March 19, 2008

American Idol - Most Peculiar: Beatle Butchery and General Indifference

You know it's going to be bad when Randy is yawning as Ryan finishes up with "THIS . . . is American Idol!" and begins with his intros. A sign of the evening to come and how that was 2 hours of my life that I won't get back. Randy is very Mr. Rogers in his powder blue sweater. Paula is very Goldfinger in her sparkly, glittery gold contraption (where does she shop?). Simon is very Simon (a la boring) in his white pullover. He already looks bored.
Paula oh-so-helpfully informs the audience, with prompting from Ryan, that the competition is all about taking risks. You mean like turning "8 Days a Week" into a backwoods, fiddler on speed national anthem? Sure, that went over well.
I note that whenever the judges encourage the Idolizers to take risks, and said Idolizers do take risks, said Idolizers then get pissed all over for changing things around and basically taking a risk.
So because the Lennon-McCartney songbook is so massive and, I expect, because Sir Paul now has about $50 mil to pay to that golddigger Heather Mills, we have our second straight week of Lennon-McCartney songs, although tonight it's "Beatles Night". Way to change it up, Idol.
Ryan brings all 11 Idolizers out on the super galactic stage, we ogle at them and note how ridiculously some of them are dressed, and then Ryan sends them away so we can start the show. Man, is that new stage big or what?
Amanda and her skunky hair are first up. Who did she piss off to get the crappy first slot? I am banking that she will choose "Helter Skelter" but no, girlfriend instead is going with "Back in the USSR". A song I actually like. And for the second week running, I don't want to gauge my eardrums out with a rusty tool. And for the second week running, I have absolutely no idea what Amanda is singing. Can anyone understand her? The band is doing well, but it seems like the backup singers are running her over with a Mack truck. But I don't want to gauge my eardrums out. The judges are on the fence. Paula thinks maybe she should try a ballad. Simon thinks she's starting to get boring and needs to change it up. Amanda has obviously gotten her confidence back, and then some, because she smugly tells the judges (who are only the judges, after all) that ballads are boring. Don't you know, bluesy, 10 pack a day, gravelly voices are in! She also suggests that she'll be selling out any concerts she happens to throw in some skeezy bar in Louisiana. Good to know. Note to Paula and Simon - - this is all Amanda can do. She is a rocker. A rocker with one sound. Do not ask her to step outside of that box. Kansas was cruelly massacred the last time she attempted that and it is not a memory from which I will soon recover.
Next up is Kristy Lee Cook, who the judges and Powers That Be obviously want gone. She has the crappy second slot. She is wearing a very sparkly, short dress with go-go boots. Never say that girl doesn't know how to exaggerate her talent. She is singing "You Have to Hide Your Love Away". She says in her interview that she chose the song based on the title alone. Uh oh. That can't be good. I'm thinking she's a goner for sure - - but compared to "I'd rather be having a root canal than subjected to any more of this " performance from last week, she does a fairly good job. At least she doesn't look like she's squatting on her horse. Yeah, the one she sold to buy an airline ticket to Hollywood. She still kind of boring though and on Idol, boring is a kiss of death. Add to that she's been in the Bottom Three for the last 3 weeks or so and I think it's probably safe to assume she'll be safely on the seal.
After totally screwing over the pimp spot last week, David A. is reprimanded into the third slot. He has chosen "The Long and Winding Road" which is an awesome song. I know that if Davey doesn't forget the words, he'll turn in a technically proficient performance, which he does. But here is my continuing beef with The Chosen One. Despite the fact that he has a good voice (although a bit gaspy in places), he simply doesn't have the emotions behind that voice to really bring what needs to be brought to the song. Same with "Imagine" from a few weeks ago. It's not the kid's fault - - he is, after all, ONLY SEVENTEEN. How can he sing heartfelt songs about imaging a world without war or conflict? Or at losing true love? He can't possibly. So while he can nail the notes and turn in a good performance, it's still a bit insincere or cold.
