Wednesday, March 14, 2012

American Idol 11: Born Under a Bad Song

Nothing makes me feel quite as old as American Idol's "songs from your birth year" theme night does. It's just mind-boggling to me that people born in the '90s aren't still wearing pull-ups. Apparently, the Idolettes were trying to keep me from feeling too ancient, as nearly half of them performed songs that were originally released back in my day ('memba the '70s?) or beyond, and only covered in their birth years. I'd actually they rather make me feel old, because it seriously pisses me off when they bend the theme rules like this.

Hey, look who's back:! I'll bet he showed up on Monday and camped out in his chair so that Jimmy Iovine couldn't bring in another mentor.

Kicking the show off is Phillip Phillips with the same old sound, but now kidney stone-free! Phillip is most likely going to be your next American White Guy Idol (unless the producers orchestrate a girl's win), so he's one of the few who will never have to worry about being in the lead-off spot of doom. As Phillip was born in 1990, naturally he sings "Hard to Handle," an Otis Redding tune from 1968, later covered by the Black Crowes and driven into the ground by every radio station and jukebox on earth. Phillip earns a three-way tongue bath from the judges, as usual.

Jessica Sanchez was born in 1995, so she is performing the disco classic, "Turn the Beat Around," later covered by Gloria Estefan. A quick peek at Wikipedia shows that Estefan's version was actually released in 1994, so should we just throw this theme out the window right now? Although I still think Jessica has a strong voice and she does fairly well with this, she doesn't seem totally comfortable with it. It's also annoying to see her doing the little breakdown/"are you ready?" routine that scripted for her. I mean, we all know that most of these kids are puppets, but they're more tolerable when we can't see what's going on behind the curtain. Another thing we all know is that Jessica is one of the judges' chosen ones, so it's clear that they're de-pimping her a little bit right now for her own good. What's not good is when Steven suggests that Jessica never stray far from ballad territory. Seriously? Does this guy not get enough of ballads on this show? My Spidey senses tell me that one is coming up right now!

Yep. Following the advice Steven meant for Jessica, Heejun Han is doing another ballad. And as much as I adore this kid, I really want to smack him. Because not only does he always sing ballads, but also he picks the absolute worst adult contempo soft-schlock imaginable. This time around, it's "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx. To Heejun's credit, he's at least doing a song that was originally released in his birth year, 1989. But that's about all the credit I can give him, because the vocals on this are some of the weakest I've heard from him and it is just sooooo boooooring. Randy throws down the pitchy card and tells Heejun to go back to the R&B swag that got him noticed in the audition rounds. Jennifer refuses to say anything bad about Heejun, and Steven says something that I forget the instant it reaches my ears.

And it's back to the birth year covers! Elise Testone takes on Al Green's 1972 hit, "Let's Stay Together," which was covered by Tina Turner in 1983. Even though I'm annoyed that she ignored all the great songs from that year, she turns in a good performance and easily bounces back from last week. She might still have a problem with some people who think she has an attitude, but I don't think she'll be leaving us anytime soon.

Perhaps as an homage to his own mane, DeAndre Brackensick intends to perform the love song from The Lion King. However, convinces him to switch to a different sappy movie theme, "Endless Love." Obviously, DeAndre was not born in 1981, so he's performing the Mariah Carey/Luther Vandross cover and is clearly trying to play both parts. I can sum up this performance with one word: blargh. Of course, the judges try their best to simultaneously give DeAndre a thumbs up and the performance a thumbs down, which is best achieved by blaming it all on Jimmy and's.suckage.

Jimmy wants Shannon Magrane to sing No Doubt's "Don't Speak," but she has her heart set on the second Mariah Carey duet in a row, "One Sweet Day." The performance starts off especially rough for the Idiot Pit, who can't decide whether they should clap along, sway or just leave. As leaving would be the smart thing, it's not an option that they consider for very long. Once again, I'm amazed that this girl has made it this far because she is incredibly average at best. Once again, I'm amazed that the judges just continue to heap praise upon her. And for the first time, I'm amazed when Uncle Randy doesn't take this opportunity to tell everyone about what good friends he is with Mariah and whats-his-face from Boyz II Men.

