Wednesday, February 20, 2008

American Idol 7: Let's Hear it For the Top 12 Boys (C'mon, I Know You're Out There, I Can Hear You Breathing)

Before diving into my recap, I have to give a quick shout-out to AI 6's Chrustin Richardslake™. I've just discovered that we share the same b-day. So, I hope that someone sang him a very nasally rendition of "Happy Birthday." I also hope that Blake Lewis jumped out of his cake. And I hope that someone YouTubes that event.

I also want to say that I'm not going to get into the whole controversy over "plants" and "ringers" this season. I don't care which one of these people had record deals that fell through, appeared on reality shows, or toured with Britney Spears. If 98% of the general public still don't know who they are, then there's no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to use this show as another avenue to find success.

Now, on to this year's boys. If nasally is really a type of singing, as Chrustin insisted, thankfully none of these guys have learned the proper technique. Of course, some of them are still students of another type of singing: bad. Apparently, there can still be bad singing in a year where THE TALENT IS STRONGER THAN EVER!!

Theme nights used to be just for the Final 12, but this year, the themes are starting now...ensuring that by the time we reach the mid-point of the "real" competition, the producers will really be reaching for ideas. Maybe we'll get "Songs with Three-Word Titles" or "Songs That Feature Hand-Claps." Actually, the latter's not a bad idea. Who doesn't love hand-claps?!? THIS COULD BE THE HAND-CLAPPINGEST SEASON EVER!!

Anyhoo, last night's theme was "The '60s." Luckily, none of the younger boys were drafted and sent off to war, but I think Paula was having a bad trip.

Up first was David Hernandez, who I liked all through the audition process and fully expected to like last night. I missed the very beginning of his performance of Wilson Pickett's "The Midnight Hour," but caught the whole thing on YouTube today. It was just aight for me, dawg. The real Dawg seemed to like it. He gave it four "yo"s and two "baby"s, so that's about a B- or a C+. Paula was there, and Simon thought it was very good but still didn't find David "unique" enough. Agreed.

Following David was Chikezie, who dropped his last name in time for his live TV debut. Sure, Chikezie Eze sounds a bit redundant, but it was fun to say. And who does this dude think he is, Prince? If he thinks that, he's sorely mistaken. His version of Spiral Staircase's "More Today Than Yesterday" was not great. I know it's early in the competition, but I'm gonna throw down my first "pitchy" card. As for his image...imagine Forest Whitaker's fifth cousin as a traveling Campbell's soup salesman. Not really a star. He also back-sassed Simon, which will do nothing for his popularity. When will these kids learn to just stand there and take the damn critiques with their mouths shut?

David Cook came out of his shell to sing The Turtles' "Happy Together." He kind of rocked it. I liked it well enough but, for whatever reason, I wasn't jumping out of my chair. Neither was Simon. We weren't hiding under our chairs, though. Randy liked it enough to make a zealous and completely inaccurate comparison between David and Alice in Chains. I guess they were the first non-Journey rock band that came to his mind.

Jason Yeager sails in with a very nice, if not a bit cheesy, rendition of "Moon River." The vocal itself wasn't cheesy, but his facial expressions and mannerisms were very lounge lizard-ish. He really did have a nice voice, though. Or, as Randy would say, he could really blow. I was distracted the whole time trying to figure out who he reminded me of, and it finally came to me: Michael "Are You Ready to Rumble" Buffer. I was waiting for him to call in Mike Tyson to bite off Simon's ear when Lord Cowell compared him to a cruise ship performer and an old dog.

Bret Michaels' stylist, Robbie Carrico, rocked out with his...well, actually nothing was out. He was all zipped up. AI is a family show, after all. He sang "One," which I thought was a '70s tune, but it turns out that Three Dog Night was not the original artist. 'Twas Harry Nilsson! Randy and I liked Robbie, as did Simon, although Si still wasn't buying the "rocker" persona completely. Yet, he bought it from Constantine Maroulis, which tells me that Simon might have a tendency to get his rock and schlock confused. Paula loved it. After the performance, a shaky P-Ab yelled, "Hey man, is that 'Freedom Rock?' Well, turn it up, man!"

David Archuleta, one of my early favorites, came out with a very nice, soulful rendition of "Shop Around" by The Miracles. I had to look that up because, sad as it sounds, the only version I could remember was Captain and Tennille's. David proved that even though he's kind of a goober offstage, he can always bring it onstage. All the judges loved him. And I can guarantee that Randy will remind David at least once a show that he's only 17, just like he did with Jordin last year.

If Christian from Project Runway and Jessica Alba ever had sex (which there is virtually no chance of), the next contestant would be their fierce, fabulous offspring. Danny Noriega, the first of two contestants with an evil dictator's surname (too bad Chip Hitler got eliminated in the Hollywood rounds), stormed the stage and tortured everyone with a slightly Sanjaya-esque "Jailhouse Rock." Danny proved that he had a really good voice all through the auditions, so I'm not sure why he decided to erase those memories with such a cheesy performance. Randy thought it was just aight. Simon kept it real, reached into his bag of 50-cent words and pulled out "grotesque." Danny got a little sassy with Simon, but it was just gay enough to be endearing. (Note to Chikezie: be more gay.) Paula's acid was in full-force by this point, as she started talking about the colors that were coming out of Danny's mouth. If you haven't seen the show, I'm sure you assume I'm joking but I'm totally not making that part up.

