Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Do you think I'm old?

For those people wondering what today is, Ryan quickly tells them, “It is Tuesday night and the contestants are ready to perform, the music is from the past, but you decide their future” he says to open up the show. He then tells us this is American Idol. I really appreciate him reminding me because the commercial they ran seconds before the show exclaiming it was time for American Idol left me confused. For a second there I thought maybe I was on that celebrity cook off show. Ryan is growing out the facial hair again and wearing another nice suit. It is now official – he has grown up and is now an adult. Why does he need two microphones on his jacket? Are the producers terrified of dead air if his mic cuts off and they have to *gasp* run out a new mic to Ryan during the show. Maybe they just don’t have the time; these hour-long shows are a tight fit. Ryan says after tonight the “family unit shrinks again.” This is our first creepy moment of the night. Randy is wearing a pretty normal white shirt, Paula an odd greenish thing, and Simon his normal tee shirt of the month entry. Even with a tee shirt wearing Simon, tonight is a sophisticated show says Ryan – start the videos! Rod explains the history of music, how it’s all connected, and how he sold out, I mean, umm, incorporated other styles of music into his repertoire. Strangely, when Rod shows up to meet the contestants he is carrying his newborn child and accompanying them is his finance. The fiancé is about 10 years older than the newborn child; way to go Rod. The contestants sing the Rod song “You’re In My Heart” as he shows off his little boy. Did anyone notice the girls were more excited to see the little kid than Rod. There is some random black guy (looks like he might be gay) next to Rod when he enters. Does Rod own a slave? Is that legal? Do they do that kind of thing in Britain? Rod apologizes to the contestants for being late; he was busy making wedding plans. So lets recap. He shows up late, brings his wife, and brings his kid. Compare that to Barry Manilow who would take a bullet to work with the contestants again. Rod starts in with the compliments, saying he couldn’t perform these songs when he was their age. They show a few more clips of Rod and the kids and he is dancing with the random black guy and hugging Ace really tight…ok then. Rod says doing Idol will be a great way to put a lid on his American songbook experience. Ryan says Rod will be here tomorrow to sing live. Really, holy cow, he is singing a song from the band LIVE? Oh wait, Ryan meant live, like not recorded, my bad.

Chris – Wonderful World

Wow Chris is the first one up tonight, can they really put the golden boy so early in the show and not affect his vote total? Taylor was the lead off hitter last week and avoided the bottom three, we will see if Chris can do the same. In his video clip he says the song represents so many values that he holds dear. He also admits this song is going to be harder from him to sing than the belt-it-out-as-loud-as-he can method he normally employs. During their work session Rod says that Chris was brought up on heavy metal and he can’t imagine Ozzy singing this type of song. I also couldn’t imagine Chris biting the head off a bat on stage, so that makes two things Ozzy and Chris don’t share in common. Without any presong interview with Ryan, Chris’s song begins. He is wearing some type of vest thing with short sleeves and his lucky hold my wallet in place chain. Really dude you are singing about this wonderful world, couldn’t you leave the chain at home just once? Pickpockets must have really messed up his childhood. Apparently the world is not quite wonderful enough that Chris can be chainless. On a positive note, within the first couple seconds of the song Chris blinks – he is human! Sadly Chris is not the best at showing emotion while he sings. Well sure he can display the ‘I’m going to kill all of you now’ emotion just fine, but he has trouble being sensitive when he sings. If only Clay could teach him a few things about feeling other people’s pain! I really don’t understand why Chris is so intense when he performs, he seems like a really loving guy in all his interviews, and even back to the early days of idol he was always nice to the other contestants. Chris sounds pretty good on this out of character song choice. He has some issues on a few of the notes and his voice is not really strong enough to convey the power of the song. His world is not nearly as wonderful as someone like Louie Armstrong’s. I find it hard to judge Chris from scratch. If I had never seen or heard him before I think I would find this a rather pedantic performance devoid of any ‘wow’ factor. The only thing that makes it a little ‘wow’ is Chris finally singing a slow song with no alterations. Sure he did a slower song on country week, but that was country week, we all hated that crap and did out best not really listen. Overall Chris has more good than bad parts on a song that must have been really hard for him to sing; I give him credit for tackling such a well-known song. I wonder how the other people will sound tonight, is it possible the producers think Chris will struggle tonight so they put him first so we would forget about him by the end of the night? Randy says it’s the bomb, Paula is ecstatic he broke out of his rock mold, and Simon takes credit for the Chris transformation, calling it a great performance. Ryan talks to Chris after the song and Chris reveals he shaved off most of his beard and ditched the eyeliner. Chris performed one of those all time everyone recognizes this song, however, I really don’t think I’ll be walking around humming this song tomorrow, which means his performance did not have the ‘wow’ factor all contestants need at this stage in the competition. Its possible he could end up in the bottom three, we won’t know that until we see the other performers.

