Wednesday, March 28, 2012

American Idol 11: Idols Idolizing Idols

Sitting in as guest mentor on tonight's Idol is one of my faves, Stevie Nicks. Jimmy looks awfully happy. Well, Stevie dated him when he still only had one eyebrow, so he knows that she likes him for who he is on the inside.

Tonight's theme is "Songs From Your Personal Idols." (Yes, that's a recycled Photoshop from last year. Sue me.) Try not to think too much about the genuinely iconic artists (including Stevie) who are sure to be overlooked for the likes of, oh, I don't know, John Mayer and the like, or you'll go insane.

Colton Dixon illustrates the above point by breaking out Lifehouse's "Everything." Lifehouse. Really? Lifehouse?? I mean, they make some catchy songs, but they're Colton's IDOLS? Well, not quite. Turns out his idol is really Jesus, as this song was used in a very popular religious skit, in which Jesus smites those who would tempt a young girl with money, drugs, violence and...trying out for America's Next Top Model? I think? Anyhoo, Colton's performance is very Colton: lots of breathy whining that eventually leads to a soaring chorus. And although it feels like the song goes on forever, I swear that it consists of about eight words. The judges worship Colton to the point where I half-expect J.Lo to offer to wash his feet with her hair, but she stops short of that. And lo, Randy doth proclaim that Colton is a contender to be named King of Idols.

Breaking up the very holy vibe is Skylar Laine, singing a song about what fun it's gonna be to shoot the bastard who done her wrong (Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead") while flailing spastically about as if she's being exorcised. Aside from being rather nasally (as usual), I have to say that I'm liking this girl more and more every week. She's at least entertaining to watch, which is more than I can say for this year's sea of boring...what was it Randy called them? Oh yeah, balladators.

Perhaps knowing that the majority of Idolettes would pick terrible idols (i.e., people who've been famous for about a minute), the show-runners decided to also have three trios perform songs from musical icons. First up are Colton, Elise and Phillip with a medley of Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks hits. They start out with "Landslide" with Colton on lead, then Elise breaks into "Edge of Seventeen," followed by Phillip on "Don't Stop." Surprisingly, they don't completely ruin these songs and the harmonies/backing vocals are really good. But I'm quite certain there are backup singers behind the curtain helping out. Steven loves the performance and casually mentions that he just had dinner with Mick Fleetwood. Hmm. How long will it take Randy to remind everyone that he has famous friends, too?

Stripped of all playfulness, Heejun Han chooses to sing not only another boring ballad, but also one of the most played out ballads ever: Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You." Jimmy is happy to see Heejun taking things seriously this week, while Stevie tries to play therapist, suggesting that Heejun was previously acting like he didn't care because he was afraid he wouldn't win. Whatever. We all know that the producers had a nice long talk with him. I like Heejun so much better when he's being goofy; this is frightfully boring. And his accent is more noticeable than ever. Eesh. Of course, the judges love the meh-ness of it all, and basically thank Heejun for killing his fun side.

Hollie Cavanagh says that Stevie got really "pissonal" with her during rehearsal, sharing the story of her mother's death to help Hollie connect with the emotion of Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel." Jesus, another ballad? And now it's snowing in the Idol studio! It must be the FX department. It certainly can't be Hell freezing over, because everything here is the same old same old. Hollie sings well enough, but it's boring, even when she tries to pretend that she's on the verge of tears. Randy says it wasn't a perfect performance, Jen says it was one of Hollie's best, and Steven takes the middle ground. And apparently he's been "trying to get in between" Randy and J.Lo for a "long time?" What does that mean? Never mind. I don't wanna know. Ew.

Eric Benet is DeAndre Brackensick's idol, so I can only assume his ultimate goal in life is to marry and then cheat on Halle Berry. Good luck with that, kid. You know, I'm a sucker for falsetto, but this version of "Sometimes I Cry" is too much. I feel like my head's gonna explode. And it doesn't help that the minute I think, "Prince he ain't," Tyler claims that DeAndre "gives Prince a run for his money." BITCH, PLEASE. HE CERTAINLY DOES NOT. And he certainly doesn't deserve a standing ovation.

