Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I have failed you and my heart is full of shame.
It's become apparent to me (and you, I'm sure) by my lack of updates that:
1) My plate is way too full right now, and
2) I am over Idol.
At least for this season.
Even reading my most recent posts, there isn't that joy or snark or even intelligent commentary to make writing or reading this blog worthy of your time or mine.
Without that joy...it just doesn't make sense to continue, when I have so many other irons in the fire that need tending.
Honestly, this is the first Idol where I am ZERO PERCENT invested in the show or the contestants. Less than zero. We're in the negative range. I am -7.4% interested.
To be clear, Miley Cyrus was the last nail in the coffin for me.
This show has jumped so many sharks over the course of it's history, sharks I have forgiven time after time, but having Miley as a "mentor"...
Just typing those words makes what's left of my melted brain begin to melt all over again.
I hope you guys are still getting some level of entertainment from the show, but honestly, even trying to watch it has become a chore. If I would rather do my dishes than watch a TV show? You know it's a lost cause.
I have a really full plate right now. Writing projects, home related hi jinx, prepping for a showcase I'll be directing in June, auditions...too much keeping me away from the TV at present.
I'd like to hope that maybe by calling it quits now and taking a full break from the show that maybe, maybe I can step up to the plate next year and have the fun with it I've had in year's past.
I really don't know if my apathy can be morphed into something productive...but hope will spring eternally.
Enjoy the rest of the season, watchers!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
It's official. If ever I thought for a moment that the Idol Producers weren't my active arch nemesis, that time is over.
By bringing Miley Cyrus onto this show, a line has been drawn in the sand.
A line made of hungry red ants and weapons grade uranium.
Watching her "mentor" these folks? My brain explodes and my blood boils. To proclaim her as ANY kind of talent (other than a money generating machine) with anything of value to impart is an insult to Talent. Of course, AI is solely focused on making money, so the choice makes sense on that level.
As much as the judges like to talk a good game about music ability, this show has their foot firmly planted in style over substance. Last week's guest performer of Ke$ha is exactly what I'm talking about. While "Tik Tok" is one of those pop songs that has a rift that gets stuck in your brain, it's more about the producing and packaging of that song than the actual singing.
I caught a you tube vid of Ke$ha's performace of "Blah Blah Blah" on AI and thought that her 15 minutes are at 14:25 and counting. I mean, spring for some "rap singers" who can actually rap and or sing. And please, give Cher her headdress back. Because, you, my dear Ke$ha, are not even a poor man's Cher.
Ke$ha is just the harbinger of things to come for the Idols once they go on tour. The producers of AI would pluck out their own left eye and sell their grandmothers on the street to get even a small slice of a cash cow tween fan generator the likes of Miley.
Please take your hunched over posture and Sunset Boulevard hooker clothes and go challenge you tube to another dance battle, Miley. Just get off of my television screen. Take your non-advice and go away. Far, far away.
Okay. Enough bitching. Bring on the songs.
LEE - The Letter (The Boxtops via Joe Cocker)
Well, Lee is cementing his standing as the next Joe Cocker with this song choice. I still like his voice and the fact that he put his guitar down tonight. But his voice isn't awesome enough to carry it all - he needs a bit more personality in his performance to get me to care if he makes it to the next week.
PAIGE - Against All Odds (Phil Collins...via a Mariah Carey cover)
Goof. She started the song off-key and never really righted the ship. Vocally, that performance was a hot mess. A hot mess that's been left out in the sun in a pool full of raw eggs and week old milk. Gah.
Worst vocal of the season? Uh...YEAH.
TIM - Crazy Little Called Love (Queen)
Oh, Timmeh. You wrung every bit of rock and soul out of that song. You are the Pat Boone of 2010. This is not a good thing. This is a very, very, bad thing. Like, "sign of the coming apocolypse" bad. Bad.
This was every word in the thesaurus that equates to "bland."
As much as I'm not a fan of High School Musical, to compare Tim's performance to Zac Efron is an insult to Zac Efron. I mean, at least that kid can sing and dance and can smile without making me think that he's been molested.
AARON - I Don't Want To Miss A Thing (Aerosmith)
If I was a religious woman, I would light a candle and send a silent prayer out to all the tweeners who a fanlits of Timmeh. That they should cast him and his Donny Osmond circa 1974 hair out of their hearts and embrace Aaron.
I'm not a fan of this song choice for him and I still think he doesn't have the experience under his belt to really go all the way, but this kid can at least sing. It's rough hewned, but he does indeed have talent and a voice. And after Paige and Tim, it was refreshing to hear
CRYSTAL - Me and Bobby McGee (Kris Kristopherson)
Oh, Crystal. You definitely lost points with me when you asked for Miley's autograph on your guitar.
Her fan moment with Miley aside, I go back and forth with Crystal. I like her voice and her attitude. I like that she sings barefoot on a carpet. She's been pretty consistant. Still, there's something missing peformance wise. I'm still waiting for her to draw me into what she's doing. I want a performance. I want my socks knocked off.
She's still a top contender, but personally, I'm still sitting in the coffee house. (And there's nothing wrong with that, I just want to have her take it to the next level.) If you've ever heard local performer Cathy Richardson sing any Janis song, you'd know what I'm refering to. Cathy makes you feel like you've been jolted by electricity when she covers this song. With Crystal, I just want another cup of coffee.
