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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Australian Idol 08 Wrap Up: Episode Three - Aussie Hits Night

Crack a tinny, sew some corks onto your hat, grab a pie, mash it into a pavlova, smother the whole thing with tomato sauce and chuck it on the barbie while singing Khe Sanh because tonight on Idol is AUSSIE HITS NIGHT!

You know what that means? A two hour extravaganza of Barnesy, Farnesy and ... er... and... DAREN HAYES!

Yes, apparently the former singer of Savage Garden is "A true Australian legend" (that's if you ask Ken Doll and Monkey Boy and whoever writes their scripts, anyway) which is why he's joining us as tonight's superfluous fourth judge! The ghost of Holden is NOT amused.

"This is NOT shizzling my shemizzle, man."

Has Darren Hayes morphed into a muppet? Or maybe an accountant - that Lego man hairdo seems to suggest so. Maybe he's now a muppet accountant? He could do a fab rendition of One is the Loneliest Number with a few singing chickens on backing vocals, I bet.

If Savage Garden had looked like this, I would have bought their albums.

But enough of this celebrity primping, let's get on with the Oz-fest, and first up it's Fake Thanh Bui with... oh my god... yes... YESSSSSSSSSSS!


SLAM DUNK, THANH BUI! He might not have pulled out the Johnny Farnbuster for 80s night (despite my ranting) but Australia's very own Asian John Farnham has brought the GOODS to Aussie hits night.

Of course he sounds great, because he is John Farnham and all. Well, John Farnham with a headcold maybe. He's certainly got the I'm-singing-emotionally-about-staring-down-the-barrel-of-a-gun pained expression going OK. The crowd goes wild. Especially this guy:

Thanh Fan.

Dicko criticses Thanh's performance of a John Farnham song for not being very "cool", which is sort of like criticising an ice cream for not being very hot. Marcia says she likes what Thanh's wearing - she obviously digs the amateur theatre stagehand look. As the guest judge Darren Hayes fulfils the superfluous "I'm proud of you" role, which everyone pretends to be interested in while instead thinking about when they might get off the couch and make a cup of tea, and Kyle tells Thanh to cut cheese off himself with a splayd, proving once and for all that the judges definitely do keep hallucinogens under the desk.

Over to Ricki Lee, who rather unfairly introduces Chrislyn as having chosen a "massive" song. Word choice, Ricki, it's all about word choice.

She's chosen Tina Arena's Chains. Darren doubts Chrislyn has it in her.

"She's probably got Tina Arena in her," scoffs Raoul Duke, who pipes up for the first time this evening.

"Chrislyn's actually quite hot," he continues. I concur.

It's such a pity then that she always looks like she's been dressed by the "After 5" section at Maggie T. Tonight's ensemble is a black sequinned sack and tight black leggings. FOR GOD'S SAKE, SHERIDAN, PUT HER IN A BLOODY V-NECK! Haven't Trinny and Susannah taught us anything? She does look better than Marcia though, who appears to be wearing the result of a Project Runway challenge in which the contestants were asked to manufacture "cabana wear" out of a circus tent.

Roll up, roll up...

"I'm in chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains!" she screams in anguish. Upon reflection, that would have been a better outfit choice. Performance wise, she's sounding pretty dire, I have to say. Are the sequins sticking into her armpits? She's baying and moaning like a cow stuck in a barbed wire fence. Oh CHRISLYN how I used to love you so...

Marcia takes a few incomprehensible pills and says "Your music teacher said you are a very, very older than you are performer", although looking at Chrislyn's "ageing receptionist at the staff Christmas party" ensemble I can sort of see her point. Kyle says she tore it up, which just makes me wish she'd tear those clothes up instead, and then continues with a legendary backhander by saying Chrislyn probably "has a few people living inside her". LEAVE THE INSULTS TO ME, RADIO BOY. Dicko takes a few of Marcia's pills and says something about romantic novels, prompting Marcia to call Britney Spears "a ho" for no apparent reason. Realising he's finally been out-crazied, the ghost of Holden drifts off into the ether to ride out the rest of the show in the rafters.

Moving on to Tom "I don't know any Australian hits so I'll just choose Evermore" Williams, with Evermore's Light Surrounding You. Even though they're from New Zealand. On Aussie Hits Night.

We are not amused.

"This'll be no good," says Raoul, before Tom's even set foot on stage.

As Adelaide's finest launches into one of the most boring songs to ever come out of New Zealand, it strikes me how much he too looks like a muppet.

Tell me you see it too.

This performance is awful. I mean it's just awful. I have no patience for those who pronounce Ds as Ts. Especially ones who sing Evermore. Can someone lend him some bus money and send the poor thing home to do his algebra?

Darren asks him how he feels, as if anyone cares ("Oh I've got a bit of a gyppy knee today thanks Darren, but I reckon I'll be OK...") and Kyle reminds him (rather creepily) that he gave Tom a "slap around" last week because he was "overcooked". I put down my knife and fork and push my dinner plate away. Dicko says he knows Evermore are from New Zealand, but the judges have chosen to turn a blind eye to the fact. He then wishes good luck to Luke and Roshani who'll be doing songs from those great Aussie music legend U2 and Michael Jackson later in the evening. Marcia says "Don't believe the hype", which makes me wonder why Tom Thumb didn't have a go at Public Enemy instead. Why not, it's Aussie Hits Night!

In an attempt to wake everyone up from their Tom Williams induced coma, Monkey Boy asks the audience to give it up for Darren Hayes "who has given up his time to be here tonight."

"Yeah, like what else would he be doing?" scoffs Raoul.

"Arranging his sock drawer?" I suggest. Those things don't just arrange themselves.

Moving on to Teale "Accidental Port Power Supporter" Jakubenko, with Eskimo Joe's Black Fingernails, Red Wine.

"It's gotta have balls," Darren instructs. Hmm. Teale plus Darren Hayes plus Eskimo Joe plus balls... that's an equation not even Einstein could solve.

Teale starts the song and JESUS CHRIST...


What the bloody christing fuck is that?! I assume that's Teale attempting his best Dean Geyer stare, but it's probably sent children all over the country running screaming from their living rooms. I can imagine this scene being enacted all over the country tonight:

MUM: Just go to sleep now honey.
KID: Can't sleep. Teale will eat me.

Performance wise - meh, it's OK. I'm mildly disappointed that he doesn't sing the line about not understanding the point of fingers, but more so that the whole thing is a bit talent quest dull.

As a side note - what's with all the Idols always wearing black and white every week? SHERIDAN TYLER I DEMAND YOU GET SOME CRAZY BACK UP IN HERE IMMEDIATELY. There's altogether too much restraint being shown this year.

"Straight dowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn," sings Teale.

"That's where his career's going," guffaws Raoul.

Kyle says Teale's Dean Geyer stare reminded him of being tied up in the boot of his car, which makes me wonder what he gets up to with the Idols after each show. Dicko calls him a try hard, and Marcia tries to pretend that all the women of Australia think Teale is sexy by going "It didn't work for him because he's a MAN - mmmm HMM!". A tumbleweed rolls through the studio. Darren Hayes says he's "world class", and Teale is momentarily excited, and then remembers it's coming from Darren Hayes.

Moving right along to Roshani Priddis, who is showing off just how awesome she is by choosing a song no one under the age of 40 will know (except for me and Raoul, obviously) - Renee Geyer's Heading in the Right Direction.

It's a testament to Roshani's fabulousness that she can stand next to a piano draped in a crocheted tablecloth singing a song from 1975, and she still looks hot.

"I'd dine at her table," says Raoul, making unattractive smacking noises with his lips.

She sounds great, as usual. Actually, if I was being really critical (what, me?) I'd channel that black dude from American Idol and say say she's “a bit pitchy”. But damn, those legs!

Clearly distracted by the amazing expanse of leg Roshani is showing off, Dicko says something about paying dividends that may or may not be another link in the unfunny “banker from Sri Lanka” chain of gags he’s been fashioning since week one. Marcia says she can hear Roshani thinking – and she can see colours man, HEAPS OF COLOURS! Woah. Then she says “You don't need to think. Just go... fly... flyyyy darling”, a strange haiku to which the audience responds with an awkward silence. Kyle gives Roshani a really helpful piece of advice in “don’t get boring”. Roshani looks at her To Do list for next week and hastily crosses out “1. Get boring”.

Next up is Wes “Baby you can drive my” Carr, who once again is proving how authentic rock he is by eschewing the Powderfingers and Eskimo Joes of this world for The Easybeats and Friday on My Mind. Which of course will allow the judges to make all kinds of crazy gags about having Monday on his mind, and so on and so forth. Hooray.

The “training session” in the studio with Darren is completely unremarkable, but for the moment when one of the song’s writers turns up and Wes gets a glimpse into his future:

”I’m starting with the man in the mirror…”

Wes hits the stage in fancy dress as a scout attempting to earn his karaoke badge. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LOSE THE HAT, WES! Free those Pantene tresses and let them swing free in the breeze! But then the scout impression gives way to his usual ice addict impression as he does his jittery jumpy leg shaking all over the place.

I have a confession to make. I know Wes is the favourite and all, but I'm not sure if I'm still into the whole thing. I mean, sure, if I saw him playing at a pub I'd probably buy him a beer and say something like "You can have this if you stop playing All Along the Watchtower," but on the Idol stage I'm not so sure it's working anymore. Maybe he needs to swap that hat for some sequins and glitter, and the rock and roll for Robbie Williams. Yeah! That's the Idol I know and love!

Anyway, onto the predictably enthusiastic judges. Marcia screams "Yay" about five times and the people in the control booth get so excited the screen turns psychedelic for a few seconds. (Or maybe Wes' performance was so mind bendingly good, we've all been transported to a new dimension?) Marcia asks Wes to take his hat off, which is a skill he'll need to learn come Monday when he's voted off and he has to go busk for a living. Darren says "You remind me of Bono!" in an attempt to convince everyone that he moves in celebrity music circles. then he tells Wes he's "all behind him" - *insert obvious gay joke here*. Kyle tells him he dances like Forrest Gump (Was Forrest Gump an ice addict? I don't remember that) and Dicko calls him a walking iPod. So, all very helpful comments as usual.

"He's a rock star from the tip of his hat to the tip of his winkle," says Dicko, before adding "pickers".

In a completely surprising and out of the blue decision, Shearer Luke has chosen to do Cold Chisel's Flame Trees tonight.

"I was on tour and I lost my voice, and it FREAKED me out..." gushes Darren in their pre-preformance training session. Does anyone else think Mr Hayes is secretly Mr G?

Luke hits the stage and does his best Jimmy Barnes impression - and actually it's not bad. Pity this isn't Stars In Their Eyes or he'd probably win outright (not to mention the fact that we'd get to see him with a curly mullet wig on and clutching a bottle of vodka).