Jessica Sanchez is singing Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams." Huzzah! A non-ballad! Oh, wait. She's turning it into a ballad. *sigh* Yes, yes, she sings very well. We know. The judges know. Jessica knows. I'm sure there will be an email from Beyonce tomorrow night telling us that she knows. Whatever. It's still boring. And I'm so distracted by this goofy set design with the doors to nowhere. I kind of wish I could walk through one right now and find a dimension where more uptempo songs exist.

The boredom finally catches up with me, and I doze off for the few minutes it takes DeAndre, Heejun and Joshua to do their Michael Jackson medley. Ah, talk about a sweet dream...

I snap awake just in time to hear Stevie telling Phillip Phillips that if he had been friends with her and Lindsey Buckingham in the '70s, he would have been asked to join Fleetwood Mac, too. (And he would have been one more person in that band that she could have banged.) Phillip grabs his guitar to cover Jonny Lang's "Still Rainin'." See, now, I enjoy this. This is so much better than the DMB vibe he always brings. I mean, there's still a little of that in there, but the bluesy-rockness of it helps cover it up. As the judges give yet another standing O, Randy finally sees his chance to let the world know that JONNY LANG IS HIS FRIEND!!

Joshua Ledet's idol is Mariah Carey, so of course he's singing "Without You," because she totally wrote that song, right? You know, I like Joshua, but there's something missing. I feel sort of the same way about him as I did about Jacob Lusk—I would enjoy his performances so much more if he were in drag. At the end, Joshua manufactures some tears (for, uh...his struggle?) that dry up almost immediately during judging. But the judges are real suckers for the fake cry, so they rise to their feet again and bathe Joshua in the warmth of their saliva. Steven thinks Joshua pushed himself to the limit! J.Lo thinks Joshua is an angel from Heaven!! Randy wants everyone to know that MARIAH CAREY IS HIS FRIEND!! HE WAS JUST TALKING TO HER!!! AND THAT CONVERSATION WAS WAY MORE RECENT THAN STEVEN'S DINNER WITH MICK FLEETWOOD!

Um, is Randy wearing a candy necklace? That can't end well.

The last trio is comprised of Hollie, Skylar and Jessica, who perform a mashup of Madonna's "Like a Prayer," "Borderline" and "Express Yourself." They're pretty good, but once again, I'm sure there's some off-camera vocal magic happening.

Elise Testone not only gets to perform with a real idol—an impromptu duet of "Dreams" with Stevie during rehearsal—but also gets to close out the evening with the ROCK GODS' (you shall have no other Gods before them) "Whole Lotta Love." (OK, so that was ripped from a Blues God. Lots of religions share ideas. Shut up.) As far as Idol-based Zeppelin covers go, I'd say this is the third best...out of three. Adam Lambert did a better job with this song, and Haley Reinhart's cover of "What Is and What Should Never Be" was awesome...even though she wiped out in the middle of it! The judges look like they're unsure of whether this is worth standing up for again, but after a few seconds decide to go ahead and give her the O. As it turns out, Elise and Steven are wearing the exact same pants. I wonder whose waist is smaller? My money's on scrawny Steven. I saw some of his outfits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they looked like they'd barely fit a Ken doll.

So, who will be hitting the road tomorrow night? I've gotta think that the Bottom 3 will be Heejun, Hollie and DeAndre. And although the voters have it out for the girls (as always), I think a lot of people, including the producers, want Heejun gone. The judges were clearly super-nice to him to lull his voters into a false sense of security. I'd rather see DeAndre go, but I think Heejun's time has come.


Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.

Friday, March 23, 2012

American Idol 11: 3/22/12 Results

Ugh, another results show. Let's do this Good/Bad/Ugly style, shall we?

The Good

  • I was out last night, so I got to watch the results show on my DVR and skip a lot of the bad/ugly!
  • Joe Perry showed up to lead everyone in singing "Happy Birthday" to Steven Tyler. I guess an appearance by Joe Perry is always welcome. He's one of those guys I've always found so ugly that he's somehow attractive.
  • The return of Haley Reinhart. I still can't believe I hated this girl when she started on Idol. I love her new song, "Free," and I hope that it does well. She performed in a giant cage while dressed up like some sort of devil woman. I can't say the styling really belongs in the "good" section, but she sounded great, so I'll let it slide. But why didn't Seacrest talk to her? Was that pre-taped?
  • Heejun was safe! I'm sorry, but I can't help but love that kid. When Jimmy mentions that Steven Tyler seemed pissed off last night because Heejun "disrespected" the show, he just kind of shrugged it off and said that he was just being himself, and is not trying to be a star. Kind of an amazing statement for someone who's on the "search for a superstar," no? I don't think he wants to be there anymore. He looked bummed out when it was revealed that he actually wasn't the one going home.
  • Erika's sing-out. She did "I Believe in You and Me" better than she did it the first time. More on this in a bit.

