Here come the men! Well, boys, I suppose. Young men? Whatever they were, they sang last night. And, after the fairly disastrous ladies, hopes were high. Were they satisfied? Ohhh. I don't know. I don't think so?

Early this morning I got my favorite kind of recap-related email, egarding yesterday's writeup of the Fabulous Ladies, who all sing beautifully and have winning personalities.

If you hate the goddam show so much why do you watch it?

Heh. This is a person who has emailed me in the past to bitch about an AI recap and another time to ask, breathlessly, why my recap wasn't up yet. Basically this person is a having an abusive relationship with silly rundowns of American Idol and there's nothing I can do to help that situation, except to say that, despite how it might read sometimes, I in no way hate this show. I hate parts of it. I hate big, huge aspects of it. But I like The Show in its entirety, find the thing entertaining if not always satisfying. Also, why do I watch it? Well, because I have a job that asks me to write about television shows. A job that pays me money, which I then use for goods and services like food and overly-priced apartments in the NYU Land section of Disneyworld. THAT'S WHY. If you hate the goddamn recaps so much, why do you read them?


ANYWAY. That is far too much about me. It's just that I hate that question, because it's dumb and black & white. And if you've sincerely never enjoyed watching something that you like to later make fun of, then you are a weird square person with a weird square heart that I do not want to meet.

You know who else I don't want to meet? Kara Dioflamingo. Glory, isn't she the worst? And I really don't enjoy how they're trying to make her A Character this season. Last year was all about her doing a sad little soft-shoe and trying to get us to like her, playing a humble game of hiding behind Paula's formidable, blurry frame. But now Paula's been hit with a shovel and buried out back under the apple orchard, so Kara can step front and center and be the reigning brown-haired lady who says dumb things. Only, the dumb things that Paula said were usually entertaining. "Heyyy.... Adamlambert? I think I like you and your moon shoes, because sometimes... Heyyy... Look, d'ya wanna go get some ice cream or... Heyyyy... Pants. We all like pants." And then she'd meekly clap and the contestant, who wasn't Adam Lambert, would nod and smile and say "Thank... you..." It was fun!

But Kara. Kara just farts in a whining sort of way and then — in her sharp, nasal voice — articulates some dumb, trying-to-sound-smart point. I'm thinking in particular about the comment she gave a contestant last night, it was our beloved Egghead Latino, that had something to do with his slowed-down version of a Fall Out Boy song. She didn't like it and said that the song wasn't meant to be made acoustic in that way. But, ahem Expert Musicianlady Kara, as American Idol expert Maura Johnston pointed out last night, Fall Out Boy themselves have done an acoustic version of that very song. So, burrrrrrrrrrn, baby. OK, sure, their version isn't as funk-jazzy as Egghead's was, but still. She busted.

Also, I'm sorry, but Ellen is completely useless. You can kind of see the regret in her eyes, can't you? This is not as fun as she'd envisioned. You know why? Because it's probably a lot nicer to make comments about the singers while sitting on your enormous couch in your enormous house while Portia opens a bottle of wine than it is to do it in that drafty chamber of lights they call a studio. Plus, Ellen, you had a public platform on which to discuss the show already! I mean, do you think I'd actually want to go on the Real Housewives show?? Never! It'd suck all the fun out of it. So I feel bad for Ellen. Flew a little too close to the sun on this one, or something. Or more like... got curious and touched the stove or something. Well, I hope you've learned your lesson, L'Ellen. Fire bad. Kara badder.

OK! The Gents. I noticed yesterday that some of you didn't like me using their names because you had no idea who they were. Neither did I! So I went to and looked at their names and pictures while writing and thought you'd all be impressed that I knew their names. It won't happen again!

The Good
Hahaha. Um... Oh! Yeah. I thought Shania Twain's Korean Boyfriend did well. (John Park, for you Nerdy Namers out there.) I mean, I don't get the judges. I never get the judges. They really didn't like him for some reason? Maybe I wasn't paying attention enough or something (heyyy Mary J., how you dern?) but I thought he was the Best Of the Evening. But what do I know. The judges were really mean and poor STKB looked really sad and I'm sure he wished he was back in Shania's sweet Canadian embrace, singing songs together in the Swiss Alps, an angry Mutt Lang looking in the window, glowering.

This is horrifying, but... I didn't hate the Shirtless Wonder. I think I'm supposed to? I think we are all, as intelligent and God-flouting Americans, supposed to not like him? You know, because of his lumpy good looks and that hair that looks like one of the babies from the Heart Family. (My sister and I had a blonde Heart Family baby doll when we were growing up who we named Clementine. Poor Clementine never got treated very well.) But, as Simon said, there was something very refreshingly earnest and honest about his performance of Bryan Adams' "Lonely Lady Lullaby" (that is what all of his songs are called), and that sort of frankness made it bizarrely not cheesy. This is sacrilege, I know, and I am going to go perform harakiri on the Idol Thunderdome stage out of shame for saying it, but he just didn't not do a good job.

