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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

The second season of the blockbuster series crowned a champion in Ruben Studdard, whose album, "Soulful", went to number one upon its release.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper (and a few friends), GSNN

January-May 2003, Fox
Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP: Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America

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April 15, 2003 - Gordon Pepper

'I can't wish everybody good luck, because everybody can't I wish that the person who the best musician.' that comes from Billy Joel - and the theme is Billy Joel songs. But the guest judge is not him - it's Smokey Robinson! Wha? We get to see clips of Billy Joel throughout the show.

And he get to Kimberly Caldwell first singing 'It's Still Rock and Roll To Me.' Not her best song, and it's very very pitchy. That is not the song that I would have chose for her to sing. Maybe it's something that Carmen...nah. That was probably one of thw worst performances that I've heard from her. Randy thinks that she looks great, but it was a little problematic. Smokey Robinson thinks that she is great (wonderful - another male Paula) while the female one thought that it was one of her best performances. Simon is expecting better than what she gave out - and he thinks that she is capable of better - 'Verging on 6 Flags...maybe 7 flags.' I wasn't knocked out by it. Eh.

Can Ruben Studdard do Billy Joel? He sings 'I Love You Just the Way You Are.' Now THAT'S the Ruben that I wan expecting to hear from the last 2 weeks. NICE. Great choice of song. Great performance. Randy 'Every week, you show them how its done.' Paula and Smokey also shower him with praises. Simon likes him as always, but challengtes him next wqeek to do something that's not Barry Whitish. I can understand that - but that's a compliment, not a criticism. Needless to say, SImon gets showered with boos.

Kimberley Locke is next with 'New York State of Mind' we get another Billy Joel clip. This is alspo a much better performance from her - she really made this song her own, and like Ruben, I was very very impressed with what she did with the song. She sings it well, complete with hokey New York skyline in the back. Rady says that it's the best that he's ever heard her (I agree with that). Smokey thought that it was a real privelege to hear her sing, and Paula thought it was her most professional performance. Simon? 'You took a risk, you made it your own, you sounded sensational.' She may have outperformed Ruben for this week.

We go back to Ryan's parents - and his mom, like Simon's mom, screws up the lines. Note to FOX people - DON'T LET THE RELATIVES SPEAK ON THE SHOW!!! YUCK!!!!!

Speaking of yuck, here is Carmen Rasmussen. She warbles her way through 'In Every Time'. I don't understand why she is still here. She picks the wrong song, and although it is better later on, she gets pitchy at the end and it is less than inspiring and I just do not find her enjoyable. Randy? 'I felt like I was watching a very average beauty performance.'Smokey thought that she was nervous - Smokey saying something bad?' Uh-oh. Paula thought that she was capable of better . 'If I'm being honest, it was like going to some ghastly party and a child singing to the parents, and if I was the parents, I'd tell her to shut up. At this stage of the performance, it was just not good enough. That was terrible.' Randy agrees - and so do I.

Will we get 2 ghastly performances in a row? Josh decides to sing us the song of the Piano Man. That is a nasty song to sing, and it can be very very painful to listen to if the person is not on. Josh is already off on the low notes, and I am cringing on waiting for him to hit the high notes. Surprisingly, he hits those notes, and he's actually not that bad this time around as long as he stay on the high notes. Certainly not as bad as Carmen or Ms. Caldwell. Randy thought that he did his thing at the end, and Smokey and Paula liked it as well. Leave it to Simon to break up the happy mood. 'I'm trying not to be negative here, I'm sorry, I'm just not hearing a mesmerizing performance. A nice guy, singing in tune. So what?'

Singer #6 is Trenyce, who will be singing the rather Bluesey 'Baby Grand'. What she's doing now is not bad, and she is improving. Randy liked it, although he thought it was pitchy. So did everyone else, but Simon was impressed that she tried to make it her own, and he was happy about it. Cool.

Finally, our last singer is Clay Aiken. Let's see him do something not ballady and theartrical. He sings 'Tell Her About It', and he starts the song slow - and ballady and theatrical. ARRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!! Make him stop, mommy! He does finally sing it in a normal quick tempo - finally. I want him to do something different - same thing with Ruben - but he's a crowd pleaser. Randy was happy that he finally did something up-tempo and Smoky agrees, as does Paula (though she wants him to dance a little). What does SImon say? 'Don't take this the wrong way, but I prefer you when you shut your eyes....your facial expressions, I find them a bit theatrical.' I agree with Simon, as usual.

So who goes? All signs point to Carmen, but I will go out on a limb and say that it's Trenyce who will be going away. We'll see in a scant 24 hours if I am right...

April 16, 2003 - Gordon Pepper

As you guys may or may not know, I am one of the Jewish faith. This week has been nuts with all of the Passover stuff going on. But our family got together and we always talk about game shows. Such as Married By America, Survivor, and of course, American Idol.

We have a few consensus's in our family. The first one is that the past 2 weeks or so have been full of mediocrity. Both Ruben and Clay, although they are the front-runners, really need to step it up. If they both listen to the polls instead of what they're doing, one of them could be upset before the final 2.

