Wednesday, April 06, 2011

American Idol 10: Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Booed

OK, here's the deal. I liked Steven Tyler when he first came on the show. I even thought Jennifer Lopez was a nice addition. And Randy Jackson surprised me by serving as the voice of reason early on. However, the quality of judging has steadily declined as the season has gone on and it's finally come to this: the judges have stopped doing their highly-paid jobs. It's either that or everyone this season is truly as great as they would have us believe. And, uh, they're not. True, this season is miles better than last season, but I'm a little tired of the judges overpaid superfans treating the Idolettes like they're already superstars.

And that's why I'm here. I'm not afraid to be honest a bitch. I'mma let you boo me. Because these are not the greatest singers of all time. But tonight some do well, some are aight and a few tickle my funny bone.

Tonight, the theme is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so the Idolettes get to pick any song from an inducted artist. Steven gives us all a brief tour of the HOF, but doesn't answer the long-burning question: Why the hell did they put it in Cleveland?

The show kicks off with Seacrest giving me the best laugh I've had in about a week by calling the Idolettes "rock stars in the making." Gwen Stefani is on hand to style the ladies and is there because...I don't know. I guess he lives in the apartment above the studio because he's always there. Todd Rundgren and Ryan Tedder will also be hanging around to look creepy and pretend all of his songs don't sound the same, respectively.

Up first is Jacob Lusk, who decides he can't do "Let's Get It On" because he can't sing about doing the nasty. So he trades in one overdone song for another, settling on MJ's "Man in the Mirror." Jacob makes the ridiculous proclamation, "If I end up in the Bottom 3, it won't be because I sang the song wrong, but it's because America wasn't ready to look at themselves in the mirror." Uhhhhh....what? If he ends up in the Bottom 3, it'll probably be partly because he's in the first spot and partly because he just gave that stupid speech. At first, I think Naima returned to sing backup, but it turns out to be Siedah Garrett, the song's co-writer. The vocals are fine for the most part but I'm totally bored by this song. Other than a few nice moments of prancing and hip-thrusting, it's not a very interesting performance. Of course, the judges act like this is the greatest moment of their lives so far, and J.Lo spews some Afterschool Special nonsense.

Haley Reinhart finally caves to all the judges' "Why can't you be more like Janis Joplin" talk by covering "Piece of My Heart." Even though I'm not a Haley fan, this is one of her better performances mainly because she seems very relaxed, like she's just singing in a bar. That said, the vocals are nasally in parts and the growling and sex noises are still pretty comical. Randy bellows, "That's the Haley we want!" so, if she knows what's good for her, she won't ever try to get out of the pretty little box they've built her. Steven says he couldn't find nothing wrong with that, which implies that he actually could find something wrong with it. But even if he found something wrong, he would never tell anyone.

Haley's rumored boyfriend, Casey Abrams (try not to imagine all the grunting and growling that goes on in that mansion after dark), goes the Jacob route and switches songs during rehearsals. After convinces him that his cover of The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" is "too loungey" (and probably not AutoTuned heavily enough for his taste), Casey trades it in for CCR's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" He whips out the upright bass and that's pretty much all he needs to do. But he goes one step further by turning in a good vocal. Randy claims that Casey is responsible for making the upright bass cool, but it's always been cool. Steven suggests that Casey "put some wheels on it and ride that thing around town," and Jennifer wants to sit in the front row at Casey's first concert.

Lauren Alaina and her wall of shellacked hair decide to take on Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman," penned by Aretha's fellow HOFer, Carole King. tells Lauren to tap into her "countroul" (country + soul) but this performance is about as soulful as a saltine. Lauren doesn't necessarily sound bad, she's just kind of bland. However, Christian Slater and his daughter think it's great, as do the judges. Steven says something to Lauren about growing from a girl to a natural woman during her time on the show. Note to Lauren: If Steven invites you to his place to talk business and look at his etchings, just say no. You'll just end up with itchings in your lady business.

Showing that his softer side is remarkably similar to Adam Lambert's softer side is James Durbin, who slows things down for The Beatles classic, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." His voice sounds really nice in parts, but it's a little bit shaky in other spots. He steals the audience's collective heart by squeezing out a few real tears but then effs everything up with a completely out-of-place and painful screech at the end. Poor guy just can't help himself, can he? The judges have no problems with it though, and why would they? Life is swell! Idol is great!! EVERYONE IS A STAR!!!

Scotty McCreery pays tribute to his childhood hero, Elvis Presley, with a cover of "That's All Right," and this is where I lose it. He may as well have worn the rhinestone suit because this is like a comedy act. Not only is it not his best vocal performance, but also he looks like a drunk kid at a frat party, minus the attempted rape. And he's still holding the microphone like a messy burrito, I see. How has America become so enamored of this kid? Ugh. A gaggle of girls (who would roll their eyes and call me a h8r) rush the stage at the end of the song for some McCreepy McLoving. Do I even have to tell you what the judges think?

Christian Slater's daughter's other favorite (besides Lauren), Pia Toscano, is up next with an oft-promised, much delayed non-ballad. She chooses Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High," probably because Celine Dion covered it. She sings it well, as always, but possesses all the performance skills of a cyborg. Steven screams, "Murderer!" to signify that Pia killed the song, and announces that, "There's a million guys in a million bars out there having a million drinks about you tonight." J.Lo thinks Pia is spectacular, aside from her robotic nature, and Randy is now defaulting to the "_____ is in it to win it!" critique.

Stefano Langone squints and licks his way through yet another overdone song, "When A Man Loves A Woman," and pulls off a pretty good vocal. He's sort of reminding me why I liked him in the first place, instead of making me fall asleep and/or hold my ears like he's done for the past couple of weeks. (Oh, and apparently you can sing ballads all the time as long as you're a dude.) When Randy dares to only give MILD praise (he just doesn't want to jump up and down for Stefano's performance), Steven and J.Lo threaten to light their torches and sharpen their pitchforks.

