THANK GOD - IT'S BACK. After a whole 48 Idol-free hours on Friday and Saturday I didn't know what to do with myself. I almost resorted to firing up the Singstar and getting Raoul to bust out a bit of Toto just to tide me over but with some willpower and a Whitney Houston Greatest Hits CD, I made it through. JUST.
Hold the line, Idol's not always on time, woah-oah-oah...
Ken Doll's back front and centre, once again introducing himself as Andrew Gunsberg -has he dropped the "G" altogether? Is this part of some new campaign to reinvent himself as a serious TV host? His outfit - an all-black suit, shirt and tie - seems to suggest so, although perhaps he's just in mourning for all the music that will be killed tonight.
Despite the mourning suit he's looking as chipper as ever - or perhaps he just looks happy in comparison to the bunch of 16 glum losers who haven't made it on to the show yet that he happens to be standing in front of.
But first, it's time to find out the final two Australia has voted onto the show. As I can barely remember any of them this is not as thrilling as it should be. Ricki Lee looks into the wrong camera and says something incomprehensible. Marcia realises she's in shot and does her African queen impression.
More like this..
And the first one through is JAMES JOHNSTON, otherwise known as James Mayer or Mini Zoolander. The crowd goes wild.
Lucky for KIM COOPER, who has kindly stopped in on her way to a 1920s themed gangstas and hos party, she's through to the next round.
Hooray for her - now she'll be able to bugger off to the party without having to sing again.
Marcia, meanwhile, is clearly en route to a different fancy dress party with a theme of "what the fuck?".
"What the fuck?" scoffs Raoul.
"She looks like a test pattern with shoulder pads."
At about this point the fish Raoul was frying in the kitchen set off our smoke alarm, meaning the next thing I heard was Dicko saying "Beep beep beep" rather loudly. I'm not sure what he meant exactly, but it made more sense than anything Marcia's said in the last four episodes.
Time for the wildcard choices. Dicko's chosen three people he describes as having "connection problems", which makes me think they should all just head to Dick Smith and buy some adaptors rather than try and sing their way out of it.
Singing does NOT fix a connection problem.
Dicko chooses Miss Fringealot ALIQUA, Mr Bung Eye CASEY (is he serious?) and LUCIE, otherwise known as My New Favourite. Hurrah!
On to Jay Dee who chooses TOBY the teacher, ED the lead singer from The Darkness and HAYLEY the rock chick who's just discovered eyeshadow. Moving on to Marcia for the final three - LAUREN (who?), TIM (er, who?) and TENNIELLE the train driver who's actually turned out to be more of a train wreck.
See ya, nameless losers who didn't get in, and it's into the performances with the first by LUCIE, aka MNF (my new favourite). In a nutshell:
- Lucie comes out in dress that looks like a florist vomited on it and sings Boogie Wonderland by Earth Wind and Fire. It's been nice knowing you Lucie, good luck with your musical career.
- Seriously, why is she not singing more Beyonce? Deja Vu would have been FIERCE.
- It's hard to watch someone singing "Dance! Boogie Wonderlaaaaand!" on a technicolour dancefloor with backing singers and bongos and not think of a cruise ship. If she doesn't make it onto Idol, Lucie could totally get a job here.
- Dicko says she's going for safe options and lacking direction. I say she should head HARD-A PORT!
- Marcia dusts off her Idol calculator, pushes a few buttons and says "out of 100 I'd give you 100". Raoul makes a crude joke about giving Lucie 69.
- Jay Dee says she chose a really good song and it's one of his favourites, conclusively proving that he is actually deaf and possibly retarded.
- Lucie is no longer one of my favourites. But I do think she's got promise. SING MORE BEYONCE, GOD DAMMIT.
Moving right along to CASEY, aka the man with the bung eye who will never win this competition ever and god knows why he's been chosen as a wildcard, has Dicko gone mental or is he just putting the dodgy one through in order to water down the competition for his true favourites, yes I think I'm onto something there.
"At 30 years old, Casey has never made it before and this is his last chance," says Ken Doll solemnly.
"30 IS NOT THAT OLD," shouts Raoul from the kitchen. (Happy birthday dearest, by the way.)
Dicko wonders aloud what Casey's chances are - given that he is 30, has a bung eye and a penchant for singing Rob Thomas songs I'd say quite slim at this point, but hey, at least he's not singing disco.
But when he starts singing something by The Fray I very nearly join Raoul in the kitchen so I can drown myself in the dishwater, a feeling which intensifies when Casey launches into some strangled falsetto.
