All season, Grantland Idol experts Mark Lisanti and Jay Caspian Kang will answer five very important questions after each performance episode. Jay is “on assignment,” so Fake Jay Kang, Mark’s best guess as to Real Jay Kang’s answers expressed as the unleashed id of the Internet, is pinch-hitting today.
What kind of bullshit was that, where they broadcast an entire Hollywood Week episode with NO PERFORMANCES?
Lisanti: That was some brazen bullshit right there. According to the Idol archivist I e-mailed in a murderous rage last night, there has never been a no-performance episode before. This seems like a risky move given the show’s eroding ratings and the mounting competition from both Christina Aguilera’s cleavage sloshing around in a spinning space-throne and The Murder Factor, which literally slaughtered its own talent to stay in the conversation during its offseason. So, sure, let’s spend an hour dicking around with group-making and swooning, flu-stricken teenagers.
Here’s what last night’s installment offered instead of the usual, totally unnecessary “singing parts” of a singing competition show:
- A genuinely frightening moment where young Symone Black tumbled from the stage owing to dehydration/exhaustion/hunger/stress, kicking off an episode-spanning arc involving a hospital trip, a return to the hotel, and her father (played by Geoffrey Owens in his greatest role since Elvin on The Cosby Show) telling her she really should be drinking more things.
- An extremely annoying lady cop whose psychotic insistence on singing only “Joy to the World” (the “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” version, not the Christmas standard, which needed to be explained to other contestants no fewer than 430 times) left her searching in vain for a group for the majority of the hour. Who wouldn’t want to partner up with a woman who confrontationally asks you if you have a problem with cops, then demands you sing a Three Dog Night song at taser-point? Seems like a no-brainer.
- Tracking Tent Girl’s Gwyneth Paltrow-esque journey of spreading a deadly, infectious disease throughout the ballroom, complete with scenes of stricken contestants vomiting their suddenly liquefied intestines into trash cans. I’m no CDC scientist, but I’m going to hypothesize that her tent-based hippie lifestyle may have exposed her to a variety of highly contagious, patchouli-borne pathogens for which the average Idol hopeful has not built up sufficient immunity. Final body count: fourteen dead (R.I.P. Christian), scores incapacitated indefinitely, zero scenes where an ashen, plague-wracked Tent Girl seizes off her mortal coil.
- Ryan Seacrest patrolling the ballroom in a Hot Zone suit, doling out hermetically sealed hugs to Idol hopefuls bleeding from their eye sockets, with each incident of contact followed by a PA rushing over to squeegee Seacrest’s blood-splattered visor.
- The doubling-, tripling-, quadrupling- and quintupling-down on the dramatic question, “Who will win this year’s Jaycee Badeux Memorial Most Unwanted Contestant trophy?” (Note: The trophy features a husky child standing in a corner, sobbing.)
- No fewer than 10 scenes of covert hipster Heejun Han clowning on his MIT group’s Cowboy Dictator, during which his painstakingly constructed facade of aw-shucks humility finally cracked as he publicly fretted that his cool friends at home would laugh at him for line dancing.
- At least five story-beats involving how tired The Bettys are, including some truly riveting, emotional debates on the merits of a “sleep and keep our voices fresh” versus a “stay up all night and actually learn the song, this is our one shot at immortality” strategy.
- My spontaneous development of a peptic ulcer as I waited, in vain, for these fucking people to start singing.
- Zero actual performances.
- No one sang! For real!
Fake Jay Kang: Read the fine print up top, bros. This wasn’t a performance episode. It was a coughing, puking, and crying episode. We only do performance episodes. I have better shit to do with myself. Do you have any idea how many Jeremy Lin GIFs I could’ve watched just in the time it took me to type this? At least five. And at least three of those would involve elaborate handshakes with Landry Fields. Fake Jaycrest out!
Lisanti: I’m so glad I have you here.
Fake Jay Kang: [texts in from hot tub] I know you are.
Real Jay Caspian Kang has a suspicious knack for missing the most annoying episodes.
Mark Lisanti is a martyr to his “craft.”
Fake Jay Kang has the right idea.