Lightsabers are fun at least they look like fun but did we really need to see an entire segment of Howie playing with his? Don't even get me started on the phallic symbolism of that, or the odd fact that Janelle seemed to have a better handle on how to wield one. I guess maybe that goes to Ivette's comment when she put Janelle up for nomination about her manipulating men. I don't know if she's got a point or not; Janelle does seem to know how to cover up her competitiveness with her bleached-blonde hair flip, but that's more just a girly thing, and smart strategy to boot. Besides, she has always seemed like a guy's kind of girl; if she hadn't joined the boys' club she'd have been all alone after Week 1, when her partner, Ashlea, was sent home. Anyway, I wasn't surprised by the noms, but I was annoyed by the butt-kissing of Ivette that commenced afterward. The fact that April and Maggie are so insecure that they need to say "good job" for every little thing just makes me hope that neither of them wins. Oh, and I did agree with the nerd herd about one thing: Maggie's assessment that no one in the house should have children together was pretty dead on. James and Sarah, if you consider procreating at least don't let your baby grow up to be April. And while I'm sure that Howie is next to go on Thursday, he still cracks me up, from thinking that the Beau morph photo was cute and datable to not recognizing his own face to wearing James' underwear in the veto competition, he's the life of the party. It will surely be interesting if it's all women in the final four. They are all so catty, tossing around the b-word and making nasty comments about each other. I think it is interesting that it's taken the "Girl Scout troop" this long to figure out that their best bet is to take Howie or Janelle. I mean, I'm a writer, but I can do math and figure out that the Friendship has the numbers in the jury house, so it doesn't really matter at this point if Jedi Janie makes it to the final two the only votes she's getting are from Rachel, Howie and James... that is, if you believe what he told me the other day. Angel Cohn
But then we slip into darkness. Rather, we get kicked into it with the relentless scene of Debbie brutalizing Sheila, followed by Jeannie cutting her own throat (and that after a truly touching scene in which she tells the chief how much she loves him). A brief bit of comic relief as we once again see the expected in this case, nearly all of dad's wife's money going to her cats, which, again, works even though it's no surprise and enjoy another chuckleworthy exchange. "I've changed. I quit drinking," Tommy tells his pop. "That doesn't mean you've changed," dad fires back. "That just means you're a p---y." After which we're right back to the gut-punch, with Lou discovering that Candy's pimp isn't going to let her go so easily... if at all. And then poor Connor being run down by a hit-and-run driver, followed by an absolutely wrenching scene in the hospital and the heartbreaking use of Ray LaMontagne's "All the Wild Horses." Well done, all of these moments right up there with Deadwood, in fact. But I need to just sit here and breathe a while. You? Michael Peck
Rock Star: INXS
I'm still awed by Marty's show-closing set. He damn near knocked me over with his light-as-a-feather interpretation of "Everlong" a song title that could just as easily describe the series itself. But as we enter the final three weeks of this magical mystery tour, it's becoming clearer who will be among the last rockers standing. Here's how my new front-runner, Marty, and the remaining fab four played out last night as they each performed a two-song set.
J.D.: "Come as You Are" has been played to death on modern-rock radio, and I don't think I'd even want to hear Kurt Cobain himself come back and sing it again. But J.D.'s reworking made it sound nearly new. That lounge-lizard arrangement fit him like a sharkskin suit, too. As did his own composition, "Pretty Vegas." Overall, though, his set seemed as contrived as that cake fight back at the mansion.
Suzie: It's hard to believe this is the same woman who flubbed the lyrics to "Remedy" months ago at the start of the competition. Last night, the Bonnie Raitt torch song "I Can't Make You Love Me" flamed as brightly as her original, "Soul Life." Expect to see her in the finale.
MiG: Finally, a flaw in the tapestry. Yes, "Hard to Handle" was a barn burner, but his own song, "Home in Me," displayed his Broadway background maybe a bit too clearly.
Jordis: You know Jordis is in trouble when the compliment she received from the band had to do with respecting her for her youth. Her take on "We Are the Champions" was winning, but ultimately I think she's gonna end up a loser. And I think it'll be Wednesday night.
Marty: Ah, the Coors may have blurred my sight, but Marty Casey has let me see. It's all clear to me now: Marty's the man. Why? 'Cause he made both the Foo Fighters' "Everlong" and his own terrific "Trees" sound like INXS numbers. He's also developed a dynamic stage presence to complement his righteous range of voice. And if you need more proof that he's electrifying, check out the errant underwear that landed at his feet after his set. Now I know why Brooke Burke was wearing that robe... Joseph Hudak