Paris – Foolish Things

Unlike Chris, she gets the presong interview. We learn amazing things like her mommy gave her an Easter basket and Paris roller-skated and danced over the weekend. Dancing and roller-skates; is Paris back in the 70s or something? Ryan tries really hard to be funny and said Simon dressed up like a bunny and layed eggs over at his house on Sunday. The audience laughs just a little out of pity, and then Ryan quickly moves the show along. Paris is reinvented yet again tonight. However, I think she missed the mark; her red/orange dress looks more like she is on her way to her first temp job rather than an elegant lady about to sing something from America’s songbook. Since its family week or something, Paris brings her mommy to the session with Rod. I guess if he can bring along his wife and his child Paris can bring her mom. Sadly, Paris’s 22-year-old mother is actually 7 years older than Rod’s wife. Rod says Paris has a touch of Billy Holliday inside her and is outstanding for a 17 year old. He then says he was digging graves when he was 17. Huh? Really? Or is that like an English expression. You know how in America the grandfather used to walk to school in the snow, up hill, both ways. Do they instead make grave digging references in England? Paris deglamified her performance tonight. She isn’t trying to over sing the song or stop the show like she was the last couple weeks. She is just standing still and really singing the song well. She sounds really good tonight, her tone is wonderful and she is pitch perfect. She looks so comfortable with the music in this genre. There are no major vocal problems and she gives her best performance in several weeks. Randy says this was her greatest night ever, the bomb, that ever note was in tune. Paula says Paris reminded her of the initial audition when they judges fell in love with her style. Simon found her stylish and terrific; he cannot comprehend how she talks like Minnie Mouse yet sings like a grown up woman. Since Simon makes a Disney reference once a week he really needs to start getting royalties from the Mouse. Ryan visits Simon at the judge’s table and tries to pick up his cup. Simon, apparently still mentally scared from when an auditioner threw a cup of coke on his, recoiled away in horror with his Coke cup. Ryan placates Simon, ensuring him he doesn’t intend to throw the drink on his pretty tee shirt. Rather, Ryan wanted to see if there was “happy fuel” in Simon’s cup. He thinks only a “happy fuel” appearance would explain why Simon is being nice tonight. Randy suggests that Simon might be drunk tonight. Lets recap the drinking allegations. Simon says Taylor might be drunk and randy says Simon might be drunk. When will someone have the guts to suggest that Paula is drunk! Paris was really great tonight, but she has been in the bottom three before, so perhaps she will be back.

Taylor – You Send Me

Right before the show goes to commercial we see Taylor do a little ‘wooo’ as he turns his body to the side. In his presong interview Taylor and Ryan discuss the skit on the show on Saturday night that is not taped. Taylor says he loved the parody and fell out on the floor, but they didn’t include his clap, he has a clap! Did he just reveal to the world he has the clap? Taylor loves Rod and does a great job plugging Rod’s album while talking with Ryan. The random black dude is back when Taylor works with Rod. I’m not confident that he is the vocal coach for the guys; at least I think I’m right. Rod tells Taylor to throw himself around and sell the song as much as he can, don’t worry what Simon thinks. Rod then says you have to grab the audience by the balls! Oh my Rod watch the language this is a family show! That being said Rod can grab my…umm never mind. Taylor left the leather at home again and is wearing a nice suit with a black tieless shirt. The song starts off a little repetitive as Taylor repeats the same verse a few times. So far the song is staying in the same few note range; this song can either stay basically ok or really pick up and get going. Here we go! Taylor gets a little smirk on his face like he knows he is about to take control of the stage and he goes all out. The last 30 seconds of the song are fantastic, as good as anything we’ve seen on Idol this season. One of the best things about Taylor’s singing is his unity with the band. They only rehearsed this song what, like 5 times, yet it feels like he has been touring with this band, doing this song, all year. Hey did I just see Latoya London in the audience? The crowd is going crazy for Taylor and won’t stop cheering; you can tell he is their favorite. Randy says it’s a crazy night and he is blown away by Taylor. Paula, whose breasts are seemingly growing larger the longer the show stays on the air, loves Taylor. Hey they just went back into the audience and this time they add a helpful subtitle, it is Latoya! Simon was worried about the song at first, but by the end it was magic. Not a king of magic, because that would give us a Queen pun a week too late. Taylor is S-A-F-E tonight. As we go to commercial Ryan says Elliot and Kellie look like a prom date, and by golly, he is right!

