WHAT A RIPPER NIGHT OF TELEVISION IT'S BEEN, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
I think I can safely say without any hint of hyperbole whatsoever that tonight Australia saw its best evening of televisual delights since Bert Newton called Muhammad Ali a boy at The Logies, or since that dog took a crap on Graham Kennedy's leg (or whatever the hell that clip is they keep dragging up every three years as if it's still funny).
On Channel 7 we had the country's biggest bingo game (BINGO! On TV! Can you imagine it? I can't!) while on Nine two old men argued over a worm and talked about tax reform. THRILLS, SPILLS, EXCITEMENT! But it didn't stop there - the ABC had a documentary about two geese migrating from Tibet to Nepal (if only they could have shared that worm with those two old geezers they might have made it) and SBS ran something on volcanoes. EXPLOSIVE! But all of that, of course, pales into insignificance when compared to the sheer thrill of seeing six NICE, MODERATELY TALENTED YOUNG PEOPLE singing 90-second versions of SEMI-POPULAR MUSIC for AN HOUR AND A HALF that was tonight's Australian Idol: Judges' Choice night.
Monkey Boy announces that for even further excitement, you can tune your wireless into Idol FM for a stereo simulcast. It seems tonight's fashion is also simulcast in stereo, as he and Ken Doll have both rocked up wearing exactly the same thing:
I think we can safely assume this is not the price of their outfits tonight.
Thank goodness Marcia is creating a point of difference, by dressing as Russell Crowe from Gladiator:
The judge who became a gladiator. The gladiator who became an emperor.
Kyle expresses his sadness over Ben Mackenzie-ayy-ayyyy-yayyeah being "arseholed" last week - I think I missed that part of the show (maybe you had to tune into the simulcast?), Holden says he wants "more kapow" and less "da doing", which makes about as much sense as usual, while Dicko announces he's looking for some entertainment tonight. Maybe he could try turning over to Channel Nine, I hear there's a couple of guys fighting over a worm on there.
Someone declares they're sending Tarisai home, and for a moment I know what true happiness is. Then I realise they've just sent her home for a day or two to videotape her gadding about with her family and such, in a last ditch attempt to prove she has some sort of personality. Sigh. There's always next week, anyway.
Marcia announces that she's chosen Taramasalata's song tonight, and it's Barry White's Can't Get Enough of Your Love Baby - excellent, because we all know how WONDERFUL Tarisai's lower register sounds.
Miss T comes out dressed in a delicious little sparkly black spiderwebby shrug that makes her look like a disco-fied prawn caught in a sequinned net. She's also wearing those tighter than tight jeans she wore a few weeks back (maybe she just hasn't been able to take them off yet). Seriously, why are those jeans so tight? Perhaps poor Tarisai has been horribly burned in a tragic stir fry accident in the Idol mansion, and has been forced to wear a burns bandage suit for the past three weeks which Sheridan Tyler has painted to resemble denim. Poor Tarisai.
It's a pretty sassy performance, even if she doesn't move much (although given she's caught in a prawn net and wearing surgical jeans we probably can't blame her for that). When she finishes she even says "Thank you" like a normal person - no head canting, no breathy, humble whispers. GO TARISAI!
Let's see what the official BC Idol worm thinks:
Holden says Tarisai's is an arousing opening. Christ, I know her jeans are tight but they're not THAT... oh wait. He said it was "a rousing opening to the show". Gotcha. Dicko checks his Idol meter and does a reading of Tarisai's tank, which he deems to contain 20% more. So what, she's keeping some in reserve - have you seen petrol prices these days? Marcia says "girlfriend 100%" (seriously, she does) while Kyle tells her she's got a sexy face and "a little head thing happening". Great, 10 minutes in and I've already made two obscene references. THANKS GUYS.
Let us move on to our next contestant, Marty Simpson.
Marcia has also chosen Marty's song tonight, and she's gone for the completely unobvious choice of Bob Marley's No Woman No Cry. Marty has matched this totally mind blowingly surprising song choice with an outfit straight out of left field - a brown Jay Jay's shirt and jeans.
He taps his foot incessantly throughout the performance - he's not keeping in time, he's actually sending a morse code signal to his fans saying F-O-R T-H-E L-O-V-E O-F G-O-D S-T-O-P V-O-T-I-N-G F-O-R M-E. And the performance itself? Put it this way - it was the 90 second version, and it was still too long.
