Thursday, May 27, 2010

Idol Recap :: DeWyze Move

0:01: Ryan introduces the two finalists: Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox both looking like errant students from Hogwarth's School of Soft Rock. As usual, Lee looks like he is chocking back vomit. This is Amercan Idol. The finale! Or as like to call it, The finally!

0:06: All The Remedial Idols are singing "School's Out For Summer" by Alice Cooper, all resembling hard-rockin' refuges from Eastland Academy on their way to the Chug-a-Lug. In case you're wondering, Crystal is totally Jo. Oh, and here's Alice Cooper. Someone tell him it's not 1976 anymore, and to wipe that make-up off his face.

0:12: Here's Kris Allen, reminding us of last season's fabulousness. Swaybots say "waddup!"

0:16: Simon Cowell retrospective. Stupid ass-hattery with Randy and Seacrest pretending to be glad.

0:18: Siobhan and Aaron singing "How Deep Is Your Love", followed by the two surviving Bee Gees singing the same. It actually manages to stay classy.

0:26: Big Mike singing "Takin' It To The Streets." Somewhere in the audience, I bet Rerun is totally recording this noise. "Rerun, it's called bootlegging. And it's ee-legal." Michael MacDonald enters, looking like someone just pulled him from a local Borders five minutes prior to this performance.

0:29: Oh, wonderful. Dane Cook. The criminally-unfunny faux-cool 38-year-old frat-boy comedian. Singing about Simon Cowell like a poor man's Adam Sandler. Didn't he have enough failed movies to fade away at this point? Please do us a favor and choke on a "sangwich" at "The BK Lounge."

0:31: A flock of auditioners who were slammed by Simon overtake the stage. Dumbass Ian Bernardo grabbed the mic and said, “Who cares? It’s all about Ian Benardo tonight!” and later added, “This is a Kanye moment” before his mic was cut. Dane Cook later tweeted, “That was not staged. Weirdo hijacked the song. Just glad he didn’t hit me in the face w/the mic or Americal [sic] Idol would b American Beatdown.” Yeah, nothing more threatening than an aggressive tweet, Dane. MTV News has more details if you care.

0:34: The girls singing a Christina Aguilera mega-mix, then joined by Christina, fresh from her time-travel journey raiding Madonna's closet from 1994.

0:42: Ricky Gervais, slumming, to say goodbye to Simon.

0:47: The guys singing a Hall and Oats mega-mix. Lee sounds great on "I Can't Go For That." He shoulda done sang that last night. Here's the real Hall (plus his new face) and Oats (minus the spectacular porn 'stash).

0:52: Seacrest reminds us to buy tickets for the Season Nine concert tour. I have more pleasant activities to schedule. Like that root canal I've been putting off.

0:53: Crystals' dad, looking like Vito at the gay bar.

0:54: Crystal and Alanis Morissette. I love how they change the line to "Is she perverted like me? Will she go down with you to the theater?" Because only total slut-skanks see movies. Often, I go trolling for whores at the Cineplex. Also, didja know this song is about FULL HOUSE's Dave Coulier? Never trust a guy who does Bullwinkle impersonations.

1:01: Carrie Underwood reminds us of the fabulous season four. Clothing furnished by The Fifth Element.

1:04: Kris Allen presents Crystal and Lee with new Ford Fiesta cars. (Really? Fiestas??? Further proof that Season Nine is decidedly low rent) They all pretend to be excited. The Michael Jackson Lisa Marie kiss was less staged.

1:06: Fresh from the Circle Inn, it's Casey James. Hey, he lost $50 to be here to sing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." Brett Michaels enters, now on his 7th or 8th life, I lost count.

1:15: Lee singing with Chicago (the band), because he's from Chicago. The Show never claimed to be creative.

1:18: Holy hell, it's attention whore Matt Rogers, a former contestant that just won't go away. His fat ass is in Chicago visiting Lee's peeps. He's screaming at us, because we don't hate him enough already.

1:19: Simon retrospective. "Simon the Flirt." Ridiculous grade school antics.

