Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hey Jude did you hear the Beatles wrote a lot of songs?

The Beatles song catalog is finally available to American Idol this season. Supposedly they received permission because of the outstanding contestants on Idol this season. Gee, I bet the fact itunes finally reached an agreement for the Beatles song catalog had NOTHING to do with the sudden availability of songs. And I’m really the fact itunes is constantly pimped on Idol since they joined forces this year had NOTHING to do with Beatles night. Tonight might be a really tough night for the Idols. Anytime idols tackle classic songs they run the risk of being compared to the original artist. Further, if they alter the songs to ‘make it their own’ they run the risk of recreating a classic. Finding the right balance between the two is extremely difficult. You get the feeling Ramiele, Kristy Lee Cook, and David H. might need big nights to ensure they remain in Hollywood.

Ryan is wearing a full suit and tie, and his collar is buttoned, which means tonight is very important. The best talent yet has a whole new look. Wait is over say hello to our new set and the band is up in the rafters. Normally you put your band in a pit, but not idol, they put them in the heavens. This year we have a mosh pit in front of the judges. Ryan tells Simon to button up his shirt. The stage door opens to reveal the top 12. They have to wait to walk out and you can tell they all want to move right away. Have to be careful that someone doesn’t step on Ramiele. We have a special theme tonight – the Lennon McCartney Song book. I’m surprised they weren’t obligated to show heather mills in this video montage as part of her divorce settlement. Paula says the song are full of melody and sing the song straight great tribute, but great risk if you change it up, but she thinks they can pull it off. Simon says difficultly of the songs depends on which ones you choose.


She lives in Miami student at FIU and a working actress. She was always active growing up, involved in dance and surrounded by music. Her mom is a singer and she remembers listening to the oldies station in her car. Now she get the chance to do some of the music she grew up listening to. She loves the song and felt like she can get into it and show off her personality. Her lower register is getting a little lost behind the band. She has an old school Whitney hairstyle. Of all the Beatles songs, no one is thinking ‘wow this song is one of the best.’ I wonder if she really picked this on her own or was told hey look David A. doesn’t want to sing this song so here you go you can sing it if you want to as long as Carly doesn’t want to sing it either. As the first performer in the top 12 she has the unfair burden of ‘knocking our socks off.’ My socks are still on. She sound ok, despite a few early pitch problems, but this is a ‘so what’ performance. Near the end of the song she finally builds some momentum and the song gets going. If she sang the entire song like this she would have had a pretty good night. She is not doing anything wrong with the song, but she isn’t doing anything spectacular either. The judges will probably say she did a good job but they expected more from her. Even the mosh pit looks a little bored. Randy likes the arrangement of the song. He thinks she had the early pitch problems but loosened up during the song. Paula also thinks she started off pitch but found her zone at the midway mark, after which she sounded great. Simon says she was better than alright, but he thinks she looked very very nervous. He believes she was better than last week. Syesha says she likes this stage better than the other stage because you can feed off other people’s energy.


Idol’s new font is freaking me out a little. Chik gets the coveted sit down chat with Ryan. Ryan asks him about working security at LAX. Chik says Paula is very good at the airport. He says he expected to go home last week because Danny is such a loveable guy. Chik is doing the ‘i’m humble thing’ well lately. Chik got to feel people up by working at the airport. Hear that perverts? Get a job with airport security. Chik promises to put his own funk on his song choice. Before he sings we get to see Ryan doing some very weird looking white man dance. Chik is sitting on the stage with the Charlie Daniels band or something. This is totally unexpected from Chik. He is rocking out right now. Wow, this is the first time on Idol this season I’m totally surprised. He sounds great doing a rock song. Who would have guessed this? Not me. His mom must have taught him something about classic rock. The transition from folk song into rock song is risky and brilliant. His vocals, despite maybe a missed not or two at the very start, are right on. If the judges did not enjoy this I give up. His family and friends sure like Chik. Randy says ‘dawg let me tell you I was thouroughly entertained.’ He loves the arrangement and thinks Chik smashed it. Paula says this is what she was talking about when she said take a risk. She has been waiting for this – the reward paid off. Simon is really surprised that he agrees with Randy and Paula. Chik turns into Taylor Hicks when he hears this compliment. Simon says he looked completely drunk and unlike the first singer has changed within a week. Chik controlled the stage, it did not control him. He says Chik was terrific. Ryan is really pumped up tonight running around the stage with Chik. IN fact, Ryan ran around so much he can barely breathe. And it turns out Chik sweats almost as much as Reuben. Chik has to be safe tomorrow.


