February 26, 2009

American Idol: Group Two . . . Wrong Song Choices and Adam Lambert

You know, I thought last week's group was fairly dull and replete with wrong song choices. Compared to last night's episode, last week's contestants were on fire. And I say that with heaping sarcasm.


Just to shake things up a bit, I suppose, the judges have completely rearranged their order over in their Table of Righteousness. Randy is now on the far left, as opposed to Simon, Kara is to his left, then Paula and then Simon. Ryan makes some stupid remark about Simon needing better lighting (uh, he's not the only one, Seacrest), Kara says that song choice is important (duh), Paula echoes Kara, Randy says something of absolutely no consequence and Simon has absolutely no advice for the contestants because it's a little too freaking late for that.


With that, we're ready to go!


Unfortunately for her, because the first spot is usually the spot of slow, painful death, Jasmine is going to lead off the show. I like Jasmine, I really do. She's a very pretty girl, she seems nice and she sounded fantastic during her auditions and Hollywood week. She caused Bikini Girl to become roadkill and I will always be thankful for that. Too bad that she picked a very meh song - - "Love Song". She doesn't sound terrible but when you have the First Spot of Death you need to bring it in a blaze of glory (quoting Jon Bon Jovi) or you're sent packing. Randy starts off the judging by giving a shout out to Jasmine's home state of Mississippi, so you know this isn't going to be good for Jasmine. He thinks she was pitchy and maybe the song wasn't the best choice. Kara mourns the fact that Jasmine is so darn commercial (i.e., she photographs well and is good looking) but just didn't bring her A game tonight. Paula agrees with Kara (again) and tells Jasmine that she had good intentions of making "Love Song" her own but it caused her to go off pitch. Simon is disappointed because as good as Jasmine looks, she simply doesn't have the great voice to match. Simon is roundly booed by the audience. He doesn't understand why he repeats what RaKaPa have already stated and he gets booed and they don't. We love to hate you, Simon! Seacrest annoyingly asks Randy if Jasmine deserves a spot and Randy says "commercial". Does he mean Jasmine is commercial or is he trying to tell the director to go to commercial, pronto? Regardless, I don't believe we'll see Jasmine again in this competition.


Matt the Piano Dueler is up next. I remember his audition and I remember him from Hollywood Week because he gave a total badass performance of Ray Charles' "Georgia". Tonight, however, he tells us he's going to be singing Coldplay's "Viva La Vida". I'm curious to see what he can do with this because I'm one of the few people probably remaining that would admit to a healthy liking of Coldplay. Matt, however, is going to attempt to inject some soul into Coldplay. Should be interesting. It's actually pretty good and he has a really strong voice. He doesn't sound as good as he did during Hollywood Week but comparing Ray Charles to Coldplay is like . . . comparing Ray Charles to Coldplay. Kara is the first judge to crush Matt the Piano Dueler. She tells him his Coldplay Soul experiment blatantly failed. Paula misses Matt's piano and in her Vicodin/Vodka induced haze tells Matt that she thought his live performance was much better than his rehearsal. A ha! We always knew the judges listened to their rehearsals and based their reviews on that. Simon thought Matt's performance was horrible and the song choice did him in - - he should stick to his blues/soul roots. Randy tries to pacify the situation a bit by telling Matt that he is a much better artist than Chris Martin because Chris Martin couldn't sing Ray Charles if his life depended on it and Seacrest gives a faint little fan bleet to Chris Martin.


