Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Scotty McCreery: Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone”
Scotty McCreery: George Strait’s “Check Yes or No”
Scotty McCreery: “I Love You This Big”
Scotty still sings country like a 1970s K-Tel record, and makes weird googly-eyes at us.
Lauren Alaina: Carrie Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor”
Lauren Alaina: Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It Was Memphis”
Lauren Alaina: “Like My Mother Does”
Lauren emerges as a Lil' Carrie Underwood tonight – she still sings pretty and has an unnerving penchant for sequins.
And, Randy tells us they are "both in it to win it." As opposed to, I dunno, just showing up and shrugging.
So who's gonna slay this red-state showdown? I'd say it's Scotty's to lose. Baby, shut them doors and turn them lights down low….
Thursday, May 19, 2011
In last week's last page shocker, James Durbin was eliminated. That's what Show gets when it tries to manipulate votes by overly hating on Haley, tipping the cosmic vote balance off James' favor.
Tonight, round 1 is contestant's choice, round 2 is ProducerJimmy's call, and round 3 is up to the Judges. Also, Beyonce is guest mentoring, and she looks just like Lily Hollister.
Scotty McCreery: Lonestar’s “Amazed”
Scotty saunters around the stage without a care on him, tossing the song off all nonchalant-like. It all builds to the last note, which is more mid-range than Scooty's usually bullfrog low register. The Judges liked it despite Randy noting some "pitchy problems."
Back from commercial, Ryan is amid the mosh pit of estrogen…. And of note, are two heavy-set blonds. No doubt some legal advice after Show (allegedly) booted the girls with big booties. See? Fat bottom girls do make their rockin' world go round. Which is about as believable as Puck crushing on Lauren Zizes.
Lauren Alaina: Faith Hill’s “Wild One”
Lauren's narrative this season is "beating back her nerves." And, enough already. If I were Lauren, I'd be more concerned with my outfit, from the Goldie-Hawn-on-a-bender collection. Her performance is OK enough, if a lil' boring.
Haley Reinhart: Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be”
Haley gives the classic LedZep tune a sorta sultry hungover vibe, and I mean that in a good way. And after 10 long seasons, we finally witness an Idoler tripping on stage. THANK YOU, Live TV! Coincidently, mentor Beyonce also hilariously fell on stage. When the cosmic stars align, they have a strange sense of humor. Randy calls it one of her best performances ever. Stephen notes, "It's not how many times you fall, it's how many times you get back up." And if that isn't the perfect metaphor for Haley's Idol journey, I don't know what is.
The Judges all name Haley as the winner of round 1, with Stephen noting that "she got her freak on." This causes consternation for Ryan, who tells us "my freak is out back, I'll use it later." Ryan is still waiting to grow hair in his special places.
Scotty McCreery: Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”
Scotty singing Country. Need I explain anymore?
Lauren Alaina: The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young”
The stage hand is trying to cover up Lauren's panty hose run by applying "a little shimmer." To which Ryan replies, "I know all about that." We know you know, Ryan. Believe us… We know you know. As for the song… Lauren sings it pretty. That is all. The Judges would have us believe there is "magic" and "magesty" and "honesty" in this. Urm, ok.
Haley Reinhart: Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon”
Haley channels some Stevie Nicks with the help of a flowy skirt and wind machines. Looking very much a witchy woman, she does the Fleetwood Mac song proud.
Judges divided on who took round 2: Stephen sez Lauren, while the other two morons chant, "Scotty, Scotty, Scotty." And Ryan is offstage chanting "Scotty The Body, Scotty The Body..." And still, no one is biting.
Scotty McCreery: Kenny Rogers’ “She Believes in Me”
Scotty rocks the serious stool, which is his best look. He actually gives the song a nice, somber quality. And no weird eyes. One of his better performances.
Lauren Alaina: Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”
Lauren looks like she either raided Tonya Harding's closet, or she's about to film Blades Of Glory II: Electric Boogaloo. But whatevs. She sings pretty again.
Haley Reinhart: Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know”
Once again, Show minces the lyrics so the scandalous whore of the song dares to "go out with you to a theater." Because sluts love cineplexes, presumably. It's probably Haley's weakest performance of the night; It's a bit shaky in the beginning and manages to be a'ight around the edges.
So who's gong home? I'm guessing Haley will be the single lady out.
James Durbin: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”
For inspiration, James sings the GLEErific “Don’t Stop Believin’”. As if he needed to sway Randy any further, he's also wearing a Journey t-shirt. The performance is actually by-the-numbers and even flat in spots. The Judges love it anyway.
Haley Reinhart: Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song”
Haley breathily sings "Earth Song," but I feel the airy tune could be a bad song choice. Despite the cloud-walking back-up singers from The Matrix, it's rather "meh", until Haley brings out her trademark grrrowl. The Judges hate on it, because they don't want Haley in the finals. Randy accuses her of "screaming it," and Haley rightfully defends herself. And then Stephen calls Randy on his douchebaggery, and says, "don't listen to him." We stop listening to him four seasons ago, Tyler.
Scotty McCreery: Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”
Ryan interviews "Scotty the Body." Note to Ryan: You are the only one who calls him that. Scotty rocks the "serious stool" for “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”, returning to his K-Tel Country roots. And in case he's in any jeopardy, Scotty plays the Jesus-America card. The Judges thought it was "beautiful" and that Scotty is "ready for superstardom." I am ready for my barf bag.
Lauren Alaina: Martina McBride’s “Anyway”
Lauren's “Anyway” is like a red velvet cupcake, It's pretty and smooth, but lacking in substance. Great vocals though, as The Judges agree.
I love when Ryan asks Randy "who won round one?" and he answers, "I think it's a tie between Scotty, James and Lauren," leaving Haley sitting there like the nerd girl from and 80s movie that no one asked to prom. With that, Haley laughs a small laugh, that translates into, "Randy Jackson is a Giant Penis." I laugh with you, Haley.