In the pimp spot is Paul McDonald, who is advised by to just be crazy. That, Paul can do. He picks up his guitar for a manic, somewhat cartoonish and totally dancetastic version of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." (I bet Paul and his purty mouth would be enthusiastically welcomed to any prison auditorium.) The vision of McSparkleteeth trying to bad-assedly claim that he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die is astoundingly amusing, but this is actually quite entertaining. Paul spins the dial all the way to "terrible," causing it to break and spin back around into "good" territory. I can't believe it either, but I have to give Paul the "Best of the Night" award. Seriously. His sandpapered helium voice somehow works on this song, and his spastic dance moves make me twitch right along with him. The judges love this performance, as do the other contestants, who return to the stage for a gleeful hoedown, which turns out to be just the perfect excuse for Jacob to back that ass up on Seacrest.

So, who will take the Walk of Shame to the Hall of Lame tomorrow night? Jacob is definitely going in the Bottom 3, so he better practice his sad/shocked/nervous/indignant face in the mirror tonight. I'm guessing that it'll be Lauren and Stefano joining Lusky on the uncomfortable stools before Stefano is sent packing.

Constantine Maroulis is performing on the results show. Better stock up on paper towels to sop up all the grease that will be streaming out of your television sets tomorrow night.

Find more Idol news and recaps at


elaine said...

What did those girls do to Gwen Stefani to make her style them like that? Gwen must be threatened by Lauren Alaina, so she stuck her in the most unflattering outfit ever.

On a random note, I love the "Born This Way" blog. I'm glad you give it a shout out in you Dig This column. My friend Kevin is in it (he's setting up a teaset on the sofa).

Idolhead Ed said...

Another piece of Classic Idol Litterature. Beckeye you're the best.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

You know how in "Wayne's World", in the guitar store, there's that sign that says, "No Stairway To Heaven"? Well in Idol there ought to be a bigger sign with a giant list of songs no one is allowed to do either because they're untouchable, or because EVERY FECKIN' PERSON HAS DONE THEM EVERY YEAR since it started. That would include things like "At Last" and "Natural Woman" and about 500 other feckin' things.

There I've said my piece.

Caffeinated Joe (Wings) said...

You are so right on so many counts! The judges have stopped judging, and I said out loud "Everybody is wonderful!! Yadda Yadda!!!" Ugh, it is annoying. JUDGE them, stop fawning over them!

And Jakob totally pissed me off with his "Man in the Mirror" comment. What? It now has nothing to do with your singing? Arrogant much? If there was a "Call to vote the one you can't stand" Number, I would have done that for him last night.

Dave said...

I think Jacob will end up in the bottom 3 because "America" is not ready for an effeminate black man with really gay dance moves to be "the" American Idol.

Scope said...

For a second, I though Seacrest said Paul had a bad case of the squirts when he mentioned something about his "uncomfortable time on the stools".

I'm not sure who is going home tonight. No idea.

Cora said...

I dunno, I think America will give the girls a break this week and we'll see boys in the bottom three.

Definitely Jacob will be there and Stefano. The third fella? I'm thinking McCreepy. I know, I know, that's crazy anti-American talk! But, please, that boy's over-the-top, cheesy, cartoon-ified country boy act has been getting on my nerves for far too long, so I have to hope!!!!

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Amen sister on the judges.

And as much as I love her, I wish JLo would shut the f up when the other judges are talking. This is not JLo's idol., sheesh.

I don't know who's going home, cuz I only saw the last three so I wouldn't want to venture a guess, but your comment about Jacob backing that ass up on Seacrest was much better than last night's broadcast.

just sayin

Flannery Alden said...

I'm with you on Jacob in the bottom three. I hope Pia goes there too. Watching her is like watching my mom try to rock out. S-Q-U-A-R-E.

kcqueen said...

Jacob has to go. Now. And I don't want to see him sing himself off the stage either. I've seen quite enough of his giant tongue and tonsils, thank you. I'd also like to see Pia gone- yeah, she can sing, but the "I am wishing my last name was Kardashian" look, grosses me out. Plus, is she incapable of singing something that Celine Dion didn't do first?

Glad you mentioned Paul's freakish demeanor while he's singing about shooting a man, just to watch him die. Bizarre. "O.K. Paul- need you to flash those neon teeth in a big way on that line".

Love to see Jacob hit the streets but it'll be Hailey or Stefano- all three are weak links.

Kristi Mantoni said...

I'm with Dave!!!! LMAO!!! I LOVED your names for

cube said...

I'm not here more often because I'm not watching this season of AI. I'm saving my energy for Top Chef Allstars.

Coaster Punchman said...

"...squints and licks his way through yet another overdone song."

HA! That was funny, what you said!

Last night was the first time I tuned in this season, though I only saw the last two performances. I'd have to agree that this group overall sounds better than most, but you're right - those "judges" - what a bunch of hosebags.

I'm just hanging on til "X-Factor" starts.

kcqueen said...

Oh Pia.....please....take a moment and send Gwen Stefani a thank you for putting you in that ghastly jumpsuit that only emphasized your resemblence to the other Kardashian sisters. I KNEW this was coming.

Travis Cody said...

I've been recording the show because there just isn't time in my day anymore to watch it live. I enjoyed just about all of the performances.

Billy said...

God bless you for this write-up! The judges' avoidance of their responsibilities makes it all the sweeter that someone, somewhere has the brash testicular* fortitude to crash some TROOF into these performances.

* -- testicles not required


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