Dicko comes out with the first top quote of the evening: "That had all the choreographic zest of a dole queue," which is, ironically, probably where Marty will be heading sometime next week. Marcia says the performance was "just fine", Kyle says he loved it, and Holden says Marty has a problem with his emotions. So, just the usual post-Marty run down then.
"How would you react if Daniel Mifsud turned up at your school?" asks Monkey Boy, apropos of nothing.
A bit like this, I'd imagine.
But then we see a short video of Mr Mifdud going back to the school where he works and his family home, checking out his bedroom covered in Australian Idol posters and pretending he hasn't been there for weeks, etc. etc. It's all very sweet. Until Holden announces he's chosen his song, and it's the Julio Iglesias version of Sting's Fragile. JULIO IGLESIAS? Actually, now that you mention it...
Spot the difference.
To be honest, Mr Mifsud is looking pretty fine tonight in a sharp, tailored jacket - and has he had a haircut? We approve, Mr M. Except all of that is negated when he breathes all the way through his performance perched on top of a stool. You can hardly hear him over the bloody bongoes - and if you're being outperformed by a set of bongoes you're in trouble. We keep waiting for him to dig his heels in and really kick the song off - but it never goes anywhere, it just meanders along on the dirt track to almost greatness.
Marcia says it was dynamite, and Kyle says he agrees with tomato. Tomato? Is that Marcia's new nickname now? Then Kyle says he thought the whole thing was really boring, so christ knows WHAT he's on about. Holden says it was a vulnerable, heartfelt performance with profound lyrics and HE BELIEVED IT, HALLELUJAH! Then Dicko ruins the moment by describing it as a "gaylord song", and everyone realises he's right.
Next up is Carl, who is shown going back to the navy to visit his old navy buddies in the navy where he played trumpet in the navy in the band with his trumpet. Trumpet, trumpet trumpet, navy navy trumpet navy. Trumpet.
Dicko has selected his song tonight, and it is to be Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual. Which, ironically, IS sort of unusual. Except it's not. But it is.
"Iiiiit's noooot unuuuuuuuusual," breathes Carl, as he kickstarts another of his slow, boring swingified numbers.
Australia picks up the nearest object and is poised to throw it at the television while shouting "OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE" when suddenly:
"Whoaaaah, stop!" shouts Carl.
"That'll never work," he says.
"Whaddya reckon, John?" he asks the Foreman, who responds by kicking into a top gear, whizzbang, brassy version of the song. Wooot! A bit of comedy, eh? Clearly Carl got confused and thought tonight's theme was VAUDEVILLE NIGHT. But snaps to the C Man, it worked, it was cute, we likey muchly.
Carl's worm turns.
It's so cute we don't even mind when he finishes with a trumpet solo. Again.
Kyle declares him the frontrunner, Holden gives him a touchdown, Marcia reveals her after show plans by saying something about smashing and grabbing, and Dicko bemoans the distinct lack of undies on the stage (but fortunately doesn't offer to throw his own in to the ring).
Moving along to Matt Corby
who will be doing Holden's choice of The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera.
But first we're subjected to a short video of him going home to visit his family and schoolmates, for which he has thoughtfully dressed up as Worzel Gummidge:
Spot the difference.
Back to the stage, and it's Phantom time. Ok. This is either going to be an earth-shattering Anthony Callea The Prayer kind of moment
or it's going to be a Daniel Belle Rock DJ kind of moment
I know I know, we've all seen it before, but FUCK isn't it great?
As it turns out, it's somewhere in between. Corby's crisp, gorgeous, poppy upper register is battling for supremacy with his underdeveloped lower register - it's a bit like Pavarotti and James Blunt in a bar fight. (For the record - Pavarotti's dead and I'd still back him.) There's a triumphant finish, but it's not enough to distract us all from the truly tragic semi-lederhosen costume he's got on.
"Hallo, mein name ist Hans - you have sausage I might slap, ja?"
