Wednesday, March 12, 2008

AMERICAN IDOL: Top 12

First off, show of hands: Who gives a shit about the new opening titles?

And then that new set. Yikes! Talk about extreme overkill. It's like a combination Thunderdome/Celine Dion’s living room. And all the lights and strobes, I felt like I was watching the Orange Bowl Halftime show.

All in all I thought the performances were pretty good this week. But that could be because they were singing Lennon & McCartney songs not Diane Warren. And Simon spoke for us all when he said, “Shut up, Paula!”

Brooke White (pictured above) is still my favorite. Her no frills version of “Let it Be” was heartfelt and touching. Interesting that the contestant with the most soul is a blond Girl Scout from Mesa, Arizona.

Meanwhile, the one male African-American wore an argyle sweater vest and tie. The only gang he could get into is “Up With People”. Chikezie sang “She’s a Woman” and gave his best performance. And I’m sure when someone suggested doing that intro with a fiddle he said, “Yeah. Now that’s funky!”

David Hernandez did “I Saw her Standing There”. He’s obviously sung that song before, with the same dance moves. Except this was the first time he wasn’t oiled up and girls didn’t stuff dollar bills down his Speedo.

Even though the judges weren’t wild about Michael Johns I thought he was great. They keep saying this is a singing competition until someone just stands there and sings. Next week he should borrow Haley Scarnato's shorts.

Syesha Mercado sang “Got to Get You Into my Life” as if it were a foreign song she learned phonetically. Boring belter. Will be gone before they start doing those Ford commercials.

I hope Ramiele Malubay gets voted off. Let’s give her a real reason to cry. Note to Ramiele: “In My Life” was not designed to be sung by someone who still needs fake ID to get a drink.

Jason Castro is morphing into Lisa Edelstein to such a degree I think he’s now growing breasts. Why are the judges so wild about this guy/girl? I don’t get it. He attempted “If I Fell” and it was way out of his range. He hits clunker notes, has trouble flipping to his head voice, and has the excitement of someone who drinks gallons of that Prozac water.

And is it just me or has Carly Smithson’s Irish accent gotten thicker? She is going to kick ass on Celtic night! For an added edge over the other contestants she should tattoo 1-866-IDOLS 06 on her forehead.

David Cook reminds me of Austin Powers. He’s a good singer but I thought “Eleanor Rigby” was a haunting melancholy ballad. Who knew it was heavy metal?

Amanda Overmyer wailed on “You Can’t Do That”, a song referring to her black and white striped slacks. I like her but she sings everything the same. I worry she’s a one trick pony…or more accurately considering those pants – a one trick zebra.

Kristy Lee Cook tried to do “8 Days a Week” as a country song. It was utterly ridiculous…bordering on William Shatner. Jews sing country songs better. Next time Kristy, sing “Rocky Raccoon” (if there is a next time).

And finally, David Archuleta. Who could believe that the one song that was too challenging for a great singer was “We Can Work It Out”? Drunks at ZBT parties can handle that tune while their heads are in a bowl. Considering how far ahead David was, it almost feels like a prize fighter told to take a dive.

I think from here on out, in addition to eliminating one contestant a week, they should also remove one piece of the set.

43 comments :

Chris L said...

Just last evening the local PBS affiliate was showing a REAL Paul McCartney concert, and they practically have to beg people to watch!

Bitter Animator said...

An argyle sweater? Maybe he was keeping meat in it.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

..."guys stuffing dollars down his speedo..."
let's get the facts straight, Mr. Friday.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any idea why Ryan lost his mind after Jacuzzi's number?

On my way to the bank. I need to get some dollar bills for my visit to the, uh, "pizza bistro."

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, Shatner's Jewish and, I believe, his current hair is also.

-J.

Tom Quigley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J-Money said...

Re: David Archuleta...Why did he claim in his interview that he never heard of the Beatles (or listened to them... I can't recall and I refuse to watch it again) when he sang "Imagine" two weeks ago?

Finally, I like how Carly shouted out "AND POTATOES!" as a final coda to her grocery list, a reference required by the Irish code of conduct.

Alto2 said...