The Bad
  • The group sing, natch. I had to FF through it. Whoa oh oh oh, these very Brady numbers have sucked for the longest time.
  • Colton's outfit. He looked like a mummy who just woke up and started unwrapping himself.
  • Jimmy Iovine said that no one knew the Billy Joel song, "Vienna." Was he serious? Or by "no one" was he just talking about the all-important tween voters?
  • Erika got voted off instead of DeAndre. As I mentioned above, she killed her sing-out, but the judges already knew they weren't going to use their save on her. When Ryan asked them if they would, Randy just gave a very dismissive, "Naaaah... unfortunately... nah."
  • My predictions were way off this week. Not only did I pick the wrong eliminated contestant, but I only correctly picked 1 out of the Bottom 3.

The Ugly
  • Lana Del Rey performed. Seriously, how many more times do we have to hear this manufactured "indie" starlet drone on about video games through her 10-pound lips? I tried to give her one more chance, but could only deal with about three verses before I nearly went insane and had to hit the FF button. Haley can sing circles around that over-hyped mess.

Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot

Thursday, March 22, 2012

American Idol 12: Scenes From An American Reality Show


Last night, the Idolettes sang Billy Joel songs and received both performance and fashion advice from P.Diddy and Tommy Hilfiger, respectively. I no longer have any idea what year it is.

Hint #1 that DeAndre Brackensick is probably going home tonight? He was placed in the lead-off spot of doom. Hint #2 that he's probably going home? He sang "Only the Good Die Young." There has to be some kind of stat on how many times a contestant has been voted off after performing an ironically-titled song. I swear it happens a lot. Hint #3 that he's probably going home? His performance was much like one you'd see on a cruise ship traveling the river Styx. None of the judges really find anything that wrong with it, though.

Being from Rhode Island apparently makes it hard for Erika Van Pelt to get into a "New York State of Mind." Diddy and Jimmy tell her to pull back and stop oversinging, but in the next breath tell her to let go and take risks. They should get Kunu from Forgetting Sarah Marshall to come and mentor these kids. (Remember, don't do anything. Well, you gotta do more than that.) The biggest risk Erika took was getting all of her hair chopped off and dyed black, so that she looked (as J.Lo rightfully pointed out) like Pat Benatar. Erika sounds good as always, and even though the judges continue to make nitpicky comments about her supposed tendency to over-sing (oddly enough, something they never accuse Rev. Joshua of doing), they all loved her vocals and her new look. Steven summed it all up with his favorite word, "beautiful."

Speaking of the reverend, Joshua Ledet never heard "She's Got a Way" before. Neither did Steven Tyler! Sheesh. Some kids (and seniors). The Idiot Pit was in full swing for Joshua's performance, but he never really seemed comfortable singing the song and it showed in his vocals. It just wasn't that good. They brought the gospel choir out mid-song to try to prop him up, but it wasn't fooling anyone. The judges tried really hard to not say anything negative, but J.Lo had to admit that she wasn't feeling that one.

Skylar Laine was happier'n a possum rolling in armadillo shit, because she loooves her some Diddy. She still loves him even after he tells her that her vocals sounded "forced." And she loves her cowboy boots too, yet after she and Tommy talked at length about which ones she would wear, she showed up on stage in high heels. I was trying to figure out if Billy Joel ever recorded a country-ish song and I didn't think he had, so when Skylar sang "Shameless," I thought she was at least a little better than Scotty McCreery, aka the guy who picked the one song with "country" in the title for Elton John night. Then it came to light that both Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley had done covers of the song. OF COURSE. Anyway, I thought she sounded better than she did last week, but the judges disagreed with me. Randy said it was pitchy in the beginning, Jennifer would only say that Skylar was "fearless," and Steven mumbled some combination of what the other two just said.

