Thursday, March 10, 2011

Idol Recap :: Left Idoling

New judges. New opening. New band. New stage. It's the season where everything is different – but nothing has changed. Despite the new trappings, it’s the same old Idol, with bad auditions, the back-biting of Hollywood week and the extra-drama fake-out eliminations.

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.

Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
Merchant Ivory's Pimp

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 White
Jlo” 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.

So who's going home? Haley Reinhart might be feeling blue, but I actually think Karen Rodriguez will fall out of love with The Show.

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