The second consensus is that everyone hates Carmen's voice, and they all think that she should go - but not one of them think that she will, because they both think that the Southern vote is very very strong. The point to Carmen and Josh as examples of that. They are split between Trenyce, Kimberly Caldwell and Kimberley Locke. The majority say Kim Caldwell, while we all know that I said Trenyce. Let's see who's right.

Ryan comes out and says that over 18 million votes were cast. We start with them singing 'For The Longest Time.' Interesting note here - when the guys come out to sing, everyone is screaming. When the girls come out, you cab almost hear a pin drop. Could there be an all-sausage final three?

Here comes the AT and T poll question, which is this. What do you think? A. Simon, B. Ryan. C. Spongebob. Ryan brings a big card with the letter 'B' with him. Simon asks wha the question is as Ryan responds 'We're probably going to be beaten by a square - a stuffed square.' That's the best line of the evening.

But now it's time for the worst three. Clay Aiken is first and he's in. Kim Caldwell is also in - but she's in the bottom three. Ruben is next up - and of course, he's not going anywhere. Carmen gets to join Kimberley Caldwell in the bottom. Josh is fifth - and they want to seemore of Josh (shocker - not).

That brigs us down to Trenyce and Kimberley Locke. After we see a goofy Speed Racer spoof, we'll get my prediction - and it is that Ms Locke, who did one of the best songs of the evening, should be safe - and she is. Trenyce is in the bottom. So the three people left in the booby zone are my choice, the family choice, and the woman that everyone wants off but no one thinks will be going.

Judges thoughts? Randy says that Kim Caldwell shouldn't be in the bottom three. Paula agrees, saying that Kim raised her game. Simon thought that a Kim raised her game - but it was Kimberley Locke. Trenyce raised her game enough to be sent to the Happy Couch.

We are down to Kim and Carmen. But first - the results are that Ryan wins with 41% of the votw. Spongebob got 34% and Simon got 25%. Kimberly Caldwell needed a few more %'s - she is gone and Carmen gets to warble on for another week. Always go with the family - they are right for the week.

So what do they say for next week? Trenyce or Carmen will be gone, and let the sausaging begin! We'll see if they are right next week...

April 21, 2003 - Gordon Pepper

So this is supposed to be an hour of singing - no pressure, no worries, and no judging. Don't believe it. You have to realize that the true judges are the American public - and every time that you step up on the stage, whether intentionally or not, you give us something to judge you for - or against. So just keep it in mind.

We start with the whole montage of the judges, and where how we got to the final 6. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Snore.

We start with Carmen Rasmussen - and it's very evident that all we are getting is a repeat as we see the history of her on this show. This is a 60 minutes live repeat - if you can imagine that. She gets ased about the flirting between Carmen and Clay, and she let's America think what they want to. She sings 'Can't Hurry Love' - which, following the theme tonight, is a repeat from what she sang earlier on in the season. She actually sings it better now than she did earlier - unfortunately for her, that's not saying much.

Next up is Josh Gracin and his United States Marine Corps story. He starts to beat up on Simon, but relents a little, knowing that Simon will be judging him. The question asked is what will he do post American Idol? He says he'll go back to the Marine Corps since he has a year left - and hopefully the doors of music will be open for him. He does the best song that he's done for the show 'Amazed' - and he gets to his country twangy self.

Our third singer is Kimberley Locke. She's going to be conservative, and although she has opened up a bit, she wants to stay classy. Actually, all of them have been pretty conservative, when you look at it. We see her in her audition days - and the change has been amazing, to say the least. I guess no one wanted to ask her questions. She sings 'I can't Make You Love Me' - and that's it for her.

Next up is - Ruuuuuuuben. We see his opening clip. We find out that he has a manicure and pedicure. We also find out that his best friend on the show was Rickey Smith, and that he tells the audience to buy Rickey's albums. Unfortunately, instead of something meaningful, like an ask a question, or something like that, we get caught in a lame '205' sketch. After the sketch, he sings 'Superstar' - which is one of the songs that he sang to get to the finals. Very interesting song choice.

Our next singer up is Trenyce. She talks about how she got into the Wild Card Round. Time to ask Trenyce who her idols are. She says umber one is G-d. Safe answer. Then she says Whitney Houston.Next question - where does she want to see herself in 5 years? She wants to be behind the scenes - either as a music writer or a producer. She sings a song from her Idol - 'Don't Make me Cry'from Whitney Houston.

Finally, it's Clay Aiken. He tals about his past with special kids. AwwwwwwBARF. He does 'Somewhere Out There.', which I actually, thought was a lousy choice of song. he was the only person who I thought did not pick out a good song. But he sings it and after a goupr rendition of Lionel Richie's All Night Long, we are outtie.

So this is a safe show - no one did anything to help - or hurt - their cause. That changes tomorrow night. We'll see where the damage is coming from in 24 hours...

April 22, 2003 - Gordon Pepper

We start the second half of the Finals. Ryan appears - and tells us that because everyone did such hard work from yesterday, they are taking the night off and 24 will be going on a 2 hour special. Ha ha ha.