Elliot – It Had to be You

When they come back from commercial someone is holding up a sign that says “Ryan will you be our brother.” I don’t understand that sign at all, please explain that to me. Rod and random black guy meet with Elliot and Rod tells Elliot he loves it when someone puts their own stamp on a song. We find out Elliot’s mom was once a professional singer; did we already know that fact? Rod commends Elliot for his great pipes and tells Elliot he feels old around all these kids. Elliot takes the stage in a purple dominated outfit smiling and snapping his fingers. He sounds like a less sexy Harry Connick Jr., but unlike Harry, I don’t think Elliot is feeling the music so much as giving us what he thinks we want to see him do on this song. Does that make sense? It feels a little forced, almost Lisalike. Vocally Elliot is pretty good tonight, not his best performance, but really good. I think he misses some of the low notes and isn’t quite perfect, but for top 7, this is really good stuff. Randy says it was an excellent song choice; Paula commends him for contemporizing older songs. Halfway through her comments she says she knows she needs to hurry up; is there someone signaling her to move it along like this is her Oscar acceptance speech? Elliot looks scared when it’s Simon’s turn to comment. Simon says the vocals were good, but he feels Elliot lacked personality while he sang and is therefore slightly concerned for Elliot. The crowd boos and the judges react similarly, called Simon “Mr. Personality.” Elliot also disagrees raising his eyebrows and saying, “I disagree.” Ryan, who is the most impartial person ever steps in and defends Elliot too. However, I understand what Simon meant, Elliot was more forced than comfortable while he performed.

Kellie - Bewitched, Bothered, and Butchered

Kellie hugs everyone, so of course she hugs Rod. He calls her a little firecracked and makes a joke about getting the words and the lyrics. Kellie doesn’t realize that words and lyrics are the same thing, but Rod explains it to her and then she laughs. Poor thing, its like she is caught on the onramp of the mental highway. Random black guy is gone, instead it’s a black woman. I think we have seen her before as one of the vocal coaches. Rod tries to help Kellie create a different feel to the song, which sounds pretty good, and she tells him “you took a load off my chest.” Rod laughs and says ‘well’; I gotta give him credit, he is a pretty funny guy. Kellie looks great tonight and starts off the song sounding really good. She has a little country twang in her voice and is handling the standard with…uh oh, we have a bad note. The first time she has an extended note she loses the pitched and her tone wavers. About halfway through the song Kellie looks uncomfortable and starts missing more notes than she hits. The camera goes behind the judge’s table and we can see Simon putting his head down on the table. Is Kellie so bad that he can’t even bear to look at her? Wow the last third of the song was really bad, not Kevin bad, but pretty close. Kellie looks sad and when Randy starts to talk she says she butchered the song. Randy says it was pitchy at spots; Paula, who doesn’t know how to handle negative comments, reverts back into fashion judge and says she loves Kellie’s shoes. Kellie, who is pretty darn funny herself says, “When all else fails you better have great shoes.” Simon says it felt like Kellie didn’t even pick her own song and says she didn’t need to bother with the bewitched or bothered part of the song, only the bewildered. Simon is probably right on the song choice. I doubt going into this show she was a big American standards fan, so one of the producers or her grandfather told her which song to sing. Kellie puts on her pouting face (can anyone say no to that thing) and says she is sorry for her performance. Ryan says she nailed it in rehearsal and says it is too bad she didn’t have a second chance to sing. Kellie says she didn’t want to put the audience through the torture of singing it again. Awww, she just picked up a million votes with that comment and should be safe.

