Wednesday, May 04, 2011

American Idol 10: It's Beautiful When You're In It To Win It

Tonight's theme on American Idol is "Now and Then," meaning that each contestant will sing a contemporary song as well as a classic from the '60s or '70s. Jennifer must have thought the classic period was the 1860s, as she shows up dressed as a Victorian housewife.

Keeping's chair warm this week is guest mentor Sheryl Crow, who says she's "really excited" to be there. Just more proof that Sheryl's records aren't selling like they used to, as she's now pandering to the audience of a show that, only four years ago, she claimed to hate, saying that it "undermines art in every way and promotes commercialism." Kind of a hilarious statement from someone whose music has become progressively more commercial over the years. I used to really like Sheryl Crow but the first time I heard "You're An Original," I was like, "Oh wow, that's totally a Coke commercial," and I'm pretty sure it did end up as one. Not to mention several of her other songs have been used to sell everything from cars to cosmetics.

Anyway, Sheryl wants us to believe that she feels like her life is complete now that she's harmonized with James Durbin. Well, isn't that just the perfect lie. His first song is "Closer to the Edge" by everyone's favorite band, 30 Seconds To Smacking This Guylinered Douche in the Mouth. James is all Aqua-Netted up and ready to rock but the song never seems to go anywhere. It's not sweet-holy-Lord terrible, but it's definitely not one of James' better performances. I feel like he should have had a band up there with him. Just seeing him alone on that vast, empty stage made it feel like a rehearsal, something he probably should have had a few more of. However, Steven thinks James kicked the song's ass. And he thinks it was beautiful. Of course he does. J.Lo and Randy basically have James as the next American Idol (he's IN IT TO WIN IT, you know) but once Randy called Jared Leto's little group "a great band," everything else he said was rendered void.

Jacob Lusk is singing "No Air," doing both the male and female parts. The only thing that would have made this better is if he'd dressed as half Chris Brown and half Jordin Sparks. And then he could have beat himself up. Wow, this is the most hilarious train wreck I've ever seen. The air punches and pseudo-sexy dancing take it right over the top. Jennifer jibber jabbers a lot so she doesn't have to say anything bad. Randy encourages Jacob to only sing in the style of Luther Vandross from now on. Steven thinks Jacob needs to find his niche. Me too. Two words: drag revue.

Unfortunately, Lauren Alaina doesn't sing "Islands in the Stream" as both Kenny and Dolly. Instead, she opts for Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor" and does a pretty good job with it. She seems to run out of breath a lot but her vocals are right on for the most part and she's showing some personality. The judges all love Lauren and Randy tells us that she is in it...but in it to what?? IN IT TO WHAT??? Finish your sentences, Randy! I can't figure out what you're saying!!

Seacrest really needs to stop introducing Scotty McCreery as "Scotty the Body." First of all, it makes him sound like a perv and, secondly, it's ridiculous to give that nickname to someone who's basically built like a Pez dispenser. He sings Montgomery Gentry's "Gone" in the most gooberish way possible, much to everyone's delight. Steven thinks Scotty danced with the devil tonight. And it was beautiful. J.Lo acts like this display was the greatest thing she's ever witnessed. Randy loves Scotty so much that he can't even limit himself to one catch-phrase. Dude! It's like he was at a Scotty concert. Yo! You know what Randy's loving? It doesn't matter what age Scotty is. HE'S IN IT TO WIN IT!

Somehow, Haley Reinhart got the OK from Lady Gaga to cover her as-yet-unreleased song "You and I." Everyone makes a big deal about how no one knows this song but any Lady Gaga fan (or curious YouTuber) probably does. I do. I saw her perform this live at Lollapalooza and was blown away. I loved that it had kind of a classic rock feel to it. There are other versions of it available online, including this GMA performance (the song starts at 2:34). Jennifer and Randy blather on about how it's too risky to sing an unknown song because, hell, this is American Idol and who wants to hear something new?? I'm not saying that I particularly enjoyed this performance either but I disliked it for different reasons. I couldn't help comparing Haley to Gaga and, even though the song does suit her voice and she gave it the old college try, I just thought that she paled in comparison. Still, she was better than James, Jacob and Scotty. Haley's been progressively growing on me, and I like her even more now because she looks SO OVER THIS while the judges are giving their idiotic critiques. (Randy: Be Joss Stone! J.Lo: Sing songs I know!) And I can't really blame her.

James' second song is Harry Nilsson's "Without You," which he should have reconsidered when he couldn't get through it in rehearsal without getting all weepy while thinking of his wife and son. He doesn't fare much better live—he can barely hold it together and the vocal suffers quite a bit. Randy admits that the vocal wasn't perfect but calls the performance "emotionally perfect." Steven thinks it was beautiful. J.Lo thinks crying onstage proves that James is a "true, true artist." Then James pats himself on the back for "leaving everything on the stage" every time he performs. Oh, come on. I like James but A) that statement was kind of a turn-off, and B) emotion is great but you've still gotta hit some notes.

