April 19, 2007

American Idol: Sanjaya Goes Home, Nasally is a Form of Singing, Simon and Paula Play Gotcha and It's Country Week, Ya'll!



Country week on American Idol won't soon be forgotten. It will be remembered as the genre that finally sunk the S.S. Sanjaya; that introduced a new form of singing ("nasally"); that highlighted how truly rude the judges can be; and the week that Phil finally brought it and brought down the house.
Phil got the craptastic number one slot and, perhaps after weeks of being in the bottom two and three, decided to put on his shitkickers and guarantee a place in Safeville. He sang Keith Urban's "Where the Blacktop Ends" and despite the fact that I really hate country music, this is where he needs to stay. He came alive on the stage, got some audience participation and showed a real, non-creepy personality. Randy told him country music was where he should head, dawg. Paula and Simon had to reluctantly concede that Phil gave a kick ass performance, although Simon, typical to himself, had to add "but it might not be enough to save you". Funny, Simon. Maybe if you hadn't been too busy trying to grab Paula's nose during Phil's performance . . . seriously. He was grabbing Paula's nose, rather than watching Phil or listening to the performance. I'm sorry, but if American Idol was willing to pay me a billion jillion dollars to sit down once a week and critique some singing, my happy ass would be paying attention and critiquing. Particularly when we're talking about live t.v. - - no room for editing. But I digress . . .
Happy little Jordin came out next and showing some major balls, chose guest mentor Martina McBride's own "Broken Wing". Hard to follow up Phil's country rocking performance, but she did. I don't know if I thought she was as golden as the judges' tongue baths decreed, but she does have a lovely voice. Simon even told her that this was the first performance that made him think she could win American Idol. I noticed again, as I do every week, that Jordin has stunning teeth. Life isn't fair.
So then Sanjaya comes out . . . doing his best impersonation of Aunt Jemima. Frankly I have no idea how putting your hair into a do-rag equals country, but then I again I also have no idea how Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About" equals country either so maybe I'm just out of the loop. So Sanjemima gets into position and I'm prepared to avert my eyes from what's sure to be a repeat performance of the not-so-subtle visual molestation that he performed on the camera last week and I'm instead assaulted by a weak, whispery rendition of Ms. Raitt's song. Lord help me, but all I could think about was squeezing Sanjemima's chest or midsection hard enough to get a real powerful voice out of him. He does manage to kick it up a bit at the end, but the judges are all over him for the karaoke-like performance and it being "utterly horrendous" per Simon. No surprise that he ends up in the bottom three.
Now it's Chris' turn. Chris has chosen "Mayberry" by Rascal Flatts. I have absolutely no idea about this song. I'm nervous upon seeing a fiddler. Will Chris come out in overalls, a straw hat and with some chew? No, he's wearing blue jeans and a white jacket. Is that country? So I'm just not feeling the song. It's not bad but it's not great. The crowd goes wild though. Maybe I'm tone deaf. Randy and Paula give Chris passable remarks, but Simon thinks the judges hear things differently than the audience. Funny how that works, Simon, when you actually pay attention to a singer's performance. He doesn't think it was good and he thinks that Chris sounded more nasal than usual. To which Chris replies "Nasally is a form of singing, in case you didn't know." Huh? Really, Chris? Dude, I thought you were way smarter than that. And if that wasn't enough nonsense spewing forth from Chris' mouth, he chose a very, very bad time to give a shout out back home to Virginia Tech. Way to get sympathy votes though.
Melinda did her usual, fab as always performance. Can we really say anything more? The judges loved her, Martina loved her, but amazing! Simon actually told her to lay off the "who, me?" attitude. Finally!
LaKisha just had to go and choose a Carrie Underwood song, didn't she? Her version of "Jesus Take the Wheel" just lacked the honest emotions that Jordin gave us. And worse, LaKisha attempted to put some LaKisha-isms into the song so she was basically shouting at Jesus by the end. Surefire way to end up in the bottom three. You'd better bring it next week or you're in trouble, girl.
Finally, Blake gets the pimp spot and he chooses Tim McGraw. I already know I will like this because even though I don't like country music, I like Tim McGraw and I really don't know why. So Blake did pretty well, I thought, particularly considering that it's a genre he normally wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole and he's waaaaay out of his comfort zone (demonstrated admirably well by his decision to wear argyle for country night). Surprisingly, the judges give him decent reviews, but nothing spectacular. And he ends up in the bottom three.
So, reveal night is once again about five minutes of real programming stretched into an hour. Do I care what the Idol kids listen to in their down time? Uh, no. Did anyone know Fergie was performing? Did anyone care? Uh, no. So after hemming and hawing and wasting as much time as possible, Ryan splits the Idols into two groups, with one group being the bottom three and one group being the "safe" one - - Sanjemima, LaKisha and Blake on one side; Phil, Jordin and Chris on the right. Poor little Melinda is in the middle and told she is safe and why doesn't she just go ahead and choose the group she thinks she belongs in. So while I'm thinking geez, Ryan, be a tool, why don't you?, Randy is apparently shaking a "shamey, shamey" finger at Nigel and Melinda, bless her little heart, just plops down in the center of the stage and shakes her head. You go, girl! No simpering little wallflower here! So Ryan gives up the bootie and sends Melinda over to Phil and Company, leaving Blake looking a bit confused and LaKisha looking as though she's going to faint. Ryan asks the judges if the right Bottom Three are on the stage. Randy's got to wonder. Simon agrees with two of them, and has a "cat ate the canary" smile, which Ryan inquires about and Simon, being Simon, states he senses a change coming about. What a perfect time for a commercial! And then we're back, of course, to hear Martina McBride who, although dressing a bit yoga-y, isn't half bad. For country anyway. Ryan is again in Tool Mode after her performance and asks her if she agrees with the Bottom Three. Ryan is really good at putting people on the spot. Ms. McBride doesn't fall for it either and instead instructs the cameraman to go to commercial break. Done. We return with about four minutes ticking on the Idol clock and it's time for the big reveal. First, of course, we must end someone's torment and send them back to the safety chairs. It's Blake! I think all the judges breathed a sigh of relief and faith in America was slightly restored. So we got down to Sanjemima and LaKisha. And it's Sanjemima!! Finally, finally, his luck ran out (or the tween and teen girls were on phone restriction). He hugs LaKisha for what seems an eternity and since he didn't appear to be letting go anytime soon, Ryan starts the Going Home montage, where we are again treated to Sanjemima's many hair follies. Eventually he lets go of LaKisha and we see that Sanjemima is crying, but he gets it together quickly enough for his Sing Off, which, following in Haley's footsteps, is actually better than his Tuesday night sing. Go figure.
Goodbye, Sanjemima. We will miss your hairstyles and outfits and crazy song choices. As Ryan said, we won't soon forget you.
Six and counting . . .

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