Lady Gaga enters, speaking seriously about the "kids". And I can't take her seriously while she's dressed by like Cruella de Vil's crackhead sister.
Haley Reinhart: Shirley Bassey’s “I (Who Have Nothing)”
Lady Gaga wants Haley to add some boiled rabbit to her performance stew – a little dramatic craziness. Haley definitely brings some passion and energy to this one. The Judges like this a lot more, and actually give Haley some props.
Scotty McCreery: The Coasters’ “Young Blood”
Lady Gaga wants Scotty to make love to the microphone. Gaga, (if I may call you "Gaga"), I think he's been going steady with that instrument all season. The performance is another Scotty novelty act. With the weird eyes, head snapping and faux-attitude. It's sort of a tossed-off performance, all in all. The Judges loved "the humor." If that what they see as humor, I'm guessing they were the ones who watched 8 excrutiating seasons of "According To Jim"?
Lauren Alaina: Elvis Presley’s “Trouble”
Lauren is afraid to sing the lyric, "because I'm evil." She's afraid America will think she's evil. In related news, Lauren is an idiot. Lauren's "Trouble" is a lively, fun performance, overall. The Judges seemed to have liked the fun side of Lauren.
James Durbin: The Clovers’ “Love Potion No. 9″
James gives the hypnotic “Love Potion No. 9″ a rather unnecessary hair-metal makeover. This is something Winger might have considered circa 1989, until clearer heads prevailed. It's indulgent, silly and screechy. Of course, The Judges love it.
So who's going home? I'd say the votes won't go gaga for Haley.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Lady In Red
James Durbin’s “Closer to the Edge”
James Durbin’s “Without You”
For his first song, "Closer to the Edge," James rocks the stage like a Billy Idol impersonator, only lacking the subtly of songs like "Rock The Cradle of Love." There's flashing lights and screeching, like we are at the James Durbin reunion tour, where gassy has-beens try to retrieve lost glory. It's uneven and off-key in spots. But if even yearned to see James' underarm hair, here it is. The judges love it anyway.
Next, James sings the Idol fav, "Without You," and breaks down thinking about his family while singing. Camera gives us the close-up of his tearing up eyes. More Show audience manipulation? Probably. The Judges praise the "emotional perfect" nature of the song. Because we don't judge the the actual singing? In a display of audacious transparency, Randy declares the competition is "his to lose." Yeah, Randy, we know.
Jacob Lusk’s “No Air”
Jacob Lusk’s “Love Hurts”
Jacob has raided the Dalton Academy closets again, no doubt searching in vain for Blaine Anderson. Jacob sings "No Air" like Kermit the Frog's sassy gay cousin. It's rather terrible and even the back-up singers look uncomfortable. The judges mildly hate on it, as Randy doesn't seem him as a Chris Brown or Jordan Sparks. But merge them both together, and Jacob falls in that genetic ballpark, yes?
Next, it's "Love Hurts." ProducerJimmy is still trying to get Jacob to turn down the Joan Collins. Sheryl Crow shows him how to sing the song gently and tenderly, which he will summarily ignore in about 45 seconds. Despite the giant harp on the stage that says "turn down the drama, bitch," Jacob is squatting, screeching and wailing. The gentle yearning of this song is completely lost, as the song ends with a wail that sounded something like "waaaaaaaah."
Lauren Alaina’s “Flat on the Floor”
Lauren Alaina’s “Unchained Melody”
Lauren can wear sassy western-inspired outfits and strut around in 3 inches like Tuesday, but she still ain't no Carrie Underwood. After singing "Flat on the Floor", according to the judges, Lauren is "in it" and "rising to the top" and…. Um, do the judges comments mean a flipping thing anymore?
Lauren later sings "Unchained Melody" with the technical proficiency of a beauty pageant contestant. It's very pretty, and very boring.
Scotty McCreery’s “Gone”
Scotty McCreery’s “Always on My Mind”
Ryan still insists on calling him "Scotty the Body." Restraining orders much? Anyhoo, Show has created a Howdy-Doody-meets-Eminem monster with this one… strutting around stage, the rap self-hug, and the eyebrows a'blazin' while singing "Gone." The Judges are all bout this, with Randy chanting his "in it to win it" mantra once again. Which, is beyond meaningless at this point, make us nostalgic for a old-fashioned "you killed it, dawg."
ProducerJimmy gives Scotty mindbending advice which translates into "stay in your box but don't be boring." Scotty sings "Always On My Mind" on the serious stool. It's slowed down and real, yo. And Scotty is much easier to take when he's stationary and not making weird faces. Scotty actually made two good song choices to show his range, and he's almost guaranteed in the finale at this point. And in case he isn't, let's give his adorable grandmother the microphone to say, "He's my Scotty."
Haley Reinhart’s “You and I”
Haley Reinhart’s “The House of the Rising Sun”
Haley wanted to get Lady Gaga's blessing to sing her song unreleased song, "You and I." It's a good thing her name isn't Weird Al, because she'd be totally denied. And then not. Haley's got long pants, supporting my theory of "the better she gets, he more clothes she wears." Haley has really become the little Kris Allen who could this season, surviving lukewarm reviews and support while improving each and every week. So it makes it all the most disappointing that the Judges kinda hate on it. And, all because they want that James-Scotty finale, so the Haley sabotage must begin this week.
For her second song, Haley sings "House of the Rising Sun" will a soulful, raspy, bluesy edge. It's something you might see at The House of Blues. Starts slow on the smoky stool, and then gets all sexy, and then we hit some power notes. Ka-blam. It's easily the most interesting and creative performance of the night. Randy declares it "the best performance of the night" and the other judges co-sign this.