Here's one for the bizarre song choice files: Colton Dixon is covering a White Lion song. Not the good one everyone knows ("Wait") or even the awful one everyone knows ("When the Children Cry"), but the one that no one knows despite the fact that they released it twice ("Broken Heart"). Well, I shouldn't say "no one" knows it. I do. But that's only because I had a minor thing for Mike Tramp back in the day. Anyway...even though I thought Tramp was pretty, his strangled voice always kind of annoyed me. But thanks to Colton's usual whiny Daughtry wannabe schtick, I think I've gained a new appreciation for ol' Mikey. Steven is uncharacteristically negative in his critique, which makes me wonder if he and Mike Tramp ever banged the same chick or something. But J.Lo and Randy love Colton, and think he—as Professor Dawg puts it—"performed it dope."

Erika Van Pelt is singing Bryan Adams' "Heaven," which makes me think that if she'd only been born a few years later, she could be singing Warrant's "Heaven," a song I WILL NEVER STOP LOVING. I am totally playing that song in my head while Erika is singing, but I'm still getting the general feeling that she's doing a pretty good job. I seem to be in the minority though, as the judges complain about the arrangement. Although he's always telling contestants to make songs their own, he does a 180° on Erika by suggesting that she should have just sung this one the way it was written. I guess it doesn't matter that her changes were very subtle. Apparently a Bryan Adams composition is never to be tampered with!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this news bulletin: Jermaine Jones aka The Gentle Giant aka Joel Jones aka Kareem Watkins aka has been disqualified! In a totally unplanned segment, Nigel Lythgoe sits down with Jermaine to let him know that the only crime Idol will tolerate is songicide, and gives him his walking papers.

The Not-So-Gentle Giant is gone but the show must go on, so Skylar Laine prepares to take the stage. Although Jimmy tries to get her to sing a million other songs, Skylar sticks with her original choice, Bonnie Raitt's "Love Sneakin' Up on You." I kind of wish Skylar had taken's suggestion to do Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage" because that would have at least been entertaining. This is just kind of boring. It starts off really shaky, then sort of promises to get good, then dissolves into a big pile of meh. But since the water's still warm from Phillip's tongue bath earlier, the judges give Skylar a soak.

Seacrest wheels out a giant tub of crawfish for Joshua Ledet, who takes a taste before giving the audience a taste of Percy Sledge by way of Michael Bolton. His churchy take on "When a Man Loves a Woman" is very good, and the judges lose their minds when Joshua whips off his bellboy jacket about halfway through. Jennifer gushes that Joshua's performance was the best thing she's ever seen on American Idol. I don't know about that. If Seacrest would have come in at the end and wrapped Joshua in a cape bedazzled with a giant crawfish on the back, then maybe I'd agree.

Closing out the night is Hollie Cavanagh with Celine Dion's "The Power of Love." All of the judges say the same thing: there were one or two bad spots, but they're not really worth complaining about. Steven thinks Hollie's voice is beautiful and Randy thinks she blew it out da box, so all is right with the world.

So, who will be eliminated tomorrow night? When Seacrest asked the judges who they thought was in trouble, only Randy gave an answer: Heejun. I disagree though. Heejun has a pretty big fanbase, so I think he'll be OK. Unless a lot of the girls in his fanbase got pissed off when he pointed out his girlfriend in the audience. Tsk, tsk, Heejun. Classic mistake.

Even if some of Heejun's Honeys (or whatever his crazy female fans call themselves) are upset, if they think Randy is right, they'll vote like crazy to keep Heejun in the game. So, my prediction for the Bottom 3 is: DeAndre, Shannon and Erika. And even though she has a good voice, I think Erika's lack of a vocal fanbase or strong support from the judges will cause the axe to fall on her.

Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.


Idolhead Ed said...

Songicide! Damn you kill a good way.

Scope said...

Mr. Steven was in a MOOD last night. He decided to stop blowing smoke up everyone's butt. This wasn't a good night for the songs. There are a lot of train wrecks to choose from for elimination.

I think DeAndre is in trouble. And I think going second, and singing a song way out of her comfort zone (poorly) will get Jessica into the bottom 3.

(But I'm surprised with one elimination already this week, that there will be another tonight.)

Cora said...

Lordy, I have no idea who will be in the bottom three this week. Most of the performances were annoying and/or complete crap. I would guess DeAndre, Erika and Elise, but Shannon deserves to be there more than any of them for insisting on thinking she can tackle Mariah Carey songs when she really, REALLY can not.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I haven't watched one minute of Idol this season...Shame on me.

BUT, After reading your re-cap, I just might jump back on the ship.


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