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American Idol - Gay Idol Journal, "Live From The Red Carpet"


By Larry Johnson, 05/30/2004 

Thought Larry Johnson's Gay Idol Journal commentary was over just because American Idol's season was over? Think again -- Reality TV World arranged for Larry to attend American Idol's live season finale, where he wrote his own unique commentary on that greatest of showbiz spectacles -- the classic red carpet arrivals!

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A few weeks ago I was asked, by the esteemed website I all-too-frequently am known to grace with my presence, to attend the taping of the American Idol finale as their representative. As busy as I am, I knew I would have to find the time. It is a big event, after all, and therefore would be worth the sacrifice. I checked my crowded social calendar, and though it was a challenge, I somehow managed to squeeze it in between intense charity work, interview sessions with future husband candidates, random non-husband-material booty calls, and luncheons with important political dignitaries.

Okay, let’s be honest, I was dateless and desperate and would have gone to the taping of ‘The Littlest Groom II’ if asked.

What follows is the event as seen through my somewhat slanted perspective. It is not intended to be an accurate representation of the events. It is neither an ‘official summary’ nor a substitute for those who were not able to attend. It does not attempt to offend anyone, nor to spare the feelings of anyone. If you have grand expectations for this piece of journalism, if you expect it to leave you changed… to raise you to new spiritual heights… perhaps you should discontinue reading now before you have your hopes dashed to the ground like I have by my last 3 exes.

This first of a three-part series I will call…

‘THE RED CARPET’ (OR ‘WHERE OLD IDOLS GO TO PIMP THEMSELVES OUT’)

First of all, let’s start with the important stuff. I’m sure you are all in a tizzy wondering what the most important person of all, fashion-wise, was wearing on the red carpet. Well, I’ll put an end to the anticipation, the longing, and the curiosity once and for all.

I was wearing a black diagonal pinstripe shirt, tapered at the waist, with black flat-front Kenneth Cole slacks, and split-toe Italian lace-up boots. And I looked fierce, if I may say so myself (And since I have no one in my life to tell me these things, I must say so myself, or no one will. Not that I’m bitter.)

I was sporting a little bit of facial hair, sort of a modified Soul-Patch-Van Dyke, which I realize is sooo dated at this point, but as I am still recovering from a nasty cold sore I acquired last weekend in Palm Springs, I had little choice. (Wait… I think I may have just gone too far with the personal details of my life.)

At first, the Red Carpet was a bit dull, I must admit. B-list stars like Jennifer Love-Hewitt (wearing a black sequined napkin and lowrise jeans), Lea Thompson, Henry Winkler (looking not a day over 85), Holly Robinson-Peete and Amy Yasbeck passed by, hoping to be noticed. I yawned and looked away, like I would if a woman tried to hit on me at a bar. Steve Edwards, who must be a million years old, walked by with Dorothy Lucy, who must be half-a-million. Those damned kids from that over-hyped trash “The O.C.” actually went through the red carpet twice to make sure no one missed them. Despite their cuteness, I was nonplussed. I was there for Reality Stars, and would settle for nothing less!

The first such ‘star’ to catch my eye was AI2 bottom-dweller Julia DeMato. Looking like the sexpot that she wishes she was but really isn’t at all, Julia sported a black bustier and tight black slacks, with red spike heels. She blathered on and on about her upcoming wedding, the huge rock he gave her, and how gorgeous he is. Blah blah blah, next. (Okay, so I’m a little jealous.)

AI2 warbler Carmen Rasmussen looked absolutely gorgeous, I must shockingly admit. Thankfully, she had no idea who I was, because I have skewered her savagely in numerous previous columns, and I wouldn’t want to be a target of the Mormon Mafia (which is far more scary than the Gay Mafia ever could be. Worst of all is the Gay Mormon Mafia, those bitches will take your head off and serve it with a side of lime Jello.) Carmen is PALE, and is making the most of it. Her hair has been bleached within an inch of its life, and she wore a tiny pink top and black pants that drifted somewhat from the somewhat puritanical image she seemed to be stuck to last season.

