Thursday, February 28, 2008

AMERICAN IDOL: those swingin' 70s

Unless David Archuleta knocks up Miley Cyrus in the next two months he’s the new American Idol. The rest are playing for hometown parades and royalties on the eight iTunes they sell. The girls were screaming just at the mention of his name. The fact that he can sing too helps but it makes no difference. He’s your new American Osmond.

This was 70s week – a chance for the kids to sing all their favorite songs they never heard of before last week. I hope next week will be hits from the 30s.

Top three lines when you pull the string on the Paula doll: “You are an amazing singer.” “You have trouble on the low notes.” And “You’re relevant”.

The boys went Tuesday night. I’m starting to think this is GROUNDHOG DAY. Every year it’s the same kids singing the same songs the same way.

First up was Michael Johns. He wants to be Rob Thomas but is really Michael Bolton. He screeched through a Fleetwood Mac song.

In the getting-to-know-you segment with Jason Castro we learned that he’s an idiot and takes pride in it. Bullwinkle could have done a better job answering simple questions. Maybe after the show he and Paula can collect string.

Luke Menard is the Hugh Jackman guy. Did an okay job with “Killer Queen” but this is the wrong show for him. He could easily win AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL.

Robbie Carrico considers himself a hard rocker – but the kind that could play Disneyland. His hobby is drag racing. He can sign-up for one next Tuesday night. He’ll be available.

Danny Noriega is the contestant most likely to become one of Bette Midler’s Harlettes. He sang “Superstar” for 70s week but who are we kidding? He should have sung “My Girl Bill”.

David Hernandez has a big voice but no idea what he’s singing. He tackled the Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” belting out words completely at random. “Papa was a ROLLINGGGG stone, wherever he laid his HATTTT was his home. And WHENNNNN he died, all he left USSSSSS was alone.”

And pretty boy, Jason Yaeger was even worse. Completely clueless. He chose the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Running” and had a huge smile on his face belting out the line “she lost her home and her family and she won’t be coming back”. Parr-teeee! But at least he didn’t cart out his son again this week.

Chikezie did a nice job of a Donny Hathaway song. But so what? He’ll be going home weeks, even months before Danny Noriega.

Then came authentic benign rocker, David Cook. He revealed that he’s a “word nerd”. He loves unusual words. Here’s a few: tedious, tiresome, lackluster, wearisome, humdrum. But unlike Jason Castro, he at least knows what those words mean.

As always, they saved the best for last. David Archuleta sang a fabulous interpretation of “Imagine’. The judges were knocked out by the originality. And they should be. When Eva Cassidy first sang it that way years ago on one of her albums it was quite extraordinary. Much better than Archuleta’s original cover.

On Wednesday night the girls took the stage.
Carly Smithson was in much better voice singing “Crazy on You”. And her breasts bopping up and down should be good for another ten million votes.

Syesha Mercado sang “Me & Mrs. Jones”, a gut wrenching ballad about two disillusioned married people having an affair. It was the perfect song for a 21 year old.

Brooke White did a nifty job with “You’re So Vain”. Brooke can’t sing those power ballads like all the rest of the girls. Maybe that’s why she’s my favorite.

Ramiele Mulubay is the only American Idol contestant in seven seasons shorter than Ryan Seacrest. She sang the instantly forgettable “Don’t Leave Me This Way”.

You wonder why the contestants picked such boring songs when these 70s classics were available: “The Night Chicago Died”, “Billy Don’t be a Hero”, “Muskrat Love”,“Sweet & Innocent”, and the incomparable “Chick-a-boom/Chick-a-Boom”.

Kristy Lee Cook revealed that she’s really a tomboy. I could see her fishing in her prom dress. Boring belter. Next!

Who knew? Amanda Overmyer is a “book worm”. What does she read? English literature? Russian novels? No. Rock star biographies. That still makes her the intellectual of this bunch. With the wild streaks in her hair and zebra slacks I thought she was joining the cast of CATS. She sang “Carry on Wayward Son” and Randy thought it was “too much melody” for her. Yeah, melody can really get in the way of a good singer.

Alaina Whitaker is delightfully compulsive-obsessive. Her eggroll and rice can’t touch on the same plate. What would freak her out more? Getting eliminated from American Idol or being forced to eat a KFC Chicken & Biscuit Bowl?

Kady Malloy doesn’t have to win. She’s cute, she’s funny, she’s talented. She’ll be hosting her own VH-1 show long after David Archuleta is headlining Sponge Bob on Ice. She sang Heart’s “Magic Man”, another monster hit Simon had never heard of. If Petula Clark didn’t sing it, he doesn’t know it.

Wrapping it up was Asia’h Epperson who tried to belt “All By Myself” so hard her liver almost came out her mouth. Simon was right. That song was waaaaaay too big for her. Celine Dion she’s not. Dionne Warwick she’s not. (Oh, for Simon’s benefit: Dionne Warwick was a very popular American singer in the 60s & 70s).

I’m still waiting for that great performance. Oh well. Maybe on Kurt Weil night.


Mary Stella said...

Amanda = Grace Slick meets Cruella DeVille

Danny Noriega = Ellen DeGeneres's wardrobe on Callista Flockheart's body with Sanjaya's eyes.

Anonymous said...

Paula's greatest line on boys' night, and maybe her greatest ever, was when she said to Archuleta, "I want to squish you, squeeze your head off and dangle you from my rearview mirror."

