Wednesday, March 25, 2009

American Idol 8: It's The Same Old Songs (But With Different Meanings Since Michael Johns Has Been Gone)

When Seacrest asks Simon at the top of tonight's show if he is looking forward to Motown Night, Simon replies, "I wouldn't say I'm looking forward to it." I feel his pain. I can't say I'm looking forward to writing this recap. I usually always do, but I guess this season is already starting to wear thin for me, dawgs.

Still, I must press on.

This week's mentor is Smokey Robinson, who is in the house tonight with Motown Records founder, Berry Gordy. Smokey has had so much work done that he now looks younger than Kara.

Kicking things off is Matt Giraud with Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." He starts out with just the piano at the beginning, and then jumps up to ooh and ahh and bounce around the stage in a Timberlakesque manner. Although I don't love the high notes he's not quite hitting, I think it's a good performance overall. Kara tells Matt that there are a lot of girls out there going, "Yeaaaah, let's get it awwwn," and that those bitches will have to wait until she's had her way with him. As is the case every week, all the judges like Matt, just not in the same way as Kara.

Kris Allen brings out his guitar for his version of "How Sweet It Is," which is, unsurprisingly, pretty similar to the James Taylor version. Kris sounds fine, but I'm a little bored. I guess it's just a predictable performance. I'm not sure why Paula is already up and dancing. I'm also not sure how Kara can say that Kris "didn't do Marvin Gaye and didn't do James Taylor." It's obviously James Taylor, with a tiny bit more pep. Kara further says that Kris "just did Kris," something she plans to do as well, as soon as she's done with Giraud. The rest of the judges are pretty happy with the performance and have nothing bad to say, although Simon tells Kris that he needs to work on his "swagger."

Scott MacIntyre ignores Paula's advice from last week and sticks with his trusty piano. I think that's a good move. Why he is choosing to sing "You Can't Hurry Love" is beyond me, though. I know this is going to be bad before he even opens his mouth, and he doesn't disappoint. The three backup singers surround the piano and try to bring some oomph while hoping to drown out all the bad notes that Scott is hitting, but there's no masking Scott's mediocrity. He's average (as usual) at best, sounding particularly ridiculous when he tries to go for the power notes. Paula spews a bunch of junk about magic and joy because Heaven forbid she tell the Blind Guy the truth. Finally, though, the other judges crack. Simon admits that he couldn't take much more of that performance and Randy called it very "hotel." Ryan asks Paula if Scott was as good as some of the other guys and, as is custom, she dances around the subject while Simon keeps poking her, demanding her to "answer the question." Paula finally reaches down and grabs some crayons and coloring books and plops them down in front of Simon with a brusque, "Here you go, six-year-old." Wow! How hilariously convenient to have coloring books under the table! And Simon didn't even know they were there! Right??

Just as I'm bemoaning the lack of spontaneity on this show, Seacrest reminds me why it's usually a bad idea. When Scott's number flashes up on the screen, he tells people to vote for him because he's wearing pink pants. Ryan turns to Scott and asks, "How do you know they're pink??" Is Ryan trying to plant a seed of doubt in everyone's minds that Scott is actually faking being blind? I bet Gokey paid him to do that. I can just hear him now...This show ain't big enough for both of our sob stories, MacIntyre.

Smokey Robinson actually enjoys Megan Joy's rehearsals of "For Once In My Life," which makes me wonder if he is just über-positive and easy to please, or if all the plastic surgery has actually made it impossible for him to frown. The whole time I'm watching this, I keep thinking of how much Megan reminds me of Cameron Diaz in that scene from My Best Friend's Wedding when she's forced to sing karaoke. But Cameron might have been a little better. I mean, eee-freaking-gads. Randy thinks the song was a "trainwreck" despite his "mad love" for Megan. Kara says that the song dominated Megan. Paula babbles on about how stunningly beautiful the girl is before finally admitting that, yeah, she sucks. Simon agrees that Megan looks good, but that she could be in serious trouble.

