes. Yes it does) to get a little taste of the neon I am looking forward to in Vegas next week. The place is CRAZY. Billboards and video screens EVERYWHERE - standing in the middle is like being locked inside a television set with the colour and brightness settings turned up to 11.


...and wet. Times Sq is so versatile.

An anti-Bush protest singer in Times Sq. I believe the wound is fake. If it's not, he's doing a bloody good job singing through the pain.

Walked down 49th St to the Rockerfeller Centre and saw the famous ice skating rink, which is every bit as romantic as it is in the movies, past the NBC studios and back down 5th Ave past Saks and the Empire State Building.

It's all fun and games until someone collapses from heart failure.

As with Lady Liberty - couldn't be bothered actually going UP the Empire State, as there was a constant two hour wait and it all seemed so trite and cliche New York. Kind of like eating a hotdog from a stand while saying "Fuhgeddaboutit!" Which I admit, I actually did do later. Mum and I decided to go up the Rockerfeller Centre to the "Top of the Rock" instead, which gave us fantastic views for the same price as the E.S.B admission (an extortionate $16 US) but from there we could actually SEE the Empire State, instead of being stuck up it.

Shine on, you crazy diamond

Also checked out FAO Schwartz, the famous toy shop featured in the movie Big, where Tom Hanks danced on a giant floor piano and became a high powered business executive despite being only 12 years old. And yes - the piano is actually there, and yes, you can dance on it. No, I did not partake of this embarrassing and potentially heart failure inducing activity. This Russian couple, however:

"See Natasha? I tell you when we marry, we make beautiful music together."
"Victor, you are very unattractive man."

FAO Schwartz is a kids' paradise, and therefore - a parent's torturous, fiery hell. You can buy any toy your brat desires - from customisable dolls (choose their hair style, skin colour and facial expression, or pick one out of the "nursery" attended by pretend nurses in costumes) to mini electric Bentleys. Or, apparently, a 1970s go-go afro slut doll:

Blaxploitation Barbie

Speaking of celebrities (was I?) we've managed to not see ANY, despite reading reports in the papers of how Courtney Love had a book signing at Barnes and Noble, and Sarah Michelle Gellar was sipping Cosmos at some bar or another, and Anthony Bourdain and James Gandolfini hosted a celebrity chef evening at some such hotel. Actually I lie - we have seen ONE celebrity. The fat guy from Lost, chowing down on some fried clams at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. Given that we didn't know how to address him other than "Hey, are you that fat guy from Lost?", we didn't approach him. But we will surely cherish that brush with fame forever. Speaking of brushes with fame, I believe it's time for me to tell you all about my O.O.B experience with Mr Dylan and Mr White. Check my next post.

Monday, November 13, 2006

An interim post while I slowly lose my mind

As I am currently payint US $0.25 a minute for the privilege of using a computer that is connected to the internet, I can't say much, even though I am brimming with stories to tell (including my out of body experience with BOB DYLAN AND JACK WHITE last night)(yes, you read that right, Bob Dylan AND Jack White)(in bed together)(ok so that's not true)(it was just me and Jack in bed together)(ok so that's not true either). My friends will also know that I currently have no mobile phone, as America, in its everlasting quest to prove it is different from and better than the rest of the world, is on a different mobile network and so my normal one doesn't work. This has left me in a technology free zone which, as those who know me would know, has left me wanting to tear my hair out slowly whilst setting fire to each of my toenails individually.

So I have just one thing to say to this country:

"Hello, America? HEARD OF THE INTERNET? IT'S REALLY NEAT, MAYBE YOU WANT TO HOOK SOME COMPUTERS UP TO IT SO PEOPLE CAN, YOU KNOW, USE IT? I mean, I know you're all wealthy and your entire population is up to speed with the latest gadgets and technology and shit, and everyone has an iPod and a Blackberry and they can get their emails on their digital watches, but guess what? NOT EVERYONE HAS A GOD DAMN LAPTOP, OK? NOT EVERYONE CAN WALK INTO A STARBUCKS AND HOOK UP TO YOUR STUPID HI-SPEED WI FI INTERNET BROADBAND ADSL WEBDOWN NETLINK CRAP. SOME OF US ACTUALLY NEED A COMPUTER.