Darren says he has a soft spot for Luke, but neglects to mention if he would get behind him. Kyle says something boring about Luke's beard. Dicko quizzes him about drinking too much grog, which is kind of like Pete Doherty lecturing you about using too many Panadol. Marcia says something about Luke's instrument, and we're off and running into the next performance, by Sophie "I'm not a bad singer I'm just drawn that way" Paterson.

She's doing Don't Hold Back by The Potbelleez, because when you're looking at the history of Australian music and all its amazing hits, a shitty dance track from 2007 is the obvious choice. Why not Shuddupayaface, Sophie?

Darren Hayes decides a shitty dance track sounds better as a shitty ballad, so ironically Sophie's version of Don't Hold Back turns out to be holding back quite a lot.

"IS there anybody out theeeerrrrrre?" she wails. Yes Sophie - a whole lot of viewers putting down their mobile phones and picking up their remotes.

I'd like to say more about Sophie's performance, but I fell asleep about three bars in and only woke up when she started screeching "DOOOOON'T!" Don't vote? No problem.

Kyle says there's one bit in Sophie's voice that he finds irritating. I'm proud of him for narrowing it down to just one. Dicko tells Sophie she's not showing enough of herself - perhaps she could borrow Roshani's tablecloth dress next week? Marcia pops some more pills and declares "I like the other Sophie", before pouring her teddy bear a cup of tea and just for a change Darren says something completely inconsequential.

Next up is Mark "Too much Farnham is never enough" Spano with Age of Reason.

Mark's training session with Darren Hayes consists of them singing "fail" at each other over and over, which doesn't seem to be the most auspicious start, but he trundles on stage anyway with the enthusiasm of at least three chronic fatigue sufferers.

He's dressed in his best Ed Harry stonewash T shirt, which features a big empty frame on the front. What's that supposed to be? An abs frame? Or is it some weird existentialist fashion statement on the emptiness of trends? By the time I've worked out that actually it's just a cheap Ed Harry stone wash T shirt that means nothing, Mark has finished singing. Oh well.

Dicko says he's cruising and treading water, which is quite a feat when you think about it, Marcia asks if he's scared, Darren says something or other and Kyle says it was a piece of cake, all comments to which Mark responds with his usual Spano Stare. Can we have a price check on a personality, please? Price check...

Finally we roll into the home stretch with Madam "Personalit" Parker, so named because she doesn't actually have one, with The Veronicas' Hook Me Up.

For some reason Madam finds it difficult to pretend to be a slut for the purposes of the song, so Darren gives her some pointers. Onya Daz.

Out on stage, and - hang on, is she drunk? No really, is she? She can't still be on the Sudafed, that was a week ago! Seriously what is wrong with her? Every week she strolls out on stage and does some half arsed dance moves with her eyes half shut and the judges call her Christmas. This week it looks like she's reading the lyrics off the ceiling at the same time as trying to remember her dance moves.

Marcia asks Madam how it felt, to which Madam responds "Dangerous, he he he." Yes it was dangerous, Madam. DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO BEING UNWATCHABLE. Darren says it was hard for Madam to find her inner ho (with a name like Madam, are you serious?), Kyle says the word "ho" a few more times, and children all around the country start yelling "Ho! Ho! Inner ho!", a chant which will no doubt fill the nation's playgrounds on Monday. Dicko wraps up the dullfest by describing Madam's performance as being like Mother Theresa holding a lingerie party, which everyone pretends to understand.

And so concludes AUSSIE HITS NIGHT, with nary a swing version of Waltzing Matilda to be seen. Who will be chucked into the billabong tomorrow? Sophie Paterson, your schnitty's ready.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Australian Idol 08 War Up: Episode Two - 80s night

Get out your fluoro, hair gel, venetian shades, Corey Worthington costume and all the rest of your 1980s cliches, it's 80'S NIGHT ON IDOL, and you know what that means! That's right, two hours of watching people born in the 90s struggle through Madonna and Michael Jackson covers. For a similar effect, just gatecrash a school formal.

I'll take off my sunglasses but I'm not saying sorry FOR 80S NIGHT.

"Oh look, it's A-gay-lian idol," remarks Raoul, who has just stumbled into the room with a cup of tea. (For the record, he likes to pretend he doesn't enjoy watching this show).

Ken Doll and Monkey Boy have put on their special 80s thin ties for the evening, but other than that they've steered clear of "dressing to theme", as have the judges who are once again looking rather schmick and devoid of comedic possiblity. Fortunately the ghost of Holden didn't get the "don't dress up memo" - he's turned up in a red leather jacket and studded pants with cut off gloves and a cap on backwards.

"Shizzle," he spits.

But he's got nothing on special guest judge CYNDI FREAKING LAUPER who has rocked up to the Idol dome in her best "Angela Bishop on crack" costume. With birdsnest hair and tassles hanging from both ears, it looks like the day after the Logies has landed on her face.

"They must have big turbines out the back or something," says Raoul, of her decidedly windswept do. Then he glowers into his tea, pretending to still hate the show.

But enough of this bollocks, let's get straight into middle Australia with LUKE THE SHEARER, who's chosen to do John Mellencamp's Jack and Diane. Try to control your excitement.

Just as I'm thinking how good Luke looks in his white shirt and jeans, Raoul shrieks "He needs to shave that minge off his face, he's got a poonani beard!" You'd think Luke would be an expert at shaving minge, being a shearer. Sheep's minge, admittedly, but... What am I talking about? How did I get to shaving sheep's minge so early in the recap? Let's move on.

Luke sounds great, the song suits him down to the ground, he's totally in control of the crowd, and OH MY GOD IS IT POSSIBLE THAT LUKE IS ACTUALLY PRETTY DAMN GOOD?

Even Cyndi Lauper is crying. And you know what they say - if you make Cyndi Lauper cry, then... maybe you accidentally stepped on her toe. Or something.

Dicko says Luke is a bit sheepish, but something clicked tonight. Was it the shears, Dicko? DID THE SHEARS GO CLICK, DICKO? Marcia says well done, Cyndi manages to blurt something out through the floods of tears (I think something like "Does anyone have any saline solution, my contact lens has come loose") and Kyle tells Luke to lift his shirt. Or something. The ghost of Holden is nowhere to be found, having grumped off into a corner mumbling "They said three judges would be pacier, they said four judges was too many..."

"This is BULLshizzle."

Moving on to Brooke "That chick I always forget" Addamo, who's chosen Bette Davis Eyes. She does a bit of a song workshop with Cyndi, during which Ms Lauper says a lot of swear words and pushes Brooke around, and Brooke says a lot of "um, er... yep, er..." words and looks confused. Probably because she's wondering why Angela Bishop is teaching her how to sing.

On stage and Brooke is clearly sponsored by GLAD tonight, in a fetching black and white garbage bag that's pretending to be a dress.

Yep, something like this. But not quite as fetching.

Sadly, she still looks rather hot. Damn her. Pity then that this song is only lukewarm. Basically, Brooke sounds as pretty as her hair, which is a pity because this song really needs to be sung like a greased up mullet that's just come out of the surf.

Marcia tries to suck up to Cyndi by pretending that all her training backstage actually worked, saying it's the most solid and aggressive Brooke has ever been. Given Brooke was about as aggressive as a kitten with sinus problems, I'm not sure I agree. Depends how you measure aggression, I suppose. Kyle constructs a sentence out of the words "wow", "sultry" and "perfect" and unsurprisingly comes up with something vaguely complimentary. Dicko says Brook is "incredibly hot". Hands up who else feels uncomfortable?

Clearly a bit of backstage biffo with Cyndi does wonders for the Idols - let's hope she socks Tom Williams in the goolies so he can reach that falsetto even better this time.

Next up is Madam Parker with Upside Down. As always, she sounds THE BUSINESS but Holy Madonna (well, it IS 80s night) could this performance be any lazier? Apparently Madam had flu earlier in the week, which possibly explains why tonight's performance is the Idol equivalent of a Sudafed. Fortunately she looks a million dollars, apart from her massive hoop earrings which look more like $7.50. If she flicks her hair the right way she'll be able to pick up Channel 31, which could only do her good - Alphonse's Italian Party Hour is on right now.

Cyndi asks Madam how she feels. Madam thinks for about 10 minutes and says "Cool". For the record, I feel FUCKING BORED. Kyle marvels at how Madam has gone from ghetto rap to glamourpuss in three weeks, as if replacing a tracksuit with a mini dress is some kind of miracle. But then Marcia marvels that Madam knew where she was, so I guess it's all relative.

Monkey Boy tells us that to get behind Madam we just have to SMS. I feel like I've read that before in a phone booth somewhere...

For the first time tonight, the producers let Ricki Lee use the microphone to interview Mark Spano. Fortunately it's over soon, and we're into his performance of Foreigner's I Wanna Know What Love Is. Foreigner? Shit. Ricki Lee, can you interview him some more? But it's too late, he's already started.

After the first four words, Raoul declares it "awful". To be honest I've got no idea how Mark did, as I was too busy power singing into my glass of red. And I tell you what, I sounded fantastic.

"I like this guy," I tell the dog, in between power notes.

"His head's too fat," says Raoul matter of factly, between sucks of his Magnum. (Streets please address cheques to PETSTARR...)

Kyle tells Mark he's not one of those "back here lovers". While I'm trying to work out just what he means, Raoul shrieks "DOESN'T HE LIVE WITH HIS NONNA?" and then launches into an impersonation of Mark singing Foreigner to his Italian grandmother. It's quite good, actually. Dicko says something about turning the sound down, which is funny because Tom Williams isn't even on yet. Marcia makes a lame joke about millions of women wanting to show Mark what love is (just a reminder that HE LIVES WITH HIS GRANDMA) and Cyndi says something involving the word "proud". A quick scan of the studio reveals the ghost of Holden has retreated to the green room, to have a cup of tea and watch Dancing with the Stars.

"Now THAT'S better."

And next up on 80s night, it's the Cadbury gorilla with with Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight. It's not bad, although I suspect he's using a backing track. Cheater.

Moving on to Tom "Cat in a bag of spiders" Williams, who wasn't even born until 1992, meaning the 80s are like, TOTALY RETRO to him. Which probably explains why he's chosen to do Uptown Girl, because that stupid boy band WestBoyZoneLifeSync did that awful cover of it in 1990-whatever it was.

"You're a crooner," says Cyndi, after shoving a plastic tube in his mouth and punching him a few times. I like this chick.

On stage and Tom's dressed as 80s as he knows how, in a black Adidas style jacket and dunlop volleys. And pants, obviously. Tight ones - how else would he sing that high? Actually, I think we all know the answer to that question.

Raoul declares it the "soft cock high school version" of Uptown Girl. And making Billy Joel even more soft cock takes SOME talent, it must be said.

