Thursday, May 22, 2008

Idol Recap :: Davids II Electric Boogaloo

It is upon us! The Season Finale (or, Finally!) of American Idol. Ryan tells us that there was a kagillion votes as the Davids stand, decked out in their Backstreet Boys Best.

Outliving their 15 minutes of fame are Mikalah Gordon (reporting from Kansas City) and Matt Rogers (reporting from Salt Lake City). Mikkalah was one of those middle-runners from a past season. She's like a younger Fran Dresher only more annoying. Yeah, I know. And fame-whore Matt Rogers (another middle-runner) is equally annoying. This duo makes Constantine look like James Lipton.

Then there's a musical dance number with this year's top 12. Odds are, in the next year, 1 of them will be arrested, 1 will star on Broadway, 1 will become a moderate-selling country artist and 1 will have nude photos surface. Have fun guessing their fates!

Davids Duet: "Hero". Followed by in-show commercial for "Love Guru"... it's Austin Powers jokes recycled in Hindu!

Sayesha/Seal Marvel Team-Up.

Jason Castro sings "Hallelujiah" and remembers all the words.

A Ford video montage. Really, they are barely trying anymore. Can we do something new with this sponsor? Cue the Davids acting shocked when Seacrest gives them Ford Hybrids. Because they've never watched this show before.

All-girls singing a Donna Summer medley. Most of 'em do fairly well,,, Ramiele continues to "not get it" and Amanda Overmeyer is composed of pure, unfiltered fail. Donna Summer sashays in and puts them all to shame.

Carly Smithson and Michael Johns sing "The Letter." They actually do a pretty good job with this and harmonize quite well. And its ascot-free! Thank you, Michael.

Jimmel Kimmel returns. He was the one entertaining things about "Idol Gives Back." I'm sure Robin Williams is sitting home in his 1980s comedy time warp waiting for the phone to ring.

The all-guys medley is a Bryan Adams extravaganza, featuring his less-estrogen infused playlist. Y'know, stuff before 1993. Then he lost his testicles and starting producing lite-love-song crap.

Glamazon Jordin Sparks hawks the Disney "American Idol" experience. Just when ratings are declining. Way to strike while the iron is cooling, Disney!

David Cook sings "Sharp Dressed Man" with ZZ Topp. 'Tis good.

Mikalah returns again. Is my karma that bad?

Brooke/Graham Nash Duet. Pleasant.

The Jonas Brothers. I guess non-threatening pre-pubescent boy bands never quite go out of style. The sorority mosh pit pretends to like them.

Next is the "clip show" segment from auditions week. They trot out that guy that sang "I Am Your Brother". This is why other countries hate us.

One Republic performs "Apologize." Good song. David Archuletta joins in. It all sounds good.

Attention-Succubus Matt Rogers returns. Doesn't this guy have a job?

Jordan Sparks emerges wearing a Bratz doll prom dress. It's another light-weight pop confection. Not a fan. The camera cuts to Blake Lewis, who is singing this song from the audience. Curious, if a little "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane"-ish.

Next, we get a segment from 1972 of Gladys Knight singing "Midnight Train To Georgia" with The Pips. But it's not The Pips, it's digitally-inserted Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. I can't begin to imagine how this was brainstormed.

Carrie Underwood singing her mild brand of country music. Not by cup of Texas chili, but good for what it is. The ffwd button is my friend.

Guitar Hero has two amusing commercials parodying the famous scene from Risky Business." One has David Cook, and the second has David Archuletta. It looks like child labor laws require 'Lil Archie to wear boxers. I wonder if they allowed PapArchuletta on the shoot?

The Top 12 one last time, singing a George Michael Medley. Hot mess import George takes a break from sleeping at the wheel of his car to make a "surprise" appearance. Stripper David phone-mimes at George Michael and mouths "call me."

Before the judgement comes in, Simon says "I don't really care who wins, I think you've both done terrific." I believe the first half of that sentence, Simon.

And the winner is....

David Cook!

It's a bit of an upset, really. The judges applaud, and Simon looks surprised and sorta thrilled. Wow, I think, for the first time in the history of the show that the winner wasn't clear cut. Cook sings out "Time Of My Life", not the treacly song from "Dirty Dancing"... this is an entirely new treacly song.

