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Emmys 2017
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American Idol recap: Post-Parton Depression

Dolly week ends with a performance by the lady herself, followed by Ramiele’s tearful departure

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American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

Darn you to heck, Brooke White!

There I was, sitting on my couch tonight, unwrapping a Lindt chocolate in celebration of America totally getting it right and putting Ramiele Malubay and Kristy Lee Cook in the bottom two. But as Ryan Seacrest told Lipgloss McCrinklenose that her journey was over, and she burst into uncontrollable sobs, the G-rated nanny’s words came back to haunt me: ”We throw everything we have into this thing — here at American Idol.” All of which made me feel ever so slightly sad.

Seconds later, of course, I remembered the sage words of the philosopher Simon Cowell concerning this week’s bottom three — ”I think this is absolutely right” — and promptly got over it. What? I’m not gonna lie: My decadent bite-size dessert was delicious (and worth every calorie), and Ramiele most certainly deserved to go home this week.

Seriously, even if you were a fan of Ramiele’s vacant, wobbly performance of ”Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” on Tuesday, it was pretty clear the contestant herself was ready for her big exit. Why else would she show up to the results show in the season’s most unspeakable outfit, a sloppy oversize T-shirt paired with a minuscule black vest, black leggings, and tall brown boots? I mean, why not just show up in plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a crumpled Hanes Her Way sports bra?

Yes, yes, I am fully aware that just 24 hours ago, I was giving Simon grief for trashing Carly Smithson’s not-so-flattering ensemble, and I’ll admit to being a complete bonehead for doing so. As a reader named Ginger pointed out on our TV Watch message boards, Carly’s Dolly Parton night ensemble made her look ”like an extra from Pirates of the Caribbean. With the britches, boots and tattoos, all that was missing was a parrot on her shoulder.” And indeed, the name of the show is American Idol, not America’s Best Vocalist; like it or not, presentation counts, and my apologies to Simon for expressing such unjustified indignation. (That said, I still think Cowell’s a bonehead for not praising Carly’s awesome vocal on ”Here You Come Again,” which I fully intend to purchase on iTunes this week. One can only play it on YouTube so many dozens of times without feeling like one is stealing.)

Anyhow, Ramiele’s reign of underwhelming song choices and age-inappropriate baby talk is over, and since I’ve been beating up on her for the last seven weeks, I’m going to take this moment to be kind and simply ”celebrate her home,” whatever the hell that means. After all, she already had to endure a harsh insult disguised as a compliment from none other than Paula: ”I thought Ramiele had a good night, for Ramiele.” Ouch! And also, her post-crying exit performance was one of her best moments on the show, even though her fellow contestants didn’t exactly help with their out-of-sync attempts at clapping along to the beat. Instead, we now turn our vitriol to three more appropriate targets.

1. Ruben Studdard’s Idol exit song: Honestly, every time it starts playing, I go into such a deep state of nothingness that I’m wondering if it’s some kind of alien mind trick, the better to hypnotize Idol viewers while Martian scientists swoop in and perform some kind of dubious collective experiment on an unsuspecting nation.

2. The Idol stylists: As a reader named Baffled declared, ”Who dresses Ramiele!? Please remove yourself and your horrible fashion sense from the gene pool. You should not be dressing anyone/anything…not even a salad.” (And I’ll throw in a repeat dose of outrage over Michael Johns’ violet cravat, David Archuleta’s array of neutral jackets with mini popped collars, and Syesha’s often unfortunate hair choices. Isn’t there a team of professionals that is supposed to be helping these contestants?)

3. And finally, the Idol choreographers. I was not a brave enough man to hit the rewind button on my DVR tonight, but I am 99 percent certain I saw David Cook and Ramiele bump butts during the group performance of ”9 to 5.” And the folks at 19 Entertainment expect these kids to go out in the world six months from now and begin credible careers as recording artists? Way to hamstring ’em, Nigel!

NEXT: The Cook and Brooke perplex