Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Oh no! All those homely baby pictures and overly precious home videos of dorky kids with teeth missing – this week AMERICAN IDOL was like attending the Bar Mitzvah reception from hell.

Flattering” was not the look of the night.

Host Ryan Seacrest sported a large frontal cowlick, a tribute to the King of Cool – Ed Grimley. And Paula graced us with long black leather gloves and a shimmering prom dress, perfect for a night on the town with Client 9.

Shameless Fox had the stars of ‘TIL DEATH in the front row. Next week Hannity & Combs will be whooping it up in the mosh pit.

The theme this week was music from the year the contestants were born. My daughter Annie said, “Does that mean David Archuleta is going to sing something from 2001?”

Ramile Mulubay got things off to a rousing thud with “Alone”. Her screeching caused garage doors to go up all over America. Ramile’s excuse was that she was sick. Can I offer an alternate explanation? She’s just not that good.

Jason Castro, the sweet sensitive girl in pants sang some song called “Fragile”. I don’t know where she got it. I also don’t know where she got the Ecstasy but she should not take it before the show.

Syesha Mercade must have been born in 1971 because she sang Gladys Knight’s “If I Were Your Woman”. Although when Gladys sang it there was a melody. Paula could have used a better choice of words than to call Syesha the “Dark Horse” of the competition.

Every ballad Chikezie sings sounds like “Aladdin” so what difference does it make what he picked? He’ll be telling you to remove your shoes and put your laptop in a separate bin within the week.

Brooke White went back to what works – sitting like a lox at the piano. She has a knack for being able to screw up and still have it come off endearing. This week she had a little stutter at the beginning of her song (“Every Breath You Take”) but she recovered with poise and it was a moment that reminded us the show is live and unexpected things can happen. I wish more would. Like wouldn’t it be kinda fun if someone’s mic cut out for a second or the entire set collapsed?

Michael Johns returned to the Queen card, as he always does. Great performance but I worry when it’s Dolly Parton night that the Freddy Mercury interpretation of “9 to 5” is just not going to work.

When they were showing Carly Smithson’s adorable baby videos I wish I could have seen her at age three getting her first tattoo. She sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and she’s a good singer, there’s no question – but I dunno, she just seems like the Hillary Clinton of the group. It’s so clear that everything Carly does is designed solely to WIN!!! I’m waiting for her to say she didn't have sufficient rehearsal time because she was under sniper fire.

Pictured: Hillary singing "This is why I'm Hot" on the results show.

What the hell was David Archuleta singing? “You’re the Voice”? There are not enough recognizable songs from 2001? But I guess that’s what happens when you’re so busy stalking Kelly Clarkson that you have no time to listen to the radio.

Kristy Lee Cook followed with the most blatant example of pandering I’ve ever seen. She sang “God Bless the USA”. Yeah, America’s going to vote her off singing that. I bet Carly is pissed she didn’t think of it. Next week expect her to come out wearing nothing but the American flag singing the Star Spangled Banner while showing off her new tattoo – the Declaration of Independence which will cover her left arm.

The best performance of the night was the last – David Cook doing a killer version of “Billie Jean”. Only thing is – the judges fawned all over him for his originality when in fact he was just mimicking the cover by Chris Cornell. It’s one thing for the audience to not know, but these judges are supposed to be in the goddamn music business! Simon, there are more recording artists than just Whitney Houston and the Teletubbies.

All in all, it was a better show than last week’s character assassination of the Beatles but still, more accurate than “songs from the year you were born” the theme should have been called “songs from the year you were bored”.


Anonymous said...

"Kristy Lee Cook followed with the most blatant example of pandering I’ve ever seen."

Thank You! That's exactly what I was raving at home, while listening to the judges say it was a great song, which it is not, but who will dare to say it? No one will admit that the patriotic Emperor's musical screed has no clothes on. And no one seemed to notice that she was flat through the whole song. It was nice though that, after two weeks of butchering great songs, this week she butchered a lousy one. That said, her dad was kind of hot.

Actually, Freddy Mercury singing the Dolly Parton songbook is about the only thing I could think of that would make me want to listen to it. (How nicely ironic it would be if only Kristy Lee Cook could be eliminated before Dollyweek. How I would smile.)

It was nice to see pictures of David Cook before his hair turned on him. I had not heard that arrangement of BILLIE JEAN before, and I didn't even recognize the song until the chorus, as I'd never heard it sung with balls before.

