Wednesday, April 07, 2010

AMERICAN IDOL: John, Paul, Crystal, and Siobhan

It was Lennon & McCartney night and not only did the kids pretty much rise to the occasion, no one sang “Imagine”! How many times have we heard that song trampled? I am a little disappointed no one did “ Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” and “I Am the Walrus” (I would have loved hearing Kara scold Katie Stevens for not making the lyric “yellow matter custard/dripping from a dead dog’s eye” her own) but all in all a solid night.

And what would a Beatles song be like without a didgeridoo or the bagpipes? Both were employed last night. I worry that this trend to be original and surprising will escalate to where Crystal is playing a musical saw with her teeth and Lee is accompanying himself on the Exedrin Thumb Piano.

Aaron Kelly kicked things off with “The Long and Winding Road”. I liked it better than the judges did. Simon blasted the arrangement. I can just imagine Phil Spector sitting with his fellow inmates in federal prison (those hardened criminals are just suckers for singing competitions), enjoying his one hour respite from being passed around like a lit joint, only to hear his gorgeous arrangement ridiculed on national television. Oh are those zany guys from cell block D gonna razz him for that!

Katie Stevens (another reason I’m sure the convicts are such Idol fans) gave one of her best performances, to date singing “Let It Be”. Kara (who is starting to look alarmingly like Jack Lord) complimented her on rebounding after three sub-par weeks. Katie is growing on me.

Andrew Garcia sang “Can’t Buy Me Love”. A better choice might have been “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party So I’ll Go”. Andrew’s not in the league of the front runners and even a Bowafridgeaphone or a gas tank orchestra would not help him at this stage.

If this was 1966 Tim Urban would be a member of the Monkees and a bigger star than all the American Idols put together. But it’s 2010 and I’m afraid he’s going home soon after Andrew.

Big Mike Lynche turned “Eleanor Rigby” into a Luther Vandross song. But then he turns every song into a Luther Vandross song. The judges were mixed. But compared to David Cook’s amazing version of the song from season 7, Big Mike paled.

Simon is always criticizing the contestants for sounding like they’re in a musical but where’s the only place former Idol kids can get work? In Broadway musicals. Don’t kid yourself Simon. You may think these young singers strive to be Kelly Clarkson. They’d kill to be Ethel Merman.

Crystal Bowersox gave the performance of the night with “Come Together” despite the fact that she had bronchitis. Her didgeridoo player hung in there with her and at one point he held a note so long I thought he was going to blow his liver out through the horn.

Casey James did a heartfelt version of “Jealous Guy”. Here’s my problem with Casey: no one that good looking should ever be allowed to sing the blues. What kind of anguish has this guy had to endure? Being stalked by Kara ?

Siobhan Magnus always looks so cute – except on show night. Then she turns into an audience member of a midnight “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening. This week she came dressed as Madonna during her ill advised “Papa Don’t Preach” phase. But I love Siobhan. Maybe it’s because I once had a crush on Kim Darby but I do believe she’s an extraordinary singer. After weeks of power screeching she backed way off and did a beautiful sensitive interpretation of “Across the Universe”. If she doesn't win this competition she too is headed to Broadway. She'll be starring in "the Addams Family" by Halloween.

Lee Dewyze had the pimp spot and sang “Hey Jude”. Since Idol is always looking for new ways to fill time (now they have exit interviews reminding us just how much we all miss “The Weakest Link”) “Hey Jude” is the perfect song because it can be sung forever. Lee was joined inexplicably by a bagpipe player. Ellen had the line of the night saying the kilted musician had veered off from his parade.

There was no celebrity mentor this week although I’m sure if the kids wouldn’t mind mingling with 200 rapists, murderers, and Goldman-Sachs executives, I’m sure Phil Spector would have been happy to give them all tips.


BeatleFan said...

Seriously? Phil Spector's "gorgeous" arrangement of "Long and Winding Road"? Hasn't McCartney gone on record more than once saying he thought Spector ruined his song with the drippy arrangement? (Not to mention how Spector overdid "Let It Be.") Aaron's version was just as sucky, so yeah, I guess it did add up to Spector's version.

Look, the only ones who had much going for them were Katie and Crystal. All the rest sounded as if they were in a high school...talent show (NOT a glee club where kids can actually sing).

