Tuesday, April 17, 2007


It was Country night on AMERICAN IDOL although, judging by the wardrobe the final 7 selected, it might as well have been Tony Orlando night. I’m not saying they all had to wear spurs but come on, Jews dress more country! Where were the Levi’s? The suspenders? The boots? Where were the fringe and rhinestones? At least on Ryan.

Martina McBride was the mentor. She looked fabulous, gave great advice, and the best moment of the show (maybe the season) was when she said “far klempt”.

I wasn’t familiar with some of the songs and they all sounded similar to me so I just assigned titles of actual country songs I know.

Phil Stacey got the evening going in fine style with “How Can I Kiss the Lips at Night that Chewed My Ass All Day Long”. I thought he was fantastic. Great voice, felt comfortable. But if ever anybody needed a cowboy hat! This week, in keeping with the country theme, Phil reminded me of Bruce Dern in all those westerns playing the psychotic deranged son. A typical Bruce Dern line: “Can I kill her, daddy? Can I can I can I?”

I’m sorry Haley Scarnato was voted off. I can just see her as Daisy Mae.

Jordin Sparks gave the performance of the night singing “You Stuck My Heart In an Old Tin Can and Shot It Off a Log”. I’ll go Simon one better and say she WILL be the next American Idol.

Shouldn’t SOMEBODY wear a cowboy hat? Or even a flannel shirt? None of these kids starred in OKLAHOMA in Jr. High??

Sanjaya looked like the guy with the squgee bottle and rag who approaches your car at a traffic light. Will somebody tell him that country night doesn’t mean “third world country” night? Yes, they wore red scarves in westerns, but it was the bandits who wore them over their mouths. And that’s EXACTLY what Sanjaya should have done because, as Simon correctly said, he was “utterly horrendous”. Sanjaya attempted to sing “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?” (which is what most of America is saying too) and reached a new low. Props to Simon for saying it was funny for a few weeks but it’s time to get rid of this weasel already.

The little spat between Simon and Ryan over Simon’s harsh criticism felt real. And thus FUN. That’s what people want to see in a live show – unexpected moments… and Haley’s legs.

By the way, the audience is instructed to loudly boo when Simon criticizes a singer.

LaKisha Jones was clearly out of her element singing the Carrie Underwood hit, “Drop Kick Me Jesus, Through the Goalposts Of Life”. Usually the question is not 'will she give a good performance'? It’s 'will her tits fall out of that dress'? The answer to both questions was no.

Randy’s catchphrase this week was “So check it out.” Save money. Just put a parrot on Simon’s shoulder. In fact, save more money. Replace Paula with a goldfish.

Chris Richardson was boring even though he did the classic, “My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend And I Sure Do Miss Him”. He was obviously pissed at Simon for saying he was nasal. He defended singing through your nose as a deliberate style. Just as bleeding out of your eye is a definite emotional choice.

The Virginia Tech tragedy needed to be acknowledged and was. But I question Chris bringing it up just when Ryan was announcing the number to vote for him. One might, possibly, maybe, perhaps get the impression he was using that to get votes. He wasn’t I’m sure. But one could somehow, if he wanted to, through some wild stretch of the imagination, get that impression.

Melinda Doolittle did a lot with “If You Don’t Leave Me Alone I’ll Go And Find Someone Else Who Will.” Simon was right. Time to drop the “aw shucks” routine. Vegas and now Branson calls!

Blake Lewis chose the “preppy cowboy” look. I’m trying to recall if John Wayne ever wore an argyle sweater. Oh yeah. In STAGECOACH. Sorry.

Blake sang “She Offered Her Honor, He Honored Her Offer, and All Through the Night He Was Honor and Offer.” The judges obviously didn’t see the same performance I did. They thought he was good. I thought he was awful. Clunker notes, a total disconnect with the genre. And a number of women I know claim he has “dead eyes”. I have to agree. There’s something a little off-putting about the guy that even the fourteen tattoos don’t compensate for.

My pick for the bottom two this week: Sanjaya (he was so bad even his sister is having trouble picking up that phone) and Chris. Or maybe, just maybe, LaKisha.

And if LaKisha should get voted off, since the results show is now an hour, she’ll have time to beat the living shit out of Sanjaya on live television and still be able to do her final number. Boy, will she be far klempted!


Anonymous said...

“How Can I Kiss the Lips at Night that Chewed My Ass All Day Long”

Classic, man. Thanks for yet another great analysis!

Anonymous said...

For me, this was the opposite of Tony Bennett Week. That week I knew every song performed well enough to get up and sing them myself.

This week there was not even one song I'd ever heard before, and will never hear again. I am just no fan at all of country music, so this week they had a celebrity coach I'd never heard of.

