Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All you need is Idol

The itunes gods must have demanded more Beatles airtime because we have another week full of the John/Paul catalog. It would have been more fun if they did the Ringo catalog, sure it would only give them like 10 songs, but it would be interesting. The big questions this week are as follows. Can Amanda actually sing? Will Kristy finally pick a decent song to show off her voice? Will David A. rebound and demonstrate last week was just a fluke? And finally, will we be able to survive the loss of American’s favorite stripper?

Ryan says tonight by popular demand we are back with the Beatles. Again, I’m sure the whole itunes/Beatles/American Idol deal has nothing to do with the decision to do these songs again. I bet they had the whole season arranged, and then based on emails and calls decided they should scrap their plan and instead add another week of Beatles’s songs. Sure that must be it. A tie less shirt open Ryan emerges from the opening stage door to the raucous applause of 500 people. They are introducing the idols like beauty pageant contestants to start the show. Whoah, Syesha got a new hairstyle over the week. After they all line up on stage Ryan makes them disappear again. Randy is so pumped up tonight he is yawning. Considering they just saw the rehearsal show I wonder if this is a bad sign for tonight’s performances. Randy answers Ryan’s question by quoting the title of his new song with Paula. Simon says Idol is 50-50 popularity and talent, and of course suggests everyone needs to sing well.

Amanda Overmeyer – Back in the USSR

She loves performing in front of a large audience. She says she picked this song because she loves communism and hates America, ok actually she picked this one because it’s upbeat and she can get the crowd into the song. She promised to put her own southern rock into the song. Translation – she will growl and scream and generally ruin a wonderful song. She is wearing jeans, a tremendous improvement over the hideous pants she sported last week. Within the first few notes she starts to fall behind and just ruin the song’s melody. I could assume she is doing this on purpose, but I don’t know, I think she just can’t carry an actual melody. Her enunciation is still horrible; I can hardly make out the word she is screaming. This is another patented train wreck Amanda performance. She has not had a good singing moment sing, well I think sometime in 1985. If her goal was to destroy the melody of the song and make it sound like every other song she has sun, then congratulations Amanda you achieved your goal. Randy will probably commend her for doing her thing, but I hope at least Simon points out she cannot sing. Seeing how this is a singing competition you would think that might be relevant. There is a reason people play music like this in a bar – it sounds better when people are drunk. Randy felt she was pitchy in the beginning and really liked the end, and he gives her only a 7 out of 10. Paula thinks Amanda was a little ahead of the beat, but says she is who she is…huh? She wants to see Amanda do a ballad at some point. Simon says it was what it was, and a bit of a mess in parts. He wants her to do something that is a surprise because otherwise she runs the risk of becoming a bit boring. Amanda says ballads are boring! She says she is trying to show people what they would see at her concert and then screams and throws her hands in the air. Simon warns her that there are not tickets on sale yet, so be careful. Ryan randomly buttons up his jacket before he gives Amanda’s numbers.

Kristy David – You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away

Kristy gets a coveted interview next to Ryan in the uncomfortable seats. Sadly, Kristy is more of a man than Ryan will ever hope to be. Kristy shows Ryan her photo book she uses to remember home. They are trying to make us like her I think; the photos might just work. Kristy says being the last one standing is very stressful. This week she is doing a song she really likes, unlike last week I guess. She picked the song based on it’s title, but she has never heard it before. Sadly, she decided not to slut it up this week. She is doing a really good job in her lower register. I’m not sure how many of the girls can survive down there. This has almost a Cranberries feel to it, which is a good thing. And gone is the weird way she normally stands when she sings like she is ready to jump onto a horse. Other than maybe one mess up this is a really strong performance, easily her best to date. The last power note should make a lot of people dial her number tonight. Randy calls this song one of his favorites but wanted the whole song a little more emotional. Paula says this is the best Kristy has ever looked and thinks she played it a little safe this week. Simon thinks she needs hypnosis to help turn her into a better performer; she is like musical wallpaper. He says the only impact she made was when she was terrible last week. She says she tried to do her own thing and hopes she will be back next week. The judges get all over her about the way she interpreted the melody and the arrangement. Yeah because she was supposed to redo the arrangement of a song SHE HAS NEVER HEARD BEFORE. Let’s think about this for a moment. She is a country singer. When Carrie was on the show she could do country music throughout the early rounds and could pick just about any song she wanted. Kristy selects her songs from a very limited universe each week. Has she even had the option to pick a legitimate country song, not the awful arrangement last week that she did not create herself, but a bona fide real country song? I’m guessing no, so cut her a little slack judges. That being said, Kristy might be the last one standing yet again. She promises to blow the socks off of Simon if she returns; maybe that will earn her a few more votes.