He tells us that according to Neilson, Kelly Clarkson's album will be number one next week, the song 'G-d Bless the USA will be the number one single (I haven't heard that song at all on any radio station around here) and that the show is the number one show (while it is good, it's not number 1). Maybe it's Ryan's brain that took the night off this evening? Oh wait, Ryan's brain usually takes off on Tuesday and Wednesday nights - silly me.

But seriously, we have a serious show, and after the introductions of everyone, we get tonight's theme - the songs of legendary songwriter Diane Warren. Now, a few things about Diane Warren. #1 - She is the queen of the power ballad, so if you don't like those, you're in a world of hurt. #2. She is a very good friend of Simon's, so it will be really interesting to hear how she judges.

First up - Kimberley Locke. She sings 'If You Asked Me To'- a song that I actually enjoyed before hearing Kimberley singing it. This is the first really rotten choice from here - the pitch is all off, and it doesn't give her a chance to exploit her dynamic range. Wrong notes all over the place and she takes a huge step backwards from last week. At least, that's my opinion. Does anybody agree with me? Randy doesn't - 'you may be the best tonight - that was brilliant.' Paula agrees with Randy. Diane thought that Kimberley was awesome. Simon? 'Since you got rid of that weird hair, you sung better.' Maybe they are getting a different frequency in California than I am in NYC.

Next up is Clay Aiken - and we get his grandmother to introduce him. At least she didn't have to say anything stupid, like the other relatives that have been on the show. Clay, Aiken, master of the balled, decides to sing....a ballad. Clay does 'I Could Not Ask For More.' I could, but at least he was less pitchy than Kimberley. He also showed emotion this week and it looks that he has decided to stop sleepwalking in his performances. It still sounds karaoke to me, but it is a step up from what I'm used to hearing. Randy thinks that he's one of the best, and Paula says that it's another wonderful week - but add some more choreography. Diane thought that he did a great job. Simon's Advice? 'As a Broadway artist, you will make a fortune - I just don't think that you will make it as a performing artist.'Diane gives him a 'Sorry I don't do Nice' T-shirt. I have to agree with Simon - Broadway, yes, Pop Music, no.

Would you like to give the Idolers a new hair-style? You can do it on the web site, and Herbal Essences afters a blatant hair care to everyone - except Ruben. What's up with that? No one wants to give Mr 205 any Hair Care?

The new read-streaked Trenyce sings 'Have You Ever' - and she gets help from Diane. Too bad Diane couldn't give her help on pitch on the stage. Horrendous pitchy effort - She gets an A for Effort - but unfortunately Effort doesn't start with A, and that's how far her pitch was. Randy thought that it was better than last week. Paula thought she was in control, and Diane thought that she gets better every week. Let's see if Simon can shed some reality into it. 'You are still one of the only performers that I still know nothing about, because you give nothing away. It's almost like you wear a mask on stage.' Wha? Definitely has to be the water out there on the West Coast.

Joshua Gracin is up next - and he sings one of Diane's favorites 'That's Wen I'll stop Loving you' - and we find out that he sang it to his future wife in high school. Awwwwwbarf. And the pitch problems just keep on coming. Carmen may be sounding pretty good compared to the last 2 efforts. He can't keep the high note at the end either. Now I give out good efforts for the people who try to do hard stuff, but this is something that he was singing in high school, for crying out loud. He should get roasted over the coals for this one. Randy thought that he was sharp the whole time. Paula thought that he was vulnerable. Simon? '#1 You sang the song through your nose. #2 You've proved again...that you just changed your style. Thirdly, you're a marine and you just had a bronze-dyed hair commercial. I wouldn't want to go back to the platoon after that.' Josh is very respectful towards his elders, so he won't say anything. He shouldn't - that was terrible.

Up next is Carmen Rasmussen. She sings 'Love will Leave You Back.' I still hate the tremolo in her voice, but she was the best on pitch besides Clay, and as much as I don't understand me saying this, could she be the best female singer tonight? Of course, that's not saying much either, and I also expect her to be blasted. Boy, am I right. Randy 'We're trying to find the best in America - I don't think you're even close.' Paula think that it was the best that she heard her sing. Simon? 'Common sense talking now. I think they're both sort of right - you were better than last week. Having said this, we're in the final 6 of this competition. You can't win this competition... however, you've done well to get this far. Well done.' She was the best that I've heard her - but based on what I thought of the other 2 women, Roseanne Barr could be the best singer of the evening.

The final singer is Ruuuuuuben. Do you ever notice that either Ruben or Clay is last - you don't think it's because they know who they are voting for and that they stick the most popular guy at the end, do you? Diane can't wait for Ruben to sing his song - which is 'Music For My Heart.' He finally gets some emotion into it, we hear his upper register, and it's one of his better performances. Or maybe it's because I haven't been happy with any of the performances this evening and I just want something half-decent. Let's see what the judges think. Randy puts him up with Clay. Paula was impressed that Ruben showed us his upper register and Diane was happy that he made his song his own. Simon? 'I was the person who asked you to change your were fantastic...Great night tonight...the only advice I'm going to give you and Clay now is watch out for Kimberley Locke.'

