Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Matt received excellent news last week when he learned the judges were going to save him, unfortunately, his reward is singing disco. Considering the judges always talk about being current and chart ready one must wonder why they have a theme night with music last popular in the early 1980s. For the first time all season every contestant faces elimination. Sure, there was no chance the judges would use their save in the first few weeks of the season, but knowing they might had to provide at least a modicum of comfort for the contestants. This might be the most talented Top 7 in Idol history. Everyone can sing, most of them pretty well. Even those Idols with ‘issues’ still manage to sound good most of the time. There are some very well known disco songs, but if the Idols sing them without making the song their own they will sound very karaoke (for some reason disco songs are more likely to sound karaoke than others). Some of the big questions heading into tonight’s show include the following. Will the show finish on time tonight even with every judge commenting? Will Adam break his trend of singing a slow song the week after singing a fast song? Will Lil finally show some originality? Will Matt play the piano during disco week? Will someone make the unfortunate mistake of singing the very much over done ‘Last Dance?’

Ryan starts the show by reminding us that Matt should have gone home last week. Ryan says his famous ‘this is American Idol’ line in front of a screen of burning flames. Normally he doesn’t get to stand in front of the burning flame screens. Ryan says the good news is that Matt gets another week, but the bad news is two people are going home tomorrow night. Ryan says there is an unprecedented amount of pressure on the contestants this week. I hope he means this season and not in the history of mankind. For instance, I’m guessing during WWII FDR was under more pressure than the people on this show. I can’t prove that or anything, but I’m pretty sure. The contestants emerge from behind the stage door and Anoop is wearing a very bright pink sweater. Adam looks like he is on his way to a 9-5 job wearing a full suit and tie. In an effort to shave off the extra minutes from last week the show has no mentor and no introduction videos before each song. I wonder if they will take out the itunes commercials to save even more time. All of the contestants leave the stage except for Lil, who must be up first.

Lil – I’m Every Woman

This song should be retired from every talent competition. When Lil picks a song like this it’s as if she isn’t really trying. She obviously picked the first and probably only song she recognized and figured ‘hey I can sing this so I guess I will.’ I wish she picked something we didn’t expect. Something no one would see her singing, and then sing it well. She got half of that formula right last week. She picked an unexpected song, but then sang it unexpectedly bad. Unless she has something in mind like changing up the melody, this performance is bound to fail. Her lengthening wigs are getting out of control. It’s the most obvious thing ever that she wears one, so why not let Ryan ask her about how she picks out her fake hair. She sounds pretty good, but she sounds like everyone else I’ve ever heard sing this song. She walks behind the judges and stands still for a moment, then she goes back to the stage. What was the point of her movement? She doesn’t really do anything except walk around. Rather than adding energy to the song her movements are just distracting. She is doing almost nothing unique with her vocals. This would have worked nicely on season one of Idol, but the show has changed. It’s no longer just about singing, it’s about how well you can create your own version of a song. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week, but to be successful with the judges you need to show you have your own vision. You must develop a style different from the original artist. Lil can sing and is a good performer, but she either has no musical curiosity or is a coward. She almost never takes any chances. Her closest attempt came last week when she tried to gospelize the ‘Rose’ and failed miserably. Her family is thrilled with her performance. I have a feeling when the judges are done talking they might not be so enthusiastic. Randy says she definitely got the party started, but she sounded so wild. Although she can sing, he doesn’t think she showed them what type of artist she wants to be, even though she can definitely sing. It was big and she danced, but he doesn’t think she demonstrated enough vocal control. Lil is not pleased, but she is composed and timid compared to her mother who is shouting something from her seat in the audience. Kara says she has been waiting for Lil to sing a song like this, but she isn’t sure it was worth the wait. She says Lil has been every other women on the stage but her self. Kara still doesn’t know what type of artist Lil would become. Paula says Lil was on vocal rest this week because she lost her voice, but she made a great recovery with her strong vocals. Paula says the reason this song was great is because the original artist tapped into her inner goddess. She says Lil was hot tonight, but didn’t reach the boiling point. Lil has gone from upset to sad. Simon says she looks so sad and she says she had fun tonight singing this song. Her mother gives her a standing ovation. Simon says he is glad she had fun because this should be the last week we ever see her. He says there was no originality and the vocals and arrangement were a mess. Ryan asks Lil what she is thinking and she believes she didn’t sound karaoke tonight. Lil also believes in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the TARP program. Simon was extremely hard on her performance. Her only chance to stick around another week is if people try to annoy Simon by voting for her. It’s happened in the past and it wouldn’t be shocking if it happened again tomorrow night.

