Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Men Men and More Men all Singing

Just the other day I was thinking, “Boy I wish Idol was on for five hours this week.” Sometimes dreams do come true, and tonight we get two filler filled hours of men singing on American Idol. Everyone expects this top 24 to be perhaps the best yet. Unfortunately, with so much hype often comes great disappointment.

I wonder what Ryan will wear tonight. Gone are the ‘I’m so cool I can wear vintage tee shirts from a designer shop that look like they cost 4 dollars at Goodwill but actually cost 75 dollars. I’m guessing suit with no tie - and I am right, dark suit with no tie. Ryan mentions this might be the cast ever. These guys have a whole lotta pressure to not suck tonight. Ryan starts the show descending the staircase, but no high fives on his way down. I guess these male contestants aren’t into the whole touching other people thing. Ryan says our task is to get them from 24 down to 12. If they sing in the order they were introduced, David Hernandez is going home week one. He did not get that much attention in the early rounds and it looks like he might be in the dead on arrival first spot of the evening. Michael looks to be in the final “pimp spot,” no Hillary I am not talking about your daughter, calm down. The pimp spot usually goes to someone that was fantastic in rehearsals, so if Michael goes last you can expect him to be outstanding tonight. No one looks to have committed any fashion ‘omg’ but Chikezie is wearing a really bright red suit; he looks like he is in the green room of the NBA draft; Jalen Rose would be proud. The guys all move upstairs to lean over the railing. Just once, I want someone to fall off of there when they get a little too into the whole swaying back and forth and clapping motion. The judges occupy their normal spots with Paula womanning the middle. Ryan says this season’s audition had more originality in the dudes than ever before. He tells them to “keep it real, come on ya’ll.” Paula and Ryan make fun of Randy’s overuse of dawg and man and Paula tells the contestants to pick the right song. I’m thinking it’s probably too late to change your song for tonight’s show. As they go to break they show everyone making it to Hollywood and then making it into the top 24. With this short clip montage Luke Menard just doubled his screen time for the season. American Idol hooked up with Itunes, meaning they found yet another way to make money off this show. Tonight has a 60s theme, this should be interesting.

David Hernandez

Hey David, we aren’t really going to give you any screen time until Hollywood Week and then we are going to make you go first among the top 12 guys – good luck! David says when he sings it comes from his soul. He says being raised by a single mom made his life hard. Big deal David, did you hear the other David couldn’t sing for like 6 years? They remind us Simon did not want David in the top 12, but he was excited for the challenge to prove Simon wrong. Uh oh he starts off looking down at the stage, which means he is going to be really serious to start the song. I think his shirt is silk. The song starts off with just an organ playing chords in the background and David is singing with all of that pent up ‘soul.’ I’m guessing the entire band comes in pretty soon. Hey is that Melinda as a back up singer? He has a pleasant albeit bland voice. His stage prescence is awesome, if you consider standing still and occasionally raising your left hand away from your body as awesome. He is doing over ok, until he hits the last few notes. Wow, it’s like when someone is walking their dog and the dog gets excited and starts running and the owner of the dog is suddenly pulled along before they can recover and halt the dog. That’s what his voice sounded like when he tried to hit the big notes at the end. I was expecting a falsetto note, but he didn’t hit it, maybe he chickened out and then didn’t know what to do with his notes. That might explain the total train wreck at the end. Randy liked the initial gospel vibe, says David can definitely blow, but points out he fell apart at the end. He says way to start it off. Paula feels for him, but thinks he has brilliant vocals with perfect vibrato. Simon says it was better than he thought it would be. He loved the beginning and thought he lost the note at the end of the song. Simon wanted to hear something distinct from his voice, but overall thought he would suck much more. Considering he did not want him in the top 12, that is actually a pretty good compliment. David needed a fantastic performance to guarantee his safety, but he did not deliver, which means barring some bad performances following his, he is in a lot of trouble tomorrow.

