As tonight's show begins, Ryan Seacrest tells us that we'll be hearing from "some of the most buzzed about people in the nation." Wait, Jeremy Lin and Angelina Jolie's right leg will be performing tonight? Awesome! Oh, wait...turns out Ryan was talking about the Top 12 girls. Bah.
Then, an amazing thing happens: the judges admit they may have been a little too easy on the guys last night. What, you mean they weren't the 13 wonders of the modern world that I was led to believe? Damn you, judges. You fooled me. You fooled us all!
In the lead-off spot of doom is Chelsea Sorrell, whom I remember from Vegas as one of the stronger girls. Who knows what happened, but her cover of Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova" is not good. At critique time, Randy is clearly hesitating to say anything remotely negative, but then launches into a "Nothing Compares 2 Carrie" speech. Meanwhile, J.Lo says Chelsea's vocals were nasally, and Steven warns her to watch her phrasing. Now, all together everyone: But other than all that, YOU'RE GREAT!
Erika Van Pelt sings my favorite Heart song, "What About Love?" and she's not as good as I had expected. She sings well enough, but doesn't seem to have very much energy. The whole thing has a very wedding singer vibe to it, but I think it's actually the cheesy musical arrangement that I have a problem with. After mumbling some stuff about breathing wind into the song, Steven falls back on his standard critique of, "beautiful." Jen thinks Erika can push herself even farther. Randy sticks with his schtick of comparing every contestant to another singer, and in this case it's Adele. He likes the Adele vibe now, which is interesting considering that the judges all bitched about Erika's decision to sing an Adele song for her final Vegas solo.
Speaking of Adele, Jen Hirsh is doing the first of two Adele songs tonight. Actually, it's the first version of the same Adele song ("One and Only") that we'll be hearing. Seriously? It's only the first live round and they're already letting contestants perform the same numbers? Again, I was expecting this to be much better because Jen had proved herself to be one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, of the girl singers during the preliminary rounds, but this is pretty shaky. I'm not moved. I guess Jennifer is though, because she steals Steven's trademark "beautiful." Steven says Jen had some trouble at the end of the song, but pulled it out, while Randy suggests that she just do more runs because he's got a hankering for some melisma.
Brielle Von Hugel tells us that she's a "typical Staten Island girl," which explains why no one ever wants to go to Staten Island. I'd prefer to see her (Taking a Long Walk off a) Short Pier instead of "(Sittin' on the) Dock of the Bay," but no such luck.Wow, I can't stand this fake broad and her terrible fake voice. I can't imagine her inspiring the public to vote, although the judges seem to think she's fantastic, with Randy going so far as to compare her to Janis Joplin. Really? Is it because they both have long, dark hair? Because I can't see or hear any other similarities.
It's a new dawn, it's Hallie Day, but it's certainly nothing new for an Idol contestant to sing "Feelin' Good." I sort of remember Hallie as being a VSC, but I can't really remember her sob story. Drug addiction, I think? And a suicide attempt? Good for her for not attending the Gokey School of Shameless Pimping, but the decision to be a human being will definitely come back to bite her since her performance is very average. If she's not great and people can't remember her misfortune enough to feel sorry for her, she's not going to get the votes. Steven and Jen throw around a lot of "beautifuls," as Randy struggles to put Hallie in one of his little boxes. He demands to know who she thinks she is: Adele? Lana del Rey? Adele Rey Day? Her response that she just wants to bring soul to whatever she does means nothing to the Dawg.
Skylar Laine is wearing the schnazziest dress, y'all! (Seriously, I love it.) She's also got some weird blonde streak in her hair, which I guess makes her "edgy." She sings Faces' "Stay With Me" and convulses around the stage in a surprisingly entertaining manner. I never really thought this girl deserved to be in the Top 12, and I still don't think her voice is that strong, but she's actually a good performer. And as the only viable country singer in the mix, she'll get a gazillion votes from all the country fans, unless the more Christian among them get upset that she's singing about having a one-night stand with a woman. Tell us who she reminds you of, Randy! "Reba and Kelly Clarkson, yo!" Randy also is excited for the opportunity to tell an uninterested world that he recorded a cover of this song with Travis Tritt. J.Lo pulls out a Tina Turner comparison, and Steven says that Skylar is a "pistol."
I was never a fan of Baylie Brown, but even I'm "Amazed" at how terrible and off-key tonight's performance is. The judges take a page from the Paula Abdul Critiquing Handbook by letting Baylie know just how pretty she is, while trying their best to not come right out and say that her vocals are downright ugly. Jennifer suggests that Baylie's nerves got the best of her, which Baylie uses as a jumping-off point to try every excuse in the book to explain away her suckitude. There are too many people watching! I'm having heart palpitations! My dress is too tight!
Hollie Cavanagh is from Texas, but has the weirdest accent. It's like half Boston/half Aussie. Baussie? Anyway, she sings Christina Aguilera's "Reflection" pretty well, without any of Xtina's annoying mannerisms or 5,000 extra syllables. Guess what Steven thinks? It's beautiful! Jennifer thinks that Hollie could win the whole shebang. Randy likes Hollie, but doesn't think the performance was perfect, especially all the parts where she didn't sound exactly like Christina.
Oh, Haley Johnsen. "Sweet Dreams" are so not made of this. Wow. It's like she's trying to hit every note in her range at once. It's like she's trying to be Annie Lennox and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at the same time. Obviously, this is dreadful, but I can't stop laughing, so it's almost becoming a so-bad-it's-good kind of thing. This is like the Troll 2 of American Idol performances. J.Lo hopes that America can hear "all of the special things" Haley did with her voice, and tries to suggest that everything bad about the performance was the song's fault. Steven mumbles something about money shots, perhaps as a nod to Haley's other career options. Randy is very excited to say what he's been working on the whole time Haley was singing: "It was a bit of a nightmare for me instead of a dream." Oh, BURN. Yeah, Randy may not be the most clever guy, but so far he's the only one who's bothered to be honest.