Kris – She Works Hard For Her Money

Kris gets a sit down with Ryan while he is holding his guitar. He was pretty worried about singing disco at first, but he feels comfortable with his song choice. He says the song has something to say since it’s about a woman…that works hard for her money. Kris is used to having an introduction video and sits there after Ryan makes the introduction. He is supposed to be walking to his spot on the stage but doesn’t realize it until Ryan tells him to get moving. While he is walking Ryan reminds everyone about the upcoming Idol tour. Wow, this is an interesting song arrangement. He is playing the acoustic guitar surrounded by a couple percussionist. He is doing a completely original version of this song. Hey Lil this is how you make a song new and relevant. Kris does not have the biggest voice, but he always manages to create his own unique blend of music and vocals. For some reason he is wearing dog tags. Lil’s vocals were probably better than Kris’s, but his performance is far superior. He almost runs into pitch issues near the end of the song, but he pulls it off. In a compare and contrast moment, when Adam had a band on stage with him and acknowledged them and shook some hands. Kris just stands there and looks cute as his backing band quickly leaves the stage. Kara starts things off, or tries to as the crowd keeps cheering, and says he took a real risk with his arrangement, but it paid off big time. He showed them something about himself with the song and she thinks it could go on his record. Paula says he had a Santana feel and then she goes off the tracks. She says a lot of women are known to shop in the men’s department, but there aren’t many men willing to shop in the women’s department. She says he shopped and found a perfect fit that showed his originality and why he is a contender in the competition. What? I have no idea what she is talking about. This is more confusing than when Kara talked about shopping earlier this season. Simon says he needs a translator to understand Paula and then she reiterates that Kris is known to shop in the ladies department. Simon joking asks if it’s for women’s underwear. He says Kris was a complete and total opposite to Lil. He was original and thought out and not karaoke. Simon doesn’t care if Kris buys or wears women’s underwear because he thinks the performance was fantastic. Randy doesn’t care what Kris buys and says to forget Paula and Simon because they are acting like they are in high school or even grade school. He loves that Kris knows who he is and he thinks he proved he is ready for the big time with that great arrangement. Kris looks like he wants to say something. Probably that he doesn’t like to wear women’s underwear, but Ryan is rushed for time and never gives him the chance. As they go to break Allison is wearing Danny’s glasses and he is pretending he can no longer see. Danny is obviously making fun of Scott now that he is off the show. His hatred for blind people cannot be tolerated and he should be kicked off the show immediately. Ok, not really, but I’m sure at least one overly sensitive person out there took offense to his antics.

