Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lovers Love Loving Love Songs

Here we go again, yet another bound to disappoint theme night for American Idol. Sure love songs are great, but when you put six of them back to back to back, well, it can get a little boring. It’s the musical equivalent of eating a lot of turkey on Thanksgiving and then fighting slumber while you sit on a couch remembering why you normally avoid the people around you 363 days of the year. Assisting the contestants this week is opera/pop singer Andrea Bocelli and producer David Foster. As Ryan says, “It’s another Tuesday and another challenge for our contestants." Hey look it's ousted idol contestant Stevie in the audience. I wonder what she is doing with the 30 seconds left of her 5 minutes of fame. I figure you only get the additional 10 minutes if you make the top 12. Ryan reminds us half of the top 12 have exited and the bad news for the ladies, and Kevin Covais, is last weeks departure of Ace Young. He says there are still however a couple heartthrobs on the show. A couple? That means there are two, so whom is he leaving out? Could it be Elliot? Oh wait, ok he says Randy and Simon are the two heartthrobs; so instead of insulting just Elliot he also included Taylor and Chris. Ryan introduces the judges and Paula has the crazy look back in her eyes. Near impossible to capture with words, Paula’s crazy look is a cross between that dazed and confused stare W gets when he tries to use the English language to explain what he believes and the intense stare Hillary always seems to have when she looks at Bill, you know the ‘I have to keep this façade up until 2008’ look. Tonights show ushers in the use of two phone numbers for each contestant, which means no excuses for not voting this week! Wouldn’t it be great if instead of an automated recording an actual person answered your phone call and wrote down your vote, kinda like when PBS does its funding raising on air specials? Then Ryan could say ‘we have operators standing by' and all those semi famous people in the audience could man a phone and chat with the voters! If I had the chance to talk with the girl that played Donna on Beverly Hills 90210 you better believe I’d be calling in votes nonstop. Ryan says its time for mood lighting and scented candles as he sends us to the video package. Andrea and David worked together on Andrea’s last album and staged a pretty spiffy looking show in Las Vegas. When the contestants have their meeting with Andrea they walk into a room where he is singing and David is playing piano. Huh? Normally the contestants sing a song from the guest artist as the guest artist walks in and gets all embarrassed when the contestants genuflect at his feet. But not tonight, could it be because with the exception of Kat none of the remaining contestants could sing any of Andrea’s nonpop songs? Andrea is singing something pretty when they walk in and upon his finishing the song Taylor, who seems to have this problem, puts his hands together to clap a few seconds too early and holds his hands there just waiting for the right time to begin his clap fest! Clap fest…that sounds like something Paris Hilton has dealt with many times. Andrea shows them a warm up exercise he always does before he sings; Chris shows him his own warm up exercise. Chris cuts himself with a small knife and then writes out LIVE on his chest with his own blood; at least we finally understand why he always looks so intense while he sings. When the contestants try to sing Andrea’s warm up it sounds really bad, make sure we don’t use this as part of an upcoming group performance. David mocks them all by asking if these are really the finalists. Hey he is the American version of Simon Cowell sans tight tee shirts. He says if you can’t cut it in his studio you are gone; he only plays hardball. As opposed to Ryan, who only plays with hard balls.