Shannon Magrane is singing some nonsense about a candle in your soul. I guess it's a religious song, and one that was stuck in Shannon's soul, gut and craw, so it's good that she got it out. I still think she is so very average, but she's a squeaky clean girl in a white dress singing God rock, so she'll easily pull in votes. Randy thinks Shannon has a Lauryn Hill vibrato (o...k...) and reminds her that she's "mad young!" Jen gets her first "goosies" of the night, and Steven's reality check bounced, whatever the hell that means.
Seacrest gives Jessica Sanchez a chance to offer up the preemptive excuse that she's got a sore throat, but her cover of "Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls is really quite good. She even sounds a little like J-Hud in parts, which no doubt makes Randy happy. My only issue with this is Jessica's annoying habit of tapping out morse code on her mic (like Xtina and Carrie Underwood), but this is definitely one of the stronger performances of the night. Randy, when he's finally able to stop barking "YO!" actually thinks that this is one of the best of the last two nights. And then he surprises us all by comparing Jessica to Beyoncé instead of Jennifer Hudson.
Closing things out is Elise Testone with the second version of Adele's "One and Only." She plays the piano at the beginning before getting up to belt the rest out. I like her raspy voice, and even though she cracks a few times, I prefer this version to Jen Hirsh's. She just seems like the most authentic of all of the girls. Steven likes the bluesy quality Elise brought to the song, and Randy says that he hopes America "gets" her. J.Lo obviously gets her, as she announces that Elise "might" be the best singer here.
So, which 5 girls will leap into the Top 13? (See what I did there??) I'm gonna have to go with Jen Hirsh, Skylar Laine, Shannon Magrane, Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone. As I said in last night's recap, I think that of the 3 wild card spots, only 1 will go to a girl. And I'm guessing that girl will be Hollie Cavanagh.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
As tonight's show begins, Ryan Seacrest tells us that we'll be hearing from "some of the most buzzed about people in the nation." Wait, Jeremy Lin and Angelina Jolie's right leg will be performing tonight? Awesome! Oh, wait...turns out Ryan was talking about the Top 12 girls. Bah.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Tonight, the Top 12 guys (plus the judges' mystery guest) kick off the live shows by singing...eh, whatever they want. No one can be bothered with themes quite yet.
First up is Reed Grimm, who tries his best to kill my crush on him by performing the ridiculous "Moves Like Jagger." No matter how much Reed tries to polish this turd into a smooth jazz number with some Sheila E.-style drumming, it's still a turd. And, against all odds, he might actually be making it worse, because the slowed-down tempo makes it feel longer. I can't tell if he's taking this seriously or just screwing with everyone. I'm hoping for the latter. I still like him, and I think he'll still be around next week despite being in the lead-off spot of doom. The judges all give him good critiques, and Randy reminds Reed (again, and not for the last time) that Reed reminds him of Casey Abrams.
Adam Brock makes it all the way through Aretha Franklin's "Think" and the judges' critiques without crying. Amazing! That deserves a standing ovation. Eh, this guy seems decent enough—and most importantly, he's a Steelers fan—but I just can't muster up a ton of interest for him. Of course, the judges rave over Adam as they do for everyone, but I'm not sure he'll be making it to the next round. He may sing better than Gokey and have the Gokeyish looks, but without the sob story, the voters will quickly forget him.
I once (or probably more than once) said that I was a sucker for a good falsetto. And I originally thought Deandre Brackensick had one, but now...not so much. When he isn't whipping his hair back and forth, he sings Earth Wind and Fire's "Reasons" to the delight of the squealy girls in the audience. And then he breaks all of their glasses with a crazy high note. J.Lo tries to speak, but Steven is so excited that he cuts her off and yammers on about something. Jen finally gets to tell Deandre that his voice is "perfect." But to hell with the voice! The Dawg says this kid has it ALL! YO!!
Colton Dixon, Pet Detective says that people are used to seeing him behind a piano, so he wants to change things up tonight and really shock everyone. And just how does he achieve this? Why, by performing Paramore's "Decode" from behind a piano! Oh, but wait! What's this? Now he's getting up from the piano! He's sort of walking around the stage!! OH MY GOD, HE'S STANDING ON TOP OF THE PIANO NOW!! HE'S ON TOP OF IT!!!! I'M SHOCKED!!!!!!! Annnnnd, this isn't really that good, which is not-so-shocking. Steven and Jennifer gush over how relevant Colton is, while Randy loves that Colton is an "indie alt-rocker" like Paramore. Yes, he's talking about platinum-selling indie act Paramore, of the underground label Atlantic Records.
Seacrest introduces Jeremy Rosado as the "spirit stick of the group," which makes me feel better about my own too-frequent Bring it On references. Jeremy sings Sara Bareilles' "Gravity," a rather boring song, but one I can't hear without thinking of this fantastic bit from Community:
Anyhoo, other than a few wobbly notes, Jeremy seems to be one of the best SANGERS in the competition, and a pretty nice guy. Which most likely means that he won't make it past tonight.
Poor Aaron Marcellus. Such a pleasant voice, but he had to go and sing "Never Can Say Goodbye." Doesn't he know AI's track record of ironically booting contestants the week they choose optimistically-titled songs? But of course, if you go by the judges' ape-shit reaction, Aaron seems to be a lock to make it into the finals. But of course, you can't go by the judges' reaction because who don't they go ape-shit over?
Chase Likens sings Hunter Hayes' "Storm Warning," which I guess is the peppier, blander prequel to Garth Brooks' "The Thunder Rolls." This is a big ol' meh for me. I don't think even the legions of country fans who made Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina the Top 2 last year can save this guy. But hey, the judges love him. And Steven thinks Chase looks like Brendan Fraser, so maybe he'll find fame when Hollywood gets around to making Monkeybone II.
