Editor's Note: This recap is extremely late, and for this, my dear readers, I apologise. In fact I've gone one better than that - this morning I fashioned a switch out of hickory sticks and I beat myself with it for exactly seven hours as punishment for being so reckless with my recaps. I do hope this somewhat makes up for my lack of attentiveness. Now, read on, and expext the Final 4 recap later on today...
Just for something different on tonight's Idol, the theme is CONTESTANT'S CHOICE NIGHT. At last - the Idols get a bit of freedom to choose what they want to sing instead of being restricted by such limiting themes as STAGE AND SCREEN NIGHT (ie: any song ever featured in a musical or film at any stage in history ever) and ROCK NIGHT (ie: anything with guitar and drums in it).
But there's a twist - apparently the Idol's song choices tonight are supposed to "reflect them as artists" and show the sort of music they want to produce if they win. If only the recently self-confessed alcoholic and bisexual Kim Cooper was still on the show, we could have expected some Lindsay Lohan covers.
"ALCOHOLIC BISEXUAL? I AM NOT BISEXUAL!"
On to the group performance which tonight is some song I've never heard of. It's all quite entertaining until about half way through when the doors at the back of the stage slide open and Kate steps out. Damn, I forgot she was still there. Plus there are the following irritations:
1. Stan is back wearing a hoodie again. What happened to the vest manifesto?
2. Nathan appears to have dyed his hair with some Napro Live Colour wash-in rinse in shade #666 - Emo Pain.
3. Hayley is dragging the 80s kicking and screaming back to TV by wearing the most unfortunate pair of jeans I've ever seen. Held together by the seams, they're covered in so many holes and rips they are practically begging to be euthanased.
Meanwhile over at the judging desk, Marcia's neck is being attacked by a large aquatic animal.
They called it Flipper, Flipper...
We'll check in with her later and see who wins the fight.
Back on stage and Ken Doll is reminiscing about last week when he got to share drugs with Liza Minnelli via osmosis.
"I think we all learned something from having her here," says Ken Doll.
Lesson one: Don't do drugs.
"OK the results are in everybody," says Ken Doll, getting out his special Idol envelope.
"...and Australia has decided that Liza Minnelli is a tired old hag," finishes Raoul.
As it turns out that's NOT what is written inside the envelope - rather that KATE, STAN and JAMES are in the bottom three.
Wait a minute... STAN? WHAT THE HELL?
Don't worry,it's all a ploy for ratings. Obviously he'll be sent back fir... JAMES IS SAFE? What the? DON'T YOU MEAN STAN? CLEARLY YOU READ IT WRONG, KEN DOLL.
It's down to Stan and the cowgirl. I can't watch. OK that's it - if Kate stays over Stan, I am boycotting the rest of the series in protest.
"Can we watch a movie instead if it's Stan?" says Raoul, who is eyeing off a Werner Herzog DVD. Film snob.
"The Australian Idol dream is over for you... Kate Cook," says Ken Doll.
Hooray! My prediction from the last seven weeks finally comes true!
Stan walks off crying like a big hoodie-wearing baby, while Kate turns to the side, spits and wipes her nose on her sleeve. But not before this intimate moment is captured on screen:
The love that dare not speak its name.
"So now we have to say goodbye to one of the most amazing performers we've seen on this program in years," says Ken Doll. What? Stan IS leaving? Oh wait, he's still talking about Kate.
"I love youse all so much, ay. Oym prahhd to be an Oztrayan," she slags, before being kicked off the stage and back into obscurity. Have fun Kate, watch you don't trip on that tumbleweed on your way out.
Over to Ricki Lee, who's looking slightly distracted - possibly because she's inadvertently picking up Indian public access television direct to her head via the biggest pair of earrings you've ever seen.
"And now to the weather today in Delhi..."
Given those suckers look like they weigh about 3kg each, I hope this means we can expect to see Optus sponsoring Ricki Lee's stretched earlobes next week like this:
"My earlobes get large every time I recharge - yow!"