Dicko says Tom looks like a nine year old boy thrown on stage by a pushy stage mum, and he's no fun anymore. Then he throws his rattle in the corner and goes off to play with cool Mark Spano. Marcia says Tom needs to find more "Ugggggghhhh" in himself. There was quite a lot of "Ughhing" going on on the couch here in Idol HQ during that performance, maybe we can put the excess in a bag and send it over? Cyndi says she's proud of Tom for using his ears to listen (wait until she finds out he used his feet to walk, that'll blow her tiny mind) and Kyle brands it a disaster. It's the truth, but the effect is devastating - Tom's big, round, shiny eyes start to well up, and his bottom lip starts to quiver - it's like a deleted scene from Watership Down, for fuck's sake. Kyle might as well have put on steel caps and drop kicked a guide dog puppy into a furnace. But then Tom announces "Hey, I'm from the 90s!" and I stop feeling sorry for him. Burn, puppy, burn.

Moving right along to Chrislyn "Stop calling me big mamma for fuck's sake" Hamilton, who PRAISE THE LORD has chosen to do something a bit more subdued this week - True Colours, by Guest Judge - which means we'll all get a rest from her jazz hands and yelling. Don't get me wrong, I love jazz hands and yelling as much as the next person... but the next person around here is Raoul, so... you know.

Apart from her hairdo, which looks like a wig that a wild dog stole from the worst student at the local TAFE hairdressing class and then dragged through a few bushes on its way to the park where it was stolen by a magpie who used it as the foundation for its new nest - she looks fabulous. The song is a little rushed, but it's lovely. Not BRILLIANT, but lovely.

Marcia says "See? See?" but without taking the red pill, none of us can. Cyndi tells Chrislyn she owned it, Chrislyn tells Cyndi it made her feel beautiful, and for the first time in Idol blogging history, RAOUL ANNOUNCES HE'S GOING TO CRY.

"I'm not crying, it's just raining on my face," he protests.

Kyle tells eveyone he's wearing a girdle. A tumbleweed rolls past. Somewhere, a dog barks.

Let's move on to Teale Jakubenko, who's taken a tip from Wes "jump in my" Carr and dipped into the U2 bag for I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, a song which not only allows for much vocal poncing but also endless one-liner opportunities for the judges post performance (ie: "I think Australia's found what it's looking for, and it's you!" and "Keep looking, Teale" etc. etc. Ah, good times.)

Some of my lady friends think Teale is "teh hottness" but to me, he looks like a baby that's accidentally glued carpet fluff to its face.

Something like this.

Is that the right look for an Idol? I was born in the 80s, what the hell would I know. Nonetheless, he sounds very... pretty.

Cyndi says "You were in it" for about the 900th time, and then tells Teale he sat on every note. So maybe that explains everything. Kyle calls it a "superstar performance" and Dicko says it was "masculine and sexy" - will there be any end to this love fest? "The best part of your performance was that it was over too soon," says Marcia. So yes, it seems there will be.

And once again it's time for the gorilla playing the drums variety half hour, this time featuring a young boy making love to a hamburger while his dad pumps petrol.

"Christ, they should just show him sticking his dick in it," barks Raoul.

"What would it feel like to stick your dick in a burger?" I muse, as Raoul sings the chorus to SNL's Dick in a Box.

"If it wasn't hot it would be quite pleasant, I'd imagine," he says.

Once again our intelligent musings are interrupted by Sophie "Catwoman" Paterson, who's clearly been sharing a medicine cabinet with Madam Parker as her version of Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams is so flat you could use it as a super absorbent bathmat.

Kyle says it was excellent, and that Sophie put her own spin on the song, and it was cool, and she looks hot, but by the time he gets to the end of his long winded sentence he's changed his mind and concludes that she did a "reasonably good job". Dicko criticises her shoes, which spurs an argument with Kyle about the differences between "stripper" and "tranny" shoes. As fascinating as this is, it all comes to an end when Marcia says Sophie "pulsated" the song, and everyone pauses to consider what that might mean. Then Monkey Boy jumps in with a bit of completely obvious subtle flirtation, completely quashing all those rumours about he and Sophie being on together.

Next up it's Wes "Bill Oddie" Carr with Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark. WHY HAS NO ONE SUNG MADONNA OR MICHAEL JACKSON YET? WHAT THE FUCK?

Cyndi advises Wes to blow up a balloon five times before he goes on stage to make him sing higher. Raoul recommends filling it with helium first for an even stronger effect.

Out on stage, Wes has got his guitar and his stupid hat and he's ready to roll. This is foot tapping, head shaking goodness. Rock and roll, thy name is Wes Carr. Or actually, Bruce Springsteen, but Wes is the closest we've got right now SO I'M GOING WITH IT. This gun's for hire in-DEED!

The crowd is so jazzed, they're holding up ES signs. GO ES!

Dicko says it was a brilliant performance, and Wes is thrilling, which just reminds me how good it would have been if he'd done Thriller instead. DAMN THESE IDOLS AND THEIR BORING SONG CHOICES. Marcia says the whole room got electric when he sang, so it's lucky Cyndi didn't cry again or they all might have died from shock. Kyle said if he had money to invest in someone today, he'd choose Wes. Poor Kyle. If he doesn't have any money can't he just borrow some from Dicko and Marcia? They could at least buy him a sandwich or something.

Moving on to Roshani "Can we all move on from this 'sexual chocolate' shit now please?" Priddis, with Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do With It.

Once again Roshani looks the fricking BUSINESS in a black silk mini dress with oversized sequins. With her glowing teeth she's really fitting the black and white theme they've got going on tonight. Did anyone else notice that? What's the deal? There's too much class in the room, I can't stand it. Get Chrislyn out here in a glitter spandex mini, that'll fix it.

Roshani smoulders her way through the first verse, and it feels kind of... dangerous. Ow. I like it.

Evidently so does Marcia, who practically slides off her chair with excitement, shrieking "GET ON WIT YOUR BAD SELF!" as she disappears under the desk. Cyndi has clearly borrowed some of Marcia's "headache tablets" in the adbreak, as she says Roshani's performance really hit all the, all the.. er.. um what do you call it? Every step.. er.. it hit all the places, when you... go up and down... and er... um... every step.. um... Moving on to Kyle, who says she was in a perfect safe zone but he wanted her to smash it (well then it wouldn't be SAFE anymore, would it Kyle?) and Dicko makes a lame crack involving the words "banker" and "Sri Lanka". At this point, Cyndi's headache remedy kicks in, prompting her to yell "WHADDYA WANT, ONE NOTE SALLY?" at no one in particular, and we all smile and nod and move on to the final performer for the night who is... er... who the fuck is left? Seriously, who hasn't performed yet? There's been the shearer, the girl I always forget the name of, the kid who sounds like a cat crossed with a mobile phone... is there anyone left?

Oh yeah. Asian John Farnham, heretofore to be known as "Fake" Thanh Bui, with Every Breath You Take.

Excuse me, but why the FUCK is he not doing You're the Voice?

"SING MORE FARNHAM," yells Raoul, adding "That's the first time I've ever said that."

Thanh announces he's going to explore places of himself he's never explored before, which makes me think he should perhaps be singing The Divinyls tonight, but never mind. It does go some way to explaining why his performance looks so pained - just WHERE is he exploring, exactly? He's strained and stressing out and fretting, and the whole thing sounds rather like the backing DVD you get at those cheap karaoke bars. You know the ones, where every love song is accompanied by footage of a young woman writing a letter and looking out a window, followed by random long shots of sheep grazing and waves crashing. Continuity is not a treasured aspect of karaoke DVDs.

But back to Fake Thanh, who has finished by now. We cut to the audience and even his family have their head in their hands.

Kyle says it was too pacy, too overperformed and a bit fake. So, he liked it, then? Dicko says it was too fast, too cheesy and he can't see his postal district. Is that a euphemism? Maybe that's why he was doing all that exploring. Marcia says "drop the small veneer", which sounds rather like a Joan Armatrading lyric, before being interrupted by Cyndi who informs everyone that she made Thanh run and sing at the same time to train his voice. He'll probably have to practice that a bit more for Monday's show, I think.

This week it's anyone's guess, but I'll predict Thanh, Tom and Madam for the bottom three.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Australian Idol 08 Wrap Up: Ep 1 - Idol's Idol


Did you get that, kids? IT'S THE OPENING THEME TO AUSTRALIAN IDOL OF COURSE, and AREN'T WE JUST SO EXCITED? After two weeks of 24 hour a day Idol MAYHEM (well, it felt like it was on 24 hours a day, didn't it? I kept waiting for "Australian Idol UP LATE" to come on) we're finally at the pointy end of the competition. Well, at least, it's the base of the pointy end of the competition. Which kind of makes it the flat end.


But in true Andrew G style, I'll say right now that the performances are going to be anything BUT flat this evening, ladies and gentlemen. Unlike his hair, which I suspect he may have stolen from a 1970s knitting pattern model. Welcome back, Ken Doll!

And a hearty welcome back to Jimmy James "Monkey Boy" Mathison too who, I recently discovered, is a lot smaller than you may think. NOT IN THAT WAY, you dirty perverts! I mean slight. Slim. Lithe. Were he to grow his hair out and throw on some purple velvet, he'd be a dead ringer for Prince. I pray and hope that crazy Idol stylist Sheridan Tyler is back on board this year, as that would increase the likelihood of a purple velvet suit appearing on stage by at least 70%.

Moving on to newcomer Ricki Lee, who tonight has been dressed by Happy Fashions in Wingfield, and looks a little bit like the result of a mirrorball and your nan's curtains having sex.

Fortunately, the judges are playing it safe tonight in suits and a monochromatic palette, although the ghost of Holden is hovering over the top of them all in a leather jacket and red braces, sizzling everyone's shemizzle.

Hosts? Check. Irrelevant and slightly irritating and yet somehow still thoroughly likeable third host? Check. Three judges? Check. Ghost of recently exorcised fourth judge? Check. LET'S GET THIS SHIZZLE SHEMIZZLING!

First up tonight is ADELAIDE'S OWN Wes Carr, who looks rather like the messiah, were he to have just stepped out of a beauty salon. What with the newly trimmed beard and the gorgeous golden locks cascading over his shoulders, he's like a walking Pantene ad. Hello, Pantene Jesus!

But what's that on his head? Is it... a metallic hat? No really, is it? Did he get it in a showbag? Whatever it is, it doesn't quite go with the brown patchwork anorak he's sporting, which is the kind of garment you'd expect to see on someone who spends all their time at the train station gleefully noting down engine numbers. The overall look is something like a homeless person to whom someone has generously donated a new hat.

Then the curtains part and we get to see Pantene's package - I MEAN A VIDEO PACKAGE, YOU PERVERTS - in which his mum tells us she's "moved to tears" every time PJ sings. If he does All Along the Watchtower again I think I'll join her.