Someone named Jeanine is up next and I swear, I do not remember this girl at all. That cannot bode well for her. She tells us she is going to sing "This Love" by Maroon 5 because it's one of her favorite bands. So . . . Jeanine's performance is predictably bad. Karaoke level bad not Amanda Overmyer doing a hatchet job on Kansas bad. Paula is voted to start the critique of Jeanine and the first thing out of Paula's mouth is how hot Jeanine's legs are in her short shorts. Oi vey. If "I Heart Everyone!" Paula can only compliment you on your physical appearance during a singing competition, you're in deep, deep trouble. She also then inexplicably says "it's Season Eight". Well, that's inexplicable to us but to Paula and the Care Bears that come visit her it probably makes perfect sense as to how that's relative to critiquing Jeanine's performance. Simon says the performance was absolutely terrible although Jeanine does indeed have good legs. Randy agrees on the legs and sadly says that his favorite part was the end because it meant the song was over. Kara gamely tries to review Jeanine's performance but between Randy's interruptions and Simon's comments about Jeanine's lips, she's on a rapidly sinking ship. Yes, we know the producers didn't show you AT ALL during the auditions and Hollywood Week and that totally sucks but this is American Idol and the producers and judges have already decided on their favorites and you are simply fodder, Jeanine.


Nick Mitchell aka Norman Gentle is up next and this makes the entire night of brain numbing banter and "singing" worthwhile. Nick as Nick tells us that Simon's hatred for him is like a child having his lunch stolen. Nick as Norman will be performing "And I'm Telling You" with his contractually required shiny shirt, khaki golf shorts and a headband and wristband that he swiped from Olivia Newton-John's dressing room in 1981. Nick as Norman's performance is pure gold. It is the most energetic, exciting performance so far, certainly the most engaging, and Nick as Norman even fondles the American Idol logo sign before dropping to his knees on the stage and falling over. I can't forget the shoutout to Neil Patrick Harris ("Doogie!") in the front row. Simon, as expected, finds that Nick as Norman or Nick as Nick gives him a headache. He fervently hopes that America in all its wisdom will choose to vote Nick as Norman or Nick as Nick off the show. I find that just more than a bit hypocritical since Nick as Norman and Nick as Nick is on the stage precisely because the judges, including Simon, chose to put him through. Simon believes Nick as Norman to be a horrific comedy act and in one of the best comebacks ever, Nick as Norman tells Simon "It takes one to know one, Sassy Pants!" You just know Seacrest is seething with jealousy over that line . . . and more than just a little bit fascinated. Randy found Nick as Norman entertaining and funny, Dawg, and Kara is in agreement. She states the obvious - - Nick as Norman is definitely memorable. Paula, too, finds him about as fun as a barrel of monkeys, which really is the only thing obviously missing from Nick as Norman's stage act.


So redheaded Allison is up next and she's ONLY SIXTEEN! Ryan does some talk thing with her in that reddish room off to the side of the stage but thank God for DVRs so I don't have to listen to some crap I could give a rat's ass about. I do stop fast forwarding long enough to hear Allison say she's performing Heart's "Alone". Really? Wasn't this one of "those songs" that the judges say should be off limits because Carrie Underwood blew everyone away with it? Do these people never learn? So she comes out and starts singing . . . and maybe I've been hit with tone deaf stick because I don't get it. I mean, her voice is okay. It sounds strangely like Velma, one of Marge Simpson's sisters. You know, the gravely 2 pack a day, weary of life voice which is strangeness in itself coming from someone who is ONLY SIXTEEN! I just think the choice of song is bad. Would Janis Joplin have sung this song? No! Would Nancy Wilson have sung it after a three day bender? Well, maybe in concert but not to record it. Anyhow, I fully expect for the judges to take Allison to task on her song choice but instead, they are worshipping at the Temple of Allison. What?? This is all strangely reminiscent to me of the judges wetting themselves in sheer amazement over the sounds of a mad Irish cow stomping around their stage and shouting at them. Whatever. It's obvious that Allison is one of their favorites and she could have run out on stage and sung the Lucky Charms jingle and Randy would have declared that some mad singing out of the box.


