'American Idol': Only the Weak Survive

Last night, after trotting out Carrie Underwood in some misguided attempt to remind us why we watch Idol in the first place, the awful, terrible, vain and aggravating Lazaro survived — either to keep us watching before he gets bumped off next week, or because this is really where America's at right now. Voting for dreadful Lazaro.

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As Kent Brockman once said, democracy simply doesn't work. There is probably no better example of that sad, bitter truism than our own American Idol, a show steered by dummies and fools, slavering simps who keep people in power who have no business being in power, simply because it makes them feel good. So, screw democracy. We need some kind of benevolent dictatorship, some sort of dictablanda, up in this house before it's really ruined. Well, ha, it's already ruined, so oh well. Maybe a malevolent dictatorship, the real dictadura, is what we need to cruelly ensure that this crumbling show goes out as well as it can. Because the current situation? It's not good.

Results episodes are super dumb to write about, because it's forty minutes of preamble leading up to one sad, whimpering event. But they try to fill that time with stuff that will entertain us, so I guess it's the Christian thing to do to humor their sad little efforts. Idol is doing this thing this season that, best as I can tell, is a desperate attempt to remind you why you're watching this show in the first place, to give you a sense of history, to evoke fond memories. To that end, they're inviting lots of former contestants on to perform whatever new song they just cooked up in their parents' garage. Last night's returnee was none other than Casey James, that blond fellow with the hair whom long-lost Kara DioGuardi had the hots for. Yeah. Him. He was barely memorable on his own season, so I'm not really sure why they'd think he would resonate on a different season, years later, but they did, so there he was. He sang some fool song about who knows what and it wasn't bad, it was just boring. That's the Casey James story. Not bad, but boring. Could be an album title. With tracks like "Empty Supermarket Song" and "Exit Music for a Home Goods Store." It could really be something. I mean in that it will be some thing, it will be a thing, it will have existence along with other things in existence. That kind of something.

Then, as if to put Casey even further to shame, they brought out the show's most successful act to date, Taylor Hicks Ms. Carrie Underwood. Yeah, they paid her probably tens of thousands of dollars so she showed up and sang a song and, I hate to say this because I generally like C. Unds, but it was not very good. Maybe she was affected by the suck-rays coming off the contestants sitting on the couches over there. Whatever the cause was, it was not her best. But that's OK. Not Carrie Underwood's best is still better than anything the dopes on this season could ever muster. That was plainly evidenced in their group number, a Queen thing that just about had Freddie Mercury returning to Earth to vanquish them. In some ways I was hoping that would happen, so I urged the kids on to sing even worse, but they stopped just shy of raise-the-dead bad. Oh well. Maybe next time.

I guess it was sort of interesting when Ryan had the judges rank their top three. I don't remember them ever doing that before. I think the producers are desperately inventing any trick they can think of in the hopes of drawing in more viewers. I don't know that this little thing will work, but it was somewhat informative. Basically the judges all had the same picks, except Mariah was the only one to put Candice on her list! Isn't that nuts? Everyone had Kree and Amber, but Keith, Randruh, and Nicki all had Angie instead of Candice. Which is some bunk! What has Candice done wrong? Well, hm, I guess nothing is the answer to that. And contestants who are just too damn perfect can sometimes fall through the cracks of this ridiculous show. Poor Janelle was completely left off the judges' lists, a sign of dark things to come, perhaps.

Finally it was time for Ryan to begin the slow and terrible process of sending one of these poor kids packing. As he's done in weeks previous, he gave us our top three. Kree was up first, of course. Then came Angie, naturally. And then obviously it was Candice— wait, no, I'm sorry, it was LAZARO. Yes, Lazaro. As in Jimmy Iodine said the only fair outcome of the evening would be him going home Lazaro. That Lazaro. That awful, terrible, vain and aggravating Lazaro. Who can't remember his lyrics and never really sang that well to begin with. He's in the top three right now. He's in the top three going into the top six. Candice and Amber both rated lower than Lazaro did. So either this is the show trying once again to make people think Lazaro is safe so he'll get bumped off by neglect next week, or this is really where America's at right now. Voting for dreadful Lazaro. Because, what? They want him to wait by their locker between classes so they can gossip about boys? Like I don't get the projection fantasy involved with Lazaro. Maybe there isn't one! Maybe people really like his singing. I find that hard to believe, but hey Taylor Hicks won this damn show once, didn't he. America is full of weirdos who like singers like Lazaro. Good god, Lazaro. In the top three. Ryan trembled a bit when he read the name, quivered there in his expensive shiny suit. Lazaro. Good lord. I think I'm just about done with this job. It's ridiculous. It's a national embarrassment. We, as a nation, have embarrassed ourselves. I mean, those two misguided wars and the whole Freedom Fries thing and obviously Two and a Half Men have already done some damage vis a vis embarrassing ourselves, but this really puts the nail in the cake or whatever the applicable expression is here. Lazaro. Sorry, Portugal. Apologies, Ecuador. We won't let it happen again, Senegal. Oops. Lazaro.

Oh, yeah, and then it was Janelle and Burnell in the bottom two and Burnell was sent home. No shocker there. He was the last of the non-Lazaro boys and his time was up. No girl was going to get sent home before all of the non-Lazaro boys were gone. That's just the way this lopsided season was designed. A bunch of bland guys because an interesting and/or super cute guy would win, and then a bunch of bland girls because an interesting girl wouldn't win. You see how we're doubly screwed by this arrangement? Blandness means defeat for the boys, and it means victory for the girls, so we get blandness across the board. That's why Johnny Keyser was dismissed. Why the Zoanettes of this aching blue world are sent home. So we can have this blah season of nobodies. Just so a girl will win. And I'm sure that Idol will see that goal realized. It's all but ensured. But it will be a pyrrhic victory. A girl won! But everyone left, no one watches anymore. Once fought-over seats now empty, cheers echoing then gone. All because of this girl mandate, this magical thinking that if a girl wins, the show will be saved. I'm afraid not, friends. They've used their final life line and they still don't know the answer. So they're done. Cooked. Goodbye, American Idol. Though a girl will surely win this season, you lost last night.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.