I know it has it's many fans. It's fine with me to have one hour each year when I hear some country music, to remind me why I never listen to it. I'm tough.

Chris Richardson was right that nasal singing can be a deliberate style, a BAD deliberate style. Sanjaya should try Chris's tactic: "Simon, I'm singing it badly deliberately! That's my Style: Neo-Crap."

Melinda WAS wearing jeans, although wearing a potato sack over them was an odd choice. Great singer, no clothes sense. Didn't she notice the words "Idaho Spuds" stenciled across her ample bosom?

If I followed LaKisha's song accurately, a depressed woman with a child in the back seat, driving through a snowstorm but not paying attention to the road, hits a skid and asks Jesus to take over driving for her? Is this a song, or testimony at a custody hearing? Is it about Britany Spears? "Mommy, Jesus isn't here. Could you try driving more responsibly please? I'd like to grow up enough to resent you."

Next week: Ear-Shattering Incomprehensible Cacophony Week. I wonder what Sanjaya will wear, because he's not going anywhere.

? said...

Those country titles were hilarious! Did you make them up? If so, Bravo!

We get American Idol in Ireland and I have seen some episodes and I think the only one that should win is the 17 year old. All the guys are atrocious.

By Ken Levine said...

I'd like to take credit for those titles but they are ACTUAL country song titles.

Anonymous said...

The cowboy hat is temporarily non-PC because of the whole Imus scandal; but it will be back after it apologizes to all the non-cowboy hats in America.

The Fedora has already accepted its apology, and it has a tentative meeting with the Kangol at an undisclosed haberdashery.

So, we are literally HEADED in a more positive direction in terms of hat relations.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The Virginia Tech tragedy needed to be acknowledged and was. But I question Chris bringing it up just when Ryan was announcing the number to vote for him. One might, possibly, maybe, perhaps get the impression he was using that to get votes. He wasn’t I’m sure. But one could somehow, if he wanted to, through some wild stretch of the imagination, get that impression.

Ken, thanks for not making me feel like a total monster for having the same conflicted reaction to the shout-out.

IQCrash said...

Ken, you need to let Haley go, brother. The more you remind me of her, the more I miss her body.

At least the second hottest girl from this year is still around. Go Sanjaya!

Alex Epstein said...

Personally I thought Blake was doing a good Spandau Ballet imitation. Nothing to do from country, unless you can call the 80's a "country."

Anonymous said...

This was your funniest commentary to date. I wish I could write like you.

Hennell said...

Feel you might appreciate this amusing story.

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe no one chose to perform "Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth, I'm Kissing You Goodbye"

Anonymous said...

Love the country song titles ... thought I'd offer two of my faves:
"Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth 'Cause I'm Kissin' You Good-bye."
"Woman There's A Tiger in these Tight-Fittin' Jeans"

Chadboulet said...

Your song titles (real or not) had me laughing out loud. Enjoyed the blog - nicely written, and wry, just the way I like my Idol commentary. Not unlike my own Idol review blog at www.idolblather.blogspot.com (on which you left a comment). Hey, how can I become a TV comedy writer?

Mary Stella said...

Once again, Ken, you and I are in almost total agreement.

Sanjaya: Can even he continue to think that he's a serious contender anymore? He was flatter than week old beer.

LaKisha: Instead of improving, she's slipping like a hiker in a mudslide.

Chris: His awful Peter Brady meets Opie rendition of Rascal Flatts' Mayberry, could be the reason that Sanjaya lasts to sing another week.

Blake: Tonight's biggest disappointment for me. I don't know what the judges heard, but he sounded flat to me. I hated the fish mouth expression and he needs to lose the argyle Charlie Brown look.

Did you see the Latino man in the audience when Phil stepped out to slap hands? The man looked like he'd rather be on Death Row than in the audience. One suggestion for Phil: Spray tan. It works for the men on Dancing with the Stars.

I hope that the jokesters have run their course. I picked Sanjaya, Blake and Lakisha for the bottom three. Chris could screw that up for me. We'll find out tonight. *g*

Shakier Anthem said...

"Randy’s catchphrase this week was 'So check it out.' Save money. Just put a parrot on Simon’s shoulder."

Umm... this week? You're really just noticing this for the first time? Train the parrot to say, "Yo, so check it out. So, it wasn't my favorite performance of yours, but you know, you worked it out," and no one will even notice the difference.

Anonymous said...

Let's get to something important:
The correct spelling is "verklempt." I Just ask Mike Myers.

By Ken Levine said...

According to my wife, it is far flempt and two words. Who can we ask for the final word? I wonder if there's a rabbinal council somewhere.

Mary Stella said...