1:21: "Pants On The Ground" You knew this was coming. Uncle Larry, complete with Federline-esque back-up dancers wearing baggy pants. Now William Hung joins him. Utterly ridiculous.

1:28: Paula reminiscing, and making sense, in a taped segment. How many takes did this take? Paula now enters live on stage. Weird stand-up act. Debbie The Stage Manager waits in the wings with a tranq dart.

1:33: Brian Dunkleman spotted in flashback. He really did exist!

1:35: Simon's semi-serious goodbye, "I had the best ten years of my life. Thank you. And I'm going to miss you."

1:36: Former winners - Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordan Sparks, Kris Allen - singing "Together We Are One" for Simon. (David Cook - the only missing winner - was at a charity event) Then joined by a chorus of Idol also-rans from past seasons. Wow, I will say, this is a moment. I'm not even going to make fun of any of them. Although I'm sure it wasn't difficult for Taylor Hicks to clear his schedule. Damn. Almost made it.

1:38: Simon is touched.

1:44: Chorus of Season Nine also-rans. Did you forget their names already? You know you did. Janet Jackson enters, dressed like evil vampire Willow, sings a song medley.

1:52: Crystal and Lee retrospective.

1:54: Crystal and Lee singing "I Get By With A Little Help from My Friends." Lee sings Joe Cocker awesome-like, just as I predicted yesterday. Crystal rocks it. Crazy homeless looking Joe Cocker joins in. A nice moment.

2:01: The new American Idol of 2010 is... Lee DeWyze. He really loses his shit on stage.But quick, Lee, sing "Beautiful Day," we're running over!

Crystal is probably better served as a runner-up anyway. And Lee's pitch problems can be fixed in a recording studio, although it's unclear what kind of album he would even make. 'Cuz right now, he's like a dime store Nickelback.

And that, my friends, brings Season Nine to a close. It's been fun and exhausting, but mostly exhausting. This season has truly been the worst ever. The Judges have overtaken the show, the talent was super-thin, and The Show's manipulations get more and more transparent with each passing year. And, it's committed the worst sin of all: it's just been boring.

It's clear, Simon probably knew to get while the gettin' is good.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Idol Recap :: Dweezilsux

Tonight, Casey is back to singing at the Circle Inn for $50 a night. Payback is a cruel bitch.

Ryan starts the night announcing the "battle" between Lee and Crystal. I dunno, Ryan. This season, it's more like a schoolyard scuffle. A kerfuffle, if you will. So tonight, each of the Remedidols will be singing three songs: one redux, one Simon Fuller choice, and the coronation song.

The coronation song has mercifully been altered. It's no longer some variation on "The Dream of My Heart Will Make You Proud As Together We Can Reach The Stars." Now, it's a cover song. And the circle of karaoke life that is American Idol is now complete.

It's also Simon's last night. And by his limp, distracted feedback, it's like he's already checked out. Much like most viewers in the middle of this middling season of Forget-Me-Idols. So, onto the performances:

Lee DeWyze: Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”

Hmm. This wasn't as good or as memorable as the first time Lee sang this. It's mildly OK. Low energy level. Simon says, "I would expect more passion and excitement." Simon, if you're looking for passion and excitement, watch GLEE. Because here, these aren't the droids you're looking for.

Crystal Bowersox: Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”

Crystal killed this last time. It's mostly OK this time around, but a bit shrill in spots. What is happening tonight? The Judges all like it, and Simon says she's "back on her best." He's speaking British again.

Lee DeWyze: R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts”

This is a very strange choice for Lee. Michael Stipe's nasally whine is incompatible with Dweezil's rough timbor. It's almost OK as its own interpretation, but Lee would have better served covering an old Joe Cocker joint, making it completely modern. The Judges all but say "it sorta sucked a little, but our standards are low this year so s'allright."

Crystal Bowersox: Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet”

This song belongs in a special category. The category of "I'm so sick of this song so please burn the master tapes." You too, "Old Time Rock n Roll," you are in my cross-hairs. Crystal sings it OK enough, but it seems rushed and the arrangement is disjointed. The original was a sexy-swampy serenade to Elvis. This one devolves into Mamasox on a bender, shouting a la Siobhan Magnus. The Judges all like it, and Simon even thinks she "nailed it."