Chikezie Eze

They remind us Chik almost made the top 24 before and he fought hard for his dream to finally come true. They should inside the Coke room with the other contestants looking at the story on Chik, but none of them clap when it’s over. I don’t think they hate Chik, they are just completely terrified right now. Chik starts off a little flat on the song. He shows off his voice in the middle part of the song, but this is pretty boring. None of his fellow contestants are even clapping for him while he sings. Don’t they realize the importance of the clap and sway from the balcony. He sounds ok, but I will forget this performance in about 30 minutes. He is like Chinese food, sure its good when it happens, but a few minutes later you few unsatisfied. Randy says it was pretty good man, the only problem is Chik is an old fashioned singer, so he has to be careful to make things fresh and fun. Paula says he came a long way and he is here…he is here. I think that is a compliment. Paula calls him an infectious throwback and finally comments on his performance, saying he did a very nice job. Chik’s mom and dad are having a great time in the crowd. Simon butchers Chik’s name and says he hated the whole performance. He hates the suit, but Chik interrupts him and makes fun of Simon’s tee shirt colors. Simon says this is something that could have been filmed 40 years ago – it was that old fashioned. Chik defends himself saying it was 60s night, he was taking a 60s song of one genre and taking it to a different genre of the same era, and he is sorry Simon didn’t understand his approach. Huh? What? I DON’T UNDERSTAND what he is saying either. Chik’s defiant attitude will endear him to some voters and turn him off to others. He needs to reel his personality in or it will be his downfall. I still don’t think there are many people to pull votes away from him, so despite a weak performance tonight, I think Chik should be safe tomorrow night.

David Cook

Back from the break Ryan is sitting with Colton and David in the Coke room. Colton says from certain angles he looks like Ellen Degeneres. What better way to sell yourself to America than comparing yourself to American’s favorite lesbian talk show host. Ryan introduces David who is a bartender and musician. He gets to show his humor is the montage; he is very likeable, which should help him get some votes even if he doesn’t sing well. They make fun of his audition where Simon said he was wordy? Or was it worthy? No one seems to know. David says it’s nice to hear that you don’t suck. He is singing his own version of the song, slowed down a little at the start. You can tell he has been on a stage before. His vocals get a little lost on the lower note runs, but his fellow contestants are clapping along! Finally! This is how you update an old song. His vocals are not that great, but unlike the first two guys, he is performing. Halfway through the song you forget he isnt’ the best singer and just enjoy him on stage. He does really well at the end of the song, even hitting an off color note that led into a big finally. He is the best performer of the night and despite not really nailing all the vocals he is the best Idol so far. Randy says it is kinda funny for me, and then thought oh my god no, but you know what, you made a rock joint out of it, he calls it crazy. He thinks he can do anything. Paula says it was a bit worthy of great praise! Pretty decent joke from Paula. Simon says he can’t remember if he said worthy or wordy in the audition rounds, and despite some shouting he thought it was really good. He feels David almost made it believable. Randy loved the whole rock edge.

Jason Yeager

I wonder if it was his dad that broke the sound barrier? Jason is a singing server with a son. His son looks like he is 17 years old, geez how young were you when you got the girl pregnant Jason. Jason cannot believe he is actually here; he might be lacking in self confidence. Jason is sitting down singing Moon River. Wow this is a weird song choice. He does not have a big enough voice for this song and hits pitch problems half way through. This is the first awful performance of the night. Branson Theater here we come! His voice is way too thin for this song. He is the first guy tonight to miss a bunch of notes. I have a feeling he performed this song as a singing server to rave reviews and thought the same thing would happen on the Idol stage. I don’t know how to break it to you Jason, but somewhere, your son just pretended he was not related to you. “What, no way man, that’s not my dad, umm my dad’s name is umm Frank Yeager…yeah that’s it, Frank Yeager. Oh never mind, his kid is sitting in the audience. Randy says he did a pretty good job on a hard song, but warns him not to lose his concentration. He thinks Jason went somewhere else in the middle of the song. Paula says a simple song is hard to sing and we learn she did her first ballet recital to that song. Jason dedicates his song to his grandmother…awww. You still can’t sing Jason. Simon says he bought his first puppy to that song and says Jason came over very old in the song and felt like he was on a cruise ship. He also thinks the young people at home will not understand this song because it was neither here nor there. He thinks of Jason as an old dependable dog, nothing too exciting but reliable. Ryan will probably try to redeem Jason a little. Jason says picking that song was troublesome, but he wanted to give it his best shot. Dude, why did you pick that song then? Jason says he tries not to take Simon to heart too much, and hopes to come back next week. Sure he was not as good as Chik, but I’d rather see him and his attitude back then Chik and his talking back. I wonder if voters at home might feel the same way.

Robbie Carrico
Robbie is ready with his hair covered up again. Does he have a hole in his head he is hiding? He used to be in a boy band thing involved with Brittney Spears. Maybe if he had done a better job convincing her to wear underwear at all times she would still have her kids. He has the mandatory “I’m cool” key chain hanging from his side. He picked a good song and sounds good singing it, showing off a pretty good range in the process. He is not as good a performer as David Cook, but he is better than the other two. He has fun singing the song but his facial expressions might have been a little forced. Overall he does pretty well tonight. Randy was rocking out and says Robbie moved him baby. Paula think he is authentic and looks fantastic, she thought his vocals were right in the pocket. Simon calls it the only performance tonight that has any semblance of making sense. It was the only current performance. Simon still isn’t sure Robbie is a rock and not a pop singer. He needs more convincing from this former boy band boy turned rocker. Robbie might be the best so far tonight.