Performance time, and PJ has gone straight to the back of the arms shed and chosen the biggest gun of all, U2's Beautiful Day. ON THE PIANO. Pardon? Look, Wes is on the piano! He's not just an All Along the Watchtower playing, guitar strumming hobo, he can play the... oh, wait, he's stopped. Well that was worth it. Two bars in and he's already given up tickling the ivories in favour of jumping around and shouting "COME ON!" Well, I suppose it's got energy.

"He looks like Beck," says Raoul, my Idol sidecar for the evening. I concur.

Once all the Hillsong believers have put their crucifixes away and stopped crossing themselves in the presence of the lord, Dicko says it's a terrific start to the night, but tells Wes not to get sucked in too early by being gratuitous. Not sure what he was watching but it sounds far more exciting than what I saw. Marcia says "Happy birthday" and reaches under the desk for her medication, while Kyle says "Are we ever going to see you without a hat?", prompting the audience to yell "NO WAY, GET FUCKED, FUCK OFF!" in true Aussie pub style. Holden's ghost says "Wiggidy wack doo back dibbidy dow, shizzle."

And we're off and running... straight into an adbreak. The one with the gorilla. Honestly, the Mathison family is so full of talent, it's amazing. Seriously though, what drugs were those ad execs smoking when they came up with this shit? I bet I know how it happened:

"Hey man, this is good shit. Goooood shit."
"I know, I know, I got it off Dave, I told you he was good."
*paranoid frantic exec runs in*
"Oh shit, oh shit - guys, the Cadbury presentation? It's tomorrow!"
"Oh shit."
"Has anyone come up with anything?"
"Nah man, I thought you were doing it."
"Oh shit, OK, OK, let's keep calm. Let's just think about this."
"HEY - what about *inhales*.. get this... A GORILLA PLAYING THE DRUMS. To Phil Collins."
"That's brilliant!"
"Shouldn't we put some chocolate in it somewhere?"
"Nah, fuck that. Just the gorilla."

And so it goes. Anyway, back to the Idol-dome, where ADELAIDE'S OWN Tom Williams has obviously gotten the date wrong for next week's fancy dress party, and has turned up as Oliver Twist guest starring on Star Trek. Whoops, too late now Tom, you'll just have to go with it and pretend you meant it.

Tom's package reveals that he loves hanging out with his mates. Don't get too excited, now! We also discover that Tom had juvenile arthritis and was born in 1992.

Oh. My. God.

Surely NO ONE was born in 1992. The number one single on this day in 1992 was Jose Carreras and Sarah Brightman's "Amigos Para Siempre", so it's no wonder Tom was hooked on music from an early age, with that sort of heralding into the universe.

He's chosen Aerosmith's Don't Wanna Close My Eyes, which is ironic because the outfit he's wearing has the opposite effect on me. Under the lights Tom's Dickensian orphan in outer space costume looks rather more like a Kevlar vest, which I feel is a tad pessimistic.

For a 16 year old, he sounds OK - but I think we're all going to get sick of the "he's just 16" excuse every week. So he either better age 10 years by next week, or just be completely fault-free for the rest of the season. Not much to ask, really.

Actually, once you cut through the relentless screams of the virgins in the crowd (clearly the whole intergalactic peasant thing is hot this year), Oliver Twist really doesn't sound good at all. It's really quite distressing, like a cat being shoved into a bag full of spiders. Please sir, can we not have any more?

Raoul's verdict? "Get a haircut." I concur.

Marcia announces she's going to call him Thomas from now on. Kyle decides on Gary, while Dicko goes for Bob. I'm sticking with Oliver. Marcia says something about Thomas' innards, and double checks the dosage reccomendation on her bottle of pills. Kyle makes an incredibly crap joke using the word "armageddon", which Oliver probably doesn't get given that he was just SIX YEARS OLD when that film came out. For realsies. Dicko says he's drawn to big monsters but wants to get more uptempo, or something like that. Then he tells Oliver it looks like his mum dressed him. IF HIS MUM IS CAPTAIN KIRK, sure. The ghost of Holden says "Ooogeddy boogeddy boo. Swizzle."

"He's dressed like a poofter," remarks Sooty, my second Idol sidecar for the evening. I'm not sure I concur.

Moving on to Roshani "Sexual Chocolate" Priddis. We're all told for about the five millionth time that Roshani was born in Sri Lanka and is adopted, and grew up in Tamworth... WE KNOW, WE KNOW, WE KNOW! We see some footage of her singing with a band inside a cool room - presumably because Roshani is so HOT. Ow!

She's chosen Joss Stone's Tell Me About It, which I've never heard before in my life but WHO CARES because she looks hot to frickin' trot in a biker jacket, tight jeans and punk hairdo, yelling that she wants to do it two times a day and WE WANT TO GIVE IT TO YOU ROSHANI, OH YEAH! She's got a little frown on her face like she's telling us all off, and may possibly punch us if we don't GIVE IT TO HER TWICE, YEEAOOOW! Thank god the girl has dropped the diva songs and found the funk, this is completely awesome.

Marcia kicks off with one of her famous pointless comments, by saying congratulations. Kyle says Roshani was slamming all the way through the song, prompting Raoul to pipe up "I didn't see that!" Dicko says it was perfect and fabulous, and the ghost of Holden finishes off the love fest with a "Bing, bang boom! Ya-wizzle!"

Next up is Teale Jakubenko, otherwise known as one of those blokes wot was in East 17 and that. Teale is unwittingly going to attract 90% of the bogan vote from South Australia, given that he's from Yatala (no word on whether he was cellmates with David Hicks or not), and his name is one of the Port Power team colours. If he turns up in uggies next week and sings Khe Sanh he's got it in the bag. His interests include playing golf, rugby and shaving his beard into an L shape.

Teale announces that love "makes him tick", and that his personal idol is Rick Price. Should we be worried yet?

Predictably enough he's chosen a Rick Price song, Walk Away Renee. I am bored already.

"Throw on some Kappa pants and give him a rat's tail and he'd look like a kickboxer," muses Raoul. I concur.

Kyle says something about undies and tripping. Perhaps he's taken some of what Marcia's on. Dicko asks Teale what sort of artist he's going to become, to which Raoul shouts from the couch "A BULLSHIT ARTIST!" Dicko tells Teale it's a big space and he needs to fill it - Chrislyn should take care of that, surely? Marcia says he has to stand still while singing songs like that, so Teale did a great job. Of standing still. Good-o. The ghost of Holden moans and rattles his chains.

Suddenly all the Idols are involved in a high-tech group orgy, which turns out to be an ad for Sony Ericsson mobile phones. One of them rings and it sounds remarkably like Tom Williams.

Moving right along to Sophie Paterson, who moved to London several years ago to become a famous musician but ended up just dyeing her hair and perfecting her "drunken office party karaoke slur", which she now uses to dress every song.

She's chosen Counting Crows' Mr Jones. Point of interest: when this song first came out I thought it was about a Chinese businessman called Mr Chungami. "Mr Chungami, stares at the beautiful women..." Anyway.

Speaking of Chinese businessmen, IS SOPHIE PREGNANT? No, it's just that FUCKING UGLY SKIRT she's wearing. Seriously, if you're as thin and cute as Sophie, and a skirt manages to make you look pregnant, you should TAKE IT OUTSIDE AND BURN IT, BURN IT GOOD, AND DANCE AROUND THE FLAMES PERIODICALLY SPRAYING KEROSENE ON THE FIERY MASS. Possibly while singing Counting Crows.

So far I've been on the fence about Miss Paterson - looks like Brigitte Bardot, but sounds REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING. Honestly, I can't stand that slurring way she sings. It's not just her either, this "slack moll slurring" (as Raoul puts it) is an epidemic in modern music. Lisa Mitchell (aka Shuffles McBalletflats) was famous for it in Idol 2006, and Sarah Blasko's not immune, either. Can't we take all these birds to June Dally Watkins and make them prance around the room with books on their heads and marbles in their mouths, singing "The rain in spain falls mainly on the plain" until they learn? Come to think of it, if Sophie does that next week I reckon she'd do better than this performance. It'd be kind of Bobby Flynn-esque.

"You can imagine dogs barking at that," sniffs Raoul in between mouthfuls of pad thai.

"I would actually pay money to never listen to her sing again," pipes up Sooty. I concur.

Dicko has obviously been rifling through Marcia's medicine cupboard during the adbreak, as he blames Sophie's "big teeth" for her strange anunciation. What. The. Fuck? She's not Cletus the slack-jawed yokel, Dicko! Marcia does her usual thing of seeming to contradict what Dicko has just said but actually reiterate it at the same time by saying if that's the way Sophie sings it's her damn choice, but she needs to articulate her words more clearly. Kyle says Sophie has a smashing body, but she looks a little underdone. By about 6 months I reckon, going by that skirt. The ghost of Holden says "Yowza wowza hoo mama!"

Moving on to Luke Dickens, the grouse Aussie shearer, who's either the underdog or thebest thing since the Royal Flying Doctor Service, depending on your proximity to the coast.

Ricki Lee interviews him and he tells a scintillating story about someone cooking him dinner. Luckily she has next to no idea about microphone technique, so we get to miss half of his responses to her boring questions.

"He looks a bit Lemony Snickett," murmurs a pile of old blankets in the corner. On closer inspection, it's my third Idol sidecar for the evening, The Scientist. He's a man of few words, The Scientist, but they're all very carefully measured ones.

Personally I think Luke looks more like one of the members of System of a Down - I pray he'll do a bit of Toxicity and freak Tom Williams out. Run, Oliver, run! His crazy goatee beard makes it look as though his chin is on fire. Or as though a small woodland animal has attached itself to his face. Neither of which are very desirable states of being. The thing is, there's no doubting that Luke is a big old bogan, but there's not much you can do with his look - shave off the goatee and the sidies, and you've got Australia's Most Wanted. Maybe some purple velvet would help, Sheridan?

He does Joe Cocker's Feelin Alright, and you know what? He's pretty good. Really, very god. I'd quite enjoy this if I was at a pub with a few pints in me. I might even dance. Yeah, rock on Luke. It's such a standard, passable performance I'm forced to look to the backing singers for comedy support. They all look so fricking happy.

"They're not getting booted off the show, that's why," snipes Raoul.

"We've got a job next week - woo, hoo!" he sings along.

Marcia announces that Luke is white, which clears up any confusion there may have been in the audience previously. Kyle says he owns the stage, so could Luke please get the fuck off it before he scratches it, and Dicko says his performance made the judges dance with joy. Wish they caught THAT on camera. The ghost of Holden pulls off his mask and reveals he's actually Old Man Withers from the haunted amusement park.

Moving on to Brooke "Who?" Addamo. Every Idol season has to have its older-than-her-years schoolgirl, and this year it's Brooke. She's very pretty, she's very nice, and she likes performing in school musicals and having sleepovers with her friends in which (if her video package is to be believed) they spray whipped cream on each other and hit each other with pillows. Meanwhile, middle aged men all over Australia are making excuses to leave the room for a few minutes.