Lee DeWyze: U2′s “Beautiful Day”

"If Lee wins it all, this will be his single." A cover of U2's "Beautiful Day"? Um, OK. Once again, it's nothing very special. More of a "So-So Day." Lee just doesn't have the vocal range of Bono. I also think Lee's nerves are getting to him. If only he would vomit live on stage. It would be the moment of the season. The Judges were like, "wasn't good, but you got better during the season while everyone else sucked more, so good on you." Simon also brings out the "you're a nice guy" card, which is Cowellese for "you gonna lose." Although, that Jedi mind trick didn't work on Kris Allen. Because he either had more talent or a shitload of Midi-chlorians.

Crystal Bowersox: Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain”

Best performance of the night. This is a great Crystal moment, and should seal the deal for her as the winner this year. The Judges all like it, and Simon calls it... well, "the best performance of the night."

Retrospective on the season, backed by Will Young singing. Podunk girl who never rose an air-o-plane. Big Mike making a muscle (ugh). Casey stripping for Kara. Buffalo-Bill-like entity drawing lipstick hearts on a mirror. Pants on the ground. The robbed-from-top-24 Lilly Scott. Andrew Garcia singing "Straight Up" and unwittingly dooming himself. Seventies dude singing in his bathrobe. Tim Urban's on stage slip-and-slide moment. Group hug. It's like the remembrace-touch in LOST's sideways universe, only a thousand times less moving.

So who's gonna win? I'd say it's Mamasox's to lose, but a Dweezil upset wouldn't be unprecedented (see: Kris Allen). In truth, we the viewers win. As we are finally free of this lackluster season.

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST Finale :: This Is "The End"

So, did anyone truly think that LOST would end with answers to every island mystery?

Me neither.

I think the ending leaves several things open to interpretation (and I always imagined LOST would end with some ambiguity. I mean, have you watched the show?). But the last episode, aptly titled "The End," was largely a spiritual journey. Indeed, it explained the entire show as a spiritual journey.

Good And Bad

The bad: LOST didn't quite "play fair" for six seasons, now did it? By introducing so many "important" mysteries, only a scant few had any real significance. Walt's powers. The electro-magnetic energy. The four-toed statue. The "sickness." Why babies couldn't be born. What happened to Claire's hair. None of those burning questions ever truly got answered. (OK, Claire's hair was more unnerving than demanding-to-be-answered)

The good: In the end (or, in "The End"), a lot of those questions didn't really matter. The last half hour was layered with so many philosophical and spiritual themes, it rendered every scientific question moot.

In the first episode of season six, when Jack is on the plane "home" into the "sideways universe," he clutches his armchair as they hit some turbulence. Rose turns to him and says, "You can let go now." It's a line of dialogue echoed by Christian Shephard in the second-to-last scene, and damn, if that isn't the whole theme of the show.

There's some post-finale discussion about "what's real" and what's not. Was the sideways universe purgatory? Was the island their "real life"? Or was the island a stopover before purgatory? Or was the island a last flash before death? When did everyone die? In the plane crash? On the island? Or, to totally trip your mind, was there even a plane?

I can only offer my own interpretation. And the lovely thing about the finale, is that you can have a different way to see it, and we can both be right. As the multiple religious ornaments in the funeral parlor indicate, we all have a different way of seeing the spiritual side of things.

I think LOST was largely from Jack Shephard's point of view. From the very first frame of the first episode, we see his eye open. It's also the closing shot of the entire series. I believe everyone died on the plane crash of 2004. (If indeed it was a plane, or just a metaphor for a journey into "the other side" after death).

Life, Death, Rebirth

The island, as I see it, is a mystical well of souls. A magical place for the dead to sort out their lives. To reconcile the things they need to reconcile. To lay them to rest. And once they complete that journey, they can "move on." The show has dealt with the themes of redemption and rebirth, so this fits perfectly with that notion. That cave light was, after all, "life, death, rebirth," we are told.

