Wednesday, February 24, 2010

AMERICAN IDOL: the Pearly Dozen

Is AMERICAN IDOL sponsored by Crest Whitestrips Teeth Whitening Systems this season? Jesus, every girl but one had blinding white teeth. And the only reason she made the top 24 was because the producers felt they needed diversity.

This was the first performance week. Girls on Tuesday. Guys on Wednesday. Bobsledding and alpine events on Thursday. I won’t be reviewing the guys. Based on the quick-cuts preview they look like eleven Billy Elliotts and Fat Albert.

Hey there! Play the AMERICAN IDOL drinking game! Down a shot every time someone says “dream”, “surreal”, or “journey”. You’ll be drunker than Rip Torn in a bank by 1-800-IDOLS-03.

Ellen was disappointing. She liked everything and wasn’t funny. Was she upset about something? Did someone take another little dog away from her? Come on, Ell. Don’t leave the comedy burden to Kara.

But the big surprise was Randy. He actually gave good, knowledgeable critiques. Where were the “yo’s” and “dawgs” and “mad vocals”? Maybe it wasn’t Randy. Maybe it was Smokey Robinson in Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor fat suit.

Now to the performances themselves. Helping me this week is the Princess of Snark, my daughter Annie. Hope I get the names right. They all have unusual spellings.

KrisTall was so impressive the judges liked her even though her teeth could not light Times Square. She sang well and played two instruments – the guitar and harmonica. When she launched into her harmonica riff the audience went wild. You’d think she was playing a zither with her feet. But she’s one to watch. And maybe with Zoom in-office bleaching treatments she could make the top 12.

For some reason the judges all loved Paiyj. Why? This was just another boring belter. Same with Ashleigh and Mischeyll. If this was season two we might’ve been thrilled by them. But it’s season nine. They have to hold a final note for three minutes and deliver a baby on stage for us to be excited.

Janell is one of my favorites. She has a lovely tonal quality to her voice that… aw, who’m I kidding? I think she looks hot.

Lillleee (pictured above) is one of the few originals. She’s the only one who looks like Tracey Ullman in a gray wig. She sang “Fixin a Hole” by the Beatles; an odd choice but one that paid off.

Kaytlynne stepped center stage sporting a huge flock of curly hair. Annie said she looked like Tippi Hendren in THE BIRDS. Especially with some black thing sticking out of her hair that made it look like she was being attacked. She did “Oh, Darling”.

And then 16-year-old, Haellei, dressed as Bo Peep, sang “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, which prompted my sweet child to say, “Beatles Rock Band comes out and everyone’s a fucking singer!”

Layzcheey didn’t make the top 24 last year but thanks to Aquafresh Whitening Dental Gum she did this season. She looks like a young punk rocker Vicki Lawrence. Her version of “Landslide” was so bad even Ellen hated it.

Deedi managed to sing her entire song without crying.

Kaytea is 17 going on 40. The judges didn’t like her song selection, “Feeling Good”, complaining it was too old for her. What do they want her to sing, the theme from “That’s My Raven”? It's not like she did Sondheim's "I'm Still Here". I thought Kaytea sounded great. Big voice and a real maturity.

But my favorite girl this year is Siobhan. She’s one of the more interesting and original contestants ever, and by that I mean WEIRD. She’s got an incredible voice, tremendous range, and takes chances. You never know what she’s going to do or what that tattoo on her arm means. When she’s not singing she’s a glass blower apprentice, causing Ryan to make a lame blowjob joke so fast you’d think he was in the cast of TWO AND A HALF MEN.

I think Layzcheey, Ashleigh, and Deedi are in trouble. Two will go home. The rest will live to floss another day.

Line of the night (at my house at least): Kara, who proved last night she should never go sleeveless, criticized Kaytlynne’s look. When Ryan asked Kaytlynne what was the thought bubble over her head in reaction to Kara, Kara mouthed “bitch” and Annie said, “That’s the thought bubble over everyone’s head when you talk.”

My darling daughter has fangs. And they’re very white, by the way.


Unknown said...

