Wednesday, April 23, 2008

AMERICAN IDOL: Top 6

If AMERICAN IDOL is all about people trying to make a name for themselves by covering other artists’ work, then who better than Andrew Lloyd Webber to be this week’s celebrity mentor?

In general I thought this was one of the better weeks, which is usually the case when the contestants have to sing songs with real melodies. Okay, a lot of the notes were lifted from Giacomo Puccini but still, they were actual compositions (as opposed to last week’s screechfest).

Jason Castro didn’t know “Memory” was sung on stage by a cat. I guess the fact that it was from the musical CATS wasn’t enough of a clue for him. What a complete moron. He sang the song not as a cat but as roadkill. Could be going home this week to resume his career as a village idiot.

But Syesha Mercado – hubba hubba!! I’ve never been a fan before but zowie – the slinky red cocktail dress, the sultry moves – I loved her. She dirtys up well. Syesha sang “One Rock n’ Roll Too Many” and clearly she has a future in musical theatre. She’d be great as Dorothy in THE WIZ or Gary Coleman in AVENUE Q.

Brooke White’s schtick is that she makes every song so personal, which is why I laughed for five minutes when Sir Andew listened to her rehearse and said “she didn’t have a clue as to what she was singing about.” For the second time in the competition Brooke had a false start and had to begin again. It was one of the few reminders that this was live. But I fear it may cost her. America likes its spontaneity polished and rehearsed. She sang “You Must Love Me”. I think with Webber’s help she finally understood that the true meaning of this song is a desperate plea for votes.

David Archuleta sang “Think of Me” from PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, making it his own – and by that I mean turning it into “Beauty and the Beast”. It’s a song normally sung by a woman but we may find out in ten years that it was.

I loved Carly Smithson’s version of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. The key to her staying in the competition is not letting her scary tattooed-covered skinhead husband get on camera. Remember, the kids are voting for AMERICAN IDOL not AMERICAN PSYCHO.

And finally, David Cook did a mesmerizing version of “Music of the Night” from PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. He sang it pretty much like Michael Crawford but since no one who votes knows who the hell Michael Crawford is, or PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, or Andrew Lloyd Webber, or Puccini, or EVITA, or maybe even Jesus Christ (although that could just be Jason Castro), I’m sure they felt David’s version was original.

All in all, good performances and no one sang DON’T CRY FOR ME, ARGENTINA. I don't think I could ask for anything more...okay, maybe a Syesha wardrobe malfunction. But that's just me.

Below is the winner of the KOMEDY KONTEST. Check it out.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brooke said she was going to see Don't Cry For Me if she would have lasted into this week. Imagine that countrified!

Anonymous said...

I mean to say the country girl- Christy Lee Cook

Tallulah Morehead said...

Little Jason was the laff-riot of the evening. MEMORY is supposed to be sung by an ancient, female pussy, looking back on the long-dead days before she was a wrung-out old hag, back when she was still acceptably attractive enough to get laid when she went into heat. In fact, it would be a perfect song for ME to sing! But perhaps not the best choice for a 19 year old boy who can't even handle it musically, let alone emotionally.

Little Jason said he's never seen any Andrew Lloyd Webber show. Why do I suspect that it was after hearing this, that Lord Webber perhaps slyly suggested to the dreadlocked boob that MEMORY would be the perfect song for him to do? Cats should be spayed or neutered, and that horrible train wreck of a performance certainly "fixed" little Jason.

I completely agree that Little Sayesha looked smoking hot in that outfit. If you turned the sound off, it was a great two minutes. I was amused how Lord Webber had to suggest to her not to sing it like a zombie, but to actually show signs of life as she performed.

Lord Webber told Little David Archleta that he needed to open his eyes while he sang. If I were singing directly into Andrew Lloyd Webber's face from three feet away, I'd close my eyes also. He just gets more repulsive-looking every year, and he started out looking like a dog's behind. PHANTOM is about an incredibly repulsive man who writes an opera for the beautiful young woman he loves to star in, and Andrew's then-girlfriend starred in it. Talk about autobiography!

Webber had to explain Brooke's song to her? Hello? Is she even dumber than Jason? Simon often criticizes singers as "Too piano bar." What's more bad piano bar than stopping and starting over? Not a professional.

So Carly's husband has face tattoos. How adorably creepy. He reminded me of that John Candy SCTV character, the guy with the snake tattooed on his face. Yikes! She did JC Superstar quite well, except for screwing up the lyrics. She at least just went ahead and substituted words she thought fit, rather than stopping and restarting, but she got some of the words wrong.

Cook was good, but he took an easy out on that song. Randy kept saying these songs were hard, but then he's not used to songs with varyng pitches, you know, melodies. They scare him. But Andrew Lloyd Webber isn't exactly Sondheim. Sondheim writes difficult music, not Webber.

That said, MUSIC OF THE NIGHT is one of Webber's more difficult songs, and the hardest part is the last note. Cook went up an octave, and belted. Easy. The note you're supposed to hit is lower, and it's supposed to be sung very quietly, and sustained while the orchestra goes through a procession from harmony, through two layers of dissonace, to finally resolve into harmony again. It's a rare interesting moment in Webber's work, and doing it right is really tricky and difficult. Cook took the easy way out.