Kat - I Have Nothing

Kat is singing a song written by David Foster, which makes this a brave choice this week. In addition, Whitney Houston made this song famous, so Kat has some cracked filled shoes to fill. David helps her with the song in rehearsal and tells her to change up the climax of the song by taking the notes a little higher; Kat tries it in the studio and nails it on the first try. David says she has a great future and Andrea says she has a powerful clean voice, and somehow figures out she is beautiful. Foster asks Andrea if he thinks Kat could sing opera and after a moment of hesitation says she probably could. Right on cue, Kat starts singing one of Andrea’s operatic numbers and he joins in for an impromptu duet; they sound really good together. I’d like to see anyone else on the show this season try a duet with Andrea; the duet would crash and burn quicker than the shows that follow Idol on Wednesday night. Holy cleavage Batman! Most weeks Kat looks like she is doing anything and everything she can to cover up her body. Some weeks it was so bad even the Amish were writing into idol complaining that she didn’t show enough skin. Tonight she is wearing a form fitting yellow dress that confirms Kat is in fact a woman. I wonder if Kellie told her its important to remind the viewing audience that you do have breasts. She turns on the smoldering charm and prances around the stage a bit on the song. I think she is having more fun singing this song than any of the songs so far this season. Can we get the extreme close up lens they used to much last week and have it zoom in on her chest? Is that an FCC violation waiting to happen? Quick text message Justin Timberlake and get that boy on stage! She sounds really good on the song, as far as I can tell her pitch is really good. There are a few parts that sound different from the original that at first I think are maybe pitch deviations, however it is just Kat putting her own spin on the song. She changes up the phrasing of the song; this is not a Whitney reproduction, it’s a Kat original. She sounds really good tonight, this might be her best performance of the season to date; the vocals this week are better than her acclaimed performance last Tuesday night. Hey look Sasha Cohen is in the audience. As usual the first night of an event she is stunning, but how much do you wanna bet tomorrow night she manages to trip while walking to her seat. Randy thinks it s a good song choice, but if he keeps it real, it was way to big for Kat. He slips back into his ‘best singer in the known world’ line I thought we had finally escaped. Again it bears mentioning – who in the unknown world is Randy afraid of offending? He said he didn’t like her signing a song from Whitney in her prime, as opposed to know when she is high 24/7. Kat seems a bit stunned by Randy’s comments and manages a nervous laugh. Paula says, “it’s really tough in this competition now, it’s serious and tough, and I’m going to try to be a little bit on that side.” What the $*%& is she talking about; she really is on something tonight. She says Kat had pitch problems tonight and recommends she stay in her comfort zone since her money is in her back pocket, what your money is, or something. I have no idea what she is talking about right now, and I’m fairly certain neither does Paula. Seriously Paula, are you kidding me? Week after week when people give horrible performances she claps for them and ignore their horrible pitch problems, but tonight, when Kat gives a pretty darn good performance she lays into her with harsh comments. Simon says singing a song by Whitney is like asserting you are as good as she is, and Kat showed she is not nearly as good. Little double standard here? I’ve mentioned before that you should never sing a song form Celine or Whitney on this show, however, Kat did the song justice and had a good reason to sing it; she was able to work with David Foster, the guy who actually wrote the song. Using the judges logic, was Chris asserting himself as a better singer than Louie Armstrong last week when he sang? Of course remember, earlier this year Paula said Chris was a better singer than Freddie Mercury. A lot of people like to suggest there are these massive conspiracy theories on American Idol; the show finesses the performance order and the judges’ comments to ensure their favorite son wins the competition. I don’t subscribe to such notions, however when you see something like what is happening with Kat tonight it does make you wonder a little. Why the unwarranted overly harsh comments? In addition to the lambasting Kat gets from the judges she also has the unenviable tasks of opening the show. Ryan walks out and says things are off to an uncomfortable start and then compounds the awkwardness by saying the people at home who don’t have their volume on are going to give her a lot of votes. Obviously he was saying she looked really good, but without realizing it his statement could easily mean ‘you sounded really horrible tonight but boy those breasts are popping out of the dress so perverts at home will vote for you in copious amounts!’ Nice touch Ryan. Kat is forced to stand there with a perplexed fake smile on her face. Who can blame her, the guy who wrote the song loved her take on it, but the judges hated it – go figure.

