Wednesday, March 19, 2008

AMERICAN IDOL: Top 11

I think there were one or two product placement ads in the show this week. But they were handled so subtly and deftly it was hard to even notice.
Yeah yeah yeah!

It was Beatles night again. The producers paid for that songbook and by God they were going to use it! Last week it worked great. This week it was the Camp Chippewa talent show for parents weekend. The judges were right that the song selections were bad. If only the contestants had come to me first.

Amanda Overmyre sang “Back in the U.S.S.R.” She should have sung “I Want to be Your Man”. Every Amanda performance is the same. But don’t take my word for it. Go to iTunes and download her songs today!

Kristy Lee Cook – So many better songs she could have chosen besides “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”. For example: “I’m a Loser”, “Don’t Bother Me”, “The End”, and of course, “You say Hello and I say Goodbye”. Terrible again. Wants to be Carrie Underwood. Instead she’s Carrie Stiffaswood. You can read all about Carrie Underwood and all other American Idols by going to my blog -- Kenlevine.blogspot.com – and writing “American Idol” in the search box. Or you can text the words “Ken Levine Carrie Blog Idol pitchy.”

American Osmond, David Archuleta rebounded nicely after last Tuesday’s misstep. This week he sounded as good as the fidelity you’ll get in your new AT&T Nokia phone. His “Long and Winding Road” was the best performance of the night. I like David but there’s something unsettling about him. It’s always the nice, sweet, perfect boys who get caught wearing their mothers’ clothes.

Michael John tried to condense “Day in the Life” into 90 seconds thus making it “Couple Hours in the Life”. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard a medley of one song. Total disaster. Michael must feel pretty low right now. But you know what would perk him right up? An ice cold Coca Cola! Unlike his horrible rendition of a Beatles classic, Coke is the real thing!

Brooke White – This week we discovered her Achilles Heel and it turns out it IS her Achilles Heel. Brooke can sing but she can’t move. Fine when she’s at the piano, a Clydesdale when she has to dance. She sang “Here Comes the Sun” and was not great. But to her credit, she acknowledged that. I love her honesty. Every week she somehow wins me over – the way Ford will win you over when you take a test drive of the new Mustang! Or, go to Kenlevine.blogspot.com and just order one!

Simon was right about David Cook. He’s not as good as he thinks he is. Paula jabbered on for five minutes about the ear monitors some of the contestants wear to better hear themselves sing. David Cook must wear his 24/7. He did “Daytripper” but not the Beatles arrangement. He chose the better-known and far superior Whitesnake version. But you can download both on itunes and judge for yourself! And you can then vote by going to Kenlevine.blogspot.com.

I finally figured out who Carly Smithson reminds me of – Divine in a dark wig. This week she unveiled her new “7” tattoo on her knuckle – in honor of the number of colors now available for the new ipod mini! She did a nice job with “Blackbird” although Simon took issue with the song selection and I must agree. A better ballad would have been “I Am the Walrus”. Has there ever been a better, more heart tugging lyric for a torch singer than, “Yellow matter custard/dripping from a dead dog’s eye”?

Carly’s “7” tattoo could also be referring to the IQ of Jason Castro. He butchered “Michelle” and didn’t know that “ma belle” was French. He thought it was “Michelle, my bell” and what woman wouldn’t melt being compared to a fire alarm? Speaking a “ma bell”, AT&T has the fewest dropped calls! Go to Kenlevine.blogspot.com and find out more!

Syesha Mercado whined through “Yesterday” as she whines through every song. But at least she dropped the Don King hair.

Chikezie is trying to stand out. There’s no question about that. But unlike the new Ford Mustang that stands out because it’s classic design mixed with modern technology, Chikezie’s version of “I’ve Just Seen Her Face” was a blend of Baby Face and Country Bear Jamboree. Last week he had a fiddle, this week a harmonica. I can’t wait until next week when he trots out the Latin zither for “Beatles-songs-covered-by-other-artists” week.

And finally, Ramiele Malubay who took ass kissing and boot licking to a new level by emulating Paula Abul. What was with that stupid hat? She sang “I Should Have Known Better”, which she should have. A Beatles song more in line with her personality would be “I’ll Cry Instead”.

