Paul McDonald – prancing, smiley, warbley-voiced Paul McDonald – has left the building. His personality didn’t take, but he was, in the words of the Prez, likeable enough. Now at least he has the kind of scar that gets people to remember a face: first boy of the season to go.
Things started to turn against him as early on as the Ford music video. In this week’s installment, zombies hunted down a Ford convertible so as to play some tunes through the top-of-the-line Ford audio system. (Ford!) Zombies are scariest when they want to play tunes, and so the innocent bystanders got scared. They were: Casey, playing frisbee in the woods, Lauren and Jacob at a picnic table, and Paul, who told us he’d really rather be a zombie, but instead had to play frisbee with Casey. He may have looked on longingly as Zombies Haley and James head-banged in the car. No way to know, since the cameras didn’t film him. Foreshadowing, ladies and gentlemen.
Before all that, Scotty and Lauren sang a country duet, Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey.” Lauren wore filigree earrings as big as dragonflies, and Scotty cocked his head to the right and held his mic like a flute, as always. It is mysterious, this positioning of Scotty’s. It’s like the world suddenly turned sideways and he is fighting it as hard as he can. The Dismissal of Paul, or Ford Music Video Number 5, rolled, to violent applause, and it was soon time for a jazz duet – “Moanin'” by Charlie Mingus. Casey and Haley took the floor. They are supposed to be an item or something. Were they going to moan … for real? Not these two! Professionals till the end. So professional in fact, that they outshone their own performances from Wednesday night. “We’re sitting here going, ‘Where was that before?'” Randy said to Haley. America could ask the same. Haley placed in the bottom three. “Rats,“ she said.
The next songsters came out: Jacob, Paul, Stefano and James. They sang a bad Simon and Garfunkel medley. As in, the medley itself wasn’t bad, but the way they sang it was. Ryan sent Stefano to the stools, bringing it down to Jacob and Paul. For the first time Ryan dropped any and all fake-outtery. “You’re in the bottom three, buddy,” he told Paul straight. Paul turned to Jacob and there was a tight hug, and Paul said, “Roommates honey!” and Jacob added, “For life!” Real friendship in the leaky Idol mansion.
Ryan cued the montage, forcing Paul to watch the sped-up passing of his fame. He took it really well, smiling and asking the audience to be happy, and appeasing Jennifer by singing “Maggie May.” It was shaky and strange, but that’s just Paul’s way. A shaky strange guy with flower suits, a coffeeshop voice and a nice smile. Expect a debut album soon.
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