Kris Allen is up next and I truthfully do not understand why he was not showcased more during Hollywood Week because he is cute and sexy hot in a guy next door kind of way. Kris says that since the judges felt he didn't show a lot of confidence, he will be singing "Man in the Mirror". I suppose if you equate strange man-child with cosmetic surgery addiction and possible molestation addiction to "confidence" that all makes perfect sense. Not that I care really because Kris Allen can just stand there and look good and I'll vote him through. I'm really that shallow. Although I am not a big fan of the song, Kris does sound good. His voice is controlled and he doesn't seem to hit a bum note. Which means the judges will probably crucify him. Kara tells Kris that his song choice sucked balls and really didn't do much to showcase him. Not that we would know since they haven't really shown us what the guy can do. Paula disagrees and thinks Kris did wonderful things with the song. Surprise of all surprises, Simon agrees with Paula! He also thinks Kris did a good job and surprised the judges not only with his song choice but his confidence. Paula is so surprised (read: stoned/drunk/high) that she slaps a wet one on Simon. Simon does quantify that while Kris isn't the best singer - - according to Simon, Danny Gokey gets that honor - - he is pretty commercial. And commercially pretty.

Megan Corkrey is up next and I remember her audition but it seems like it was sooooo loooooong ago since we saw next to nothing of her during Hollywood Week. She will be singing "Get Your Records On", a song I will horrifyingly and forever associate with Antonella Barba. It's "a-ight, dawg" as Randy would say. Megan does sound strangely like redheaded Allison - - if she'd been on a 3 day bender. I still find her right arm tattoo disturbing and distracting. I also don't understand the weird spasms she's having while singing. Is it her white man's version of dancing? Or is the Puppet Master fucking with her? Paula compliments Megan on her choice of song as well as the delivery. In case the viewing audience isn't clear, Paula hearts Megan and says so. Simon thinks Megan is a "funny little thing" and thinks the first half of the song is better than the second. Kara says that Megan is a package artist, whatever that truly means.

Matt Breitzke is up next and I really like him. He's very "real", whatever that means. And yes, I'm quoting myself. He is singing "If You Could Only See" because the song is about love, which is pretty cool. Vocally, it's absolutely perfect. No pitch problems, no range problems. Matt may not be the most exciting performer and he is lacking in presence, but wasn't Cookie at this point last year? The judges, as predictable as always, berate Matt for song choice. Simon hates the song and is frustrated by Matt's choice. Matt disagrees with Simon, although he thanks him for his opinion, and you have to love someone who can stand up to Simon. Randy thought the performance was pretty boring. Kara is disappointed and Paula agrees. I really don't understand these judges. Even they admit that Matt technically was amazing - - great voice, great delivery, nothing wrong there. They don't think the song was the best though. Couldn't they have said the same about Allison? Her voice wasn't bad but I thought the song choice was horrendous. Yet they loved her and they are disappointed in Matt? I hope Matt goes through.

Next up is Jesse Langseth, another person who seems to have just wandered in off the street. And yet another single mom. This is the year of the single mom at Idol, is it not? So Jesse is going to be singing "Bette Davis Eyes", a song she thinks is one of the best ever written. Questioning that aside, her performance isn't bad. Strangely enough, she too has a smoky, gravely voice like Allison and like Megan. Randy thinks she was cool, but finds that sad. Jesse doesn't understand and asks him to elaborate on what exactly he wants from her. Because Randy pulled his usual "outside the box" commentary. He tells her to stretch her range which I find totally confusing because I didn't think "Bette Davis Eyes" had all that much range to it. Kara tells Jesse she's really digging her Flashdance inspired flashback sweater (remember the off the shoulder sweaters?) and says her range was good. Take that, Randy! Paula says that Jesse is "captivating" and memorable. Simon questions how memorable Jesse is and says she's too cool for school. Um, okay.

Kai Kalama is up next and I really liked him during auditions. He sounded good and I loved the fact that he wanted to win to help his ill mother. I'm a sap, what can I say? Kai will be singing "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" and I'm sappy enough to probably like it. Kara likes his commitment to his performance but mentions pitch problems. Paula agrees with the pitch issues but thinks Kai is a great little performer. Simon believes it's like a wedding or hotel performance. Which isn't always bad, truthfully. Randy thinks Kai was playing it safe. Maybe too safe.