David Archuleta

David is so cute and adorable he is almost destined for a cocaine addiction in the near future. He has a new hair cut but his voice isn’t any deeper than Hollywood Week, meaning this song’s key is too low for his rediscovered voice. David does best, so far, on ballad type songs. So, I have no idea why he picked a fast song that required low vocals. He redeems himself a little bit at the end of the song, but he is just not that good tonight. In fact, Robbie and David Cook were both better than him. Young David is a living example of how a bad song choice can derail your performance before it even starts. Randy asks how old David is and says he thought it was really brilliant. He thinks David is ready to go, and loved his singing. Paula love seeing a new side of David and loves seeing this confident older soul. She thinks he did a great job. Simon says when you got it you got it and calls it by a mile the best performance of the night so far. David gets all shy and humble, he is this season’s Melinda. Oh golly gee, shucks. This kid was on Star Search and he is still this shy? I’m not sure I believe this ‘omg wow me really geez’ personality of David. Even if he is totally genuine some people will think he is faking his charm and elect not to vote. Even though the judges totally disagree with me, I really am not wowed by David tonight. There is nothing bad, but nothing outstanding either. I half envision Simon saying on Thursday night that when he watched the show back he realized David was not quite as good as he originally thought. Regardless, David is guaranteed safe from elimination.

Danny Noriega

Danny was in Hollywood last year too, but they cut him after the first day. Danny says he wants to be ‘hot’ tonight with his attitude. He is singing Elvis – a bold choice. This is a fun song choice but a few times I can feel the lyrics and the beat getting away from Danny and this is not a singing song. By that I mean there are only a few notes in the entire note, which means you get few chances to show off your vocal abilities. He has a fun time singing, but this is very cruise ship, as Simon might say, and not a very good performance. Randy says he loves that Danny has a good time no matter what, but thought the vocals were only ok. He thought it was kinda “hot.” Paula loves hearing how his voice goes in and out of colors, but though the song was safe, but is sure lots of colors of Danny will come out, but will he come out of the closest I wonder. Simon thought the performance was verging on grotesque. He says if you take on Elvis, you better do it well, and hopes no one tuned into the show for the first time while Danny was singing. The judges are all debating if the performance was safe. Randy and Paula defend him while Simon criticizes Danny. Danny says he thought the song would be fun, but he guesses some people weren’t liking it and looks at Simon. Danny manages to disagree with Simon and keep his likeability, Chik are you taking notes?

Luke Bernard

They show the girls and the nurse looks like she is wearing a hat because of the highlight in her hair. He tried out before and his failure inspired him to improve and try out again. He is married, but very stupidly, did not have a child before he got on Idol, doesn’t he understand talking about your kids gets you more votes. A little midnight cowboy in the house starts off a little flat. His voice is thin as an anorexic monkey but we do get our first split screen of the season I think. Wow he is really having some pitch problems. I can already hear Randy saying “It was pitchy dawg.” Luke is vanilla ice cream except with facial hair. He hits a pretty decent falsetto note, but that cannot save the rest of the song. He is the worst of the night I think. Randy says he was pitchy and sharp the entire time, calling it not great. Paula agrees with Randy, saying Luke did not pick the best song. She compares him to Kenny Loggins. This just in, Kenny Loggins found dead with a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Simon says he is forgettable, which is the worst trap to fall into. Here comes redeeming Ryan asking Luke if he might have over thought his song choice tonight. Luke felt good when he sang the song and did not agree with what the judges said about his singing. He believes people will remember this tomorrow because he was very comfortable. Huh? Yeah I can see it now at watercoolers around America. “Hey John did you see that guy last night on Idol, oh my god dude, he was so comfortable on stage.” Simon blurts out, “no one is ever going to admit to being forgettable.” Ryan does not respond and instead goes right into the numbers.