By the way, I know I said I was going to continue calling her Megan Corkrey, but that was before I found out that there is also a porn star named Megan Joy. So, now I like that name better. Obviously.

Anoop Desai is singing Smokey's "Ooh Baby Baby," but I can only concentrate on how sweaty his upper lip is. What is up with that? It looks like he way overshot the mark with his Burt's Bees or something. Although this performance is slightly dull, Anoop sounds pretty good overall, and his false is like "yo," dude. And that's me talking, not Randy! Kara desperately tries to prove that she knows all the technical aspects of singing, so she rambles on endlessly about "chest and head notes." Apparently, most of Anoop's chest and head points were good, but some of them were in his ass. All the judges agree that the vocals were good, but they all want something extra from Anoop. Paula wants more confidence, Simon wants showmanship, and Randy wants more energy.

Michael Sarver tells us that he's singing one of my favorite Motown tunes, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," and it seems doomed from the get-go because he is the only person so far for whom Smokey has had any negative comments. And the Smokester is completely justified in making those comments, because Sarver is murdering my poor song. If I were there, I wouldn't be too proud to beg him to stop, that's for damn sure. I can't decide if this is a hotel lounge, cruise ship, amusement park, prison yard, or morgue performance. You can actually see the big white boy trying to force some soul out, and it just doesn't come. When he tries, he just sounds like a televangelist. And the ending. Oh, that horrible out-of-place, off-key, and overly horrific ending. But thank God for it, because that means this aural assault is over. The judges just look stupefied. Paula can't find the words to critique Michael, so she remembers what Kara said to Megan before about "letting the song dominate," and just regurgitates that. She pretends to be proud of her second time being booed ever, but she is obviously dying a little inside. Randy thinks the song was too big for Sarver and, since Paula took her new material, Kara goes back to her old standby, "What does this tell us about WHO YOU ARE as an artist?" Well, I guess it tells us that he's not a very good one. Simon knows it, and lays it on the line by telling Michael that he has no chance of winning this competition.

Lil Rounds sings Martha and the Vandellas' "Heat Wave," in front of what looks like the same exact graphics AI used when Kimberly Locke sang this way back in Season 2. Although she sounds okay in parts, Lil is basically shouting her way through this song and seems to be having trouble keeping up with the music. Paula is dancing and Kara looks like she's choking back vomit, so I guess this will be a split decision from the judges. Randy agrees with me that Lil was "rushing" the song, and adds that the front part was "like torture." Kara makes a big deal out of how Motown Week was supposed to be Lil's week, and that she was "the diva that everyone was waiting to hear," and how she should've come out and wowed everyone, but she failed. (The subtext being that, since Lil is a black woman, she should have no problem with "black music." I don't know why she doesn't come right out and say it. We all know what she's talking about and we all know she's a jackhole who wants to keep everyone neatly in their little boxes.) Simon knows that Lil is one of the best singers in the competition, but thinks she just picked the wrong song. Paula disagrees wholeheartedly with everyone, and claims that Lil owned that song. Yeah, right. She just didn't want to get booed again.

The sunshine of my Idol life, Adam Lambert, takes to the stage (looking like the androgynous love child of Elvis and k.d. lang) for an unplugged version of Smokey's "Tracks of My Tears." I really love men who can sing falsetto, and Adam busts that shit out effortlessly. Part of me is a little sad that he's not camping it up tonight, but it's allowing him to showcase his beautiful voice. Also, I guess if he camped it up week after week, he would start to get boring and predictable like the rest of them. I suppose that showing up in a suit with his hair slicked back, sans makeup, is about the craziest thing he could've done at this point. (But I hope this means a new and improved Madame Glambert with extra fierceness crystals next week!) Everyone gets on their feet, the judges all go apeshit, and Adam gets the nod of approval from Smokey and Berry.