But here's the deal. I think Brooke has got an amazing voice. In fact, I think she's one of the best in the competition. But I'll be jiggered if I can remember the girl's face. I have a similar problem with Naomi Watts - pretty, talented, constantly in the public eye, and yet I just can't cement them in my brain. I saw Naomi on the cover of a magazine at the hairdresser the other day and thought "How nice that they're starting to use models again instead of celebrities!"

Anyway, Brooke is doing Natasha Bedingfield's These Words, which makes a nice change from the Jewel/Coldplay megamix she's been rocking up until now. She sounds AMAZING. Except when she says "hyper-bowl" instaed of "hyperbole". I mean, I know Natasha says that in the original song, but do we have to perpetuate stupidity?

All three judges hook themselves up the communal bong and sing the "We've seen you do better" anthem, despite the fact that Brooke has actually never sounded better. The ghost of Holden, who is himself already a puff of smoke, says nothing, as he's still busy fighting off Scooby Doo and Shaggy.

Next up is Thanh Bui, otherwise known as the Asian John Farnham for his peculiar ability to make any song sound like Burn For You. Rumour has it that Thanh has actually been filling in for Whispering Jack ever since the last "farewell tour" announcement in 2003.

He's chosen Maroon 5's This Love. Not that you'd know it, as he's tricked out the arrangement to make it sound like an obscure dance track from 1995. It sounds like shit, but it goes curiously well with his weird-ass vest/chain/shirt combo.

"This is soft," barks Raoul.

"These people are just so pathetic," scowls Sooty.

"And the worst thing is, the judges are going to say that was great cos they're all on fucking drugs today," she continues.

Strangely, she's wrong. Kyle says it was like something out of an Adam Sandler comedy film, and then says it was the Idol version of "blue steel". So actually maybe it was like something out of a Ben Stiller film. Maybe it was out of a Chevy Chase film? National Lampoons go to Crapsville?

Thanh fights back by claiming he wanted to give the audience something they'd never seen before. There's a reason why we haven't seen it, Thanh.

Dicko says it was overcomplicated, and Marcia asks him to pull it out and show everybody. Which, I think, is the first time in BC Idol blogging history that Marcia has ever achieved QUOTE OF THE WEEK! Congratulations, Marcia! Former QOTW winner, the ghost of Holden, grumps off into a corner.

Thanh spends the next two minutes ensuring he'll be kicked off tomorrow night by whingeing about how he's an artist and no one understands him, etc. etc. So I guess this is his farewell performance?

Moving right along to Madam Parker, the finalist with the name for the job but not the personality. With her shy demeanour and massive earrings, I'm wondering if Emily and Lavina Williams have a long lost sister they never knew about. I keep waiting for Jack Thompson to pop out and reunite them all.

Anyway, Madam apparently moved from New Zealand to Australia to "make a better life" for her and her child. This angers Sooty, who screams "She's acting as if New Zealand is a fucking savage outpost!" She has a point. I mean, what did she do when she arrived in Sydney? "What be those horseless, metallic chariots? And what be this light that comes from a globe when all else around be dark? Ooh Australia be a far advanced land, for certain!"

So anyway, she's doing some song about not being able to stop. I don't know what though. Bowel movements, possibly, given that she's spending most of her dance routine squatting and straining. She looks cool though, in cut off leather gloves, tight black jeans and a choker with sexy curls. The song is utter pants, but it's a perfect song choice for her (particularly given she may actually need some new pants at the end). It sounds like something they'd play on Nova, about 200 million times a day.

"That was rubbish," yells Raoul.

"That was gold, absolute gold!" yells Dicko. I guess there's no accounting for taste.

Marcia gives her props, and Kyle mentions Madam is on fire. Maybe she stood too close to Luke's beard backstage? The ghost of Holden says nothing, having gotten thoroughly bored with the distinct lack of attention he's been getting.

MEanwhile, The Scientist has been a bit quiet here in Idol HQ - what's up?

"I don't give a fuck, to be honest," he says.

"Yeah, I would be happy if I never watched this again. There's so much other good films to watch," slurs Raoul.

"So much other good films? What the fuck?" says Sooty.

This intellectual postulating is suddenly interrupted by the entrance of Jonny "I'm not a techno goth" Taylor, who is not a techno goth because he's wearing cammo pants this week. See?

Sooty reckons Jonny has massively oversized hands. Apparently he also had a car crash a few years ago. Are the two things related? Who can say?

He's chosen to do Pearl Jam's Better Man, and FUCKING HELL he really DOES have huge hands! They take up half the screen! And hey, you know what they say about men with big hands? Big gloves.

The amount that I love Jonny's deep, sexy, velvety voice is inversely proportional to the way I dislike his lank, greasy, home dyed hair. He sounds great doing this song, although it is lacking passion. And I respect his choice to do the Aussie pronounciation of "can't". GOOD ONYA JONNY, STICK IT TO UNCLE SAM AND CHUCK ANOTHER PRAWN ON THE BARBIE.

Marcia tells us all that she doesn't live inside Jonny's brain. Thanks for the update, Marcia. Kyle says there were two things he couldn't get over during Jonny's performance. Me too - HIS TWO GIANT HANDS. But no, Kyle apparently has a problem with Australians singing in an Australian accent. Because it's just so much more AUTHENTIC to sing like Americans. Dicko lets us all know how awesome he is by pointing out that he worked with Eddie Vedder before he was famous, and then invites Jonny on a drive in the country with him to "get a bit Wolf Creek". Yeah. I think I know who would turn out to be the psycho killer in that situation. The ghost of Holden shrieks "AVENGE MY DEATH!" and it's back over to Ken Doll and Monkey Boy for a bit of post performance banter.

"It is difficult being naked up here," says Jonny, who obviously has an elevated idea of how effective camouflage pants actually are.

"Naked? That'd get you the votes," says Ken Doll. Especially if those hands are anything to go by...

Moving on to our next performer for the evening, Chrislyn Hamilton. And just for something different, she's singing ARETHA FUCKING FRANKLIN. Oh Chrislyn, think. Think about what you're trying to do to us.

Chrislyn storms out on stage with all the bubble and sass of a shaken up bottle of Lucozade - WOO is she happy to be there! But honey - we know you're fat and fabulous, but shiny blue spandex tops are not your friend. I hate to say it, but she looks rather like that Hyundai they've been spruiking in the adbreaks.

I was a major Chrislyn fan up until now, but this performance is just sloppy. If I wanted a fat chick to yell and puff and strut at me for five minutes I would have tuned in to Jerry Springer. This is no good. I'm heartbroken.

Dicko tells her to get on the treadmill because she's too puffed. Marcia says you can't sing like that unless you've been loved. Maybe she has been - it would explain the breathlessness. Kyle stands up and rips what was left of Holden's heart right out of his rotting corpse by screaming "TOUCHDOWN!" and making the crowd go mental. The ghost of Holden starts practising flicking a coin across the floor, so he can kick Kyle's arse later on.

And before you can say "it's not over til the fat lady sings"... it's not over. Because Mark Sparno is our final performer for the night. DEAR GOD WILL IT NEVER END.

Mark's package reveals that he lives in a flat out the back of his grandma's house. Mark is so rock. I quite like Mark actually, but his face is a little bit too "identikit photo" for me. Still, as long as Luke the shearer stays in he'll look less criminally inclined by comparison. Mark mentions he's been up at the crack of dawn, prompting all four of us in Idol HQ to yell "WHO'S DAWN?" and laugh hysterically at our own awesomeness.

Suddenly he launches into INXS' Never Tear Us Apart, and I'm sure it's wonderful but I can't concentrate as I've been distracted by his jacket, which looks like it's been mauled by a tiger on the way to the stage. Still, it doesn't stop the wicked rockness that is Marko, the Italian stallion. Even without the obligatory 80s sax solo, it's a slice of fabulousness on a plate of awesome.

Marcia congratulates Mark on knowing what to sing. Yes, see, he chose a song and learned it, and then... oh never mind, Marcia, you'll pick it up as the show goes on. Mark announces he's never done a string section before. Plenty of time for that after the show mate, steady on. Kyle calls him the real deal, and Dicko says he's "masculine, sexy, dangerous and cheeky". All of which are true and have no comedic value whatsoever. The ghost of Holden looks up from his coin flicking and says "Ditto".

And finally we're at the end of the road. Ricki Lee lurches into frame again and urges us to get behind our favourites, prompting Raoul to bark "CAN WE VOTE HER OUT?"

And suddenly everyone rushes off stage to "get into the backstage action". Possibly involving a string section. Who will be kicked off tomorrow night? Than Bui. Ten bucks.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

No rest for the wicked...

So there I was, settling down to watch the opening episode of Australian Idol, my heart buoyed by the notion that I was NOT going to blog this season and I was free to enjoy the show without having to come up with hilarious jokes every five minutes, and then Kyle goes and says this:

"If you're a muso and you haven't had a crack at Idol you're not taking it serious enough."

Well SHIT. How can I ignore that kind of comedy gold?

So look, I'll cut you a deal, kids. Idol is "fast tracking" the trip to the final 12 this year, and so will I.

All those BC readers who haven't yet blacklisted me for not delivering on the ANTM finale: Tune back in after the auditions and semi finals are over, and we'll get Idol blogging CRAZY up in here, y'all!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

An open letter to my lovely (and not so lovely) fans

Given that I seem to get far more comments when I DON'T post anything on here than when I do (44 and counting, woo!), I'm not quite sure why I'm bothering to write this, but to be honest - I'm getting sick of all the nagging and whingeing about my absence.

Some of my personal favourite comments so far:

"I'm taking you off speed dial (read: removing you from my browser favourites) I'm seriously disappointed"

"Petstar, I think you've blown it. Too much time has passed. You must have a big problem with procrastination."

"Wow procrastination if i ever did see it! Cmon, quite annoying"

And my absolute favourite, from anonymous (aren't they always?)

"I'd be fine not getting a recap, but I am pissed off by false promises. It is time for petstarr - even if sh has to get a medium to channel her - to admit she has changed her mind and will not recap. No one forced her to say twice - twice - \it's coming soon. 'I promise'. Anyone who reads this site is disappointed as the recaps are such fun. But the promises hold out false hope and I think it is rude and immature to promise and run away. 'Sorry, can't face it after all' would satisfy me."



But it was this comment, left on my new AdelaideNow blog, that really pissed me off.

So you basically abandon your other blog and fans over there without so much as a by your leave? Nice.