Elise Testone bounces back from two weeks of being in the Bottom 3 with a very good performance of "Vienna." Notice I said "very good" and not"OMG THAT WAS THE BOMB, YO, I THINK YOUR SINGING JUST CURED CANCER," which is essentially what the judges very excitedly bellowed. Randy said Elise had that all-important "moment," but we'll see if that moment is enough to keep her away from the chopping block this week. The voters don't always vote for relevant reasons, you know, and this girl's endless arsenal of bitch-faces has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Still, I think she did well enough (and got talked up enough) that she should make it through. If not, get ready for the bitch-face to end all bitch-faces tomorrow night!

Oh, Phillip Phillips. Every time he speaks, I become more and more convinced that he was the real-life inspiration for Forrest Gump. He's not a smart man but he knows who Dave Matthews eee-IS! Yeah, essentially, he does the DMB version of "Movin' Out," just as he's done the DMB version of everything, always, since the beginning of time. The thing that bugs me about Phillip is that I think I would probably really like him as a person (endearing accent, cute face, plays guitar, seemingly good sense of humor), but I just find him so boring as an artist. I do appreciate that he totally ignored all of his mentors' advice, though. Diddy told him to put down the guitar; he played the guitar. Tommy told him to not wear gray; he wore two layers of gray. Gotta love that. Because really, who needs advice from a guy who can't even stick with one name for his entire life or a guy who makes his living off of over-priced, over-branded, overly boring clothes? J.Lo also appreciated that Phillip stayed true to who he was, but don't think this means they'll stop bringing people in to try to mold these kids into the cash cows that they are hoping for.

One solid argument against listening to Hilfiger's advice is Hollie Cavanagh: what in the hell was she wearing? She looked like a slightly cougar-esque mother-of-the-bride from the future. Even stranger was the video message from her brother. It wasn't really relevant to anything, and I just ended up really confused because he didn't have the same weird accent. Hollie sang "Honesty," and it was probably not her best. If I'm being honest, it nearly put me to sleep. The judges didn't seem very impressed either. Randy did like her outfit, which says all you really need to know about Randy's style.

Heejun Han's performance was where the night really started for me. That was amazing. From his mentoring sessions all the way through judging, he was basically just effing with everyone. Diddy couldn't figure him out...he wasn't even convinced that Heejun was really Asian. Tommy acted like a high school principal in the face of Heejun's antics, primly moaning, "Heejun was testing me." Haha. Yeah, and you failed, dude. Then Heejun started out his performance like he was doing yet another boring ballad before pulling an Elvis Costello and stopping the song to start another one. But unlike Elvis, his reason was that he wanted to DANCE!! Heejun be-bopped around the stage singing "My Life," which was basically him giving the finger to all of the mentors who have tried to tell him who to be. It was fantastic. And it certainly wasn't a great vocal, but Heejun's voice is pleasant enough that it wasn't excrutiating to listen to or anything. Jennifer and Randy seemed to enjoy it, and were glad to see Heejun cutting loose and having fun. One might expect the "badass rocker" to be totally down with Heejun's "message," but Steven seemed nearly as prissy about it as Tommy was earlier. He warned Heejun that "at some point, you've gotta take it more serious(ly)." Yeah, at some point you have to get off the drugs and start recording shmaltzy ballads for terrible big budget movies.

"Everybody Has a Dream" was Jessica Sanchez's song choice because she is the only one who has ever had a dream. In rehearsal, Diddy didn't believe that her dream was real, and whatever he said to her must have worked because she delivered a fine performance. She was sounding more J-Huddy than ever last night. Unsurprisingly, she got a standing ovation from the judges and they said a lot of flowerly things like, "That was a defining moment" (Jennifer), "You have a moment every time you step on that stage" (Randy) and, most nauseatingly, "Thank you for letting me hear you sing" (Steven).

Closing things out was Colton Dixon, who Tommy "enjoyed" very much. Hmm. Who'dathunk Tommy would get along with antoher metrosexual? However, there was trouble in bro paradise when Colton refused to make Tommy happy by getting rid of the dead raccoon on his head. Colton basically took on Billy Joel's most iconic song and completely ruined its barroom appeal. It went a little like, "So, whine us a song, you're the emo man/Whine us a song tonight/For we're all in the mood to cut ourselves/And you've got us wanting to die." At least that's what it sounded like to me. The judges loved him though, and then Colton gave a shout-out to the son of God, immediately winning him all the Midwest and Bible Belt votes.