Holden goes on for about 20 minutes about how he posed that song as a CHALLENGE and it was so admirable that Matt took up the CHALLENGE because it was really CHALLENGING to sing something so different and CHALLENGING. Then he gives him a touchdown. Yawn - those things are a dime a dozen these days. Dicko says it was an idiotic song choice and he can't believe Matt agreed to do it. Holden retaliates by saying this was a good song choice, as Matt always chooses left of centre songs - yeah, like PHIL COLLINS, COLDPLAY, STEVIE WONDER. Come ON Dicko. Marcia praises Matt for his "vers-A-tility". Mmm-HMM. 100%, boyfriend. Kyle says he's not sure what bondage gear Matt's wearing but he likes it, and the orgy door is always open for him, he knows that, he just has to do the special knock...
Bringing up the rear (so to speak) is Natalie Gauci, with a song Marcia picked for her - Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U.
PRAISE THE LORD, SOMEBODY IS DOING THIS SONG. It should have been Matt Corby, as I suggested last week but never mind. It's hot, and someone should have done it earlier. MARCIA, YOU RULE.
Sadly, Natalie's outfit is not quite as hot as her song choice. Actually, it's not hot at all. In fact, it's so far from hot, it could be an icy moon circling an as yet undiscovered planet on the outer edges of the universe.
Natalie is so far from the sun in this photograph, it had to be taken with an infra red camera at NASA headquarters.
Fortunately Natalie's own heavenly body and gorgeous face is enough to distract us from this hideous blue-1960s-mini-dress-patterned-tights fashion abortion. And of course there's always her voice - sublime, gorgeous, beautiful, she pulls out an absolute ripper of a performance. GO TEAM GAUCI!
The dip accounts for the 15 seconds in which the entire country went "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT OUTFIT?"
Dicko and Marcia both say they believed every single word of it, especially the line about "This bloody outfit is really un-FLAAAAA-ttering!!!" Kyle blurts out to the entire nation that Natalie is suffering over a bad breakup (go on, just expose her pain why don't you), then says it would have been better if she'd cried a bit, and then tops it all off with the "fuck you" cherry by telling her her bum looks big on television. He does sort of have a point about the dress though - it's possibly the worst Idol costume to feature in any of the five series. The only thing that even comes close is Paulini's infamous gold dress of yore:
Does this mean we'll get to see Kyle in a blue minidress in the pages of WHO magazine this Christmas? I bloody well hope not.
So that's six finalists and six performances down. What, you think that's it? SUCKED IN, THERE'S MORE. That's right, this week each Idol does TWO performances. Sigh. Here's the rest, in a slightly more condensed form:
Tarisai Take II whips out the Whitney for one more thrashing, meaning I can finally do this again:
I don't know what song she does, it's some bloody Whitney thing about "lerrrrve", that's all you need to know. To be honest I don't think anyone is paying attention to her singing either - everyone's distracted by the weird skin-tight sheath dress she's got on.
Clearly I was right with my surgial clothing theory.
There's a lot of wide-eyed Whitney shouting and some more low-register baying, and then it's back to the depressed, overly humble Tarisai we've come to know and ignore in previous weeks.
Marcia said she was waiting for Tarisai to use that extra 20% Dicko said she had in her tank. Tarisai says something completely bereft of charm or personality. No one is surprised. Kyle says she's a superstar, blah blah blah, she's amazing, blah blah blah, she's his favourite, blah blah. Then he injects a small shot of reality into the proceedings by declaring her dress "a tragedy" and saying she looks "just dodge". Holden says he wanted "more more more" - yeah, a bit more material on that dress wouldn't have gone astray. Dicko comes out with his second cracker comment for the evening:
Moving on to Marty, who's back with his second serving of dullness with Pearl Jam's Last Kiss - oh goody, one of the most boring contestants in the whole competition is going to sing one of the most boring songs in the whole world. Still, there's only about three notes in it so hopefully he'll do ok.
He channels Johnny Cash by dressing all in black, sitting on a stool and playing his guitar. I flip over to Channel Nine and find myself mildly more entertained by watching John Howard talking about Workplace Relations.
I flip back just in time to hear Kyle come out with what is possibly the best quote of the entire Idol series anywhere in the universe:
Um, some WHAT? For the confused: here. For the record: I think he was actually talking about Marty drumming his fingers on his guitar. I THINK.