Anyway, on to the performances which tonight starts with JAMES. But first, a montage - as every Idol has gone home to visit their families this week, and they've decided to film it in the misguided impression that anyone is interested. So we see Mini Zoolander going home to the rest of the Zoolander family for a visit, where is he welcomed by some chopped celery and supermarket bought dips in plastic tubs and some ham and cheese sandwiches. HIS HOME LIFE IS SO GLAMOROUS ALREADY, WHY ON EARTH DOES HE WANT TO BE A CELEBRITY?
James sings Mercy by Duffy, otherwise known as that song on that tampon ad. Given he's surrounded by big red swirling clouds during three quarters of the performance, this isn't really working for me. Plus it starts with an exceptionally 80s saxophone intro, which makes the whole thing feel a bit like a deleted scene from Chances (probably deleted for its distinct lack of nudity). Couple all of that with James' stiff Kel-Knight-esque dancing and you've got a distinctly awkward package.
"Why won't you release me," he sings. Next week, James. Next week.
"He's got ME begging for mercy," snarls Raoul, who is still staring intently at his DVD.
Dicko says James smiles too much. Maybe he could threaten to drown a puppy and help him change that? Marcia says "As long as you're not singing about someone shooting your grandmother, sing with a smile on your face." Backstage, Stan looks at his song choice for next week, Nanna Pumped Full O' Lead, and makes a mental note not to smile. Jay Dee channels Barbara Walters and starts probing James with deep questions, like "Do you really want to win this competition?" and "Do you think I'm cool?". Fortunately Marcia butts in with a game of eye spy she's playing against herself in her own head (NB: she's winning) by saying James looks like something that starts with a "W".
Sometimes these jokes just write themselves.
Moving on to TOBY, who is continuing his meteoric rise from "good looking single teacher" to "sexy superhero snag who regularly sings to children, rescues puppies and wants to meet your mum" by going back to his country hometown, leaning on a few watertanks, hugging a few nannas and crying.
"Grow a dick," shouts Raoul.
"I think about the kids especially every day and I really miss being here," he says, while simultaneously adopting an orphaned kitten and untangling a dolphin from some fishing line.
Toby may well be Australia's perfect bachelor, but he also happens to be stuck in 1996 - a characteristic he demonstrates for the 500th time tonigh by singing Oasis' Don't Look Back in Anger. I have no idea how he sounded, because Raoul and I were too busy reliving our own personal 1996, very loudly. But I was somewhat impressed by Toby's use of "singting" ie: sing acting, by bugging out his eyes and pointing at people when singing the chorus.
Don't look back in anger - JUST LOOK CRAZY.
Marcia says from a mother's point of view, most mothers can only hope they get a teacher like Toby to take care of their kids. And from a single mother's point of view, most can only hope Toby appears at their house one day with a single red rose, a Tickle-Me-Elmo and a tool belt and offers to make love to them, fix the leaky kitchen sink and be the new father of their children.
Jay Dee says "The gloves are off - we're where we are", which is almost a haiku, or a Doors lyrics, I can't quite work out which. Then he picks a fight with Marcia by misquoting her, which leads to an entirely boring exchange about whether she said "son" or "teacher", and Dicko wraps up by saying Toby is too clean cut.
Clean cut LIKE A FOX.
Charging ahead to NATHAN, who instead of going back to what everyone knows is his real home (ie: underneath a pile of feather boas in the spare dressing room at the Theatre Royal) disappoints everyone by outing himself as a bogan complete with staffy, concrete backyard and single mother. He then achieves Solid Gold Bogan status when the local mayor announces Nathan is an official Ambassador for Parramatta.
"You, me, carpark. NOW."
He's singing Maroon 5's Makes Me Wonder. As tonight's song choice is supposed to reflect Nathan's direction as an artist, this makes ME wonder what kind of artist chooses to sing Maroon 5. He's compounded the boredom factor tonight by wearing a really dull outfit - the official Idol uniform of black shirt and tight jeans (extra points for not wearing a vest though). He does make up for it somewhat with his colourful "oh no you didn't" facial expressions, but his voice is wavery and his pitch is all over the place - he's singing like a five year old who's just been told they're been too naughty to have any ice cream, and they're being sent to bed early.