This is what happens when one is deprived of the internet for too long.

Oh, and PS: Vietnam is technically a third world country, and it has broadband access coming out its arse, not to mention more computers than you on every street corner. Think about it."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Idol wrap up - 9th semi-final - judges' choice

See what happens? hand over the keys to the ranch to your friends and in no time they're trading on your hard -fought credibility to generate traffic for their own blogs. I'll just come out and say it. I thought Redcap's behavior last week was lower than a footprint - fancy opening an idol wrap up with a gratuitous advertisement for some of her wittiest entries. I mean, fancy if I came trundling in here, cap in hand, admonishing you to check out my hilarious adventures at the swimming pool or my car boot conundrum or suggested you could do worse than to read about my hilarious new entry about cross country driving and crap radio. I mean, what IF, man. Anyway, enough about the bollocks, we've got a show to review and these cheap and offensive jokes aren't gonna write themselves! Before we start, does anyone else think Andrew G bears, if not a striking resemblance, then one of sorts, to one of the Camp Quality puppets? It's the ears that do it for me.

Anyway, I digress. So tonight's theme is Judges' Choice (even if the TV guide tempted us with the promise of hits from the 80s). Awesome, we really need to hear songs chosen by the bloke who wore a bad tux, sang about carnations and made your grandmother swoon.

And how about that clown Kyle, who put his girlfriend's ground breaking hit "ooo ahh where's my bra, I left it in my boyfriend's car" and, with a straight face said he recorded the song because she was talented, not because she was his current shag. Right.

Andrew G knew we were in for something special. He declared the experiment, the "craziest, wackiest and maybe even zaniest" show ever. Hearing this, I got out the Groucho Marx fake nose and moustache glasses and settled in for the ride of my freakin' life!.

First batter up - Damien Leith: Our little Irish crooner was assigned Nessun Dorma (Mark's choice) an Italian song, which apparently had been violated by Michael Bolton when he still was allowed near recording equipment. I must admit it was quite strange to hear the language of love emanating from an Irishman lips and it instantly reminded me of the opening ceremony at an Olympic Games. Despite Leith winding up for the dramatic parts of the song, he seemed to get the wrong impression that puffing your chest out and standing on tippy toes would help him hit the high notes. For mine it lacked passion and electricity, but what the hell do I know?

At song's end the judges were standing, Marcia was wiping a tear from her eye and Mark said simply "bravo". Kyle had gone out for a sandwich and came back wondering what all the fuss was about. Mark was flabbergasted Leith had managed to nail the song after only a week of rehearsals and predictably gave the performance a touchdown. Is it just me, or is he giving those things out like they're boiled lollies?

Next up was Jessica Mauboy who Kyle had decreed sing that solid gold Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey duet "When you believe". The hosts pointed out Jessica would be covering both parts, a prospect I was instantly excited by. With fingers crossed, I prayed she would come out wearing a split costume, with half half her face painted brown, half white, like that bloke her took off Michael Jackson on Red Faces all those years ago (remember that?)
Sadly, that didn't happen, but she did front up centre stage in a dress that looked like an imitation tiger pelt rug but looking saucy none the less.

Clearly, it was a ploy to distract us from her singing which was equal parts awful and dull. That notwithstanding, I realized, as PetStarr rightly points, the singing has got nary a correlation with the audience's reaction to it and the mere gesture of walking forward is enough to cause members of the audience to howl and wet themselves. It was like the freakin Ed Sullivan show.

Kyle said he'd chosen a song by the two biggest voices in the business to see if Jessica could hack it and he was sorely disappointed. "I really expected for you to really surprise me". I was about to ask, "what should she have done, jump naked out of a giant cake and sit on your lap" when he went on to say, "I wanted you to really BLOW me away", so clearly that's exactly what he had in mind.