The judges, quite naturally, nearly pee themselves in excitement and adoration of their Chosen One. Simon even goes so far as to declare Davey's performance "master class". Really? The camera pans to show Davey's stage father, Mr. A., who looks quite pleased. I'm sure that drill sergeant routine, along with withholding food and water for the last week, has paid off, Mr. A. Good work. Dozens of tween girls in the "mosh pit" scream for Davey. God help us.
Hot Michael is next. I really don't care what Hot Michael sings. He is there simply for the eye candy as far as I am concerned. He informs the audience via his interview that he has chosen "A Day in the Life". It's not terrible. But it's not spectacular either. Kind of middle of the road. A theme we will see a great deal of tonight. However, he does look good. And isn't that what counts? The judges aren't blown away and Simon thinks it was a mess. A hot mess, though. Paula suggests that Hot Michael is having a bit of difficulty because of the ear piece he is wearing - - she heard him in rehearsal and thought he was unbelievable. A bit of FUBAR here because Hot Michael is forced to admit that he doesn't wear the ear piece. Whoops. Paula quickly tries to rectify the situation but really, what can you do besides just take another Valium and shot of vodka? Hot Michael tells us that he chose the song to honor his friend, who passed away last year, much too soon, and "A Day in the Life" was his favorite song. I think I may see a tear in his eye. I'm guessing that hormonally charged women who are too old for Davey and who don't quite get the Jason Castro thing are madly dialing right now. Hot Michael is sensitive! Hot Michael can shed a tear!
Miss Eternal Sunshine, aka Brooke, is up next. I like Brooke, really I do. I think she would be a fabulous game show hostess because she appears to be on the same medication routine as Katie Holmes - - the only difference being that Brooke looks her age and is unbelievably cheery all the unbelievable time. Seriously, to not like her would be sacrilegious. At least in the Church of Idol. Brooke, appropriately, is going to perform "Here Comes the Sun", wearing a blindingly bright yellow dress. She starts by sitting on the steps and I am already worried for her because the stair sitting is very gimmicky. And the judges are on to it. I don't think her performance is terrible - - she still sounds good. The song choice is a bit, well, crappy though. The song is very dated and she can't do much with it. I don't think David C. could do much with it and he made "Hello" rock. So the judges tell Brooke that they really didn't get it (I guess they need a big PowerPoint presentation with a diagram that shows smiley Brooke, decked out in yellow, with a large "HERE COMES THE SUN" and an arrow pointing directly to Brooke) and Brooke quickly agrees with them, saying that after her stellar week last week, it was inevitable that she should fall this week. Um, okay.
David C. is up next and after getting my "best performance" vote last week, I'm anxious to see what he chooses this week. I'm thinking he may go for a ballad. But no! D.C. changes it up, selecting "Day Tripper". He also gives a shout out to Whitesnake, saying he's doing their late 70s version. Cool, I think? He also busts out the Frampton-like voice box, which I think is cool, so of course Simon will hate it. He does not disappoint with the eyefucking, which is back with full vengeance. Here's the thing with David C. He's like Steven Tyler or Robert Plant. You see them in a bar and think "God, don't come over here, don't talk to me, don't even look at me, please", but as soon as they get on stage and start singing, you want to have sex with them. Their voices, at least. So David C. should have a promising career ahead of him as a rock star. He's no Hot Michael but I like listening to him. Paula loved it, of course, as she was jumping around and dancing to the music (or maybe having a hot flash, I can't be sure). Simon thought David's performance was smug. I don't think the performance was smug, maybe just the eyefucking. Regardless, with the theme of utter dullness going on tonight, David should be very safe.