"I wake up with blood-shot eyes, struggled to memorize the way it felt between your thighs..."
Jay Dee says it was a good song choice, and congratulates Nathan on "putting himself into a nice comfortable box". THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING - ZING! Dicko says it was too pitchy, and Marcia agrees with him. SEE, THERE REALLY IS A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING.
On to HAYLEY, who goes back home to give an impromptu performance outside her local fish and chip shop to an audience of about 10 people, six of whom have no idea who she is.
"It means heaps that you guys have fully just come," she says in that eloquent fashion we've come to know and love from Hayley.
Tonight she's singing Somebody Told Me by The Killers. If only somebody told her about THOSE HORRIFIC JEANS, which she's still insisting on wearing. The high notes are proving a problem, so she runs around extra fast and jumps up and down a bit more to make up for it. It doesn't really work.
"Somebody told me that that was abysmal," sings Raoul when she's finished.
Either the judges have all been sharing whatever drugs fell out of Liza Minnelli's purse and onto the floor last week, or the Idol studio is an amazing, magical place where everything sounds a lot better, because everyone goes crazy for Hayley's clearly crap performance. Obviously things look a lot better in the studio as well, because Dicko says Idol has never had anyone as cool as Hayley in seven years. This is despite the fact that she just spent approximately four minutes jumping around like an out of breath toddler at a Wiggles concert, squinting and yelling in the absence of being able to reach the high notes. Also, I'd like to remind you of this:
SO THIS GUY'S NOT COOL ANYMORE? WASABIIII!
"I could watch you all night," Dicko says, but forgets to finish his sentence with "on the hidden webcam I've installed in your hotel room".
Marcia adds some well needed critique to the debate by saying "you go girl". Thanks, Marcia. Jay Dee says it could have been a little bit more electrifying. But by how many more volts?
I reckon about this many.
Moving along to STAN who goes back to Coolangatta where they're already advertising his job at the mall. So if he doesn't win Idol he's going to have to try the Westfield one suburb over.
Then we meet the 500 members of his big, loving family, which is rather a new spin on the "I had a horrific childhood" story he's been dishing out until now. What is this, rent-a-family? IS THIS A COVER UP?
Who cares, he's singing Hallelujah, which (under special a Bland Canyon loophole) allows me to do this:
Yes, yes, it's Cohen, I know. I SAID THERE WAS A LOOPHOLE.
Clearly Stan has been taking voice lessons from sex phone operators this week, because he sounds like Carlotta with laryngitis. It's quite an achievement to turn a beautiful, spiritual hymn into something lewd but somehow Stan manages to make David "pleasing the lord" sound rather obscene.
Fortunately at some point Stan hits a key change, takes a left turn and ends up in Touchdown City. The ghost of Holden almost falls out of the rafters in excitement.
NO ONE CAN TAKE THIS AWAY FREOM ME - TOUCHDOWN!
The ghost of Kyle says nothing, having buggered off to play Wii with Brian McFadden.
Over at the judges' desk, Marcia's having palpitations (although whether that's from the brilliance of Stan's performance or the funny pink pills from the floor, we're not sure). Even the seaweed around her neck is giving him a standing ovation. Dicko dusts off his Idol calculator, does a few sums and says Stan's performance was 90 per cent awesome. And nine per cent "meh" and one per cent weird, what with the flying purple elephants hovering around his head all the time. Note to judges - LEAVE LIZA'S PILLS ALONE. Jay Dee says "I'm about to become the most unpopular person in the room", forgetting that he is in fact ALREADY the most unpopular person in the room.
Back over to JAMES (will this madness never end?). He's clearly suffered a severe brain spasm backstage and forgotten that he's a cute, clean cut 18 year old who actually looks 12, and mistaken himself for a rough, sweaty, sex god. Which explains why he thinks he can sing Kings of Leon's Use Somebody.