"Don't let me goooooo," he sings, rather desperately, considering the nation is about to vote on whether or not to keep him in the competition.
"Don't let me go, don't let me gooooo, don't let me GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Er, I think we will actually Casey, sorry mate.
Marcia tells Casey he needs to come forward and present himself.
"Present himself at the fucking dole queue, this guy's shocking," scoffs Raoul in between mouthfuls of fruit salad.
Casey says he chose to sing The Fray, the world's soft-cockiest band, because it was out of his comfort zone. This speaks reams about Casey.
"You kept looking up at the ceiling and I was wondering who's up there," Jay Dee says.
Jay Dee has a quick whinge about how hard his job is and how he's the new guy, which everyone ignores, and we move on to Dicko who says it's not Casey's voice that's the problem, it's everything else. So there you go Casey, off you go and fix everything about yourself and you'll be right.
Casey then reveals that despite being the ancient age of 30, he's never heard of Ned Flanders. Clearly The Fray is the only thing from the last 20 years of pop culture to grab Casey's attention. Good.
Over to Ricki Lee, whose crap interview with Kate the cowgirl is completely drowned out by lip smacking sounds emanating from Raoul's end of the couch, where he is drooling "Mm Tennielle, train driver, I'd like to drive her train..." - it takes me a second or two to realise Tennielle's cleavage is occupying a good third of the shot behind Ricki Lee. Good to see the Idol cameramen still have a touch of the Benny Hills about them.
Moving on to ALIQUA, who is the Idol most likely to be referred to as "pint sized" or a "pocket rocket" for the rest of the season, if she gets in. She was criticised last week for not being youthful enough, which she has decided to rectify this week by singing Celine Dion's The Power of Love. Oh good, that should help.
In a nutshell:
- She looks a million times better this week, having removed that ghastly fringe plait and slinking out in a fitted mini dress. Unfortunately, then she opens her mouth. As Kyle would say - the hot ones can never sing.
- You know how at every karaoke bar in amongst all the pissed idiots singing Chumbawumba there's always one good looking Asian chick who sings all the power ballads REALLY SERIOUSLY in the hopes that a record label executive is coincidentally sitting at the bar and will offer her a recording contract? Aliqua is like that.
- Jay Dee says "word up", which coincidentally is the next song after Boogie Wonderland on his favourite Disco Hot Hits Megamix CD.
- "I didn't see that young girl shaking her booty," he says in a moment of confusion. Er Jay Dee, this is a singing competition. That OTHER place you go to is in Kings Cross.
- Dicko says Aliqua looks amazing but it doesn't fit. Steady on Dicko, the dress isn't that bad. Then he says she's not wired up properly - maybe she should get a lift to Dick Smith with the others.
- Aliqua gives an inspired speech about how her song was locked in for weeks and she couldn't shance it and she prays Australia will give her another chanc to show who she is and OH SHUT UP, YOU'RE BORING ME.
- Marcia says she prays for the rough and tumble girl to come back. Jay Dee slurs "That's what I'm talkin' BOUT!".
- The moral of the story is - everyone needs to do more Beyonce.
Suddenly Raoul runs into the bathroom, scrabbles through the drawers, rushes back in and throws a packet of cotton wool balls at me.
"QUICK, IN YOUR EARS!!" he shouts, as Ken Doll introduces the next singer is LAUREN, otherwise known as THE GIRL WHO SHOUTS EVERYTHING.
"The Alanis Morissette song I did last week had an aggressive edge to it, that could have put people off," she says by way of explanation for why she's not yet a finalist. No actually, it was your SHOUTING.
"Maybe I'm just not connecting with the audience," she says.
"No, you're just not talented," snaps Raoul, who looks rather fetching with cotton wool hanging out of his ears.
In a nutshell:
- Lauren looks rather cool in a sequinned blue stretchy dress and leggings, but when she starts shouting Kelly Clarkson and pointing at the audience and wagging her fingers at the cameras, it all turns sour. The whole thing is EXHAUSTING. It honestly sounds like cats fighting on a neighbour's fence at 3am.
Actually, if you can imagine the sound that goes with this picture, THAT'S what Lauren sounds like.
- "Have you ever been LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED?" she yells, as people's eardrums start bleeding in the audience.
- "Have you ever been LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED?!" she shouts again, as Raoul and I both scream in unison "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEBODY STOP HER!"