He also came out with this gem "I don't want you to feel that you're no good...but I thought that was half-arsed". Evidently he also thought she'd had a brain fart when choosing her dress so suddenly I felt a real bond between Kyle and I.

Mark said: "I think you're the living proof of what you can achieve if you believe", at which point 20 million Australians rushed to the toilet, hugged the porcelain bowl and said goodbye to dinner.

Marcia said she and daughter Deni were only saying the other day how Jessica was the most natural singer in Idol's history, that her singing was "effortless".

Yeah, that's what Kyle said, "half-arsed", weren't you listening?

Lucky last in the judges' choice round was Dean "Picasso" (beautiful to look at but you can't touch) Geyer and a song by an artist whose surname handily rhymed with his, that fount of creativity John "I haven't had an album for years but I did get to fondle Jessica Simpson" Mayer.

Geyer sang some pap song I didn't bother to catch the name of, which was about "watin on the world to change". World changing? I don't think so - but it's a safe bet our little man candy had women everywhere in need of a change of knickers by the time her was done. Ewww did I just go there? I think I did but as Marcia would say, "deal with it sistagirlfriend and a bag of chips mmhmm".

Mark said Dean had gone outside his comfort zone with the soul pop thang, which was "right ont he money for you. Yes, Yes, Yes, welcome back Deano."

We pause now for a conspiracy theory: I think he's got shares in this bloke! As I was preparing for the wrap up earlier today (see how much I care about your reading pleasure?) I read an article that had Mark quoted as saying how he reckoned Dean was the only bankable of the three remaining contenders. Sounds awfully suspicious to me. Don't be surprised if Mark announces he's producing his first album. Remember, you heard THAT here first. Blandcanyon, breaking Idol news since 2003.

Marcia said, now get this, Dean was like a bed of rice and "you can be the casserole, you know what I mean?", she said trailing off instantly regretting the bizarre metaphor and realizing no-one who is not institutionalized would understand what she was talking about.

A bed of rice and a casserole? Was that some veiled reference to apartheid (white rice/brown casserole) and Dean's South African heritage? or maybe it was Marcia's coded way of saying she wanted to be the casserole to Dean's bed of rice? I dunno. Discuss in 1200 words.

Kyle said he was sick of "pen writing clown" journalists forever asking him if Dean was "the one who can't sing" but tonight Dean showed them and had "slammed back with a bullet". I spent several minutes trying to work out what a pen writing clown would like like, got a tension headache and moved on.

Soon it was time for an ad break, which would've been unremarkable save for one classic moment. Evidently there's a new show in the same vein as Idol on its way called So you think you can dance? You know the drill, wannabe performers embarrassing themselves on national TV for a shot at fame and fortune and our sheer viewing pleasure. It looks hilarious. One guy is doing some crazy hot shoe shuffle for the judges when he suddenly blows a sneaker and falls flat on his face on the hard wooden floor. I for one can't wait.

We're back and it's time for round two (singers' choice). Leefy is up again, this time wearing a canvas jacket that looks like a sleeping bag to reveal he's chosen to share with us The Most Cliched Song in the History of Music by the Rigteous Brothers. I mean, Unchained Melody.
After the obvious potter's wheel/Ghost references, Leith meanders into a lazy and emotionless singing by numbers effort that will need a lot more heat to melt my heart of ice. He hits the trademark falsetto and the audience starts experiencing a collective spasm and somewhere a herd of wilderbeest suddenly stop eating grass, lift their heads and listen.

Wilderbeest one: "Hey larry, what the hell was that?"

Wilderbeest two: "Judges' choice? How the hell should I know, hey are you gonna finish that grass?"

Mark says a hot flush just went through certain parts of the whole country (use your imagination) and that Australia and Ireland could be proud for producing such a talent. Umm HELLO, Mark, Australia and Ireland aren't talking right now. Don't you read the news? Sheesh.
He goes on to say that Leith would soon be faced with a whole heap of career choices - none involve singing - but what can you do?

