Thursday, April 28, 2011

Idol Recap :: It's Good To Be King

In the last seven days, The Voice has swiveled its way into America's hearts (watch out, Idol!). Meanwhile, Jlo is leaving her AMERICAN IDOL future up to God. Hey God, nevermind about Japan. JLo needs career guidance. And oh, Stefano and his swag exited stage left.

This week, it's the songs of Carole King, "one of the most revered singer-songwriters in pop music history." Word.

Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
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 Lusk "Oh No, Not My Baby"
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

Idol Recap :: The Mod-nificent Seven

Remember 100 years ago when this show was only an hour? God, I miss those days. This week's theme is "Songs of the 21st Century." Because this show is so edgy and modern, we're gettings songs from 2002 and 2005 tonight.

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:
Woodstock Slut

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

Idol Recap :: Hurls On Film

Last week, the living skeleton known as Iggy Pop writhed his mummified torso on stage, while Pia Toscano was shockingly eliminated. Yes, Pia. Stefano carried a horrified look of survivor's guilt as he slunk back to the winners' chairs.

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:
Norma Desmond's Silk Collection

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.

Paul thinks this song is "awesome", so we know he's a tool. His version is a raspy, off-key car wreck of a performance. It's like Dylan McKay's drunk karaoke dare. And no, that sexy sax player can't save you. The Judges lie and say they liked his "wild abandon." I agree with the wild abandon part... Just not the "like" part.

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."

Like all Jacob's performances, it's vocally sound, just 42% too churchy. The Judges all love it, and Steven babbles about his "crescendos" and "innuendos" like a gone-wrong INXS video. Jacob says he connected with the song because, "I've been in a lot of bad situations and I've needed someone to lay down for me and cover me." And by "someone," he wishes Jake Gyllenhaal.

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.

And there's James, bustin' out the screech in his "rock superstar" costume from Party City. With his dual devil horns. I admit, it's all vocally sound... With with a large heaping of WTF. The Judges feel like "they just went to a concert." Err, that's because Show creates that effect every week. OK, I'm officially annoyed by this character now.

So whose scene ends tonight? I'm guessing there's no sequel in store for Haley.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Idol Recap :: Will.i.damn!

Last week, Filed under "No, this is not a Saturday Night Live Skit": The ghetto-fabu-not Fantasia sang "Collard Greens and Cornbread" on my TV. Also, Naima went back to Pandora while Thia returned to Disneyland.

Tonight, it's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame week, with Steven Tyler giving us a walk-through, dressed in Joan Rivers' closet trash from 1987.

Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
Bad Karma Chameleon

ProducerJimmy and 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 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.

Everyone was pretty good tonight. So who's going home? I'm guessing Paul will be singing the blues for realsies.