Danny Gokey has the unenviable task of following Adam, which he does in usual Gokey style. Meaning, he sings "Get Ready" fairly well, over-sings it in parts, and acts like a damn dork through it all. The judges are split on Danny. Paula thinks that he brings home a first-class performance every week, and Randy loves Danny's energy, comparing him to Levi Stubbs. Kara thinks Danny was "just good, not great," and Simon finds the whole thing "clumsy and amateurish." Danny just smiles the smile of a man whose sob story will keep him safe for weeks to come.

Getting the pimp spot tonight is Allison Iraheta with "Papa Was A Rolling Stone." I remember hating Stripper Hernandez's version of this last year, since he basically just spoke the verses, but Allison is doing a lot more singing. This song always comes off as a bit corny to me, but Allison does pretty well with it...especially considering SHE'S ONLY 16!! Have I mentioned that before? Well, Randy would like to mention it again. 'Cause even though Allison is ONLY 16, he still thinks she's one of the "dopest" singers they have. Kara is all like, "Only 16?? Whaaaaa? Last week - bottom 3? Huhhhh???" Then she has her first orgasm over a female contestant. Hey, experimentation is perfectly normal and healthy. Drawing on people's faces with crayons? Not so much, but that doesn't keep Simon from giving Paula a black moustache. She tries to critique Allison while covering her face, so I don't understand a word. Or that could just be because she's drunk again. Simon then thoroughly confuses me by applauding Allison for bouncing back after a "terrible week" last week. What?? Yeah, she was in the Bottom 3, but it was completely unjustified.

It became apparent during Danny's critique that the show was running long. No doubt, due to Paula and Kara's inability to form lucid, non-tangential thoughts. The time crunch reared its ugly head at the end of the show when Ryan was talking to Berry Gordy. The exchange went something like this:

Berry: "I'm honored to be here..."
Ryan: "We're honored to have you."
Berry: "...and, um..."
Ryan: (completely talking over Berry) "SMOKEY! We've got 10-15 seconds."

Nice. Maybe Ryan should work on keeping the judges' comments on track (and nipping those scripted fights in the bud) so that he wouldn't have to be rude to musical legends.

Aaaanyway, who is going home tomorrow night? This one should be easy...Sarver. However, he took his lumps really well tonight, and he seems to have a good attitude. That can go a long way with some people. Still, I think it will come down to him and Megan, and I don't think the show is ready to let go of Megan just yet. And she has the support of VFTW.

So, I think the Bottom 3 will be Sarver, Megan, and Lil. The judges will then toss around the "save" talk once they see Lil in the bottom, but she'll be sent back to safety first. Sarver will be out, and he will not be saved.

Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksalot.


Dave said...

The bottom three should be Michael, Megan and Scott, however I think Matt or Anoop will be there instead of the blind boy.

Either Megan or Michael should go home this week; the other will be gone next week.

words words words said...

The bottom three should be Blindy, Megan and Sarver, with Megan going home. It's not even close. That was one of the worst performances I've seen since Chicken Little broke out "Part Time Lover".

Adam was genius...he did the one thing he had to do. Be normal just once.

Matt Giraud sang okay technically, but he made "getting it on" sound like going out to the malt shop for ice cream. That song is about f******. Sing it like you want to f***.

Overall, I'm mystified that with the deepest, best catalog in pop music history, these kids on the whole chose mediocre songs.

Ian said...

Do you realize that Adam was the only one who chose a song that hadn't previously been sung on "Idol"? Is it a surprise that he was the best of the night?

Simon probably thought they all had bad weeks last week, since they were singing country music.

Scott's my pick to go home.

Dr Zibbs said...

Megan Joy was terrible last night.

Anonymous said...

I agree Doc, she sucked, she should go. Too bad they can't eliminate 2, Starver sucked too. Adam rocked it, the rest were ok.

Soda and Candy said...

i just love that you named soemone from a previous season "Stripper Hernandez".

Best name evs.

