Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Idol 9: Exile on Meh Street*

(I'm much too tired to come up with a good Photochop tonight, so I had to borrow one. This brilliant AI version of "Some Girls" was created by Hanson over at VFTW. Sweet Smokin' Keef, I wish I'd thought of this.)

Ah, here we are again. The giant studio. The $300,000 lucite stairs. The Idiot Pit. The stupid, homoerotic banter between Simon and Ryan. Yep, this is the Top 12 all right.

Perhaps inspired by Adam Lambert's fierce version of "Satisfaction" last year, AI is opening the Rolling Stones songbook tonight. Oh, if only the lovely Alex Lambert were here to sing something. Anything. "Dead Flowers," perhaps? "Tumblin' Dice?" Maybe. "Let's Spend The Night Together?" OK! (Oh, calm down. He's 19.)

Alas, it is not to be. No Alex. As some big-lipped dude once said, you can't always get what you want. Seacrest doesn't even bother to acknowledge the uproar that his elimination has caused or the Internutty movement to get him reinstated on the show. I kind of figured they wouldn't cave to the petition, but I thought they'd at least address the issue. But I guess the last thing AI wants to do is admit that they got something wrong (again).

Moving on...

I am not going to even discuss the video packages from this evening because they are like mini Lifetime movies. Lots of dead and/or crying parents, glurge, and hackneyed phrases like "I've always known I was born to sing" and "I'm trying to make a better life for myself." Ugh.

Michael Lynche is up first with a funk/R&B version of "Miss You." Not sure if he came up with this arrangement by himself or what, but it's not bad. This has never been one of my favorite Stones songs, so I don't mind him messing with it. His vocals are decent, but he's definitely a better performer than a singer. You might say, "Well, so is Mick Jagger," but Mick could out-perform Mike any day of the week. Because Mike can't do the rooster or the pointy fingers. Randy thinks Mike "slayed it," and Ellen thinks he's "amazing." Kara uses about 500 words to say she liked the performance. Simon thinks the vocals were good but the dancing was corny.

One of The Pop Eye's most hated, Didi Benami, takes the stage next for her rendition of "Play With Fire." The Idiot Pit sways in mindless approval. The judges all praise Doodie, including Simon, who thinks she can do even bettah. Oh boy. OK. Gaaaaaaah. I hate to admit this...but...I kind of liked Didi tonight. Well, just her voice. Not her. I actually had to shut my eyes to enjoy that performance because this girl's arsenal of bitch faces makes me want to pull the wings off of butterflies. Furthermore, having to admit that I thought Dodo sounded good makes me want to pull my own arms off. So, let me get back on the hate train quickly. I'm suspicious now that her first couple of bad performances were scripted by the show so that the audience would feel bad for her and wouldn't realize that she's a plant whom the judges want in the Top 5. Boy, once I start conspiracy theorizing, I just can't stop!

Casey James from Cool, TX (must be Wooderson's home town, too) brings out the slide guitar for a fairly faithful version of "It's All Over Now." It actually kind of reminds me of Social Distortion's cover. It's a pretty decent peformance and he sounds just fine; I just can't get past the idea that Casey is little more than a really good bar musician. Simon basically agrees with me, calling that "like an audition performance." However, the other three love Casey—even Ellen, who reveals that her lesbianism doesn't prevent her from thinking he's "fantastic." Why is Ellen using words like "fantastic" and "amazing" tonight? Where's the "great?" Is she suddenly self-conscious about her vocab? Has she been reading my blog?

Ever since Lacey Brown sang "Kiss Me," everything she sings reminds me of that damn song. I hate Sixpence None the Richer, and so now I'm starting to hate Lacey. Before, she was just barely on my radar. But now, with her Sixpencey version of "Ruby Tuesday," she's actually gotten on my bad side. The judges are all mixed on this performance, with Randy being "pleasantly surprised" and Kara feeling "50/50." Ellen doesn't understand why Lacey stood during the slow parts and sat during the fast parts. And Simon tells Lacey that she needs to stop overthinking, because she "performs like an actress."

Andrew Garcia is really earning my nickname, "Gokey v2.0" tonight. He seems to have left his guitar in Gokey's closet, which he's clearly raided. So, he looks like Gokey but doesn't really....oh wait. Hold on. Yep, there it is. Some misplaced yelling while trying not to run out of breath while ruining one of my favorite Stones tunes, "Gimme Shelter." The Gokeyfication is complete! Randy loves Andrew, but admits that he was "pitchy everywhere." Ellen says, "What do I know? I think that was your best peformance yet." (So, the answer to her first question is "not much.") Kara and Simon are kind of on the fence, but Simon says he hopes Andrew makes it another week. I can NOT figure out why they are pushing for this guy. It's baffling.