Resurrected Jesus – Long and Winding Road

They show David mess up his lyrics from last week. The first thing he thought was ‘dangit.’ He is excited he gets another chance to sing the Beatles and hopes he remembers all the words time around. He sounds good, this is much more his type of song than last week, but he sounds the same every time. He is doing the ‘hold the note out longer than it’s supposed to be held out’ thing again, which I guess is now his official trademark. The completely unwarranted screams from the teenager girls in the audience make me like David a little less every time I hear them above his singing. His sound drops out a little when he tries to hit the lower notes and he runs out of breath before he could finish a phrase. Overall this is a pretty good performance but I bet the judges will act as thought they just saw David discover fire. The crowd gives him a standing ovation. Randy says David brought the hotness back to his game, but he wants him to add a couple of runs next time. Paula says this is a wonderful performance because of the purity of his voice. He is wonderful she says. Simon says last week was a complete mess, but this week he thinks he was amazing. They show David’s dad again, the dude is always wearing a hat. He calls David a masterclass of singing. David is of course back to his ‘omg’ face. He thinks the slower songs make it easier to show his sensitive side. David is a talented Sanjaya, I’m not sure he can be stopped. David does have a pretty little voice, but when I hear him sing I never think ‘this is a star!’

Michael Johns – A day in the Life

Tomorrow Kellie Pickler sings, maybe in her red high heels. Ryan grabs an iphone out of the audience and does his own little commercial. The man has no shame; neither do the judges who are holding up their Coke glasses. You have to love product placement. Michael loves the Beatles because they are the best band ever. He is trying to compress a 6 min song into 2 minutes, good luck with that. He sounds good on the John part, except for perhaps the falsetto note. It’s hard to tell if he actually hit the note. His breath support could be a little better on the vibrato part of the song. But, unlike David A., when he sings he does not have a really odd look on his face, which is a major plus. This arrangement does a pretty good job of including all the good parts of the song. Unfortunately compared to the original he is not as good as John or Paul, however, based on just his singing, this is a pretty good performance, aided greatly by his stage presence. Despite a couple of rough patches he sings really well tonight. Randy says it wasn’t one of his best performances. He wants him to use his big ol’ voice, but says this is not one of his good ones. Paula thinks he sounded better in rehearsals and wonders if the monitor in his ear hurt his performance. Simon says it was a mess. He doesn’t think he hit the right notes and the song went all over the place. Hey Simon, that’s the way the song is written. It’s a very Beatles song where it goes all over the place. Simon says Michael has to be more like David A. Sigh. Ryan asks Paula to explain the earpiece the contestants wear. Michael says he doesn’t have one in his ear; nice job Paula. Michael dedicates his horrible song, according to the judges, to his dead friend. Nice job judges maybe next time you will not trash the guy until you know if he is singing it for a dead guy. The judges are far too harsh on Michael.

Brooke White – Here Comes the Sun

It’s blonde interview night, since Brooke, like Kristy, is getting an interview with Ryan. He calls her the sweetest person alive. Little does he know she used to work in New York under the name Kristen. Her favorite moment of her entire life was last week when she sang ‘Let it Be.’ She started playing piano when she was seven, yet she still simplified the piano part. Maybe if she started playing when she was five she could have played the original version. No piano this week, instead she is sitting on the stairs. Like Kristy, she has a really good lower register. Uh oh, she stands up, which means it’s time for us to ‘get down.’ I guess she got really bored sitting down because after she stands up she does a little spin while she is waking. Why? I have no idea, but at least she didn’t over. Actually I wish she fell over, how much fun would that be to see if she tried to keep singing as her body hit the stage. The screen behind the stage actually looks like a sun. She gives us a little falsetto at the end of the song to mixed results, she hits the note, but it’s extremely thin. This is a typical Brooke performance – thin vocals but when you hear her you enjoy the performance. She is just very likeable, much like American cheese. A little boring yes, but you feel really comfortable and happy when it’s consumed. Randy says she was really awkward tonight, she makes a ‘really’ face when he says it. He says it was not hot tonight. Paula thinks its impossible to see her and not like her and she really loves her lower notes. Simon just knew that she would wear yellow for this song. He thinks the performance was terrible and devoid of conviction. Brooke says because they have been really nice it’s ok they are going off on her tonight. She keeps saying ‘it’s ok.’ We get to see her rationalizing on live TV. She says next week, assuming she returns, she will return to her comfort zone.