All in all this was a lackluster week -- worthy of the Freddy & the Dreamers songbook. So who do I think will go home this week? I’ll let you know… after the break.

42 comments:

Jake said...

Good luck to all the contestants. Mr Nasty himself who should now be called Mr Nicesty after his pledge to pay off the mortgage for a caring couple whose child is suffering from cancer - shown on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Speaking of Oprah, don't forget to watch "Oprah's Big Give," every Sunday night at 9. It's guaranteed to make your heartstrings play "Stairway to Heaven."

Oh, I get it now! The shameless plug has to be within some words about something else. ;)

Don't mind me. I'm feeling way too obvious this morning. Brighten up yours by stopping at McDonald's for a McGriddle sandwich.

Crap, I can't stop.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Back in the early 1970s Mae West recorded an unbelievable album of rock covers, that included a literally unforgettable rendition of DAY TRIPPER. It was beyond bad. It was overwhelmingly deranged.

I prefer Mae's version to David Cook's, or to ANYTHING Kristy Lee Cook butchers. PLEASE let her be voted out this week! Stop her before she butchers again!

When Michael John sang the lyric "Ran a comb across my head" all I could think was, "Doesn't look like it."

The kids do think they can pick up things fast. They can't. Little David Archuleta can't lern lyrics in one week. Chikezie can't learn teh harmonica in one day. And Jason Castro can't learn French in an afternoon. Set up nicely by his stupid admission about Ma Belle (He's so stupid, he BRAGS ON TV that he's stupid!), he then sings the French lyrics without a trace of proper accent. HEE HAW sings the Edith Piaf songbook. I expected that when he finished, we'd see Simon rolling on the floor, laughing. I was.

Someone told Amanda to smile. She shouldn't have listened. One of the things I'd liekd about her was her calm demeanor. She didn't feel the need to fake enthusiasm. No more.

Well, look at it this way: it makes Mark David Chapman look like a hero, for killing John Lennon before he had to live to hear this. Poor Sir Paul, like his week wasn't bad enough.

velvet goldmine said...

What I can't quite figure out is why Carly's decision to pick "Blackbird" was so self-indulgent, per Simon. He didn't mean the performance, I think. Is it somehow more untouchable than "Yesterday?" Is it somehow too maudlin? Don't get it.

Lizbeth said...

Worst two hours of my life. Made me hate all Beatles songs.

Only Chikezie put a smile on my face. The rest bored me to tears.

Suddenly, I'm missing the musical brilliance of Chris Richardson. And if Kristy Lee Cook were smarter she'd show more leg (like last year's Haley Scarnato) and stick around a lot longer.

Tom Quigley said...

What a waste of two weeks worth of IDOL. These kids (besides not having the talent Seacrest keeps trying to convince us they have) had no clue for the most part. Kristy Lee Cook admitted in her pre-song segment, she had never heard "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away"... Not that it's one of the better known Beatles songs, but sorry, Sweetie -- just because you were born 20 years after it was written and it doesn't pop up right away on iTunes isn't a good enough excuse... I've heard people in their 20's and 30's do great performances of Cole Porter material... I finally got out one of my guitars, a Taylor 12-string -- which you can see, as well as read about the entire 2008 Taylor line by going to www.taylorguitars.com -- turned down the sound and ended up playing my way thru an impromptu set (with a bit of Byrds thrown in for good measure -- and BTW, former Byrd member Roger McGuinn's latest CD is available at his website, http://www.ibiblio.org/jimmy/mcguinn/).

What it boils down to is that the four geniuses known as the Beatles, along with George Martin, put out arrangements and performances which will probably never be improved upon.

Nothing more to say about the disaster -- other than when is someone finally going to administer a breathalyzer test to Paula (naturally using one of the devices which can be purchased at www.breathalyzer.net)? At this point finding out her blood alcohol content level would at least put some entertainment back into the show...

Mary Stella said...

I haven't heard so many bad performances of Beatles tunes since Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees did that horrid Sgt. Pepper movie. I'd like to know who convinced Aerosmith that appearing in that movie was a good career move.

