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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

American Idol

Posted By on Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 3:01 PM

Time for a much needed update on American Idol, though it was only through my own procrastination that I missed out on all the male-stripper-who-worked-at-Dick's jokes. Daniel Hernandez has taken his song-and-thong act back to obscurity.

We're still at a two-hour show, which with 11 contestants, means lots of padding. (For the record, I refuse to sit through the hour-long results show, and fast-forward right to the final 3 minutes for the hugs and tears.)

But I trudge through the singing shows, and last night got a second history lesson on The Beatles, whose songs once again the Idols would be brutalizing. (I wouldn't have said this was necessarily either week, but the number of Idols who copped to not knowing any Beatles songs may signal that the long, rose-tinted-granny-glasses days of Boomer-dom are drawing nigh.)

Naughty nurse Amanda kicked it off with "Back in the USSR." (And speaking of time fleeing by, I noted that just about everything namechecked in the song doesn't exist anymore: BOAC, USSR, comrades, air-sickness bags ...). I wasn't convinced that Amanda's biker-bar bluesy bellowing fit the sardonic tune, and like the judges, I'm getting kinda bored with this shtick. During judging, the previously shy Amanda got her oats back ... or maybe, just got her Jack on.

And speaking of oats, farm girl Kristy Lee blind-picked "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," a downer of a Lennon tune. She didn't massacre it as bad as last week's Hee Haw-version of "8 Days a Week," but it wasn't good. In tone, her rendition reminded me when they use a random song for a low-budget commercial ("Visit New Hampshire!"). Paula said, "You've never looked better," which we all know is Paula-speak for "that sucked." Hilariously, Kristy Lee responded with contestant-code for "I know," and replied, "I had fun with it."

A nation of tweens and grannies died a little last week when the indescribably adorable David Archuleta choked on "We Can Work It Out." (His Pat Boone take on last week's mortification on national TV: "Dang it.") But his fans must have swooned into a sugar coma this week with his sweet-voiced "Long and Winding Road." Judges' ravings were barely heard amid the Beatles-take-Shea-Stadium shrieking from the studio audience. Achuleta-mania continues apace.

Then there was an imbedded ad for iPhone. Note to producers: Mocking imbedded ads doesn't make them any less awful.

I wasn't down with Michael John's "A Day in the Life." For me, that song is too much of its own sound to bear any re-workings. And dude messed up the words. Judges were not into it, but in an evening of feisty contestants, Johns hit back by claiming he sang it for a dead friend. (I have to say: Wouldn't your friend prefer that you just pick the right song?)

I'm not sure why, but Brooke White just makes my skin crawl. It might be her aw-shucks routine. