Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Last night's American Idol was one of those shows that made me feel a million years old. Or, perhaps more accurately, it made me realize how much younger the contestants are than me. The signs were everywhere, and most of them translated into mistakes.
I was stunned to hear the oldest-looking contestant David Cook say he was born the year "Hungry Like the Wolf" came out. (Seriously, that seemed like five years ago ...) And presumably that's why he didn't know from real-life experience how much that song sucked and how no self-respecting "rocker" would ever touch it.
And after performing, even Big David seemed to get what a turd of a tune it was. Dude – it was a video, never a song.
Likewise nobody who ever lived through the Tina Turner Years would dare touch her signature song "Proud Mary." But Syesha did, and it looked like the closing number from Up With People -- totally neutered and with ungainly dance moves to boot.
Holy merciful Jah! Excepting for the highly unlikely but still deeply intriguing theory that Jason Castro is engaged in some subversive performance-art piece designed to dismantle AI from within, his "take" on Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" was an instant classic of Top 10 Worst Idol Performances Ever.
Little David played it safe – and why not? Grannies love "Stand By Me," and the kid with the adorable puppy-dog face is built to be painfully earnest. But what was up with his Jonathan Livingstone Seagull shirt? (Wow, guess how old I am.)
But Round Two just showed up how clueless this generation of performers can be.
Syesha went for Signature Song No. 2 -- Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" -- and lordhelpusplease, enthused that learning about the song's civil-rights roots made her realize that it's perfect for her and her recently overcome struggles on American Idol and making the Top 4 and so on. Randy looked close to calling her on this inane misinterpretation but opted to just shake his head.
Then Jason was back with another "Bob song," this time "Mr. Tambourine Man." Again, anybody of a certain age would know that this tune is the first resort of those deluded, guitar-toting no-talents who have been tormenting patrons in coffeehouses and bookshops for the last four decades. Also, this staple of AM and FM radio (lite rock,soft rock, Top 40, classic rock, oldies, Triple-A, you name it) is burned deep into the brains of anybody over 30: None of us would forget the words!
But, other than the double train wreck that was Jason Castro, another dull show.
However, I did love the 3-second Reader's Digest-style précis of "rock" that opened the show. (Page one: Ike Turner's busted amp ...) But really, why bother? I'd rather the producers give this tiny bit of time to Simon, who by the dint of going last on judges' panel, always gets his comments cut off.
So, who's going? By all rights, it should be dread-boy Jason -- he's actually getting worse week after week -- but he still generates plenty of screaming. So my best guess says Syesha.
Been busy last two weeks, but tomorrow hope to catch up on the cooking shows, and then a debriefing on TV's newest family member: the green shows.