Thursday, March 10, 2011
What a love fest on AMERICAN IDOL. According to these impartial judges – who have no vested interest in hyping the singers to stave off eroding ratings – this year’s Top 13 is the greatest collection of young talent ever assembled on one stage. They're good (a lot of them) but yikes. You'd think they poop silver dollars.
Jennifer and Steven may have their charms but gone is the reality check that Simon provided. And constructive criticism. Last year Simon would really break down a contestant’s performance. Last night Steven gave James Durbin this piece of advice: “If there was a review to be said about you, you just sang it”. Huh? What? Well, he’s the expert.
But not the only expert. A new feature this season is having record producer Jimmy Iovine and his minion of music gangsta/hipsters (I’m sorry. I meant his minion of legendary music gangsta/hipsters) work with the kids during rehearsal. I guess that means the contestants this season will be robbed of the wisdom of Miley Cyrus.
The show again is filled with product placement. The Coke logo is everywhere. They’re shameless. At least when I plug my hilarious new book, WHERE THE HELL AM I? TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED, and tell people it’s gotten great reviews and is available in all ebook formats for just $2.99 (which is less than one measly gallon of gas) and is the funniest book the IDOL judges have ever read, I at least have the decency to devote a dedicated post to it. I don’t try to just slip it in. Available in paperback coming soon! Order your ebooks here.
Anyway, the theme this week was songs by the potential-idols' idols. In other words, they could pick anything. So let’s get started. “Get ready to vote, America. This is AMERICAN BLOWJOB!”
First up was Lauren Alaina, vying to become this season’s Kellie Pickler. Her idol is Shania Twain. She sounded like every country singer in every Holiday Inn Express Lounge in the south. Judges: Stupendous. Created a whole new art form. She slayed it.
Casey Abrahms did “With a Little Help From My Friends”. The Joe Cocker version minus the signature Grand Mal seizure. I like Casey. He claimed he was introduced to the song from THE WONDER YEARS. Hey, I was introduced to THE BARBER OF SEVILLE from Bugs Bunny. Judges: Phenomenal! Over-the-moon. The ultimate musician meets the ultimate performer. He slayed it.
Ashton Jones, the Diana Ross impersonator, followed – flapping her arms, mimicking the moves and facial contortions of the Divine Ms. R. Ashton was such a blatant copy of Diana Ross that I’m surprised she didn’t go the whole way and sleep with Lauren Alaina’s boyfriend. I thought Ashton sounded shrill and screechy and her hair looked like the result of sticking her finger in a light socket. Judges: Amazing! Incomparable! The finest R&B performance of all-time. She slayed it.
Paul McDonald was next. His idol was Ryan Adams, but judging from his jacket, I thought his idol was Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor in SHINING TIME STATION. I had never heard of the song Paul sang. He’s a much better singer than we saw last night. Judges: Genius! Original! This man can cure lepers with his urine! He slayed it.
Pia Toscano saluted her idol, Celine Dion, by belting out “All By Myself”. Pia has an excellent voice and I appreciate that she didn’t just copy Celine Dion. She took the bold step of singing the song without fireworks going off and a volcano erupting. Judges: Greatest vocal performance since the dawn of time. Most beautiful woman to ever draw a breath. She slayed it.
Paul McCartney is James Durbin’s idol. He sang “Maybe I’m Amazed”. Judges: If Paul only had the talent James does. James Durbin is dangerous, America! He slayed it.
Haley Reinhart, in an attempt to make a Leann Rimes song her own, committed the cardinal sin of singing – she yodeled. Next to burning a flag on stage I can’t think of anything worse than yodeling. Judges: Crazy good! Through the stratosphere! She slayed it.
Jacob Lusk has a truly sensational voice but brings new meaning to the word overkill. Jacob is the gay version of Screaming Jay Hawkins. He sang R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” as if it were an aria, and he was joined by a full chorus. He did everything but come out of a coffin. Judges: Listening to Jacob sing is proof there is a God. The greatest singer that’s ever been. He slayed it.
Poor Thia Megia. She sang “Smile” and didn’t know that the song was written by Charlie Chaplin. In her little feature piece she makes reference to him as Charlie Chapman. Now I don’t blame Thia. She’s 8 for Crissakes! But why did IDOL have to air that sound byte? They purposely embarrassed her. To me that's inexcusable. Her song started off great. She sang the first chorus almost a capella. But then, for reasons known only to her and her legendary music weasel, the tune suddenly became techno. Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Chapman, George Carlin – anyone now deceased was turning over in their grave. Judges: They only thought it was transcendent so a mixed review at best. But she did slay it.
Stefano Langone chose to turn Stevie Wonder’s heartbreaking ballad “Lately” into a disco song. Do they even listen to the words? Someone from Japan, singing phonetically, would know not to turn “Lately” into a disco song. Where were the legendary music beatniks? Judges: He redefined not only music but architecture. He slayed it.
Karen Rodriguez followed. By the way, what’s with the heavy black eye lashes on everyone this year? Is Adam Lambert doing their make up? Karen sang a Selena song. I thought she was okay, not great. Randy, Jennifer, and Steven agreed. Judges: She’s one of the strongest singers in the competition. She sings like an angel. She slayed it. Based on those comments I think Karen is in big trouble.
Resident country boy Scotty McCreery, hopped on his one-trick pony and sang Garth Brooks’ “The River”. If Scotty wants to win this thing he’ll find a way to sing “Sixteen Tons” every week, even if the theme is Girl Group songs. Judges: He’s a star! A sensation! He slayed it. Steven Tyler quoted some non-sequitor song lyrics that ended with “Roy Rogers” somehow.
Finally, in the pimp spot, Naima Adedapo, who is just one fruit basket hat away from Carman Miranda, electrified the crowd by singing and dancing “the Umbrella”. She’s got a great voice, and if she didn’t scare the crap out of me, I’d probably like her the best. Judges: They couldn’t speak they were in such awe. She slayed it.
I think Karen, Paul, and Thia might be in trouble. One of them is probably going home – to some portion of America that I write about in my hilarious new book, on sale here. I don’t mean to brag, but I slayed it.
By Ken Levine at 5:53 AM