Hey, it's a life-sized American Girl doll! Oops, no, that's just Katie Stevens. Unsurprisingly, she chooses a ballad, "Wild Horses." But surprisingly, I actually find myself rather impressed with her. The whole thing is kind of Carrie Underwood-lite, but Katie's finally singing well and showing some emotion. Randy and Ellen agree with me and Simon sort of does, but Kara claims that Katie is never "technically perfect." I would like to ask Kara: how many of these 12 contestants ARE?? And Casey James' perfect abs don't count.

Tim Urban does a fairly ridonk reggae-light version of "Under My Thumb." Is he trying to snag votes from old Jason Castro fans? I have no idea what he was thinking when he dreamed this arrangement up, but he'd definitely take third place in the high school talent show. None of the judges are feeling it, but Simon and Kara give Tim an A for effort.

Just noticed something. Tim's is the second or third critique in which Kara has said she agrees with "the guys." Is that some sort of lesbian dig? I know that "guys" is kind of a catch-all term, but something about the way she says it is annoying. Then again, something about the way she says everything is annoying.

My pick to win it all, Siobhan Magnus, is up now with "Paint It Black." The arrangement is interesting: it starts out sounding almost like a music box tune and then launches into the rock beat. Siobhan is terrific, as always, but her screaming at the end is a little too over the top, even for me. None of the judges think so though, or at least they don't say so. Siobhan gives Kara Glambert flashbacks and Simon marks this as the "standout performance of the night."

Lee Dewyze opts to cover "Beast of Burden," which I assume he will rock, but then he does kind of a wussy acoustic version of it. Still, Lee's vocals are really good and are all that save this from being a forgettable performance. Randy thinks Lee is "dope" and Ellen thinks Lee is...wait for it...wait for it...GREAT!! (She's back!) E also says there's "nothing wrong with it," while still finding some stuff to complain about. Kara appreciates Lee's growth, and Simon is still waiting for him to "have a moment."

Is it just me, or are the critiquing catchphrases getting out of control? Earlier in the night, the judges kept mentioning how contestants were "getting lost," and then after Simon mentioned to someone (and I can't even remember who now) that there was "nothing wrong with" his or her performance, Ellen latched on to that phrase and she hasn't let go yet. And Simon is still telling people to "have moments" and "use the stage," etc. I think we need another table of judges to critique the judges' critiques. Of course, those would all start to sound the same, too. Then we would need another group of judges to judge the judges who judge the judges, and eventually there would be a neverending chain of judges critiquing the critiques of other judges.

And we're back from that rather Spongebobian tangent in 3...2...1...

Paige Miles changes up "Honky Tonk Women" to make the song about one honky tonk woman: herself. And she doesn't want anyone to give her the honky tonk blues. She just wants a honky tonk man. OK, so normally I don't like when singers do that stupid gender switch thing with the lyrics, but I actually like the way she reworked the song. And apparently, she has (or had) laryngitis, but she is singing the shit out of this. I am really impressed with her tonight. I thought the judges would be too, but they all give her kind of a lukewarm reception. I'm not sure what they want from this girl. They probably have no idea either.

I could have bet $500 that Aaron Kelly would pick a Stones ballad. And I should have bet some sucker, because I'd be $500 richer right now. I'm all ready to be annoyed by this kid's version of "Angie," but his voice sounds really good. And OMG, he's only 16!! I had to say that because this is the first time none of the judges mention Aaron's age. I didn't want anyone to forget. Everyone loves Aaron tonight, and Randy even compares him to Justin Timberlake. Somehow, I can't picture this kid ever doing "Dick in a Box." (However, I could—and have—pictured Alex Lambert doing it. No, no, no, I'm kidding. It's not like that. And even if it was, I ALREADY EXPLAINED TO YOU PEOPLE THAT HE'S 19. HE IS LEGAL AND THEN SOME. STOP JUDGING ME, PRUDES.)

What's this? Crystal Bowersox in the pimp spot? You don't say! Wearing one of Lilly's shorn peacock feathers in her hair and another of her endless supply of drab, black sack cloths, she takes to the mic for a slightly folkier version of "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Hopefully, one day, she'll get what she needs. Like some Crest Whitestrips. OK, I'm just being mean (and honest) because I'm tired. Let's wrap this up, shall we? Dreadsocks™ is always pretty good, but this is just an average performance compared to some of her others. The judges feel the same, and this is the first time Simon (who always has to compare his kids) feels like someone else beat Crystal—specifically, Siobhan. Kara tells Crystal that her comfort with being onstage can make her come off like she's already got the competition in the bag. Apparently, this is a bad thing, even though they're constantly telling some other contestants that they need to be more confident and have the attitude that they can win. Ho hum.

As for who leaves tomorrow night, it seems like it should be an easy call, but since my predictions have sucked so far this year, I'm not really confident about anything. But I still give my best guess.