Marcia says Damien's effort was "lovely" in the same way old people thing butterscotch lollies are lovely and Kyle lays the "honest truth" on him.

"That was a piddly version".

Embarrassingly, Leith takes it as a compliment, explaining Piddly is one of his dearest cousins.
"We're not all called Paddy", he says before dancing a jig.

Next, it's round two for Jessica, who manages to breathe and walk to the stage at the same time but suffers a seizure when Andrew G throws a spanner in the works and asks her a question. A really hard one too.

"So you're singing To Sir With Love, what's that about?

Jessica: "he he, blabber blabber, drool, blabber, he he, I'm really nervous and stuff."
Marcia saves the situation by explaining it's just an innocent song about a minor who uses her nubile charms to torment a male teacher, before his computer is raided by the police and he's jailed for a string of shocking offences.

Jess, by the way, is dressed like a giant aubergine easter egg with a big bow tied at the front and bangs out a sexless and dull performance as expected.

Mark says knowing Jessica was clueless about the meaning of the song ruined it for him - he didn't buy the whole act, Marcia fulfilled her contract by stepping in and defending a shite performance and Kyle said Jessica had him from hello.

Jessica was sufficiently humbled by the comments, admitting: "mumble mumble, he he, blabber blabber, woo, weee, he he, I'm really nervous."

As the clock hits 11pm and my eyeballs start burning red, it's time to bring this baby home with Dean Geyer and the last song of the night. He choose some random US sock cock rock song noone has ever heard of, which sounds like it could be number 1 on the Christian Rock networks. It's a ho hum performance for my money, which means the judges are probably creaming their pantaloons. And I'm right.

Mark (remember our exclusive earlier?) gushes over the performance, saying "that's a number one record there mate (wink wink)'' and gets the audience to count down from 10 for another touchdown. Marcia trots out some homespun philosphy about life and Kyle wants to know what's changed in the last few weeks? Did you get a root, he asks in a round about way? Dean looks all shy and innocent and it's back to the undies drawer for the women of Australia.

Roll credits. We're out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Little stories from the Big Apple

"Hello, New York? Petstarr called, and she says to tell you YOU'RE FREAKIN AWESOME."

Yes it's true, New York is quite possibly the coolest city in the entire universe, and that includes cities on other planets that humanity hasn't even discovered yet. Even a Martian civilisation that had kitten vending machines on every corner and free beer fountains in the town square wouldn't beat New York for sheer urban excellence. The city just IS.

Three things about New York from TV that are actually true:

1. Phones actually make that cool ringing noise they do on 24.
2. Smoke actually does rise out of vents in the ground (from the subway).
3. There is such a thing as a chocolate babka.

We arrived on Friday night after a mammoth 28 hour journey (no, that's not a typo) and were immediately confronted by freezing-arse refrigerator weather and people we couldn't understand.

"Where you goin'?" said the taxi rank man outside the airport.
"Manhattan," we said.
"Manhattan, that's forfeye dollzfah too an paytoll onway."
"Um, sorry, I..."
"You're holin' up da line miss moo on."
"But I..."

I thought that decades of American TV and movies would have stood me in good stead to understand these crazy people, but apparently not. (In case you're interested, it was $45 for the two of us and we had to pay the toll on the way. Apparently.)

We're staying on Bleecker St in the West Village, right in the middle of groovy bohemianville in the centre of hiptown. The famous Blue Note jazz club is a few blocks away, and we're a short walk from Washington Square plaza where old men gather to play speed chess and big rastas smoke big reefers while city dwellers let their dogs sniff each others' bums in little fenced off 'dog runs'.

"Bishop to rook three, MOTHERF*CKER!"

The obligatory squirrel photograph

On Saturday we went down to the financial district at the bottom of Manhattan. We took the cheapskates' option and got on the free Staten Island ferry to scoot past the Statue of Liberty, rather than the tourist one you have to pay for that actually takes you TO the statue. Meh - who wants to climb that many stairs anyway, right?