Michael Johns reminded me of Tim Daly in the Wings years. Yes, your show Wings, not McCartney's other band.

Chikezie sang the song that Kristy Lee Cook should have performed last week when she wanted to country up. I liked Kristy from the first but she's getting worse not better.

I love reading your recaps after I've written mine for my blog, but I can't bring myself to hijack your comments and do a product placement of my blog URL. You're far funnier.

Nathan said...

Michelle, my bell, Sunday morning want tree bends and some, tree bends and some

They all sucked last night, but Jason put his own little stamp on suck.

Nathan said...

Oh, and I was tired of Amanda the first time she sang anything other than Janis Joplin. I can't figure out why anyone likes her.

Amber said...

You're hysterical; I belly-laughed at least 7 times during that, at least.

But you know what? After watching AI every season all these years...I don't think we can do it anymore. :(

The set looks so scary, the band isn't even anywhere near the kids so how can they pick up on energy from the band? And everyone is "pitchy" for me, everyone sucks except for the Youngest David and yeah, he's turning a little creepy on me. The Rose is Off the Bloom for me on that one, no matter how shiny/happy his voice is.

Reminds me of the kid at auditions who wore one half of a heart pendant while his dad wore other and the hearts were to be joined when good old Dad found the right woman for his son to kiss...remember them?

O_o

Which is pretty creepy all on its own but then you watched the dad and son hugging and kissing each other and you couldn't help but inwardly go, "ewwww"!

Young Mormon David reminds me of that kid.

*Sighs*...when you spend more time running up the TIVO than letting the show play, perhaps it's time to let go.

Sad. Really. It was once so enjoyable but now it's just...painful

But I'll still read you because at least you're entertaining! Unlike the show. Heh.

Anonymous said...

Coffee came out of my nose when reading that Chikezie's performance was part "Country Bear Jamboree." It was awful (the song I mean.)
Last night's performances were so uncomfortable to watch I wanted to change the channel, but of course I didn't- I didn't want to miss an awkward product placement.
Someone please put Kristy Lee Cook out of her misery- a nice girl, but really, she is not very good.
Only little David Archuleta was decent, and just because you live in Utah doesn't mean you're mormon (MoMo). He might be, but he's also hispanic, which makes a difference. Anyone from Utah can back me up on that.
I like Amanda's style, but it's getting a bit old. I don't know if I could go to a concert where every song sounded exactly the same.
Seriously.

cposnarky said...

Never mind Kristy Lee Cook never having heard "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" - at least she has age as an excuse.

I'm convinced that Simon Cowell has never heard the majority of the songs sung in the past two weeks. He said something to Jason about choosing to sing the "French/English version" of Michelle. Hello...that's the song, as written, and recorded, and known throughout the universe for over 40 years. The man grew up in England, in the Sixties - exactly which "Henge" did his parents bury him under during that time?

IMO, Simon Cowell is to music what Chef Boyardee is to Haute Cuisine.

Oh, and one little thing, Ken: It's "yellow matter custard", not "custer". That line has haunted me since I was a kid. Turns out, it's from a twisted nursery rhyme John and his pals used to sing at school. He stuck it in "Walrus" to take a piss on his old teachers, who suddenly thought him a genius and were busy analyzing his lyrics in class. Brilliant.

I actually wish someone had attempted that song. It would have made Simon's head explode like a pinata, littering the studio with sour candy and mash notes to Whitney Houston.

jen.at.wurk said...

I just had to say this entry made me laugh out loud (esp the product placement stuff). It's all so true. What an awful night of singing.

Chikezie was the best; the rest (even my normally beloved Jason Castro) were boring.

RAC said...

I'm tired of listening to bad Beatles cover songs on American Idol, and if you are, too, you should get a pair of JVC HA-NC250 Noise Canceling Headphones. If the wife won't stop drooling over Chikezie, at least you can plug your new JVC HA-NC250 Noise Canceling Headphones into Fungus, on XM Satellite Radio Channnel 53, and tune into Hee Haw Hell. (I'm not making this up.) And speaking of hell, make sure you don't go there anytime soon because you can't take your JVC HA-NC250 Noise Canceling Headphones with you, and you'll be forced to listen to Simon's critique of a Randy-produced Paula comeback tune for the rest of eternity.