My gut tells me that the Bottom 3 will be Lacey, Andrew and Tim. Lacey has the potential to be that one girl who sticks around way longer than she should (e.g., Ryan Starr, Carmen Rasmusen, Kristy Lee Cook) and the judges want Andrew in this competition for some reason. So, even though Tim is the VFTW pick, I don't think they can save him from tonight's lame-o performance. Plus, I think more of Alex's fans will be voting for Aaron and probably anyone but Tim, whom they see as one of the reasons Alex is no longer with us.

*OK, so my post title was slightly misleading because most of the performances tonight were pretty good. But I couldn't pass that one up.

Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.


words...words...words... said...

I caved. I watched tonight because it was the Stones. So it's my first look at everyone.

1. Crystal is so much better than everyone else it's not even fair.

2. Andrew and Lacey sound like people that shouldn't even be invited to Hollywood week. THE WORST.

3. Andrew and Tim picked dark, menacing songs and sang them like they were at a beach party. Try reading the lyrics, guys. Both arrangements were PAINFUL, even though Tim can sing.

4. Michael was my second favorite. I'm guessing "Miss You" was the song everyone fought over, and he did it well. (Not a personal favorite though. Stones do not = disco.)

5. Everyone else I didn't mention bored me to death, except that I think Siobhan strangled a cat at the end.

I think I'm one and done with AI this year. Whew.

Shelly said...

I did hear a snipet of Crystal's performance on the radio this morning, and it was good, so it sounds like you guys are right and she's the one to beat.

rebecca said...

I too caved. My first time watching it in full. Got to see what the singers were all about. So as the newbie for this season, I'll hold my opinion until I see some further performances. Some were good, some were "huh?"

Idol Women said...

"...something about the way she says it is annoying. Then again, something about the way she says everything is annoying."

I am peeing laughing. You are my own personal Television Without Pity. Awesome.

--Lady C

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Thank you again for watching this year's Idol on my behalf! It would have been waaaay too stressful to watch this episode: I'd have been terrified about people ruining classic Rolling Stones tracks!

angelof_mercy81 said...

I agree with words^3 about Lacey. I cannot understand how she made it through when Lilly is sitting at home, watching the show on her couch. Maybe it's a matter of personal taste. I don't know.

My guess would be that either she or Tim will be on the chopping block tonight. Tim was creative, but I don't know that it inspired hordes of people to pick up the phone and vote for him.

Aside from Crystal, Siobhan, and Big Mike, nobody really stood out to me last night. I have a feeling it's going to be a very long season.

GothicBttrfly said...

Ever since Lacey Brown sang "Kiss Me," everything she sings reminds me of that damn song. I hate Sixpence None the Richer, and so now I'm starting to hate Lacey.--

YES YES YES I hate that song and everytime I see her I think of that stupid song.

elaine said...

I have to admit that I love the tone to Lacey's voice. When she sings the right song and hits the right notes. I was really hoping that she would do The Sunday's version of Wild Horses.

Siobhan is now my favorite. I love her voice. I love her fierceness. I love her family. And I LOVE her Edward Gorey tattoo.

I fear that Crystal will go home too soon because she is too consistent. Her voice definitely wows, but her fan base might get too complacent. She might get too predictable, and you have to shake things up to remind people to vote for you.

Does Andrew even still want to be there? He doesn't act like it.

Del-V said...

Check out Social Distortion's "Under My Thumb." That's how you can make a old song relevant again.

Dannie said...

I kind of felt like thats the best KAtie will ever do, but your right about Sibhon. She rocked it.

I still heart Crystal, thought :D

WendyB said...

I can't believe I have never watched this show. I think it's too late to start now. Can't teach old dogs new tricks and all that.

Flannery Alden said...

Thank God you put pictures of these people up. I still can't keep them straight.

I think "kiss me" and "neck tattoo" are in danger.

Mathdude said...

I enjoyed the show quite a bit - Up-bup, before all you haters start hating, would you prefer another Barry Manilow Week? Or perhaps a Stevie Wonder Week? Show Tunes Week? I gotta stop, I'm cringing just mentioning those.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Meh is right. LAME...BORING...and I cannot STAND the judges.

that is all.

Kristi Mantoni said...

words...words...words... That's it! "strangled cat"!! That's what that noise was! LOL!

I hope my handful of readers stopped by to enjoy your always entertaining blog.

I didn't mind Tim so much which means you're probably right, he's going home. Just when I start to like someone, BAM! They're gone!

I miss Alex! I think he's on Ellen tomorrow!

Penny said...

Gross. Gokey v2.0

Travis said...

I enjoyed most of them last night, except for a couple of notes here and there that made me cringe. I actually had to check my ears for bloody residue after the screeching from Siobhan, but I don't think any lasting harm was done.

I hope that she stops doing that kind of thing soon though.

My favorites are Crystal and Big Mike. I also like Lee and Casey...just waiting for one, the other, or both to break out.


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