Christian's words in the second-to-last scene give many clues to interpret as you will. When Jack asks, "Are you real?" He answers, "I sure hope so. Yeah, I'm real. You're real. Everything that ever happened to you is real. All the people in the church. They're real, too."

Some fans want (or need) the island to be "real", in the sense that it's "not the afterlife." Perhaps Jacob, a force of good, gathered them on the island as a final test before their physical deaths. But whether you view the island as a mystical stopover - or an actual physical island that exists in the Pacific, it's irrelevant. It's "real" either way. And it's only our limited earthly perceptions that might view "afterlife" as "not real." Follow?

Nobody Goes It Alone

Christian goes on to say, "Nobody does it all alone, Jack. You needed them, and they needed you. To remember. And let go." (Hey, Rose said that, too!)

From this, I see the island as a mystical stopover in the afterlife created by the inhabitants. Something akin to a shared mass delusion, if you will. And although we are seeing the show from Jack's point of view, we also see Sawyer's journey, Kate's journey, Hurley's journey, etc. Because they all needed each other to reconcile their lives and make peace.

Now, some island residents can be "props characters" created by the island (and/or its inhabitants). It would explain why the Dhamrma Initiative characters didn't have to reconcile their issues. Or for characters like Shannon or Boone, the island may have been only part of their journey (and perhaps we didn't see some other parts). Or for characters like Nicki and Paulo, maybe they never reconciled what they needed to. Still concerned with their own selfish pursuits, they were incapable of redemption. For them, it may be an endless loop, or perhaps they went to "that other place" people go when they aren't good people. The place with pitchforks and heating problems.

Jacob and the Man In Black, I believe, are constructs created by the inhabitants (largely Jack, who was raised a Christian, but had little faith). Although Jacob and Man In Black evoke some familiar biblical characters (Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, God and Satan), Jack created his "own" version of God and Satan. So Jacob and Man In Black are a gestalt of those biblical characters swimming in Jack's head; From Jack's upbringing, he remembers the facts even if he doesn't believe in the faith. Also note that other characters in search of their own redemption may see them differently to suit their own journey. Richard Alpert, a man of faith, saw them as God and Satan. Perhaps others might see them as Yin and Yang, opposite sides in balance.

The flashbacks of seasons one through three, I see as their "real lives" more or less. It was everything they needed to reconcile and atone for. Things that still haunted them. Things they regretted in life. Some of those mystical elements in those flashbacks (Jacob's visits, Hurley's cursed numbers) can be seen as either "divine intervention" or a colored view of your own history that suits your personal spiritual journey on the island. When many of them did reconcile their issues, they moved up a "level" to "sideways universe." When Jin and Sun truly saw each others' true selves, they "died." When Sayid did enough to make up for his past by sacrificing his own life. He "died." And so on.

Letting Go

"Sideways Universe," I didn't see as purgatory (I know some viewers did). To use a Christian belief, it was more like the Gates of Heaven. Here, you got a taste of the other side. A reward for redemption. It's the final step before "heaven". Enlightenment. Nirvana. Call it what you will. (Pick a symbol or belief system from that room in the funeral home.) The ideas of "levels" in the journey is common in many Eastern religions. (And Jack did get that Asian tattoo in that Bai Ling episode everyone hated.) At any rate, "sideways universe" is where you finally "let go."

It's also interesting to note who is in the church. These are all characters who made some sort of amends on the island. No sign of evil eye-patch guy, or Nicki and Paulo. And even Ben isn't ready yet (probably not yet feeling worthy, even after years of off-screen repentance as Hugo's Island Keeper). But Ben's journey was always one of humility, wasn't it?

As for Jack, his journey was from cold, hard reason to embracing his faith. His inner conflicts always involved his obsession to "fix" things that often couldn't be fixed (the guy couldn't even "see" his own death, but unconsciously no doubt, thought he could "fix" that, too). In the beginning of season six, in the wake of the bomb, he's almost resolved himself to faith. It's his last step as the Island Protector that earns him a final redemption. Further proof it's all Jack's story? The series evolved from somewhat logic based (scientific experiments and electromagnetic energy) to full-frontal mystical (golden light and healing waters). So the backdrop of the island kinda mirrored Jack's metaphysical journey all six seasons.