"Eight Days A Week" done in country style just did me in. It was horrendous, as were most of the performances last night. It is one thing to interpret a L-M song in your own style. It is a perversion to change a song so much that the original is lost in the blur.

Overall - BLECH, except for "Let It Be". And, please, can someone cut those damn dreads of Jason Castro. There is something severely incongruous about a blue-eyed, white kid, with a Latin surname, looking like a Rastafarian reject. BLECH X 2.

Mary Stella said...

David Hernandez is safe if enough Tony Orlando/Neil Sadaka/Vegas free buffet fans know how to text message.

I felt for David Archuleta. McCartney has lint older than him. Still, as the strong, early front-runner, he needed a bad night to remind people to vote for him.

Yes, please, voters, send Ramiele home.

h said...

Interesting review although I have no clue why you would "like" talentless one-trick-pony-janis-joplin-on-meth-impersonator hillbilly girl.

Lane said...

I did my roundup on my blog Ken and agree with you

http://popculturelane.blogspot.com/

Jason Castro is more JarJar Binks than Lisa Edelstein. Kristy was like a square dance caller on crack, and Archuleta was embarrasingly awful.

Anonymous said...

okay, guys....men. what the living hell do you see in brooke the blond? oh. okay. i get it. it's okay if she has no real range, as long as she is pretty, blond, skinny, and doesn't either a.)forget the words or b.)mangle the melody. totally forgettable rendition of "let it be."

you rag on ramiele, but she did the same thing brooke the blond did - just sang the song albeit as a yawner.

brooke should have been voted off long before the top 12 - asia'h epperson has a far better voice and deserved to be in the top 12.

as for jason castro, i have to agree with you on that. i simply don't see his appeal and i certainly don't think he has much of a voice or range.

and sorry, i simply don't get the appeal of david cook. can't sing. screams. ruined the haunting "eleanor rigby" - yo, that eleanor song really rocks, dude! it's like, goth, you know?"

it seems as if the producers (and really, since we have never known how many votes are cast for which contestant) are bucking for a "variety" of styles this season - and hoping to keep certain singers in the competition, no matter what.

it was kind of odd that david archuleta did so poorly. however, he did admit earlier to forgetting the spanish lyrics to a song at an event in south america - and his mother finished the song for him.

pretty funny if she had tried that last night.

Tom Quigley said...

In my estimation, last night's IDOL was unquestionably the worst assemblage of Beatles covers that I've ever heard in my life. The owners of the catalog should be embarrassed -- I hope this was a one-time thing and they haven't given the show blanket clearance on a yearly basis. I don't know whether it's that these contestants are too young, or just not familiar with enduring pop music of the 60's, but with the exception of Brooke White, between not knowing the lyrics and having no feel for the message in the songs, by the time it was over, I had such a headache that I had to take two Tylenol and put on my copy of BEATLES #1's just to make sure I was listening to the same music... It was so bad that I half expected Chikieze to really step in it by doing "Rocky Raccoon"...

David Cook belted out "Eleanor Rigby" as I would somehow imagine Michael Bolton mangling it... Amanda Overmyer would have been been better off singing something more appropriate to her persona, like "Why don't We do It In the Road"... BTW, when she didn't change the gender-specific lyrics from male to female in "You Can't Do That," ("Well that's the second time I caught you talkin' to him") I wasn't sure if turning it into something with a little sexual ambivalence was deliberate, but one can only suspect -- or hope...(Kady Malloy, are you listening?)...

I missed the beginning of the show, so I didn't see if they did the usual group thing, but I thought a good way to start it might have been to sing a medley to the three judges and the host: "Fool On The Hill" (dedicated to Simon), "Sexy Sadie" (Paula), "Nowhere Man" (Randy), and for Ryan: "Lovely Rita"...

Can't wait till next week -- I hear they've finally gotten clearance to do Herman's Hermits...

One final thought: I'd almost be afraid to ask David Hernandez what he used to mix the pizza dough with...

Mary Stella said...

Charity asked:
okay, guys....men. what the living hell do you see in brooke the blond? oh. okay. i get it. it's okay if she has no real range, as long as she is pretty, blond, skinny, and doesn't either a.)forget the words or b.)mangle the melody. totally forgettable rendition of "let it be."