Imagine my horror when two members of my Reality TV Worst Dressed List passed by one after the other. Both are men who are paid for their fashion sense. Both are role models for taste and class. Both are GAY MEN, for god’s sake. And both let me down desperately! Queer Eye’s own Jai Rodriguez (on the arm of Boy Meets Boy bartender-cutie Brian) was wearing a hideous white suit with silver lame pinstripes. (What does cute Brian see in him anyway? He is, at best, the 4th cutest ‘Queer’ guy.) But Jai’s faux pas paled in comparison to ultra-gay designer Bobby Trendy, who hit the red carpet in a hideous rhinestone-encrusted turquoise number that Liberace would have found to be over-the-top. His huge aquamarine necklace looked like it was straight out of the Zsa Zsa reject pile. Amongst all the shine, an oil slick of lip-gloss competed for attention. And the rhinestone studded jeans? All I can say is, someone take the Bedazzler away from her before she hurts someone with it.

AI1 cutie Christina Christian waltzed by with little time to socialize due to her hosting duties. In a dress that looked randomly patched together from old beige, cream, and taupe sweaters (which somehow looked sexy on her anyway) she busied herself making money from the cash cow that is Fox, who seems inexplicably hot on her right now. Someone apparently forgot to remind them that she is a marginally-talented also-ran from three seasons ago.

Australian Idol Guy Sebastian single-handedly disproved the common misperception that all Aussie men are hot in a retro (and not in a good way) ensemble comprised of a black leather biker jacket, a black shirt, white jeans, a white silk tie, and massive hideous Gucci glasses (also, coincidentally, from three seasons ago.)

AI1 winner Kelly Clarkson drew mixed reviews from this critic for her 40’s inspired red polka-dot ensemble. I loved the chiffon dress, but hated her muddy-bronze makeup, overdone eyes, and overly-lacquered hairstyle. I did lean in to ask her about the subject of her next single, which she said was ‘…about suicide… but not mine! Not mine!’ Perhaps it was her makeup artist? We can only hope.

AI2 diva Trenyce tottered in on an exceptionally high pair of red/black plaid heels. Completing her ensemble was a superfitted black leather jacket, supertight slacks, black bustier, and a supercute red/black graffiti purse. Girlfriend never lets me down. Super!

Meanwhile, in the background I heard what sounded like a moose being slowly slaughtered with a dull kitchen knife. Turns out it was actually Leah LaBelle’s tone-free version of that timeless intellectual favorite ‘Betcha By Golly Wow...’ announcing the arrival of this seasons’ batch of Idol wannabes and also-rans.

All the AI3 finalists (minus Fantasia and Diana, who were mercifully spared the humiliation) would have their turn performing ‘hits’ from their CD, ‘Greatest Soul Classics’ in a free concert just a few feet from the red carpet. (I understand that Jasmine, George and LaToya’s performances ended up as part of the broadcast. Let’s just say there is a reason they didn’t show Leah, JPL and Camille instead.) For us, that meant they’d have to pass us by on the Red Carpet, and suffer the wrath of this critic!

Let’s start with what was bad. (And I must admit, it was mostly bad.)

Jennifer Hudson, who many readers know is my favorite not for her sartorial sense but for her voice, looked ridiculous in an oversized pink and orange striped one-shouldered poncho and black cargo pants.

Amy Adams didn’t fare much better I’m afraid, in a pink and baby blue floral chiffon halter top and white jeans. Her newly-black hair is way to stark for her, unfortunately, and the shocks of fuchsia seem calculated to keep us from forgetting she is the ‘spunky pink-haired girl’ we all came to know, love, then forget completely once she was gone.

John Stevens rushed past in the conservative shiny Grey suit and silver tie he sported in the early finals on the show. He only passed me for a second, but I was overcome with a wave of sleepiness that reminded me of the first 7 weeks of the finals.

George Huff was a mismatched nightmare, in a black jacket, lime green T-shirt (borrowed from Camille, no doubt) yellow Nike tennis shoes, and pale ill-fitting jeans. (Is this what happens when George loses his stylist?)