There are tears and applause and fireworks. And somewhere in the audience, PapArchuletta is polishing his tire iron. Watch your back in the parking lot, Cook!

Well, that's it, Idolers. See you next year where we obsess about a bunch of people whose names we will forget 3 months later.

Walko, out (until 2009)!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Idol Recap :: Davids and Clive-iath

Last Wednesday, Sayesha was sent packing and The Show rubbed its maniacal hands together with glee. Ever since The Show kicked Carly to the curb, it's been angling for a David v David finale. Also, Wednesday, Fantasia had a ghetto fit live on stage.. stomping and braying and sweating, all at the same time. I think she called it singing. Look up "hot mess" in the dictionary, and there should be a picture of pink-haired sweat-tarded Fantasia. Simon had the same reaction I did. Sometimes I [heart] live television.

So, tonight, the evening starts with an embarrassing faux-fight intro with Cook and Archuletta as 'contenders'. They both look wildly embarrassed. Anyone with sense would. This kind of shit would be deemed too corny for "The Donny and Marie Show."

So who is "guiding" these contenders? Every one's favorite mummified music mogul, Clive Davis, and every one's favorite British glamourpuss, Andrew Lloyd Weber.

David Cook "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
Mumm-Ra and Glamourpuss chose this one for David, and he avails himself quite nicely. It's wisely not a Bono-copycat performance, as Cook plays to his vocal strengths. He even parts the sea or sorority girls like a modern-day musical Moses. Thumbs up from the judges.

David Archuletta "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
David starts this one just sitting on the stairs, cuz he's soulful and thinks of homeless people. It's vocally good stuff, but it's another Arculett-a-bot performance. As the judges praise, David looks like he's going to faint like a Silent Movie Heroine any second. Simon declares round 1: Archuletta. Hey, no hot iron burns from PapArchuletta tonight!

Round 2 is the songwriter's choice round. Last year, the best song they found was the platitude-stuffed trifle, "This Is My Now." It makes a Hanna Montana song look like Zed Zeppelin by comparison.

David Cook "Dream Big" by Emily Shakleton
I'm glad David is slurring some of the words, because the ones I am hearing should carry a saccharine warning. This would totally rock if it was sung by "Jem in The Holograms" circa 1986. Jem would totally sing this to one of those her orphan girls. (Isn't it about time for Jem's glam-tastic return?) Cook does a good job with the song, in a radio-friendly lite-rock sorta way. If there's every a "Wedding Singer 2", this track should be on it!

David Archuletta "In This Moment" by Roger Gilmore
"In This Moment" is like the long-lost twin to "This Is My Now." 'nuff said. It's an Archuletta ballad. His arm is appropriately pleading, his eyes strategically closed. And sometimes, it looks like his food is disagreeing with him. It's vocally good, but visually, there's that auto-pilot Archulett-a-bot. Judges love (rinse and repeat). Simon declares round 2: Archuletta.

David Cook "The World I Know"
Originally by Collective Soul, David sings this one with his altera-rock growl. This could totally be one of those songs in the last scene on an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" when a lot of character shit is going down in slow motion. David does a good job with the song, owning it just enough yet keeping it recognizable. As the song ends, Cook is overcome with some emotion as some tears well up in his eyes. "Member that smug David Cook in the top 24? What a character arc!

David Archuletta "Imagine"
David reprises his winning "think of the homeless" rendition of "Imagine" from his top 24 performance. It's exactly what you'd imagine it to be. 'Lil Archie has somehow managed to musically channel a myriad of emotions he's never actually felt. The judges all but crown Archuletta right there. Simon declares it a knock-out.

Simon nicely hates on Cook, in comparison to Archuletta anyway, all night. I'm not sure why Simon is pushing for Archuletta, cuz Cook would make more radio-friendly songs. iTunes certainly agrees. Not sure what's up there. I guess maybe because Simon was bored most of the season, maybe he hasn't been paying attention. Listen, Cowell, only Paula is allowed blackouts.

So who's going home? The all great and powerful Show would say Cook, making 'Lil Archie the Idol Puppet. I'd rather see Cook win, but that looks doubtful.

Now, someone slap some formaldehyde on Clive Davis, or he won't keep for 2009.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Idol Recap :: Three Falling

While Jason Castro travels home to catch up on his TiVo Season Pass of "Weeds", Ryan takes us through the the three remaining contestants: the teenager, the actress, and the bartender. Some would say the puppet, the diva and the thief. This is American Idol, bitches.