First, Reed Grimm disappoints me, and now it's Creighton Fraker's turn. This dude is so capable of something wonderful and flamboyant, yet he comes out with some lounge lizard performance of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors." Steven says that Cyndi is probably watching this at home crying (in a good way), while J.Lo tries to force out some tears of her own. Randy states the obvious that Creighton "can definitely sing," but that has never mattered in this competition. It pains me to say that he probably won't make it to the Top 10, and even J.Lo seems resigned to this fact when she says that she doesn't want him to go home.
Phillip Phillips tried just "Phil" for a while, but I guess he's back to the formal first name. Perhaps he didn't want anyone to confuse him with Phil Collins, whose "In the Air Tonight" he's covering. The '80s sax dripping all over the arrangement is sure to get Phillip's lonely housewife fanbase horny and in the mood to dial, and it's a good thing that he has them on his side because this is not good. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to completely strip the song of any melody. Not caring about that minor detail are Jennifer and Steven, who gush as usual. I start to think that Randy might actually know what he's talking about when he mentions that he didn't like what Phillip did with the melody, but then he compares Phillip to INDIE artist, Dave Matthews. Seriously, Randy? Indie? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Eben Franckewitz threatens to "Set Fire to the Rain," and I try to set fire to my TV. Holy Bieber, I don't even know what to say. Is it any wonder this kid is the VFTW pick? It's unfortunate because he's probably already the pick for a lot of older women who want to adopt him and the tweens who don't quite understand the feelings that Eben has aroused in them. At critique time, I'm hoping that the judges will be honest for once, but they refuse to say anything worthwhile or constructive about Eben's performance. Randy takes the opportunity to remind Eben that he's "mad young" (15, yo!), J.Lo offers up the old standby excuse that perhaps he couldn't hear himself, which is perfectly fine, and Steven's only advice for Eben is to listen to some blues records. Yes, I'm sure he would really connect with that genre.
Speaking of wanting to adopt people, I kind of want to adopt Heejun Han. He's just so awkward and adorable. He still needs to work on his enunciation, but he actually does a pretty good job with Robbie Williams' "Angels." And it's THIS performance that the judges decide to toss some objections at—mainly that it wasn't the right song choice. (But a prepubescent boy singing an Adele song is a natural fit. Riiight.) Still, Randy says that Heejun is "mad talented," so I'm hoping that idiotic endorsement and all of Heejun's Twitter followers keep him in the competition.
Joshua Ledet belts out Jennifer Hudson's "You Pulled Me Through" and it's clear that he can sing circles around most of these other contestants. It's a bit too screamy at the end for my taste, which means that it gets a judges' standing ovation. Jen likes Joshua so much that she wants to punch him, while Randy closes his eyes, sways and "Amens" like he's at a faith healer. Maybe Steven is the faith healer? He's talking an awful lot of gibberish about Joshua taking people places with God and his voice and coming back and changing the world...or something. Also, I'm pretty sure he called Joshua "Mantasia." Oh, come on, there weren't nearly enough yeah, yeah, yeah YEEEAHs in that song.
Finally, the two-hour extravaganza comes to an end with the reveal of the 13th man: Jermaine Jones. Like Adam earlier, he surprisingly manages to get through his mini-interview and performance of "Dance With My Father" completely dry-eyed. I like Jermaine, but he really has no range. This kind of deep-voiced soul is the only kind of stuff he'll be able to sing. The judges all love him though, especially Randy, who says they've never had a deep bass voice on the show before. Babylockthemdoors and turn the lights down low...last year's forgotten winner needs to have a good cry.
So, America's votes will determine which five guys advance to the finals. Then on Thursday, each judge will pick a wild card from the pool of guys and girls who don't make it to create the Top 13. This is kind of a tough one to predict, but I think the Top 5 guys will be: Reed Grimm, Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon, Jermaine Jones and Eben Franckewitz. And since Idol voters don't care for chicks, the wild card picks will consist of one girl and two guys. Those guys will be Joshua Ledet and Heejun Han. If anyone throws a monkey wrench into my predictions, it will be Deandre Brackensick. So sayeth Beckstradamus.
Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Welcome to The Pop Eye's 7th Annual Schmoscar Awards! This year's Oscars telecast may have even been more boring than last year, but that's what happens when the producers eschew a relevant host in favor of the Old Timers' game MVP.
(After checking out this year's winners, take a look back at Schmoscars past!)
Hottest Chick of the Night: Let's face it, gals. Men age so much better than we do. Men can keep showing up in these hot lists year after year, while women have a much shorter shelf life. It's the rare woman who gets better looking with age, without the aid of plastic surgery, so I've gotta give it up for Penelope Cruz for making it to the top spot after being my Hottest Chick Runner-Up two years ago. (I don't think she's had any work done, but if she has, she's hiding it remarkably well.) She looked flawless last night. This is all even more impressive if you remember that I thought she was downright ugly when she first burst onto the scene. (Last year's winner: Mila Kunis.)
Hottest Chick Runner-Up: Apparently, I was all about the exotic ladies last night, as this one goes to Berenice Bejo. It takes a seriously beautiful face to pull off that hairdo. But I still haven't decided if her minty lace dress was pretty and romantic or a little too mother-of-the-bride. (Last year's winner: Jennifer Hudson.)
Hottest Guy of the Night: I'm now fully convinced that I must see The Artist, since it stars my Hottest Chick Runner-Up and last night's top man, Jean Dujardin. Apparently, they call this guy the French Clooney. Yeah, Clooney wishes. Honestly, George has never done anything for me, but Jean...oh la la, oui oui, il est chaud! (That's probably completely wrong, but I never said I could speak French well. Or at all.) (Last year's winner: Hugh Jackman.)
