Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Idol Recap: Welcome To Dollywood!

Ryan Seacrest starts the show with an April Fool's joke, threatening a "Moment of Truth" episode starring Simon Cowell. Har-Har. I'd rather see an episode with the show's producers -- I have some questions for them.

Tonight's guest is Dolly Parton. Cue retrospective: big hits, big rack, the end. And she was in 9 to 5, which was a great movie that spawned a bad TV show with Rita Moreno. And also she plays her acyclic fingernails like a makeshift musical instrument. Who needs a tambourine when there's Lee Press-On Nails to be had? The South is a strange place.

Brooke "Jolene"

Dolly mentions Brooke's honesty as a performer, and yup, that's Brooke. She does a nice job with the song while a happy looking bald mustachioed man bangs the drum. He looks like a diner owner and it's distracting. Why am I hungry for disco fries now? Anyways, the performance is a Brooke Special.... I love her to pieces, but the girl isn't going to get any better. She's destined to last a few more weeks and then we will all bid a tearful farewell. We'll all by very sad, and a year from now we'll have trouble remembering her name, cuz that's how we all roll with this show.

David Cook "Little Sparrow"
Listen up, kids, The Show is about to tell us something. Ryan Seacrest asks David how he gets the inspiration for his songs, allowing him to "come clean" about those arrangements to "Billie Jean" (inspired by Chris Cornell) and "Eleanor Rigby" (inspired by Seattle band, Doxology). In case you've been under a pop culture rock, Cook has come under scrutiny for "stealing" the arrangements and then being lauded as an "original." I mean, have people watched the show before? This is the 7th season, peeps. And we've seen this sort of thing before with Chris Daughtry ("I Walk Alone"), David Archuletta ("Imagine") and others. Do you really think these people are constructing original arrangements like that in a week's time? Anyway, David tells he's doing his OWN arrangement this week. All this folderol is to prove that David is a Serious Artiste.

I have no idea what he's changed in this song, cuz I am completely unfamiliar with the original. It all sounds good -- hard rocking in the right places and softer in others. This actually reminds me of a Chris Cornell vocal, as far as what he does with the song. And it doesn't sounds at all country, so I like it muchly. The judges bring the love because David Cook is their new steady boyfriend.

Ramiele "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind"
Our cute yet clueless Ramiele bonds with Dolly Patron over height. That's about as deep as it gets. The song? It's all so-so-ish, as you might expect from Ramiele, the girl that just don't get it. Me and the judges are running out of things to say about this girl. Fourteen and a half minutes and ticking...

Jason "Travelin' Through"
Seacrest shows Jason multiple gushy-fan postcards from the same girl. I suspect they are really from Ryan. Jason steps up his game this week. It's evolved from "Coffeehouse Hippie" to a "CD that you see at the counter of Starbucks that costs $15.95." Why are they $15.95 and does anyone buy them? It's Jason-level good. His days are pseudo-numbered, but he doesn't seem to much care.

Carly "Here You Come Again"
This is a good song choice for Carly and she does a good job with it. It's her best performance is weeks. Randy likes, Paula loves, Simon blanches. Simon even is suddenly Joan and Melissa Rivers fused together with Kojo and snarks on her wardrobe. Why is he such a meagbitch? Because he can be. (<-- "Heathers" reference!) If she sang this three weeks ago, they'd be employing the Kelly Clarkson subliminal messaging. "That sounded like when Kelly Clarkson cleared her throat in week four!" Carly, dear, how do I put this delicately? The Show is breaking up with you.

David Archuletta "Smoky Mountain Memories"

Dolly is so touched by David's voice that she fears her mascara may run, which may cause a chain reaction in which her face will melt. The Golden Child does a nice job with the song. The judges love, and react as if David's magic music has ended world hunger and solved the oil crisis. Perspective? You will find none here.

Kristy Lee Cook "Coat Of Many Colors"
This should be Kristy's night to shine. Remember the sacrilegious "Eight Days a Week" country hoedown? I think that song might have killed the Fifth Beatle. Well, that kind of asinine behavior is welcome this week. None of Dolly's songs focus on God and America, so Kristy has no convenient "get out of jail free" card.

Kristy actually does a nice job with this song, giving it the appropriate country twang as needed. It still sounds like anything you might hear in a roadside bar somewhere in the South. I'm reminded of the Simpsons' Lurlene Lumpkin. Randy and Paula mildly love, while Simon calls it "pleasant but forgettable." Kristy, if you do have a pipeline to God, it's time to call in some favors....

Sayesha "I Will Always Love You"
A song originally by Dolly, and possibly more famously covered by Whitney. Yes, Sayesha dares sing a Whitney, which is the American Idol equivalent of saying "Bloody Mary" three times in a mirror at midnight. It's also a bit of a cheat... a way to NOT do a "country song" on Dolly night. Sayesha does a nice job with the song, but why do so many of her two minute songs feel like 200 minutes? Watching a Sayesha performance, I always feel like I'm waiting in line at the bank. The judges banish Sayesha from the Garden of Idol for daring to evoke The Whitney.

Michael John "Its All Wrong, But Its Alright"

Michael John admits to going to a Dolly concert in 1986, when half the contestants were not yet born. I am slightly amused by Michael singing his heart out in practice, and hitting some Peter Brady level voice-changing clinkers. Or, clunkers, as Alice would say. Keep Michael? Dump Michael? Let's find out...

First, Michael has an ascot.Michael, you are neither Fred from "Scooby Doo" nor Charles Nelson Reilly. No ascots, please and thank you. The performance is actually one of Michael's better ones. He actually doesn't hit any bum notes. He gets a bit shouty, but I think the song is a bit shouty as well. Keep Michael. This week, at least.

Who's going home on Wednesday?
Sayesha, you have angered The Whitney and now you must pay the price....

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