Sorry, "Blonde Canyon", I wasn't aware I owed anyone anything, actually. The fact is - this blog is a hobby. You know, something you do just for FUN, because you ENJOY it. Not because there are thousands of people monitoring you and if you don't then they'll start hanging shit on you. What's your hobby? Scrapbooking? Footy? Imagine if all of a sudden people started banging on your front door every Sunday morning demanding to know why you weren't at the park kicking the ball around, or in the kitchen cutting up magazines in creative ways? YOU MEAN YOU DECIDED TO TAKE SOME TIME OFF BECAUSE YOU WERE TIRED? YOU SUCK.

When I start receiving cheques in the mail from all my paid blog subscribers, I'll start feeling obliged to keep this thing updated come hail, shine or lack of sleep.

There seem to be a few theories out there as to why I've (temporarily) abandoned the Bland Canyon. One is that I'm a really bad procrastinator - true, generally, although that has nothing to do with this situation. The other is that Rupert Murdoch turned up at my house with a tray of martinis, a wheelbarrow full of cash and a contract stating I must abandon all personal pursuits in perpetuity - half true. It was a suitcase, not a wheelbarrow.

But ultimately, it comes down to this: I've just gotten a new job. I love it, but it's very intense and time consuming. I spend about 11 hours a day sitting in front of a computer writing, so the idea of spending the only free time I have in front of my home computer writing doesn't exactly appeal to me like it used to. The hobby has begun to resemble "work". And working 24 hours a day, seven days a week isn't my idea of a fun way to pass the time.

I'm still not sure if I'll blog Australian Idol this year. Part of me wants to continue the tradition, but the little voice in my head keeps reminding me that it means six hour writing shifts each Sunday and Monday night, and I think I might lose the last shred of sanity I have left if I undertake that task this year. I guess I'll find out what I've decided on August 24.

A hearty thank you to all my loyal supporters, fans and readers. Although some of your recent comments have irked me, it is sort of nice to know that you care enough to feel anything at all that I've gone silent.

In the meantime - I'm not closing the BC, I'm just putting up the "do not disturb" sign for a little while, OK?


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's coming, I promise...

Ok, enough with the hassling and the begging and the pleading... THE ANTM FINALE WRAP UP IS COMING, I PROMISE.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

In recovery

While I recover from the hedonistic wasteland that was the Top Model finale and the after parties that followed (and, more importantly, try to work out what the hell to write about it all), I think the following question is worth considering:

Is this abandoned cat from the RSCPA's Lonsdale shelter actually Cthulhu, keeper of all evil?

Exhibit A: Sabby.

Exhibit B: Cthulhu.

You decide.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Australia's Next Top Model Wrap Up: Episode Ten

OH MOY GOURD what a week it's been in fashion land, BCites, what a WEEK it's been.

First everyone's favourite geezer gets hauled up on domestic assault charges (thank goodness it's not anything more Bill Henson-esque, right? THAT would have been embarrassing after his little ANTM tea party with Demelza and Alyce, wouldn't it?), then the lovely Jayson Brunsdon designs a frilly nightmare for Miss Australia and promptly gets cancer.

Then Givenchy declared thalidomide the new "must-have" accessory on the front page of its website (HINT: check the brunette model's limbs.)

And then a size 16 teenager from Perth hit the media and opened up an intelligent discourse about extra thin models and normal sized girls and weight issues and made us all think twice about our prejudices before setting us all back to square one again by saying "The big girls I know are really, really nice because you've got to have good personalities for people to like you." Because no one could possibly like a big girl otherwise, RIGHT? AM I RIGHT?

And of course, the ANTM modelettes hit the bright lights of the Big Apple and still manage to make the most boring episode ever. But more on that later.

First we have to endure the obligatory flashback to last week's eviction, when Jodhello cut the fat and told Caris she was the biggest loser. Or was it the weakest link?

"I was upset but it wasn't my time to be upset, it was all about Caris going home and I didn't want to take any of that away from her," says the always thoughtful Alex. So nice of her not to take anything away from Caris' potentially Oscar-winning moment of tragedy and woe.

"You're going... to... ... ... ... ..." (everyone checks their watches to see if it's still 2008) "... ... ... ... THE BIG APPLE!" shrieks Jodhello, and then realises Samantha is in the room and clarifies: "NEW YORK!"

This sends Alex, Samantha and Demelza into an impromptu group impression of Alex's photo shoot from last week:

I just wanted to use this picture again

before they all say a quick goodbye to the model mansion and emerge, via some handy montages, in New York.

"OH MY GOSH A YELLOW TAXI!" shrieks Demelza, pointing out the window.

"OH MY GOSH A BIG COW!" shrieks Alex, pointing at Demelza, just for old times' sake.

"OH MY GOSH THEY DRIVE ON THE OTHER SIDE HERE!" shrieks Samantha. Wait til she finds out they speak American.

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING STATUE OF LIBERTY BROOKLYN BRIDGE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING STATUE OF LIBERTY SKYLINE SKYLINE SKYLINE. (The producers might have paid a lot of money to bring this show to New York, that doesn't mean they've got any left to actually DO anything while they're there, right? So they're going to show you establishing shots until you PUKE, GOD DAMMIT, and you're going to LIKE IT).

After approximately five and a half hours of driving around Brooklyn pointing out yellow taxis and how they're STILL driving on the right, the girls finally turn up at their hotel, THE ALEX. Tall, stony, hard and partially constructed of man made substances - yep, sounds rather aptly named to me.

One of these is lauded for its beautiful and unconventional design. Guess which one.

The next three minutes are filled with the girls standing on their penthouse balcony and expressing amazement that they can look down on the street ("AND LOOK! A YELLOW TAXI!") before Demelza gets her priorities straight and runs inside to put dibs on the only double bed. Sam's like, annoyed, because Demelza is like, a bit of a princess and that, but she doesn't really mind cos like, she's got dibs on the king sized bed in the other room and Alex has to sleep in the single bed, nyer nyer.

Tell me if this is getting boring, won't you? WE'RE IN NEW YORK, WOO! BEDS AND TAXIS, WOO!

"I like Sam, but I wouldn't want to share a room with her. I'm scared of her sometimes," says Demelza.

Is this why, Demelza? It's this, isn't it? Is it?

Some more boring crap happens and all of a sudden it's the crack of dawn and a gloved hand is opening the door to their apartment and OH MY GOD, THEY'RE BEING BROKEN INTO ALREADY. THEY'VE BEEN IN NEW YORK FOR LESS THAN 24 HOURS AND ALREADY THEIR APARTMENT IS BEING BROKEN INTO. My GOD the CRIME RATE in that city is just... oh wait, it's just Jodhello.


Jodhello and the modelettes put on their thermal underwear, two pairs of jeans, three t shirts, five jumpers, two scarves, a few blankets and 62 pairs of socks each to go and sit in the freezing cold and have breakfast on their balcony with the Chrysler Building in the background. Did I mention they were in New York?

"This is serious, this is New York!" booms Jodhello, just in case you missed all the gratuitous shots of the Statue of Liberty earlier.

"You'll be going to see some agents today. AGENTS AGENTS AGENTS. NEW YORK. ALICE BURDEU NEW YORK, NEW YORK!"

All the girls rush off to get dressed, while Alex pays tribute to dearly eliminated Alamela by practising her best robot face to impress the New York agents.



"I think I have the best portfolio," slags J'aime Demelza, as she looks over her photos from the past nine weeks while buffing her talons and sharpening her canines. Luckily she remembers to act coy and cute again straight away, by holding up a beauty shot and shrieking "HOW UGLY! GO AWAY YOU MINGER! Look how HIDEOUS that is!" in a completely sincere and believeable fashion. When she discovers the photo is actually of her, not Alex, she is devastated.

They all rock up at Marilyn agency, which is run by an ewok - no sorry, a guy called Kwok - and which they have no hope of ever getting into as they only take 10 girls a year. And because the ewok hates them all.

"The first time the girls came in I definitely noticed Demelle," blathers Ewok, who may or may not be talking about a completely different group of girls.

Apparently this "Demelle" is tall and cute with great skin (hmm, maybe the producers should grab her, she sounds heaps better than the three we've been stuck with) but on the down side she's a bit young with boring photographs.

"I can see potential with Demelle, but in photograph it was forgettable. I don't remember," continues Ewok, before adding "HOW UGLY, GO AWAY YOU MINGER!"

Samantha confuses her agency interview for an episode of Whose Line is it Anyway and conducts her entire interview in questions: "I'm 20 years old? And I'm a university student? I'm studying business and commerce?" Confident and happy, she settles back and waits for the hoe-down challenge.

"I thought Sam's photos were beautiful - I love the way people re-touch her," says Ewok in what could be QUOTE OF THE SEASON.

Kwok say: Photoshop fix everything. Even eyebrows.

Sadly, a girl with bushy eyebrows and bags under her eyes that can only speak in questions isn't exactly what Ewok's after. He moves on to The Alex Building, and despite looking like a cross between Labyrinth David Bowie and the new, fifth Denim Wiggle, she manages to be the only model to impress the Ewok by looking "fashion".

After five minutes of thrilling television they all move down the street to a government nursing home, where Jodhello has promised all the pensioners a catwalk show. They're not all happy about it, particularly not this man who hasn't had a cup of tea since 8am and didn't get any jelly at the lunch service:


Whoops, sorry, they're actually at MC2 modelling agency and this man is the director. He's also called Pink, so I'm not sure which story he'd prefer I stick to, actually.

"We're looking for strong, confident, beautiful women between the ages of 16 to 22," says Pink, which coincidentally is the exact same manifesto of 95% of men on (if you replace the words "strong" and "confident" with "easy" and "alive").

He introduces us to requisite sleazy French dude Jean Luc, who craps on about how he discovered Christy Turlington and Elle Macpherson and "Sara Ho Hare".

This be Sara Ho Hair, a-ight? Fo' shiznit.

"I don't like ze eyes, zere are nearly no eyelids," snaps Jean Luc, adding yet another dot point to the ever growing list of scary facial attributes Alex has.

Alex is told she'll never make it, and Sam is declared a "catalogue model", which basically means she can go live in a remote outback community and farm dirt for all the fashion world cares, but that's nothing compared to the ruckus kicked up when it is revealed that Demelza has 36 inch hips.

"Zat 36 is going to haunt you," snarls Jean Luc, with what looks like a slight smile. He couldn't be more French if he was eating a beret sandwich on the back of a bicycle.

"36? She's 36?" says Pink in amazement.

"DID YOU SAY 36?" gasps the receptionist as a shocked mailman trips over a box of parcels in the hall and random admin staff start throwing themselves out of the window shouting "THIRTYYYY SIIIIIIIX!"

"OH NO, NOT 36!!".

"I think that she has to lose weight - A LOT of weight. She has horrible, horrible legs," says Pink, who obviously is an oil painting himself and so allowed to say these things.


Then it's off to Elite, which apparently takes only "the cream" of models. Hey, Demelza EATS a lot of cream, will that be ok?

Elite in a can.

They love Alex, think Samantha has a body from heaven and Demelza has "fleshy arms" but is "achingly beautiful", which probably explains why she's been such a pain in the arse this whole series.