So, who will be in the Bottom 3? Erika could end up there if people didn't even recognize who she was, but I think she should be OK. People love a makeover. I'm going to say it's DeAndre, Joshua and Hollie. And I think everyone is finally brackensick of DeAndre, so he'll be sent packing. (Can you imagine how much his bags weigh with all those hair products?)


Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.

Friday, March 16, 2012

American Idol 11: 3/15/12 Results

Well, America's Migraine is gone. Out of an all-girl Bottom 3 (big surprise), Elise Testone and Erika Van Pelt were saved, securing their spots on the tragic, sparsely-attended Idol tour, while Shannon Magrane was booted, securing her a continued life of priveleged anonymity. Who's the "loser" in this scenario again?

Even though I hate when my predictions are off, I'm glad that it was Shannon and not Erika who was eliminated. Still, I don't think Erika will last very long, considering she's one of the oldest contestants, a genuinely good singer, and—worst of all—female. Elise might end up getting unfairly booted early on too, since everyone thinks she has an attitude. She certainly didn't do herself any favors last night when Ryan told her she was in the Bottom 3 and, without congratulating Skylar on making it through, just sort of snottily wandered over to Loser's Row. But maybe it wasn't bitchiness. Maybe she was just so high she didn't know what was going on.

Seacrest revealed that the Judges' Save has been brought back for this year, which Shannon had no chance of getting. It will either be held onto until the producers set up the elimination of a chosen one (Phillip, Jessica), or wasted to set up the annual "shocking elimination" (e.g., DeAndre is saved and Jessica or Joshua is sent home the following week).

There isn't much else of interest to report from last night's show. I did enjoy Jimmy Iovine's critiques. Not of the contestants, but of Randy. He called out the Dawg's habit of constantly contradicting himself, like blaming the song when a contestant performs badly, then turning around and saying that the song doesn't matter if you're a good enough singer.

Oh yeah, there were also a couple of musical guests: Demi Lovato and Daughtry. I think I might have been playing with my phone when the latter was on, but I'm pretty sure he sang something that sounded a lot like every other one of his songs. I'm not sure why I was paying attention while the former was on, because she was terrible. She kept saying she wanted to give my heart a break, but what about my ears? WHAT ABOUT MY EARS, DEMI?

Next week, the Idolettes will once again get a chance to prove what relevant artists they are by performing Billy Joel songs. (I'll pay Heejun $1 million to come out and sing the full 7+ minutes of "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.") And the results show will feature performances by last year's third runner-up, Haley Reinhart, and this year's annoying indie (so her marketing team would have you believe) poster child, Lana Del Rey.


Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.

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: will.i.am! 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 will.i.am.not.giving.my.chair.up.again 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, will.i.am.not.feeling.the.love.tonight 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 will.i.am.not.responsible.for.this.kid'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 will.i.am.wanted.by.the.police 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 will.i.am.not.kidding'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.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

American Idol 11: 3/8/12 Results

The very Brady group performance. The soul-sucking Ford commercial. The Idol also-ran trying to pimp a doomed new album. What does it all mean? The AI results shows are back!

You know I've always hated those ridiculous Ford ads, but tonight's might have been the worst I've ever seen/heard. Well, the visual wasn't that terrible: the Top 13 contestants were made to look like giants wandering the streets of Los Angeles. (It's hard to be impressed by the special effects though, considering that two of the contestants—Jermaine Jones and Shannon Magrane—are actually giants in real life.) But the audio aspect was horrifying. I'm sure Peter Gabriel would like to beat those kids with a sledgehammer for turning his peppy, fun "Big Time" into a monotonous funeral dirge.

Padding the needlessly long (as ever) results show were two musical guests: the fabulous Mary J. Blige and last year's Idol runner-up, Lauren Alaina. Boy, Lauren's management team are really trying to package her as Carrie Underwood 2.0, what with the newly trim figure, tight clothes, and song lyrics with mild sexual innuendos. Yawn. Don't care.

As I mentioned yesterday, this week's judging was done a bit differently, with the judges deciding who they wanted to save between the girl and guy with the lowest votes. Since I wasn't sure if there was still going to be an overall Bottom 3, or a Bottom 3 for each gender, I only picked a Bottom 2. As it turns out, Seacrest did pick a Bottom 3 for each gender, which were:

B3 Girls - Elise Testone, Shannon Magrane and Erika Van Pelt
B3 Guys - Jermaine Jones, Jeremy Rosado and Joshua Ledet

However, Erika and Joshua were sent back to safety almost immediately, so it was more like a Bottom 2 for each group. Eventually, Shannon and Jermaine were also let off the hook, leaving Elise and Jeremy on the chopping block.