BIG MIKE - When A Man Loves A Woman (Percy Sledge)
I wish I could say I liked this performance as much as when he sang "This Woman's Work," but I don't. It's good. It's where the contestants should be. He's still in the front of the pack.
I think this was more about song choice not really killing it for me tonight. He's got a great falsetto, but tonight, he was good, not great. You've got to bring GREAT, every single time.
Hell, these folks don't even sing a full song. They sing like 90 seconds. If you can't be great for less than 2 minutes? I really have to roll my eyes at you disparingly and without irony.
ANDREW - I Heard It Thru The Grapevine (Marvin Gaye)
Shot himself in the foot with this song choice...and the arrangement...and the stage performance. Right now, I'm putting him in the bottom three with Paige and Tim.
There was not once good thing about it. Not one.
He's lost his confidence. He doesn't know which way is up.
And at this point, I agree with Simon - he's had more than enough time to pull his head out of his ass and show us that the Paula cover back in auditions wasn't just a fluke.
KATIE - Big Girls Don't Cry (Fergie)
Okay. I'm not a Katie fan, but I have to admit this was a good song choice for her. Fits her range well, it's more contempory. An improvement, even though she sounded a bit sharp throughout.
I think she still needs a confidence boost and her youth is still working against her overall.
CASEY - Power of Love (Huey Lewis and the News)
Shockingly, Casey is still very pretty.
I have to say, I love the Tower of Power-esque horn section backing him up. These are the things I wonder about. Was the horn section his idea or the band leader's suggestion? Because that's the sort of choice I'm really curious about...how much input he's giving to the arrangement/orchestration.
I think Casey has the voice, the musical skill and the drop dead looks to make it all the way. But I agree with Simon that he doesn't add anything "Casey" to the song. It was just a standard, though well executed, cover of a 25 year old song.
With the first few guitar rifts, I was hoping for something a little Santana flavored, but just got the song, pretty much as Huey threw it down. Decent, but no Casey flavor in the mix.
DIDI - You're No Good (Linda Ronstadt)
I have a soft spot in my soul for Linda Ronstadt and since I missed last week, the last memory of Didi was her performance of Rhiannon, so I'm really, really, really hoping for the best.
Oooh...upright bass? Me likely. I'm really starting to root for Didi. There's something about the quality of her voice that keeps me listening. While this didn't measure up to the delivery of Rhiannon, I still thought it was pretty good. Good for standing up for yourself against the judges trying to box you into something you don't want.
Oh. And on an unrelated note, I love that Simon couldn't remember Lacey's name...even though she's only been gone a week. That's hysterical.
SADE - Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
While I love that they broke the mold when they made this girl. For me, this wasn't her best performance, it felt a bit on the screechy side. Still, she's on the better half of the coin and safe.
Bottom Three: Paige, Tim and Andrew
Should be Going home: Paige
Will be Going Home: Andrew
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I missed last night's show, so I've only been able to catch the abbreviated video online.
KATIE STEVENS - Breakaway (Kelly Clarkson)
This just sounds like a good singer at a high school talent show.
I'm bored, bored, bored. When will you wow me, Katie?
I'm not holding my breath.
SIOBHAN MAGNUS - House of the Rising Sun (The Animals)
I just don't know what to do with this girl. I dig her voice. I dig that she picks crazy songs competition-wise...I can't help but want to hear more. I hope American digs her weird vibe.
LACEY BROWN - The Story (Brandi Carlile)
I'm sorry, I just don't like what she's bringing to the table. Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Argh. While she stayed in tune this time, she nearly put me to sleep. So she annoys me while boring me. A deadly combination.
KATELYN EPPERLY - I Feel The Earth Move (Carole King)
Love me some Carole King on a summer's day. Unfortunately, this version just felt very wedding singer-ish and uninteresting. She's got a decent voice, but it came off as dated and lounge-y.
Being dated? That's the kiss of death.
DIDI BENAMI - Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac)
I have to say, this is my favorite performance of Didi's. I liked her approach to it. Unlike Katelyn's version of a 70's classic (which sounded really dated), this sounded very fresh to me. If I was a downloading kind of girl, I'd be tempted to throw this on my Ipod.
Best she's done thus far. My favorite performance of the night.
I give her two thumbs up.
PAIGE MILES - Smile (Nat King Cole)
As cheesy as I think she is, I really want to like Paige's voice. I think it has a good tone, but man, she kills it for me with all the goaty trilling. Just sing the note. Sing it. Lose even the tiniest vocal gymnastics and sing it, lady. I beg you.
Love this song, but HATED the cheesy Love Boat lounge arrangement.
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX - Give Me One Reason (Tracy Chapman)
I like Crystal and she'd definitely one of the leading ladies in this group, but to me she's still a pale imitation of Susan Tedeschi. I like a girl who can lay down some blues, but something's still missing for me with her.
I still want more from her. And that's a good thing.
LILLY SCOTT - I Fall To Pieces (Patsy Cline)
On the other hand, I have no idea what's up with Lilly. She does nothing for me. Zip.
Tonight, I watched the fellas live.
