Wednesday, February 24, 2010

American Idol 9: Singin' Ladies (Put A Lid On It)

Last night on AI, the Top 12 girls got to perform for America's votes for the first time. And I'm guessing that most of them really hate Simon and the gang because they seemed to be in on some sinister plan to make the judges look stupid by disproving their constant assertions that this year's group of women is the STRONGEST EVER.

And because these women are SO GREAT, THEY CANNOT BE CONSTRAINED BY THEMES! So, they were just allowed to sing anything that ever charted. Whee.

Paige Miles was up first, which immediately didn't bode well for her. I mean, she got zero face time during the audition process and she was in the death spot on the first elimination round. Then she ate a whole box of crazy and decided to do Free's "All Right Now." Doesn't she remember what I (rhetorically) asked David Cook when he chose this song? Who covers Paul muthahumpin' Rodgers?? The only difference was that Cookie actually did a really good job. Paige's version was just aight for me, dawgs. It was a little too loud. (Translation: Randy loved it.) I will give her props for not changing any of the shes to hes, because I've never been a fan of the cheesy gender-switching cover songs. (Remember Syesha's "Me and Mr. Jones? Ugh.) But I wonder if that was Paige's reason too, or if she was trying to play up a lesbian angle to please Ellen. Or maybe she's really a lesbian. Whatever the case, I wasn't wowed by her. Simon still insisted that she had the best voice of all the girls, but that she shouldn't have picked such a "wedding singer" song. On the flip side, Kara liked the song choice. And, as always, Randy kind of agreed with them both. And he thought Paige blew the doors off the joint. (It remains to be seen if that's better or worse than blowing it out the box.) Ellen, well, she just thought it was great. More of this to come.

Next up was Ashley Rodriguez with Leona Lewis' "Happy." Ohhhhh, so that's who sings that annoying song! I should have known. Sadly, Ashley made me yearn for Leona's original by trying desperately to imitate everyone from J. Lo to Alicia Keys. On another sad note, I found myself agreeing with Kara, who told Ashley that she should try to take on more unexpected songs. Randy said the same thing in a much longer, and more confusing way. Ellen and Simon chimed in and agreed that the performance was predictable and clumsy. Simon even guessed that Ashley might be in danger of being booted.

Janell Wheeler helped with Idol's mission to leave no Heart song untapped by performing "What About Love." And while I was happy that it was at least something other than the 650th cover of "Alone," I was not happy that Janell turned my favorite Heart song into a bad cruise ship number. Randy didn't like the song choice but said he "still had vibes" for Janell. Ellen did like the song, and only thought a couple of notes were off. Simon thought that Janell gave "100% effort but delivered 65%," but still liked her voice in a few spots. Kara pointed out that the lead singer of Heart was Ann Wilson. Yay! Kara knows something! Just don't ask her to name an early Aerosmith song.

In her video package, Lilly Scott tried to jump on the VSC train by talking about how she used to live in her car. (She'd better watch it or Josiah Leming will try to slap her with sob story copyright infringement.) Hmm. I liked her better before she put on the poor mouth. I liked her better during the audition process too, because her version of The Beatles' "Fixing A Hole" wasn't that great. It wasn't horrible; it was just there. However, all the judges loved her. Randy gave me my first big laugh of the night by calling Lilly "a real indie artist." Come on. First of all, if Lilly were a REAL indie artist, she wouldn't be on American Idol. Secondly, this show is about finding a commodity that can be sold on a major label. And that, coupled with the fact that she'll probably keep picking songs like this that none of the tweentard voters know, is why she'll never win. But she'll probably stick around for a while.

Oh! Katelyn Epperly appeared dressed as an '80s prostitute to sing The Beatles' "Oh! Darling." Didn't anyone tell her this wasn't a costume party? She had kind of a cool, raspy voice, but it seemed like she was trying too hard. Simon looked her up and down and said a few negatives but quickly followed up with "But I like you...quirky...interesting." (Translation: Simon had a boner.) Kara said that Katelyn "knew her voice well," but then told her that she didn't think the makeover was helping. Oh! Snap! Kara and I were on the same page again. God, I hate that! Randy gave one of his more eloquent critiques: "I think you can go places and do stuff." Oh! God! People still pay him to say things? Ellen agreed with my assessment that Katelyn was "pushing" too much, but thought her voice was great.

