Tonight, American Idol meets The Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame. Will these two entities go together like sugar and water or oil and water? Or will the evening be the musical equivalent of the Exxon Valdez disaster? Let's find out...
David Cook pisses me off right out of the gate by taking on a Duran Duran song. It wouldn't bother me if he did something awesome with "Hungry Like the Wolf," but he just takes out the keyboards, speeds it up a bit and does a lot of rock star posing. Then he flubs the lyrics near the end. Now, I'll admit to sometimes singing the "juices like wine" part when I should be singing "discord and rhyme," even after all these years of Durannie-ness, but hey, I'm not on stage being judged. And besides, he didn't say either of those things. It was more like "uh duh nah why uh zussuz like wine." Randy and Simon think the performance was just okay, but Paula is totally going to slap on some war paint and a loincloth and chase David through the woods later tonight. If he shows up with scratches on his face tomorrow night, you'll know I'm right.
By the way, I should mention that I was confused by David's choice at first because, although it is a travesty, the double D are not in the R 'N R Hall...yet. But with a bit of Internet research, I discovered that the gang is picking songs from the Hall's "500 songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" exhibit.
Rolling onto the stage now is Syesha Mercado with her version of "Proud Mary." Actually, it's not her version, it's Tina Turner's. The dance moves are Tina's, too. I think Syesha even swiped that shiny dress from Tina's closet. This whole performance is like that show from a few years back, Your Big Break. (I don't know if anyone remembers that, but it was kind of like karaoke night with better costumes.) I'm kind of embarrassed for Syesha, yet Randy thinks she is "in the zone" and Paula yammers something about "magic." Simon, as always, plays the voice of reason and calls the performance what it is - a bad impersonation. Syesha defends herself by saying she had fun, to which Simon replied, "Good. I didn't." Me neither. And if Ike were still alive, Syesha would be showing up with some bruises tomorrow to go with David's scratches.
The guy I most wanna party with, Jason Castro, flashes a mischievous smile and warns everyone that he's "obviously" singing a Bob Marley song. People will say that his version of "I Shot the Sheriff" sucks, and that's probably mostly true, but I love that Jason is having more fun tonight than I've ever seen him have. And he's just a dreadlocked doll baby. As expected, the judges pan his performance without mercy, with Simon going so far as to call it "utterly atrocious." His snit continues as he asks Jason, "What were you thinking?" and Jason happily responds, "I was thinking Bob MARLEY!" Good Lord, I love him. He just does not care.
Simon insists that "no one can do Bob Marley," ensuring that there will be a bob Marley theme night next season.
Little Lord Archuleroy gets the pimp spot (surprise!) and chooses yet another mid-tempo croony number. This time around it's Ben E. King's "Stand By Me." As always, he sings it pretty well. As always, it sounds the same as everything else he sings. As always, the judges fall all over themselves to praise their chosen one. Simon can't pass up the opportunity to further insult Jason by telling Archie that he "could've whistled and still sounded better than the last performance." Boy, it must really suck for the AI gang that Paula screwed up the evil plan to oust Jason last week. Now they're twice as pissed and three times as transparent!
David Cook's second song is The Who classic, "Baba O'Riley." This is definitely better than his first performance and his vocals are quite good, but I'm not wild about the slowed-down tempo. This is a bombastic rock tune, not some emo puddle of hoobastaind! Still, all of the judges love it. To them, if your name is David, you're golden.
Before the break, Ryan announces, "Coming up, Syesha and...(look of doom) Jason." Wow, this anti-Jason campaign is really in full swing. Would anyone like to critique his next song before he even sings it? Paula? Anyone?
As promised, Syesha is back and explaining the story behind Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." During this speech, she basically equates the Civil Rights movement to her time on American Idol. Wow. Okay. The Tina Turner charade was strike one and this display of narcissism is strike two. Strike three comes in in the form of Syesha's painfully slow vocal ascent from Dullsville into Shriektown. Oddly enough, the only judge who doesn't enjoy this boring shout-fest is Randy, who usually loves it loud. Paula actually gives Syesha a standing ovation, hugs herself and blathers some motivational dreck that causes Syesha to cry unconvincingly. (Doesn't anyone remember that she's an actress?) She sobs and sobs, but when Ryan asks her to explain why she's so emotional, the tears dry up quicker than you can say "I have a dream...that I'm in the final three," and she cheerfully talks some more about the song's ties to the Civil Rights movement. (Ties that she admittedly didn't even know about until she did a quick Google search a few days before the show.) This is as shrewd as dedicating a song to a dead family member, proclaiming your patriotism or revealing the various afflictions that threatened to end your singing career forever.
Jason grabs his guitar to sing "Mr. Tambourine Man," and I'm all prepared to love it, but my pretty pretty stoner forgets an entire line. Not only does he forget the words, but he replaces them with some silly "uh uh uh uh uhs." Honestly, forgetting the lyrics is always a horrible mistake, but I still think Jason's voice sounds nice. And, really, who could ever understand what the hell Bob Dylan was saying? Besides, even the Little Lord flubbed his lyrics on the show before. Brooke was allowed to mess up two or three times before ever getting voted off. David Cook just effed up lyrics about 45 minutes ago! So, I don't think it should be that big of a deal. Jason didn't make us wait through an uncomfortable silence while he stopped and started over. And he barely blinked when he forgot the words! He got through it and got right back on track. That should count for something, right? Wrong. None of this matters. The judges hate him. Simon tells him to pack his suitcase.
Closing out the show tonight, and squinting like Mr. Magoo, is Little Lord Archuleroy. He is singing Elvis's "Love Me Tender." He should change the title to "Love Me Tweeners." Ugh. Everything this kid does is so formulaic. No wonder the judges love him. Randy is loving him a little too much. He tells David that he loves how he "was so tender and caressed every word." Eh? My roommate announces that Randy needs to "go stroke it off in the bathroom." I plan to kill him in his sleep for putting that visual in my head.
Overall, this evening was completely underwhelming. Kind of like actually spending a day at the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame.
I'm sure that the judges and producers feel confident this week that the furor over "Paulagate" has died down enough that they can finally boot Jason, so he probably will be packing his Boones-stained duffel bag. However, I will vainly hold out some hope that the public's votes actually matter and that it will be Syesha leaving us tomorrow night.
Jason basically told Entertainment Weekly that he was ready to go home, so I won't be too sad for him if he does go. But if he does, the last few shreds of fun left on this show will go with him.