Haven't watched it yet. Three girls chose Beatles songs-it wasn't Beatles week right? And one was Fixing A Hole? That is a weird choice. If I were to audition for AI I would probably do Maxwell's Silver Hammer-I've thought about it a bit. But (a) I'm too old and (b) I suck as a singer plus waiting around all day to humiliate myself isn't my idea of a good time (although I am used to humiliating myself in a crazy getup to advance my writing but I haven't done that in a while-it's exhausting, embarrassing and has limited productive value (it's also potentially dangerous)-anyway I'm way off track I just like Maxwell's Silver Hammer and the oh-oh-oh-oh gimmick Paul McCartney came up with for the song. But I love thousands upon thousands and thousands of songs. And read the new Billboard charts every week and add those too. Haven't seen this show yet but I'll consider wearing sunglasses.

I will say I find Ellen's repetitive shtick of building up good or bad news forever pointlessly and endlessly extremely annoying. I hated her when she was on Open House on Fox and still do. I wouldn't be rude to her in person or anything (especially on the outside chance I was ever on her show)I just hate that stupid shtick of hers and her annoying smugness.

Rock Golf said...

Once back in the days of vinyl, an album I bought had the hole drilled off-center. When it played the tempo and vocals would discernably speed up, slow down and change pitch with every rotation of the disk. It was painful to listen to.
Lacey Brown's "Landslide" sounded exactly like that record.

Craig said...

Ellen was a real disappointment. She said basically the same thing to each singer, and none of it was interesting or funny. Adding her is starting to look like a mistake. Simon started slow but got off some excellent insults as he grew bored and the show dragged on. Is it just me, or does it seem like Kara has rehearsed all her critiques? Nothing she said sounded spontaneous. Either way, I hate her delivery. Hope the guys are good, there was not a winner in the group of girls last night.

LA said...

What's funny is that believe it or not, Crystal's teeth are already whiter and straighter than they were during tryouts. Clearly the producers expect her to go far considering they've already started the dental restoration between Hollywood week and now.

Yeah, when was Fixing A Hole on the Billboard Top 100?

Unknown said...

Of course Fixing A Hole was never on the Billboard Hot 100. None of the tracks from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band were ever released as singles. It is true that there was a single of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends released in 1978 that charted at Number 71 on the Hot 100 (probably to take advantage of the Bee Gees Sgt. Pepper movie around the same time which featured quite a few other RSO recording acts besides the Bee Gees)-Fixing A Hole is not even listed as a classic album track in Joel Whitburn's Billboards Top Pop Singles 1955-2008 while most of the rest of the Sgt. Pepper tracks are.

Beginning in December 1999 in response to the industry releasing fewer and fewer commercial singles a track no longer needed an accompanying commercial single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. A number of Airplay only tracks hit Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart prior to this-in fact the official Hot 100 record holder for most weeks at Number One is One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men (16 weeks) but the real record holder is the Number One Airplay track Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls (18 weeks).

If you really want to talk music and are a music fan see my blog Creative Writing-While In A Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Center and Love of Music here:

Rodney Peterson-Writer-Cutting Confessions

Sandy Koufax said...

Gee Rodney...nice commercial. And now, back to Ken's blog.

Adam G. said...


I'm the newest writer for general interest program, hired to help steer the writing staff in a comedic direction. The producers & staff don't have comedy backgrounds, so our work gets destroyed daily (strongest jokes cut without replacements, graphics mis-timed, etc). Comedy carnage.

The Exec Producer only sees the finished product and keeps vaguely asking for the writing to be "better". From his perspective, it looks like I'm not doing what I was hired to do. So how do I protect myself from our crew? What's the best way to make sure that the specific style I've been mandated to write makes it onto the screen without playing the blame game? (I'm basically looking for a way to NOT get fired from my first staff writing gig.)

Eric Deggans said...

Hey Ken --

Sorry to horn into your comments section in an unrelated topic. But i was hoping to pick your brain for a story I'm doing on NBC, and I mislaid your number.

Would it be possible for you to email me your contact info again at or if you have a few minutes, could you consider giving me a call at 727-893-8521?