Granted the whole horrid, eye-stabbingly awful Lusty Kara routine was just insanely miserable and embarrassing, and they're all jerks for screwing with his big live-TV debut performance like that (thank you, L'Ellen, for apologizing about that), so that kind of marred the whole thing. Ugh. Kara. No one thinks this is funny or interesting, this whole "I have a likable personality, I swear!" game.

The Bad
Heh. Ev... ery... one? The dancer guy who went first did a good job of looking comfortable on stage, but he can't really sing all that well and it's sort of a mystery as to why he's on the show at all. Who knows! That poor kid with the light brown helmet head, the one whose performance Simon called "the most awkward performance ever," really was just terribly awkward. He was using his Impress Chicks singing voice, that kind of soulful-but-oh-so-casual wannabe growl that probably worked one time when he was visiting his friend at Fairfield but hasn't worked since. Of course what he doesn't realize is that you could literally blink at a Fairfield girl and get lucky. I just did, just by typing the word "Fairfield," and I didn't even want to do it.

Some poor fellow came out dressed like a circus ringmaster or something and really, really tried to sell himself as The Performer of the show and it just fell embarrassingly flat on its face. This was the same guy who'd been a right diva to a guy in the band during Hollywood Week, a clip they showed several times and he presumably watched, and yet when Ryan was like "So did you and Dave make up?" Otto Ringling was all "Who?" So they dragged this poor guy up and he was like "Ohhhhh right, ha ha ha, laugh with me America, laugh... with... me" and it was so sad and desperate. Do we think he'll go home tonight? (Yes, there is a third episode, on tonight.) I don't know. It's very hard to tell.

Several other dudes failed to thrill. There's that little gawky 16-year-old kid who just needs to go, like, sing at church or in some painfully awkward Christian rock band. What he's doing on this show is beyond me. There's Big Mike, the dude with the baby who sort of embarrassed himself, enormous arms cradling what looked like a ukulele but was a guitar, because his hands are the size of baseball plates. There was apparently someone named Joe Munoz who sang, but I could not tell you a single thing about him. Sorry! And of course Paula came out wearing a bowler hat and a fake mustache and tried to sing "Old Man River." And she got away with it for a minute there! Finally Ryan realized what was going on and he grabbed his butterfly net, captured her, and carted her off stage. Pause, once again, for commercial break.

Let's Talk Surprises
Egghead Latino, everyone's favorite, including mine, going into this round, sorta whiffed it, didn't he? I mean, like I said above, his song choice wasn't actually the issue. He just didn't sound nearly as good or exciting as he did during Hollywood Week. I'm sure nerves are playing a big role in that, and hopefully we'll get to watch him ease back into his frontrunner status as he loosens up. But for now, I'm with Simon. I just was awfully disappointed with him last night.

The other surprise was the young fellow who sang the Snow Patrol song. You know, the shorter, squatter David Cook guy? Yeah! He was kinda good! L'Ellen, Randall, and Kiki Fucknuts over there didn't give him good notes, but Simon did and that's all that matters. I thought he sounded contemporary and interesting and, considering we saw pretty much nothing of him during H. Week, pleasantly surprising. Good for him! He was also wise to cutely say "I never want to lose this feeling," about pursuing his music career. Because the goils will vote for that. Oh how the goils will vote.

Beautiful Disaster
Speaking of the goils and their votes. Tim Urban. Ohhhhhh Jesus in Gethsemane what was going on with Tim Urban? Has anyone ever fallen so flat on their ass right out of the gate like that? Well, actually, this is American Idol, so yes, many times. The difference being here that most of the kids who come out and totally soil their slacks — your Sanjayas, your Chicken Littles, your Paula Dressed Up as a Dutch Schoolboys — you can kind of deal with it, because they look funny and you expect funny things. But ol' Shagaroo there has such cute little dimpled applecheeks and that lovely Bonnie Franklin hair. He's such a dopey All-American Cheesecake that watching him do ball-twisting falsetto and then get positively reamed by the judges is just extra mortifying. Here's a kid who's probably lucked into a lot because of how he looks, and who has a perfectly good singing voice as far as regular people go, just getting torn to shreds on live television. Especially because he wasn't even supposed to be on the show. Ack! It was thrilling, in a terrible way. Worst of all, he'll probably have to suffer through it all over again next week. Yeah, it seems pretty likely that he won't get eliminated, because of the all-important Pity/Squeal Vote. Never discount the Pity/Squeal.

Hip Threads, Man!
Why is Greg Brady so weird and dumb? I just do not get his presence. Some respectable blogger I read recently called him the season's potential heartthrob. Really? What teenage girl these days is thinking to herself "Man, I really want to date Jay Leno's weird hippie nephew"? Probably one sad girl somewhere named Lois who isn't really sure why she listens to Janis Ian at this point. One day "At Seventeen" went from being kind of funny and literal to just really resonating so now there's not much she can do, is there? That said, I think Greg Brady will be back next go-around. He's too much of a novelty for America to say goodbye to right now. But no, Kara, singing a Phoenix song is not going to help matters any.

I can't say anymore. I am spent. Another episode tonight. Send my widow (that Fairfield girl, I guess) a corsage.