So who should be the bottom three? Based on the judges, the bottom three should be Carmen, Josh and Trenyce. Based on my own personal opinion - and JUST on last night's performance, my preference would be Carmen, Josh and Trenyce. But it's the audiences vote, and I will go against the grain and say that there will be a sausage party in the safe zone as all three women will be on the bottom. We'll see how safe the estrogen are tomorrow.

April 23, 2003 - Gordon Pepper and Anthony Rojas

Gordon: Hello again - I am back and I have brought a guest with me tonight - being the yang to my yin is Anthony Rojas.
Anthony: Yank your yin? is that you say hello? Wassup people!!
Gordon: That's Anthony for you - anyways, as a die-hard AI person, he is here tonight to do color commentary for tonights show. We'll start off with the predictions - as you all know, on yesterday's set, I predicted that although I believe that Josh, Trenyce and Carmen should be at the bottom, all three women would be on the bottom - Anthony, what is your opinion?
Anthony: I think carmen gets the boot and Josh and Trenyce will join her in the bottom 3. Go kimberly locke!!
Gordon: I like her too - but the voting patterns suggest otherwise - do you think it will be any other final 2 showdown besides Ruben Vs, Clay?
Anthony: Ruben sounds like the favorite, but i agreed with Simon when he said Clay is more for the theater side. I would put Kimberly second.
Gordon: For the record, I would agree with you - but I think thet Josh Gracin would have to be considered the dark horse - he may be the Nikki Mckibbin of the series
Anthony: Oh my! you agree with me? What is the world coming too? I have to also agree about Josh but i think he's more popular than Carmen. Both did horrible
Gordon: Agreed - but I think they are both more popular than Trenyce
Anthony: What is this 3 for 3? Stop copying me! We all know Trenyce is sweet and very capable. She just didnt show it yesterday like she should.
Gordon: So then why are you saying that it's Carmen who will be booted?
Anthony: Cause America would keep Trenyce over Carmen
Gordon: Because?
Anthony: From past performances, Trenyce is Whitney houston capable. Carmen is prom party, and Josh needs to go back home to military
Gordon: Do you really think that the military will let Josh down now?
Anthony: I think they will let him continue until he gets the boot.
Gordon: It's interesting - do you think that the military, with all of their technology, are using all of it to keep him on the show?
Anthony: I don't know what the reason maybe, but if you were in their shoes would you want the publicity?
Gordon: Hell yeah - that's why I think that it may not be a Clay/Ruben final - is the military pull so strong that Josh could knock Clay or Ruben out?
Anthony: Oh gosh, if Josh makes it to the final I will walk outside naked! That's how confident I am he wont be there
Gordon: I will vote specifically so that the world can be spared from that. Rank these 3 - Ruben, Clay, and Kimberley
Anthony: 1 3 2
Gordon: Is there any chance that Ruben does not get to the finals?
Anthony: Well when he's put in the best for last slot most of these past weeks, and the crowd absolutely loves this guy, it's hard to imagine him not being there. He is better than all of them. Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuubeeeeeeeeennnnnnn. It would be a great final if Ruben and Kim was there - or Ruben/Clay
Gordon: Did you think that Tamyra Gray would be in the finals?
Anthony: I would agree with that
Gordon: Could it happen again?
Anthony: Well you never know, Rickey smith boot shocked some of us.
Gordon: I was surprised - but not shocked - he did deserve to go bye bye
Anthony: Shocked, surprised same thing.
Gordon: Well, here we go with American Idol - after Last Night's Performances come tonight's dramas. We are live - doesn't Ryan look shiny tonight in his light blue shirt?
Anthony: I don't notice those things Gordon. I notice his corny-ness
Gordon: The gravy train is terminating in Nowhereville tonight, according to Ryan - and they have to highlight their own hair - yes Ryan's corniness is in full bloom tonight. After the recap of last night, when Randy Jackson was apparently taking Simon pills, We get to hear them sing 'Shine'. Carmen is already starting to put us in a happy off-pitch mood
Anthony: Carmen singing = meow
Gordon: Notice the crowd only goes nuts when Ruben and Clay are singing by themselves?
Anthony: Its a sign - foreshadowing the future
Gordon: I still go by the THIS IS FOX mantra - something weird will happen, and I still say that there will be something else besides a Clay/Ruben FInal 2
Anthony: You might be right, but only time will tell.
Gordon: What's your prediction - right now, April 23, 8:40pm - who are your 2 finalists?
Anthony: Ruben and Kimberly
Gordon: Maybe I'll go really out there and go Ruben and JOSH
Anthony: Whoa, now i think you've lost it
Gordon: JUST KIDDING. Just to be different, I'll say Ruben and Clay - tee hee hee
Anthony: what a surprise, or should i say shock?
Gordon: Here we go with the people - Carmen is first and she is in the bottom three - surprised?
Anthony: Good for her
Gordon: Ruben is next - he stays in the top three - thoughts?
Anthony: Not at all, I am right again
Gordon: We're both 2 for2
Anthony: Yep
Gordon: Clay Aiken - we both pick to stay on the happy couch
Anthony: Yes
Gordon: He stays on the happy couch - and Simon gets booed
Anthony: Yay!
Gordon: Trenyce is next - and we both see her going to the bottom three - and she does - that a surprise?
Anthony: Not at all - I think she is the best of the bottom 3 so far
Gordon: I agree - We get one awful video - what in the world is that? What sort of horrific Ford Ad was that?
Anthony: its Fun fun, Happy Days style
Gordon: So then we plug plug plug until Daddy takes American Idol awayyyyyyyyyyy...ok - back to the show - and now it's Josh Vs. Kimberley - you think Kim makes it to the top 3 - and I think there will be a sausage fest. Josh goes to the bottom three this week, but let me tell you something - I'm glad. He deserves to be there.
Anthony: Once again I'm right - and Carmen should get a shiny boot to her behind
Gordon: Randy says that Carmen should be eliminated, Paula says that Carmen should be happy to be inthe top 6, and Simon says that none of them have a shot of winning the competition right now. 'Whatever 2 are left, you really have to raise your game right now.' Trenyce gets to go back to safety - which means that Im wrong in terms of my guessing the audience, but at least my faith in the American public has been justified.
Anthony: I love being right
Gordon: It's funny - because you can never get a bead on the audience - I think they did the right thing from a musical point of view, but where the heck was this from the audience weeks ago, when both of these people should have been gone?
Anthony: Well sometimes the bubble doesn't burst
Gordon: Anthony says Carmen - just to solidify the vote, I'll say that the marines were upset with Josh and his commercial for the blonde hair and that he goes tonight. Let me ask you this - should either of them be in the top 6? Or should there be other people there besides them?
Anthony: Hmm, I think Rickey should have been there instead of Carmen but that's about it
Gordon: Carmen is gone - and not a moment too soon
Anthony: And I'm right again!
Gordon: You are just the pulse of the American Public. Carmen sings her last song - which is the last time that she will be bleeding our ears.
Anthony: Thank the lord! Now its time for me to watch and recap Bach 3
Gordon: Any Final words as to this week and who's going next week?
Anthony: Josh is out - but anything could happen
Gordon: I'll have to agree - no military support = bye bye - but that could also tell the Josh voters to move their fannies for next week...for Anthony, this is Gordon - we'll see if Anthony is right again next week