Funny, you never realise Lady Liberty wears sunglasses until you get right up close...

Back in Manhattan we walked to 'Ground Zero', the site of the former World Trade Centre which is now just a big old hole in the ground. All of the poems, flowers and messages that once covered the walls of the construction site have been removed, replaced with big sprayed-on signs saying POST NO BILLS, which seems a bit tough. Despite being basically a big patch of dirt with diggers on it, the place was actually rather moving - you can really imagine what it would have been like at the time, with the smoke and dust and papers flying around (not to mention the rubble and fire).

New York City cops, New York City cops... (WTC site in background)

Checked out Chinatown, which was like a mini version of Hong Kong full of vendors selling the ubiquitous I HEART NY shirts (ok ok, so I bought one) (and a mug) (and a magnet, so what? You're breakin' my balls over here!) and knock off handbags. Caught the subway to Union Square and came out in the middle of a funky little produce market, right in the middle of the city. It was fantastic - people selling everything from 30kg pumpkins to goats cheese and clam dip. The only thing ruining it was the hired entertainment - a Christian band who kept wrecking everyone's hedonistic pumpkin and cheese buying by singing "Come to Jesus, Jesus loooooves you" while weird people danced spastically in front.

Hurrah for pumpkins!

Speaking of weird people - there are rather a lot of them in this town. If Saigon is where old bicycles go to die, then New York is where crazy people come to live. Walking down 42nd St today some man stopped me at the traffic lights:

"Hey, nice dress!"
"Thank you!"
"It's really nice."
"Thanks a lot."
"Can I take a picture?"
"Um, that's a bit weird. No."
"Ok then!"

Another strange conversation ocurred in a souvenir shop (yes, where I was buying my I HEART NY mug, ok ok).

"Where you from?"
"Ahh you want buy digital camera?"
"No thanks, I've already got one."
"What about digital man?"
"Pardon me?"
"My son, you take him back to Australia. He digital man."
From the back: "I'm 8 megapixels!"

Much of this free entertainment is, funnily enough, more amusing than some of the comedy you actually pay for here in NYC. Went to a comedy club in the village just around the corner from our apartment on Sunday night and was told "Dave Chappelle was here last night!" Sure buddy, and tomorrow night he will have been here tonight, right? Tip for entering stand up comedy venue: don't enter half way through an act, and don't be Australian. Didn't hear the end of Steve Irwin jokes all night. Still, that was better than the first timer who stunned everyone by standing in front of the heater and exclaiming "DOES IT MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE TO SEE A JEW IN FRONT OF AN OVEN?" Um, no, and ps: that's a heater.

Ended up in a bar called the Village Lantern after that, swilling white wine and listening to a crap band who were clearly pissed - although by the time we left we had bypassed them by a considerable degree. Woke up on Monday with the worst hangover I have had in quite some time (typical) and could barely manage anything more strenuous than breathing. And even THAT was a struggle. Spent the day slothing around the village, listlessly looking in shops and trying not to die.

The Chrysler Building

Speaking of which (not at all, actually, but I couldn't think of a segway) American money is retarded. All the notes look exactly the same, which inevitably leads to you accidentally tipping a waitress $50 instead of $1 on your $2 coffee - something you only realise after she's gotten down on her knees and kissed your feet while saying "Bless you" a thousand times. And pennies - what the hell is the POINT? Who cares about six cents change on ANYTHING? You find yourself amassing hundreds of the little buggers, and THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. You can't even give them to a beggar, or you'll look cheap. You simply have to carry them around in your wallet for the rest of your life, and you'll finally die by falling in front of a subway train, weighed down by the weight of 5 million pennies. Welcome to New York.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Oz Idol wrap up: 8th semi final - "Audience Choice"

Hi, I’m redcap. You might remember me from such posts as The Fake Arse Incident and The Crapcream Sundae. You’ll usually find me over at the half-hearted hack, but since PetStarr has gone a-gallivanting, the Good Doctor and I are taking care of the place for a few weeks. As she jumped on the plane, PetStarr tossed us the keys to the Canyon, leaving us looking at each other in sheer panic. "Holy hell!" we said. "What if we leave the gas on and burn the place down? What if it gets infested with zombie guinea pigs and it’s All Our Fault?" So far, nothing’s gone awry, but then she did only leave on Friday…

So before something bad happens while I’m here on my own, let’s get the Idol wrap-up out of the way, hey?