David Cook – Day Tripper

Ryan is in the mosh pit selling itunes when we return. Apparently they do not allow men in the mosh pit. David’s most memorable moment happened last week. I wish they asked this question a few years ago so we could have heard Corey Clark’s answer. David is doing a Whitesnake version of his song. Notice, unlike last week he credits who credited his version of the song. He is playing this trusty guitar again. He uses the Ritchie Sambora voice modifier device near the end of the song. It’s like he does every thing he can to avoid actually singing. Strip him of his guitar and make him sing a country song and this guy goes down faster than Elliot Spitzer. I enjoy David, but he is getting a little too predictable. Hey do you think David will do a rock version of a song this week? Considering the answer to that question seems to always be yes, he removes any excitement and wonderment before he begins. As usual his vocals take a back seat to his rock god persona and his guitars power chords. I wonder what other technological devices they will let David use in the weeks to come. Vocally, he is not better than Michael Johns tonight, but I bet the judges will love this version. Paula is already giving him a standing ovation. A smiling Randy loves seeing David every week because it’s like being at his concert. Even thought he can’t call it his best, he loved David tonight. Paula thinks he can get insurance commercials now…huh? David said he learned how to use the voice box yesterday. Simon has the line of the night, “David I don’t think that was good as you thought it was actually.” He thinks he looked smug and the voice box in the middle was stupid. He thinks David lost the element of surprise and he didn’t like the version of the song. When Ryan comes over to David he bumps into David and David takes a comic fall. Ryan refuses to use the voice box even though everyone really wants to his digitally altered voice.

The Irish Girl - Blackbird

Paula tries to explain what Simon whispers into her ear, but she makes no sense; Simon is cracking up hearing her try to be coherent. Randy says the Beatles songs connect because they stand the test of time. Carly’s most memorable moment was last week, just like everyone else it seems. Carly is from Europe, so that means she is better than us Americans. Ryan says, “Did she make the right choice, it’s your call.” Get it? It’s our call! We call to vote, get it now? I love puns. She is in her lower register too; it’s now officially girls lower register night on Idol. She still makes the painful looking face when she hits the power notes. This is her most scaled back performance and she does a good job emoting in her voice. The pitch patrol is not on the prowl, since she hits just about every note. I am not sure how much I enjoy her performance, she is a little boring, but the vocals were almost perfect. Randy calls it another great controlled emotive performance. He says she has her cooliousous. Paula loves her amazing tone in her voice and the fact all the contestants are challenging each other, but Carly has a capital F for fantastic. Simon says she picked a song about a Black Bird, which was not a smart choice, since the song was indulgent. Carly says she sang this song because of how hard the music business is for a newcomer. Simon says he know feels uncomfortable because Carly is like a broken bird, but the conversation quickly devolves into talk of cream cheese and sparrows. She shows America her 7 tattoo on her finger. Ok, that’s taking it to an extreme Carly. If she wins the show I bet she’ll get a tattoo of Ryan on her body somewhere.

The Man with the Dreads – Michelle

Thankfully Jason picks a moment other than last week. Even though he has never spoken French he is ready to tackle this song, which has an entire section in French. Ryan introduces him in French. His voice completely disappears in the lower register. Unlike some previous songs he is struggling to make an emotional connection with the song. He cannot and actually looks bored while he is singing. Without the emotion this vocals just aren’t that good and the song suffers. This is an ‘ok’ performance, by far Jason’s weakest. This is almost not good. Randy says the song was a good choice, but he doesn’t know if he really really got it and thinks Jason wasn’t connected to the song. Paula loves his charm but feels like Jason is mortal without his guitar. She thinks the song almost went polka. Simon says tonight is a very weird show. He suggests they should not have done Beatles again this week. He thinks Jason’s charm and his goofy face made it work, but on the radio it would have been horrible. Randy again tries to work in the name of Paula’s new song and Simon laughs and calls him out on his pathetic attempts to sell more albums. Jason is unable to give the numbers in French, which means he lost the Quebec vote. Oh wait, they can’t vote anyway. No harm no foul! Jason should be safe this week, but a few more performances like this will have the mellow mush mouth in serious trouble.

Syesha - Yesterday

She gets an interview with Ryan and we learn for the first time her family is in the audience. Her most memorable moment came last week, just like everyone else, when she ended up in the bottom three. She thinks the kick in the butt will give her all the inspiration she needs. She picked her song because she sang a Beatles medley in 7th grade. She is sitting on the stage with the acoustic guitar sitting next to her. She does not transition into the ‘suddenly’ correctly and feels like she is lagging behind through the entire beginning phrase. I guess she is doing this for dramatic effect but it feels like she can’t follow the rhythm. Then she throws a massively big note into what is supposed to be a very simple elegant song; the note sounds totally out of place. This song works because the Paul is constantly pushing it along and giving it energy. Syesha either is not capable or willing to give this song any propellant. She has one of the best voices on the show, but this is not the song for her to sing. Brooke would have done this significantly better; I feel no emotion in Syesha’s voice. This is not a good performance. ‘Yesterday’ is already a really slow song, DO NOT MAKE IT SLOWER YOU CANNOT WRITE A BETTER SONG THAN PAUL AND JOHN DO NOT ASSUME YOU CAN AND ALTER THE ORIGINAL! Somewhere back stage David A. is probably applauding her extending random notes for no apparent reason, since that’s his trademark. Randy says she took some liberties and he thinks she gave a very good performance. Paula loves how Syesha lets herself be vulnerable, which sets her apart from everyone; yeah because Brooke and Jason are never vulnerable. Simon thought this was probably her best performance so far, not incredible, but she picked the best song. He says Brooke probably should have sung this song. The judges give her far more praise than she deserves, which might end up saying her again this week.