We wouldn't have gotten to see David Archuleta's baby pictures at all if it weren't for One-Hour Photo, which only just managed to rush-develop them in time for the show. This is why no living human being had heard his "Song From the Year He Was Born" before. It was only written 7 hours ago.

Brooke White was lucky she made that opening goof; it was all that was memorable about her blanding out of that great Police song.

Last week Michael Johns sang a 7 minute song in 90 seconds, and then complained about it, so this week he took his 90 seconds, and sang TWO songs. Yes, I know WE WILL ROCK YOU and WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS are always joined together, but they are still two different songs, and while he did the second one quite well, WE WILL ROCK YOU's definitive performance remains the time they did it on the CHEERS opener.

JERICHO's series finale tonight was about a huge, deadly bomb, but not as huge as the bomb on Fox before it.

Anonymous said...

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The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Plus David A cheated...his song was originally recorded in 1985.
Now, I know he's always trying to play 'older than type' but this is getting out of hand.

Jason is perhaps the stupidest contestant ever. The only difference between him and Beavus and Butthead is that Beavus and Butthead were realistic.

Bill said...

To be fair, Ryan did *announce* that it was the Chris Cornell version as he introduced David Cook. I wish they were more consistent about even mentioning the original artist all the time.

Jeff said...

That's okay. They didn't know that Chris Daughtry nicked Live's version of "I Walk The Line."

h said...

You're pretty snarky. I like it. Cook was original in PICKING the Connell version of the song and in adapting it to a 1.20 second format.

It ain't an original composition contest.

Charles said...

Michael Johns will be fine on Dolly Parton week...remember, she covered "Stairway to Heaven", which I would guess makes it part of her "songbook".

Tom Quigley said...

For starters -- I have to say it: with the semi-lost dreamy expression on his face and the hair along with it, Jason Castro looks like the unfortunate result of a clandestine love tryst between Whoopee Goldberg and Vinnie Barbarino... Sadly, he can't sing as well as either of them probably can – but I’m hoping he’ll give the theme from WELCOME BACK, KOTTER a shot before too much longer...

And as for blatant over the top patriotism, I thought Kristi Lee Cook actually didn't go nearly as far as she could have... While she was crooning out her love for all things American, I kept asking myself "Where's the crown?... Where's the torch?... Where's the inscription at her feet that says 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses texting in their votes on their AT&T wireless network'?"...

And with each week that goes by that she dresses in black along with the hair, the teeth, and the tattoos, doesn't Carly Smithson seem to be morphing into Marilyn Manson?... Next week we’ll get the whole treatment: the cloak and the hood, which she dramatically throws off during the last verse, revealing a poorly-fitting bustiere and a very bad pair of tattooed legs in fishnet stockings... And Paula reacting by saying "Carly -- you are who you are, and that's why we love you"...

After this week's tribute to Freddie Mercury, I imagine Michael Johns left the stage to be met by a Western Union delivery man who handed him a telegram from Clay Aiken containing the words "GO FOR IT, DUDE!"... Clay, of course, couldn't text him the message because all the lines were jammed by the huddled masses who were voting for Kristi Lee Cook....

"Every ballad Chikezie sings sounds like “Aladdin” so what difference does it make what he picked?" ... It’d be nice if he decided to change things up a little next week by coming out on stage with a parrot on his shoulder...

Finally, I started wondering what the show would be like if they decided to do a week of songs from the year Simon Cowell was born, then realized that there were two things wrong with that premise: (1) Simon's too vain to tell anyone how old he actually is, and (2) He probably wouldn't know any of the songs from that year to start with...

Anonymous said...

Wow, 1990 must have been one lousy year for pop music. Archuleta had to cover a David Foster album track that was a cover of 1986 Australian hit? He should've tried "Vogue," "Ice Ice Baby" or "The Humpty Dance." I guess we should be thankful he spared us from Stevie B's "Because I Love You (The Postman Song).

Anonymous said...

Oh, and is it just me, or would some freckles and a missing tooth make Archuleta a dead ringer for Alfred E. Neuman or what?

Anonymous said...

Man, I don't get Jason. At. All. The guy should be running nude in a forest somewhere--with flowers in his hair.

And range? Has he heard about range?

Anonymous said...

