Wednesday, March 09, 2011

American Idol 10: Idols Idolizing Idols (Top 13)

Tonight's theme, boys and girls, is "Songs From Your Personal Idols," one that I think is being interpreted rather loosely by some of these contestants.

I always like to think about the song I would sing on any particular theme night, were I ever in the position to inflict my voice upon the world. Tonight is kind of a no-brainer: I'd put on some kick-ass roller skates and spin around that giant stage while busting out ONJ's "Magic." And, honestly, if you really listen to those lyrics, it's very much up Idol's alley, what with its aligned planets and hopes and destiny and dream-building and, of course, all the magic. Thinking about it now, I kind of can't believe that John Farrar didn't throw at least one "rainbow" in there.

Lauren Alaina is up first, and she gets to work with famed producer Don Was. I know this guy has an extensive resume, but every time I hear his name, all I can think of is that ghastly "Walk the Dinosaur" song. In fact, accomplished as he may be, I would never be able to take any kind of advice from Don Was because I would just be like, "Oh, you don't like what I'm doing with this song? Well, what if I threw a few boom boom ackalackalacka booms in there?" And perhaps Lauren should have considered working some Neanderthal noises into her lackluster cover of Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine," because this is just like karaoke night at Magoo's! Steven wishes the song would have been "a little more kick-ass." J.Lo tells Lauren that she doesn't even have to try, but to PLEASE TRY. Randy says nothing of consequence. Lauren wears a look of disbelief one might expect from a coddled teenager who's used to everyone sprinkling fairy dust up her ass every time she opens her mouth to sing. In her defense, she tells Seacrest (stop trying to make "Peaches" happen, isn't gonna happen), "I didn't do a ballad, 'cause that's what everybody does." Yeah...that's the way to make friends! I bet this one's really popular around the Idol Mansion.

One who probably is popular is Casey Abrams, whose idolization of Joe Cocker should shock no one. Neither should his love of The Wonder Years, because that show rocked. (Which of you blog-friends recently said that it hasn't held up over the years? Refresh my memory so that I can be pissed at you again.) Casey seems a bit like he's one of the finalists in a Cocker Contest, but his version of "With a Little Help from My Friends" is still fairly entertaining. (And, hey! The lucite staircase is back!) Jennifer says things that Michael Scott would enjoy, like "You wanna be felt?" and "You blew me away." Steven puts Randy's "you're fun" assessment to shame with such colorful phrases as "you are a rainbow of talent" and "you have a plethora of passion." I would just like to know if Steven knows what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has no idea what it means to have a plethora.

Ashthon Jones is singing "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" by Diana Ross. I have to wonder if Diana Ross is really Ashthon's idol, or if she just chose this because Randy told her last week that she should be singing Diana Ross songs. My money's on the latter. Producer Rodney Jerkins and Jimmy Iovine think Ashthon is doing such a great job with this song that they decide to invite Berry Gordy to watch her perform it live. And Berry is probably wishing he'd stayed home to watch Minute to Win It. Not that Ashthon is bad; it's just another very karaoke performance. Nothing special. Randy thinks that Ashthon is "growing as a singer," while Steven thinks she's got "a lot more to show us." J.Lo just wants Ashthon to pick a sing-a-long song. Maybe next week's theme will be "Drunk College Kid Favorites."

I'm immediately impressed that Paul McDonald picks Ryan Adams' "Come Pick Me Up" (arguably Adams' best song) and am all set to like him. But...oh...em...gee. All I can do is laugh at this spaz. I won't even talk about the goofy, blinding perma-grin and his "dancing," because that could take all night. But his voice...good Lord. How does a guy like this make it into the Top 13? Did people even pay to see him when he was playing in clubs? Everyone keeps talking about how unique he is. Well sure, but you could also put a Zulu warrior in drag and have him sing the Sesame Street theme song if you're just looking for unique. "Unique" doesn't always mean "good." And then the sanitization of the song just does me in. I mean, "Come pick me up/Take me out/Mess me up/Steal my records/Lose all my friends, they're all full of hell?" Really? I have to start using "you're full of hell" from now on. That's so hardcore. And I can see banning the F-bomb, but since when can't you say "screw" on TV? Didn't the word "screw" become quaint the first time we all saw Dennis Franz's bare ass?

I can't even get into the judges comments because they all love Paul, and it's maddening. What I must comment on is this: when the camera panned to his friends and family, I spotted that trashbag Megan from Rock of Love 2, I Love Money, Megan Wants a Millionaire (and whatever other stupid shows would have her). You know, the ho who thinks a string bikini is a normal, everyday outfit? Yes, that was definitely her...wearing actual clothes. So I don't know if she is one of Paul's friends or if she just happened to be sitting next to his friends, but either way it makes me hate him even more. Because anyone who has any association with that hose-hound needs to be burned so that they don't contaminate the rest of society.