Guy I Most Want to Take Home: Yet another reason to see The Artist, Uggie!! (New category.)
Hottest Guy Runner-Up: Sorry, Nick Nolte, you missed the cut. I've gotta give this one to the cutest Conchord (sorry to you too, Jemaine), Bret McKenzie. He looked really good in a tux, and how awesome was it that he won an Oscar? And for writing a goofy Muppet song, no less! (Last year's winner: Armie Hammer.)
The Trying Too Hard Award: Since Madonna wasn't around, there wasn't much competition. I guess it's a tie between Angelina Jolie and Angelina Jolie's right leg. But Angie was probably behind that. The leg looked kind of embarrassed. And emaciated. (New category.)
Scariest Arms Award: Angelina Jolie. Once again, no Madonna = no competition! (New category, although Eva Green and Saoirse Ronan won the less-specific "Scariest Looking Chick" and "Creepiest Nominee" awards in 2007 and 2008, respectively.)
Best Moment of the Night: In a night full of pretty lame moments, I'd have to say the best part was The Descendants winning for Best Adapted Screenplay. Now, this is not because I loved The Descendants (like most of the nominated films, I haven't seen it yet), but just because Jim Rash was one of the screenwriters. I mean, Dean Pelton has a muthahumpin' Oscar, yo! And he also took the opportunity to make fun of Angelina's desperate attempt to stay on everyone's sexy radars. Wow, Angie's been ridiculed so much for striking that pose. I bet she's at home right now thinking, "Would that my podium were a time podium..." (Last year's winner: The closing song by the PS22 Chorus.)
Worst Moment of the Night: It was all so terribly average that this is even harder to pick than the best moment. I guess I had a problem with Natalie Portman and Colin Firth being forced to read those scripts to the Best Actor/Actress nominees as if they were from the heart. (Last year's winner: James Franco and Anne Hathaway's opening segment.)
Worst Waste of Talent: Did anyone enjoy that fake Wizard of Oz focus group skit with Christopher Guest's mockumentary gang? All of those people are so funny (Fred Willard actually managed to still get one or two chuckles out of me), but that was just not good. I wonder if they wrote it?? (Last year's winner: none; last recipients were Will Ferrell and Steve Carell in 2006.)
Best Hair: Jonah Hill. Come on, we have to give him props for taming that 'fro. (Last year's winner: Luke Matheny.)
Worst Hair: Rooney Mara. Is she serious with those bangs? But I guess that hairstyle is the only one severe enough to match her perma-grimace. (Last year's winner: Christian Bale's beard.)
Best Impression of a Dinner Napkin: This award, originally created for Cameron Diaz (who has finally stopped getting dressed in the dark), also goes to Rooney Mara. I guess you can tell that I don't like this chick one bit. It sort of pains me that I don't like her, because her great-grandfather was the great Art Rooney. But hey, I have no problem with her sister Kate Mara, who looked very pretty and not at all napkin-y last night. (Last year's winner: Nicole Kidman.)
Best Impression of a Sci-Fi Heroine: J.Lo! Aaah-ah! Savior of the Idolverse! (New category.)
The REDRUM Award: I know everyone raved about Michelle Williams' dress, but if I look at it for more than 30 seconds, I get an overwhelming urge to start stabbing people. (New category; although this ketchup-y dress could easily earn Michelle another Best Impression of a Hot Dog Topping Award, which was created in honor of the mustard-y dress she wore during the Schmoscars' inaugural year.)
Worst Dressed: I couldn't choose just one, so it's a tie between Melissa Leo and Nancy O'Dell. Melissa was my first choice because she obviously waited until the day before the Oscars, went to Talbot's, bought a clearance rack shirt-dress, took it home and attacked it with a Bedazzler. But when I saw Nancy's bumblebee-at-the-prom gown, I knew that it deserved a shout-out. Then I quickly looked away before my retinas disintegrated. (Last year's winner: Helena Bonham Carter.)
For the first time since the Schmoscars' inception, I'm not sure I have a Lisa Rinna Award (formerly known by its clunkier name, the Why Does This Woman Get Invited To The Oscars When She Has No Reason For Being There Other Than To Wear a Slinky Dress and Show Off Her Perfect Body? Award) to give out! I thought about Milla Jovovich, but she definitely had a reason for being there—to preside over this year's Nerd Awards. Also, this award generally goes to someone who deserves our collective derision, and I don't think anyone actively dislikes Milla. (Plus, her dress was AMAZING. Probably my favorite, after Penelope's.) I thought about giving it to Kristin Cavallari, but believe it or not, she was there to help do the E! pre-show. Not that "working" was a good enough excuse to keep this award out of Kathy Ireland's hands two years ago, but Kristin proved that she's a much better talking mannequin than Kathy by simply not showing up to work high on horse tranquilizers. Hmm, maybe we can give the award to Stacy Keibler? I know she was Clooney's date, but who's gonna remember that in a year? Certainly not Clooney. (Last year's winner: none, but Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves won the modified Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin Award.)
What do you think, folks? Who should get the Lisa Rinna Award?
Friday, February 24, 2012
On last night’s American Idol, things picked up where they left off on Wednesday night: with Adam Brock weeping hysterically. He really wants to be in the Top 24. He needs to be in the Top 24. Singing is his life! He loves to sing! He loves to sing-ah! About the moon-ah and the June-ah and the spring-ah! And in a very anti-climactic moment (for the 98% of us who already knew who the Top 24 were), the judges stopped his blubbering with the announcement that he’d made the cut.
In a much more bearable hour-long episode, the remaining 10 finalists were chosen. Here’s how things went down:
- Some girls no one ever cared about
- Scott Dangerfield – In a season rife with last year’s leftovers, this is one who actually didn’t make it.