Ryan stepped in to ask Katelyn if there had been a little word bubble above her head when Kara made the "makeover" comment, what it would have said. Katelyn just jibber jabbered about her different styles, but Kara said she knew what the word bubble would have said: "BITCH." Kara actually made me smile. What the eff...first I'm agreeing with her and now I'm enjoying her comments? What's next? We're going to start hanging out at Studio 57 together? Someone, please hold me! I'm scared.

Haeley Vaughn took the stage to sing the third Beatles' song in a row, "I Want To Hold Your Hand." I should have used my hand to shut the TV off at this point. Good Lord, that girl is annoying. She's like one of those pageant kids all grown up. Not to mention, she can't sing worth a damn. It's okay to mention that, right? We're still pretending this is a singing competition, yes? Kara, Randy and Ellen all tried to sugar coat their critiques, and Randy and Ellen made sure to remind Haeley that she's only 16. (I'm starting to think they are contractually obligated to mention any 16- or 17-year-old contestant's age at least once per show.) Simon was the only one who got real, by telling Haeley that it was "verging on terrible," and comparing her to a "wind-up doll that never stopped smiling." Ahhh, the truth. It's so wonderful. But when Si called the performance "a mess," Ellen tried to make things better by proclaiming, "If it was a mess, it was a hot mess." Yeah, exactly. I don't think she really knows what that term means.

Another contestant that didn't get much face time during the auditions was Lacey Brown, who lost a spot in last year's Top 24 to Lady Caw Caw, Megan Joy. Diss Megan all you want, but it became immediately apparent why Lacey didn't make it last year — quite simply, she wasn't very good. Her version of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" was sluggish and off-key. It's kind of funny to think about how the judges have been hyping this group of girls as the BEST EVER, yet the group includes a reject from last year. Whatever. Randy threw down the first "pitchy" card of the season, while Ellen would only say that Lacey was "better than that." Simon thought the performance was "depressing" and "indulgent," but made up for Paula's absence by throwing in a compliment about Lacey's appearance: "You have nice eyes." Kara thought "Landslide" was the wrong song. Then she actually suggested that Lacey sing something by Sixpence None The Richer. What?? Okay, that's the Kara I know and hate. We will not be hanging out at Studio 57 together any time soon. Seriously, who would think covering Sixpence None The Richer is a good idea? Who even acknowledges that they exist?

Michelle Delamor surprised no one by covering Alicia Keys' "Fallin'," and even though it wasn't that original, she gave one of the better performances of the evening. Ellen thought Michelle was great, fantastic and amazing. Simon liked Michelle's performance (and her bod), but didn't think there was any "wow" moment. KaRandy wanted her to get out of her comfort zone. So, I guess that means no Vanessa Williams covers next week. (See what I did there? Har har har.)

I was already prepared to hate Didi Benami's performance, and she did nothing to make me change those plans. The irony of her singing Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am" in such an affected manner was not lost on me. And though I'm usually a fan of irony, this performance just plain pissed me off. Simon said if he shut his eyes, he could confuse Didi with 3 or 4 of the other singers, who are all trying to sound like Adele and Duffy. Kara tried to stick up for Didi a little bit, probably because she sang one of her songs during Hollywood Week. Randy and Ellen thought Didi's first impression was too "sleepy" and "low-key."

Siobhan Magnus, whom I predicted to be this year's "one to watch," justified my statement with a terrific and unexpected version of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." Kara said that Siobhan was the most "real" contestant because she lost herself in the performance. Randy babbled on for a while to basically say that he hopes Siobhan will sing louder in the future. Ellen loved it. Thought it was really great. Simon called Siobhan a "funny little thing," because her song choice was unpredictable. Then Siobhan spoke in a really odd monotone that nearly put Simon into a trance.

Crystal Bowersox pretty much admitted that she only signed up for AI to make tons of money to take care of her kid. Ahh, the truth. When Seacrest announced that she was doing Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket," I immediately cringed because I imagined being assaulted by a horrible, nasally Alanis impression. How can you blame me when just about every other girl did bad impressions of the artists they covered? But Crystal gave the song a much more roots-rock feel. If I would have to accuse her of impersonating anyone, it would be Melissa Etheridge or one of the Indigo Girls. Or Neil Young, considering she did the whole guitar/harmonica thing. Randy and Ellen loved Crystal's "honesty." Kara thought she was merely "good," but had "greatness" in her. Simon said she wasn't that original because "there are thousands of you doing this outside subway stations at the moment." I'm not sure what his point was. As if that's any worse than the thousands of pop tarts being churned out by the music industry. With the help of shows like this, of course.