But what do I know? I'm just an old pussy, alone with my memories and my vodka. Little Dougie isn't even here. He's out celebrating his KKK victory. That's so odd. Usually he likes, and I mean REALLY likes, black men.

jbryant said...

Carly's tattoo-faced hubby actually cracked a smile this week. Or maybe it was a smile tattoo?

I've defended Castro, but his breathy "Memory" may have done him in. If not, it's probably bye-bye Brooke (though I was a bit surprised that she managed to put a little power into her voice for the chorus).

Alfred E. Archuleta has chops, but yeah, he turned that song into a Disney closing credits opus. And he can't seem to get enough breath into his low notes.

And yes, even though Syesha still has trouble delivering a consistently good vocal over the course of a minute and a half, she looked stunning tonight in that red dress. I'm sure she'll look just as stunning without it, in the dream I'm hoping to have later.

Your Daughter said...

I would just like to mention how smart David Cook's song choice was. With Clay Aiken starring in "Spamalot", and Fantasia was in "The Color Purple", and like 45% of AI rejects have been in "Rent", David Cook just insured that he will be working long after the show. Because "Phantom of the Opera" just won't die. Trust me, I've tried. It's now the longest running musical. Beating out "Cats"...which apparently has singing cats in it. Who knew?

Tom Quigley said...

Thought the performances were OK last night for the most part as I'm a fan of ALW's music (for the most part), but then my dear old mom happened to see David Archuleta rehearsing with Lord Andrew (Is he a "Sir" or a "Lord"? -- and should he be rightly called Lord Andrew? Lord Lloyd? Lord Webber? Or that guy who looks like he just swallowed the lemon slice off the top of a bottle of Corona in one gulp?")...

At any rate, I digress... She saw what was on TV and said "Is that that American Idiot show?" -- Thank you, Mom, for your pearl of truth...

Michael said...

I scored it as (top to bottom) Syesha, David C, Carly, David A, Brooke, and Jason.

In a just world, Archuleta would get his first taste of the bottom 3 this week.

Simon had said that Syesha was too "Broadway", which turned out to be true. I think she's much better suited for the stage singing like that than being a pop singer.

Gridlock said...

He's a Baron so the correct form of address is actually The Rt Hon. Lord Lloyd Webber.

I wish the US would get over their fear of titled classes. It makes it much easier to discern who is just the product of Golden Sperm rather than successful or talented in their own right.

Annie said...

I liked Carly's performance for the first time. But I'm afraid the type of fans who voted for Cristy Lee because she kept sticking "God" in her lyrics ain't gonna be likin' it much.

Especially after that shot of Satan, oops, I mean her "husband" in the audience clapping for her.

"Wut's dat song 'bout, Ma?"

"Ah think it's about Our Lord. Ah ain't likin' the way dat girl is jumpin' 'round like dat, tho. Don't seem fittin'. And our Saviour weren't no 'Superstar'; is that disco? Disco and Our Lord? Devil's music; dat ain't right, ain't respectful."

"Good God Almighty, dere's SATAN in the audience wit the Sign o' da BEAST all oveh 'is FACE! It say it her HUSBAND!"

"Jesus save us all!"

"Ma, whut happened to that nice Cristy girl who sung songs about God and sech?"

"They sent her home. Prolly 'cause of Satan dere..."

"Wonders if dat girl knows she's married to Satan?"

"Wal...she'll find out soon 'nuff when she wakes up in hell."

"A-men."

Mary Stella said...

I really liked Jason in the beginning. Now I think he has a bigger dumb act than Jessica Simpson.

Tallulah thank you for reminding me of Randy's inane comment about the songs being harder because they have, wow, melodies. Imagine that! Songs with melodies. Who knew?

Did anyone else see Simon have to keep nudging Paula awake?

cpo snarky said...

You nailed it, Tallulah: Harry - "I'm the guy with the snake on his face!" I think that same thing every week, too.

John Candy, btw, was one of the sweetest people I've ever met.

chimezatmidnight said...

Well... a tribute (with a gift for all of us!) to my choice for Canadian Idol, Stan Daniels who,in just one produced show, excels over Lloyd Webber and his often inchoate lyricists and all his lawyers who settled all those plagiarism suits out of court for him.

Daniels died just over a year ago.
(Here's a link to Ken Levine's post from last April 14th --

http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2007/04/stan-daniels.html)

In a great generation of TV writers and directors, he certainly had his own place on the top riser.

As a lyricist, librettist, show doctor and forager for Good Things Frank Rich Helped Break, I have a zesty love for Daniels' So Long, 174th Street Score.

Unlike, say, the Brooks score for The Producers, this is no pastische. Melodically, rhythmically, conceptually, this is one very musical comedy.

And, yeah, the Reiner musical (which he didn't write) is better than the Brooks (which I'm glad to say kept him busy and found its best life on Curb Your Enthusiasm in that loving season finale).