Can I , once again, scream to the rafters that these folks have to stop bending over backwards trying to please the judges. I'm not saying that they shouldn't be putting 100% of their energy and focus into this - absolutely they should. They should be working their freaking asses off to improve and grow and stretch themselves.
But cow towing to the judges is just a waste of time. Take the criticism, use what is helpful to you and move the fuck on. The judges can't keep you on the show...and the public knows when you're full of crap or being inauthentic or are just completely tone deaf.
The attempt to jump through hoops for the judges is a solid waste of time.
OMIGOD THIS IS AWESOME.
NO STUPID INTRO VIDEOS!!
I HAVE DIED AND GONE TO REALITY TV HEAVEN.
O HAPPY DAY!!!!!
LEE DEWYZE - Fireflies (Owl City)
I'm a fan of this song, hell, it was one of the hottest downloads of 2009. I appreciate that he's trying to stretch a bit out of his "rock" genre and try something new to him. While it was fine, it didn't grab me.
When he has to hold a note in his straight singing voice (without going all Joe Cocker), he kinda loses me. It was a good performance, not great.
ALEX LAMBERT - Trouble (Ray Lamontagne)
Love this song. You know...each week, this kid seems to be getting a slightly better grip on his nerves. Agree with the judges that he needs to find that mix of confidence and relaxed delivery.
That said, this is week two of me digging his tone and song choice. Which is still a bit off putting for me, because all I really want to do is cut off his emo-mullet. I'd have to say this was my second runner up for the night as a vocal.
TIM URBAN - Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley)
Wow. He is swinging for the fences with this pick. Fairly bold move. And after two spectacularly bad weeks, this is by far the best Tim's done in this competition. He still hit a couple sour notes, but just that. The rest sounded honest and I liked his even delivery.
This week, the tweeners can call in with their heads held high and keep their teen dream in the running.
ANDREW GARCIA - Genie In A Bottle (Christina Aguilara)
Close, but no cigar. The song started well, but the chorus wasn't as strong as the rest of the song. I liked parts, but not the sum total. I do think I liked it more than last week. I think.
He's no Jonathan Coulton, but I can see him heading in that direction, if he'd just grow a pair. And if you aren't familiar with JC's cover of "Baby Got Back," you need to wander the interwebs and introduce yourself to it.
If Andrew can stop trying to impress the judges and just embrace his own style and say, "Fuck it. This is how I do, " I think he could really surprise folks. Unfortunately, this is week three of "not being as awesome as his original audition" and I think it's the end of the road for him.
Honestly, he should have said, "Fuck it. You want to hear Paula Abdul? Fine. Here it is." And it would have kept in him the competition for one more week - thusly getting him to the traveling show. Poorly played.
Robert Downey, Jr.
and Samuel L. Jackson??
Iron Man 2...you had me at hello.
CASEY JAMES - (Keith Urban)
Once again, my not knowing the song is a boon because I have no baseline. It sounded pretty good. Good energy, good vibe, good vocal. Didn't knock me out of my socks, but overall, I liked it.
I can't imagine Casey is going anywhere.
AARON KELLY - I'm Already There (Lone Star)
Okay, this kid has got to go home.
Not because he doesn't have a voice, but he just doesn't know what to do with it yet. You're a sweet kid, but you don't have the gravitas to even pull off this semi-mellow country ballad. You just need some seasoning, kid. Some life experience to inform your vocal/performance.
America, please send him home. Please. I'm begging you.
TODRICK HALL - Somebody To Love (Queen)
When you pull out Queen, you have no choice but to LEAVE IT ALL ON THE STAGE. You have to GO BIG OR GO HOME, there is no middle ground when you throw down with the likes of Freddie Mercury.
This was the most tepid version of Queen I've heard....possibly ever. Yeah, he stayed in key and hit that last big note, but even that felt mild. Where's the guts? Where's the passion behind it. Where's the desperation of trying to find someone to love?
And if that was meant as a Gospel (or influenced by gospel) then Todrick should apologize to Gospel performers everywhere. Because that's an insult to good, get me out of my seat, gospel music. That shit was not even Broadway worthy. Best he's done...but not nearly good enough.
MICHAEL LYNCHE - This Woman's Work (Kate Bush)
Let's just say it. This is one of the greatest songs ever written. You could argue with me, but you'd lose. This song make me want to turn my life into a music video where I smash everything smashable in slow motion while crying and laughing and hugging and kissing and dancing and curling up into a ball. God, that woman can write a fucking song.
I'm wondering if Michael is a fan of Greg Laswell, who recently did a delightful cover of this song - not too many fellas have covered it, so I find the choice very...interesting. That said, Michael definitely brought a great R&B vibe to it and made it his own...and of course, it also ties in the "I just had a baby" storyline in without even having to bring it up.
That's some fucking smart play, yo.
Best performance of the night by a long shot.
And I think Simon might be right...best performance of the season thus far.
Ladies: This is a hard one. Because I think Katie, Lacey, Katelyn and Lilly could all be on the chopping block. While I'm not a fan of Lilly, I think she had a following still, so she's safe.
I think Lacey and Katelyn will be going home.
Gents: Andrew and...it's a toss up between Aaron and Todrick. Money on Aaron.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
But I wanted to get my picks in for the ousts.