So who's going home? I'm guessing Jacob is heading back to Dalton Academy.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
This week, it's the songs of Carole King, "one of the most revered singer-songwriters in pop music history." Word.
Judy Jetson's Prom Date
Our guest co-mentor tonight is Babyface. You remember Babyface, right?
He unleashed David Silver's pathetic white-boy rap on fictional Beverly Hills, allowing him to play keyboard. Hyped up on fame, David "got his silver on" in the back of a limo with some skank -- only to be found in his post-coital sweat puddle by virgin girlfriend Donna Martin. (Who, attended her own graduation due to the unforgettable chant heard 'round 1993.) An the lesson is: Stop watching Beverly Hills 90210 reruns.
Jacob is dressed like gay Jimmy Olsen car salesman. His performance is less weepy, and much more sassy this week. I, for one, am glad to see Jacob not on the verge of musical drama tears. The Judges found some notes sharp, but they liked the energy and the shaking of the tail feather.
Lauren Alaina “Where You Lead”
At her practice session, Lauren meets Miley Cyrus, who she regards as a big star. So, we know Lauren's a tool. Lauren pulls up random teenage boy to sing to, like a low rent Dancing In The Dark video. The Judges like the "more confident" Lauren, especially since Show engineered it.
Observation: Why does Randy's sweater look like Riverdale High merged with Hogwarts?
Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart: “I Feel the Earth Move”
Because Show wants to hurt me, we also have duets tonight. Here's real life couple Casey and Haley. I hear serial-killer-eyes Casey is shopping for Haley's human flesh suit. Awww. Their interplay is actually kinda fun, with Haley edging out Casey in the vocals department.
Scotty McCreery: “You’ve Got a Friend”
Scotty starts out on the solemn stairs, in a slowed down version of the song. The billowing smoke whispers, "Take him seriously, bitches." It's his least-countrified performance to date, aided and abetted by a very nice arrangement from the band. I'm not a Scotty fan, but this is actually pretty good, I'm loathe to admit. The Judges like the "tender moment."
James Durbin: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”
Everyone is starting dark, solemn and slow tonight. That's code for "serious artist" on this show. It's actually a nice, stripped down performance, with no flaming pianos or smoke machines. And no screeching. Honestly, if James was like this every week, I might be a fan. The Judges found it "magical" and "incredible." With Randy announcing "this guy might win the whole thing!" Yes, Randy, apparently you were awake at this week's producers meeting.
Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery: “Up on the Roof”
Another song with solemn-slow dark start. Next time I sing karaoke, I'm totally gonna rock that. It's kind of a sweet, small performance. Good, but nothing earth-shattering.
Casey Abrams: “Hi-De-Ho That Old Sweet Roll”
Casey has a janunty hat. Surely that means he's a quirky-cool hipster, yes? His performance is a sort of jazz-bluesy episode of Kids Incorporacted. It's somewhat entertaining, but not sure it does much to show off Casey's vocals. The Judges still liked the uniqueness that is Casey.
Haley Reinhart: “Beautiful”
Haley definitely gets the "most improved" award this season, getting more dependable each passing week. And has her talent increases, her hemlines get longer. Coincidence? I think not. Anyhoo, this is a solid performance.
Jacob Lusk and James Durbin: “I’m Into Something Good”
This pair starts on the solemn stairs, but Jacob is tapping oh-so-peppy. James is sporting his best Warblers jacket, as the two of them pretty effortlessly nail this song.
So who's going home? I'm guessing Jacob has shaken his last tail feather.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
But first, a song from the Idol cast-offs whose names we've already forgotten. There's Rasta-Girl, Disney Princess, Spanglish, Mr. Furley, and The Rest. Just like the "Gilligan's Island" theme, I can't be bothered to utter those last two names. It's all one big hot mess. Like TheBayville Sirens on crack.
Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
As added "entertainment" tonight, the remaining Idols weighs in on each other.
Scotty McCreery :: "Swingin'"
Everyone makes fun of the way Scotty caresses the microphone like a a gentle lover. Scotty's performance is a little flat. Not since Warrant's "Cherry Pie," have lyrics been so transparent. But from Scotty, it's like Howdy Doody singing "I Want Your Sex." The Judges wanted to see more from Scotty, and Randy even found it "safe" and "boring."
James Durbin :: "Uprising"
Everyone makes fun of James' cheesy-poseur rocker scarves. And just then, Steven Tyler cries a little inside. James is singing "Uprising" by Muse, which is an awesome song. ProducerJimmy thinks this will help James break out of his Heavy Metal poseur shell. James rocks in the stage in some post-Apocalyptic Sgt. Pepper jacket - accompanied by crazy lights and a marching band. Now he's holding a staff and screeching at me. Why does this man screech at me every week? Compared to this incomprenhisble theater of the absurd, "Vanilla Sky" was linear storytelling.
Bleh. Not sure why James gets these full concert treatments every week. Well, actually, I know why. Show wants him in the finale, if not the win. The Judges all love. Are we surprised? We are not.
Haley Reinhart :: "Rolling In The Deep"
Haley rocks some Adele, which is a tall order for her range. Despite her Lucy Ricardo dress, Haley does the song some justice. It's solid, although not blow-me-away crazy.
Jacob Lusk :: "Dance With My Father"
Everyone says Jacob is a diva, and mock his "ya-ya-ya" runs that last til Thursday. Jacob's father died when he was twelve, so he's singing "Dance With My Father." Because if his performances have lacked one thing, it's drama! So, ok, it's actually a pretty understated performance. As always, vocally solid. How can I hate on him when this is dedicated to his departed daddy? Damn you, Lusk! The Judges thought it was beautiful and emotional.