I predicted that it would be between Jeremy and Shannon, and that Jeremy would be going home, so I was only half right...but it was the most important half! Elise was saved and J.Lo tearfully (not really) bid adieu to her Jer-Bear. We also got to hear this year's kiss-off song, McCreeper's "Please Remember Me." Heh. Isn't that what all the ex-Idols beg?

No theme has been announced yet for the next competition night, but since Daughtry is scheduled to perform on next week's results show, I'm gonna guess the theme is generic stadium rock. Nothing would make Colton Dixon happier.


Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

American Idol 11: I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who'll Just Call to Say He Loves Me

As promised, tonight's episode of American Idol features the guys singing Stevie Wonder songs and the girls wading through Whitney Houston's catalog. No one sang either of the songs referenced in my post title because, well, I don't know. Probably because they're uptempo. Or because that Stevie song is one of the most awful things ever recorded. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Jimmy Iovine returns as mentor, and is much nicer to the kids' faces than he was in last week's scathing video reviews. He brings along Mary J. Blige for some help, while will.i.am sits at home in a dark corner, rocking back and forth and gently weeping.

Going first is usually a bad thing, but I think Joshua Ledet will escape the chopping block this week. He puts the power of the Lawd into "I Wish" while his hand flails wildly, searching for someone to heal. He does a pretty good job, but I can't give him my fully attention because I'm too distracted by the rhythmically challenged folks down in front. Yes, the Idiot Pit has made their most non-triumphant return. The judges are paying attention, though, but when they start to talk I'm distracted again—this time by Randy's bling button. What the hell is that? Lucy Van Pelt? I don't know. My mind stops wandering just in time to catch Tyler's first "beautiful" of the night. Everybody drink!

Elise Testone had planned on singing "The Greatest Love of All," a song that, as long-time readers know, WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Luckily, I don't have to shoot out my TV set, because Jimmy and Mary J. smartly steer her toward a different song, "I'm Your Baby Tonight." Well, actually, I don't know how smart that decision is, considering that Elise looks super uncomfortable from beginning to end, and the vocal isn't anywhere near her best. The judges all pretty much say the same thing, while Elise just stands there looking irritated as hell.

Jermaine Jones sings well enough, but his performance of "Knocks Me Off My Feet" is not exactly doing that. By the time he sings the line "I don't wanna bore you with it," it's already way too late. The only judge knocked off his feet is Steven, who says that Jermaine's voice fits the song BEAUTIFULLY. J.Lo wants Jermaine to connect with what he's singing, while Randy says he only loved the verses, not the chorus.

To help Erika Van Pelt bring her own style to "I Believe in You and Me," she gets some electric guitar accompaniment to turn the song into a rock ballad. I've never much cared for this song, but I actually like the way she's brought it down about 97 octaves. I like her husky voice, as does Steven. He might even say it's BEAUTIFUL. (And he does.) Jennifer likes Erika, but thinks she's playing it a little safe, and can't wait to hear her really bring it. Fauxhawky McGee proves that he's not as good at the nicknaming game as I am when he reveals his obvious moniker for Erika: EVP. I don't like it. It reminds me too much of electronic voice phenomenon, and that shit freaks me out.

Jimmy asks Colton Dixon to play an original song to help him prepare for his cover of "Lately," and...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Ugh. Sorry I dozed off there, but this is the worst Ace Ventura sequel ever! Of course, Colton is in no danger of going anywhere, because apparently girls like guys with raccoon hair and toothpick legs. Steven likes Colton's BEAUTIFUL voice, Jen likes that he showed us his heart, Randy likes his power notes and Ryan likes his "smoldering eyes." Oh, and Julianne Hough likes living in denial.

I should have just stayed asleep because now Shannon Magrane is on. She has nothing. Nothing. NOTHING! Except a rich dad and a huge house. I've always thought this girl was terribly average, but her performance tonight is below even my expectations. Finally, the judges hear it too, although they try to prop her up with nonsense like, "I KNOW you can sing this," while making a bunch of excuses for her, including blaming the band for possibly throwing her off.