She works at a Sushi place and smells like soy sauce all the time. Her family is musical and all very small. She dedicates the song to the people that have left the show already. She starts on the stairs looking at the camera on high. Standing on the fourth step she is the average height of a fully grown female. The crowd is swaying aback and forth but I have the same problem with her that I did last week – she is not good at conveying emotion through her voice. It’s like she is singing the words but she doesn’t know what they mean and therefore cannot properly emote their meaning through her singing. She also has the unenviable task of following Chik. She has some pitch and breathe support problems near the end of the song. Granted only two have performed in front of her, but she is quickly moving towards the worst so far prize. This is maybe a little less than a ‘so what’ performance. If Simon enjoyed this I will be shocked. All those great new lights and they were all off. Randy says it was kinda pretty, but kinda pretty boring. HE doesn’t think she did anything interesting and apologizing for not liking it more. Paula, as she does whenever someone has not sung well, starts off by saying Ramiele looks great tonight. She thinks Ramiele played it safe tonight and her voice could have handled a bigger song. She thinks she held back tonight. Simon makes fun of Paula and says he was bored to tears throughout the entire song from the awful standing on the stairs to the walking in the middle with a dreary song choice that did nothing for her. He expected more from her because she is better than that performance. Randy says he doesn’t know if she did enough to make it through to next week because it was sooooo boring. Ryan doesn’t even bother trying to redeem her before he tries to make money for Fox.

Jason Castro

We get our first itunes plug of the night. Jason goes to Texas A*&M and failed his one music class. He says making the top 12 is idol times 10. He spent a summer in Columbia and even down there they listened to the Beatles. Jason is on stage with his guitar. The song begins with just him playing. Will he do the entire thing with just him playing. No, the band starts to come in layered. His phrasing could be better but he souds good and really picked the perfect song for his style. I do not think he could have pulled off a rocking song, but this laid back mellow song is perfect. His vocals are pretty good and he does not have a lot of pitch problems. It looks like Barbara bush is sitting with is family. Randy says he liked but didn’t love the song. With a melody that classic he wished Jason did not change the melody, but thinks it was alright alright. Paula disagrees with Randy because she can feel Jason’s heart. The connection with his heart makes him unique because he is emotionally connect with the songs he sings. Simon thinks Jason was a bit student in a bedroom at midnight. He thought Jason was quite boring, even though he is unique and different. Even thought Simon doesn’t think it was as good as last week he thinks it was good enough to stay in another week.


Carly gets the second sit down interview of the night. Ryan asks her what life is like off the set. Carly is roommates with Amanda and they both need orange juice. Carly love San Diego but she missed her homeland. She works 7 days a week at a bar and on Sat nights she plays music. She sings Come Together every week in her set. Ironic she got to sing this even thought I bet 11 other people might have wanted to sing it also. No pimping here. Her voice sounds different tonight. Better actually. She sounds really good, but she keeps doing the ‘I’ve just been shot in my leg face’ every time she hits a big note. She really has to eliminate these facial expressions. This version of the song is very similar to the original and I think she is really hitting it out of the park. I would be surprised if the judges don’t like this version. Randy can’t even talk because the audience is so boisterous. He asks her if that felt amazing, she of course says yes. He loves her confidence and thinks she was stellar. Paula felt like she was already watching a star. She thinks Carly is amazing. Simon says week after week he thinks she has chosen the wrong song…until now. Simon says he remembers exactly the same week 6 years ago Kelly Clarkson broke out during her first top 12 song.. Carly is one happy girl.

David Cook

Ryan is sitting in Jackson’s seat when they return from commercial. David had a pretty standard upbringing and before Idol he was a male stripper, oh wait, that’s the other David. This David just served drinks. He thinks this song is so powerful he doesn’t need to play the guitar and go over the top. This has a Goo Goo Dolls feel to it. Through the first half of the song he sings about three notes, but sounds good. He shows us near the middle of the song he has no falsetto. He isn’t singing so much as screaming, especially the last note. For someone that didn’t not to ‘overkill’ the song I think a primal scream at the end might qualify. This is an enjoyable performance, but vocally, I’m not sure just how good until he reaches the end. Sooner or later David will have to prove he can sing. Tonight’s performance should give him another chance next week. David’s family is going nuts, as is David by jumping up and down on stage. Randy says this proves people can rock out on Idol. He thinks David started out a little pitchy but nailed it at the midway mark. Paula says there is more than one horse in the race; David might be the dark one. Randy asks Paula what kind of horse Simon would be, and Paula isn’t able to think quickly enough to give us something funny. Simon thinks David was brilliant and suggests if the voters base their votes on talent and not popularity then David might have a chance to win the entire competition. David says tonight went well but there is always next week; incorporating a little humility is always good for some extra votes. He should be safe tomorrow night.