Casey Abrams :: "Harder To Breathe"
Everyone thinks Casey is weird. Like, Joaquin Phoenix weird. Like, Randy Quaid weird. What, a guy can't have serial killer eyes? Casey switches up the arrangement of this Maroon 5 tune, breaks out the guitar, and flirts with the estrogen mosh pit. The performance is almost good-ish. But like Casey himself, his performances amount to an unsettling melange. He ends it by creeping up to Jlo's face and planting a kiss on her. The Judges plotz! What will Casey do next? Wacka-wacka-wacka! Essentially, Casey has become a novelty act. Here's two songs away from becoming Norman Gentle.
Ryan comes out on stage with a Casey beard, because Ryan is no stranger to beards, if you know what I mean. Casey encourages him to kiss Jlo too, but Ryan fears the harsh sting of cooties.
Stefano Langone :: "Closer"
Stefano is singing the song like the 6th Backstreet Boy, and ProducerJimmy wants less pleading and more strutting. And yup, Stefano struts the stage with a smattering of camera rape to boot. Randy and Steven liked it, while Jlo thought he "really had his swag going on." Jlo, I believe the American Idol lawyers warned you to stop staring at Stefano's "swag."
Lauren Alaina :: "Born To Fly"
Lauren's rocking the Country hard this week, and she does a great job overall. The Judges think Lauren should have more confidence, because she has the talent to win this whole thing. That Show-code for, "we really want Lauren in the finale."
So who's going home tonight? I'm guessing Stefano and his "swag" have seen their last.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Shocking? Not so much, given the fact that the pitch-perfect balladier never showed much of a personality on stage. And the producers even admit she never was a frontrunner.
Also not frontrunners? "Fatties." In attempts to fill the estrogen mosh pit of Aryan goodness in the audience, a young woman was allegedly told, "Oh no, you’re just too big, too heavy to be in front!” And suddenly, the American Idol audience has turned into Gattaca. Bring your papers to prove your genetic perfection... otherwise, it's the balcony of uggos, bitches.
Tonight, its' "Songs from the Movies." And the Show's gift to us: no one sings that bad Aerosmith song from the horrible meteor-of-doom flick.
Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
Paul McDonald :: "Old Time Rock n Roll"
Is there a Mr. Furley thrift shop I should know about? Because here's Paul rocking a similar R.F.-esque rose jacket, only sent through the Negative Zone. Paul is singing that hoary wedding chestnut. You know the one, where your cornball uncle gets up and sashays around while biting his bottom lip? And everyone pretends its funny? Yeah, that one. Please, someone, burn the master tapes to this.
Lauren Alaina :: "The Climb"
ProducerJimmy tells Lauren she's a much, much better singer than Miley Cyrus. Which is like complimenting someone by saying they're a much better actress that Pia Zadora. Lauren gives us a memorial-Pia-Toscano type ballad. It's a little listless and dirgy, instead of hopeful and sprawling. And then it comes alive about halfway through. The Judges, though, loved it.
Stefano Langone :: "End Of The Road"
This one's by Boyz II Men, from the forgettable "Boomergang." It's vocally sound stuff, a very solid performance. The Judges agree, saying Stefano's "in it to win it." Jlo even gets all Jenny From The Block out as she calls it "The Sh-t."
Scotty McCreery :: "Cross My Heart"
This is from a movie called "Pure Country." Of course it is! It's more K-Tel Country goodness from Scotty. Honestly, to me, it sounds like this dude is sideways-singing the exact same song each week.
Casey Abrams :: "Nature Boy"
ProducerJimmy thinks this song will be too "small" on the big-boy Idol stage. This might play OK in a random Jazz Club on a Thursday night. But here, it's a slightly off-kilter, growly performance. Awkward at the start, a little more polished toward the end. Plus, Casey is giving us the Buffalo Bill stare-down and I'm a'scared. "It puts the lotion in the upright bass, or else it gets the hose again." The Judges find Casey to be a complete "artist" and try to sell us all on that. Not sure America is buyin.'
Haley Reinhart :: "Call Me"
Haley is wearing a debazzled multi-colored mini from "Laugh-In." It's an odd choice and a bit of an herky-jerky performance. The Judges were iffy on this, except Steven, who pervs on her mini skirt. And finally, Haley's wardrobe strategy pays off. Somewhere, Haley Scarnato is texting her vote in slutty sisterhood.
Jacob Lusk :: "Bridge Over Troubled Waters"
ProducerJimmy doles out some tough love, saying "I just think Jacob doesn't need to be doing 'corny' right now." Unfortunately, 'corny' is Jacob's default setting. ProducerJimmy jiggles the cord and tries to reboot by suggesting "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."
James Durbin :: "Heavy Metal"
ProducerJimmy cautions James' song choice, But Durbin sticks to his guns and blasts out the Sammy Hagar, er, classic? Once again, Show flashes "this rawks" concert lights, and even dusted off a long-haired guitarist who hasn't seen work since Wasp broke up.
So whose scene ends tonight? I'm guessing there's no sequel in store for Haley.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
ProducerJimmy and Will.i.am are the co-mentors tonite.
Jacob Lusk :: "Man In The Mirror"
Jacob considered singing "Let's Get It On" but then grew concerned for his immortal soul. OK, nobody tell this guy the Church's stance on the ho-mo-sexuals. He chooses "Man in the Mirror" instead. Jacob takes to the stage looking like Mr. Rourke's adopted child, then proceeds to air hump the woman who co-wrote the song. Vocals overall good, and the Judges liked it, per usual.
Haley Reinhart :: "Piece Of My Heart"
Haley aims to channel her bluesy edge again, since it done her good last week. A more-confident Haley is apparently a more-clothed Haley, too. The performance is OK, but the song is a little too big for lil'Haley. But the Judges really liked this one.