So the Irish Ice Queen is up next. I am so underwhelmed, maybe I will take a bathroom break. Honestly, why do I dislike this girl so much? Well, besides the fact that I think she's a total plant, I think she's totally overrated and . . . that godawful thing she's wearing. WTH? It's a red top which looks suspiciously maternity-like and it has these terrible rosettes around the neckline. I can't believe Paula, who is master of "you look really nice", can hold her tongue and not comment on this fashion road kill. Of course Paula is wearing the fabric equivalent of Jaegermeister. So Carly is singing "Blackbird" and as far as I'm concerned, she could sing totally off key or take a dump up there and the judges would still give her a tongue bath. So not surprising. What is surprising though is that Simon calls her and her performance indulgent. Carly has obviously been guaranteed a spot all the way to the Top 4 because her facial reaction to that is priceless. I wish I could use it as my screen saver, I loved it that much. Either Simon went off script or someone forgot to tell Carly that there were changes in the dialogue. Unfortunately, Carly uses the "indulgent" comment to explain in a very Paula-esque way how she and the other contestants are like blackbirds and how the music industry has beaten them down and how this is their last chance, blah, blah, blah. Except in Carly's case, this is like the 500th shot she's had, so maybe she's more cockroach than blackbird since those little bastards can survive without their heads. Or so I've heard. Carly also points out that she has had "7" tattooed on her finger, as a remembrance of Idol Season 7. I suppose those flames on her husband's face are a reminder of the flaming pile of shit her 2001 album was.
Jason, also known as Mr. 4:20, is next. I really think he's stoned in all his interviews. He is funny though. And he does have the longest lashes I think I've ever seen on a man. Truly, truly unfair. He tells us he's chosen "Michelle" as his song and he even had to learn French. This guy is so goofy he is literally like the American (and stoned) version of Hugh Grant. With dreadlocks. His performance is exactly what I thought it would be - - which is soft, almost Menudo-like singing which is sure to make the tweens and teens go mad. I do think he sounds very lovely while singing the French parts. The judges, quite naturally, aren't impressed. Paula suggests that maybe Jason isn't comfortable without his guitar. Possibly. I just think it's more likely that he's not comfortable without his bong. Simon tells him his face probably saved him. Hey, go with what you got, Jason. It's worked for Kristy Lee so far. Simon further rubs it in by saying that if he heard Jason's song on the radio it would be "off"! Boy, Simon is a pissy one tonight, isn't he? Jason smiles about it anyhow and he's sure to be saved because he just seems so nice.
After ending up in the Bottom Three last week, and exposing us to a major Bitch Face, Syesha gets the next to next to last, almost pimp spot. Someone must like her. She gets "Yesterday" and I have to wonder who lost the bet, or who Syesha did to get that song. Why didn't Brooke sing that? So Syesha is in "serious artist" mode because she's straightened her hair and is sitting down to sing. She's also wearing a dress that is pushing up her girls for all its worth. Taking a page from the Kristy Lee Cook/Haley Scarnato handbook. Good move, Syesha. Her version isn't bad, but I don't know . . . it feels rushed and a bit insincere. But maybe it's just me and I'm aggravated that they dragged this on for 2 hours. The judges, however, liked it because I guess that Syesha isn't due to leave yet. Simon tells her it's her best performance so far . . . which may not be saying much, since she was on the seal last week.
We go to Chekezie and he tells us in his interview that he didn't appreciate Ryan touching his face. I wouldn't either. Ryan got a little too Mr. Happy with Chekezie's kick ass performance this week. I have a feeling that Chekezie will be watching his face (and ass) and staying somewhat safely away from Captain Seacrest. He has picked "I Just Saw a Face" and hopes that lightening will strike twice and he tries to mix both soulful singing and a bit bluegrass in there. He also informs us that since everyone else appears to be playing an instrument, he will too, although he doesn't know how. Uh oh. That may be a bad move. Just concentrate on avoiding Captain Seacrest, Chekezie. He doesn't take my advice and comes out, with a harmonica! Really. It's not terrible but Simon, his PMS flaring, is sure to attack that choice. I thought Chekezie's voice was pretty good and he seems to be having a good time (unlike some people) up there and he's certainly not dull, so he should be safe.
Ramiele gets the total pimp spot, probably because she put half the American population to sleep last week. She has chosen "I Should Have Known Better" and I'm waiting for the peppy performance I know can come out of her little body. And yeah, I'm still waiting. This was the pimp spot? I know this girl can sing so why doesn't she come out with it? And her stage presence is nil. She really needs to get her "best friend" Danny Noriega to provide her with tips on how to come alive on the stage. Otherwise, she's dead in the water.