Danny - September

Ryan advertises itunes while introducing Danny from up top with the band. Danny has the back up singers on the stage. I’m not saying Danny is cheesy, but he just signed a multi year endorsement deal with Kraft. He sounds better on the early verses tonight than normal. His hand of emotion is always a little distracting for me and tonight he is really using that hand. He is really belting out the notes. For all the Adam haters that don’t like it when he ‘screams,’ I hope they realize Danny screams a lot more than Adam, he just isn’t doing it at such a high pitch. He often sounds like his voice is reaching the breaking point, but it hasn’t failed him yet. He moves next to the back up singers and he then almost jogs down to the front of the stage. He has a fire background behind him. I guess because there are a lot of forest fires in the month of September. Maybe he will tell us after the performance that he met his wife in September. He doesn’t sound bad, but he is just going through the motions. This isn’t an original arrangement and even though he is adding his own interpretation to the vocals, compared to Kris’s new arrangement this feels a lot like a Lil performance. I wonder if the judges will be consistent and lament his lack of creativity. Vince Neil is in the audience. The lead singer of Motley Crew is sitting in the audience at American Idol. What is the world coming to these days? Randy starts things off by asking Danny to check it and then he says he was worried about this song choice. He says Danny turned this song, a song without much melodic range, into something that allowed him to work it out. Danny apparently has four sisters and they are all in the audience cheering for their brother. Kara says she was worried about Danny on disco night, but because he is an incredible vocalist his pitch is always right on and he never has any issues. She says he had another solid performance, and she hopes people remember him at the end of the night. Umm Kara? He never has issues? Did you really just say that? Have you ever heard him sing the beginning of a song? He almost always takes 30 seconds to find the right pitch. In fact I’m pretty sure you have pointed this out yourself at some point, so maybe you should go back and review your own comments from previous weeks before each show. Paula says she loves Danny’s voice because whenever she thinks he reached his limits he goes up even higher. Although he didn’t change the arrangement, she says he showed vocally his agility and brilliance. As a woman she thinks he has one of the sexiest voices ever. Yes Paula, in the history of the entire world, no one is more sexy than Danny. No hyperbole there at all. Simon says he agrees with what everybody says. Hmm so he thinks Danny has a sexy voice too? He cannot fault the vocals, but as a performance he didn’t get any star power from Danny. At this stage he thinks the contestants need to do something special and Danny was awkward and clumsy. Paula says she will still see Danny in the finals. Ryan says Danny was working late into the night on his performance. Does that mean no one else worked late into the night Ryan?

Allison – Hot Stuff

Wasting no time, the stage behind Ryan and Danny opens and Allison is sitting on a red lighted staircase. She is being as seductive as the show will allow for a 16 year old. She is doing an arrangement different from the original. Her version is more rock than disco. This song has a little grunge feel at times. She sounds good using her rock voice. She looks comfortable and unforced on stage. Like Danny, she gets the fire background. I guess it makes sense since fire is indeed hot stuff. The song gets a little corny near the end, but she salvages an otherwise lackluster finish with a wonderful glory note. She looks pretty content with herself when she is done singing. Randy says he has two things. For him personally he didn’t like the over indulgent arrangement, but he thinks she is one of the best singers in the competition and he doesn’t care how old she is because she can really sing. Kara also wasn’t crazy about the arrangement. She thinks the song was too slow, but this was the right song for Allison. She agrees with Randy that Allison is one of the best singers and vocally she says it was a 9 or a 10. Finally, Kara says something useful. I wish more judges would tell us what they thought of the vocals when they didn’t like the arrangement. Instead they normally spend their allotted time complaining about the arrangement and never say anything about how well the person sang. Paula says the word compromise does not belong in her musical vocabulary. She loved Allison’s edginess and authenticity and thinks she hit the last note off the charts. Simon says she was going into this week as an underdog, but taking everything into account he calls her performance brilliant. Ryan speeds through the numbers and Allison looks a little shocked Simon gave her the most praise. As they go to commercial Adam is in the middle of a girl filled mosh pit.