Matt ‘Rose Bowl’ Rodgers appeared in a burgundy vertical-striped brocade shirt and grey slacks. Despite the stripes, he still looked big as a house. Vertical stripes can only do so much, I suppose. If only the public had picked the other Matt, cutie Matt Metzger. (No sign of him on the red carpet, alas.) Sure, he couldn’t sing, but he would have been a sight for sore gay eyes, especially when compared to this seasons’ bunch of charisma-free boys.

Finally, in my last chance to bash her one last time before she sinks into oblivion, Camile Velasco wore a lime-green top (shocking!) and a grey and black striped shirt that looked like it was made from a shredded Conductor’s uniform. Not to be outdone, she also wore the conductor’s hat to match. It was truly frightening, and I became distraught and angry, it was that bad. I might have smacked her, except she probably weighs 75 pounds, and I’m afraid I might have seriously injured her. The girl is probably 4 feet tall, I’m not kidding.

On the other hand, there were a few success stories…

JPL (Jon Peter Lewis) chose to re-use an outfit, the green iridescent velvet jacket and jeans he wore on Elton John week. Normally, I’m against wearing ANYTHING twice, but thankfully, JPL picked an excellent ensemble to recycle. (I’d still like to know where he got that jacket… it is sooo cute!)

The aforementioned Leah LaBelle is absolutely Lara Flynn Boyle Thin, and her slimming black ensemble almost made her vanish from the scene completely. (The operative word being ‘almost,’ damnit!) I mean, girl made the microphone stand look fat. Say what you want about Leah, but she has the fashionably-emaciated thing down!

Hawaiian cutie Jasmine Trias was decked out in a black satin top (with lightening bolt strap) and black satin ¾ cargo pants. (On anyone else, this might have looked silly, but on her it worked. That’s all I can say.) Her rhinestone bracelet, and super-pointy heels, were both to die for.

But it was LaToya London who earns the Diva Prize for Best Dressed in a pink top, fitted denim skirt, and a rhinestone encrusted padlock choker that brought new meaning to the words ‘bling bling.’

And finally, the judges…

When Paula, Simon and Randy entered the scene, I knew it was time to rush off to the theatre. (You know those three don’t show up early to anything.)

So, as a capper to my Red Carpet coverage, I offer you:

The Good
Former fatty Randy Jackson donned a black pinstripe suit with an multi-warm-hued patterned Hilfiger shirt and a multi-warm-hued striped silk tie. The combo was really delicious, I must admit, and I’d like to repeat it for myself, except since I’m not a large black man, I probably couldn’t pull it off. The rectangle glasses have to go, though, Randy. They accentuate your round face.

The Bad
Former popstar Paula Abdul was nearly falling out of her ultra low-cut white and silver lame’ gown (which seemed to be made from the same material as Jai Rodriguez’ tacky suit.) With her silver strappy heels, bronzed skin, botoxed brow, and blue-white teeth, she looked like an android hooker from a future I’d prefer not to live to see.

and The Ugly
Former human being Simon Cowell also wore a black wool pinstripe suit on his much-shorter-than-he-looks-on-TV frame. His white silk shirt was unbuttoned to the navel to reveal plenty of untrimmed chest hair, which was simply nauseating. And I think it’s high time someone told him that his hairstyle went out in 1987.

Still trying to wipe the image of Simon's hairy navel which was now burned into my psyche, I adjourned to the next part of the evening, which I will detail in my second in this series of articles, ‘THE FINALE,’ (OR ‘SOMEONE GOT PAID GOOD MONEY TO SHOP FOR YELLOW AND WHITE POLYESTER.’)

to be continued...


There are certainly some who will scoff at my use of shallow, surface attributes to judge our Idol Finalists. I say, to those who scoff, they can all kiss my tanned, hairless, Stairmaster-toned a$$.

Larry Johnson is a comedy writer, currently working for Disney TV. Look for his weekly commentary from a gay point of view. Please check out his website, http://www.gaycomedyjournals.com/



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