Elliot – A Song for You

Elliot is up next and he gets a presong interview, something Kat did not get, in fact, Kat didn’t even get a post song interview with Ryan. Elliot is pumped to sing tonight; he’ll be singing a Donnie Hathaway song, the same one he sang to sail through the auditions. It turns out one of the backup singers is the daughter of this Donnie guy. I should care because…? When he declares his love for Donnie the crowd goes nuts. Ok reality check, I’m willing to bet no one in the audience under the age of 30 has ever heard one of his songs. Andrea says Elliot knows the song very well, but David is worried he picked such a stylized song. David tells Elliot he has to do more with the song and make it his own, and interestingly, David replaces the normal idol piano guy so he can play while Elliot sings. One of Elliot’s problems thus far is his ability to mimic. Instead of sounding like Elliot he sounds like Elliot singing like Stevie Wonder, or whatever artist he is replicating. David says Elliot sings really really well. Back to live action as Elliot takes the stage with a massive knot on his tie. I’ve never understood why anyone wears their tie like that; it’s almost as bad as the ties that don’t come down to the waistline. He looks more comfortable on stage than he did last week and he isn’t trying to make us love him as hard. He sounds good, but I am not feeling this song at all, its really rather boring. Elliot does the same little vocal runs every time he sings a song; he is starting to sound a little repetitive. Although his countenance is smoother than last week, the vocals are not as good, and the arrangement is lethargic. Furthermore, parts of the song are just too low for him and the music swallows his voice. I like Elliot a lot, but this is one of his weaker performances in the last few weeks. The last quarter of the song is really not that good for this stage in the competition. Hey look former SNL cast member Kevin Nealon is in the crowd going nuts for Elliot. I wonder what soon to be cancelled show Kevin has on Fox. Although Randy didn’t like the arrangement of the song he thinks Elliot is the bomb tonight. Paula is official whacked out of her mind tonight. She is crying as she says Elliot moved her and then says something about watching back tapes of the show and how Elliot is what this competition is all about. She continues with how handsome he is and how he has evolved as a performer. Unfortunately, she never actually made any comments about how he sang tonight. Are tears universal for job well done? Simon is cracking up as Paula breaks down. Can you really blame him? This girl is grade A lock her up and sedate her nuts. Simon says parts of Elliot’s song tonight were a vocal master class. Was Elliot really that much better than Kat tonight? Does there effusive praise of elliot tonight mean they think Donnie Hathaway sucks? Since by singing the song of someone it means you think you can sing it better than the original and should therefore be compared to the original version of the song, I guess Elliot is significantly better than Donnie. Take that back up singer girl! The judges just dissed your father. Sorry, I’m still upset about the way they dressed down Kat.

Kellie – Unchained Melody

Kellie gets a presong interview just like Elliot. She reminds us she has no boyfriend and is lonely. She says she is doing a song from Ghost, but since she is single she doesn’t have anyone to act out the poetry scene with, which leads Ryan to predict before the end of the season she will have her own pottery playmate. Andrea says she picked a beautiful song that is sweet, like her voice. Meanwhile American Simon says she is too robotic. He tries to help her jazz up the performance by including the big show stopping falsetto at the end of the song. David warns that this song can be very boring if sung without passion. Andrea correctly identifies Kellie as a blonde, which can only mean one thing: even blind people can spot the inherent stupidity of blondes. The song starts too low for Kellie and she is doing the very stupid sit down on the stage for no reason only to stand up at some point during the song routine. Wow she is really off pitch tonight, every time the song calls for a jump of more than one or two notes she can’t find the right pitch. The crowd barely even shows any excitement when she hits the big falsetto note, probably because the ‘big’ note isn’t really all that big. Hey Sela Ward is in the audience tonight! She is a serious actress, I would have thought this type of appearance is beneath her standards. Randy says Kellie has the same ‘I butchered it look” on her face this week. He says she had some pitch problems and never quite figured out how to sing the song. Paula is critical, telling Kellie she is not raising the bar every week. Paula knows about bars too, she spends hours in them everyday, especially Tuesday afternoons! Simon says the song felt never ending devoid of warmth and…then the music starts to play. Did he just win an Oscar or something? Ryan says they need to speed up the show or they are going to go off the air. Since tonight House follows Idol and not some crappy show like The Loop, the Fox executives really really want to finish things on time.

Paris – The Way We Were

Suddenly Paris is concerned about picking the right song for her age. This is the same girl who sang Fever and gyrated around the stage numerous times acting like a 25 year old woman. Andrea says she has big volume just like him, but David wants her to suck the audience into the song by dialing back on the big voice during the first part of the song. Andrea says she has an incredible instrument of a voice. She takes the stage with her new hair and outfit; gone is Miss young executive/temp worker from last week. Is there a limit to how many different hairstyles you can utilize in one season of Idol? She shows good personality with the song and her voice sounds good, but the performance never really takes off all the way. I don’t like the arrangement of the song; the percussion and the bass are a little overwhelming. Contrary to David’s opinion, I think the song starts out too soft and subtle to grab anyone’s attention. The last quarter of the song is pretty good and her last note if fantastic. Despite a big finish, this was a pretty weak performance from Paris. Randy says he is not over the top about her tonight, but she can sing anything. Paula says she is born to sing and despite over singing parts of the song this was the best female vocal of the night. Simon says she sounded like she was trying to impersonate an older artist. Ok another reality check time. If we employ the Kat logic on Paris, it means she just declared herself a better singer than Babs. Since the judges did not say she paled in comparison, we can safely assume that Paris is a better singer than Babs. Congrats Paris, now you can go out on tour and charge a thousand dollars a seat to hear you sing; that is about what Babs charges, and you are now better than her, so get your concert tour up and running!