Orlando Bloom suddenly showed, wait. That was just Luke Menard, a contestant no one remembers from the auditions and will most likely not remember after last night. He has a really nice voice, but his performance was dullsville, man. It was kind of like...Luke Menard's singin' at me/I don't hear a word he's sayin'/Only the snoring in my mind. The Dawg dropped the pitchy-bomb and Paula, by default, agreed with everything that Randy said. Simon put it exactly right by calling the performance "forgettable," which Luke didn't agree with. Simon promptly picked up the knife that fell out of Luke's heart and thrust it back in with a brusque, "No one's ever going to admit to being forgettable!" It was a bit snotty, even for Simon. Seacrest's only comeback was a moment of uncomfortable silence.

Colton Berry attempted to bring everyone out of the doldrums with another Elvis tune, "Suspicious Minds." He was pretty good. He can definitely sing. Simon actually summed it up well by explaining that a lot of these kids, like Colton, are good singers but they're having trouble making songs their own and, therefore, could never be viable recording artists. Translation: I don't see dollar signs when I look at you, kid.

Garrett Haley obviously got into the mood for '60s night by smoking a few doobies before the show. He looked a lot more '70s, though. Like a bassist from some forgotten band who might have opened for April Wine or something. Regardless of what he looked like, his vocals weren't too bad. He has kind of a high, sweet voice but his rendition of Neil Sedaka's "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" nearly put me to sleep. The judges were all bored, and Simon tried amusing himself by comparing Garrett to a pasty, sickly, shut-in.

Jason Castro (dictator #2) ensured that he would go down in history by becoming the first Top 24 contestant to ever play an instrument during his performance. Viva la revolución de la música! So, anyway, the dredlocked pretty boy did a very nice version of The Lovin' Spoonful's "What a Day For a Daydream." I liked him quite a bit because he seemed very natural. All the judges thought he was cool, and Paula said that he was a blend of every favorite color that she knows. Then Jason's dreds turned into evil snakes and tried to eat her face.

Well, well. Am I supposed to believe that it was purely luck of the draw that The Aussie Hottie, Michael Johns, went last? Right. Like the evil producers didn't love dangling that juicy piece of meat in front of all the ladies, ensuring that we would watch the entire show. Bastards. Well, they saved the best (looking) for last, and he did The Doors' "Light My Fire," which he sang a little bit during Hollywood week, and sounded fine. I don't think he was as good as I've heard him before, and a couple of other guys probably had better vocals than he did last night, but who cares!? LOOK AT HIM. Good Lord. Luckily, the guy really can sing, so I don't have to feel like a completely superficial ass. He definitely has the best stage presence and charisma of all the guys. There was a note he hit right near the end of that song that immediately made me think of Michael Hutchence, and then The Dawg compared this Michael to that one. (See, occasionally Randy makes sense.) Paula was fairly coherent during her smiley critique, so her trip must have ended. (Be prepared for a bad flashback during this year's Finale.) Simon told Michael that he had "it." Well, he could certainly tag me any day, that's for sure. In fact, I'm ending my fake relationship with Cowell right now. I've got a new man now. And he's it's a fake, illicit relationship! Ooh, exciting!!

The girls were up tonight, which I missed because I was on a plane. However, don't you worry your little heads. I will watch the vids on YouTube and cobble together some kind of recap tomorrow. I'll try to have it up before the results show tomorrow night, so that no one can accuse me of "late predicting."

Four contestants will be going home tomorrow night, and the two boys I think will get the boot are Luke and Garrett. I just think they were way too bland for anyone to care about. Danny Noriega may have been a bit of a nightmare, but he's likable and currently has the support of


Gifted Typist said...

I was at one with Simon. Most of it was a cruise-ship schmaltz fest full of boring, predictable vocals and unconvincing deliveries. The young fellow stood out as did pretty boy with the dreds but only just, in my most humble of opinions.

Missed the goils for the lunar eclipse last night. Will watch dvr'd version tonight and find out which was more spectacular - the eclipse or the Irish tattoo lass.

Chancelucky said...

Great recap Beckeye. I agree, it looked like Paula took acid to honor the sixties. For all the hype, this seemed duller than usual for this stage of the show.

CDP said...

I don't care yet what happens on AI (not til they get to the last 8 or so), but this was the BEST RECAP EVER. You made me laugh my head off.

r cubed said...

This is a great recap, much more entertaining than the actual show.
As much as I don't like dreads on white boys, that guy's my favorite right now. Although, they all picked lame songs. where is daughtry with johnny cash when you need him? mmmm, daughtry.

cube said...

I love the 60's music idol nights
because my kids are always shocked that their parents know all the lyrics.

Unfortunately, these guys picked some of the lamest of the 60's music.

Moon River?


Alice said...

i love that i don't have to watch the show.. i get only the highlights, AND the accurate commentary right here!

Linka72 said...

Yeah, back-sass usually ends badly..notice the 3 inch scar across my back from the last time I did that to my dad...good show though

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Knowing nothing about this show, I gotta say I'm pulling for one of the evil dictators. The only thing that would be better would be if the real Hugo Chavez showed up to sing Moon River. That I would watch.

SkylersDad said...

I like David, I will be rooting for him all the way. My second fav is Michael Johns after seeing him handle Queen!

kellypea said...

Love your commentary -- and laughed loudly when you reminded me about Paula and the color singing thang. OMG. And yah, I think they saved the best for last on the girls, too. The tweeners won't car tho.

Tanya Espanya said...

Excellent recap, thank you.

Where are you flying to?

Travis said...

I like Michael, Jason C, and David H.

Dale said...

Late predicting is a specialty of mine. I couldn't figure out why Colton Bumbleberry had that shit eating grin on his face all through Suspicious Minds, it's not really supposed to be a happy message is it?


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