Casey Abrams :: "Have You Ever Seen The Rain"
ProducerJimmy and Will.i.am are concerned Casey was getting too lounge-lizard-ish with "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." So Casey pulls out the upright-bass thingee again and delivers a nice, laid back version of the song. This is the Casey we want to see - playing an instrument with his "I'm just jammin' yo" vibe. One of his best performances on the big-boy stage. The Judges agree.
Lauren Alaina :: "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman"
Dunno what Laren's going for looks-wise this week... It's like a Nagel painting melted into a cheap outfit from Old Navy. Then I remember Gwen Stafani dressed the kids this week, and I'm like, "ah." The sound is vocally sound, if not completely blow-you-away.
James Durbin :: 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
James tells us he is singing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" "by George Harrison of the Beatles." In case you didn't know George Harrison was a Beatle. And sadly, some of these Idol kids don't. Show can't resist, though, in just giving Durbin a quiet performance. Instead, we get drama-fog machines and lighting effects. And Adam Lambert 2.0 gives us a performance just like a Glambert... Slow and quiet and then a screechy, big-showy note. The Judges loved it all, of course, seeing "his emotional side." Whatevs.
Scotty McCreery :: "That's Alright Mama"
To Scotty's credit, he foregoes 70s-era Country in favor of a jaunty Elvis tune. Sideways smirk-singing still in place. Despite strange gyrations and odd microphone cradling, the song is vocally sound. Visually, it's like Kid Eminem is doing Rockabilly. Then these five teeange girls rush the stage and hug Scotty, and Show would have us believe this was not a piece of pre-planned tomfoolery. To which I say, "Bitches, please." Seacrest looks perplexed, because he still finds teenaged girls icky. The Judges find this all revolutionary.
Pia Toscano :: "River Deep Mountain High"
Pia sings the Tina Turner original, in this non-ballad bid for power. Pia want to look fierce. You can tell by the Zebra pelt she sports. Like everything, it's vocally strong. I think she still need more Tina Turner-ish grit, but still good stuff. The Judges liked it, but want Pia to rock the stage harder as a performer.
Stefano Langone :: "When A Man Loves A Woman"
Stefano wants to "connect" again. I hope the cameras are armed with rape whistles and mace.It starts on the "serious stairs", like these songs are wont to do. Then it's head-to-the-heavens and outstretched hands. Vocally, pretty strong, though.
Paul McDonald :: "Folsum Prison Blues"
Paul is tackling Jonny Cash, looking like an extra from "Carrie"'s pig-blooded prom. And the weird dancing is back. "They're all gonna laugh at you." It's high-energy, if not a little frentic. The Judges all loved it, though.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
And then the smoke monster ate everyone.
OK, not really... but hope springs eternal.
Then the Judges decide to keep Casey. And he crumbles on stage, visibly shaken and trembling. And I was desperately hoping that he would either faint or vomit, because that's why God made live TV. I think when Ryan said "Casey, you need to sing for you life," he took it for realsies. Because, honestly, bitchcakes, this is just a reality show.
This week is Elton John week. Because when The Show said no more themes, they lied.
Scotty McCreery "Country Comfort"
Scooty googled "Elton John" and "Country" and actually found something! Some nonsense country song, and factories are closing down. Of course they are! Howzabout learning an actual skills, you silly rednecks? Our resident Conway Twit(ty) smirk-smiles through it all, country style, y'all. The Judges all like, despite the last note sounding like a factory horn at quittin' time.
Naima Adedapo "I'm Still Standing"
Naima is doing "I'm Still Standing" with a reggae-swag. She sounds vaguely like a lyrical vodoo priestress, and honestly the vocals are a bit swagless. But the arrangement is actually kinda cool. The Judges, however, aren't smokin' what Naima is passing.
Paul McDonald "Rocket Man"
Paul is wearing Mr. Furley's jacket again. Like all of Paul's performances, it's a so-so affair. The Judges want him to push his performances more, but honestly I think this is as good as Paul gets.
Pia Toscano "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
Ballad-lovin' Pia sings the IDOL-favorite, "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." Like everything, Pia nails this one with a pitch-perfect rendition, backed by the choir sponsored by Banana Republic. The Judges love it, despite the balladness.
Stefano Langone "Tiny Dancer"
Producer Jimmy cracks the whip at bottom-threer Stafano. Someone page the splendiferous Peggi Blu, stat! Stafano gives a somewhat fromage-based performance, as he slips the camera an eye-roofie and bends it over the bathroom sink. Jlo believes this qualifies as "connecting with the audience." Meanwhile, "the audience" is busy hugging their knees and rocking back and forth in a shame shower.
Lauren Alaina "Candle In the Wind"
Lauren sings Elton John's opus to dead pop culture goddesses. Lauren does a great job with this one, and the Judges like. Steven, perhaps a bit too much, as he creeps on Lauren mightily.
James Durbin "Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting"
James is a rocker. Did you know he's a rocker? We keep telling you, dammit. And he's wearing the costume. So believe it, bitches, or we'll flash lights during all his performances! As much as I'm not a James-fan, usually I cop to the fact that his singing is mostly good. But this week, it's sorta a lame wannabe cornball affair - like a warmed-over Def Leppard video. But omigod, the piano is now on fire and his hair is spiked, so you better believe he rawks! The Judges have been hypnotized into believing this is, so they liked it fine.
Thia Megia "Daniel"
Producer Jimmy wants Thia to understand what the lyrics say. In other words, "This ain't HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, bee-yotch." Thia does a better job connecting with the song, but it's all rather dull.
Casey Abrams "Your Song"
Producer Jimmy says "everything" was wrong with Casey's performance last week, and wants a return of "humble Casey" of old. Cue corny shave and a haircut montage, as only IDOL can deliver. Let's be thankful it wasn't in grainy sped-up black and white with silent-movie title cards. It's a quiet, small performance. It's ok and all, but rather lackluster. The Judges reaffirm their belief in keeping Casey.