Gents going home: John Park and Jermaine Sellers.
Ladies going home: Lacey Brown and...this is a tough one. I think Haeley should get the boot, but I think she's got more folks rooting for her than several other contenders....so I think even though she hit that big note, Sade might go home...or possibly Didi, because nobody likes watching someone cry onstage. And if you can't handle the heat in this kitchen, you really do need to go.
Reviews later! Promise!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
You cannot hide.
You cannot cut off your ears to save yourself from...
THE GROUP SING.
Gahf. After forcing all the Up With People songs over the years - from folks like Lionel Ritchie, Neil Sedaka, Gloria Estefan and Ray Stevens to name a few...it's been a long time coming for the selection for the group sing to be something from someone as current as Estelle and Kayne (American Boy.)
Although, the arrangment and singing fuck it up as usual, so they might as well been singing something as milk toast as Everything is Beautiful. Gah.
And BONUS! I forgot that two from each group are going home tonight!
So Janell and Ashley are going home, which...Hey America, good job!
While I still think Lacey needs the boot - especially with that godawful outfit she's forcing upon the veiwers - I nonetheless bow to your call to send Ashley packing. I guess her performance was wrist-slashy enough to be sent home.
Two thumbs up.
Then the boys. Out of all the folks that got the hook tonight, I think he was actually the best singer, but still, completely forgettable. Sorry, Joe. Keep on, keepin' on.
At this point, it's really anyone's call...there are a lot of guys who half assed it last night. Am I surprised that Tyler got the boot before Jermaine, John or Alex? Eh. A little...but he really won't be missed.
So four down...working towards that Top 12 that make the tour (where the mediocre money and small amounts of fame lie.)
See you next week, kids!
Todrick Hall - Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson.) I just can't make up my mind. Part of me is impressed that, well, he went there. I mean, that arrangement was a hot mess, but I adore that he took a song from their acclaimed first Idol winner, stood front and center and attempted to turn it on it's head.
If only, at the end of the song, he had held out the mic, dropped it to the floor, turned to the camera and said, "Yeah. THAT just happened!" And then walk off?
That would have been a great way to start the season.
Like I said before, if you aren't willing to take a song from other genre and put your stamp on it, I don't have time for you. At the same time, THIS is what separates the wheat from the chaff. This is why musicians vie for talented producers to work with them. It takes ability and talent to turn a song on it's ear. Ability and talent that Todrick has yet to prove he possesses.
And as much of a hot mess as it was, points that this was his "version" of the song...not like when David Cook kinda let it slide and took credit for lots of stuff that he stole from covers done by other bands.
Aaron Kelly - Here Comes Goodbye (Rascal Flatts.) Hey, I've got nothing against pop country...wait...that's a lie. If we're going to listen to country, Give me George Jones or Give me Death. So, I can admit that this song choice is doing nothing for me, personally. When you add the facts that 1) he sings most of it flat and 2) a teen is singing a song that just doesn't play when a TEEN is singing it? Bah. No workie for me.
He hit the big note at the end, sorta, so you know...there's potential, I suppose. But, there's nothing sparking me with this kid. Note on my paper: Bored. No confidence. Augh.
Jermaine Sellers - Get Here (Oleta Adams.) When the first word out of the judges mouth is how they love your look and the song and how the love it when you put blue and yellow together you get green?....basically they are avoiding telling you how much you stank up the joint.
Hello? You're trying to score a job as the latest Top 40 artist, remember? No offense to Oleta Adams, but that song is about as current as Vanilla Ice's starring role in "Cool as Ice."
Although the single greatest moment was when Jermaine is complaining that the show portrayed him as a diva during Hollywood week and when asked if he made up with the pianist, Michael, with the word diva still hanging in the air, he says, "Who is Michael?" You can't write shit that good. Timing. It's Everything.
Tim Urban - Apologize (One Republic.) Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, "The AI Teen Dream for 2010." This is the look my 14 yr old nephew aspires to attain on a daily basis. It's like the 2010 version of Leif Garrett. So laid back with his tousled hair and pseudo-esque Member's Only jacket.
And then he opens his mouth. It starts off a little too Six Flags "Puttin' on the Hitz!"....and then he reaches for that first falsetto. This song is like 80% about the falsetto and he couldn't reach it with a 10 ft. pole and a step ladder. Guf. Horrible song choice. Horrid.
Maybe it's early enough in the voting that his cute boy power will have the tweeners rally round and save him. God knows we need to save that jacket.
Joe Munoz - You & I Both (Jason Mraz.) If you told me to recite all the performances, this is the guy I would forget. I mean, I'm going over my notes and I literally had to go online and was like, "Who the hell is Joe Munoz?"
The thing is, he's probably a better singer tonally than most of the guys. He never went off key or dropped out on a note, and the song was a good fit for his voice. But there was nothing about him that stood out for me. I literally forgot all about him and the fact that he sang this song.
He's kind of like the opposite of Todrick. Todrick came out and threw down a hot mess of a song, but it was memorable in it's own way. I literally HAD TO LOOK THIS GUY UP not even 24 hours later.
I also found it interesting, just as last night, the 4th singer is the first to hear, "you've been the best so far." Out of four. You're the best out of 4. So far. It's really the crappiest compliment to dole out or receive.