TE said...

Gotta agree with cposnarky -- hell, I'll do him one better: Simon Cowell hates Beatles songs. Note how often he says that the material -- not just the performance -- is boring, or terrible, or whatever.

I have no problem with Cowell not liking Beatles songs, but paired with the fact that they're virtually new material to most of the contestants, was paying for rights to the songs such a good idea?

jbryant said...

Last week, Simon dismissed "In My Life" and "If I Fell" as "boring" songs. This week, he called "I Should Have Known Better" mediocre and dismissed "Blackbird" as "a song about a blackbird." Can he not tell the difference between a boring or mediocre song and a boring or mediocre performance? Hard to believe this is the same guy whose A&R efforts brought us brilliant records by the WWF, TeleTubbies, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Il Divo.

Simon was also distressed by David Cook's "cockiness." Yes, how dare Cook fail to show the humility of such self-effacing rock greats as Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. You'd almost think he was in a competition to become a concert and recording artist of some kind. The nerve.

I think someone slipped Amanda Overmyer a bottle of Propel Invigorating Water (TM) (or maybe not, since it's made by Pepsi). I can see why she thinks ballads are boring though: they often require being able to stay on pitch, find some nuance in a lyric, and hold a note longer than a quarter measure.

Alan said...

Yo, Ken, what's goin' on with you tonight? I think you nailed it dude. Maybe not your best performance, but I liked it. Too bad that the contest is based on voting viewers.

Paul A, said...

Ken, first I have to say you look beautiful tonight. You're a gift to this blog. Your authenticity really comes through. You are going to be a star! I love you!

cposnarky said...

If I'm being honest, Ken, this whole post was an absolute disaster. From the product placement plugs, to the misquoting of atrociously mediocre song lyrics. It was...let me finish...very cabaret.

It reminded me of a drunken, helium inhaling debutante singing karaoke in a Singapore brothel at two thirty seven in the morning after a Purim carnival. Just my opinion.

Hoffa said...

What was Carly Smithson wearing. We wondered if she'd just won the Kentucky Derby.

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE SO ON!

I nearly died laughing when the Seacrest had to fake his way through that iPhone/AT&T ad embedded in the show.
but lil' Castro is SOOOO cute!

i've been a fan of your site for a long time now, and i'd just thought I'd give my new blog http://barredowl.wordpress.com/ a little free press on here

thanks, keep it up!

maven said...

How can so many great Beatles' songs be butchered so many times? It was almost painful. This group has no idea how important the Beatles were and what they meant to so many people. It's astounding that these "musicians" have never heard of some of these songs!

And I'm soooo tired of Amanda!

Anonymous said...

i agree w/ you about syesha's singing, but uh, that's how black people's hair naturally grows unless they cut it or chemically straighten it. (i didn't mean 2 publish anonymously, but don't know what "url" is).

Anonymous said...

i agree w/ you about syesha's singing, but uh, that's how black people's hair naturally grows unless they cut it or chemically straighten it.

Anonymous said...

Carly Smithson reminds me the mom on the Munsters.
Pepe Le Pew called. Wants his hair back.
What American Idol did to the Beatles is no worse than Heather Mills. Yoko Ono. Or John Hinckley.

jbryant said...

anonymous - I really don't think the untreated hair of black people resembles that of a Troll doll. I don't know what Don King does to his hair, but surely it's not natural.

By the way, you don't have to fill out the "url" part. Just pick a name. And you can use the preview button to see how it's gonna look.

Oh, and Amanda is the one with Munster hair, not Carly.

teri said...

don king's hair is straightened i'm pretty sure. as far as the "troll" look, i can assure u that is exactly how some people's hair grows if they just get out of the shower and shake it. wish i could send u a photo of moi.

A. Buck Short said...

Amanda Overmyre sang “Back in the U.S.S.R.” She should have sung “I Want to be Your Man”.

And then finished with “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”. I knew it was more than a bad LBJ impression that has people down here in Lone Star Land pronouncing the show "Merkin Idol."

