After several meetings with my lawyer- a man who spends his weekends dawdling in coffee shops, wearing Speedos and stocking garters- I have decided to ignore threatening emails from the American Idol Politburo and reveal some of the final song and fashion choices choices for Dolly Parton Week.
It is, perhaps, not surprising that the Idol set has this week resembled a cross between a mental institution and a bordello.
On the one hand, the remaining crooners know that the wrong song choice could send them to the oblivion occupied by such luminaries and Phil Stacey and the Chairman of the Milli Vanilli Fan Club.
On the other, their mentor this week, Ms. Parton, has admitted that as a teenager she thought prostitutes were rather well-dressed. So sartorial elegance will be crucial in invoking that ephemeral quality sometimes referred to as personality.
No one has been feeling this binary pressure more than Kristy Lee Cook.
Country is, after all, her heart and hearth. So one can only imagine her reaction when certain members of the Idol Politburo, those whose gym sneakers reveal the grime of a thousand back alleys, suggested that she take on “Backwoods Barbie”, the title track of Ms. Parton’s latest long-playing opus.
At first, she couldn’t even understand the connection. When she was fully appraised of the song’s charming qualities, she remained confused. When it was suggested to her that perhaps she might consider wearing a pink milkmaid’s dress and cowboy boots, she said she wouldn’t be making any decisions until she talked to her pastor.
I am told that having done so, she has agreed to the pink dress and boots, but will be singing “Color Me America” from Ms. Parton’s “For God and Country” album.
Jason Castro has failed in his attempt to persuade Ms. Parton to rename her “9 to 5” song “4.20.”
However, despite what seems, at least to some members of the Idol controllers, an equally risky choice, Castro has held firm to “Grass is Blue” from the 2004 album “Live and Well.”
The story is told by a couple of contestants that on certain late nights, Jason does, indeed, believe that grass is blue. He also tries to persuade the others that cars have wings, snakes can sing and Sergeant Pepper was awarded a purple heart after the Korean War.
Jason has also decided to alter his wardrobe by wearing a clean cheesecloth shirt and wearing his lovely locks greased and up, all held together by a horseshoe-shaped hair pin.
David Archuleta is risking excommunication. He has been fighting his parents, handlers, agents and filthy-sneakered executives. As I reported in my last post, he was under enormous pressure to sing something with a celestial bent.
Instead, he finally decided to sing something with, potentially, a bestial bent.
From Ms. Parton’s little-known 1991 album, “Rainbow”, the fresh-faced Utahite has chosen “Dump the Dude”, a song that some might interpret as a paean to his own professional situation and others to a rather more all-inclusive agenda.
He will also be wearing a purple Oswald Boateng suit with a bright blue pocket handkerchief and bright blue cowboy boots with four-inch silver spurs.
There will be purple faces on the sidelines if he doesn’t pull it off. (The song, not the suit.)
Despite the fact that Ms. Parton herself has covered Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, David Cook has not found it easy to find a Parton song to which the Zeps gave the kiss of life. In fact, he has struggled to find any Parton song that has been covered by even the most unrecognized rocker combo from Tallahassee, Florida.
This despite launching the charity site http://www.donateyoursongtocookie.com (sponsored by Oreo) two weeks ago.
He has therefore opted for the only Dolly ditty he has ever heard- the 1974 megahit, “Jolene”. He feels safe in singing songs that have girls’ names as their title.
He has however, slightly rewritten the words.
Tomorrow night it will be: “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jo-leeene. I’m begging of you, please don’t take my so-ooooooo-ng.”
He will also be wearing a scarf around his neck, a nice red and white check shirt and a goatee. Yes, he’s been watching “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
And, what, finally, of Michael Johns? Johns has plumbed the very depths of the 2003 album “Just Because I’m a Woman” where he encountered the song “I’ll Oil Wells Love You.”
Please, this is not a joke. Check it for yourselves. This is a real song.
Johns feels that this evocative piece will be his best route to connecting with his brothers and sisters in the South, as, remarkably, he is the only remaining contestant who gives a true Southern State, Georgia, as his place of residence.
Yes, Syesha and Ramiele are from Florida, but, come on, Florida? The South? That’s like saying that Indiana is next to Pakistan.
I had almost forgotten Carly Smithson. As a direct swipe at all of those dreadful gossip-mongers who had suggested she was, as they say in her native Ireland, up the duff, Carly will be singing the title track of the 1998 album “Hungry Again.”
Her outfit will actually be one of Carrie Underwood’s castoffs. Her wig will be one of Dolly’s own. Her boots will be Bucky Covington’s.
You might still be wondering what Brooke White will be singing and wearing.
Are you feeling lonely?
The Pond thanks Brent and MariLynn for their cover version of the Dolly Parton statue in Seveir County, Tennessee.