Tyler Grady - American Woman (The Guess Who.) Or rather, The Guess Who segued into Kravitz. Note on my paper: He's about as much of a rocker as my big toe. The kids in "School of Rock" had more grit than this dude.
Truly, it's like he saw the cover of some Doors album and decided to embrace that look. It's not a bad look, per se. Style definitely impacts your aesthetic, but, I don't think this guy has any idea of who he is musically beyond, "You kind of look like a dude from the 70's. You should go with that."
**Okay, I have to admit, I really did get bored around this point in the evening. The night before had very little "wow" factor and tonight wasn't improving upon that theme.**
Lee Dewyze - Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol.) While I'm not a huge fan of this song, I thought it was a good song choice for Lee. Fit his voice and his attitude and, let's face it, is a much more of a current trend than Get Here or American Woman (even the Kravitz version is a decade old at this point.)
I think he pushed the vocal just a bit more than he should have and doing so, he went awry on more than a few notes. Still, even with the off notes, I still like his raspy quality. A little subdued on the delivery, but overall, one of the best of the night.
Gah. I hate when the judges are like, "I wanted to hear [insert song/band.] You should totally sing [the band that I WANT you to sing.]" This is not a critique. This is a request. You have to talk about what's on the stage, not what you wished for was on the stage. SHUDDAP, Judges.
John Park - God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday.) Dear John, If you're unaware, it's the year of our Lord 2010....Dude. Catch up.
It's not even the song choice. I love standards. Love them. I love a good crooner. Me likey lots of different genres. But the delivery of this song is gah...not good. You're a 7th level triller dude. Lighten up on the vocal gymnastics.
The band makes it worse by using chimes. CHIMES, people, CHIMES. It's like I just walked onto the lounge of The Love Boat. Honestly? I would roll my eyes at Issac and walk out.
It's not even like a standard classic delivery (like Holiday) or a blues delivery (like Etta James) or even a (somewhat) more modern take (like Blood, Sweat & Tears.) It's just a cheesy rendition.
He starts too low in his register. While he has a nice tone to his voice, it's BORING. And it's not the song that's boring. It's him. He's not really connected to what he's singing. He's not feeling it and I'm not feeling it. Worse, he's boring me. Love the song. Bored by this performance. Bah.
This is one thing those catty bitches on Project Runway have 100% right. Do anything, create something that slaps me in the face...but never, ever, ever Bore Me.
Michael Lynche - This Love (Matchbox 20.) Really? Your first big break in front of millions and you're throwing down MB20? REALLY. Crap it. You've got a good voice, more personality than half the other guys put together, the world revolves around new parents - you've got it all going for you...and you come to the fight with MB20 in your pocket.
I like you Mike. You're fun. You seem like a sweet guy and I'd love to buy you a beer. I love the fact that you are such a giant of a man, when you hold your guitar, it looks like a ukulele. You are personality plus and the audience loves you...so you're safe as houses. Sigh.
I don't know, I liked it, but I didn't love it and I just want him to wow me.
WILL SOMEONE, ANYONE WOW ME PLEASE. Purty please?
Alex Lambert - Wonderful World (James Morrison.) I think I've heard this song before, but I'm having a hard time recognizing it. Or maybe it's one of those songs that sounds like 30% of what's on the radio anyway and that's my consternation.
I don't think this song choice did him or his emo-mullet any favors. He doesn't have a bad voice, but something about the arrangement make it sound like he's off key in parts. And what was up with the delivery of "Me" at the end of each line. It was all, "Meee. [breath] eeee." Wasn't sure if it was an intentional choice or if he just couldn't hold the note, but it did it more than once and it was extremely off-putting.
I agreed with Simon...I was glad when it was over.
He is the weakest link. He is...the unripe banana. Goodbye!
Casey James - Heaven (Bryan Adams.) Okay. Let's just put it out there. He is a pretty, pretty man and the camera loves him. Even with his obvious nerves, you can see him push through and give a nice, measured performance.
He didn't knock the tar out of it, but he came off as one of the most comfortable on stage and he picked a song that suited his voice and cemented his standing as cougar bait.
Also...I wish I had his hair. He is pretty. Prettier than me. Sigh.
I must be running out of steam. Because this is when the Judges really laid into the bits about Kara digging Casey and blah blah, shirtless, blah blah, pretty, blah blah. WHO CARES. I'm too tired to yell at the stupid judges for their played out bits. Bah.
I just hope they got it out of their system, because I really won't be able to take it week after week. And Casey's gonna be around for a while.
Andrew Garcia - Sugar, We're Going Down (fall out boy.) Hmmm. He's one of the few folks I caught a glimpse of before hand. He did this sah-weet version of Paula Abdul's Straight Up, which was smart and fun and told you who his is as an artist.
I'm really hoping he's gonna knock it out of the park...especially since they put him in as the clean-up batter for the night. Say what you will about this song, but I defy you to deny a lyric of "I'll be your number one with a bullet, a loaded God complex, cock it and pull it."
He puts a little spin on it with the acoustic flavor and I like it (don't love it as much as Straight Up), but it does the job is is 72% more interesting than 90% of what we've watched tonight.