Seacrest announces that Jacob is doing a Nazareth song and I immediately pray to the Gods of Hilarity that it's "Hair of the Dog" and not "Love Hurts." I am incredibly let down when I find out that it's the latter. Eeesh. Jacob's singing hurts. At least if he'd gone the "Hair of the Dog" route, it would have been terribly funny. This is just plain terrible. But Steven, of course, thinks it was a beautiful thing. Jennifer doesn't think that everyone at home heard that "little bobble in the middle." Sure, maybe not the hearing-impaired viewers but the rest of us definitely caught it. Randy loves screaming, so he's super happy with Jacob right now.

OK, why are Kelly Preston and her daughter in the audience? This woman is really starting to piss me off. She has a five-month-old son at home, yet she's at Dancing with the Stars every week to zap Kirstie Alley with thetan magic and now she's hanging out on Idol. Go home, beeyotch!! Or send me there. I'd be more than happy to keep John Travolta company. (Go ahead, everyone. Fire up your "he's gay" comments. YOU CAN'T KILL MY LOVE FOR HIM.)

Lauren is back, all gussied up like she's at the Grand Old Opry. This time around, she's singing "Unchained Melody." I'm not sure I loved the way the song was edited and arranged but that's not really Lauren's fault. She's doing a great job, once again. The girl still annoys me but I have to hand it to her for being the most consistent performer tonight. It's too bad Simon isn't here to hear this version of his favorite song. He'd be rubbing his nipples raw. Jennifer says there's nothing to judge, so she just steals Steven's "beautiful" and uses it three times. Randy gets to use his 7th favorite term, "tender moments," while Steven takes "beautiful" back from J.Lo.

Oh yay, Dubya Magoo™ is back. His second song is "Always on My Mind," which I suppose is perfectly fine but I'm just so bored by this kid. Apparently, he was paying attention when the judges praised James for falling apart, because Scotty tries to add a fake sniffle in at the end of the song. Ugh. LAME. J.Lo thinks Magoo's a well-rounded artist, even though all of his performances are pretty much the same. She also steals "beautiful" from Steven again. Randy says a lot of stuff about tender moments and what kind of artist Scotty will be and what songs he'll sing in his concert. Steven takes "beautiful" back again and warns Jennifer that she better find her own adjective.

Closing things out is Haley, who's back to sing "House of the Rising Sun," a song everyone knows. Whew. As so many others have done, she starts out a capella before the band kicks in. Happily, Haley is finally learning to use her growls only where needed. She does a sultry, soulful rendition of the song is awarded with a standing O from the judges. Randy deems Haley's performance the best of the night. (I guess she's really in it to win it, eh?) Steven thinks Haley sold everyone on her sweet, sour and raspy (but not beautiful??) vocals. Jennifer is glad that Haley was mad at the judges for their earlier comments because that helped her give a great performance.

I originally thought that Haley and Jacob would be the Bottom 2 but after some more thought, I think James might actually end up joining Jacob on the uncomfortable stools. Either way, Jacob's most likely going home.

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Billy said...

You. Crack. Me. Up. I can't even pick one or two favorite spots. I feel like Steven Tyler. The whole thing was just beautiful!

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I though Haley schooled the ther contestants last night and blew it out with "House of the Rising Sun".

In my humble, I think she is the winner, but I'm guessing Laurn Alaina will take it.

I cant stand Jacob and I want him and his lips to go home tonite.

kcqueen said...

O.K., both James and Jacob are skeeving me out. James with his poser rock star shtick, and Jacob with his SCREEEEECH. Good Lord, I think he's awful. I thought Haley was awesome with HOTRS, and I agree- she is ovah this crappy show and the insincere idiot judges! Her face was all about "whatever". I know Scotty's a dork, but I love him- he cracks me up. I think it'll be between him and one of the girls at the end.

Oh, and JLo- lose your stylist. She hates you.

Cora said...

Haley is growing on me too. I couldn't quite grasp why, but I think you just pinpointed it for me: she is finally learning to use her growls only when needed. That's it! She's actually SINGING now, not just snarling the whole song through. I thought she was fabulous doing "House of the Rising Sun."

Are they still doing a bottom three or is it only the bottom two now? I forget. But either way, I think Jacob or Scotty is in serious trouble tonight.

Idolhead Ed said...

Hey what's wrong with a body that looks like Pez dispenser anyway?

Scope said...

After Jacob finished singing, I had to go play the original "Love Hurts" just to cleanse my palate, so to speak.

And then a little "Hair of the Dog" thinking like you did that THAT would have been the awesome choice.

Bye-bye Jacob. But I don't think James is in the bottome 2. I think the crying will get too many of the grandma votes. I think it will be Scotty. If he was gonna sing ELVIS (a word ALWAYS in CAPS) he should have done "Burning Love" unless it was too old.

But did you notice how Scotty held the mike last night? Like a normal person!!!

elaine said...

I laughed out loud during Jacob's "It hurrrrts! It hurrrts!" I want somebody to make a video of that moment played back and forth with Adam Lambert's "It burrns!" (from Ring of Fire). It would make a great STD awareness commercial.

I'll admit that Haley sounded good, but I could use a little less smiling and jazz hands during serious songs.

Coaster Punchman said...

"This is American Idol and who wants to hear something new??"

Amen. I hate new things.


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