Overall, it was a big bunch of meh. David C. had the best performance of the night overall, IMO. Kristy was boring, so her time might be up. Ryan was seriously annoying with his blatant product placement of the Apple iPhone and Coke. Whatever. Bring on the seal and let's send someone home!

March 13, 2008

Idol Eliminations: Idol Throws a Curve

Eliminations ceremony. The new stage is still in attendance, although minus the ELO-inspired lights. Now it looks like something out of Space Odyssey. A fact Paula backs up with her spacily-inspired silvery moon-like jacket. Did she swipe that from Michael Jackson? And does this mean that Peter Schilling is certain to make an appearance singing about Major Tom? Jim Carrey is here. Dressed as Horton, huge elephant ears and all. This isn't funny. Particularly for the unfortunate person sitting directly behind Jim Carrey/Horton.
Group sing. Beatles. Fairly forgettable. Michael looks good. David C. sounds good although I'm not feeling the hat. Kristy Lee's hair is straight and I think I like it. Ramiele is cute and tiny. David A. is smiling all over the place. Amanda sounds completely out of place. Find it humorous that David H. is one of the trio singing "Can't Buy Me Love", seeing as how, in the offseason, he shakes his moneymaker for your spare change. Things are as they should be in Idol land.
Ryan promises to get right to the eliminations, which we know is crap because the show is scheduled for an hour. Which means a five minute elimination, with 55 minutes of filler and commercials. And yet I willingly hand over this hour of my life.
So the lights are dimmed (but again, no ELO-inspired lights, bummer) and Ryan orders for Carly, Jason, Hot Michael and Syesha to stand. Carly looks as though she's about to pass a 50 pound kidney stone as Ryan builds the suspense by reminding everyone what she sang and how far up her ass the judges are. Drumroll . . . sit back down, Carly, and breathe again because you are safe! A real shocker there. Jason is next and behold all the girls squealing for him. He really does seem like a nice guy. Of course he's safe. Now we're with Hot Michael, who does look good tonight. When Hot Michael is given his pass, he says "thanks" and gives a wave of appreciation. He must be nice, in addition to being hot. He can certainly throw a shrimp on my barbie anytime. So now we're to Syesha and you'd have to score pretty low on the Paris Hilton Intelligence Scale to not realize that Syesha is in the Bottom Three and standing on the seal. Duh. Syesha seems absolutely pissed to be in this particular club. Hey, at least she's number one.
Curveball thrown by Idol. The Bottom Three will evidently do a pre-sing out. Interesting move. I guess it's so that an emotional contestant, just told by America that they either aren't good enough to win a television competition, or don't have a big enough fan base, doesn't have to attempt to spit out the damned song that got them booted in the first place. Of course, on the other hand, it forces America to listen to the songs that we specifically did not vote for, yet again. So Syesha sings her song again, but with considerably less energy. Wow, she is pissed.
So then we have to go to commercial and then come back and watch some filler film on how Idol has changed the lives of the contestants. Is this really necessary?