At least, that's how I see it.

There will be a lot a naysayers that will be annoyed that many questions weren't answered. I think you have to go back and look at those "mysteries" in a new light - as symbols and themes, not actual science that can be broken down into mathematical equations. You could see the smoke monster as "guilt." Or the mysterious numbers as "adversity." Or the Dharma Initiative as "the man." Or the Others as "distrust."

In short, if you are still annoyed that they didn’t answer every “reason-related” question, you’re still “season one unenlightened Jack. “ If you embrace the spiritual ending fully, you are “season six enlightened Jack.” At least, that’s what the show is telling us. ; )

Or as Rose might say, "You can let go now."


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Idol Recap :: Doubled Over In Pain

Last week, Big Mike was sent back home to his new baby (did you know he had a new baby?). Tonight, the remaining Remedial Idols sing 2 songs each: one chosen by themselves, and the other is a song chosen by the Judges panel.

In kinder, less offensive news, Fox president Kevin Reilly told reporters that executives are aware of our complaints: “We’re changing the Idol format next year. We’re heard consistently from audiences they would like more performances, tighter results shows, so that’s what we’re going to do as we get into the spring.” That means a half hour results show. And hopefully, less sucktitude overall?

Tonight's show is very zip-zippy, with no mentor and all bizniss.

Casey James: Eric Hutchinson’s “OK, It’s Alright With Me”
If you don't know the original, it's an awesome low-key song by the under-rated Eric Hutchinson. By all rights, on paper, this matches Casey's bar-band-bluesy vibe. Oh paper, how could you be so wrong? It's a little off-key in spots... A virtual "Meh"lapalooza. The Judges all think it was just alright with them, as Simon notes, "it will leave no lasting effect" and a "dud song choice."

Crystal Bowersox: Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window”
Crystal chose Melissa Etheridge's “Come to My Window”, which is a perfect choice for her. There's some pointless harmonica playing, and the arrangement is needlessly changed. Mamasox should be rocking this out, but instead, it's a solid and somewhat uninspired rendition. The Judges found it so-so

Lee DeWyze: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”
This is probably Lee's best performance so far. Nary a pitch problem, and neatly within his range. This is the Lee we shoulda gotten six weeks ago... but well, finally. The Judges like it, and Simon even says "I don't think you've won round one, I think you crushed the other two."

Casey James: John Mayer’s “Daughters”
Casey James sings "Daughters" by John Mayer, selected by Kara and Randy. It's boring and hard to sing. Are The Judges fixing for a
Dewylsox finale? Conspiracy theorists: discuss. Also, Kara believes Case's audience is women and girls. And maybe some boys, too, Kara.

Casey mumbles his way through a sleepier version of this whiny dirge. Even the swaybots arms waft wearily, as if to say "please, bitch." The Judges mostly like, although Simon thought it was a "lazy arrangement."

Crystal Bowersox: Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed”

Ellen selects "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney for Crystal. It's a good song that showcases her vocal chops.The Judges love.

Lee DeWyze: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
Dear movies, TV and American Idol: Give this song a rest forever. Love, me. Ugh, this treacly, quasi-religious, whispery ode to "moment of faux importance" is eye-rollingly cliché. But then again, it looks like
Simon makes some coin each time this blight-on-humanity is played. Because, y'know, Simon needs more money.

It starts off wonderfully enough, but then becomes a bit of an overcooked ham, as an army of gospel singers enter... smokes wafts through the air... as Lee is bathed in white light. It's"Lee-sus Christ Superstar." It's good, but completely produced to be "epic."

The Judges love it, as Kara notes "you owned the night" and Simon says "you proved you're a fantastic singer and a great person." Yes, Lee, that Humanitarian Award is yours for the asking now.