Bottom Two Ladies: Lacey Brown & Janell Wheeler
Bottom Two Men: Joe Munoz & Jermaine Sellers
Going Home: Lacey Brown/Joe Whatshisface
Who should go home? Tim Urban, but the tweeners will save him. Haeley too...but I think she'll get the "Sanjaya" vote and they'll keep the weirdness around for another week.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The sheer marvelousness of what you are about to witness is the talk show equivalent of the very first time in history...that you got your chocolate in my peanut butter. Oh-kaaaay?
Wendy Williams - the craziest biatch with a talk show - has NORMUND GENTLE (alias Nick Mitchell) from last season on to dish about the Top 24.
This is what the boob tube was invented for...to eat my brain cells while I smile and giggle.
But, please, Wendy? Gurl...if the producers of AI called and had asked you to replace Paula Abdul?
You would be ALL OVER THAT SHIT.
"Too busy." As if.
Still, I am lighting a candle and killing a baby goat in the hopes that that Nick/Normund will be a regular correspondent on her show regarding all things Idol.
My first recap of the season is coming...tomorrow.
I don't know how you'll sleep with all that anticipation looming. Urp.
Welcome to it, my friends.
I'll say it right up front, I don't vote.
In the nine seasons this show's been on the air, I've never voted for any of the singers. Not a one. Mainly because I feel that unless I'm planning on buying their album, it seems hypocritical to actually vote for them. I came close a couple times, but never pulled the trigger - with the phone or my wallet.
We all know that AI is less a talent seeking show and more a money generating factory, so, until I vote with my dolla dolla bill, y'all, I'll continue to steer clear of the phone-in vote.
Got home late and after walking the dog, checking in with my Pop and putting dinner in the oven, I missed the usual pomp and buildup that is is the AI machine. Thank heaven for small favors.
I also missed the the first three singers.
So, my first three critiques come via youtube uploads.
Paige Miles - All Right Now (Free.) An okay start to the show. Good tone to her voice and I'm a fan of the song in general. Points for stepping out of the gate by trying to R&B up a classic rock song. It almost works, but not quite. Judges hammer up the fact that trying to take a "band sound" and turn it into a solo vocal (even with backup singers) doesn't really end up doing a rock song any favors. It becomes that unhappy hybrid of Wedding Singer and Cruise Ship Lounge Act.
She also kind of just did the same thing over and over. Popping out a word here and thar in a falsetto/squeak every now and again. Example: "Maybe we can SEE things the same..." "Don't you think this LOVE can last?"
Again, points for attempting to alter from the original, but it just didn't have the musicality to...well, grab me.
At present, I dig her green eyes and positive disposition, but that blinding silver belt thingamajig has Got To Go. The way the stage lighting was set, my eyes went directly to the giant belt in every wide shot and it's all I could focus on. Undermined by fashion. Truly, there is nothing new under the AI sun.
**Question: Why do the AI Producers always underscore the ROCK with the fake flame background? It's atrocious, cliched and, oh, I don't know....hackneyed.**
Ashley Rodriguez - Happy (Leona Lewis.) Man. Where have I been? That's a hit song? That's like the 2010 equivalent to a B-side from The Smiths.* (And a poor man's version at that.) Wow. Ok. I kinda want to open my wrists after hearing that one.
Here's the thing. You only get about 90 seconds tonight to really introduce yourself to the masses....do NOT pick a somber, moody ballad, that you really can't pull off to begin with. Bad song choice, girlie. Again, I'll give it to the judges. Girl can carry a tune, but she can't carry a really big one across the stage just yet.
*OMG. It just hit me. How utterly awesome would it be for an Idol to sing Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want? Perfect length and so cloyingly desperate. Hmmm. Maybe in round 4 or 5 after the audience knows your sense of humor a bit better? Hmmm...
Janell Wheeler - What About Love (Heart.) BRING ON THE HEART! Ah...oh, well...yeah. Starts pretty clean and then she's almost immediately warbly and off key. Felt like the best singer at karaoke night. Nothing different or unique or overly interesting. Bordered on boring for me.
Wait. Is she wearing leather/pleather pants? Gahf. Dude. They give you a clothing budget and that's what you buy? Hmmm. Maybe they are just really super thin/tight jeans. Agh. Top's cute and the lavender background is a big improvement over Paige's flames.
Lilly Scott - Fixing A Hole (Beatles.) I like the song choice and while she didn't make waterfalls and unicorns come shooting out of it, I think agree with Simon that 1) it's the best of the ladies thus far (of course, we're only 4 deep), and that 2) she's lacking in star quality.
I also thought Randy's comment that she's not "I love that...you don't care what everyone else is thinking, what's fashionable, what's in, whatever. "
Uh...Randy, are you for real? Maybe Lady Bowersox could give two shits about what's fashionable, but Lilly is giving off the vibe that her look, her sound is what she considers to be very in fashion. "Indie" is directly related to fashion, you idiot. The fact that she is coming from a Lilly Allen space is VERY in fashion, you dolt. Gah. Judges. Please let the sky drop bricks on your head.
Speaking of fashion...there is something about her look reminds me of Tracy Ullman in a wig doing a character. Except Tracy Ullman's affectation when she sings is a put-on for a bit.
Hmmm. I'm on the fence with Ms. Lilly.