I'm a woman and I think Brooke consistently gives one of the best performances. It has nothing to do with her being pretty, blonde, skinny and female. She isn't flashy, but makes herself memorable with the quality of her singing and the genuine heart in her performances.

She won't win but I bet she can now count on a solid career. I think she's terrific.

I also think Jason Castro is great, but he's the biggest fish out of water. He doesn't belong in the competition because he's so against the Idol-type. Last night wasn't his best, but I definitely see him succeeding in folk.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, vertical stripes can be so slimming. Seriously Ken, isn’t it about time we had some sort of an intervention for this A.I. codependency? And how soon we relapse after only a single day. Didn’t you really mean to say, “Who gives a ship?”

And what’s that crack about Jews and country songs? Marty Robbins? From the name, well you never know, could be?
♪"Out in the West Texas town of Odeשׁשׁa.
He ooked ike a gembler - he vas uch a schnappy dresser….” ♫

♫ "Oh give me a home where the cattle don’t roam, and the herd isn’t makin’ a racket.
No mountain range thrills, like the New York Catskills, where the only wild thing's
Buddy Hackett." ♪ ♪

And while we’ve got the notes out.

♫ "Hey, hey Paula,
I’ve waited so long, for you to be through,
Paula, I can wait no more for you…. ♪ ♪
Shut up... shut up…." ♫

The number to call is….
(Is this any indication of how far back I’m stuck in the 60’s? Thought ZBT was a hallucinogenic? And how’s this for an arcane - yet verifiable - reference? My grandmother is buried right next to Michael Bolton’s grandfather in Orange, CT. Tempted to dig ‘em up just to see which one has turned over.)

So my point is….how about every week they remove one piece of striped or argyle apparel? Bitter Animator you too much Dawg! The extended callback illustrated with aplomb. Next, the flying camel and the stepover toehold. It’s a little late to apologize for running long, isn’t it? What else is new?

Anonymous said...

It kills me a little bit inside that you watch AI.

Anonymous said...

mary stella - you really think brooke the blond's appeal has nothing to do with how she looks?

please explain the range of her voice, the songs she's chosen? she is as hamstrung as amanda overmyer when it comes to venturing out of her "range."

meh. i'd much rather prefer to see danny norriega have a show on MTV than to see brooke pushed ahead in show business based on her weak voice and style and yes, her looks.

however, realist that i am, i'm sure she will have her 15 minutes after this season is over, just like several others have that, oddly enough, i can't name at the moment.

oh.

Anonymous said...

The only gang he could get into is “Up With People”.

Beautiful line for us boomers dealing with today's crazy culture.

Absolutely slayed me.

Anonymous said...

I'm with mary stella on Brooke. There's more to being an artist than having a big range. Ramiele technically has the better instrument, but she does nothing interesting with it and rarely seems to understand what she's singing about. Brooke knows how to convey the emotion of a song without a lot of bells and whistles. That may keep her from the winner's circle, but should bode well for a career. If it were only about vocal technique, the contestants could just stand around a piano singing scales every week.

And while I think Brooke is pretty, her looks don't strike me deaf. I think Kristy Lee Cook has a smokin' body, but I wouldn't listen to her hoedown version of "Eight Days a Week" again if she reprised it in the nude (I'd turn the sound down).

Anonymous said...

Regarding David Cook's rendition of "Eleanor Rigby", I rather liked it. If you want a really bad version, try John Denver's over-the-top rocking (!) performance from the early 1970's....absolutely horrible arrangement! The musicians trying to sound hip are hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Lisa Edelstein...that's great stuff. (She was great as Bonnie Bernstein on "Sports Night," FWIW)

When Eleanor Rigby started, I thought it would blow, but it turned out great.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the Idol contestants were either bored (Ramiele, Brooke, Jason) or traumatized (Archuleta, Kristy Lee) by the Beatles catalog, and we unfortunate viewers had to watch the results.

Chikezie was having fun... and hey, Outkast wears argyle. They don't however, do ass slapping motions, he's on his own there (at least he didn't do the Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air skipping move). And Rocker Nurse's performance was the only one that could inspire teenage girls to scream wildly and rend their garments (although, she was more Elvis than McCartney).

