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American Idol recap: Pulp Affliction

Guest mentor Quentin Tarantino can’t stop the top 7 contestants from choosing a (mostly) tired collection of sappy soundtrack ballads

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American Idol0414
Michael Becker/FOX

American Idol

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

We’re 28 episodes into American Idol‘s eighth season, and the show still hasn’t lost its ability to surprise. Who’d have thought, for example, that the sound of two judges yapping would turn out to be more annoying than the standard four-windbag formation? How could anyone have guessed that redheaded teenager Allison Iraheta is filled with/fueled by ”special sauce”? And when did the show institute a new rule making female contestants ineligible to receive credit for rearranging their songs? These are the burning questions being asked tonight by a speed-dialing Idol nation (or, at least, me). Still, if there’s any takeaway head-scratcher from tonight’s ”Extreme Treacle: Soundtrack Edition” episode, it is this: How come no matter how low one sets one’s expectations, Randy ”Yellow Stripe” Jackson can always find a way to disappoint?

Yes, Dawgs, let’s take a moment to talk about the fourth wheel on the busted shopping cart that is Idol‘s judging panel — you know, the one that makes a relentless squeaking sound and keeps locking up at odd angles, thwarting any possibility of smooth, forward momentum. And no, I’m not talking about Kara ”The Terrible” DioGuardi. You see, my rage this year against Idol‘s newest judge has sprung from my long-since-abandoned expectation that she’d be using her knowledge as a recording artist, a producer-songwriter, and a label insider to champion unique voices that wouldn’t typically be heard in this Auto-Tuned, focus-grouped world. But not even if Kara had had her head slammed repeatedly against Paula’s bejeweled/metallic bustier-thingie (an homage to the just-canceled Sarah Connor Chronicles perhaps?) could she have offered up a critique as inarticulate and wrong-minded as Randy’s review of Kris Allen’s ”Falling Slowly” tonight. Let’s roll the tape (transcribed word for word…I kid you not):

”Yo, Kris. All right, so check it out man. Uh, dude, for me…for me, for you tonight dude, I gotta tell you somethin’ man, I don’t know, I didn’t — it never quite caught on — for me. And I love, and yo, I love…I love that song. But for me it was pitchy from note one for me. For me!

Seriously, Randy? Seriously? I’m so mad right now that I’m falling back on two-year-old Grey’s Anatomy-isms. I mean, let’s look at a description of your multimillion-dollar job: You sit at a table for an hour or two each week and half-listen to wannabe pop stars singing their guts out, then you (theoretically) offer critiques that will help guide America’s vote and help the contestants improve their performances the following week. And yet tonight you managed to use the phrase ”for me” a total of six times in 24 seconds? Dude, the ”for me” is freakin’ implied! Who else do you think we think you’re speaking for? And to make matters worse, if your critique was any more wrong-minded, it’d be lobbying for the return of Nikki and Paulo to Lost!

NEXT PAGE: Kris can’t catch a break, Adam walks the high wire, and Allison stumbles