So who's going home? Casey, I suggest you book
that $50 gig at the Circle Inn next Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Idol Recap :: Unwelcome To Hollywood

Last week, Harry Connick earned some props with such quotes as, “The word "Pitchy" does not exist judges. We need to stop saying that. He is singing out of tune." He also calls Casey a goat and snarks to Aaron, "Let's get serious, wipe that stupid smirk off your face." Meanwhile, Lady Gaga threw a hissy fit when the show cut her video by 90 seconds. But, then how could The Show fit in mindless elimination filler? Priorities, Lady (can I call you "Lady"?) And also, Aaron was eliminated and will undoubtedly body double for David Archuletta at some point in his "career."

Jamie Foxx returns as mentor tonight to give us "Songs of the Silver Screen." He's in the audience with t-shirts labelled "contestant" and "artist." Trying to up the game of the Remedial Idols, his Scooby-Snack-esque ploy involves rewarding the "true artists" with self-proclaiming t-shirts. So... Anyone want to buy 4 "artist t-shirts" from Jamie in 57 minutes?

In similar news, do you think the talent is worse this season? The pace slower? Simon's shirts too tight? You can honestly answer two of those three questions on the American Idol survey. So, if you haven't filled out your Idol survey explaining the various ways this show is terrible, then do so post-haste!

Lee DeWyze: Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose”

Lee sings that song from the Batman movie where costumes had nipples, and Nicole Kidman was the love interest. Seriously, the Ambiguously Gay Duo was less gay. And also, the song was played out on adult contemporary stations for 100 years after the movie. Lee sings the song well enough, but not spectacularly. Every week, Judges say, "step up your game," and every week, Lee's performances say, "I don't wanna." The Judges hand down the verdict, citing this week's performance as "just OK," "unoriginal" and "verging on karaoke."

Michael Lynche: Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There”

Blue lights. Those stairs. This is serious bizness, bitches. It's the song from "Free Willy." Swaybots all but sing, "Hallelujah." It's slightly religious and evokes a little Michael Jackson, so Big Mike is covering some bases this week - Blacks and Bible Belt vote. The performance is mild and lackluster. The Judges only sorta like.

Crystal Bowersox & Lee DeWyze:

Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová’s “Falling Slowly”

Lee and Crystal sing "Falling Slowly", previously both owned and pwned by last season's Kris Allen. Whereas his version was sweet and slightly longing, this version is louder and pop-ier than it needs to be. Like something from a new Disney animated movie soundtrack. The good news is, it's in tune and actually good in spots. The Judges all overly love it, and unsurprisingly, fail to even mention Kris Allen's version. And also, Judges, calm down.

Casey James: Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”

Casey is practicing Mrs. Robinson, no doubt his ode to Kara DioGuardi. Jamie Foxx takes a page from that slut Andrew Llyod Weber and asks Casey to "Act as if I'm a woman. Seduce me." This debasement earns Casey an "artist" shirt. I've heard people do more for less on Broadway in the 80s. Casey's version of "Mrs. Robinson" is slow and listless, like it's smoked a big fattie and scarfed down a big bowl o' mac and cheese. My TiVo tells me it's about a minute and a half, but I could swear this thing lasted 134 years. The Judges were lukewarm and Simon thought it was "a little bit lazy."

Crystal Bowersox: Kenny Loggins’ “I’m Alright”

Kenny Loggins was the king of 80s soundtracks. It was his whole career for awhile, even. So throw a dart on "Songs of Cinema" night and you might hit a Kenny Loggins song. Crystal sings “I’m Alright” with her signature bluesy vibe, and she does a fine job with it. The Judges all like it very muchly.

Michael Lynche & Casey James:

Bryan Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman”

This song was already given the deluxe treatment by Chris Daughtry in season five. Here, there's some decent harmonizing by Big Mike and Casey, but the whole thing is rather OK. Ellen answers, "As a matter of fact, I have loved a woman." And The Judges plotz. Oh no she di'int! The Judges also plotz over this duet.

Were they heavily medicated before the show began?