I think she was quoting Ed Gein.

Anonymous said...

Celine Dion may have sung "All By Myself," but not in the '70s. The original version was by Eric Carmen. You'd think the judges on a show about music would actually have some musical knowledge. Although I'm sure Randy can't wait until '80s Night so that he can hear some of those Journey songs he played on.

Anonymous said...

Strangely, in any of Imelda Marcos’ 1060 pairs of pumps, Ramiele Malubay is exactly as tall as Ryan Seacrest. And many have no doubt already observed on numerous occasions that Ryan Seacrest in pumps is precisely as tall as Carly Smithson – but with only half the jiggle. I had really hoped to use the rest of my allotted time tonight to settle the Back to the Future controversy once and for all, but Stephen Hawking won’t return my calls.

PS. Two Ed Gein allusions in a single week is certainly food for thought.

Anonymous said...

richard s.: yeah, between Celine and Bridget Jones, Eric Carmen has become a footnote in his own song's history.

Last season, someone sang "Rescue Me" and attributed it to Aretha instead of Fontella Bass. None of the judges caught it.

I read a recap of the boys' night that credited "All Right Now" to Rod Stewart. Maybe he covered it, I dunno. But the original hit version was by Free. Research is going the way of the dodo.

Anonymous said...

The porno title of No Country for Old Men was just released, with commentary by Jane Fonda. I'm here all week. Be sure to tip the servers.

Michael said...

How has Simon not heard of Heart? Both of their songs this week - "Magic Man" and "Crazy on You" - he professed ignorance of.

Of the girls, I like Amanda (the rocker chick), Carly (the other good singer), Kady (just because she's from Houston), and Kristy Lee (just because she's hot).

Anonymous said...

Simon is only familiar with the MOR Heart of the '80s and '90s. Even then, he probably only knows "Alone," which Carrie Underwood performed in her season.

Anonymous said...

Forget American Idol. Just spend the next couple of posts praising Eva Cassidy.

My God, did she have an amazing voice and brilliant musical instincts. To think of the greatness that was yet to come from her when she left us...

Allen Lulu said...

Fastiduous. That is the word Luke Menard used instead of "fastidious" in his "version" of Killer Queen. Oh, and by the way, it's Moet de Chandon NOT Moey de Chanrone.
Talk about not know what the hell you are singing about? It's a song about a high classed prostitute for cripes' sake. But, at the very least, get the freaking words right!

Anonymous said...

Richard, regarding getting the orignal singer right: I think the judges know more than they're able to articulate sometimes. That would almost have to be true with Paula, one hopes.

It seems to be an unwritter rule that when a hopeful sings an arrangment of a song that's closer to the remake, the judges tend to go right to the shorthand of who did that version. Makes sense. After all, it was Celine's power notes that A'si'a'h biffed, not Eric Carmen's.

That's probably why this week has been so lackluster. The 70's was not a power-ballad era, and few of the AI singers can do nuance.

Allen, you've got to respect someone who can get the majority of Queen's lyrics right. They're not only wordy (crossword puzzle boy should have done one!), but they're awfully specific. You can't just substitute "my love" for "baby" like in other songs.

J-Money said...

Amanda's hair looks like Michigan's football helmet.

Tom Quigley said...

Now that they've got clearance to do songs from the Beatles catalog, I can't wait till that week when they all give each other puzzled looks and wonder out loud "McCartney... McCartney... Oh, yeah, wasn't he once in a group called Wings?".....

Anonymous said...

They won't know Wings. It'll be, "Oh yeah, that old guy who used to be married to the one-legged chick from Dancing with the Stars."

Anonymous said...

AND IN OTHER NEWS: from;(Ken, we have to hear your news from strangers??)

Ken Levine returns to a familiar role, as he’s been named the new host of Dodger Talk on KABC. “I’ll be doing it with Josh Suchon throughout the season,” emailed Ken. He hosted Dodger Talk for several years when the ball club aired at KXTA (XTRA Sports 1150). “I'm thrilled about it.”


By Ken Levine said...

You know me. I'm modest. I'm actually going to post on it tomorrow but yes, I'm hosting Dodger Talk.

Anonymous said...

David Archuleta was a winner on Star Search (Junior edition) at the ripe ol' age of can see and hear him at:

Anonymous said...


Can we pond scum fans in the hinterlands hear your baseball broadcast on the internet? Modestly please say yes.

By Ken Levine said...

Yes. The station streams. I'll have the link tomorrow along with a sample of my play-by-play. Thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...

David Archuleta could actually be the 2nd American Idol discovery besides Carrie Underwood who makes a mark on music.
What's amazing about David Archuleta voice singing? It's the same breathy voice that was so annoying when actor Robbie Benson talked.

Tallulah Morehead said...

The Bride of Frankenstein saw Amanda Overmeyer's hair this week and said, "That do is a little much."

Meanwhile, Dr. Pretorious was learning how to SNAP from Daniel Noriega. "To a new world of tone-deaf queens."

They had dug up all these songs from the graveyard of the dead 70s and failed to reanimate them. They needed a brain for Paula, but didn't get it installed by show time.

Then the monster said to the eliminated singers, "You go. We belong dead!" and pulled the switch that blows up the American Idol theater.

At least it was in color.

My large glass may say "Coca-Cola" but it's dilled with vodka, the only way to watch American Idol.

But what about LOST eh? Mind-blowing, no?