Taylor – Just Once

Andrea says Taylor is a good singer with a beautiful instrument, and very interesting. Andrea thinks this song is perfect for Taylor’s voice and David declares him the most charismatic of all the contestants. Taylor is wearing his now standard suit with no tie, except he added a red handkerchief to his left jacket pocket. The song starts off kinda slow and for the first time all season Taylor sounds a little out of tune on some of the lower notes. He is not bringing it tonight like he normally does; even though he can sing the slower songs I think he does much better when he can move around and ‘feel’ the song. This song is similar to last week; it starts slow and then gets bigger. However, unlike last week where he finished with a big bang, this week his bang is medium sized at best. Of all the love songs available for Taylor this week was this really the best song he could sing? No way! Taylor seems to have as much if not more on stage experience than any contestant, yet his musical selections are often nonsensical. Some people go so far as to suggest he is trying to throw the competition. I will not go that far, but he really needs to spend more time selecting the right songs. Hey look Tori Spelling is in the crowd! Randy says it is the wrong song for Taylor and he doesn’t know what’s going on here. Paula says Taylor has a sensitive and playful side, and calls him handsome as heck. Simon feels Taylor is up tight tonight and gave a performance worthy of a hotel lounge and…dang girl sit down. In the middle of Simon talking Paula interrupts him by standing up and yelling, “We love you” as she points to Taylor. She is flying high tonight baby! Ryan runs out on stage continuing his talk as fast as possible so we don’t run into House thing and joins Taylor in a “Soul Patrol” chant.

Chris – Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman

Chris believes this is an amazing song; of course this is also the guy who picked a Creed song earlier in the season. When he shows up to work with Andrea the random black dude from last week is back. Was he there with the other contestants? Or does just Chris get the benefits of the Idol vocal coach? David tries to help Chris sing from his chest by making him sing while lying down. Wow, he actually sounds better lying down than when he is standing up, however, he can’t do the stare of death while lying down. David says if Chris gives the performance of his life he’ll do amazing, BUT…they stopped the video! We didn’t get to hear David say the word ‘but’ yet we saw his lips move. What was he going to say about Chris? Is it really fair to cut him off mid comment like that? What was he going to say? The whole ‘Idol will do anything to help Chris win thing’ is getting a little more plausible. He is after all in the ‘pimp’ spot again tonight. What the monkey? He is flanked on stage by two guitar players. Why didn’t anyone else get guitar players on stage with them tonight? Vocally he sounds pretty good, but not as good as when he was lying down. About halfway through the song he violently rips the microphone off the stand so he can effectively rock out. This is too much intensity for a love song; he is singing “have to treat her right” with the death stare burning into the camera. IF YOU DON’T TREAT HER RIGHT CHRIS WILL KILL YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY AND THEN CHARGE YOUR OTHER RELATIVES TOO MUCH ON CAR PARTS! At least he is wearing a long enough jacket to hide his stupid chain, but he still has his head cocked to the side. He ends the song with a little country styled voice modulation, which is at least a little change from what he normally sings. They are so short on time Randy says something and then Paula stands up screaming we all love you, and Simon says Chris picked a good song and sang it well.


I normally agree with at least one judge’s comments on each person, but tonight I couldn’t’ disagree more with their evaluation of Kat. She was possibly the best of the night and did not deserve the beating she took. Kellie was by far the worst tonight, followed by, am I really saying this, Taylor. Paris, Chris, and Elliot all gave average to a little better than average performances. The bottom three will not contain Taylor or Chris. Taylor has no signs of being in the bottom three anytime soon even though he didn’t bring it tonight. Chris surprised everyone with his bottom three effort last week, so his fans will come out full force and propel him back into safety. Kellie, who has been very strong with her fan base heretofore, should finally slip into the bottom three. Can her fans really spend hours calling for her after the way she sounded tonight? I would hope not, if they are, dude get a life! The other two spots will go to some combination of Kat, Elliot, and Paris. Despite the judges treating her like a terrorist, I think Kat will avoid the bottom three. Her fans, and I suspect a lot of other people will get on the phones and call for her because she didn’t deserve the harsh critique. With Paris, Elliot, and Kellie in the bottom three, someone with a pretty good future will be going home. Elliot got a lot of airtime last night and seems to have a big following, and Kellie has legions of fans, so unfortunately, I think Paris will be on a midnight train to Georgia tomorrow night.


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