ETA: Someone at VFTW nicely put up screencaps and the girl wasn't Megan. The "No Bikinis Allowed" sign (surely put up after Kara's little stunt two years ago) must have kept her out.

Moving on...Pia Toscano loves Celine Dion, so she chooses a song by Eric Carmen. OK, OK, I know Celine covered "All By Myself," but this is a weird choice because, especially after editing it down, Pia's pretty much just singing "all by myself" over and over. But she sings it well, so I guess it's acceptable. And we know she's singing it well because every time she hits a glory note, the audience goes into hysterics. J.Lo slowly morphs into P-Ab, while Randy drops a trio of his favorite words on Pia: "hot, dope and cool." Steven gives Michael Scott something else to giggle over, by telling Pia she "polished that apple."

James Durbin idolizes Paul McCartney and chooses to cover "Maybe I'm Amazed." Although he makes a few dumb faces at the camera, it doesn't reach the cheesy level of a Justin Guarini, or the greasy level of a Constantine Maroulis. Maybe I'm amazed that I really like this performance, which is virtually shriek-free. (There are a few well-placed screams, right where Sir Paul intended.) Considering the judges' table looks like a shelf full of bobble-head dolls, it's no surprise to hear that they all love James. It's possible that Randy says "dude" a record number of times during his critique. I need someone to research these things for me. Would anyone like to be my intern?

I'm completely confused by Haley Reinhart's choice of LeAnn Rimes' "Blue" for a couple of reasons. One: I don't think she's ever even hinted at having any interest in country music. It seems out of left field, compared to the kind of stuff she's been singing. Er, growling. Two: Is LeAnn Rimes really an idol?? What, does Haley aspire to be a homewrecking psycho who lets her music career fall by the wayside so she can occasionally star in lousy Lifetime movies? Whatever the case may be, I am stunned to find that I don't hate this performance. Haley's just replaced the growling with yodeling, which is not necessarily a step in the right direction, but she's also enunciating most of her words, which is always good. Tyler and Lopez think Haley's great, but Randy finds this performance "a little boring."

An even stranger idol than LeAnn Rimes is R. Kelly, whom Jacob Lusk has picked tonight. Soooo...Jacob hopes to rise to the level of fame that lets him pee on underage girls? Somehow, I don't think that's Jacob's style. The "girls" part, anyway. Jacob shouts his way through "I Believe I Can Fly" with the help of the gospel choir, and does a great impression of a soul-singing rooster in the middle of the song. Although I'm usually at least amused by Jacob, I just can't wait for this pain to end. The judges, on the other hand, LOVE this guy. They want him to drip his melisma all over them, so that they may bathe in it. (Melisma really is the best non-dirty word that sounds absolutely filthy.)

So, right around the time Thia Megia takes the stage, I start to doze off. I don't know if it's necessarily her fault, but maybe it is. But never fear, the DVR is here. I still don't process whether Thia's idol is Charlie Chaplin or Michael Jackson, but she's dead-eyeing her way through "Smile," probably because she just wants to sing anything that Michael Jackson has done since Randy told her last week that she has his tone. The affected voice is back, so I'm back to not liking Thia. And the MJ plan backfires, as Randy can't find much really good to say about this performance. No one can. It's just a big ol' meh(gia).

Stefano Langone offers up the dance remix of Stevie Wonder's "Lately." It seems like kind of a funny idea, but it's actually pretty entertaining and original. Surely, the Dawg can't complain that Stefano didn't bring anything new to this, right? (He doesn't.) Steven applauds Stefano for "pulling it off" and then says something about a volcano. I seriously still can't tell who is the new Paula: Jennifer or Steven.

Abdul Point to Jennifer for critiquing Karen Rodriguez with "You look beautiful." Yeah, that's how you do it! J.Lo does actually critique the quality of the performance though (a cover of Selena's "I Could Fall in Love"), something Paula rarely did. However, she just offers up more of an excuse for Karen's pitch problems with the old standby, "Maybe you were having trouble hearing yourself." Meanwhile, Randy and Steven are having trouble staying awake, just like me.

Scotty McCreery takes on Garth Brooks' "The River," aka "Babylockthemdams." He sounds exactly as he should for the fanbase he's going for. Seriously, this kid's a total dork, but he will definitely find a place in country music. And, assuming he doesn't win Idol (and he probably won't), his first record will most likely outsell whoever does win.