- Finally she stops and the pain is over. Dicko says it was a more relaxed song. WHAT THE FUCK IS HE SMOKING? Is he serious? If that was relaxed, I do not want to see her do an uptight song. Then Dicko tells her she's in the top three performers, but neglects to add "who I would like to see drowned at the bottom of the ocean". Thank goodness I'm here to clarify his opinions.
- Marcia tells Lauren to close her Os up a bit. If by "Os" she means "mouth", I'm with her.
- Jay Dee says Lauren's voice has an "edge" to it.
I'm thinking THIS kind of edge.
- "I'm not sure if you're an Idol or someone who could go and work on cruise ships," Jay Desays. Yes, the line between being the Australian Idol and working on a cruise ship is THAT thin.
Tim for a quick reader poll - anyone miss James Mathison? Anyone? Ok, moving along...
"Hey, does everybody remember Dean Geyer?" says Ken Doll.
"Den Geyer? He was in the top five a few years ago?"
Maybe if he'd introduced him as "that guy wot slept with one of the Veronicas for a while" we would have remembered... Oh well, let's move on to TIM which of course means we all get to relive the "Temptations are black" argument.
"I think Marcia was saying the Temptations were the originators of soul music, and so you can't compare," Tim says diplomatically, which is entirely true if you take "the originators of soul music" to mean "black".
In a nutshell:
- Tim chooses The Beatles' Yesterday, which is the kind of song that practically BEGS amateur singers to fuck around with it, Aguilera style. Naturally, Tim obliges. And actually, he's not bad, although you can almost hear the cogs turning in his head as he tosses up whether or not to attempt any vocal gymnastics. He does, and it's the aural equivalent of this:
- "I think he thinks he's Stevie Wonder," says Raoul.
"Who's black," I point out.
"Stevie doesn't know that," says Raoul. Quite.
- Marcia has to act positive after last week's black argument, and so gives Tim some completely overblown compliments. Jay Dee says white boys can sing.
But they still can't jump, fo' real.
- Dicko says something that I miss because I'm stil debating about whether or not Tim is good looking. I decide that he is, with particularly good teeth, but it's not enough for me to actually care about him. Oh well.
Meanwhile, has anyone ever actually seen Ruby Rose on The 7PM Project? I mean, apart from on the ads? Just askin'.
Next up is ED aka Mr Eyebrows, aka the leader singer from The Darkness aka Mika. To explain more thoroughly:
I double checked this on my Idol calculator. It checks out.
And Ed's chosen to sing...
"THE LIVING END?" Raoul and I both yell, simultaneously spitting beer all over the coffee table.
White Noise? Are you serious? I don't even like this song when the Living End do it. Unsurprisingly, Ed is no better.
"All that I'm hearing from yooooooou is white nooooooiiiise," he cracks.
Meanwhile, all that we're hearing from Ed is a pile of shit. Still, at least it's not Jeff Buckley.
"Phew, thanks Ed."
(and yes, I KNOW Hallelujah is actually Leonard Cohen, Not Jeff Buckley but it's not as funny so leave me alone, orright?)
Jay Dee says it was too similar to Ed's last song, and even though he wants consistency, he wants people to do things differently all the time. So go work that out, Ed.
"I think you need to clear your ears out, Jay Dee..." begins Dicko, prompting some overzealous Ed fans to start clapping and cheering in the audience, all "in your FACE, Jay Dee!" style.
"...because that was out of tune," he finishes, shutting everyone up. YES, SCORE ONE DICKO!
Marcia says something but I'm so distracted by the bumfluff on Ed's face I have to excuse myself to throw up.
"He's shit, he should just quit now," spits Raoul. Hand up who thinks Raoul should replace Jay Dee as the third Idol judge?
Ed complains about having to wear an earpiece and Marcia tells him to pop one out. Still not sure if she's talking about the earpiece, we move on to the next performance, which comes courtesy of three piano playing grasshoppers on the V energy drink commercial. They're quite good.
"That would not happen. Those piano keys would break that little cricket's legs, he wouldn't have enough force to do a slide like that," says Raoul matter of factly.
I concur. But out of 100, I give them 100.
Next up is TENNIELLE who each week is slowly morphing into Taylor Swift. I do wish she'd get back into jeans and a t shirt and get rid of those godawful Shirley Temple curls and Deborah K party frocks, but whoever said train drivers had style?
Not even Posh can rock the train driver look.