This week, the remaining Idolers sing three songs each: one chosen by a judge, one chosen by themselves, and one chosen by the producers. In honor of the theme, I'm taking three aspirin before the show begins.

David Archuletta "And So It Goes"
Paula chooses for David to sing "And So It Goes" by Billy Joel. Gheppeto-esque PapaArchuletta watches his little puppet dance - from a safe distance in the audience. You see, PapaArch was banned from the American Idol rehearsals for his overbearing suggestions, which caused the show to shell out some extra cashola to Sean Kingston. "Ruin a young boy's psyche all you like, PapArch... but don't cost us money," soulless Show whispers.

The performance? It's technically good, if a little boring. Paula and Randy love, while Simon keeps it real by saying it was "very good" if "predictable."

Sayesha "If I Ain't Got You"
Randy chooses for Sayesha to sing "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. It's all technically good, if perhaps a little Wedding Band-ish. The judges somewhat begrudgingly love. Sayesha says she feels comfortable enough to be herself now. Would that be a not-so grating, unprecocious non-child-star? Please?

David Cook "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
David Cook checks his fake text message from Simon Cowell while he's a guest on Fox4, telling him to sing "First Time I Ever Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack. I bet Simon really sent him nude photos of Vanessa Hudgens.

Seacrest tries to back some lame gay joke about Simon's song choice for David, but no one's subscribing to "Seacrest Gay Innuendo Weekly" anymore. David actually goes a good job with the song, switching it up just enough and singing in key while he's doing it. The judges approve.

David Archuletta "With You"
David sings "With You" by Chris Brown. It's another one of David's strange up-with-people numbers that seem stolen from Elton John's drawer labeled "rejected Disney songs." David stiffly hops in place and points at the Alpha Delta Cappa Mosh Pit. In short, David is a Mousketeer trying to be Rick Spingfield. The judges pretend to love because they want that David-David finale.

Sayesha "Fever"
Sayesha no doubt picked Peggy Lee's "Fever" because the judges stuffed her in the sassy Broadway box a few weeks back. Sayesha vamps and sashays around a chair, but comes across as a declawed sex kitten. After mildly molesting the Cello player, Sayesha continues to sass up the stage hoping to earn the judges' favor. To be fair, it's a perfectly fine vocal performance, if a little tame and withdrawn with the real attitude needed to carry this off. Not the high school play faux attitude seen here.

The judges all hate her song choice. Sayesha looks genuinely disappointed, since she is sitting squarely in the very box the judges placed her in. But remember, it's gotta be a David-David finale, peeps.

David Cook "Dare You To Move"
David Cook chooses to sing Switchfoot's "Dare You To Move," and the audience pretends to know who Switchfoot is. Turns out to be a bad song choice. David fancies himself an angst-alt-rocker, but his voice ain't strong enough to sustain the low-register growl that is a prerequisite for such a career choice. The big-swell notes get him somewhere, in a Daughtry-lite kinda way. The judges give gun-to-head decent reviews, because they want that Davidx2 finale.

David Archuletta "Longer"
Archuletta sings "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg. Once again, he gives the Disney-bot technically good performance. David injects some wistful melancholy in the song. He's probably just thinking about homeless people, since that worked for him back in the "Top 24" days 100 years ago. The judges praise, because we all know what they want that David-duo finale.

Sayesha "Hit Me Up"
The producers pick a perky but forgettable romp of a song for Sayesha. She does a fine job with it, but its ultimately disposable. Here's where the judges and The Show try to secure their David-David finale by taking the nails in Sayesha's coffin and smouldering them shut....

Randy says it was " just ai'ght for me" (Dick!). Paula says she's not sure if it's "good enough to get into the finals" (Bitch!) Simon mentions that her best moment was last week (British!), so hit the bricks, baby! Worse yet, they kill on her song choice, which was the producer's choice. Should they even bother giving us Sayesha's digits?

David Cook "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing"
The song starts off a big rough, but a few lines in, David hits his stride. Of course, the 90-piece band and overly powerful back-up singers don't hurt none. It's the Ricky Minor Supergroup Featuring David Cook. If The Show hasn't hedged enough bets, here comes the flashing lights, insisting "This dude is a major rocker, bitches!" Shock of shocks, the judges, they likey!