Colton Berry

We learn Colton likes to sing the Teletubbies theme song in his head when he is nervous. I bet Danny can tell him all about the purple Teletubby. Colton looks comfortable on stage and his fellow contestants are clapping along, which is always a good sign. Again though the song is a little too low for him, don’t these guys know they can change the key on these songs? He sounds good during the slower middle section and despite standing in place the entire time puts out a lot of energy. I really like his version of the ending. He made the song his own. Randy loves the song and thinks he did a good job by the end; all in all pretty good. Paula likes seeing a different side of him, but doesn’t think it was his best performance. Simon says it was ok, not quite as bad as the other Elvis song, but doesn’t know if Colton has any relevance in today’s charts. He didn’t feel like he was listening to a recording artist. He wanted something more original, not karaoke. Paula stammers through some explanation while Simon says maybe Colton should spend more time on his voice and less time on his hair. Ryan gets in his best Simon insult of the evening pointing out the lack of style on Simon’s head.

Garrett Haley

Garrett could have been in the witness protection program and still alive after the early Idol rounds. We know NOTHING about this kid. Garret thinks he too looks like Ellen Degeneres. His voice sounds really small and weak when he talks, I hope he sounds better when he sings. He is only 17 too, I wonder if they will play up his youth the same way they do with David A. Garrett struggled with his confidence in Hollywood, will he tonight? The song starts off slow and boring. He has a pleasant voice, but what will he sound like when he hits puberty? What? He already did? Oh crap, that’s too bad. This performance has about as much life as Lincoln’s corpse. He is hitting the right notes most of the time, whoah take that back he is now missing notes in addition to boring me to tears. I’m crying right now. Ok not really, but I’d rather listen to paint dry than hear Garrett sing again. Randy loves the song, but wishes Garrett did something with it to make it his own. He wants him to bring something new and interesting to it. He says it was pitchy and boring. Paula tells him it’s ok to change up the song because the slow tempo brought the performance down. Simon calls it boring and says his voice was whiny and he looked terrified. He thinks Garrett looks haunting, like he was trapped in his room sans sun for a month. Paula puts her head down in embarrassment. Notice, they never say hey good job for a 17 year old. Double standard much? The judges are killing this kid. Jason Yeager’s kid just smiled thinking, “I’m glad there is someone that sucks more than my dad.”

Jason Castro

Ryan is in the Coke room sitting next to Jason and his hair. Jason grew up playing drums and we finally see his audition. Jason is the first contestant to play an instrument. Not sure how I feel about that, no wait, yes I do. I hate it! This is a singing competition not a what instrument can you play competition. However, they obviously feel the need to alter the show to keep it fresh and think letting people play some of their own music is the best way to accomplish that goal. We’ll see over the next few weeks if they might regret that decision. Everyone is clapping and enjoying his song. He is doing a good job making a relatively boring song interesting. His voice sounds really good and he throws in some falsetto. He does a pretty good job making this song sound pretty fresh and might have the best performance of the night. I don’t know if the judges will agree but I really like Jason tonight. Randy liked the guitar vibe and thought Jason tried to make a few things happen vocally, but felt he went sharp. Paula is blown away and loved his song choice. She felt his joy! He is a blend of every favorite color she knows. Simon says he was in the top 2 performances of the night because Jason, like David, just has it, and would have preferred it without the entire band. He feels the song felt current and thought it was terrific. Jason looks terrified on stage and can barely get out a complete sentence. When they go to commercial they show Michael, who looks extremely confident. I have a really good feeling about him tonight. Maybe a Doors song?

Michael Johns

Aussie Aussie Aussie Aussie Aussie Aussie Aussie Aussie Aussie Aussie! He now lives in Atlanta, but he still speaks like a down under kinda guy. Man I am good, he is doing a Doors song. He has a thick rich voice, the only singer tonight that can hit the lower notes. His years of singing show during the song as he has the best stage presence of the night. He sounds really good and wisely does not mimic Morrison but instead gives the song his own feel. This is by far the best of the night and he is declaring himself he ‘one to beat.’ He even is wearing a scarf. Who can pull that off? I know I can’t. Randy loves him and always feels like he is seeing a real rock performer. Paula says he set everyone on fire. Simon says he is the most consistent contestant we’ve had. He loved everyone of his auditions. Michael just has it Simon says. Michael is also tall and good looking, which means no worries for him on Thursday night.

Final Thoughts
David Hernandez is in trouble, Jason Yeager is in trouble, Luke Menard is in trouble, Garrett Haley is in trouble. However, Garrett was so bad I think he might be Sanjaya like and stay around awhile. That means David, Jason or Luke will go home tomorrow. I will predict the departing two will be David and Luke, not because Jason was better, but he has a really cute kid. Ryan thanks everyone but Simon, which is pretty funny stuff. After they show the girls dancing in the preview for tomorrow Ryan says “Nigel that remids me of your show.” Get it? He means “So you think you can dance.” Welcome back Idol, we missed you.


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