In a nutshell:
- She's chosen that stalwart of the adult contemporary FM station, Sixpence None the Richer's Kiss Me. I am disturbed that a song that somehow became the anthem of a popular 90s teen soap is now considered "adult contemporary".
"30 IS NOT OLD," Raoul shouts again.
- I can't quite see what Tennielle is wearing, given that the camera on her has started from the Maccers five blocks away and takes approximately 75 years to reach her on stage. Once it gets there I see Tennielle's revolting aqua wedding frock and wish it would go back - and get me a Big Mac, cheers.
- Tennielle keeps the wedding theme going by restricting her movement to the old step-together-step-together foot shuffle. Even she looks bored with this.
- Can we please just make Stan the winner and stop the show now?
- Dicko says she needs to be a bit more desperate. Yes, a desperate, uncoordinated bridesmaid wailing "kiss meeeeeeee" - THAT'LL SELL RECORDS.
- "Maybe she was trying to be cool, you know what I'm sayin'?" says Marcia. No one does.
- Marcia gives an insightful play by play of the last five minutes, saying Tennielle got up and stayed there and walked forward. Thanks for that Marcia, I don't know what we'd do without you.
- Jay Dee says he'd kiss Tennielle, which is creepy enough without him following it up with "You know, Idol isn't the only entrance for you to get into the music industry."
Heard of the casting couch, Tennielle?.
Ricki Lee interrupts proceedings to bring us a highly insightful interview with Sabrina, in which she reveals she recently bought her sister a Mars Bar. From this high point of the show we move into TOBY, who's getting his Bono on with U2's With or Without you.
Forgive me for being cynical, but I'm thinking Idol will go on WITHOUT YOU, Toby.
He is seriously nervous, and stumbles through the song without once attempting the Bono crouch. Even Ed did the Bono crouch, and was singing The Living End!
"BORING," declares Raoul, who keeps mumbling about wanting to watch Stephen Fry on the ABC.
Through some miracle, Toby gets a standing ovation from the entire audience - probably because they're amazed that someone over 30 can even climb the stairs to get on stage. Raoul declares it a "pity ovation", likening it to those "Encouragement Award" certificates the thick kids get at school. Sadly I don't know what he's talking about, havng only ever received proper awards at school.
Like this one.
Marcia says thank god for U2. I agree - imagine if all we had was Toby's version of this song? Jay Dee compliments him on his stubble, presumably because he can't think of anything nice to say about his singing. Dicko says Toby's got his new look spot on, which is rather a dubious compliment coming from a man wearing embroidered breasts.
"That was absolutely captivating," says Dicko.
"What was captivating - watching a nervous bloke with no confidence sing a crap song?" guffaws Raoul.
Moving on to our final performance of the night (THANK THE LORD), it's HAYLEY who kicks off strongly by declaring the last song she sang, by Diesel, is an "old person's" song. Everyone who lived through the 90s without nappies on cries in shame.
Hayley is steadfastly refusing to be awesome by choosing to sing Kelly Clarkson's I Do Not Hook Up INSTEAD OF PINK, GOD DAMMIT, ARE YOU STUPID GIRL? But actually, I take it back, this IS pretty awesome. It's kind of like Pink singing Kelly Clarkson at a karaoke bar after one too many tequilas. And even if Hayley is wearing the same thing she's worn for the last three weeks, she's rocking it out AND I LOVE HER. She does need to stop lurching about the stage like a member of the Munsters, but hey - she discovered eye makeup last week, she's shown she's quick to adapt. She gets a well deserved standing ovation.
"She slammed that," says Raoul approvingly.
"I'd go so far as to say she smashed it," he continues. I concur.
Jay Dee says he wants to see the evolution of Hayley.
I think that would look like this.
Dicko borrows Marcia's Idol calculator and says Hayley is 50% per cent invincible and 50 per cent vulnerable, kind of like a fluffy bunny with an uzi. Marcia wraps up the judging with another pointless comment and then it's up to Ken Doll to break the news to everyone that Idol won't be back until next Sunday.
A whole week without Idol?
"I hope it never comes back ever," snarls Raoul, reaching for the remote to switch over to the ABC, but not before Jay Dee says he'd take his hat off to all the performers, if only he was wearing one. And he might also take his pants off if Tenielle still wants to kiss him.
And as the cheers die down and Ken Doll throws over to Rove, we conclude the wildcard episode by with the revelation that Jeff Goldblum didn't die on a cliff in New Zealand, he jut joined the Australian Idol band.
Jeff's not dead, he's just joined a band.