Thanks for any help you can provide...

SharoneRosen said...

you made up all those spellings, right? Oh please please right?

My fave is Layzcheey. I don't even know how to say it, but the spelling looks like there was a typo inthe name of a new instant mac & cheese product. LazyCheezy? I dunno... seemed funny a minute ago.. nevermind

Unknown said...

I finally watched the episode. Well quite a bit of it I was listening to while doing physical therapy exercises but I took a couple notes while doing so. Most of these comments are about the show in general and not this particular episode. A number of people may not agree with them but they are knowledgeable.

First of all, for anyone who couldn't possibly already know this here (anyone in the industry would) Ryan Seacrest is guilty of some pretty scummy behavior and it's a shame a more qualified and ethical host wasn't chosen years ago.

Last year, Ryan fired his agent-the same guy who begged the American Idol producers for hours to audition him-while his agent, John Ferriter, was in in the hospital deathly ill. He didn't think that the guy that made it possible for him to get a $45 million paycheck in the first place was worth 10% of that. So he went to another agency which doesn't ave nearly as much pull when it comes to reality television as his previous one did. And that's what Ryan has given us with all his power and big exclusive contracts-crap like The Kardashians that no one with an actual life would ever want to watch. Yeah, Ryan, you're a real class act.

And a liar. The first thing out of his mouth was that one of these 24 was headed for superstardom. Nope. Most likely not. American Idol has produced only a handful of stars, and only Kelly Clarkson can legitimately be called a fledging superstar. A lot of the winners are nowhere to be found on the charts or doing things that are musically related-but they aren't making hit records. Thankfully for the music industry as a whole roughly 98% of the artists who appear for the very first time on the Billboard Hot 100 year after year since the show began have had absolutely nothing to do with American Idol. And Kris Allen as a superstar? Not in a million years. Adam Lambert had a shot at stardom but he did a couple of creepy things publicly the producers must still be really pissed at him for.

When it comes to British music moguls, the one I consider really knowledgeable and the one I think would make the far better friend would be Richard Branson over Simon Cowell. Simon Cowell's first hit records were awful novelty records featuring wrestlers while Richard Branson was musically adventurous with Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (the Theme From The Exorcist) with his first effort. Branson also launched an international music label and chain of record stores that were pretty good-not to mention all the other things he's done.

Simon Cowell makes good comments, bad comments and totally ignorant comments. The record he co-wrote for Leona Lewis Footsteps In The Sand went nowhere and that theme has been around since at least Pat Boone and I would guess a lot longer. He called Free's All Right Now wedding singer material. I wanted to punch him for that.

Very rarely do American Idol performances blow me away and this episode was no exception. Fallin' was pretty good, the Ingrid Michaelson The Way I Am song Didi did was nice and Wicked Game had some good spots. But nothing really impressed me-there were a few Adam Lambert performances last year that did. But so far this year Pants On The Ground has been the highlight entertainment wise.

LisaB said...

Well, Ken, you might have one of the more interesting comments sections on the web. People looking for writing advice. And people who really should be posting back at their own blogs.

@Rodney: Seriously, dude, first you say you haven't watched the episode, but then you blather on anyway. Then you check back in to say you've watched most of it, but you're only going to comment on the show in general. Jeez.

Anyhoo, I thought Paige was awful and couldn't believe they liked her. I really liked the curly-haired, Madonna-dressed one (ok, Katelyn). And I admit to enjoying Haeley's little girl version of I Want to Hold Your Hand. It was cute, in an insane way.

I also admit to being fascinated with Crystal's teeth since Hollywood Week. She makes you realize how dazzlingly fake (or at least modified) most of the teeth are that we see on TV and in the movies. If she hangs around for long, you know those teeth are going to get all fixed up. It will be interesting to see if she actually keeps it real.

Lacey and DiDi are probably gone, but maybe Ashley. It does get kinda sad when the judges tell certain women that although they sucked big time, they sure are pretty. For once, telling a woman she's pretty seems like a pathetic consolation prize in this context.

Off to watch the men!

Ellen said...

Ha @ the spelling!

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