This week we have yet another World First – the Idols are singing songs chosen by the audience. Wacko! I’m excited, aren’t you? I reckon the judges just couldn’t think of another theme.

Marcia: What about rock?
Holden: Dunnit.
Marcia: Pop?
Holden: Dunnit.
Marcia: Swing?
Holden: Dunnit.
Marcia: Ooh, I know, let’s let them sing their own songs! I’ll bet Klancie will do something just great.
Kyle: Marcia, have you been stoned for the past eight weeks? We’ve already done all of those, you dozy cow. And Klancie had the arse ages ago!
Marcia: Oh. What about letting them choose from the Marcia Hines Songbook?

And so Audience Choice was born. Either that, or someone heard Jess singing "I Will Always Love You" in the shower of the Idol mansion and they knew extreme action was warranted before things got out of hand.

Marcia has made yet another odd choice of outfit and is wearing Kermit green. It looks like the top half of a safari suit made entirely from peas. How retro of her. And is that a lump of kryptonite hanging around her neck? As usual, Holden is channeling Henry Ford (any colour so long as it’s black) and Kyle is wearing a sneer. Marcia says something vague about passion and is horrified when someone suggests it might be code for sexual tension between her and either Holden or Kyle. Holden and Kyle are happy to admit that the sexual tension is between them. In that case, can you two just get a room and get it over and done with? Please?

First up, we have Little Jess. She’s had a song chosen for her by a bogan named Alexandra who looks like she needs a hamburger. And chips. Alexandra is wearing pale pink boof and I wouldn’t mind betting that there are either skinny jeans or leggings under it. Come on, people, bubblegum jeans were crap even in the '80s. I know, because I was there.

But Alexandra has chosen a loooovely song for Jess: Butterfly by Mariah Carey. Oh, good. I love Mariah Carey. Or at least I would love Mariah Carey if she were singing Butterfly while being fed through a mulcher in a salute to the Cohen Brothers.

Someone who obviously wants the Organ Grinder's Monkey to look a tad silly on national telly has told him that scrawny Alexandra has contributed an item of clothing to Jess’s wardrobe tonight. “No,” she says. The OGM looks confused, uncomfortable and stupid by turns. A tumbleweed rolls by and they cut to Jess.

Who is wearing a sequin-topped white sheet. And stockings. How novel! I haven’t seen stockings in ages. Of course, the song is dull, dull and dull. But what else would you expect, since it’s a Mariah Carey? Yawn. Predictably, the audience goes mad and her family claps enthusiastically. Yawwwn. I can tell I'm going to need a hell of a lot of caffeine to get through this show.

Holden bangs on a bit about the song being terribly difficult and says the audience got it right choosing that one for her. Marcia says she’s not going to criticise any more and is just going to enjoy the ride. Uh, Marcia, when was the last time you criticsed anyone anyway? And don't you mean "trip", not ride? Kyle says something but no-one cares what it is.

Next up, we have a lumpy bogan in with a goatee who’s chosen something for the equally lumpy Mr Murphy. He’s picked a Robbie Williams song just because Holden doesn’t like people singing Robbie. Great reasoning, mate.

The Murph is wearing a shirt that might be either Tencel or Hypercolour, depending on the angle. Whatever it is, he's looking more and more like Demis Roussos. He’s also wearing a piano. Wasn’t it piano night a couple of weeks back? Is it just an instrument free-for-all now? Obviously he loses interest in it though, because he wanders off and starts lurching around the stage like the undead. And oh Christ, he's wearing Cuban-heeled boots. Does this mean the Murph is a shortarse? Then he makes things even worse by raising his arm and showing us a sweatpit. He's only been out there for 90 seconds – how can he have a sweat stain already?