Finishing up the night is Naima Adedapo, covering Rhianna's "Umbrella." She gets to work with Tricky, the producer of the original version. Naima soon finds that it's tricky to sing and dance at the same time, as she keeps running out of breath, especially during the second half of the song. Parts of this are good and parts are ridiculous, like the "FIRE!" followed by a weird reggae-lite breakdown and the projected lightning bolts that look like they are zapping Naima, making her dance like a rag doll. All the judges agree that the vocals were pitchy, which doesn't seem to bother Steven or J.Lo. Randy says he does care about the pitchiness, but then he also wanted the whole thing to be a reggae version. Hmm. I guess the logic there is that if you're not really singing, you can't be pitchy.

So who will be gone tomorrow? I'm not sure if they're voting out one or two people, but I'm just going to assume for now that it's one. I think the Bottom 3 will be Thia, Ashthon and *gasp* Lauren! I know Lauren's a favorite, but I think the dumb outfit + lame-ish performance + annoying comments + lead-off spot = low voter turnout. As for Ashthon, I think she'll just be a victim of singing a song a lot of people don't know and going early in the rotation. Karen could easily be in the Bottom 3, but she has the all-important Latino vote. I suppose Thia has the Filipino vote, which helped propel Jasmine Trias to the Final 3 in Season 3, but she also has no charisma whatsoever. At least Jasmine had the cute smile and the signature hair flower. Thia just has one facial expression and a bag full of tears. Therefore, I predict that Thia will be packing her bags tomorrow night.

Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.


Scope said...

Lauren Alaina – "Open the door / get on the floor" and know you are about to be extinct like the dinosaur if you sing like this again.

Casey Abrams – Maybe he channeled Joe Cocker a little too much. But I liked the song.

Ashthon Jones – I'm guessing bottom 3.

Paul McDonald – Hey, judges! There are people with potential who never come close to living up to it. Just because you see it in them doesn't mean they are ever gonna show it.

Pia Toscano – I actually started playing the Eric Carmen version. Surprise, I don't have Cylon's. And like I said when Lauren was singing, if you are going to do a ballad, have a power section in it.

James Durbin – Oddly didn't hate him tonight. And I HATE HIM.

Haley Reinhart – "Blue"? It was okay, but you should have seen the look on my stepdaughter's face when she yodeled the first time.

Jacob Lusk – Skipping R. the song didn't fly around here.

Thia Megia – Her Idol is Michael Jackson. Like Randy told her it was. She had zero idea who Chaplin was.

Stefano Langone – As a Seattle suburbanite, he's a fan favorite around here. I think he's safe and out of the bottom 3.

Karen Rodriguez – Don't even remember this performance.

Scotty McCreery – I really am not a fan of "The River" I would have preferred to hear "Friends In Low Places." It has a lot more variation and pace changes. And is a little more crowd rousing.

Naima Adedapo – Used about 7 genres in one song. But it worked.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'd put on some kick-ass roller skates and spin around that giant stage while busting out ONJ's "Magic."
If the producers of American Idol had the brains to let this happen, I too would watch the show. Just sayin.

Zed said...

Only one contestant is being voted off tonight--my cable company told me so, and they know everything. :)

My bottom three are Thia, Paul, and Naima.

I usually like Paul and his odd voice, but his "dancing" last night was pretty unbearable and bizarre, and his "singing" was just plain off. Nice teeth though. :)

Thia had zero energy and gave a dreadfully "off" performance.

Naima's performance was bad, bad, bad. That was dancing? That was singing. Bad.

Who's being voted off? I say Naima.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

The Wonder Years was and is, kick ASS. I watched them all again about two years ago and they were still pretty funny and seemed even more authentic as they have that retro vibe for real now.

Ian said...

Since you're the biggest (and only) fan of Quantifying My Enjoyment, I've decided you deserve a reward for your loyalty. Shirtless Josh Holloway pic is included.

P.S. Put me down as another who still thinks The Wonder Years is awesome.

Billy said...

Never in the history of Magoo's has someone started their career in karaoke at the bar there, gone to American Idol, and NOT won the entire thing outright. Not once!!

Besides, we Southerners have nothing else to do except watch TV and race tractors. So I kinda think Lauren is golden for at least a few more rounds.

Cora said...

My money is on Ashthon leaving tonight. That song was a big mistake. Not good.

And Scope is right, Thia didn't know who Charlie Chaplin was. She even said, "Charlie ChapMAN" at one point. *rolling my eyes* Duuuuuuuhhhhhhhh.

gennifer6 said...

Just catching up on AI and thinking wow, if Wayne Rooney had a twin, that Durbin kid is him, but dammit, nobody else knows who Wayne Rooney is...


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