I thought some of these contestants were playing a little fast and loose with the dates, but a year or two off isn't that big a deal. However, I was sure "If I was your woman" was out before even I could remember and that Syesha was outing herself as being the youngest looking mid thirty-something in America. I had no idea Stephanie Mills did a remake, but really, should that count?

I'm not sure if it's the right year, but if David Archuleta came out singing "I like big butts and I cannot lie..." I would have bought that on itunes tout de suite.

I think Brooke White and Archuleta should take a note from Simon and sing a duet together surrounded by animated creatures. They'd still be the cutest (and least edgy) things on stage.

As for accidents, I always expect someone to drop the mike during hand changes. I'm sure everyone expects someone to trip as they sing down the stairs, but I think I'd prefer to see someone drop the mike between the staircase and then have to awkwardly bend over (ass to the camera) to fish it out, then blithely recover smiling gamely, fingers snapping away as if nothing happened.

Anonymous said...

Thought Mercado did pretty well by "If I Were Your Woman," except grammatically. The English major in me almost popped a blood vessel:

"If I was (sic) your woman,
And you were my man..."

Okay, she blows the first line, which she could've gotten correct by referring to the damn title of the song, then gets the second line right? Then she continues the mistake until the last chorus, which she gets right. WTF?

Since Gladys Knight didn't have this problem, I'll give Syesha the benefit of the doubt that she was just being true to Stephanie Mills' cover, which I haven't heard.

How great would it have been if Randy had said, "Dawg, that was da bomb -- but you gotta watch that subjunctive mood."

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Seabiskit even TOLD the judges David was singing a cover version and WHOSE cover before he started.

Anonymous said...

Well the judges, understandably, pay no attention to anything Seachrest says.

Who does?

Anonymous said...

I believe Jason Castro and John Travolta's Psychlo character Terl from Battlefield Earth were actually separated at birth as can be shown by this comparison I put together:

Anonymous said...

"Fragile" is actually a great Sting tune from "Nothing Like the Sun" I believe. Castro killed it.

I don't get Archuleta. That song choice was TERRIBLE.

Anonymous said...

Ah, unfunny comedians. Where does one start?

There was a fellow named London Lee (not, I'm guessing, his real name) who appeared frequently on the Sullivan show. Note to aspiring comics: whining about being brought up in a wealthy family does not endear you to an audience. Unless, maybe, you're headlining at Skull & Bones.

I was at the Troubadour, watching Robert Klein's act (he was fairly big at the time) when a friend turned to me and remarked, accurately, "Gee. I have funnier conversations around the dinner table." Not that Klein wasn't amusing (though I prefer him as an actor), but anybody has funnier conversations around the dinner table.

Except, maybe, Stanley Myron Handleman. Another one who showed up fairly often on the old variety and talk shows. The audience the night I saw him was doing its imitation of the brick wall at the back of comedy clubs. Some comedians can make something approaching lemonade from such a situation. Andy Kaufman curried that kind of response. Mr. Handleman, needless to say, blamed the response on the audience. All of us.

Ironically, or maybe not, for many years, Handleman taught a comedy class at UCLA.

Anonymous said...

Wrong thread, anonymous, but anyway...

I actually saw Stanley Myron Handleman a few years ago at the Ice House in Pasadena, the night that a friend was on the bill. I was stunned -- hadn't seen or heard a thing about him in something like 30 years. Don't remember a thing he said, but I think I enjoyed it on some nostalgic level.

Unknown said...

London Lee is an heir to the Lee Jeans family. He actually has a myspace page:

Anonymous said...

"Kristy Lee Cook followed with the most blatant example of pandering I’ve ever seen.

The biggest disappointment was NOT seeing Simon Cowell rip her head off and instead, speak admiringly of her move, the song and Lee Greenwood.

Lee freaking GREENWOOD, the man who shound make any thinking person's skin right off their body...Jesus.

The "Billie Jean" version was terrific but it loses a lot when it's based on someone else's performance.

Props to the guy for apt and scathing use of "ghastly", however.

The Castro kid made me guffaw when he said he predicted people would be "SHOCKED" to find him in the bottom three. The only shock I've had with this guy in the last two weeks was that he managed to pull himself away from the bong long enough to find the stage. There's bad and then there's disinterested - a combination of the two is horrific.

Anonymous said...

"Lee freaking GREENWOOD, the man who shound make any thinking person's skin right off their body...Jesus."

What does that mean??