I can take the song or leave it. It’s fine when Robbie sings it, but that’s just because he’s cute and has bad-boy tats. Sorry, Murph, it’s a great big yawndown from me.

Holden tells him he’s number four (um, I know what number ones and numbers twos are, but what’s a number four - does it have something to do with sweat?) and asks him what he wants to be. Captain Murphy Obvious says he’d like to win. Kyle hints at poor old Murph having been off his trolley during the week and unable to sing, but Holden points out that Kyle has also been a bit the worse for wear. Does this mean the Murph and Kyle got trashed and slept in a dumpster together after the ARIAs? Nice work, boys. And is Holden jealous because there was no room in the bin for him?

Next we have a boy with a faux mo, an Ed Harry shirt and some crappy vinyl wrist bands. He’s chosen a song for Dean “Stending on a Piss of Bleck Plestick” Geyer. Pretty Boy Dean is wearing another khaki shirt from his army surplus wardrobe and his eyebrows are so disheveled that I think he and Jess Mauboy should go on a cute little eyebrow waxing date together. And great, it’s another boring as batshit song. Well done, audience - I’m struggling to stay awake after these three bits of crap. Obviously Dean is having trouble staying awake too, since he sings most of the song with his eyes shut.

Holden’s bored, Marica tries to be encouraging and calls him “boyfriend” and even Kyle’s too uninspired to come up with anything cutting. Everyone is just bored. Is it over yet?

But next we have my favourite little leprachaun, Damien Leith. The Irishman is cute in the way only boys with heads like robbers’ dogs and lovely accents can be. He wanders on stage in a cream jacket and stubble and kicks off Roy Orbison’s Crying. And it’s perfect. He sounds like an angel and everything is great until he shows us a set of very red and irritated tonsils. Euww. Get the boy a box of Strepsils before he coughs up a lung.

All the old ladies in the audience are in raptures and so is Holden. It’s touchdown time, as it should be. Marcia nearly passes out from sheer joy, though it could be the stage lights reflecting off the lump of kryptonite around her neck and blinding her.

Right, they’re all done, so it must be time for CSI, yeah? What the? Two songs each? Since when did that happen? That's not fair - you guys are breaking the rules!

Up jumps a weird little guy with an orange pyjama shirt and an adam’s apple that could take out someone's eye. He’s chosen Karma by Alicia Keyes for Jess to sing. No-one hears anything he has to say because they are all deafened by his shirt. Kyle states the bleeding obvious by saying it’s the ugliest shirt he’s ever seen. Kyle, wooby, you’re seriously off-form tonight. What’s the matter? Did you break your bitch bone while you were sleeping in that dumpster? And what’s with your hair? It looks just a little too Something About Mary.

Everyone must be suffering from ARIA hangovers, even the wardrobe bitch. Or perhaps the guy in the pyjama shirt was also allowed to choose Jess’s outfit. Whatever the case, she looks like she’s wearing a drop-waisted garbage bag. Or perhaps it’s just a longer version of the army surplus shirt Pretty Boy Dean was wearing. Whatever the case, the collar is trying to eat her head. Yes, yes, her voice sounds fine. Just fine, but the song is boooooring. What is it about tonight? Why is everyone but the Irishman so bloody dull?

Holden really wants to give her a touchdown, but even he realises it would be stupid to do it. He says something about knowing about the sound of one hand clapping and we all believe it. Remember, Holden, it’s supposed to be 99, change hands. There's that sexual tension again.

Next we’ve got another lumpy bogan who’s chosen a song for the Murph. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Chris is getting the lumpy bogan vote, which explains his success so far. This one’s name is Michelle and she’s wearing a hideous print shirt which is obviously an homage to all the hideous print shirts the Murph has worn so far. But wait – if you whacked a beard and some long hair on her, she’d actually BE the Murph! Is this some sort of horrible cloning experiment gone wrong? Or are people having plastic surgery to make them look like their Idols?