Siobhan? Really? Her version of "Across the Universe" demonstrated that aside from the ear-piercing scream she tends to do with each song she really has a rather weak and mundane voice.

I think tomorrow night the group sing should be a rousing rendition of "Why Don't We Do It In The Road." I mean, with a Ford Focus tie-in, it could really be fun. Just think of Big Mike lying down in the road in front of an approaching Ford, with all the kids hanging out the sides and back singing "No one will be watching us, why don't we do it in the road." Groovy!

And now, a moment of silence for the career of Kim Darby.

By Ken Levine said...

Beatle Fan,

Your Ford Focus suggestion is tasteless and over-the-top and I'm sure better than what they'll do.

Pat Reeder said...

I haven't been watching this at all (I have writing deadlines to hit every night), but my wife is. Last night, I happened to walk in just as she had the DVR paused on Crystal Bowersox. Gotta admit, I was underwhelmed. If she had bronchitis, maybe that was part of the problem, but I've heard "Come Together" done better in countless coffee houses over the years.

To me, the problem was that she was putting so much intense passion into the lyrics, which could only come across as phony because the words are total gibberish. Honestly, was she really moved deep down to her very soul by the thought of someone who got toejam football shooting monkey finger? "Playful" is really the only way to go with that song. Otherwise, you come across like John Belushi as Joe Cocker, working himself into an epileptic fit while singing "Three Little Fishes."

I was waiting for Simon, at least, to say it was a misstep and not her best. Really surprised that they all praised it so highly. But when they said she's "in the zone," maybe they meant the zone where they see her as a big enough potential cash cow that she's beyond criticism, even when it's deserved.

VW: "guaman" - How Elmer Fudd pronounces the name of the owner of the Chinese Theater.

Ryan said...

Anybody catch the name of Big Mike's family's band name? "The Lynch Gang". I know it's his last name...but, still, there's something very, very wrong about that.

Unknown said...

No, it was the Lynche MOB. My mind was blown. I kept looking around going - really? That's okay?

Alyson said...

To Ryan: Thank you - I THOUGHT that's what they said, but then I figured I must have misheard. The Lynche Gang. Eesch.

Casey was the best of the night for me. He's slowly growing on me.

Flatsy McNasty said...

More of a Friday question here.... Have you ever considered doing book reviews on this blog?
I just read a biography of Allen Carr ("Party Animals") and I think it would appeal to you and your readers.
Everyone remembers Carr's infamous Oscar broadcast with Rob Lowe and Snow White. But I didn't know of his promotional genius. (Carr made his first million with a recut version of "Survivors!" about the team plane crash in the Andes. Not to be confused with "Alive!", this was a cheapie Mexican film.)
The behind the scenes story of the disco flop "Can't Stop the Music" is fascinating.
"Party Animals" does a suprisingly good job of giving Carr credit where he deserved it while chronicling his excesses. (One complaint: We know Carr was fat,gay and wore caftans. No need to keep telling us!)
Anyhow, Ken, as someone who met Carr, I bet you would like this book. I hope you get a review copy and write it up. Here's another review:

BigTed said...

I don't think Tim Urban actually rocks hard enough to be a member of the Monkees. He's more like a Bobby Sherman/David Cassidy/Donny Osmond clone, crooning his way to a 1971 cover of "Tiger Beat."

Unknown said...

I just love reading your posts on Idol - sooo funny.
I gotta say, I was shocked at how good everyone was. It's hard to overcome expectations of sucking, and Katie and Tim did.
Casey actually gave my daughter goosebumps, and she isn't like that. We were really moved by his performance. And I think he's enough of a goofball to have experienced rejection in his life...
Siobhan was so nasal! Horrible! I felt so bad for her! I was so relieved that the judges were kind, I don't think she can handle criticism, she's a very delicate, rare blossom. I adore her. But she needs some voice lessons.
And the Lynche Gang... I was shocked and instantly wondered about his parents.

BeatleFan said...

Yeah, Ken, but in a battle between a POS Ford Focus and Big Mike, Big Mike wins hands-down. He could rise from the road, grab the Ford in one hand, with the kids all falling out in comedic fashion, and end the song in Iron Mike Tyson fashion.