April 29, 2003 - Gordon Pepper

Let's see - we have 5 people left - so for an hour show, that means we will have five performances (hopefully, they will be longer that normal) and a heck of a lot of filler. Yeeee-haw.

He announces them as the 'A' Team. After the introduction to that - and the lame intros of the judges, we are off.

We start with a nice surprise - the singers will be singing 2 songs tonight! One song will be from the 60's, and the other song will be performed from the pen of tonight's guest judge - Neil Sedaka! The good news is that we are not going to get a lot of filler. The bad news is that we will be getting 2 lame efforts from Josh Gracin - but for his sake, since he was on the bubble last week, he better not be serving up any stinkers.

So since we will be getting 2 performances it tonight, we start with Ruuuuuuuben (but don't worry, we'll be seeing him again right before we close, I believe). He sings 'Ain't too proud to beg'. I hate to say this, but he is very very pitchy this evening, and this may be the worst that I heard him. Will the judges agree? Randy says that he sounded like a winner, Neil doesn't get nervous with him, and Paula thinks that he's cool with the moves. Simon gives the song a 9, and the outfit a 2. 'Now I know why there's a cow shortage in California.' OUCH. By the way, Rickey Smith is in the house. Amazing how a star 3 weeks ago is yesterday's news, eh?

Next up is Trenyce - and she sings 'Proud Mary'. You know what makes a song sound Karaoke? When you hear mysterious voices come out of nowhere. I liked her performance, but the voices coming out of nowhere unnerve me. Maybe you should see the back up singers, because with no band or singers there, it sounds weird. She sounded very nice though. Randy agrees and says that she bought it tonight. Neil agrees - and he's another blatant male version of Paula. Paula herself likes it. It reminded Simon of a drag act - but she made the effort. The crowd boos him. Maybe it's the weird background vocals coming out of nowhere...

'Then You can Tell Me Good-Bye' is the song that Joshua Gracin sings. If he doesn't do well tonight, then we will be telling him good-bye. He plays it safe and sings a country song. It's sort of a double-edged sword. He loses points with me because he doesn't do a different genre besides country, but he loses points anyways because he sounds awful in any other genre EXCEPT country. But this is a country song, and he sings it well. Randy agrees with me (though it didn't blow him away). Neil likes his shy quality, and Paula thought that it was beautiful - but he wasn't free with it. Simon? 'I think that you really have a problem in this competition at this moment...I think you have one more song to save you, because that was dreary.' Ryan wants to know what exactly Simon does like. Josh's response? 'Drag Queens.' I don't know if that impresses the drag queens, but Josh is slowly but surely getting rid of his wholesome happy military image and getting into a surly rebel look. That is not a good thing.