- Jermaine Jones – There wasn’t really any room for him considering they already put through a church singer (Joshua Ledet). Upon being cut, he cried, but not nearly as much as Adam Brock did when he was saved.
- Ariel Sprague and Shelby Tweten – I don’t really care about Shelby, but I thought Ariel was awesome during the Vegas rounds. I don’t mind that the final spot went to Hollie Cavanagh (more on her in a bit), but it’s a shame that Ariel was dumped when there are at least two girls in the Top 24 who don’t deserve to be there: Brielle Von Hugel and Skylar Laine.
- David Leathers, Jr. – Bah. I liked this kid. Much better than the one who got the final spot on the boys’ side.
- Jeremy Rosado – I never had much of an opinion on this guy, but his last solo was really good. J.Lo called it “transcendental,” proving that she can read a dictionary, but not that she can understand it. But you just know that the other two judges will be so impressed with the sound of that word that it will replace “brilliant” this season as the usual overblown description of choice when describing very average performances.
- Shannon Magrane – I still don’t see the big deal with this girl. She’s so average. But she’s blonde and ZOMG, only 16, yo!!
- Skylar Laine – She tried really hard to be Reba McIntyre and it was good enough for the idiot judges.
- Hallie Day, Chase Likens and Aaron Marcellus were all put through with no fanfare.
- Deandre Brackensick – More leftovers. I don’t have strong feelings for Deandre one way or the other, but I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a good falsetto.
- Hollie Cavanagh – And even more leftovers! I actually really liked her last year and thought she should have made it, so I’m glad that she’s back. It’s weird that she’s pretty much been hidden from the viewers until last night, though.
- Eben Franckewitz – Ugggh. I guess he sang well enough, but the world just doesn’t need another Justin Bieber. It never needed the first one.
No, wait. That wasn’t very shocking. Maybe it was this: Seacrest announced that one more guy is going to be invited back to make it a Top 13 guys. That’s not very shocking either. But it’s certainly necessary, because men NEVER win American Idol and they need all the advantages they can get. Whatever. It’s going to be one of these four: David Leathers, Jr., Johnny Keyser, Jermaine Jones or Richie Law. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for David, but with my luck it will be Johnny Coppertone or McCreepy 2.0.
So, for better or worse, here is your Top 24, America:
Row 1: Aaron Marcellus, Adam Brock, Baylie Brown, Brielle Von Hugel, Chase Likens, Chelsea Sorrell.
Row 2: Colton Dixon, Creighton Fraker, Deandre Brackensick, Eben Franckewitz, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt.
Row 3: Hallie Day, Haley Johnsen, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanagh, Jen Hirsh, Jeremy Rosado.
Row 4: Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phil Phillips, Reed Grimm, Shannon Magrane, Skylar Laine.
Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
American Idol has always been a bubbling cauldron of nonsense, but this year, they’ve tried to illustrate that as literally as possible. Now, the Runway of Doom leads Idol hopefuls across raging waters to a dystopian island ruled by the Three Least Important People in the World, who judge the fates of all who come before them with the determination and swiftness of a mentally challenged, three-legged tortoise.
Seriously, who came up with this Idol water-world? And who encourages the judges to make the final cuts as drawn-out and agonizing as possible? And just for whom is this process more agonizing? The contestants who just want to hear “yes” or “no” without 10 minutes of carrot-dangling bullshit, or the viewers, who likely already know what’s up because the Top 24 list was leaked weeks ago? For a show obsessed with futuristic-looking set designs, they could at least employ some futuristic technology to move it along. Just put all the contestants who didn’t make it on a Logan’s Run-esque carousel and call it a day.
Anyway, if you’re one of the few still in the dark about the finalists, or if you just want to humor me and pretend like you don’t know who they are, here’s a quick recap of last night’s show—a two hour-long extravaganza that still only managed to reveal 14 of the Top 24.
- A couple of girls I don’t remember ever seeing before
- Lauren Gray – Despite a pretty good final solo, this early J.Lo favorite didn’t make the cut.
- Neco Starr – Despite some pretty awesome star spangled pants, he didn’t make the cut. The judges thought he needed more time to find out who he is. In other words, Neco didn’t want to be who the judges thought he was.
- Clayton Farhat – Clayton [gunshot noise] was rightfully sent packing. I can’t believe such a terrible singer made it this far. Wait, no…I’ve seen the Top 24 list. I’ve watched this show since Season 1. Correction: I can absolutely believe it.
- River St. James – River saint what, now?
- Caleb Johnson – Perhaps he’ll have better luck on Don’t Forget the Lyrics. But probably not.
- Richie Law – The launch date for McCreepy 2.0 is officially pushed back.
- Jen Hirsh – DUH.
- Creighton Fraker – Double DUH. I enjoyed the reveal that Creighton’s birth father was the lead singer of Flotsam and Jetsam, best known as the band that Jason Newsted left to join Metallica. Upon discovering this, I immediately went back and revisited none of Flotsam and Jetsam’s catalog.
- Joshua Ledet – Another church singer who will be sacrificed at the altar of the much less talented.
- Haley Johnson – This is a girl who never got much attention until joining Reed Grimm’s Vegas group. Cannon fodder.
- Elise Testone – I like Elise. She’s not bland or bitchy like some of the other girls. *cough*Baylie*cough*Brielle*cough*
- Reed Grimm – Triple DUH. I loved how the judges tried to pretend for a minute or so that he wasn’t a lock. These episodes are always a great showcase for J.Lo’s acting chops.
- Erika Van Pelt – J.Lo didn’t like her final solo, nor the fact that Erika can sing circles around her, but she still made it.
- Chelsea Sorrell – I didn’t really remember this girl from any of the auditions, but based on what they showed, she has a pretty strong voice.