Unsurprisingly, Katie Stevens got the pimp spot with "Feeling Good" by...Michael Buble?? Was that a joke?? I know she didn't write it (or even perform it first), but I think most people would attribute that song to Nina Simone. Anyway, Katie has a lovely voice. We all know this. But this time around, she was just good. Not great. Not "Ellen great." I was sure that the judges would give her a tongue bath anyway, but they all kind of ganged up on her. Almost more so than I thought she deserved. Simon thought Katie looked like she was dressed by her mom and dad and that her performance was "annoying" and "pageanty." Everyone else fulfilled their obligation by reminding Katie that she was 17. And apparently, they really thought that she forgot, because they kept telling her to BE 17. Yes, Katie, please be 17 so Randy has something to talk about every week.

The Top 12 guys perform tonight. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they can't possibly be more boring than this group of girls. (I don't know why I tempt fate like this.) Hey, Seacrest, tell me again how this is going to be THE BEST SEASON EVER!!

Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.


Idol Women said...

Man, I LOVED the idea of you and Kara as new besties (hee! I'm still giggling) but I see it didn't last.

Which is accurate:

great > Ellen great
great < Ellen great

Whichever is greater, that = your post. :-)

Lady C

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with a little Sixpence None the Richer, fucker!

OK, so I only know three of their songs and two of those are covers but still. They're ok. Were. I don't know, do they still exist?

ALso I think there should be a long list of songs you are NOT allowed to sing on Idol because I am bored shitless with hearing the same old suck all the time. Yes do some indie songs. They're only indie because they don't get exposure. Maybe this would help. I'd say 85% of mainstream songs out there are pap. And if they're not pap they're over exposed to the point of nausea. If I hear one more woman singing "At Last" on Idol anywhere, I am going to take me some hostages.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Sounds like the best season ever!

BeckEye said...

Lady C - Hopefully, this equation helps:

Adam Lambert's sparkly rainbow farts > scrumptrulescent > Ellen great > great > aight

Veggie - There is so much wrong with Sixpence None the Richer. It's like I don't even know you.

And I hate to pimp myself (no I don't), but I actually wrote a list for Starpulse of songs I never want to hear on Idol again. Please to be readings it, pritty lady.

Travis said...

Hyperbole is the mainstay for this how.

I've always thought that most of these kids simply aren't prepared for the way the stage and the music is different going from auditions to performing for votes. It overwhelms most of them right from the jump. That's why I'm glad they've gone back to the simple top 24 format so they all get to sing every week.

They need that exposure to the live band every week in order to settle in. Some of them never will, and those are the ones that drop away. Hopefully that leaves us with the good stuff...or at least the better than awful stuff.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Haeley Vaughn is soooo bad...

Man, I cannot believe they took this girl into the top 24 and let that other girl go who's mom is missing...I forget her name.

The chick makes me cringe. And don't even get me started on that grille of hers...

Katie Stevens was a big disappointment.

I missed the guys last night. I'll watch it before the results show.

Penny said... really broke this down :)
I FINALLY watched!!!! Aren't you proud??

I thought that creepy I Wanna Hold Your Hand performance was horrid. I wanted to scratch my ear drums out.

AND I hated Crystal Bowersox. Hated her. Not sure why yet..I'll keep you posted.

Blanche said...

I was so excited for these girls to perform, all the hype and all...but man was I bored. I think the guys did much better. Can't wait for that re-cap.

angelof_mercy81 said...

I don't understand why the judges feel the need to comment on the younger contestants' ages, as they did with Katie for example. They don't do that with the ones that aren't teenagers. You never hear them say, "You know (insert contestant name), you're 26 years old..." Why does the age matter?

By the way, I enjoy your blog!

Jenna said...

I was flipping channels and came across the girl singing "I want to hold your hand." Egads, was that flipping terrible. Needless to say, I didn't stick around for anything else. No matter how much is wrong with Sixpence None The Richer, better her slaughter that than Landslide, imo. And is it just me or is Seacrest really phoning it in? I haven't actually watched in years, so maybe it's been a steady decline but he really seemed like he wanted to be somewhere else last night when I flipped through the boys singing.

Bond said...

I thought, after hearing the boys last night, that the girls were better overall...which is a scary statement indeed.

J. Hi said...

I tell you this every Idol season, but I have mad love for your wrap ups, dawg.

Haeley Vaughn makes me wish I was deaf and blind. How the hell did she get through?

Shelly said...

Ellen's "hot mess" comment made me laugh out loud. Poor Ellen, she's so out of touch.

Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong about DiDi. I absolutely loved her performce of Fleetwood Mac.


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