Chikeze – I’ve Just Seen A Face

Ryan is standing with an old guy near the back of the theater telling us about itunes again. I’m not sure who this guy is but he makes John McCain look young. Chik says the first round of Hollywood was his most memorable moment. He also enjoyed last week when Ryan touched his face. Looks like he is going to play an instrument tonight, even though he doesn’t know how? Ok I guess he was kidding. The song starts off a little boring with Chik being extremely subtle. I think he lied, because he sounded pretty good on the harmonica; he really is the black Taylor. Chik keeps surprising me going almost bluegrass on the second half of the song. Just like last week I’m thinking where did this come from, this is not the R&B singer we saw in all the early rounds. Unlike the last performance, Syesha horribly boring song, this is a lot of fun and has the entire crowd shaking their booty. Unlike a lot of the contestants, Chik has demonstrated he has more than one voice, as opposed to say David A., who sounds the same every time he sings. Chik’s family and teacher love him tonight. His teacher? Randy didn’t like the slow part but liked the fast part; he thinks maybe this could be a good country song, but it was a little stranger. Paula disagrees because Chik is showing his versatility, she loves seeing who Chik is in just 2 minutes. Simon thought it started off ok, until he played the harmonica (remember he hates Taylor, so that probably brought back some memories he didn’t enjoy) and then it went Achy Breaky Heart. Simon thinks it was gimmicky. I totally disagree, I would rather listen to Chik than some of the judges’ favorites tonight, yes even on itunes on my iphone while I’m drinking Coca Cola and listening to “Dance like there’s no Tomorrow.”

Ramiele – I Should have Known Better (than to put her in the pimp spot)

They are doing the song writing competition again this year, so start creating songs at home kids. She says making new friends is one of the best things about Idol. Brooke is like her mom, David C. is her big brother, and they are all her new best friends, except for Carly who must die. Ok I made the Carly part up. She looks especially small on stage tonight. Carnival Cruise is calling Idol right now asking about her availability. This has a very talent show vibe to it; this is not the ‘best America has to offer.’ Her voice sounds ok I suppose but like always there is NO emotional connection to with the song. Eh…this is just ok, there is nothing really special about her singing. She is hitting the right notes, except for maybe a couple, but as I’m watching I’m thinking, as Simon might, so what? In fact I have no idea why they let this girl have the coveted ‘pimp spot.’ There is no way she is better than Chik tonight, I wonder if the judges will give her an honest assessment. Randy says he wasn’t jumping up and down but he liked it because she showed confidence – it was alright. Paula says she was better than last week and wants her to get back in the ballad zone when she sings the Dusty Springfield song? Is that foreshadowing to next week? Simon says it sounded like Chik was playing harmonica on her song too – he hates that instrument. The problem for him, was the track sounded terrible, the whole thing. He thinks she picked a mediocre song – wait I thought everything the Beatles wrong was a classic, itunes is going to kill Simon – that did not show off her voice.

Final Thinkings (Thoughts)

Amanda still screams instead of sings. Carly still sounds better than the judges thought. David A. is still David. Michael still sounds better than the judges thought. Brooke is still adorable and likeable and very yellow. David C. is still hiding behind his guitar. Carly is still making the ‘I’m giving birth face’ when she hits the big notes. Jason still looks really high, not Paula high, even higher. Syesha is still boring and killing a classic song. Chik is still a lot of fun. Ramiele is still out of place in the pimp spot. It’s now over to us; only we can protect our favorites! Can we vote off Ricky Minor? Is that legal? So who is in trouble tomorrow night? I’m not sure if we had a ‘best of the night’ but I think Chikeze is in the running for that award. Michael Johns should have received more credit for attempting such a difficult song – guess what it was a lot harder then the Long and Winding Road. Amanda, Kristy, Syesha, and Ramiele will be in trouble. The judges loved on Syesha tonight, so I’ll assume she avoids the bottom three. Kristy, I hope, will stay around long enough to get a song she can feel really comfortable singing. I think she is warming up to people so she’ll be safe, leaving Ramiele and Amanda in the bottom two. Since she has had several sub par performances in a row, and just killed the momentum of the show last night, I predict Ramiele will be heading back to the Shire.


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