- Baylie Brown – Wasn’t it precious how she kept running out of breath during her final solo?
- Heejun Han – His final song was “New Yok State ob Mi.” Seriously, this kid can’t enunciate worth a damn but he’s adorable. He’ll be fun while he lasts.
- Jessica Sanchez – I didn’t like her during the Vegas groups when she just screeched and growled, but her final solo (“The Prayer”) was really good. I was pleasantly surprised.
- Phil Phillips – I guess someone finally told him that Phillip Phillips sounded ridiculous, so he’s officially going with “Phil” now. Good. That makes it so much easier for the lonely housewife contingent to make Phil McGroin/Maboob/Meupp jokes. I haven’t been a huge fan of Phil’s throughout the audition process, but thought his last solo was his best. And he really does have the cutest face. Plus, he used to work in a pawn shop, which will make for a great rags-to-riches story. So much better than Lee DeWyze and the paint store.
- Colton Dixon – Oh Good Lord, he sang “Fix You” for his sister, as if she died instead of just being sent home in the last round. I was hoping that he’d join her, but no such luck.
- Brielle Von Hugel – Great, another bitchy brat with a terrible, annoyingly affected voice. I can only take comfort in the fact that no one will ever vote for her, so she won’t be around long.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
You may or may not have noticed that I didn't post any recaps last week. I'm leaning towards "may not have," as I think my hits are slipping right along with Idol's ratings. Oh God, why?? Blogging is my dream! It's my life!! Please don't stop reading. YOU MUST LOVE ME!!!
Annnnyywaaaay, I wasn't able to fulfill my recapping duties due to an ongoing personal struggle. Namely, the struggle to stay awake during this show. If you've been watching it, I'm sure you can understand. I mean, I've seen all the episodes, but I've generally been sleeping through them and then watching them later on the DVR, which doesn't allow me time to write a recap and get up for work the next day. It's just so hard, y'all. This is my sob story. I know it's not very good, but I hope it earns me a pass, as well as a golden ticket straight to your heart. This is where I would make that heart symbol with my hands. And then you vomit.
Yes, vomit! Why not? Everyone's doing it! At least a good portion of the Idol hopefuls were doing it last week. This was the sickest Hollywood round I've ever seen, and I don't mean "sickest" in the way that all the cool street kids use it. I'm being literal. I haven't seen this much puking and passing out since New Year's Eve at Verne Troyer's house. Whoa! Look at me, making timely jokes about incredibly relevant pop cultural figures!
OK, I suppose I should start the recapping segment of this recap. Rather than bore you with all the details of the three Hollywood episodes, I'll try to make this as painless as possible with some of the highlights and lowlights that brought us to tonight's Vegas round, which was actually pretty good. So, this will be kind of a long one, but isn't it better than having to read four separate posts?
Hollywood Week - 1st Round (lineups)
Contestants were ushered onstage in groups, where they all lined up and took turns singing a cappella.
- Lauren Gray sang with her eyes closed the whole time, so she couldn't see Randy waving at her to stop. That's a pretty easy way to get some extra screen time...I can't believe no one ever thought of that before!
- Reed Grimm did "I've Got a Golden Ticket" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I still found him adorable, even though I immediately wondered what the guy is gonna do when he runs out of weird, quirky songs.
- Adam Brock said he had a "large black woman inside him." Does Adam read my blog? Does he know about my love of nicknames? If so, thank you, Adam! You will henceforth be known as Madea.
- Lots of people got sick. Lots of people threw up. One girl (Symone Black) passed out and fell off the stage. The judges put their best concerned faces on for the cameras, but they really took their sweet time getting up from the table to mosey on over and check on Symone.
- There were a couple of surprising cuts, including VSC (Very Special Contestant) Ramiro Garcia and celebuspawn, Jane Carrey.
- Johnny Keyser. Jesus, I hate this guy. Maybe it's completely irrational, but every time I see his fake-baked face, I just want to punch it.
- Alisha Bernhardt. She's a cop! And she can only sing two songs! And you better sing the song she wants to sing, or she'll tase you, bro! Yeah, this bitch got on my nerves right off the bat with her terrible voice, even worse attitude and dreadful right-off-the-curling-iron ringlets. Seriously, she needed to comb that shit out. Who's she think she is, Nellie Olesen?
- Pretty much everything else.
Hollywood Week - 2nd Round (groups)
Oh, Group Day. Historically, it's been my favorite part of Idol. What changed that made it suck so? Was it all the germs floating around this year that made it so comparatively weak?
- Groove Sauce - Nick Boddington (any relation to the guy who carries the Idol finale results in his briefcase?), Creighton Fraker, Reed Grimm, Jen Hirsh and Aaron Marcellus: Yeah, their group name was a little annoying, but they turned in a tight performance of "Hold On, I'm Coming." I still found Reed adorable.
- Alisha Bernhardt got cut. Of course, so did everyone else in her group. I would feel bad for them, but I didn't really know who any of them were anyway.
- Two of the Hollywood 5 emerged as singers I really like: cute little David Leathers, Jr. and Ariel Sprague, the latter of whom totally carried their group, despite what annoying little twit Gabi Carrubba would have everyone believe.
- The Make You Believers were just stunningly terrible enough (right down to that cheesetastic group name) to make a mess that was actually entertaining to watch. Amy "Tent Girl" Brumfield, Jacquie Cera and Dustin Cundiff were all deservedly cut, and hopefully they all went immediately to the infectious disease center. Mathenee Treco wasn't great, but as the best of the worst group, he managed to get a pass to the next round.