J. Hi said...

You are so right on--I thought I was the only one who noticed Anoop's lip sweat. :) I am still stunned that they have the "mad love" for Megan. I am baffled at what they ever saw in her. She has no idea what to do with her type of voice unlike Allison who does. After last night I think Allison should be in the finals.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

The Madame is flawless and crazee talented! And I thought he was sooo handsome last night and yes! Elvis alert!
Interesting thing-my daughter who is a HUGE Adam fan, didn't like this Adam. She much prefers the divine Ms.Glam look with over the top vocals to this one. The old fuddy duddy in me has to disagree whole heartedly. Handsome Adam made my heart swoon.

Good lord-we have to get rid of Megan. She was painful to watch and my cheeks flushed with embarassment for her. BUT-WOW she cleans up good. She looked gorgeous and when she gets sent home tonite I won't feel bad for her because I know we will see her again; modeling or acting-with a face like that.

I'm cracking up over the Anoop sweaty lip. He should have peeled off a few layers-he was wearing enough of them.

BeckEye said...

Dave - I thought about putting Matt in the bottom 3 instead of Lil, mainly because he was in the lead-off spot of doom. But I think they want a reason to talk about the "save" again.

WWW - Thanks for reminding me of Part Time Lover again. I have to go bleach out my brain again. Your ice cream analogy for Giraud is of the guys on VFTW said the same thing, that instead of the song being about "f**king," he made it about "holding hands and going for ice cream cones." I don't get it. Ice cream always does it for me. I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it.

Ian - I imagine that Adam will do a lot of Idol firsts before this season is over.

Zibbs - Uhhh...ya think?

Bluez - I stand by my prediction that Megan will live to caw another day. Sarver is getting sent back to the oil rig.

S&C - That's not really a great nickname, considering his last name was Hernandez and he was, in fact, a stripper. But I'll take the love anyway.

J. Hi - Agree totally on Allison, although I think she will be sacrificed at some point to make room for Danny or Lil.

Candy - Adam was really good last night, but I prefer the glammed up version, myself. He's just so fabulous.

red said...

Adam looked like Michael Damien.

I think Sarver has the southern, working man vote and I'd bet that's big enough to keep him there another week or so.

jolie said...

scott the blind piano player should get the boot, honestly.

megan hangs for a while yet - folks like to LOOK at her, they don't care much that she can't sing cos she's so freakin' quirky. and stacked.

lil was just not good at all, and you're right - won't someone step up and admit that she was expected to give a top-notch performance, seein as how it's motown and her lead-in vid was all weepy and shit.

danny ain't great. but the cults are calling in like crazy for him, so yeah, he's good for a while yet.

I LOVED madame glambert last night! he's got poise, knows what he's doing, and is about as comfortable with himself as any signed artist. you go, G-Lam!

Dave said...

For the record, I am not an Adam fan, but last night, he hit it out of the park.

One thing I appreciated about Adam and Lil is that they seemed to fully understand the legacy of Motown, and in their style and dress paid appropriate homage to the greats of the genre.

Lil spent too much time shouting, but she looked the part.

Mathdude said...

I got Michael, Megan and Scott in the bottom 3 with Megan going home. I need a win here to make myself look respectable.

I know, it's all about me and the world is watching to see if I'm right.

Bond said...

Sarver leaves. If Lil is in the bottom three instead of Scott...

I like Megan a lot..the song choice sucked for her jazzy sound...

I loved Adam down-playing the camp...


Falwless said...

Giraud may have to move over, yet, because Adam is trying to steal my heart. He was phenomenal last night. I LOVED it!

I will say it yet again - Sarver, Megan and Blindy McSucksuck need to go the hell home. I think it will be them in the bottom three with Megan going home.

CDP said...

I didn't see it but I'm having a hard time picturing a 16 year old girl singing "Papa was a Rolling Stone". The Kara comments were hilarious.

Travis said...

Adam has the whole package and nobody is talking about Danny's "sob story" anymore.

coffee said...

they saved the best for last this week -- Adam, Danny and Allison, all in a row

Gifted Typist said...

I was wondering if Smokey has had work done.

Agreed on all counts.

Good review as usual

Hmmm Count Adam be the new Michael Johns?


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