Jacob Lusk "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"
Producer Jimmy says, "this is a song you can easily over-dramatize and that's where Jacob gets in trouble." With a capital T and that rhymnes with G which stands for Gaga. "If Jacob goes for over-dramatizing, he could kill the whole thing," Producer Jimmy ominously forewarns.
Next image: a backlight Jacob bathed in a smoke machine's tender embrace. Because nothing says subtle like a fog machine. It's like a Heart video mated with Phantom of the Opera. So much for under-dramatizing. By the time Jacob is done going into musical labor, his afterbirth lines the stage. The Judges still loved it.
Haley Reinhart "Bennie and the Jets"
Haley tries to Scarnato us again with a sexy-ish chatuessey version of the song. She gives the song a bluesy edge that plays to her vocal strengths. It's probably her best performance to date. Aaaand, the Judges agree. Haley's g-string can be kept in storage for another week.
So who's going home? I think Thursday Night's All Right For Packing for Stefano and Naima.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
This week is Motown week, so get ready for some soul crushing of a different variety.
Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
Casey Abrams, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"
After Casey's CharlesManson-y Nirvana performance, the ProducersCabal hide the sharp objects and tell him to reign it in a bit. Casey wafts through the crowd like a hispter Tom Jones, and manages to give the song a cool, gruff spin. The Judges find him a "true original" and they like it muchly.
Quick shout out to the Aeromosith guitarist, who looks like a hyper-aged Willy Wonka. Kids: Don't do drugs.
Thia Megia, "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave"
Continuing Thia's trend of boppy-teen fluffitude, she picks the up-tempo "Heat Wave." It's a limp performance, lacking the passion and urgency of Martha and the Vandellas' original. Less heat wave, more like a hot flash. The Judges are soft on Thia and feel that she "took a chance."
Jacob Lusk, "You're All I Need to Get By"
Motown week is right up Jacob's alley, so he should do well. ProducerJimmy wants to see "more restraint." Let me put that through my Idolese translator[TM]: "Dial back the runs, bitch." Jacob's performance is entirely "Dreamgirls", with sassy arm waves and dramatic hand flourishes. Bitch is like a refugee from the Island Of Misfit Pips. But honestly, it's his best performance to date, as he totally keeps his theatrical side mostly in check. Steven calls him "baby Luthor" as the Judges give him the coveted standing O.
Lauren Alaina, "You Keep Me Hanging On"
The strangely zebra-pelted Lauren vamps around the stage like a white girl doing her best sassy-black-neighbor impression. There's more neck weaving in this song than the five season run of "227." Sandra would be moved to say, "Oh, Mawy." Vocally, it's pretty good, and the Judges like it fine.
Stefano Langone, "Hello"
Remember when music teech Lionel Ritchie inappropriately stalked his poor blind student, but it was OK because she made an monstrous sculpture of him? I guess it was a fine practice to creep on the handicapped during the Reagan Era. Also, the difficulty factor in stalking the blind in pleasingly low. Oh, 80s!
David Cook kicked out a great version of this song in season six, but Stefano's version is rather lame. Imagine the cruise ship reunion tour of Menudo, and you begin to get the idea. Jlo wants more of a connection and more intensity from Stefano. Then she critiqued his music, too.
Haley Reinhart, "You Really Got a Hold on Me"
Haley Reinhart is taking wardrobe tips from previous perennial season six bottom-three-er Haley Scarnato, who wore hot pants and a washcloth on stage. Skin wins votes, peeps. For a while anyway. The Judges liked the bluesy-edge, so maybe Haley can save her g-string for another week or so.
Scotty McCreery, "For Once In My Life"
This week, Scotty is smirk-singing his way through "For Once In My Life" by way of Merle Haggard. Dipped in Red State ooey-gooey-ness, Scotty is sure to be safe this week.
Pia Toscano, "All In Love Is Fair"
Beautiful pitch-perfect performance, if a little sleepy. The Judges love it, but want more star power and less ballads. I co-sign that. Ryan then proceeds to model Pia's dress because he wants us to "see the couture." Seacrest, it's not even "subtext" at this point, it's just "text."
Paul McDonald, "Tracks of My Tears"
Paul provides a mellow-pop version of the famous song, giving his restless leg syndrome a rest behind his guitar. Everyone characterizes Paul's voice as "distinct" and "unique" and "different." You know, kinda like the description of every nightmare blind date you've ever had. Show will awkwardly break up with him mid-season.
Naima Adedapo, "Dancing in the Street"
Naima threatens to dance again, causing small terrified children to cower in fear. Naima rocks the stage wearing grandma's drapes as bellbottoms and every friendship bracelet in the Western Hemisphere. She gives a solid performanace, and even injects some rasta-beatdown in it, while having a grand mal seizure on stage. Jlo got goosebumps while Steven feels she's the "full package."
James Durbin, "Living for the City"
Once again, James is wearing his rocker costume and telling us to "Come on!" James, I am not going anywhere with you in that get-up. Visually, it's indulgently showboaty... But vocally, it's solid stuff. Thankfully, James doesn't overdo the screechy power-notes this week. Randy found the beginning a little rough, but the rest is all love.
So who's going home tonight? I think Haley will be making tracks... followed by tears.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
They’re singing Birth Year Songs tonight. Remember what I said about "Everything is different this season, but nothing has changed?"? Yeah.
Naima Adedapo, "What's Love Got to Do With It" (1984)
Naima's mom comes on the screen looking tres Navi. Then Naima takes the stage like a Rasta Predator, but gives a middling performance. It's disappointing, because she's one of the more-talented girls this season. Tyler says she has a "sorceror's grasp of melody", J Lo's concerned about pitch problems and Randy finds the "vocals all over the place."