Brooke White

Ryan is with Ricky Minor up in the stratosphere when they return. I am not that big on heights, and I’m guessing at least one member of the band isn’t either. How do you think that went over when they showed up for rehearsal. “Hey guys you are going to be sitting 50 feet off the stage right against the railing – enjoy.” I wouldn’t be surprised if on a real funky number one of the guitar players falls over the ledge and we get the first ever ‘cut to commercial in the middle of a song’ moment in Idol history. Brooke moved to LA so she could work on her music. She says she is very grateful to be here with Idol, and unlike some of the other people you can tell she really means that; she think this is a privilege not a right. She is finally sitting behind a piano. She is having a little trouble with her phrasing, but she sounds good. She does not have the biggest voice in the competition, but she might have the most pleasant sounding. She hits a little pitch problem in the middle of the song. Near the end the song gets a little too big for her voice. She is limited in the songs she can sing because of her voice, but she sings what she sings very well. She breaks down crying near the end of the song. Randy says he isn’t sure if this is her strongest performance but tells her this must be a dream come true. He loves her conviction and her heartfelt performance. “The dawg is a fan,” he says. Paula says she is great at picking songs where we can feel her heart so we can fall in love with her. Simon thinks it was again one of the best of the night and a brilliant choice of songs. He thinks she is believable; three weeks running she is great. Ryan brings a shaking Brooke a Kleenex to wipe away her tears. Even though she is semi falling apart she does a really good job summing up her emotions. Brooke cannot play with her shoes on so she is barefoot, but the helpful Ryan fetches her shoes from the piano. Ryan and Randy tease Ryan as though he will keep the shoes for himself. I wonder if you strip away the piano, the tears, and her sincerity would the judges give her vocals a standing ovation? Probably not. If Ramiele wants any chance in this competition she needs to learn from Brooke how to emote during a song. If they could combine Ramiele’s big voice with Brooke’s heart we would have a contestant performing finishing in the top 2. Brooke isn’t going anywhere tomorrow, except into the top 11.

David Hernandez

Gone is the Kodak theater, instead this year the finales will be in the Nokia theater. David works at a pizza place and goes to school. Darn it, I was hoping for some footage of him stripping at work, because what’s makes better TV than stripping footage on a family friendly show. David took a Beatles class in college so should give us the best performance of the the night – right? Uh oh, in the first 20 seconds he has already changed he melody. Yes world, David is better at writing melodies than John and Paul. He is doing the David A. thing, where you extend notes for no reason and destroy the melody. He copes out on the ‘whooooooo’ by letting the back up singers hit it while he holds the microphone by his side. He hits a completely indulgent big note at the end. Why? Why do you think that note sounds good? Wow this is awful. Randy says he thinks David did way too much on such a simple song; he was lost. Paula says she loves David’s voice, but thinks he over did it a little bit. Wasn’t he listening to David Cook about not overdoing songs? Simon says NO, NO, NO. He thinks it was corny bordering on desperate and calls it like a rabbit in the headlights. Huh? A rabbit? Ryan tries to redeem him and asks him about his song choice. David says next time, if he comes back, he’ll turn it down a notch. Thankfully is not stupid enough to attempt a defense.


She gets another sit down interview. Ryan, and this is why I love him, makes fun of the fact tomorrow night they have a full hour with only one result. Kids get your shots, because there is a good chance of catching McFever tomorrow night. Amanda says there is a TV in the back where they can watch the other idols while they sing. She likes sitting in a corner by herself while the others perform. Back at home, if you need durable medical equipment, she is your girl. She is singing a song that she never heard until this week. Gee, do you think she was denied her first choice on her song selection? I’m guessing yes, otherwise she wouldn’t have shared she had NEVER heard this song before. One the first sentence I think I understand maybe three words. I’m not saying her enunciation is bad but there is a person signing in the corner of the screen for the people at home. This is not very good. She is screaming and straining her way through the song. I think she sings about three notes the entire time, the rest is just belting out notes. Unfortunately for her she did not get the best song, but this is just not that good. Randy says she brought a Beatles song to a southern bar and rocked it out; he loved it and thinks it was cool. Paula calls her a star and says this is the best season of Idol ever. Simon says she wasn’t as good as last week because he understood only about 30 percent of what she was singing. He thinks it’s a good thing she is in the competition because she is a breathe of fresh air every time she comes on the stage. Notice the judges didn’t say anything about Amanda nailing her vocals. Why? Because her vocals just are not that good.