Alert the press: DeAndre Brackensick has pulled his hair back! How will he get through an entire song without shaking his glorious mane? He bravely soldiers on through "Master Blaster," trying his best to sound like Stevie and offering up some hilarious dance moves. Steven dubs DeAndre the "male Naima" before tossing up another BEAUTIFUL. (Are you drunk yet??) J.Lo and Randy say they didn't want the song to end, and Randy commends DeAndre on singing something upbeat instead of always being the "balladator." Because that's a word.

No doubt everyone assumes that Skylar Laine's performance will be the train-wreckiest of the bunch, since Whitney never wrote a song about coon huntin' or off-roadin'. But she surprises everyone (including Mary J., who comes down with a case of J.Lo's goosies) with a pretty good performance that makes the song sound like it could've been a country ballad. Jen says that there were some nasally parts near the beginning, but it turned into the biggest moment of the night. I find this interesting, because I personally liked the beginning of the song better and thought some of her glory notes were a bit on the screechy side. What does Steven think? Well, he thinks that Skylar's voice is a beautiful thing of beauty that is really beautiful. (Oh, the hangovers we'll all have in the morning.)

Hey, it's Heejun Han! I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I love this kid. I just love his deadpan delivery of everything he says. And the autographed pictures he gives Jimmy and Mary are adorable. He does a good job with "All in Love is Fair." I actually don't notice his accent that much this time around, which is a plus. But I'd like him to do something uptempo for a change. I'm tired of him being the balladator. Jennifer loves Heejun too, but Randy only likes him a lot. I have to wonder if Steven was unhappy with the performance, because he gives Heejun a "fantastic" instead of you-know-what.

Hollie Cavanagh is up next with "All the Man That I Need," which Randy refers to as "Whitney's primes joint." I always knew that he would completely abandon the English language one day. Hollie gives a fine performance, prompting Jennifer to predict that there may be a sing-off between two girls in the Finale. HA! Yeah, this year's girls may be better than the guys overall, but we all know that the primarily female voters only vote for the boys they think are cute. So, if there's to be any girl-on-girl action in the Finale, the producers are going to have to arrange it. And don't think they're above doing that.

Another of the male balladators, Jeremy Rosado, takes on "Ribbon in the Sky," as I get back to the nap I started during Colton's performance. A wide awake Tyler praises Jer-Bear's BEAUTIFUL voice, which Jennifer builds upon for a "really, REALLY beautiful." Randy thinks Jeremy needs more swag. Jeremy has no idea what that is or where to get it.

Unsurprisingly, Jessica Sanchez is singing "I Will Always Love You," as she's probably the only girl (aside from Hollie) who can handle it. She's also a chosen one—and the other girl in that final female sing-off that Jen wants so badly. I know that I usually have something smart-assy to say about all of the contestants, but Jessica is a really good singer. Her performance knocks the snark right out of me. Some may complain that the judges—who give her a standing ovation—are pimping her too hard, but why bother? They're pimping Colton and DeAndre too. At least this chick deserves some pimpage. Of course, Steven's claim that Jessica "just made 40 million people cry" is a bit much. Probably only 25% of that number still watches this show, and of them, maybe only 5% are crazy enough to cry over a heavily condensed cover song.

Closing things out is Chosen One Phillip Phillips with"Superstition." As expected, he makes it look and sound like everything else he sings: some unholy union of Dave Matthews, Joe Cocker and a guy taking a giant dump. But look at that face, girls! (Well, not in this particular picture. That's hideous.) You'll all vote for him. Steven tells Phillip, "you just ARE" (we can all assume the omitted word is "beautiful") and J.Lo says, "you killed it." Randy continues babbling about how Phillip is keeping the "alt/indie spirit alive" because, once again, HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT WORDS MEAN.

The elimination is going to be a bit different this week, as it's a "boys vs. girls"-type situation. The guy and girl who receive the least amount of votes will both be put on the chopping block, and the judges will decide which one goes home. I'm thinking that this will be one of many ways the judges try desperately to help a girl win this year. Although I would expect there to be a Bottom 3 girls and Bottom 3 guys just to waste time, based on Ryan's explanation, I'm guessing there will only be a Bottom 2. If that's the case, I think it will be Shannon and Jeremy, with Jeremy going home.


Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.

 

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