After Simon and Ryan exchange friendly repartees (which are too stupid to go into, but they involved them going on a blind date), Kimberley Locks sings 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine.' I know why Simon would want to put her as a contender (trying to build up suspense to try to think that there is a remote possibility of anything besides a Ruben/Clay showdown). She has a very nice performance, but she is not in Clay or Ruben's league, and Randy says that it's just good. Neil says that she's ear-delicious. Paula was happy with the song, while Simon, disappointed, thought that Kimberley was capable of better. I have to agree with the male judges.

And to emphasize my point, here comes Clay Aiken. He sings 'Build Me Up, Buttercup', and he is raising his game. A much better effort from him, and not only is he doing something upbeat, he is actually moving around and is sounding popish. Clay is improving his game. Randy thought that he did a great job. 'I was entertained.' Neil says that he would write and kill to produce his first CD, and Paula wants to give him a hug. What will Simon say? 'I think you made the effort I think you came out to perform today.' I have to give this round to Clay.

We now go to the second round of songs - Neil Sedaka. Ruuuuubuen starts it off again with 'Breaking Up is Hard To Do.' I hope he does a better job this time around. He does, which is good, but he still sounds uninspiring to me. He couldn't possibly be in trouble for two flat performances, could he? Randy said that he sang it like a veteran and Neil was thrilled. So was Paula. Simon says thought that it was absolutely sensational. I didn't feel it tonight, dawg.

Can I be feeling Trenyce? She sings 'Love Will Keep Us Together'. I have the same problem with what she did now. Loved the performances, hated the background vocals, and I may have to side with SImon in terms of the drag queeney-ness to it. Randy said that she came to win and Paula thought that she had a brilliant night. Simon? 'It was fabulous. Well done.'

Hey look - it' a blatant plug from Hayley and Miss Personality! Fox doing crossover plugs? Who'd have think it?

Josh is up next - and he does 'Bad Blood'. It's....yes, wait for it....another country/rock song. Sigggggh. Josh needs to go. He can't even do this song properly - and it's a song in his genre. I don't need to see him do another bad song, whether it's in his genre or not. Randy inexplicably thought that this performance was better. Neil thinks that he needs to relax, and Paula loved it. Simon, please bring us back into reality. 'Josh this is not personal - the bar has been raised, Your performances were not good enough to stay in this performance anymore.' Thanks you, Simon. Josh says something stupid to alienate himself even more from his core group, and we're done with him.

Kimberley Locke sings 'Where the Boys Are'. This is much much better from her. This is a much wiser choice of song, and she sounds better (though a little pitchy in the middle). Randy thought it was hot, while Neil thought she was sugar-sweet and Paula enjoyed it. Simon's opinion? 'Kimberley, thank you for proving my point. You've gone beyond the bar. Congratulations.'

Finally, it's Clay Aiken. He sings 'Solitaire' and I am very impressed with him this evening. He is showing his vocal versatility - and he is sounding popish and he is shedding the Broadway moniker. He gets a standing ovation and even Simon is impressed. 'You are one of the few people in this competition who can take criticism like an adult... You were fantastic.' Yes he was, and for the first time, I will actually be putting him first in terms of overall performance for the evening.

So who goes? From a performance standpoint, there is no way that Josh Gracin should be around after tomorrow night. But I can't see three straight country singers leave - especially since there will be no one left representing the genre. Trenyce may be in big trouble. We'll see who is in 24 hours.