Ryan calls on four more Idolizers. Chekezie, Amanda, David C. and Kristy. Is there any suspense in this group whatsoever? I mean, really. I think even Paris' dog Tinkerbell knows who is joining the Bottom Three club here. So Ryan, assuming that a chihuahua is smarter than the average Idol viewer, calls Chekezie down then pulls a fast one on him by declaring him safe. Amanda and her skunky weave are given a pass and we're left with David C. and Kristy. No way in hell is David C. in the Bottom Three, unless Idol is planning to pull major monkey shenanigans and obviously they don't even have the balls for that because David C. is given his pass and Kristy is sent to the seal. Kristy, surprisingly, proves to have even the smallest personality as she asks Ryan for the mic before he declares her in the Bottom Three. She then apologizes for having to sing her jug band classic again. Thank you, Kristy. I accept your apology and appreciate my mute button.
More filler. This time with something to do with Idol's website and then taking live calls from viewers with questions. Really? Will someone have the nerve to ask why Carly wasn't eliminated in the beginning due to her connection with Randy? Will someone ask Paula if it's Vicodin and vodka or Vicodin and gin she prefers? Will someone ask David H. if "pizza bistro" is slang for "gay strip club"? No such luck. Like we really believe these calls won't be pre-screened. Pretty lame all the way around, except the last question, which wants to know why Ryan and Simon don't just have a throw down on the stage. I think we all wonder that. Ryan says he's ready if they're going to ship the mud in. I don't think he's kidding. I think all the humor went out of it for Simon after that little remark.
So back to the last four, awaiting their fate. Ryan asks David A., Brooke, David H. and Ramiele to join him in the center of the spaceship, er, stage. He reminds us of David A.'s incredible ass-sucking performance, which includes forgetting the lyrics at least twice, and then reiterates the fact that Idol is a popularity contest by declaring David A. safe! See, America, you too can gasp your way through a song and forget the lyrics and still be safe, as long as you are cute, harmless and The Powers That Be are in your corner! And don't think that Syesha and Kristy aren't over on the seal, thinking "Hey, at least I remembered the words!" Then we come to Brooke and duh, no surprise, she's safe too. So it's down to David H. and Ramiele and I'm thinking that Ramiele is headed to the seal, to make it a girls-only Bottom Three but no! Idol has a shocker! It's David H.! So Ramiele takes her little self back to the safety seats and Ryan has to ask David H. a stupid question wondering if David H. saw this coming or whatever. David H. gallantly says that just because he's in the Bottom Three doesn't mean he's going home. Uh-oh. So Syesha and Kristy join David H. center spaceship, er, stage and . . .we go to commercial! Come on, people, there are still 10 minutes of airtime.
When we come back, Ryan says that one person will be sent to safety. And that person is . . . Syesha! Surprise of surprise. I really thought her neck was on the chopping block. So Syesha gets to go back to safety and she still looks pissed. Girl, get over it. That leaves Kristy and David H. I'm really thinking Kristy has given her last "Dolly Parton on helium" performance, to quote Simon, but I guess being a possibly gay stripper is much more sinful than not being the best singer because David H. is told to get packing (his bags, that is). He mouths "wow" and looks shocked. I imagine Kristy is just as shocked as she is sent back to safety and her Haley Scarnato role of the season. David H. promises this isn't the last we'll see of him (as I understand it certain patrons in Glendale, Arizona have seen quite a bit more of him), Ryan intro's the "going home" film clip and then my TiVo cuts off. Damn, I hate it when that happens.