Here we are, three weeks to finals, and this season has yet to yield a true "moment." Like Kelly Clarkson's last few weeks, notably "Stuff Like That There." Or Fantasia's "Summertime." David Cook's "Hello." David Archuletta's "Imagine." David Cook's "Billie Jean" even. Melinda Doolittle's "My Funny Valentine." Chris Daughtry's "Hemorrhage." Bo Bice's "Whipping Post" - and doing "In A Dream" capella style. Carrie Underwood's "Alone." Katharine McPhee's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." Adam Lampert's "Mad World." Kris Allen's "Heartless" and "Ain't No Sunshine."

Those were moments. In the absence of any true "moments" this season, The Judges have given up, and are giving glowing reviews to mediocre performances three weeks from the finale.

Feh. As for who's going., I'd say Casey James is heading for box office bust.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Idol Recap :: "And Regrets, They'll Sing A Few"

Ryan says last week was a "wake up" call to vote for your favorite, as Siobhan shrieked her last on Wednesday. Do we even have favorites this season?

In its constant effort to get the contestants to be "relevant" and "contemporary", American Idol brings us "Songs of Frank Sinatra." Because there's nothing like 50 year old music to bring out that modern edge. The guest mentor is Harry Connick Jr. His big advice to the Remedial Idols is to "sing the words and the melodies." Yes, advice like that will carry them far. Perhaps even toward the soundtrack for "Hope Floats II: Electric Boogaloo".

Aaron Kelly” “Fly Me to the Moon”
Aaron busts out his "big boy" Sears Best vest to summon some Rat Pack swagger. Swagger says, "no." It's fine vocally, but a little karaoke. Randy and Ellen liked it, but are we even listening to them anymore? Kara was lukewarm, and Simon co-signs that by citing the performance as lacking conviction and mentions "the vocals on the end were a bit corny."

Casey James: “Blue Skies”
Casey's in the pimp chair. Last week, a non-tv watching friend called him, offering him a $50 gig at the Circle Inn tonight. Casey laughed it off, saying he was "busy, playing on national tv". Oh, Casey. Just wait two more weeks. I think your schedule may clear up.

Casey's "Blue Skies" is a bit of a stormy affair. The pitch is off, and notes drop like fleas off Bowersox hair. It's like a musical episode of the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, starring Uni, the bleating unicorn. It's a performance that has "Vote for the Worst" backing Casey, and renaming themselves "Goat for the Worst." So, yeah, it's like that. The Judges hate on it, as Simon found it a "bit awkward." This week, I think "bit" is British for "a lot."

Crystal Bowersox: “Summer Wind”
Crystal said she's using a different singing voice tonight. Her "not as good" one. For the first time, her performance is lacking oooomph. It's OK vocally, but it's devoid of any originality or energy. Look up "meh" in the e-dictionary and you will see Crystal singing "Summer Wind." The Judges thought it was "subdued" and Simon "expects better."

Mike Lynche: “The Way You Look Tonight”
So Big Mike is singing another song about his fine lady. Subtext: Also, his new baby. The man has a new baby. So vote, bitches. Have you seen his new baby?

Big Mike wears a hipster hat that irks me in its self-aware jauntiness. Vocally fine, but utterly boring. And arm stretching and hat tipping? Gross. The Judges all like it. Looks like Big Mike will be safe another week. In related news, Velveeta stock is up.

Lee DeWyze: “That’s Life”
Like everyone else tonight, Lee finds Harry Connick Jr. hilarious. I think these people need to define "hilarious." Or perhaps redefine it. Lee's performance is the best of the night for me, as he infuses "That's Life" with his own vocal signature. It at least sounds contemporary, and it's the only performance tonight that held my attention. The Judges love it and Simon even says "it was by far the best performance of the night."

So who's going? I think Casey will be flying the friendly blue skies back home.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Idol Recap :: The Twain Shall Meet

“A paint salesman. A high school student. A glass blower. A mother. A father. A construction worker.” No, it’s not the all-new Village People. It’s Seacrest introducing our final six.