The judges say this is the most talented group every episode, but I'm still not convinced. None of these people can stand up next to Kelly, Bo, Daughtry, Elliot or Melinda.

Anonymous said...

I thought White had an amazing performance. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her.

Anonymous said...

I thought White had an amazing performance.

Anonymous said...

j-money: "Imagine" wasn't a Beatles song, it was a John Lennon song.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagine_(song)

Tallulah Morehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tallulah Morehead said...

"Except this was the first time he wasn’t oiled up and girls didn’t stuff dollar bills down his Speedo."

Uh Ken, the bars where David stripped were gay bars, and it was fat, old, gay men stuffing dollar bills in his Speedo. David has been well known in Arizona gay circles for a while now. Unlike Daniel Noriega, David isn't obviously gay or horribly obnoxious, but he is still gay. Ladies will need larger denominations than $1 to get into his Speedos.

Please add "Shut up, Randy" to "Shut up, Paula", as both of them ALWAYS interrupt Simon during his critiques, while he never interrupts them. I guess they don't dare risk allowing something cogent to be said, as it shows up how content-free their idiotic ramblings are.

"Let's see what these new lights can do!" said Ryan. The lights then flashed a bit. Oooooh. The lights can flash. If the lights could have sung YESTERDAY with a simple touching beauty, I might have been impressed.

"Syesha Mercado sang 'Got to Get You Into my Life' as if it were a foreign song she learned phonetically."

GREAT line, and absolutely accurate. She sings the way Bela Lugosi used to "Act".

Too bad Brooke didn't sing ELEANOR RIGBY, which doesn't really need to be only slightly more bombastic than a QUEEN concert in 1978 to work. And David Cook: It's a sad song about lonely people. An ear-to-ear grin one second after you finish singing it isn't really appropriate. NOW DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR HAIR!!! One more week of being subjected to his horrible bangs will send me screaming into the streets.

Little Dougie used to know Eleanor Rigby slightly when he worked at The Hollywood Reporter 22 years ago. She did not keep her face in a jar by the door. She did, however, meet John Lennon by chance at a party back in the early 60s, and he took a fancy to her name, and gave her a form of immortality as the embodiment of Pathetic Old Losers. Thanks John.

After being sightly annoyed that David Hernandez sang "I Saw Her Standing There" with unchanged pronouns (Come out David.), I was pleased that Amanda kept the original pronouns in her song, making it into a growly lesbian rock number. Liked it. Liked her. (As far as I know, which isn't far, Amanda is not a lesbian, but would anyone have wanted to see a big, formidable woman in zebra pants, warning her wimpy boyfriend not to talk to some other girl again? Scary!)

Little David Archuleta's WE CAN WORK IT OUT had it's title contradicted by every note he sang, or hummed when words failed him. Boy, when his sex tapes hit the Internet, trouble will be a brewin'.

Anonymous said...

balboa said... When Eleanor Rigby started, I thought it would blow, but it turned out great.

Now may not be the time for chicken counting.
Eliot Spitzer …picks up some fleiss…in his search… for his bed’s…Cyprian.

Ow! Damn that hurt. I want apologize first to my family and to the good people of New York. I realize I have violated my obligations to this blog and to the entire Van Patten family. That said, I am entering at least a half-hour of seclusion and introspection. This is a private moment and I know that it will not only be respected by the media but greeted with much jubilation by all concerned.

Sincerely,
Buck
Spitzing Toward Chlamydia
Yeh I know, why not take an extra week.

Anonymous said...

"I was pleased that Amanda kept the original pronouns in her song, making it into a growly lesbian rock number."

Couldn't rocker nurse have been singing to her boyfriend that she didn't want him talking to another man in a sort of Mrs. Larry Craig/ James McGreevey tribute?

Anonymous said...

"Couldn't rocker nurse have been singing to her boyfriend that she didn't want him talking to another man in a sort of Mrs. Larry Craig/ James McGreevey tribute?"