According to the online Yiddish dictionary I found, it's farklemt.

maven said...

Great choices for song titles, Ken! I, too, didn't know any of the songs except for Sanjaya's...which made it even worse! If this kid isn't gone this week (or at least in the bottom 3) I'm going to scream! I actually feel sorry for Simon! LOL Go Jordin!

Unknown said...

Coming soon from the hit makers in Nashville:

"My Truck's in the Shop, My Dog Ran Away, But Baby YOU Got Me FarKlempt"

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

...and don't forget, "I Got Tears in My Ears From Lying on My Back, Crying Over You," another real country song from the '50's I think, written by Harold Barlow recorded by Homer & Jethro.

Shoot me for knowing this from memory.

...and shoot me again for actually PLAYING it while a DJ at WIL Radio St. Louis in the '80's.

Anonymous said...

Not to digress, Ken, but last night one of our local Rochester stations repeated the final episode of BECKER... Caught some clever jokes again which made me laugh:

Becker looking at a patient's chart and saying "I just got Mr. Nielsen's numbers back. I don't see what the problem is. These look fine to me..."

Or when a patient (played by his wife Mary Steenburgen) argues with him as she leaves the office: "Boy, I'd hate to have to go home to that every night..."

And finally, he announces in the coffee shop he's on call that night covering for Dr. Isaacs....

Anonymous said...

Captain, would that be from Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys?

Ken, and all you neo Country fans...if you can get a hold of the great Chicago radio legends Larry Lujack and Tommy Edwards' Animal Stories CD, there is a hysterical bit on C&W song titles.
And I guess several more as I checked the website: animalstoriesCD.com

Anonymous said...

Captain, your song title made me bellow out loud.

Didn't Mike Myers INVENT the word Ver(Fer)Klempt?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Mike Myers INVENT the word Ver(Fer)Klempt?

It's been around long before Mike Myers used it extensively. I grew up with it.

Anonymous said...

Coincidently...just saw this obit:

Condolences to the family of Country songwriter GLENN SUTTON, who passed away yesterday (4/17). He was 69.

The GRAMMY-winning SUTTON wrote or co-wrote such Country staples as "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad," and "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me).

Cap'n Bob said...

Not only did I not recognize any of those alleged country songs, I didn't think any of them sounded country. Which brings up my theory that if you want to know what modern country sounds and looks like, just listen to/watch 20-year-old rock.

Anonymous said...

Hey It's hard to kiss the lips at night was nominated for a Grammy !!!!
The song is much better than you think and the cd kicks ass.
Rodney Crowell is one of the finest writers to ever pick up a pen and Vince Gill's credits speak for themselves

Tate said...

Phil definitely needed a hat but he sounded better than ever.

Jordin is clearly the Top Gun. I had chills.

Sanjaya needed a hat and chaps and needed to sing Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy. I would have enjoyed that but actually got up to pee while he performed.

Ryan annoys me beyond belief. I love it when Simon tears into him.

Randy's lack of vocabulary is very telling eh?

Why does Chris stare at the camera so much? Creepy.

If Melinda lost 50lbs her neck would look longer. I loved her song though.

Blake, God Bless him, he is just so homely!

By Ken Levine said...

I deleted the last comment because he revealed who got kicked off AMERICAN IDOL. That's so not cool. I don't understand why someone would do that... even with a spoiler alert?

I bumped into people who had just left the show and they told me. I plan on posting thoughts on it but wouldn't think of putting it up until after the show airs on the west coast.

In the future, guys, please. Show some courtesy to those who look forward to the suspense.


writer said...

I've picked Jordin as the winner from the beginning. Which name makes better promo material: "Sparks" or "Doolittle"?

I agree about the "thoughts and prayers" stuff being out of place. I winced when Ryan opened the show with it. Not appropriate.

Blake does have dead eyes. And when he sings, he looks toothless. He's worse at the singing than both Phil "Nosferatu" Stacy and Chris the Round-headed boy.

What do you get when you play a country song backwards?
You get your dog back, your truck back and your girlfriend back.

Anonymous said...

I'd like the dog back, but stop the record before the truck and the girl return, please.

Anonymous said...

Don't even play the record back. The dog had fleas, the girl was sleeping with everyone else, and the truck's just craps out all the time.

Anonymous said...

I'll give the dog a flea bath. I've seldom met a dog I didn't like. ButI'm with you on the truck and the girl.

Anonymous said...

I think that Sanjaya should have come out wearing a red checked shirt (that looked like it came from someone's tablecloth), an oversized cowboy hat (with toy six-shooters) and sung, "Take this job and Shove it". If he had shown the hutzpah to be blatently confrentational to the judges, it would have been one of the great moments in TV History. -Big Ed