April 30, 2003 - Pete Bourke, Gordon Pepper, and Anthony Rojas

Gordon: I am back - and so is Anthony.
Anthony: Hi ya'll
Gordon: Now if you remember last time, Anthony, you boasted about having the pulse of the American public, did you not?
Anthony: Of course - I know what I'm doing.
Gordon: Well, just for you, I have brought in a normal (well, as close to normal as we can get) member of the voting american public here - this is Pete. Say hi, Pete
Pete: Hello everyone
Gordon: Now Pete, do you consider yourself a normal (well, relatively normal) American Idol watcher?
Pete: Somewhat normal yes
Gordon: There you go - let's see how well Anthony matches up against a normal member of America. Did you see American Idol last night?
Pete: Yes sir i did
Gordon: ok - Who is your favorite singer so far?
Gordon: There will be NO coaching to the unbiased American public by the biased writer
Pete: I would have to say Ruben by far
Gordon: HA!
Anthony: boooo he picked the favorite. It's like picking the Yankees to win, it's obvious
Gordon: He's the favorite because that's what MOST of the pulse of America is thinking - that's why is the is perfect pulse of America person. Pete, are you a Yankee fan?
Pete: Yes I am a Yankee fan
Gordon: See - what did I tell you, Anth? He's Mr Majority
Pete: Sorry you Met fans in years of torment
Anthony: lol yep
Pete: Looks can't be everything. Talent has to play a part. He is the favorite for one reason and one reason only. HE IS THAT GOOD
Gordon: So Pete, who would you vote to get rid of tonight?
Anthony: zzzzzzzz That's simple
Pete: Joshua!!!!!!!!
Anthony: I'll tell you one thing, Josh may be in the bottom three but the other two spots are kind of unpredictable
Gordon: I think Josh and Trenyce are both there - the question is does Kimberley join them or do one of the to 2 guys get a very rude awakening?
Anthony: You know america likes Clay
Pete: At this point there should be no lame performances from anyone, but Josh had a few.
Gordon: Pete - who are your bottom three?
Pete: Josh, Trenyce, and Kimberley
Gordon: There's the American pulse for you - do you agree, Anthony?
Anthony: I second that
Pete: Clay is to good to go. Ruben has talent
Gordon: I would have to agree with that - I thought Ruben was flat last night, but not lifeless enough to be put in third
Anthony: I think Clay is more popular and thats why he gets the attention but he needs to move over to theater
Gordon: I dont know about that - I thought he was very impressive on Monday - what did you think about Clay, Pete?
Pete: Clay was solid
Gordon: Was he better than Ruben last night?
Pete: It is a tough call. Ruben sounded good
Gordon: I thought Clay raised his game last night and that Ruben is still stuck in Barry White-ville - he needs to expand in order to win
Pete: Ruben has that r&b/ gospel soul to him
Gordon: Clay had the theater thing going on and he was able to cross into the pop side - Ruben has to do that as well in order to win the big one
Pete: I think you haven't seen it all from Ruben
Gordon: I agree - but when do we see it?
Pete: I think by next week - The stakes get higher
Gordon: He better - or he may get a nasty surprise - before AI starts - who gets booted?
Anthony: Josh
Pete: I think tonight that is it
Gordon: If it was just on musical performance, I would agree, but it's not. Carmen stayed on for all eternity - her voters will now vote for Josh - especially because they know that he is in trouble. I will go out on a limb and say that...TRENYCE is the one who gets booted
Anthony: WHAT!
Pete: I think you give sympathy to much credit
Anthony: Gordon stay off the drugs
Pete: The women seem to stay a lot longer than men
Gordon: But I agree that if it was called Talent Idol, that Josh would be gone. So will the filler in American Idol be entertaining tonight?
Pete: The whole point is; if you do a poll on male vs. female, then female would win
Gordon: Is it just me, or is Josh looking more and more psychotic?
Anthony: Im going out on a limb here, Clay is on the bottom 3
Gordon: I'll say RUBEN is in the bottom 3
Gordon: and Pete will be the pulse of America and be predictable. So we start with the time filler - and Ryan points out the signs. ARGH
Pete: Ruben is that good.
Gordon: Justin Guarini is back - ARRRRRRRGH. And we get o see a Boston Public filler - and more filler from X2, and Burt Bacharach - anyone up for 40 minutes worth of filler? We get last night's recap with Neil Sedaka. After the recap - we see the Idolers singing 'Everything is alright'. And the choreography is worse than Ruben's suit from last night.
Anthony: Thats the style YO
Pete: Ruben is big but good
Anthony: stop drinking Haterade
Gordon: I like Ruben's voice - I hate his clothes - and I hate Josh even more - can I stick his head in a vat of haterade?
Anthony: josh is on MEOWWWW
Gordon: Anthony just wants a stomach as big as Rubens. If Ruben wants to get out of the stereotypical voice, then has to stop singing th stereotypical parts
Pete: Yes, but Clay can work a crowd
Anthony: America loves RUUUUUUBEN
Gordon: So out of the opening medley, who sang the best?
Pete: CLAY
Gordon: I got to go with Clay - but Trenyce for me was a close second - Anthony?
Anthony: Clay, Kimberly
Gordon: Just like to point out - NONE of you said RUBEN as the first 2 choices
Pete: You didn't like ruben as the Pillsbury dough boy?
Anthony: Cause im sick of him. GO kimberly!!
Gordon: Could America be sick of him and have him slip to the bottom 3 tonight?
Pete: Talent hater
Anthony: If it was clay vs ruben, clay would win
Pete: Bye Bye Josh
Anthony: yep
Pete: Have a nice life
Gordon: We get to see a reprise of 'What the World Needs Now - Is Love Sweet Love' I like the fact that they are at least singing for filler instead of dumb corny gags.
Gordon: Meanwhile, while the song os playing, here come some of the booted out Idolers. Riiiiiiiiicky - He's back - and so is Kim Caldwell and Carmen
Pete: I still got 2 more minutes of fame
Gordon: Julia DeMato is there - and Julia screws up the last note
Pete: But she is gorgeous - I would not kick her out