So instead of a lesbian singing to her girlfriend, you're more comfortable with stretching logic beyond endurance by making her a straight woman singing to her gay male lover? Maybe she was singing to David Hernandez.

It's interesting that a big, growly, butch woman still doesn't suggest "lesbian" to you, even when she's singing to a woman.

As my late, beloved friend John Fugiel said many, many times: "Straight people are so weird."

hannah said...

Actually, Simon interrupts Paul quite often.

hannah said...

er, Paula, that is....

Anonymous said...

"Meanwhile, the one male African-American wore an argyle sweater vest and tie. The only gang he could get into is “Up With People”."

Thanks a bunch. In 1967 I auditioned for UP WITH PEOPLE (A sentiment I no longer support), and wasn't selected.

Great, now I know I have less soul than Chikezie. Man, that hurts.

At least I don't own any sweater vests.

Anonymous said...

Well, glad I missed THAT. Now I need to remove this horrible picture in my head of Michael Bolton screaming Eleanor Rigby, thanks alot Mr. Quigley!

Anonymous said...

I thought Cook did okay with "Eleanor Rigby," but that kind of Pearl Jammy makeover is more beneficial to Lionel Richie than The Beatles. He also blew a couple lines ("wearing his socks in the night when there's nobody there" -- "wearing" somehow lacks the poignancy of "darning"). But of course blatant gibberish would be preferable to the vague humming and dead air that Archuleta went with.

Anonymous said...

It's entirely possible that David Cook, whose hair is worse than Michael Bolton's at his most hideous, doesn't know the word "Darning". (Does anyone darn socks anymore?) Maybe he thought it was a 1960s replacement word for "Damning". Damn you socks!! And he didn't want to go that whole condemming-footware-to-eternal-damnation route.

Once, in a gay cabaret in Paris, I heard a singer perform DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND, which he had learned by listening to Marilyn sing it in the movie, and who clearly knew no English himself. Every so often, out came a line that was pure gibberish that sounded similar to the actual words.

But then, for years, I thought Jimmy Hendrix had sung "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy." When I learned the real lyric, I was flummoxed. It makes no sense. I have never kissed the sky, but I've kissed many guys.

Well 'scuse me while I damn my socks.

Anonymous said...

You know, d., I fear you may be right about Cook and "darning." And I'm guessing dictionaries are in short supply backstage at Idol (exhibit A: Randy Jackson).

Anonymous said...

"It's interesting that a big, growly, butch woman still doesn't suggest "lesbian" to you, even when she's singing to a woman."

So instead of getting that I was joking, you're more comfortable with stretching logic beyond endurance that I seriously believed this to be a "Mrs. Larry Craig/James McGreevey tribute"?

ljgraphics said...

I also thought, "who cares" about the stupid new set; all they really need is a microphone and a stage. Then it occured to me how many starving children they could feed with the money they spent on that monster and how ironic their "Idol Cares" show will be produced from this new set.
Also I was hoping that Rickey Minor doesn't have height issues being way up there.

Tom Quigley said...

It's now Thursday morning -- and David Hernandez is probably thinking to himself "Well, back to wearing the bow tie and white cuffs -- and stuffing pepperonis down my thong"...

Tallulah Morehead said...

I can't believe they sent home David. The blonde bimbette who turned 8 DAYS A WEEK into a country ho-down shouldn't just have been sent home. She should have been shot, before she kills music again.

Anonymous said...

Hernandez should be fine. I'm sure he can go back to his old job at the "Pizza Bistro" (as the kids are calling it these days), accepting meat deliveries and tossing the occasional salad. The dough is pretty good, and he can tear off a slice whenever he wants.

Anonymous said...

asia'h epperson has a far better voice and deserved to be in the top 12

How the Janis Joplin wannabeandneverwill got in and this gal got tossed is beyond my comprehension. American Idol celebrates mediocrity. The proof is Jim Carey, who earns enough money to be able to pick his roles, showing up looking like some guy in a sandwich board outside of a chicken shack earning minimum wage. The real ones do it because they have to. What's his problem?

Goody-two-shoes David Archuleta is bloody irritating, particularly when his tongue darts in and out of his mouth like a snake's when he sings. Someone needs to tell him.