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Blogging "Idol": Gina Makes T-Bonez Cry

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I, for one, expected a little more from Sanjaya's hair last night. After last week, when he rocked the faux-pony- hawk in a tribute to Paula's hair in the "Opposites Attract" video, I was hoping he'd try the sassy updo she wore in "Cold Hearted." Oh, well -- Sanjaya is a man who makes his own rules. "He dares to be different," as his NBF (New Best Friend) Tony Bennett confided to a stunned nation. Yes, it was Tony Bennett night on Idol, a night of staid old classic boring songs. Fox apparently decided they were giving us too much raw excitement to handle, so it was time to calm us down, although nobody told the daringly-skirted Haley "On A Clear Day You Can See My Fallopian Tubes" Scarnato.

It was a night of surprises. Melinda came out and sang Black Flag's "Spray Paint The Walls," brutally slamming into the judges" — no, just kidding, she sang another boring old song and I fell asleep. M-Diddy's a nice lady, but she needs more jazz like Sanjaya needs more teeth. At least Phil didn't suck. Much. Okay, he sucked a lot. He sang "Night and Day" (not Al B. Sure's, unfortunately) and it wasn't good. Paula said, "You remind me of a young Frank Sinatra," apparently because he's male, sweaty, and ready to slash his wrists over Ava Gardner. But Phil has a foxy wife (how Alyssa Milano is she?) and her loving arms will no doubt ease the pain of his homecoming, which will probably happen next week, since Gina G. managed to outsuck him by wearing a black funeral shroud to sing a song called "Smile." Gina G is nowhere near as great as the Nineties disco singer who gave us "Oooh Ahhhh (Just A Little Bit)," but she thinks she's a freaking genius. How bad was the Glock tonight? She made Tony Bennett CRY. Hey, Gina? Tony's not getting any younger. He's only got, what, a few hundred Tuesday nights left, and you wasted one-ninth of tonight on this crap? Shame on you.

Blake went back to his Morrissey falsetto for "Mack the Knife," yet again condescending to a song he can't sing. Man, that Blake has some cool nostrils. Ever notice the way they flare and twitch when he gets excited? "You're a hepcat," Paula told him, no doubt savoring some loin-toasting memories of her Eighties paramour MC Skat Kat, who used to steal the covers. Jordin, Chris and Lakisha did their best, but what we all spent the show waiting for was the ultimate summit: Tony meets The Sanj. And it turns out Tone-Loc is a big fan! Sanjaya didn't disappoint, donning a white suit, trying and failing to snap his fingers (it's hard!), prowling the stage and scanning the audience with a desperate look that said, "Where are all the crying girls? They told me there'd be crying girls! Cripples to heal? Anybody?" Fortunately, Sanjaya heeded the ultimate Idol rule: When all else fails, hump Paula. I voted for him. He earned it.

So who's going home? Every week I think it's going to be Gina, and every week I'm wrong. Except this week I'm right. Unless I'm wrong, and Gina survives again, in which case I have to tip my cap to Gina like Pedro Martinez calling the Yankees his daddy. But no, really, I'm right. Her awful performance did inspire the best fan placard of the night though: somebody held up a sign that said "I HEART NENA." It had nothing to do with the show, but it was excellent. "99 Luftballons," beeeyotches!

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Rob Sheffield

Rob Sheffield is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he writes about music, TV and pop culture. He is the author of two books, Talking To Girls About Duran Duran and Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time.

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