Gordon: And we go to commercial with a corny Ford commercial. NO Corey Clark - does that surprise you?
Anthony: lol COREY likes beating up his sister
Gordon: I love you - now let me kick your ass
Pete: Could they milk any more commercials
Anthony: They gotta make money somehow
Gordon: Gee - like they are not making enough money there
Pete: Some how. They just bought 10 747's
Gordon: We get American Juniors on May 27 - will you be watching?
Pete: WOW How about American toddlers?
Anthony: Will there be a mini-like-a-virgin boy there
Gordon: The Idolers visit Boston Public and meet Tamyra Gray - and we see the Idolers as a cameo... What about All-American Girl - you think that would be a good idea, Anthony?
Anthony: no way ergghh
Pete: NO NO NO
Gordon: Next up - an interview with Justin Guarini - which is more like a push for the American Idol movie. He's working with Babyface. And of course, he plugs the movie. And he says that him and Kelly are friends as he sings a song from the new movie...and he is just as bad now as he was in the regular American Idol
Anthony: This is why he won second
Pete: Yeah ,but he is getting more tale than most
Gordon: Would you like a little Kelly Clarkson tail?
Pete: oh Yeah
Anthony: i hear Babyface, not Justin
Pete: that is the idea for sales
Gordon: I hear an awful mess. Pete - what do you think of Justin's singing?
Pete: do you hear a dog howling?
Anthony: MEOW!
Gordon: well, that answers my question - how did you, the American public, let him get to the finals in the first season over Tamyra Gray? Pete - as a member of the American public - I hold you accountable - explain yourself
Pete: DDDDDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH...I don't know George. Maybe boobs played a part
Gordon: lets say you are a woman - would you have voted for Tamyra or Justin and why?
Pete: Same sex anger leaves Justin way out in front
Anthony: I would have, but women fall in love for the guy - like Clay
Pete: Clay has that dumb look
Anthony: to us, but to women they go nuts - just like Justin of AI 1
Gordon: But Clay also has talent
Pete: Could be stoned or i'm crying for you - That is the look he gives
Gordon: who would more gay guys vote for - Clay and the dumb guy look, or Trenyce and the 'Drag Queen' (according to Simon) sound?
Pete: Trenyce because she is fabulous
Anthony: I second that
Gordon: Next up - Ramen's Chinese theater - and a sneak preview of X2. They meet the stars and see the movie - how much do you think that they paid for the plug? Here we go with the bottom 2 - interesting.  Well, we cant guess the bottom three - so we'll have to guess the bottom 2.
Anthony: now its Try and Josh
Gordon: You guys say that - I will have to say Trenyce and Ruben. Meanwhile, Kimberley Locke is safe
Anthony: Kimberley! YAY!!
Gordon: Clay is up next - and he is, of course, safe
Pete: I'm gonna cry
Gordon: Why are you going to cry? Trenyce is up - and she is in the bottom 2. I guess no one is surprised by that?
Anthony: Nope. This is obvious
Gordon: It's down to Josh and Ruben - do either of you think that there is a chance that Ruben is in the bottom 2?
Anthony: never
Gordon: Pete?
Pete: Nope
Gordon: Well, they do the standard rigamarole, and sure enough, RUBEN joins Trenyce in the bottom 2.
Anthony: WOW
Pete: Wow. Just wow
Gordon: LOTS of booing this week from the audience
Anthony: Simon is pissed
Gordon: Here come the judges thoughts - Randy is shocked. Paula thinks that it's absolutely ridiculous. Simon says that the public has the right to vote and you have to respect their wishes - please America, judge this as a singing competition.
Anthony: Sometimes people dont vote for the favorite - they go for the 2nd or 3rd best
Gordon: People vote for their favorite that is in trouble - thats why I KNEW that Josh was safe - who's smoking crack now?
Anthony: I think FOX is trying to shake things up to make everyone vulnerable
Pete: I have to say bye to Trenyce. Neither should be gone
Anthony: if that happens I refuse to watch the show
Pete: Say the truth - Josh stunk
Gordon: I agree with you - Josh was horrible. But the voting is not on talent.
Pete: It can not be a talent vote
Anthony: I think people assumed that Ruben will get votes and voted for the rest...I haven't voted for ruben
Gordon: BUT - it's not based on who is horrible, it's based on the voting public - Josh should have been out weeks ago - the fact that he's here and that he was in trouble motivated the audience to vote. Thats how Ricky got knocked out - and that's how Ruben could be knocked out tonight
Anthony: Gordon you jinx-er
Gordon: I'm just maintaining my reputation as master picker, that's all. Trenyce sings a last song - Proud Mary
Anthony: Could it be her last?
Gordon: Ruben sings his possibly last song - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Anthony: Might be for a reason
Gordon: You still stunned, Anthony?
Anthony: Uh Huh
Gordon: This is seeming more like a funeral dirge right now than a singing competition. People are dancing and crying on each other - Paula is sitting on Simon's lap. Ricky and Julia are doing a slow dance
Anthony: I'm telling you Fox is doing this on purpose, to shake up that anyone can lose
Gordon: I'll say this, if Ruben gets knocked out, then just hand the title over to Clay
Anthony: Tell me about it
Gordon: I predicted this at the beginning, did I not?
Anthony: Unfortunately u did
Gordon: I'll take my king of predicting title back now (snatches crown off of Anthony's head). We are back from commercial, and Ryan tells Ruben that he is safe. Trenyce is eliminated.
Anthony: Right move
Gordon: A huge sigh of relief is coming from area code 205
Anthony: You think?
Gordon: I'll tell you this, Ruben won't be close to getting knocked out next week - the voters got a huge wake-up call
Gordon: Trenyce sings 'Love Will Keep Us Together' and we are out of here
Anthony: for next week, JOSH WILL BE OUT!!! BUH BYE!
Gordon: Maybe...or Could Clay be the next person to be shocked? We'll see next time. A special thanks to Anthony Rojas and the man named Pete, the pulse of the American public...see you next week.

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