Why do you need to read my words when you can listen to his?

http://singingstage.blogspot.com/2008/04/so-long-174th-street-1980-original-cast.html

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

"cpo snarky said...
You nailed it, Tallulah: Harry - 'I'm the guy with the snake on his face!' I think that same thing every week, too.
John Candy, btw, was one of the sweetest people I've ever met."

Amen. As a matter of fact, I met John also, on the set of 1941, no one's finest hour. He was a total charmer.

Spielberg kept trying to lure me out of retirement, but I said no. I did however, stop by the set over at Warner Brothers, to give John Belushi some lessons in moderation.

Gridlock, Lord Webber (Properly pronounced, usually by critics, as "Oh Good Lord, Webber!") was not the product of "Golden Sperm" (It was actually white), but rather was created a Baron by some queen, for "Services to music" by which they mean, making himself rich beyond the ambitions of Midas.

"Your Daughter said ... David Cook just insured that he will be working long after the show."

Not necessarily, because he did not demonstrate that he can sing the show arrangement of that song, which is much trickier than the version he sang. That said, he would look better in a mask.

Lastly, Chimezatmidnight, I wholly agree. Stan Daniels was the absolute best. I'd say more, but Delores Del Rio is here for her shag. I know you know what I mean.

Cheers.

Tom Quigley said...

"...I wish the US would get over their fear of titled classes..."

My fear of British nobility began when I found out they beheaded Sir Thomas More....

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I know you've had a few stories about Cybill Shepherd on your blog already, but it might be necessary to do a public service announcement for the showrunners of "Psych." It's been reported on tvguide.com and other sites that she's been cast as Shawn's mom.

Might it be time for those guys to get out their rosary beads and crosses to combat the devil? ;)

Anonymous said...

I thought Cybill was still on that lesbian show?

JSWN said...

Ken, you crack me up! Archie, in 10years time, may well be a woman INDEED. Heard a rumor that Andrew LW was carrying a torch for Ms. Brooke...albeit, a benign torch, I suppose. He has a storied history with the ladies. Does Brooke remind anyone else of the zombie gazed Polygamist Cult gals newly sprung from the Arizona Compound?

On a lighter note, my beloved spent some time in Paris circa 1983 and there was a lady of the night, fleshy and freshly rouged...she was quite fond of singing ~Don't Cry For Me, Argentina~ a l l n i g h t loooooong!!! When her singing ceased, my beloved claims his heart skipped a beat: Sheer joy and adrenaline rush for the Lady. As business was good when her pipes were still. She wooed him and wooed him still, but he was young, new to travel, and invincibly twenty something. That was many moons ago.
I betcha now he'd join her for a chorus or two. Wouldn't we all.
Life is a DREAM.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I thought Cybill was still on that lesbian show?

Most likely. So far, her stint on "Psych" is for two episodes.

Kevin Lehane said...

Carly is eliminated. This just proves how massively irrelevant this show is . The best singer is booted from the competition. Ridiculous.

Annie said...

HA! I was RIGHT! Knew it!

jbryant said...

Carly seemed incapable of marrying her considerable technique to the kind of personality and emotion an artist needs in order to transcend the technical and truly connect with the listener. Even much lesser singers such as Brooke and Jason have sporadic success in that regard. David Cook is the one most likely to make a good record (but he's also most likely to churn out imitation Daughtry -- if that's not redundant).

D. McEwan said...

Annie,

Watching the show last night, in a state of utter shock that neither Brook nor Jason were even in the bottom two despite train wreck performances, my very first thought was that your piece must have indeed been absolutely right on the nose, and been EXACTLY what passed for thought in the Heart(less)land voters.

Of course Carly, after her second crack at JC Superstar, said she remembered words that time this time. No. She subtituted "King of the crop" (Huh?) for "Pick of the crop". I guess she doesn't realize that there were millions of us who had those songs forever burned into our memories while she was out deciding which limb to disfigure further this time.

jbryant said...

I'm originally from Kentucky, and "Jesus Christ Superstar" was pretty popular there. I knew lots of folks who had the original album, and our church even took a busload of us to see the movie.

So just for fun, let's swap the Heartland fundamentalist stereotype with some equally egregious ones:

Irish: "Begorrah! I don't care if she IS Oirish! That Carly lass blasphemed the name of our Loord Jay-sus! Toim fer an exorcism!"

Mexican: "Caramba! Did she just sing 'Who are you, what have you sacrificed?' In the name of Jesucristo, we must keel her! Or maybe just vote for Archuleta."

United Church of Christ: "Well, Goddamn America! What will this harlot do next? Use a tattoo needle to infect sister Syesha with the HIV virus?"

Sheesh.

VP81955 said...

After seeing Syesha, I know who'll get the Michelle Pfeiffer role in the stage version of "The Fabulous Baker Boys."

D. McEwan said...

Yes, and I remember Billy Graham spear-heading a pickiting and boycott of JC Superstar when it played on Broadway oh so many years ago, because it "Doesn't reaffrim the ressurrection."

It's when you underestimate how dangerous the religiously deluded are, that you end up tied to that burning stake. Who do you think voted for Bush?