I'd even watch that, instead of turning the sound to mute when those inane Ford promos come on during the program.

BeatleFan said...

KIDS! For the SECOND time (someone else corrected this previously), the inappropriate name for Big Mike's family band was: The Lynche Mob

No wonder they didn't get many bookings. Well, maybe in the South. . .

Okay, I kid, I kid. But really: The Lynche Mob????????

Tom Quigley said...

Considering how unmoved I was by most of last ngiht's perfomances, maybe Aaron shold have started the show with "The Long and Boring Load".... Even in jail, Phil Spector's probably laughing cynically to himself, since I'm sure he makes money every time the original version from the "Let It Be" album is played...

Andrew Garcia sang "Can't Buy Me Love"... It's too bad he couldn't buy an arrangement...

Was hoping that Tim would stay fairly close to the original version of "All My Loving" but when he started lackadaisically strumming his guitar, I quickly gave up that thought... Maybe he and Andrew should think about teaming up to do a bad Las Vegas lounge Beatles tribute show... I'm sure they could probably give The Fabulous Scintas a run for their money...

I imagine that Crystal must have had to settle for the didgeridoo accompaniment only after it was determined that they couldn't fit a humpback whale on stage...

I didn't understand the judges' mostly positive response to Lee's cover of "Hey Jude" ... Besides being off-key for about half of it, he sounded about what I imagined it would sound like if Al Pacino were trying to make his way through the song... I started saying to the TV "Hey, Lee! Buddy! If you find a melody somewhere in all you're singing there, grab it and hang on..."

Overall regarding the show, I felt the same way last year about the idea of a Lennon-McCartney night... Why don't some of the contestants do a Beatles song in tribute to one of the judges? For instance, for Randy someone could sing "I am the Walrus"; for Ellen: "Polythene Pam"; for Kara: "Dizzy Miss Lizzy"; and for Simon: "Mean Mr. Mustard"... Oh, and not to forget Ryan: "Lovely Rita"...

When it was over, I started humming a song to myself that I thought was appropriate -- not by Lennon & McCartney, but by George Harrison: "Isn't It A Pity"....

Anonymous said...

Siobhan Magnus - Wanted to strangle her. There was something so restrained and unawesome about her vocals and tears. Hope she goes home.

Anonymous said...

Siobhan Magnus - I wanted to strangle her. Something so restrained about her last nite's performance. She drove me crazy. Hope she goes home.

Jane Davis, Mountain View, CA

l.a.guy said...

I thought Casey's Jealous Guy was the best performance of the night. To me Crystal was predictably good but not remarkable and Siobhan was okay. The rest-- not so much.

One thing that always kills me about Idol is they usually have to rearrange the songs in order to shorten them and most songs don't lend themselves to being cut down. In that regard Hey Jude was a suckers trap... the emotional pay-off to the song is the almost anthem like "Na-na-naah..." repetition at the end, but in order to do it they had to gut the lyrics and even then didn't have enough time to do the end of the song justice. Of course by the time the bag pipe guy came out I didn't care anyway. Bagpipes!? What, the Macarena guys weren't available?

JD said...

I have to second the confusion about the praise they gave Lee for "Hey Jude." What we have here is singing in two keys, maybe three...perhaps none. Yikes.

DwWashburn said...

I usually play internet poker on a laptop while my wife watches Idol. Last night, I saw they were going to "sing" the catalog of Lennon-McCartney and I went reaching for the headphones so I could listen to Dennis Mitchell's Breakfast with the Beatles online. Allowing these "singers" to publicly attempt Beatles' songs is equivalent to allowing Shakespeare to be performed by chihuahuas.

And please carefully choose your Monkees' references. Most of these "singers" could not even make the grade in the New Monkees. I'll bet most of them couldn't even hold the Monkees' bananas. And by the looks of some of the male "singers", I'll bet they would love to hold those bananas. Of course they would have to wait their turns after Seacrest and Cowell.

Matt said...

The Lynch Mob!!! Hilarious

There are certain things that large black men can make light of that white men can't.

Shockingly one of these things is the murder of large black men by white men.

This is not inappropriate, it is brilliant.

It is the only creative spark he has shown so far.

BTW, I am now watching David Archeletta butcher Imagine. If he had done this on the show he would have gone home in week 10.