Ace – That’s All

Oh my god! Ace has no hair left, what happened to it? Will he lose his magical powers without his hair? Teenage girls across America are going to become strippers at lacrosse parties in their depression induced angst over Ace’s hairless head…oh wait, whew, ok the hair is just pulled up, he still has his beautiful mane. During his rehearsal with Rod the black dude is back and Ace wants Rod’s approval. Rod says Ace was great and did a better version than he did. Gee, do you think this clip had anything to do with last week when the clip made Ace look like an idiot for changing up the Queen music. I guess one clip making you look bad deserves another clip making you look great. Ace, with his pulled back hair and a nice suit take the stage singing better than he has in awhile. I really do not miss his baggy jeans and chest displaying shirts he normally wears. Once the song gets going he loses a bit of his sound and gets nasal. He doesn’t ‘fly’ tonight, but he does rub his tummy per his standard choreography. His falsetto regular voice transition is much better tonight. While it is not saying much, this is the best Ace has been in weeks. Randy says he likes the suit and hair, but Ace had a little trouble with the song’s bridge. Paula says Ace’s falsetto is his back pocket token to wherever he wants to go – huh? Simon says, whoah look in the audience its Michael Rapaport in the audience, he is on one of the crappy Fox shows Idol makes enough money to sustain. He didn’t get a shout out from Ryan though; even the cast of “The Loop” got a shout out, that can’t speak well of his show’s future on Fox. Anyway, Simon says it wasn’t bad, at which point Ace goes nuts Taylor style. Simons says it was charming and seems pretty pleased about Ace tonight. Ace can’t get over Simon somewhat liking him, so he asks Ryan if he heard what Simon said. Ryan asks if the hairstyle hurts and Ace says no, and then says he will be thinking about Simon’s comment all night long. Lets see, Ace has struggled lately, then he gives his best performance of the season, that means he is gone this week!

Kat – Someone to Watch Over Me

Kat meets with Rod and says she is not sure what she is singing yet; while she is trying out a few songs Rod dances with the random black dude. Kat shows some personality by pretending to be a wedding singer while they dance. Rod removes one song from Kat’s choices – the song he is performing tomorrow night! He takes the music and rips it in half; funny guy this Rod. Funny boy says Kat is fantastic and he imagines big things for her future. Holy good fashion sense batman! Kat actually looks great tonight. She is wearing an elegant all black ensemble and for the first time in a long time she doesn’t look weird. She starts off the song sitting on the stage while the camera moves in extremely close on her face. Wow the camera is as zoomed in as possible, but Kat still looks great. Throw in Richard Dreyfus and a teacher almost sleeps with student dynamic and we have Mr. Holland’s Opus part two. The camera loves Kat and the director gets lots of different angles of Kat’s beautiful face; if this whole Idol thing doesn’t work out she could do commercials or acting no problem. Kat sounds fantastic and even throws some runs into the song. She looks so at ease, like she is barely even trying. She is elegant, and the best singer tonight. Randy says this is her element (the crowd is so loud she can’t even hear Randy) and loved her. Paula fell in love with Kat all over again and then compares the performance to Mr. Holland’s Opus. Son of a…Paula just had the same train of thought I did. I feel so…stupid, used, and useless in life. If Paula and me keep agreeing on stuff I’m going to start really doubting my intelligence. Kat’s dad is crying in the audience and Simon says Kat made the other contestants look like amateurs tonight. Ryan calls it a homerun performance when he joins Kat on stage. Unless her phone lines don’t work, Kat should be safe tonight.

Final Thoughts –
As soon as the show is over Kellie runs over and hugs Kat and Elliot hugs Taylor. How cute, they all love each other. Now if only we can get a video produced of Kat loving Kellie. Watching the recaps at the end of the show, I think Chris had the third weakest performance of the night; he was better than only Ace and Kellie. Oddly, Chris actually benefited from singing first. However, this was not Chris’s type of music, he sang first, and then a whole lot of great singers sang. So, I think it’s possible he winds up in the bottom three tonight for the first time. On Kellie’s clip they have a hard time finding 20 consecutive seconds where she is actually on the right pitch. Even though she gave the worst performance of the night, I think she has a strong and loyal fan base; it is possible her fans will prevent a visit to the bottom three. I think they will pick Pickler and keep her safe. Kat and Taylor should be fine. Kat really can sound like Christina sometimes, I can’t wait to hear what she can do in the studio. That leaves Elliot, Paris, and Ace. Ace is going home, we already know that much, we just need to find two people to keep him company until he leaves. I think Chris’s fans will be loyal enough to vote for their wonderful world guy and therefore Paris and Elliot will be in the bottom three, with Ace returning to his homebuilding ways.


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