Producer dude tells Paul he "sounds a little hoarse today," and I'm all like, "how can you tell"? Paul continues his odd stage persona of squatting and twitching, like a Meth head with bowel issues. It's far from great, as Paul struggles through some throaty cold issues. The Judges give him a semi-pass, and they still enjoy his distinctive voice. For this week, anyway.
Thia Megia, "Colors of the Wind" (1995)
Thia goes full-tilt Disney Princess on this one. It's nice and pretty but a little boring. The Judges, also bored. Ryan assigns Thia’s weak performance to post traumatic stress at the hands of the awesomely aggressive vocal coach from hell, Peggi Blu, who’s in the audience looking splendiferous. During Hollywood week, she played Granny Goodness to little teen furies with such encouragement as, "You’re going to die onstage in front of all those people. I’m going to be laying in my bed watching you just croak” and “No! What is that? Sing, dammit! Do it from the top one more time, and don’t make a mistake.” That bitch needs her own show.
James Durbin, ”I'll Be There for You” (1989)
Is it me, or is James Durbin looking more and more like Adam Lambert each passing week? I suppose as the annointed “rocker”, he must “fit the suit.” You know, like Johnny Bravo. It’s an OK performance, but seems waaaay too fast and pop-lite, almost like a Kidz Bop version of the Jovi classic. Tyler cautions the “poppy-ness” but there’s love all around, cuz Show wants James in the finale.
Producer dudes still sporting indoor sunglasses. What did I tell you last week? It’s the look de douche. Haley invokes one of the diva goddesses, often resulting in Idol banishment. To her credit, she sings it better than Whitney can these days, but that’s crack-is-whack faint praise. It’s a boring, middling performance. J Lo starts off with the “you look beautiful tonight” and we know where this is going. It’s Idol-code for “you sucked the big one, girl.”
Ryan then awkwardly wipes lipstick off Haley’s chin, and Randy comments, “Ryan’s doing make-up now.” Now, Randy? Where you been, dawg? Ryan's probably been doing make-up since middle school.
Stefano Langone, ”If You Don't Know Me by Now” (1989)
Stafano sings the overplayed Simply Red classic, foregoing News Kids on the Block and Milli Vanili. J Lo mouths the words like a lovesick school girl. It's a solid performance, with the Judges noting the "hot vocals." J Lo thinks Stefano can "take this" if he "stays rights there" and "connects to her eyes." And by "this," she means her vagina.
Pia Toscano, ”Where Do Broken Hearts Go” (1988)
Adorable lil' Pia singing her heart out via video. Aw. So Pia's performance... I don't love this arrangement, but it almost doesn't matter -- Pia just nails the whole thing vocally. The Judges nod stoicly, with their "seriously awesome" eyebrow knitting - then give verbal loves.
Scotty McCreery, ”Can I Trust You With My Heart” (1993)
The Travis Tritt, um, classic (?). Arsed if I know. This is Country Music. Scotty continues to serve up Hazzard County style music, a little too Boars Nest for this city slicker. Fine for what it is, and Scott sings it classic country and all.
Karen Rodriguez, ”Love Will Lead You Back” (1989)
Karen rocks the Coke seat pimp slot, looking like a Space Age Hooker Bratz Doll, with hoop earrings the size of hula hoops. (Note: Is the phrase "Hooker Bratz Doll" redundant?) Karen wants to prove she's not just a Spanish singer, so she sings Taylor Dane and drops her now-trademark español. I don't think Karen knows what the word "prove" means. The Judges are like, "better than last week, but also rife with some meh."
Casey Abrams, ”Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
First time Nirvana is ever sung on Idol. I'm actually a Casey fan, but this is a bit of a mess for me -- off-key and shouty. There's some flashing yellow rocker lights that only serve to make Casey resemble a slightly musical member of the Sinestro Corps . Tyler enjoyed, J Lo found it a little screechy, and Randy liked the fearlessness.
Lauren Alaina, ”I'm the Only One” (1994)
Lauren rocks the Melissa Etheridge tune, and starts off a bit rough. She eventually finds her way. The Judges like it, and even believe her cold may have helped the song out.
Jacob Lusk, ”Alone” (1987)
Jacob insisting his mother can't sing, while she insist she can. Cute. His performance? Not so cute. It's overcooked Meatloaf in a "I'd Do Anything For Love" way. We even get cascading finger action and fade to black drama. "Mommy Dearest" was subtle filmaking compared to this. The Judges, meanwhile, liked this quite nicely. Whatevs.
So who's going home? I'm guessing America won't consider Haley their baby tonight.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Plus, kids pursuing music careers that never heard a Beatles song; Such crimes should be punishable with a 24-hour non-stop Ke-dollarsign-ha album on repeat. But please, do sing that Aerosmith song from that bad meteor movie again. In Idol’s unintentional anti-bully campaign, haughty divas Clint Jun Gamboa and Jordan Dorsey werekarmicly eliminated, despite their vocal prowess. Clint, for ousting chubsy-ubsy fav Jaycee, and Jordan for dissing country crooner Scotty McCreery. That’s justice, bitches, served up Idol style.
All in all though, the talent seems much better this year compared to last year’s dreadful season. And the show’s focus seems to be on the contestants, instead of the Judges nonsense.
And then there’s the Judges. Now, I had my doubts about this season going in, imaging a detached J Lo, a lump in the shape of Randy Jackson, and an annoyingly narcissistic Steven Tyler,. Especially the promo images of Tyler where he resembled one of those Tranny-Looking Housewives of Self-Important County. But J Lo and Tyler seem invested. And when Chris Medina auditioned, the Judges met his disabled-by-a-car-crashgirlfriend, and they were very sweet, with Tyler whispering to her, “that’s why he sings so good because he sings to you.” Damn you, Steven Tyler, for making me like you. I may even buy you another Hot Topic necklace.