- As a special treat, FOX aired a sneak peek of the latest Hollywood blockbuster: Cowboys vs. Asians. Heejun Han totally won my heart in this episode. He and his other M.I.T. (Most International Team) members, Phillip Phillips and Jairon Jackson, didn't enjoy being bossed around by McCreepy wannabe Richie Law, but Heejun was the most vocal about it, saying awesome things about his newfound hatred of cowboys and that "If Phillip had a kidney stone, Richie had a brain stone." The group ditched Richie's idiotic dance moves and turned in a fairly average performance that still earned all of them safety. Immediately afterward, Heejun admitted to Richie that he "talked a lot of craps" about him, which he'll eventually see on TV. I love this kid.
- The Bettys. More like The Barneys, amirite?? All these girls did was fight, puke and bitch about not getting enough sleep before turning in a downright dirge-like performance of "Hit 'Em Up Style." I guess it made sense that Jennifer Malsch and Cari Quoyser managed to make it through to the next round, as they were the least offensive singers, but I was secretly hoping that Cari would be cut, simply because the idea of having to spell her last name every week is a nightmare of Ramiele Malubayan proportions.
- Two of the Hollywood 5 emerged as people who totally don't deserve to stay: Eben Franckewitz (the low-rent Justin Bieber) and the aforementioned Gabi Carrubba. The other guy, Jeremy Rosado? Well, I have no opinion of him whatsoever.
- Brielle Von Hugel. This brat, who thinks that being one of the other girls in Pia Toscano's group last year is a claim to fame worth having, was under my skin immediately, wedged right in there next to Johnny. Despite being a terrible singer (and just a pissy-faced know-it-all), she somehow made it through, along with group members Shannon Magrane (overrated), Joshua Ledet (possibly underrated) and some other chick named Amber (uhhh). Frat boy Kyle Crews was the only one from the group to get cut, which delighted Brielle's equally annoying and incredibly two-faced stage mom. I didn't like Kyle very much either, but I'd take three of him over one Brielle any day.
- Cursed group Area 451 featured jackass Johnny Keyser, lyric-forgetter Bryce Garcia and screecher Kristi Krause. But the big star was Imani Hardy, who might have been the best singer of the four, but she unfortunately couldn't stand up long enough to prove it. Girl must have fainted 451 times, but I had to hand it to her for continuing to get back up. Randy and J.Lo dangled the possibility of letting her stay in front of her for a little while, but ultimately cut her because they didn't think she could handle it. Johnny got to stay though, because he's a pro. In fact, he's such a pro that, when Imani passed out on stage, he just kept right on singing! Whatta guy.
Hollywood Week - 3rd Round (solos w/band)
- Jen Hirsh, "What a Wonderful World." This girl could be this season's Kelly Clarkson. (Comparing everyone to past Idols is the new black. Read on.)
- Creighton Fraker, same song. This guy is awesome. It's like Mika and a meerkat had a flaming little baby.
- Reed Grimm, still kind of adorable despite crying to his mommy on the phone. Not that I have a problem with men crying, but I guess I have a problem with men crying (and exhaling exaggeratedly) to their mothers on national TV over a stupid talent show just because the producers waited until the last minute to tell him he couldn't perform a cappella, as planned. He spazzed out a little bit, showcased his A.D.D. and then decided that playing drums would fix everything. I'm not sure why one would need to play drums to perform "Georgia on My Mind," but whatever. He was good.
- Apparently, God hates certain American Idol contestants, because he unleashed very distracting thunder during key moments of their songs. And those contestants did not make it through.
- Adam Brock, "Georgia on My Mind." I'm pushing myself to like this guy because he has a good voice, a really cute baby and is near my neck of the woods (Washington, PA). The reason that I'm having a problem with fully liking him is that, physically, he reminds me of Gokey. *shudder*
- Phillip Phillips. I want to like him, but every time I see him perform I just feel like I'm watching the 3rd place winner in the Joe Cocker Impression Contest.
- Skylar Laine must have finished at the top of her class at the Chrustin Richardslake™ School of Nasally Singing. And Tyler thought this was "the best of the day." He has to be back on drugs, right?
- I never want to hear "What a Wonderful World" or "Georgia on My Mind" again. Thanks for ruining two more perfectly good songs, Idol!
- The judges already started putting people in boxes. The minute Reed Grimm started playing the drums, Randy mumbled, "Oh, it's another Casey (Abrams)." Of course! Because everyone who can play more than one instrument is another Casey. I wonder if they pegged Rachelle Lamb as another Brooke White after she messed up the beginning of her song and had to start over? Or Adam Brock another Gokey, what with his glasses and dark hair?
At the end of the Hollywood rounds came the most exciting part of this entire competition: the contestants were put into groups and placed in four different rooms. And we all got to watch them sit...and wait. YOWZA! The excitement was just too much. Would Room 1, which held Creighton Fraker, Jen Hirsh, Hallie Day, Johnny Keyser and Adam Brock be moving on to the next round? Gee, what a mystery! And what about Room 2, which held Reed Grimm, Phillip Phillips and Shannon Magrane? Stop holding your breath, everyone! Those were both winning rooms!!
The fate of Room 4 was a bit harder to figure out, as its residents were Baylie Brown (who cares?), Richie Law (McCreepostle), Heejun Han (funny, but no great enunciator) and Angie Zeiderman (way too interesting for this show). I was pleasantly surprised to see that Angie would live to sing another day, as the Room 4 folks were moved on to the next round.
The minute it was revealed that Room 3 contained Rachelle Lamb and a bunch of other unrecognizable people, it was obvious that they were done for. But there was a little bit of excitement before the cut, which started when some delicate blonde princess got upset because everyone was in fairly good spirits instead of sitting around moping. And then when Rachelle let out the most impressive, demonic burp I've ever heard, the girl flipped her lid. Apparently, burping is a huge sign of disrespect, and Princess let Rachelle know it. Wow. Princess has some stones or she is just seriously stupid, because Rachelle looks like a woman who has whomped some ass in her day. I certainly wouldn't pick a fight with her. As Rachelle angrily defended herself to Princess, I couldn't help but imagine that this war of words could only end one way: with Rachelle jamming a nail file through that chick's spleen. Perhaps it was the fact that cameras were rolling that the dumb blonde made it out of Hollywood alive.