Adam – If I Can’t Have You

Someone in the audience is holding up a homemade Adam Lambert disco poster. Ryan talks to Adam about disco night. Since Adam has already done a disco song earlier in the season he wanted a song he could connect with emotionally tonight. He is standing on a darkened stage with a single spotlight shining from above. He is in his upper range and sounds fantastic. When he goes into the chorus he opens up his voice and seamlessly transitions from his quiet voice into the voice his critics call the ‘screaming’ voice, but it’s not screaming when you are hitting the exact pitch. It’s not screaming if you never lose control of your voice. He is a pitcher throwing a 99 mph fastball compared to Danny’s 65 mph knuckleball, but he has more control and finesse than Danny. He is really connecting emotionally with the song and unlike Danny, he doesn’t need to use the hand of emotion to guide the audience on his musical journey. He has the ability to connect to the lyrics without doing anything dramatic. He just stands still and sings the song while emotion pours through his voice. This season is shaping up as a Danny v. Adam showdown, which is exactly what it might be in the finals. And, the show will in fact go down every time Danny is on stage. He ends the song on a perfectly in pitch subtle falsetto note. When he is finished Simon is actually clapping. Adam’s dad is in the audience wearing a tee shirt and a pair of shorts – way to dress up big guy. Randy says one of the things that should be happening at this stage in the competition is the contestants should be showing off their range. Some weeks Adam does the rock thing, sometimes the slow vibe and he thinks Adam is ready right now dude. He says Adam has it majorly going on and is a hot one tonight. Kara says he is brilliant and ups it for her every week. She says he looks like the guy from SNL meets Clark Kent. I have no idea what that means. Maybe after the show Kara and Paula can twitter what they meant to say on the show and give explanations and a glossary for easy reference. She says he was inspiring the way he connected to the emotion. Paula says she has never questioned her visceral response when he performance. She felt his pain and vulnerability as if he tore his heart out and left it on the stage. She calls him fascinating, brilliant, and awesome, and predicts he will be in the finals. Simon didn’t quite feel the pain. He would have bet 10,000 dollars Adam would sing a Donna Summers song, but he didn’t, and that’s what makes him special. He does things the judges do not expect. He loved the performance because it was original, memorable, and most importantly the vocals were immaculate. Adam interrupts Ryan to give credit to Michael Orland for helping him with the arrangement; another classy move by Adam. Michael is the piano player for Idol that everyone recognizes, but no one knows his name. Adam did not have to give him any credit. There is no Youtube video out there of Orland doing this version of the song that might come back to haunt Adam if he didn’t give he credit, but he did it anyway. He is easily the best of the night.

Matt – Staying Alive

Matt is going all-in with his song choice. It’s like singing the national anthem; everyone has heard the song and will know if he misses a note. If he is ‘molten lava hot’ he can elevate himself as a serious contender, but if he is only lukewarm he might make the people at home regret the judges’ save. Ryan sells itunes while walking through the audience introducing Matt. He is using an arrangement different from the original. It has a Maroon 5 feel to it with the accented drum and guitar parts. Matt is sans piano and moving around the stage. However, he is not in falsetto on the verses. Why select this song (perhaps the most famous falsetto song in history) if you cannot handle the verses in falsetto? It’s like remaking Star Wars without any special effects. He sounds ok in his normal voice until he throws in some falsetto notes near the end of the verses and it does not sound good; he is completely off pitch for a few notes. He is doing his best to stay alive. He is adding a lot of movement trying to infuse the performance with his own energy. Every time he goes into his falsetto (which isn’t enough) it just points out how he isn’t using it on the verses. He is trying so hard, but he just isn’t getting the job done. Not even standing next to the back up singers Danny-style is working. Matt’s finale attempt at salvation is not quite a train wreck, but the train does come off the track. He adds an unnecessary riff that is a mess and dare I say self-indulgent. Matt’s family and friends learned their lesson last week and are standing this time. Randy asks Matt to check it out and starts with the bad stuff. He didn’t like the song choice or the arrangement, but he says Matt can really sing. He calls the Top 7 one of the most talented groups in the show’s history. Kara says he brought the disco groove back. She really liked to see him move and she thought the vocals were pretty good, but not crazy original like Adam’s performance. Paula says Matt picks songs like she bowls, sometimes it’s a gutter ball sometimes a strike. She calls it a strike tonight and says he saved his own life this week. Simon didn’t like his performance because he thinks Matt needs to leave Idol land. He says the performance was a bit desperate. He says the vocals weren’t great and Matt lacked originality.

