Who says that American Idol stretched twelve one-minute performances into two endless hours? They NEEDED all that time just as I need all this space to review it.
But before we get to the contestants, I have to ask my co-reviewer/daughter, Annie, "What advice would you give the performers?"
"I really think they have to perform their best and sing well. And look good. And be pretty. Back to you, Dad."
Thanks, Annie. And now my dog, Rex. It's a big night for these kids, Rex. What should they keep in the back of their mind?
"Woof, woof woof, woof. Woof woof, woooooof woof wooooof."
Good advice. And it gives the performers something to think about that never would have occurred to them.
Now the rules, and pay attention because they're a little different this year. Every week for three weeks we'll take nine hours to select the best three and then have a wild card show to select four more then have a sing-off with them and the La Mirada Dinner Theatre production of RENT. Then it'll be June and we can begin narrowing down the Top 10.
We'll get to the actual performances right after this break.
This Monday will be my annual Oscar review right here on the Huffington Post.
Welcome back. The theme this week is any song from any era that ever charted on Billboard. In other words, the kids are restricted to every song ever made.
Jackie Tohn, who dressed like Minnie Mouse in leather, sang the only Elvis song people don't know is an Elvis song. But she has great personality and should be a finalist. Then America met her parents, realized she's Jewish, and that cost her every vote from the south.
After the break, Ricky Braddy.
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Ricky Braddy did a lovely version of Leon Russell's "A Song for You." But I still have no idea who he is. Neither does anybody else because the number to call to vote for him is 1-800-IDOLS-0?
But he too has lovely parents. They wore cute matching "Braddy Bunch" T-shirts and Ryan interviewed them for seven minutes. If you'd like to vote for them the number is 1-800-MOMDAD-2.
Alexis Grace was next. Her father had long hair. This is significant because he got more face time on Fox than Obama during his inauguration. Paula said to Alexis, "you have something so large inside you." It was Paula's first veiled penis reference of the night.
More in a moment but first, Ted Danson and Neil Patrick Harris were in the audience. Ted played Sam Malone on Cheers and Becker on Becker. Neil played Doogie Howser on Doogie Howser and currently plays Barney on How I Met Your Mother. Ted also appears in Damages on FX. Not that I'm padding.
Brent Keith followed. After a screw up where they started running Stevie Wright's video he sang "Hicktown" where he'll be returning to. Now this break:
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Stevie Wright said her biggest influence was the Jonas Brothers so it's no surprise she sang 19 year old songwriter extraordinaire, Taylor Swift. She was awful. We'll never see her again. Stephen Wright has more charisma.
Anoop Desai sang "Angel of Mine" and was then taken into custody. Police question whether it was really him singing. (Note: Slumdog Millionaire reference. If you didn't get this joke you will be lost Oscar night.)
Casey Carlson is cute but not cute enough to overcome her hideous rendition of Sting. I thought these people got weeded out. What the hell was Hollywood Week for anyway?
Michael Sarver - Best performance of the night from an oil rig worker. I see petroleum in his future.
Ann Marie Boskovich is next... after the break.
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Ann Marie Boskovich was the 247th contestant to sing "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman." She came in 200th.
Stephen Fowler killed "Rock With You." Jackie Tohn's parents could have done it better.
Tatiana Del Toro - The Devil's Daughter. Kills us to say it, but she was infuriatingly good.
And finally, Danny Gokey. Great singer, immensely likable, widower. He's a shoo-in for the top five as long as he doesn't sing Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey."
That's our post for tonight. Remember my Oscar review on Monday. Woof woof.
You can read more from Ken at www.kenlevine.blogspot.com.