In the end they decide the best solution is to create a hybrid model of Alex's personality, Sam's body and Demelza's face, which would apparently be a supermodel force to be reckoned with, so it's off to the lab they go, scalpels in hand!

Meanwhile, a hybrid model of Samantha's mouth, Demelza's eyes and Alex's nose would be deemed a national tragedy.


"One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art," reads Sam from the next morning's Jodhi mail.

"MAYBE WE'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ARTY?" she guesses. She's smart, is our Sam.


The modelettes pack off to a gallery in Soho and, sensing an impending eviction, grab a hostage along the way:


There they meet Jodhello and an "incredible designer" she pretends to be best friends with called Malan Breton (not MILAN, Jodhello, take note...) which you may know as THAT GUY OFF PROJECT RUNWAY WOT LOOKS LIKE EDDIE MUNSTER AND HAS A FUNNY LAUGH AND THAT.

This is what's known in the trade as a "cross promotion".

He announces he's going to be showing a retrospective of his work, which should be exciting given his label was launched all of four years ago, and immediately slaps a giant chicken on Demelza's head while asking her to "feel the outfit".

What was that Dawson said last week about looking like you've come out of a chook's bum?

Malan in a museum challenge in a nutshell:

  • Samantha slinks out in a slanty fedora and a silk shirt and manages to look like Bogart AND Bacall at the same time.

  • Alex has some high heel "issues", which results in her limping down the catwalk looking like a vampire with bunions.

  • Australia's most fashionable Skeletor impersonator Alice Burdeu makes an appearance, disses Alex, looks a vision of skeletal gorgeousness.

  • Malan opts not to call Demelza fat, instead labelling her "a real woman" which, given she's 16 and has 36 inch hips is a) laughable and b) ridiculous.

  • The theory that Alex actually HAS bunions gathers weight as she throws on a blue velour dressing gown and limps down the runway like nanna on her way to feed the cat.

  • Demelza gets to dress up as a chicken, a Christmas tree and a pear - oh no wait, that's just a green dress. I THOUGHT she was supposed to be a pear, you know, BECAUSE OF HER 36 INCH HIPS.

After the show Alice graces the scrags with her presence once again, this time to drop some sort of advice like "Don't forget to brush your teeth" or "You can often find spare change in between the couch cushions if you look hard enough" or something like that, and Jodhello sends them all off to bed in preparation for their "first proper international photo shoot" the next day. So... Fiji's a part of Australia now, is it? Goody, Jetstar should be flying there soon.


Nex thing you know they're in Napoleon Perdis' apartment, and no, it's not a dream. For some reason he's wearing a leather jacket with FREE TIBET emblazoned across the back and some horrific plastic track pants that were probably made in China. How very confusing. The top half says "I'm political and stylish, and I'm going to drink fair trade coffee while rocking out to Three Doors Down on my iPod" while the bottom half says "OI, I TOLD YOU NOT TO FUCK WIV MY GIRLFRIEND, MARIO - I'M GARN TO HANG AT KFC".

A big gay black stylist throws some clothes at them and they all prance about for a bit. Sam twirls around in a Balenciaga coat like she's recreating the opening sequence to the Mary Tyler Moore show, while Alex bitches about how she just "doesn't understand the Balenciaga woman" - not like you understood those high heels before, eh Alex?

"There's nothing that compares to wearing Gucci and Balenciaga and Lanvin," mews Demelza, who by the way is A 16 YEAR OLD SCHOOL STUDENT. Wear that stuff to PE, do you dear?

For the second year in a row Napoleon proves himself to be the human equivalent of truth serum by getting the girls to say outrageous things about each other by languidly waving the hint of a suggestion in their faces (not to mention a hint of lipstick). Forget the green pen, give Napoleon a blusher brush and he's a better interviewer than Kerry O'Brien.

NAPOLEON: "Do you think Sam is smart?"

DEMELZA: "Yeah..."

NAPOLEON: "Not as smart as Alex?"

DEMELZA: "Um... yes..."

NAPOLEON: "So you think Sam is a little bit more dumb?"

DEMELZA: "Sam still has confidence issues, I think..."


Make-upped and haired, the girls hit the street and get to work. And after a few hours when they've raised enough money for the subway fare they ride to Chinatown for the photo shoot.

First proper international photo shoot in a nutshell:

  • Alex lopes out in an Abraham Lincoln hat and an off-the-shoulder frilly thing that looks like it may have been constructed using three-ply and Clag, and is still almost outshone by the BIG YELLOW TAXI she's forced to continously get in and out of. (Seriously, is the NYC taxi board a sponsor this week or something?)

  • Demelza's brief - leaning against a BIG YELLOW TAXI in a pair of be-pom-pommed platforms she's stolen from a passing muppet - proves too complex for her and she's taken off the job to swap outfits.

  • The question of which muppet Demelza may have stolen her shoes from is answered when Sam comes out looking like Sesame Street crossed with Bettina from 1970s Play School.

  • Sam is told to laugh and smile, and for the first time ever in a photo shoot, can't. Except when she's finished, and realises she did a bad job. Then she laughs. And smiles. And cries. Girl's got ISS-UES>

After the shoot the girls get a day to be tourists, which is about as exciting for the home viewer as it sounds. If you've ever looked through someone's happy snaps from their recent trip to New York, you've seen the next five minutes of television. To break it down for you:


Clearly NYC cops haven't got much to do since 9-11, as one of them is waiting in Times Square to give the girls a Jodhi Mail. America's finest, don't you know. Sadly he doesn't hold out his badge and yell "FREEZE, MOTHER F*CKERS, ON THE GROUND!" first, but oh well.

Surprise, surprise, it's an elimination letter - next thing you know the girls are back in Sydney at the eliminaton warehouse, where there are no yellow taxis to speak of, hurrah!

"I have more of a chance of making it through than not making it through, based on how many girls there are," says Alex, who has obviously dropped the Kafka for Advanced Mathematics Vol 3.

"10 weeks ago 13 girls stood before me, but now there are three. Two of you will make it through, and only one of you will win, ee-i ee-i ee-i o," says Jodhello, who has just started Counting Fun with Old Macdonald.

Each of the three modelettes (that's two plus one) (or four take one, depending on what chapter you're up to) spouts off some crap about why they should be Australia's Next Top Model. Alex says she's independent and smart, Sam says she just wants it, and Demelza says she should win because she's done everything on her own. As opposed to all the other models who've had stand-ins up until now.

"At this stage of the competition I feel like I've already won. And that's why I should win," says Demelza. Hmm. I don't THINK that's how that "I feel like I've already won" phrase works, darling, want to try again?

Anyway, enough of this boring talkfest, let's on to the picture bitch:

  • Demelza's little face looks angry, angular and hard. In contrast, her shoes looks fluffy, pink and muppetlike!

  • Alex looks like Abraham Lincoln in drag trying to car jack a taxi driver. The judges call it "fashion" which, as we all know, means "stupid".

  • Sam is declared "easy to shoot" - especially when she wears those platform heels and she can't run away as fast.

  • The judges are torn on who to boot, so clearly the only way to decide who gets eliminated is to go by current outfits:

Nope, that's too hard as well. Although Alex is definitely a front runner.

Turns out Alex's 1982 stone wash denim mini skirt with triangle cut out hem and gigantic belt isn't enough to turn the judges off - she's the first one through to the final.

And so we're down to two: Demelza "36 inches" and Sam "Call me 'dark horse' one more f*cking time and I'll top you". Click clack goes the clipboard and the deed is done - it's goodbye and don't play it again, Sam. Well, that makes sense - she did have the best body in the competition.

Now don't cry too hard luvvies, but next week's wrap up will be late. Very late. In fact, I might not even get around to posting one at all. You see, I'm going to be hanging out with Dawson, Pezza, Porridge, Jodhello, scrags et al at the ANTM LIVE FINALE and will be too busy throwing back champers and canapes to get to a computer and write anything up. But I promise to give a full run down when I get back.

In the meantime, head over to Jo Blogs and check out her etchings.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Australia's Next Top Model Wrap Up: Episode Nine

Before we go any further into tonight's episode recap, I feel I must give you a warning: THIS IS POSSIBLY THE BEST EPISODE OF AUSTRALIA'S NEXT TOP MODEL EVER, mainly due to the extremely weird photo shoot. Merely reading about it may cause your head to explode with delight at its supreme greatness.

And furthermore: This episode contains footage that could possibly overtake the time that kangaroo attacked Marty Monster, the time that dog did a crap on Graham Kennedy's studio floor and the time Bert Newton almost got punched out by Mohammed Ali at the Logies as the most exciting thing ever broadcast on Australian television.

Just a reminder: It's better than THIS.

But more on that later. For now, we must content ourselves with the exciting opening to the show, which is... guess! Nah, go on, guess! THAT'S RIGHT, A FLASHBACK TO LAST WEEK'S ELIMINATION. Gosh, you're smart.

"It was strange being in the bottom two, I didn't really feel upset," says Caris.

Caris ISN'T upset for once. I'll just let that sink in for a moment.

"Now Alyse is gone I've lost a really great friend," says Demelza, clearly feeling the pain of Alyse's sudden departure.

Parting is such sweet... Well, it's just sweet, actually.

Anyway, let's away to the model mansion where Alex is answering the question "Whatever happened to 90s fashion?" in the form of a floral mini dress and a stonking great pair of black boots.

"EEZ A LEETLE BEET TOO LEZBIAN!" slurs Fernando over the back fence.

All the girls are huddled around Samantha's mobile phone - they've received a video message! Sadly, there's clearly congestion on the network, as it all sounds very slow and disjointed and... Oh.

"I've... got... some... very... important... news... for you..."

The very important news is, apparently, that three of the girls will be heading to "one of the world's top fashion destinations" by the end of the week. Given that last year's season promised the same thing and delivered L.A. I don't know if we can put much faith in this plan.

"Hey y'all, we're off to Mudville, USA - fashion capital of the redneck world!"

Suddenly in bursts Dawson in an outfit that makes her look like she's just come from the set of HOT MILK, an adult film in which she plays a Swiss cheesemaking peasant girl with a fondness for S&M. Oh, and Ian Thorpe, the fashion designer slash Olympian. Again.

They're there to teach four girls who have had every second of their lives videotaped and broadcast to the nation for the past nine weeks how to deal with the media. A phrase using the words "gate", "horse" and "bolted" springs to mind, but let's plough on anyway.

Thorpey tells the girls he's going to give them some tips on how to make sure their image "is always pristine". Because he's very good at that, isn't he? He and Dawson get the modelettes to walk down a fake red carpet (which runs along the mansion's private jetty but sadly doesn't end at the water) while they pretend to be journalists asking them questions. Journalists on crack, clearly, as the questions they ask all seem to be about carbon emissions, Tibet and child slavery - which as we ALL know are very common questions asked of models at red carpet events.