BTW Ken, we're just finishing up a documentary on native American boarding schools, and I was talking with Chippewa's in Michigan much of the morning. These were schools where they sent kids like Jim Thorpe to get de-Indianized. We figure the assimilation was pretty much complete when Jim Plunkett became a "patriot." Incidentally, the oddest thing, all the Indian school team mascots are like guys in grey flannel suits, or blazers, rep ties, dockers and tassle loafers. Except, of course for the cowboy, the policeman, the sailor, the biker and the construction worker. Oh, here they are getting ready for this weekend's big Easter Sunday game against Brigham Young:

http://home.roadrunner.com/~mgol1/jesus-YMCA.jpeg

jbryant said...

teri: I, too, wish you could send me some post-shower pics. Seems to me if we both wish hard enough, we could make it happen. :)

charity said...

i still do not get the brooke allegiance. she should have been auffed long before now. and take jason with her.

in their BRAND NEW FORD! tell the folks about it, kenny!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you don't have Google PageAds. The revenue from that AI recap alone would have paid you more than your MASH residuals this year.

D. McEwan said...

So "Anonymous", you're saying ALL black people have the same type of hair?

You'd best stay anonymous, if you'll be posting more raving racism like that. Ever met any black people?

teri said...

no, d., you're missing my point. i AM black, you crazy kid. i have hair just like syesha's. i was only saying that that's how some people's hair grows naturally. it's not like a fright wig or a joke on her head. the alternative is to straighten it, which is cool, but i like the natural look. as for you, j bryant, you're FUNNY.

D. McEwan said...

Sorry Teri. You don't type black.

D. McEwan said...

Oh and Teri, my comment wasn't directed at your comment. It was at "Anonymous's: "that's how black people's hair naturally grows unless they cut it or chemically straighten it."

I thought I'd made that clear by addressing him as "Anonymous", just as here I addressed you as Teri, and you addressed me as d.

Tom Quigley said...

Ken --

Have you started to get the feeling that somehow control of this blog has gotten away from you?....

teri said...

d., i, teri, posted the comment you're referring to as "anonymous" because, as it was my first time posting, i didn't pay enough attention to the identification part. i should have said SOME black people's hair grows that way. the only point i was trying to make is that syesha's wasn't a coiffed, outrageous hairstyle like sanjaya. rather, it's very likely just how her hair grows. you're right tom, i did take us on a tangent. sorry, didn't mean to.

Tom Quigley said...

No problem,Teri. -- I was just offering a little more humor...

RA said...

You know, for "best final 12 ever," there are a LOT of bad performers. I'm going to have to go with Underwood-Daughtry-et. al. as the best group.

And wasn't Carly Sold-no-records-son riffing on and off key for the better part of her performance? That's why Simon called it "self indulgent."

jbryant said...

teri - thanks for finding me FUNNY (in all caps yet!). I'm flattered, because any woman who rocks a Don King hairdo clearly knows funny. :)

pat reeder said...

Tallulah Morehead...

As the resident chronicler of celebrity singing, I doff my hat to you for remembering Mae West's "Day Tripper," and direct you to this video someone made for the track so that everyone can bask in its wonder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY7vj5PlSec

The only thing in her canon that can compare to it is her version of the Doors' "Light My Fire," in which her Polygrip pronunciation renders the famous line "our love becomes a funeral pyre" into "our love becomes a flaming pie."

On a personal note, I watched this show on the DVR after spending the evening sitting front row center at Maureen McGovern's new show in which she performs songs of the '60s and '70s that mean the most to her. She included a playful "Rocky Raccoon" and breathtaking interpretations of "Imagine" and "For No One." It was a master class in vocal artistry. Watching "AI" after seeing that was like going from a five-star restaurant to a cold can of Spaghetti-O's. When you see those poor karaoke kids trying desperately just to hit the right notes with at least 50% accuracy (never mind conveying the meaning and emotion of the lyrics or creating an original interpretation), you realize how far they have to go before they deserve to be called "singers." Either that, or just how low our standards have fallen.

Anonymous said...

I am gonna to download American Idol episodes as per my interest and episodes quality.