Holden asks Marty if he related to the song, and Marty chirps up like a schoolboy who's just been asked the exam question he's been rehearsing for all morning, merrily telling Holden all about how his friend died in a motorbike accident and how he was able to use that as emotional inspiration in his performance. Did I get an A, sir? Did I? Did I?
"Nothing like a bit of last minute emotion to give a song some resonance Marty," snarks Dicko.
Let's move on to Daniel Mifsud, with the worst performance ever of Eskimo Joe's From the Sea. Oh, sorry, did I just give away that it was THE WORST PERFORMANCE EVER?
"Hello helOOOOOOOO!!" he cracks, as his falsetto barely makes it to the top note. Not even the Mark Da Costa tight black jeans are helping this week (and come on Mifsud, surely it's someone else's turn already?)
"Goodbye, goodbye," texts my sadly absent Idol sidecar Raoul Duke. I feel he may have a point.
Holden says it's like Daniel is choosing songs that he wants to sing, but he doesn't quite have the chops to sing. No Holden, it IS that. Marcia says what she dug about Daniel's performance was his performance, which makes total sense as usual, while Kyle says it's lucky Daniel's popular, because that was pants. And not the tight Mark Da Costa kind either.
Next up is Carl, with Jealous Guy. With what? Jealous Guy. What's that? I dunno, I think I've heard it before on Mix FM or something, don't worry about it, it's late, just keep going.
It's heavy on the drums, and even heavier on the emotion - Carl's centre stage pulling more faces and emoting harder than the local butcher playing the title role in the local Theatre Guild's Christmas production of Hamlet. Having said that, it's a pretty solid performance, even if he doesn't go for the high notes.
Dicko says Carl is turning into "the housewives' choice" - I thought Mortein was the housewives' choice. Or was it Glen 20? Kyle says Carl used to be underdone but now he's turned up the heat and cooked himself. Perhaps by next week he'll be medium rare.
Second to last is Matt Corby again, showing he is actually a modern, cool, young person by dropping the Lloyd Webber in favour of Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism.
It starts with him seated at the piano, and WHAT THE BLOODY HELL? A piano?
Since when does Matt Corby know how to play the piano? WHO CARES, IT'S HOT. Fortunately he's also dumped the German bondage gear he was in before for the tried and true hoodie-over-suit-jacket-combo. All in all it's a great performance - although it wouldn't hurt if you'd look up once in a while, dear.
Marcia says it's the third time she's heard that song AND SHE'S ALREADY SICK OF IT, RARRR!
She's turning green again!
Kyle says Matt could "sing songs from the Satanic Verses of Satan and I'd still love it" - as opposed to that best selling tome, The Satanic Verses of Jesus. And in any case - would anyone actually be surprised if Kyle enjoyed that anyway? Dicko says it was absolutely sublime, the entire world agrees, let's move on to our final performer for the evening, Natalie Gauci, who is taking over the piano to do her version of Rihanna's Umbrella. Ella. Ella. Eh. Eh. Eh.
She's gotten rid of that fashion tragedy from before, but she's gone and replaced it with a painting smock made out of her grandma's tablecloth from 1976. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS GIRL? Are stylists just like kryptonite to her? Still, she's got such a lovely face and voice I guess we can forgive her.
For some reason she's stripped the only bit of the song that anyone likes ("ella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh,") right out of it, and turned it into a strangely lilting piano ballad, but somehow it works. It really does. TEAM GAUCI SCORES AGAIN!
Kyle attempts to make up for previously crushing Natalie's self esteem and breaking her spirit on national television by telling her she looks the best she's ever looked, which is PLAINLY UNTRUE (and actually sort of insulting). But then he declares Umbrella to be one of his "favourite songs", and everyone realises he knows nothing about music and ergo probably less about fashion, so it's all good. Holden says there was something magical about the performance, before going through his touchdown pantomime for the third time this evening.
"Hey Rove, should I give her a touchdown?" he yells, to which the response off camera is probably something like "I DON'T GIVE A SHIT, YOU'RE RUNNING 15 MINUTES OVERTIME INTO MY SHOW, JUST HURRY THE FUCK UP."
Dicko says it was perfect, and Marcia concludes the evening by saying it was a really interesting risk to take, given Rihanna is so large at the moment.
"NOT AS LARGE AS NATALIE'S ARSE!" yells Kyle.
Stay tuned for Monday's results. My money's on Mr Mifsud.