Katelyn Epperly- Oh Darlin' (Beatles.) Feels like a nice, safe song choice choice for her vocally. I'm not sure if she's intentionally trying to lean towards the infamous Janis Joplin screech or it's nerves. It seemed to work for her overall, but it felt a wee bit pushed/forced midway through.
When I just listen to the audio, she reminds me a bit of Susan Tedeschi - with 82% less soul and grit. She's Tedeschi Light.
Another pretty girl who has a decent voice, although that leather dress wasn't doing her any favors. She looks like she has a nice, natural figure and that leather dress looked like a floor mat.
Haelely Vaughn - I Want To Hold Your Hand (Beatles.) The thing about the Beatles is that their early stuff is so simple and straight forward that 1) anyone (even me) can sing them and not sound like an asshole and 2) they are so perfectly created that trying to alter the arrangement can really backfire on you, if you don't know what you're doing.
Hate me if you will (and I kinda do), but part of me likely Ms. Vaughn. It wasn't amazing and she's far, far, far from the strongest singer, but she's very personable and did a decent job. Yeah, she smiled like an idiot throughout the song - her nerves definitely showed...but I still liked it.
I'm just not sure if I liked it because I'm always amazed by what the Beatles created, or if it's something she brought into the mix. It's the same conundrum I have when I'm making out with a guy who's a good kisser. Am I digging it because I like this fella, or do I really really really just like making out. I believe in this scenario, I'm too drunk to trust my own judgement and will have to make out with him (listen to her sing) without being a'drunk (the Beatles.)
Also, for some reason, my notes here say, "Shaddup, Kara."
Even though I don't know why I wrote it, I know it's correct.
Lacey Brown - Landslide (Fleetwood Mac.) AWFUL. One of those that I can't tell if it's the transition to the ear bud or nerves, but...oofie. Not good. Lots of hard, off notes. Very pitchy. And, is it me, or does her speaking voice sound like one of those girls who talk in a baby voice? Never trust a girl who talks in a baby voice, people.
Again this is a great song that is a poor song choice for this singer. Moreover, it was really...WHAT? Wait a minute. As the judges throw it back to Seabreeze, I hear Simon say she's got "She's got nice eyes." And Kara say, "Beautiful girl."
FUCK YOU JUDGES. That's why American should put her through? Because she "looks" the part? FUCK YOU. If she doesn't bring it, THAT'S worthy of voting her off. My god, it's night one and I already want to slap people.
WAIT...are you kidding me? I'm ready to bitch slap the judges and then Lacey does the cardinal sin of coming close to breaking Rule #4 (see side bar on the right), by standing there and trying to counter the judges' criticism by equating Simon's "you're boring" comment to "some songs are just slower" and that "you can't come out with a full on rock song every single time."
1. Slower doesn't equal boring, Lacey.
Your performance equaled boring. Math = Facts!
2. You can't "rock" every single time?
DUDE. This is your FIRST time being voted on by the masses.
And now you've opened your piehole and confirmed the fact that you're boring and an idiot.
Michelle Delamor - Fallin' (Alicia Keys.) Possibly the most gorgeous idol that I can recall...I look at her and she reminds me of every teen model that ever graced the covers of Seventeen Magazine. She looks like a cross between Mya and JLo with a splash of Janet Jackson. Her look is completely marketable.
And she can sing pretty well. Mid-song she wasn't as strong as at the top...and the ending went a little wedding singer-ish. Honestly, I think she's one of the better ladies of the night both in her vocal and her performance.
She needs to lose the constant forced pageant smile - it even seemed like she was fighting it a little, so it seems like she was aware of it. We'll see if that's nerves or a bad habit.
I agree with Simon that right now, she's a good singer, but she's too much of a copy of what's already out there - visually and vocally. She's got to take a risk. She's got to bring it.
Didi Benami - The Way I Am (Ingrid Michelson.) LOVE THIS SONG. Love it. The minute I hear the lead in, I'm like GREAT SONG CHOICE. It's short and fun and uptempo. Even if you're not familiar with the song, it's one of those catchy sweet pop tunes that you can't help but smile and feel good about.
But she fucked it up by monkeying with the arrangement just a bit too much. Here's the deal on "arrangement." You show a creative arrangement on a KNOWN song. One that will break the audience's and judges expectations. This is NOT a song that is known to the masses. Maybe 20% of the audience are familiar with Ingrid Michaelson. In this instance, you don't have to push it. Just let them love you and this song just as you are.
A good example of this would be last season, when Kris Allen performed "Falling Slowly." He didn't muss with it, just performed it as it was intended, which worked because, again, while it's one of my favorite songs OF ALL TIME - not to mention an award winner - it wasn't a Top 40 blow-out hit.
I disagree that it's a dreary song, but I will agree with Simon a bit that there was no spark. Her delivery was a tad dull. She took a really sweet, funny song and made it just a little too serious.
When you have a song that uses Rogaine as a love song lyric? Work the Fun of it.
Siobhan Magnus - Wicked Game (Chris Issac.) Since I'm not sure I'll ever spell her name right again (much less pronounce it correctly) I dub thee...Sade. I look at this name and think, will she be the Chikezie of this season? Mayhaps.