Ryan is at the back of the crowd pitching itunes yet again. Hmm any correlation between Itunes, the Beatles and idol? Michael reminds us again he is from Australia. Thank you Michael I keep forgetting. He teaches Tennis on the side and tries to keep music his life. He was 10 when he discovered the Beatles. Unlike some of the other idols, you get the feeling Michael really really likes the Beatles. Let’s fact it, Ramiele is not listening to the Beatles in her ipod. Michael has one of thte most complete voices on the show. He might have the best lower register of all the guys. He is doing a good job displaying emotion in his face and his voice. His vocals are pretty good and if he judges don’t call him boring they should give him a good evaluation. Randy wanted a little more, but says it was alright. Paula disagrees again, because it takes an inner strength to sing center stage and do nothing but sing brilliantly. Simon agrees with Randy because he was right. He asks what the Irish girl’s name is (see he forgets everyone’s names, not just the crappy ones), and says Michael should could have done what she did with her song. He is still frustrated that we haven’t heard what Michael is fully capable of yet. Carly did not really change anything up with her song so I don’t know what Simon is talking about. If we agree with Paula we can vote for Michael. Poor Michael he looks really sad he didn’t do well on Beatles night.


Her family is a big music family and she listened to the Beatles growing up. She asked her mom for help; she is changing up her song into a country version. Good lord. I might have a little vomit in my mouth hearing this as a country song, however, her voice sounds pretty good at the start of the song. Her voice disappears a little on the lower notes. I am so distracted by the arrangement I’m not sure I can even evaluate her singing. This is just weird, not horrible, but not great, I think. Ok this is just wrong, no more butchering of classic songs. Vocally this is not her best, but she tries her best to have a lot of fun. Randy says he liked parts of the song, but vocally thought she was trying too many runs. He is torn with this – it’s a half and halfer; he liked half and hated half. Paula says Kristy cannot go too crazy with the country thing. Simon thought it was horrendous. He thinks she sounded like Dolly Parton on helium. He commends her for her bravery, but thinks she was foolish. Simon and Ryan go after each other a little and Ryan offers to build Simon the old set so he can host it in his back yard. Kristy says she had fun with it and tries to give us a fake smile.


Big surprise who gets the pimp spot tonight. One left until we can vote! David is only a junior in high school. David says he hated the Beatles and wanted them to die, oh I mean he just didn’t listen to them that much. He picked his song because he liked Stevie Wonder’s version. He then pretends he is so stressed out he is almost crying. Just not buying it David. He starts on the stairs. This must be the Stevie version, because the song is totally altered. I can barely hear his lower register, oh that’s right, because he doesn’t’ have one. He blanks on the word near the start, I wonder if the judges will bring that up. He is doing the extending the notes thing again. For the first time this season David looks like he should be performing in his high school talent show. How did they give this guy the pimp spot. Good lord this is awful. I mean he is still better than David H. tonight but wow. He butchers his transition into his limited falsetto. This is why David likes to sing the slow song with the big notes; I don’t know if it’s his nerves or what, but this is just not good. Come on judges, murder him! Randy says tonight David was not on point. He thinks David was really forced and it didn’t quite work. Paula says event though this wasn’t his week, he is still a frontrunner. She actually brings up the fact he forgot his lyrics. Simon says David was a mess. He brought up the lyrics, criticize the Stevie version and calls it David’s weakest performance so far. David says he wasn’t too sure about the song before he sang, but he gave it his best shot. For maybe the first time all season we see the ‘real’ David, not the fake ‘omg you are so nice to me’ version.

Final Thoughts

During the recap it’s like oh yeah Syesha performed. I forgot about that, which means she might not get many votes. Chik still sounds great. Ramiele is still boring. Jason is still mellow – sooner or later he has to sing something a little harder. Carly still sounds good as does David. Brooke still sounds good and David H. is still awful. Amanda is still screaming. Michael is still subtle with a little Pearl Jam vibe. Kristy’s arrangement still scares me and David is still in his talent show. Tomorrow night we learn the mentors for the season and find out who returns home devastated, dejected, and dispirited. A lot of people should be worried tomorrow night. Kristy, David H., Ramiele, and Syesha are all in trouble. I will guess Kristy will get the country vote thus saving her one more week. Ramiele is a fan favorite, much like Jasmine Trias a few years back, so she will stay. That leaves Syesha and David H. in the bottom two. Don’t worry gay men around the world, David will be on your laps again soon because I’m predicting he will be going home!


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