Additionally, Tyler provides some bizarre bon mots and inappropriate leering of teenaged contestants. And that, my friends, makes for good TV. Meanwhile, J Lo has emerged as a more-lucid Paula Abdul, offering carefully-couched critiques as to not crush souls. Randy, remains a lump. Occasionally, The Show will cattle-prod him into giving harsh Simonesque critiques, but in mere minutes he’s back to grazing listlessly over his Coke cup.
Tyler also provides unintentional entertainment with his “Rock Superstar” costumes from Party City, each one a slight variation on a theme. Honoring his fashion (non)sense, I will be providing a 5-word-or-less description of his weekly look.
Merchant Ivory's Pimp Playa
This week, Ryan Seacrest emerges on the Tron-like stage announcing the top thirteen. There’s a quasi-theme of the night, as the contestants sing songs from their personal Idols. Or, alternately, sing stuff the Judges liked in Hollywood week.Also, there’s various music producers doling out advice and guidance. And lots of red headphones.
Lauren Alaina - Any Man of Mine (Shania Twain)
Lauren is one of the front-runners, noted a Carrie Underwood/Kelly Clarkson mash-up. This week, her performance is OK enough, but slightly Country-karaoke. The Judges deem this "Meh."
Casey Abrams - With a Little Help from My Friends (Joe Cocker)
Casey - despite looking like Jim Kuback from Mission Hill - is another front-runner, and my personal pick for the win. His performances have been surprising and original. The producer dude tells Casey to spasm on stage a la JoeCocker. Casey manages a few kicks and a little stomping. It’s competent, but not one of his best performances. The Judges all love, as Steven rates him a “rainnbow of talent” and a “plethora of passion.” Randy reaches for a dictionary.
Ashthon Jones - When You Tell Me That You Love Me (Diana Ross)
The Judges once told Ashton she’s like Diana Ross, so she feels safe in evoking the diva card. She does it justice, but honestly, it’s a little pageanty and snoozish. Judges like, but don’t love.
Paul McDonald - Come Pick Me Up (Ryan Adams)
Or, as I like to think of him, Steven Keaton’s hip younger brother. Paul chooses a song from Ryan Adams, but really, he’d kill doing something from James Morrison. Paul uses his low rasp-singing to his advantage. But the stage presence is a disturbing thing. Dressed like something from Sgt Pepper's Valentine's Day Band, he works the stage like a drunk speed-walker in need of urinating. The Judges like the idea of Paul moreso than the actual performance.
Pia Toscano - All By Myself (Celine Dion)
Pia’s one the Judge’s favorites, given a manipulative totally pre-planned pimp-slot standing O last week. This week, she sings the treacly-awesome “All By Myself.” It’s actually a great song choice to show off her vocals. She kills it. The Judges find her “dope, hot, cool” and things of this nature.
James Durbin - Maybe I'm Amazed (Paul McCartney)
James is Adam Lambert 2.0. Awesomely talented with super-big sometimes screechy notes. And the Judges are already picking out China patterns for the finale. Not my cuppa tea, but a very talented fellow. At least he cut off his white-trash hair tail. Because, it’s not 1992. This week is actually my favorite performance from him so far – he really nails this pretty effortlessly, without screeching out notes that make every dog in a three mile radius run around in circles. The Judges are all smoochy about it.
Haley Reinhart - Blue (LeAnn Rimes)
Practice sessions: Everyone is wearing sunglasses indoors. Note to everyone: that’s a douchey look that no one pulls off, ‘kay? Haley’s a little pitchy and even droning. Like I set my alarm clock to “Patsy Cline.” Tyler believes the country-western part of the country is “roaring.” Of course they are. Randy is the surprising voice of reason (!), and found it “a little boring” and “sleepy.”
Jacob Lusk - I Believe I Can Fly (R. Kelly)
Jacob is the greatest singer I kinda want to slap sometimes. Maybe it’s the ridiculous runs. Maybe it’s his high-drama quotient. Like, if you told him you liked his jacket, he’d jump up and down and shakes his hands wildly. But if you told him you hated his jacket, bitch would cry til Tuesday. Anyhoo, he’s a wickedly talented gospel-crooning bore. He sings well, flanked by the supporting singers of “Amen.”The Judges love.
Thia Megia - Smile (Michael Jackson)
The producers reference Charlie Chaplin, and 15-year old Thia is like “I know nothing of these things in the black and the white.” Thia sings it well, but it feels like a Disney-On-Ice opus.
Stefano Langone - Lately (Stevie Wonder)
Ah, Stefano, the contestant J Lo would like to Corey Clark. Choosing Stevie Wonder is a bit of a miscalculation, and Stefano isn’t quite up to the task. It’s OK, but it pales to the original. The Judges feel he “pulled it off.”
Karen Rodriguez - I Could Fall in Love (Selena)
Karen chooses a Selena song (angling the J Lo sympathy vote?) She even enters the stage in her “Single WhiteJlo” costume, with pulled-back ponytail and sparkly red-carpet dress. The judges found it a little “lacking.” Watch out, J Lo, this bitch might blackswan your ass.
Scotty McCreery - The River (Garth Brooks)
Scotty’s singing is like a B-side from K-Tel’s Greatest Country Hits of the 70s. Country Music, to me, is the foreign language I never wanted to study. So here is Scotty singing traditional country, if you enjoy tales of truck stops and daily travails... Have at it.
Naima Adedapo - Umbrella (Rihanna)
Naima is one of of the more talented girls, methinks. She does a good job with “Umbrella”, and in addition to giving her the pimp slot, Show activates its holodeckfeature with flashing lightning that whisper, “love this, bitches.” The reggae bridge is actually kind hot. The Judges are ok with it, but you can tell they wanted to love it more... y'know, with the pimp slot and all.