Spot the difference.
He's strapped on a guitar for effect - unfortunately the effect is more Bryan Adams does Kings of Leon. Or maybe The Osmonds. As soon as he sings "I've been running around" Raoul silently stands up, picks up his DVD, and walks out of the room. You can only push a man so much.
Cue the judges' criticism about the song being too sexy for James in 3... 2... 1...
"Caleb is so sexy behind the microphone - and that was a cup of tea behind the microphone," says Jay Dee.
Dicko says it should have been acoustic all the way through. Yeah, unplugged! Unplug the microphone too! Marcia gives James props for light and shade - presumably a lamp and a garden umbrella.
Next up is TOBY, doing something completely left field and out of his usual range with Politik by Coldplay.
"For the love of Britpop, leave us all the fuck alone, would ya?"
Once again, Toby's "stage presence" amounts to him creeping about the stage pointing at people and staring angrily at them. I'm not surprised he's angry - this is a shite song to choose for a finale. Not even Coldplay would finish a gig on this song.
Dicko says it was "terrific, committed and wonderful" - which, coincidentally, is the exact headline Cleo Magazine is planning on using for Toby's Bachelor of the Year entry in 2010. Marcia calls it "mighty fine" - which, strangely enough, is Cleo's second choice of headline. Jay Dee says he doesn't get him, but admits he doesn't get a lot in life. Like renewed contracts on television shows.
Over to NATHAN again for Mad World. I fear he may have taken the song's title a bit too literally, given that he appears to be wearing a bed sheet underneath a leather jacket. Apart from that though, it's a bloody good performance - my inner Paris Hilton is screaming "THAT'S HOTT!". It's definitely the performance of the night so far.
Dicko's inner Paris Hilton agrees, saying it was truly excellent, awesome, excellent. Marcia says she's glad Nathan resurrected himself.
"And for my next trick..."
Jay Dee resembles something starting with a "W" by referring to himself in the third person, saying "The mean one's smiling, yay!". Since when is Jay Dee "the mean one"? I thought he was the unecessary one. Or the boring one. Or the irritating one.
Then there's HAYLEY whose gone Stone Cold Sober with a song by Paloma Faith, otherwise known as Gabriella Duffy Winehouse. I'm sufficiently distracted by her shiny black leggings for enough of the performance to miss most of it, but I think I can safely say it was quite good - despite a distinct lack of Pink.
Clearly as bored by this whole thing as I am by now, Dicko says "bloody great, love" and leaves it at that. Marcia says Idol has turned into the Hayley Warner show. If that means she can now sack Jay Dee, I'm pro this development. Jay "the mean one" Dee does some more name dropping by saying his boss had dinner with Paloma recently. Everyone struggles to care.
And we move on to the final performance of the night...
...STAN who will no doubt bring it on home and have people pounding the floor and swinging from the rafters with a completely awesome rendition of... Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
Seriously - AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH? Of ALL the songs he could have chosen, he goes for this lame soundtrack-filler? STAN, I AM LOSING FAITH IN YOU.
Added to the crap song choice, he's out of breath, missing out words and dancing like your dad at Christmas. Stan, what the hell have you done?
"Ain't no mountain high enough," he sings.
"The only mountain here is the steaming pile of poo that Stan's just pulled out," yells Raoul from the next room. I concur.
Back at pill-popping central, Marcia says it's an old standard, and Stan breathed new life into it. I think what she meant to say was that she has low standards, so Stan's performance was OK. Jay Dee gives Stan a Sandilands-style backhander by asking if he's still using the treadmill. I think this means STAN IS FAT. Dicko says it's a terrific way to end the night. I concur, as long as you're talking about a hen's night, at a cheap karaoke bar, after six bottles of fruity lexia.
And there you have it. A whole week late, BUT WASN'T IT WORTH IT?
See you in NOUGHTIES WEEK, when Stan will (hopefully) sing more Beyonce, Hayley will (hopefully) sing more Pink, Toby will (hopefully) not sing more Coldplay and James will sing something from the year of his birth.