Flashback to last Wednesday, where “Idol Gives Back” managed to take… from me. 144 precious minutes, to be exact. So if it’s still taking up precious space on your DVR, allow me to recap:

Barack Obama said “you’re all my dawgs” without a trace of irony; The Idolers, dressed in the visual aftermath of the Second Coming, sang the under-rated “Keeping The Dream Alive” by Freiheit; David Cook visited Ethiopia and sang because … Pop music is nourishment for the soul?; Todd Bridges was in the audience, likely looking for someone to give back to him; Russell Brand and Jonah Hill performed some painfully unfunny shtick, that was actually a precursor to a movie I’ll never see; And Annie Lennox once again provided the classiest and most poignant moment of the show.

Also, Teflon Tim’s shields went down, and he was sent home, still smiling all the way. We shall all miss this clueless bastard, who provided unintentional entertainment on a weekly basis.

This week’s mentor is Shania Twain, who Ryan refers to as a “country pioneer.” You mean, like Laura Ingalls Wilder? OK, so Shania Twain is a country artist who crossed over into pop. Also, she all but devoured John Park like a Tasty Cake 100 years ago during auditions in Chicago.

Lee Dewyze: “You’re Still the One”

No, it’s not the 70s original co-opted by ABC’s gloriously cheesy promotional ads. It’s the overplayed Shania Twain opus. It starts off a little rough, but once we get to the chorus, s’all good, although there’s pitch problems throughout. Lee also makes the Kris Allen memorial triangle mouth while singing. The Judges all like it, and Jedi mind trick us be failing to mention any pitch problems, because aren’t we all pulling for the Dewylsox finale?

Michael Lynche: “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing”

Big Mike starts off sitting on the stairs. It’s Idol shorthand for “take me seriously, bitches.” He gets the soft magenta lights and the swaybots in fully synchronized accompaniment. It’s a technically solid performance, but honestly, it puts me to sleep. A Luthor Vandross Lullaby. The Judges like it, although Simon found it “wet”, which is British for “sucks a little.”

Casey James: “Don’t”

OK, so I’ve knocked Casey in the past as a typical Bar Band Singer. But I honestly have to give him some props tonight. It’s actually a nice, quiet performance, with just a hint of Blues. It’s a million times better than that Bob Segar lite we’ve seen from him. Well done, say I. The Judges agree, and Simon and Randy both think it’s his best performance. Then Simon has Casey molest Shania Twain on national television.

Crystal Bowersox: “No One Needs to Know”

Crystal, on the pimp stool, notes that Shania is “supersweet.” And Ryan drops this useful bit of nothing, “and she has really white teeth.” And Crystal was all like, “teeth are supposed to be white?” Crystal mentions that this song is an ode to her boyfriend, who she hopes will “step up someday.” Tabloids, commence dumpster diving.

It’s a typical Crystal performance: laid back, comfortable and pitch-perfect… And country, even. Not her greatest, but even her worst is better than most Top Twelvers best this season, let’s be serious. The Judges didn’t like it too much, but that’s only judging it on the Bowersoxscale. Or, conspiracy theory: perhaps they are trying to get fingers texting to prevent Crystal from being ousted early, a la Chris Daughtry?

Aaron Kelly: “You’ve Got a Way”

It’s all good and vocally sound, but just kinda boring. It’s a step up, because he’s at least believable singing the lyrics. Kara mentions that Aaron changed the line of the song. “when we made love,” because, Aaron is still sleeping in Power Rangers bed sheets. And also, he sang this song to his mom, apparently. Is there a way to combine “awww” and “ewww” in one word? Because I would like to do that at this juncture. The Judges, they all love it to pieces. They also decide he should be a country artist, because, why not? And also, no.

Siobhan Magnus: “Any Man of Mine”

Honestly, this performance is a little all over the place, much like Siobhan’s “hooker cowgirl meets Lillian August swatch catalog” outfit. Parts of it are good, parts of it are silly, and then she shrieks. Again. And, y’know, enough with that. The Judges all loved it, but Simon thought the scream sounded like she was “giving birth.”

So who’s going home? Hmm, really tough to guess based on tonight’s vocals. I’m actually guessing Big Mike will not be singing, “looks like we made it…”