So, that brings us to tonight's episode, and the next stage of the competition...
Las Vegas - 1st Round (groups)
Groups perform songs from the '50s and '60s (what better way to find a contemporary star?) and get a lot of help from vocal coaches, arrangers, choreographers and wardrobe artists. Here's how things go down.
Colton Dixon (last year's leftovers), Skylar Laine, Chase Likens and Cari Quoyser are up first with "Dedicated to the One I Love." It's not super terrible or super memorable. I'm actually too distracted by Colton's hair to pay attention to the song. Did Jane Carrey become his stylist after getting eliminated? I can't figure out why else he would purposely try to look like Ace Ventura. The guys and Skylar stay in the game, but Cari is sent home. Thank God I never have to spell her name again!
Gabi Carrubba, David Leathers, Jr., Jeremy Rosado and Ariel Sprague take on the Megan Joy anthem, "Rockin' Robin." Gabi continues to act like a diva even though Ariel can sing circles around her. The judges love this group, and everyone makes it through to the next round.
Adam Brock, Shelby Tweten, Erika Van Pelt and Angie Zeiderman do a Vegas revue-style version of "Great Balls of Fire" and I like it. Well, except for Shelby. Who the hell is she and how does she get to stay? She's awful. But everyone else stays, thankfully, because I really like Erika and adore Angie's weirdness. She's like a brunette Judy Greer in Madonna's old clothes.
Brielle Von Hugel (more leftovers), Schyler Dixon and and Molly something-or-other perform "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" in their Slutty USO Girl costumes, which should be a best seller for Halloween Adventure this year. Since I don't even know Molly's last name, it's no big surprise that she gets cut. It should be a surprise that the other two don't, but I'm used to these judges rewarding bad singing by now.
Eben Franckewitz, Reed Grimm, Haley Johnson and Elise Testone jazz things up with "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes," and although it's a bit boring in parts (generally the parts that feature Eben), they are good as a group. Everyone's in.
Richie Law teams up with Jermaine Jones for a battle of the big ol' basses. I have no idea what song they're singing, but it's making J.Lo horny. Somehow, they mesh well together, which I wasn't expecting at all. I was kind of hoping that Richie would crash and burn (especially after he moaned that he knew more than the vocal coach), but he and Jermaine both get to stay in Vegas.
Deandre Brackensick (even more leftovers), Candice Glover and Jessica Sanchez do another song that I don't recognize. It could be because Jessica is singing like she's passing one of Phillip's kidney stones, or it could be that I'm distracted by Deandre's Milli Vanilli hair. The entire group makes it to the next round, and of the three, Candice deserves it the most. Remember that. Ironic foreshadowing!
Scott Dangerfield (sigh...leftovers again?), Adam Lee Decker, Clayton Farhat and Curtis Gray should be arrested for what they're doing to "Jailhouse Rock." But bad clothes + bad hair + bad dancing + bad singing = three out of four guys making it through to the next round. Does it really matter which one gets cut? OK, it's Curtis, even though Clayton was clearly the worst.
Britnee Kellogg, Jessica Phillips and Courtney Williams don sparkly pink Barbie dresses for their performance of "You Keep Me Hanging On." The judges search for reasons to save some of these girls even though the whole thing is six shades of terrible. Despite her status as a VSC, Jessica gets cut, and she takes it with all the grace of Effie when they kicked her out of the The Dreams. She spews sour grape juice all over Britnee and Courtney while moaning that she's a "real artist," unlike some other people who are getting to stay. Hopefully, this has proven to some of the more gullible voters watching at home that just because someone is a VSC and does one good thing (like taking care of the boyfriend who had a stroke) does not mean they are a good person or, more importantly, deserve to be handed a record contract.
After Ryan teased us with promises of her all episode long, vocal coach Peggi Blu finally returns! She jumps right in by giving Lauren Gray some shit, making her cry and then yelling at her that there's no crying in singing. But she must have done something right, because Lauren makes it to the next round after performing "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" with Wendy Taylor and Mathenee Treco. Wendy also makes it (who knows why), but Mathenee is out. And that's one more ridiculous name I won't ever have to type again.
Heejun Han is deathly afraid of Peggi, but she takes him into her warm embrace and suddenly the mood shifts to happy shiny shoo-bop shoo-bop. She is impressed with Heejun's group, which also features Jairon Jackson, Phillip Phillips and Neco Starr. Their performance of "I Only Have Eyes For You" gets them all through to the next round.
Groove Sauce minus Reed Grimm—Nick Boddington, Creighton Fraker, Jen Hirsh and Aaron Marcellus—get good reviews for their performance of "Sealed With A Kiss." But just when you think the whole group is safe, Nick Boddington gets the axe.
Since the judges have been doing their typical "everyone is great" routine today, there are still too many contestants, so all who remain are summoned back out to the stage for a quick round of cuts. Sadly, we have to say goodbye to Angie Zeiderman because the judges would rather look at and listen to the bland likes of Baylie Brown and Brielle Von Hugel. Two other good singers, Jairon Jackson and Candice Glover, are cut to make room for some average ones. On the plus side, Gabi Carrubba, Schyler Dixon and Johnny Keyser are sent packing. And hilariously, Britnee Kellogg's elimination forces all her delusions to come bubbling to the surface in the form of weeping and outrageous comments like, "every performance was perfect!"
Whew. So, after all that, the field has been trimmed down to 42. Next week, there will be more solos, followed by the final cuts on the Runway of Doom. Eesh. Y'know, this show would be so much more enjoyable if they'd just institute a Wipeout-style method of elimination.
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