So who's going home? The Show desperately wants Sayesha to sashay her sass back to off-Broadway, so they can bask in their David-David finale.

Who I am to argue? The Show has spoken.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Idol Recap :: Rock n' Roll Hall of Lame

Ryan tells me I "must vote" this week because the competition is "closer than ever." Ryan, get off my jock.

We get a 3 minute retrospective on the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. It's in Cleveland for no discernible reason. Ryan hints that one of the contestants may end up there. Replacing a large poster of John Lennon maybe, as the cobbled together graphics convey. The sound you just heard is my world shattering.

David Cook "Hungry Like The Wolf"
David tells us that he'll be singing "Hungry Like The Wolf", and I'm distracted by his multiple dog collars. (Is he adding a silver necklace weekly?) For my money, Duran Duran is one of the most underrated yet influential bands. Yes, really. The performance? It's a rather weak and strained cover of the original. The judges aren't crazy about it, but they don't hate on it either, because The Show and David Cook are sleeping together.

Sayesha "Proud Mary"
As Sayesha tells us she was nervous about this song, she third persons herself again and relates "Sayesha, just do it." To that, I say, "Bill, don't vomit." This is a good choice for Sayesha. The vocals are good, overall. The performance? At times, I'm expecting a stripper pole to emerge from the floor. Randy is in heat, Paula thinks Sayesha has become a woman, Simon thinks it was a bad Tina Turner impression, and Ryan is wondering why his pants suddenly got tighter.

Jason "I Shot The Sheriff"
Perpetually high Jason has confessed that he's "kind of ready to go home.” This song may help you in that, Jason. It's a lazy, listless performance. The Show also wants Jason gone, and the judges hate on the performance. Thankfully, Paula only judges one song at a time from Jason this week.

David Archuletta "Stand By Me"
David says that he's sung this song many times to his dog. I'm sure David's much-reported meanie stage daddy PapArchuletta was pacing in the kitchen saying "Too many "oooohs"". It's a good performance, but plagued with maybe one too many runs "ooooooh, Stand By Me, oooh-oooh-oooh...." The judges love it and Simon faint-praises it as the "best performance of the night." Ryan mentions that it always looks like David is about to pass out and David tells him that judges faces "scare me." Or, is he afraid a bad judging means he'll be beaten with one of PapArchuletta's cabbie hats?

David Cook "Baba O'Riley"
Most of America would probably call this one "Teenage Wasteland," cuz that's the refrain. This song is about 75% better than David's first performance. He changes the arrangement in spots and the vocals are better. The judges mostly love, because The Show wants a David-David finale.

Sayesha "A Change Is Gonna Come"
Sayesha mentions that this was sung during a pivotal time in history (the Civil Rights Movement). And now, Sayesha is going to sing it during a pivotal time in her life (Top 4 American Idoler). Because the hundred-year struggle for human rights is tantamount to a reality show karaoke contest. Perspective? You have no place here. The performance? It's vocally strong, but a little slow and sluggish. Randy hates (oddly). Paula loves and says "Welcome to your dream." Simon also loves.

It seems like Sayesha is having a real moment, as she is overwhelmed with tears. Ryan asks her about it, and Sayesha says how the song related to her Idol experience. Somehow, Sayesha has co-opted the emotional strife of the Civil Rights Movement. Ladies and gentlemen: I give you Sayesha Mercado, Tyra Banks heir apparent. Oh, Sayesha. I actually liked you for 17 seconds.

Jason "Mr. Tambourine Man"

Jason picks this song for its folk-rock vibe. It's another tossed-off performance between bong hits. He actually forgets some words and "covers" by saying "And the nn-uhh-uhh-uhh- following you..." Really now, Jason? The judges repeat-hate and Simon tells him to pack his bags. I guess Jason wasn't kidding... he really does want to nn-uhh-uhh home.

David Archuletta "Love Me Tender"
David('s father) thinks it'd be a good idea to sing a love song at this stage of the competition. As usual, it's a technically good vocal performance. But, also as usual, it has the depth of a "Gossip Girls" episode. L'il Archie might as well be one of those anamatronic Disney characters. The judges love, because The Show desperately wants a David-David finale.

So who's going? There's an outside chance professional bottom-3er Sayesha maay go... but my gut tells me it's time for Jason to pack up the roach clips.