I think she's got balls to attempt this song and it almost, kinda sorta works. She started off too low in her register, but overall, I like the tone of her voice. I like the tattoo peeking out from her sleeve. I like her. But, I didn't get caught up in the song...and that's what should happen with a song that haunting.
Crap. Here we go AGAIN. Judges? STFU. They keep pining and reminding everyone how AWESOME SHE PERFORMED THE STEVIE WONDER SONG, YO. Just in case you were thinking of NOT voting for her, you TOTALLY SHOULD because Stevie is fucking hard to sing and SHE KILLED IT IN THE FINAL ROUND, YO.
Shut up, Judges. Seriously. I'm judging her on what I'm seeing tonight. And tonight, she was good, but not great. So. SHUT. IT.
Crystal Bowersox - Hand in My Pocket (Alanis Morrisette.) GAH. You don't love music because of your kid. I don't care about your kid. I don't care about your story. Gah. I am obviously hitting a wall.
Her performance was good, but....really, really, really, really, really safe song choice with very little of the "making it her own."
Her energy is nice, but, facts is facts.
It was a coffeehouse performance.
A Tuesday night coffeehouse performance. (which is open mic night, folks.)
I beg of you Lady Bowersox, please, please, please don't do the guitar-harmonica combo each week. I beg of you. On my knees. Unless you can play the harmonica like John Popper, please...Limit That Shit. Still, I like her and want her to stick around.
Katie Stevens - Feeling Good (WTF?) UGH. Let me tell you how surprised I would be to discover that Katie has been around pageants for most of her life. Zero percent. I would be zero percent surprised. And now, here is the point in the evening where my BRAIN EXPLODED.
According to Seabreeze's "teleprompter", Katie will sing, Feeling Good... FROM MICHAEL BUBLE.
WHAT. THE FUCK. God I hate this show.
Excuse me, won't you, while I speak directly to my sworn enemies, the Producers of this show.
Michael Buble did NOT INVENT this song.
He didn't even "reinvent" it.
He didn't write it, arrange it or poop it out his pooper chute.
He just covered it.
If anyone gets to take credit for this song (aside from the original Broadway musical it was actually written for in 1965) it's NINA FUCKING SIMONE.
You motherfucking soul-sucking asshats.
And if your viewing audience doesn't know who the fuck NINA SIMONE is, then hey. HEY! Let's do the world at large a favor and use this as a teaching moment to expose them to one of the greatest artists that every walked the earth. Ms. NINA "I Put a Spell On You" SIMONE.
As I step off my soapbox, you can probably tell that I love this song. Katie starts pretty strong and then it drops off a bit and then she picks it back up. And then kinda drops it again. The last note was...oofy. It was a little like watching a 12 year old sing "Cabaret." They might be able to kinda pull it off, but really, you never want to see a tweener portray Sally Bowles. Ever.
Arg. So much more snark, but I must wrap it up and get ready for Gent's Night.If I had to put money on it, Lacey Brown will be going home.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Little changes, but hope springs eternal...that an unknown will step up to the plate and rock our worlds with song. Or at least, not embarrass themselves by ruining a classic.
Of course, my hope lies in the discovery of the next "Glamourpuss" moment.
[hold up...I need a second as that memory washes over my brain.]
Of course, I also cross my fingers and toes that we'll have another Neil Diamond week.
A girl can dream.
Last year they kicked it off with a Top 36.
This year they are back to a Top 24.
So let's start this mutha and meet the potentials.
Here are your Top 24:
And I'm not sure if it will still be there when you check it, but at 10:52pm on the official American Idol site, some hacker put Adam Lambert's pix under Aaron Kelly's name.
Not sure if that's meant as a compliment or some kind of mean-spirited prank - I'll assume prank - but it's kinda awesome that someone hacked the site (and only did that, as opposed to throwing up some donkey porn.)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
In case you're new to this blog or my email rants of old, welcome to my little corner of the world where I post my .02 cents on the AI performances.
It's not for the faint of heart or fair weather fan. I won't hold your hand or go easy on any of these folks. They made the choice to stick themselves on the boob tube and my snark is needle sharp.
I feel for everyone. I do.
I'm a big wet pile of mush on the inside.
Family. Illness. Money. Abuse. Self-esteem. Bad choices. Missed Opportunities. Love. Loss. Pain. Death.
But, when it comes to American Idol, I don't care.
I don't care about your story.
Unless you lived through the earthquake in Haiti, you're story is pretty much like everyone else's on this planet. Life is hard. But here's a possible shot at making it less so, SO SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE AND SING.
This isn't a storytelling competition.
It's a singing/talent competition.
I want you to sing your best, be yourself and entertain the hell out of me.
I stopped watching the general auditions a few seasons back - the focus on the abject humiliation people put themselves through based on a delusional idea that they can sing? It holds no entertainment value for me.
Life is too short for the likes of "Pants on the Ground" (and, let's face, I heard all about it without having to watch a second of it, anyway.)
I really try to avoid Hollywood week, but it's snowing out and I'm curled up in bed with the tv on. I'm only half paying attention as it's on. I'm not keeping track of names, but there are some faces and voices that are definitely making a slight impression.
I don't officially start the snark until the judges make their final cuts.
I don't invest my energy until Top 36 are announced.
So...we'll meet again on that day, shall we?