Josh shines, while Kim and Clay stumble -- Jessica Shaw ponders which of the other three contestants deserve to be in the finals with Ruben

By Jessica Shaw
July 03, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Josh shines, while Kim and Clay stumble

Okay, we’re all thinking it so let’s just put it out there right now: Josh Gracin is not going home. I was all ready for the guy to butcher another song and damn it if he didn’t eke out another week of national attention. Don’t get me wrong: ”Jive Talking” was a travesty. But ”To Love Somebody” was at least four billion times better than anything he’s ever sung this competition.

It’s sort of like watching that dog skateboard (as the ”Today” show has been ”reporting” for the past week). He’s not particularly great at it, but you’re so impressed that he didn’t fall on his face that you have to give him props. Should Josh go home? Absolutely. Will he? Sadly, I think not.

It seems to me the bottom two will end up being Kimberley and Clay. I have to agree with Simon that it wasn’t Kim’s best night. I kept hoping for her to bust out some major floor-shaking notes, but she seemed a little too subdued. Even though Paula gushed ”You’re just beautiful. I just love you,” it wasn’t exactly the compliment Kimmy must have wanted. After all, a compliment from Paula is about as hard to come by as a dog that doesn’t skateboard.

And Clay, what can I say about that red leather jacket and red matching shoes? What were you thinking, dude? There was this moment when Ryan introduced Robin Gibb that I silently prayed to the television gods: Please don’t let anyone sing ”Grease.” Sure enough, Clay swiveled his hips on stage and belted out one of the more embarrassing No. 1 hits in musical history. (Random aside: Is it just me or is Clay started to look a little too much like Cynthia Nixon?)

Back to the ”Grease” disaster… It was an especially unfortunate song choice considering how goosebump-inducingly brilliantly the guy sang ”To Love Somebody.” ”That was probably one of the best performances I’ve ever heard,” Simon raved, only to call Clay’s second song choice ”horrible.” Meanwhile, how genius would Clay have sounded with ”How Deep Is Your Love”? Hello, one of the best love songs in history! Get thee to a ”Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack immediately.

The only person who’s perfected the not-so-difficult art of song choices seems to be Ruben. After Mr. 205’s near-demise last week, I was sort of getting used to the idea of a Clay-Kim sing-off. Part of me has always felt like Big Ru is a one-trick teddy bear and I was never exactly sure I’d run out to buy the guy’s CD. After tonight’s ”How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” I am sold. He’s headed to the finals for sure.

Now we’ll have to say which other two will join him. If it’s Josh, well, I’ll hurl myself out of my 29th floor office window. If it’s Kim, Ruben’s got the title locked up. As long as Clay can manage to stay out of Siegfried and Roy’s wardrobe room, he just might make a worthy competitor.

What did you think of the episode?

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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