Mishavonna Henson, besides having a truly unfortunate name that cannot possibly be preprinted on pencils, keyrings, lunchbags or barrettes or anything cool like that, is another one of those Idolizers that I have not seen previously and must assume is in the competition only to be pink slipped early in the competition. She sings "Drops of Jupiter", one of those songs I have heard before but can't tell you who sings it and I don't care enough to go and find out. She doesn't do a bad job and refreshingly, she doesn't sound like the Marlboro Pack of Allison, Megan and Jesse. It's definitely a serious performance and intense. The judges, quite naturally, find Mishavonna too intense and serious. She's ONLY EIGHTEEN! and she's acting like she's fifty. Well, I suppose how a fifty-year old Mick Jagger would act because the only other fifty year old female rocker I can think of is Madonna and she would be humping the stage by now. Oh wait, is Joan Jett fifty? Because Joan Jett is intense and serious and wears black leather and Mishavonna is probably totally like Joan Jett was at eighteen. But I digress. Kara wants Mishavonna to lighten up beause Kara wonders exactly where Mishavonna fits in the music industry. Yeah, there's a few people in the music industry I have wondered about myself and it ain't Mishavonna. Randy shouts some inane nonsense about how Mishavonna made a solo song out of a band song. What the fuck? Did someone forget Randy's medication? Last time I checked Heart was a band and no one has gotten called out yet making "Alone" into a solo. Shut up, Randy. For real. Before she's hustled off the stage, Mishavonna stresses that she can be totally crazy in a bizarre attempt to garner the Tatiana vote. Interesting.

Adam Lambert has the pimp spot, thereby insuring that he will return. Adam is going to be less theatrical (no!) and has chosen a song by his mom's favorite band, the Rolling Stones. It's "Satisfaction" and I'm wondering if Randy is going to crucify Adam for making "Satisfaction" into a solo artist song. What an idiot Randy is. So Adam is decked out in black and starts "Satisfaction" kind of slow and maybe a little worrisome and then rocks it out in an Adam Lambert kind of way. He's prancing and he's preening and he's doing the eyefucking thing and I'm finding this all strangely attractive and addicting and I'm not quite sure why because when I honestly and truly think about it, Adam's hair reminds me of a Monchici after you've brushed it down nice and neat. Not that I mean that as an insult to Adam because I do like him and again, he's strangely addictive. Like the Edward Fucking Cullen of the stage. The only thing he is missing is the sparkle. So the audience is going crazy for Adam doing Mick Jagger as Edward Fucking Cullen because Mick Jagger only got laid so much because he was a rock singer and not because he looked like a byproduct of Claymation. Paula jumps out of her seat and says she has no words but quite naturally then finds a few and says she feels as though she was at an Adam Lambert concert. Simon found his performance crazy, but in a good way. Randy thinks Adam is Steven Tyler meets Fall Out Boy meets Robert Pattinson. Totally. I think this is the most intelligent thing Randy has uttered all night, if not in the last eight seasons. Upon hearing Robert Pattinson's name, Seacrest comes skipping out on stage and squees in glee over the iconic vampire. Seacrest is agape that Randy compared Adam Lambert to Edward Fucking Cullen and Adam is all "I know, right? Twilight is my favorite book!" Which is cool and all because I'm totally on the Edward Fucking Cullen love train but I'm having images of Randy, Seacrest and Adam in their jammie at a slumber party, squealing over Twilight and Edward Fucking Cullen.

So, in all, I found this a very strange episode. It seemed to go on forever. I think Adam Lambert has as much a chance of being cut as Tom Cruise does getting laid at a nymphomaniac convention. So he should pretty much wrap up the male vote (Adam, that is, not the Mighty Midget). Allison, in all likelihood, will get the female vote despite growling and hacking out one of my favorite Heart songs.

Who gets the coveted third spot? Nick Marshall as Norman Gentle is Vote for the Worst's pick. So it could certainly be him. Matt Breitzke is very likable and his performance was vastly underrated by the judges. Kris Allen turned in a good performance and brings the sexy pretty.

I guess we'll have to wait until tonight and suffer through 45 minutes of nonsense to get to the results.

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