Anoop – Dim All The Lights

Ryan takes a sip of Kara’s drink before he introduces Anoop. The Noop dawg is growing out a goatee. Nothing compliments a pink sweater like facial hair. He is going ballad tonight, but I think this is a mistake; he should be singing something up-tempo and having a good time. He sounds pretty good. The song gets a little faster and he kneels down and touches some audience hands. He hits a big power note halfway through the song and he sounds great. There is no doubt Anoop is a good singer, but despite some pitch perfect vocals this is a boring performance. He has a Lil feel to him, by that I mean he is singing all the right notes but has no emotional connection with the song. This is a ‘so what’ performance. He nearly makes it through the entire song without any mistakes until he reaches the end and butchers the final note. You never ever want to end a song like that since you know the judges are going to remember how you finished, not how you started. Randy says the last note was rough, but he is really happy because even though he didn’t like the arrangement, Anoop can sing. Randy is amazed by this season’s Top 7. He is happy to hear Anoop’s vocals and says nice baby nice. Anoop’s parents are happy with the dawg’s comments. Kara thought it was a great song choice and really liked the beat. She thinks something like this song could be on the radio. She says the last two weeks have been his best performances. His parents are even happier now. They have come out of their shell compared to the early weeks when they hardly showed emotion. Paula is talking about Anoop’s look, specifically his new facial hair. She says real men know how to wear pink. She says no one can deny his vocals and she felt Anoop was enjoying himself when the song picked up the pace, but she wants him to smile even more since he has great teeth. Simon, again disagrees with his fellow judges. He says it was mediocre at best. He prayed the tempo didn’t speed up, but it did. He says this was a horrible version of the song and in general his worst performance this season. Anoops parents look more amused than upset, in fact his mother is laughing at the crazy British man that just insulted her son.


Lil is still every woman because she sang the song exactly the same as every other woman who has ever sang it in the history of the universe. Kris is still original and entertaining. Danny is still bad for your cholesterol. Allison is still hot stuff baby this evening. Adam is still the most controlled vocalist in this show’s history. Matt is still not staying alive, in fact he might be Idol dead soon. Anoop is still better than Matt or Lil tonight.

Well, disco night wasn’t nearly as bad as some seasons. Maybe next season they will go all out and have a disco country night featuring the best songs of country music done disco style. Simon might take some of Paula’s pills before he sat through those performances.

Three contestants should be safe tomorrow night. Adam delivered another emotionally charged performance continuing his trend of fast songs followed by slow ones. It must have been hard for him to stay away from the fast paced disco numbers, but he didn’t break from his master plan. Kris continues his strong assent into the top three. He began his journey into the Top 12 (then Top 13) defying expectations by advancing from his group. Besides Adam, he is clearly the most original contestant each week. He usually takes chances and thinks outside the Idol box. The fact he is dreamy cute and has a large percentage of the teenage girls locked up solidifies his standing as a true contender. Danny is Danny. He has very little versatility and still struggles when he doesn’t shout his song. But, the judges love him and so do all the red staters sitting at home thinking about Danny and his deceased wife. There was a group of girls in the audience in Danny’s family and friend section. I wonder if the Idol producers put the Danny’s sisters caption underneath the girls lest anyone at home think he has a girlfriend in the audience. If the producers ever decide they want to get rid of Danny we’ll know when we see a girl in the audience with the following caption underneath her: “The girl Danny is sleeping with because he no longer loves his dead wife.”

Allison sang well and should be safe, but her fan base might not be big enough to keep her safe. The other four contestants could all be in serious danger. Two of the four will be going home and neither of them will be saved no matter how much they beg. The judges lambasted Lil, and unless the public rallies behind the only remaining diva, she will be going home. I think the rally will fall short and she will soon be at home with all her children and her wigs. Matt’s fans were terrified last week until their boy was saved, and they will vote vote vote to keep him safe. The extra voting should keep him safe, but it will not keep him out of the bottom three. That means Anoop is not only the final member of the bottom three, he is also the second person going home. This is the first week this season where anything can happen. It wouldn’t be a shock if Allison and Matt went home instead. The drama should make for a fun, perhaps sad night.


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