Whatever the case, she’s picked a Crowded House song for Chris to rock up and it’s not a bad choice. Yes, he’s still got that nasty whiplash thing happening, which his chiropractor can’t be pleased about, but it sounds pretty good. I still would have liked a bit less soft-cockedness about it, but I guess you can’t have everything. The Murph has been trying hard to be the resident Rock Chick since Amanda got the arse. He’s had some teeny weeny little shoes to fill and they're pinching his toes, but he does try hard. He even finishes up with a little mosh girl kick that the guy from Wolfmother would be proud of.

Holden says it’s the best version of Mean to Me he’s ever heard. Hearing this, Neil Finn rings a hitman and says, “Yeah, that long-haired prick in the black body-shirt. Get the bastard.”

Whoever was working Marcia’s remote controls today has lost interest and gone to make some two-minute noodles, because she says, “You’re so comfortable with the guitar” twice in less than 30 seconds.

Kyle, on the other hand, seems to have popped a handful of Beroccas and washed them down with some hair of the dog, because he has a go at the G Man and the Organ Grinder’s Monkey, calling them Dumb and Dumber. I would have thought taking the piss out them was like a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but baby steps, Kyle, baby steps.

It’s Pretty Boy’s turn again and a little chick with no chin has picked some Nickelback for him to sing. Wow, that s takes guts, love. No-one ever admits to liking Nickelback, especially on national TV.

Pretty Boy’s got out yet another khaki shirt. Is he sponsored by an army surplus store, for God’s sake? Bloke looks up from his book and says, “Mmff, looks like he’s pulled out his Afrikaans lion-hunting shirt.” Hmm, not a bad call. It even seems to have some extra pockets for bullets and biltong.

But guess what? You’ll never guess! It’s another boring-arse song. His voice is… nice. It’s not fantastic, it’s not bad. It’s just... Triple M. At one point he takes the mic off the stand and I start hoping he’ll turn another mid-air somersault, but it doesn’t happen. C’mon, man – not even a little starjump?

Someone in the audience gives Holden a sharp jab in the ribs to wake him up. He is cut off in mid-snore and quickly says he was expecting some jock rock. He wanted Dean to rock his jocks? What? He throws a glass of water over Marcia to wake her up and she suggests Dean will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat if he wants to win. Dean makes a Mutto note on the back of his hand that says, "Wear hat next week", while someone puts an electric cattle prod on Kyle. The shock of being woken up so suddenly makes him channel Dr Phil and he wants to know whether Pretty Boy has anything on his mind. "Tell me about your fazzer. Did he beat you? What about your muzzer?" Dr Kyle asks.

The ad break is, sadly, a little more entertaining than the last few songs. There’s a revolting ad for permanent hair removal which involves a bar of soap and some pubic hair ("give permanent hair removal a crack!") and that bloody Mentos ad with the nipples.

After the break, the Organ Grinder’s Monkey says they decided to let the audience choose the songs because they couldn’t be arsed any more. Ha! Knew it!

The Irishman has the last song of the evening and, joy of joys, he’s going to sing Hallelujah. No, he doesn’t look like Leonard Cohen, or KD Lang, or even Rufus Wainright, but he does look just a little like Shrek. I’m a big Leonard Cohen fan, so I’m expecting to like this one. He leans over his guitar and looks soulful and sweet and it’s good, but still a little disappointing. I’m expecting the falsetto to kick in much earlier, but doesn’t give it to us until the last few bars. Oh, what the hell. The others have all been so bloody humdrum that no-one cares.

And Holden is so ecstatic that someone has done something half decent that he gives the Irishman a second touchdown. Yeah, it was good, but two touchdowns in one night? Or was it to make up for the one you didn’t give him last week for Message to My Girl, you stingey git?

Finally the show's over, thank Ford. I’m guessing that Pretty Boy Geyer and Jess the Dress are going to be in trouble this week. But then Idol isn’t really about singing at all, so I guess Damien will get the arse.

Right, Raoul, your turn.