"LINDSAY, LINDSAY! What's the chemical symbol for lead?"

Journalists on crack on the red carpet challenge in a nutshell:

  • Thorpey asks Demelza how she plans to reduce her carbon footprint, which prompts the gold-coated, diamond encrusted response "If I can care about my emissions, then I'm sure I can make other people care."

This would be a good place to start, I think.

  • According to Dawson, Demelza is "on fire". Thankfully not literally - with all those emissions it could have gotten nasty.

  • Dawson asks Demelza her thoughts on Tibet, provoking a delightfully ambiguous monologue that secures Demelza's spot in next year's Miss Teen USA contest.

  • Thorpey takes an exceptionally long hit on his crack pipe and asks Caris something about prices on Wall St affecting the Australian fashion market. Tumbleweeds roll past as she stares blankly into the black hole of absurdity standing before her. In my world, this is what's known as AN ENTIRELY NORMAL RESPONSE, but Thorpey and Dawson still tut-tut her for her ignorance.

  • Dawson puts on her Celebrity Pimp hat and asks Caris if she'd sleep with Ian Thorpe, before demanding to know which famous person she has a crush on. "GEOFFREY RUSH, cos he's FAN-TASTIC!" slurs Caris. I dust off my I LOVE CARIS badge and superglue it back on to my shirt.

  • Samantha is disqualified for lying by starting her answers with "I think" - clearly an activity she hasn't indulged in for quite some time.

  • Despite doing a remarkable impression of John Lennon, Alex still can't come up with a solution for the Tibet crisis.

Imagine there are no models, it's easy if you try...

Next up, Dawson puts on a false moustache and glasses and fools everybody by announcing she's "Penny Penworth" from Models Monthly, a magazine that, going by the title, probably gets a lot of advertising dollars from U Tampons.

She and Thorpey interview the modelettes, asking some really subtle, tricky questions designed to catch the models out like "Who's the biggest bitch in the house?" and "Who's the fattest cow in the house?" and "Who's the biggest, fattest bitch-cow in the house?" Alex misses the iron-clad subtlety altogether and treats the interview like a therapy session, blahing on and on about how Demelza is immature/fat/bitchy/mean/whatever-at-least-she's-smart-enough-to-work-this-challenge-out-you-dipshit.

Penworth and Co throw a few glib lines about the media at the girls, before throwing some ACTUAL media at them (a rolled up copy of The Australian that sadly misses Demelza's head), and rush off to meet deadline at their place of employment, Crackpipe Weekly.

Back at the model mansion and DING! DING! It's fight night - Demelza has gotten an advance copy of Crackpipe Weekly and isn't happy about Alex's quotes.

"I didn't say you were the fattest," spouts Alex, with half her finger jammed up her nose. (SERIOUSLY girl, you're on television! Keep your nose mining sessions for after dark, would you?)

"I said you had the most work to do, because of your thighs, and I'm pretty sure everyone has the same opinion."

"Well I don't have a bad thing to say about YOU," says Demelza, quickly covering her face with her hands so no one can see her nose growing.

This argument goes on for about six hours longer than it should, given that Demelza is 16 and caring about who likes you and why takes up 90% of your time when you're 16, and Alex is 20 and reads KAFKAAAA and drinks dollar beers at uni in between philosophy lectures and so doesn't give a shit.

Demelza runs off crying, Alex writes her an apology note and I set my alarm to wake me up when the show gets interesting again.

Suddenly the modelettes are all rocking up at a ritzy hotel ("Oh my gosh it was like, so exciting because this is like, where I stay with my parents when we come to Sydney!" says Demelza, while the rest of the world pulls up their ugg boots and yells "SHAAARD-AAAARP!") where Pease Porridge grabs them and throws them, one by one, into a room full of REAL JOURNALISTS who are going to ask them REAL QUESTIONS. LUCKY THEY HAD THAT MEDIA TRAINING, EH.

In a nutshell:

  • "I was excited, I wanted to see what could be written about me and how they would twist my words around," says Caris. As it turns out, the journos want to know too, as interviewing Caris is rather like talking to a stale piece of bread about the stock market.

  • The fickle nature of the media is revealed when Shane Sutton is introduced as the editor in chief of FAMOUS magazine. He's not famous anymore, loves.

  • With Penny Penworth's harsh "How not to be quoted" lesson still in the forefront of her mind, Alex decides not to risk displaying a sense of humour and dodges every question with tight-lipped answers dipped in dull and coated in boring that would make any politician proud.

  • Strangely enough, Samantha's low IQ proves an advantage when being interviewed by gossip columnists. Go figure.

  • Bobby Brady also turns up - clearly he has a cadetship at Crackpipe Weekly.


  • Demelza changes her media image from "bully" to "victim" by revealing how she was bullied once at school and made to "leave a group". She neglects to tell the reporters it was the "Nice, decent teenagers who don't pour water over other people's heads" group.

Anyone else think this?

Due to her ability to smile and talk at the same time, Samantha wins the challenge, and gets to go with Demelza to the launch party for a new sneaker. Or the opening of an envelope, I can't remember which. When they get there Alex and Caris are already there, dressed up as Laverne and Shirley and handing out sushi. This Hunter S Thompson style freak out continues when the girls all troop along to a radio station to be interviewed by two "comedians" and a former soapie star. We can't stop here, this is bat country, so let's move on to our next location, Sydney Prop Specialists, where Caris is OH MY FLOCKING GAD:

Could this be any worse?

The modelettes are all there for a special photo shoot with their photographer, famous American comedian Steve Martin.


Pease Porridge looms into shoot to inform the girls they'll be wearing "HORT KA-CHOOR" this week - the snob in me thinks he probably means haute couture. But then he says the outfits have been designed by Ultimo TAFE students, so actually, he probably DID mean hort ka-choor.

Seems old Stevey Martin has learned a lot about photography from his Hollywood days, as he conducts his shoots like an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway. This results in what is quite possibly THE BEST ANTM PHOTO SHOOT EVER.

Best ANTM photo shoot ever in a nutshell:

  • In a cross between a Ukranian folk dancing outfit and viking war armour, Demelza looks like she should be called Broomhilda and be strapped to the front of a ship somewhere. Instead, Steve gets her to pretend she's catching fairies. "What, with my hands?" she asks. Gold.

  • Steve decides Demelza looks too beautiful looking just a BIT stupid (damn that saucy sea wench) and so makes her look RATHER stupid by getting her to "conduct a mini orchestra", complete with sound effects. Then he gets her to look COMPLETELY stupid by getting her to stamp her feet and scream pathetically. In hindsight, he should have waited until after the shoot, when she stamps her feet and cries pathetically. Practically the same thing.

Did I ask if it could get any worse? The answer is yes. Yes, it could.

  • Sam dresses up as a half-skinned ostrich and shows everyone her chicken fillets. Foul. "I want you to feel like you're escaping!" sleazes Steve - clearly Sam's boobs already got that memo.

  • Not content to have Sam pretend to be a half skinned bird on a breakout, Steve has Sam to pretend to be a half skinned bird with artistic ambition - "painting a picture" and "playing air guitar". She expresses concern that the faces she has to pull make her look stupid.

Unlike the ones she pulls normally, which make her look intelligent and distinguished.

  • Then suddenly in wanders Helena Bonham Carter, who has obviously been attached by a band of glitter carrying ruffians on the way to a toga party... Oh no wait, it's Caris. Looking good, Caris.

  • Caris does a great impression of an after school special by imitating an ice addict trying to remove imaginary insects from her hair, followed by a Mardi Gras raver with a severe hangover. Backstage, 16 year old Demelza gasps "I am NEVER doing drugs."

  • Alex comes out looking something like MY NIGHTMARES. Apparently these costumes are somehow related to different countries - fuck knows what demented corner of the earth this thing comes from. Possibly an Austrian basement.


  • Steve gets Alex to pretend to be a lion tamer but actually it's her boobs that need the taming - they've taken lessons from Sam's chicken fillets and are threatening to fly out at any minute. Looking at the outfit they're encased in I don't necessarily blame them.

  • And then, the best bit of the best ANTM photo shoot ever: Steve gets Alex to pretend to shoo away flies. While hopping on one leg. And blowing. (Seany B bounds onto set going "I'M FREE!") It is truly a masterpiece of theatre, and it looks a bit like this:

    So glamorous.

    "Keep that going, that's hot!" enthuses Steve Martin, while the rest of the crew excuse themselves to go die of laughter somewhere else.

After all this hilarity there's only one thing left to do - make mincemeat of some models in the elimination warehouse. Looks like it's another fancy dress event, as Alex has come in her 1984 Toowoomba primary school teacher outfit again (she OBVIOUSLY thinks these pants are incredibly hip - can SOMEONE please tell her they're THE WORST PANTS EVER CREATED? PLEASE?!!), Samantha has come as 1970s car wash Barbie, Caris has borrowed someone else's body that she found at the morgue and Demelza has come as a schoolgirl from a Japanese porn film.

Like Charlie's Angels, but crappier.

Faced with this group fashion abortion, the judges thoughtfully make everyone strip off into bikinis and parade around a bit until they're cold. Samantha looks wild, Demelza looks wobbly, Caris looks white and Alex looks weird.

And onto the picture bitch:

  • Dawson applauds Samantha for not looking like her head is coming out of a chicken's arse. I'm pretty sure I could achieve that too - maybe I should become a top model.

  • Dawson describes Demelza as looking like Joan of Arc, which probably explains why she was "on fire" in that earlier challenge.

  • Caris looks like a ventriloquist's dummy that's been hung up in the wardrobe for too long, and still looks beautiful. AND she has braces.

  • The judges describe Alex as having a "blank canvas face", looking like "a gargoyle" and "not being exceptionally beautiful", and still end up liking her more than Demelza. Interesting, that.

Jodhello blah blah blahs with the clipboard a bit, calls out a few names, starts a sentence, I go and get myself a cup of tea, make some toast, spit roast a pig, paint the spare room, knit myself a trendy winter scarfe and come back, Jodhello finishes her sentence, and then we're down to TWO MODELETTES: Alex and Caris.

"Unfortunately there's only one seat left on the plane," says Jodhello.

Er, so what? Alyce isn't here anymore and Demelza's already in - one seat between two models isn't exactly advanced mathematics, is it? Nevertheless a decision has to be made, and this time it's Caris, which totally makes sense as all the judges were saying how she never takes a bad photo and she's completely gorgeous.

And as she stumbles off into the sunset, we can hear the strains of the Caris anthem gradually fading out: "I feel like I put so much effort in this week, and I don't think I could have put in any more, and I'm disappointed that my best effort isn't enough..."

SING ALONG EVERYBODY! And then head over to Jo Blogs. Why? BECAUSE I SAID SO.

*Anyone who gets this reference is allowed to be my best friend.