Least Surprising Guest of the Night: Sanjaya, who must have a permanent ticket, and is turning his 15 minutes into 15 months of fame
Most Surprising Guest of the Night: Carly's tattoo faced husband, although he was seriously lit in blue, blue light and the camera quickly moved away
Least Surprising Moment: Out of her group, Kristy Lee Cook is in the Bottom Three. Duh. And Ryan wants to mud wrestle Simon.
Biggest Surprise Elimination: Ramiele's tears. I didn't see one. Where did they go?

American Idol: Top 12?

So AI gets a new stage. Kinda reminds me of what an ELO concert would have been like circa 1979. The Idols do the Beatles! I'll admit I was in front of my t.v. in anticipation of how badly the vast majority of these contestants would butcher the Beatles. A few did not disappoint (sadly). Syesha got the deathly first spot. She looked nervous. "Got to Get You Into My Life", not terrible but nothing so spectacular that you might remember her by the end of the 2 hour show - - and if you missed the beginning, only seeing a 10 second recap at the end isn't going to help her. Chekezie has never been my favorite, but holy crap, did he bring it and wipe the stage with it last night! Performed "She's a Woman", beginning with a little bluegrass, sitting with the band, and then jumping up and busting out some rock chops. Very, very impressed. This entertaining, super high energy performance should guarantee him a spot next week. Well done. Ramiele's "In My Life" very nearly put me to sleep. Don't get me wrong, girlfriend can sing and she is soooo cute, but her performance was oh-so-boring. If she is saved this week, she really needs to bust it out next week. Jason has the prettiest skin, eyes and lashes imaginable for a man. Truly unfair. After giving a spectacular performance last week, he stays in the same vein with "If I Fell in Love With You". Thought it was a good performance, but I worry that if he doesn't change it up, he'll get voted off. Overall though, he should make it through this week. Despite being fairly decent on vocals, I just don't get Carly. She leaves me cold. If she sings "Come Together" at her little Irish bar every Saturday, then she should sound good on it. Is that really fair to the other contestants who had less than a week to prepare their performance? But then again, is it really fair that Carly is still in this competition, seeing as how she has a past business relationship with Randy? David C. literally kicked ass with "Eleanor Rigby". I luuuuuuuuurved it. Say what you will about his random eyef*cking of the camera, the boy knows how to remix songs to bring them current. Wee bit of a mistake with one word in one line of the lyrics, but can overlook that due to the brilliance of everything else. Definitely the most consistent of the men and best performance of the night, IMO. Brooke performed "Let it Be" and accompanied herself on the piano. Lovely version. Most definitely the most consistent of the women. No shlock, no kitsch, just sincere and emotional performing. David H. really hurt himself with his performance of "I Saw Her Standing There". Might have been better if he had not had the full-on band accompaniment - - the song just sounded dated. And maybe if he had dialed it down a notch or ten. He was far too energetic and, as Simon pointed out, desperate. Shades of Danny performing "Jailhouse Rock". Amanda actually didn't make me want to gouge out my eardrums with her rendition of "You Can't Do That". I didn't love it and I didn't understand half of what she was saying so I didn't really get the judges' props on it. However, she did look much more relaxed and easy going and we are now two weeks away from the God-awful Kansas massacre so I'm not complaining. Michael is hot and has an Australian accent so he can sing whatever he wants and I'll like it. So does it really matter what he sang?* Holy crap, Kristy Lee Cook countrified the Beatles "8 Days a Week" and she may have just done to the Beatles what Amanda did to Kansas. Painfully terrifying. Her voice isn't bad, but the beat/pace is way, way too fast - - it appears she can't keep up with the band. And what is with the constant big-eyed expressions to the camera? If it is her version of eyef*cking, she needs to see David C. pronto. David A. gets the pimp spot . . . and crashes and burns miserably! Okay, the kid is ONLY SEVENTEEN (surprisingly, neither Randy or Paula reminded us of that fact multiple times last night a la Jordin from last season) but he committed the greatest Idol cardinal sin. He forgot the lyrics. And worse, he seemed to gasp his way thru "We Can Work it Out". Maybe he was sick, don't know, but I'm surprised he passed up the opportunity to sing "Yesterday" or "Hey Jude". Regardless, he got his first critical backlash from the judges but no way will he get voted off. He's the producers' Chosen One and has a massive teen girl fan base behind him that probably dialed for 2 hours last night.

Best: David C.; Chikezie; Brooke
Worst: David H.; David A.; Kristy

*In case anyone was truly interested, Michael sang "Across the Universe".

Also forgot to mention the judges - - Randy was his usual "I don't know, Dawg" self - -nothing too insightful, nothing too harsh and nothing too rainbows and puppies. Paula was her usual Vicodin-meet-Vodka self - - blathering on after Chekezie's "where did that come from?" performance, she told him that the "rewards" were worth it, rather than the "risk". Reward, risk, it's all the same. (Seriously, did she and Jason share a bong before the show?) However, she did basically tell Kristy Lee Cook that she sucked all kinds of hot sh*t and when Ryan asked Paula if Kristy would go home after such a brutal rape of a Beatles song, rather than busting out her usual colors of the universe in a shining star kind of way, Paula actually says that Kristy has a fairly large fanbase that will probably save her. Ouch. Not exactly a stellar endorsement from our "Everybody is a winner!" judge. On the other hand, Simon seems to be (slowly) returning to his cranky self. Our resident puppy kicker didn't hesitate to call performances "karaoke"(Syesha, I think), "boring", "forgettable" and "a mess". On the bright side, he wore white rather than the usual black. On the downside, he and Ryan returned to their childish name calling and (not so) sly insinuations. Get a room already. Elimination ceremony tonight. Kristy deserves to go, but will probably be saved due to the harsh criticism, her holey jeans and her boobs. I'm guessing that Syesha will be the unlucky recipient of a ticket home. I predict that Ramiele will burst into tears (no surprise there). I also predict that Paula, in all her loopy glory, will remind Syesha that she is a shining star worthy of all the colors in the universe and this is the first day of the rest of her career (as what we don't know). Paula will then cry, which will probably make Ramiele cry harder, making Danny Noriega look like a Billy Badass.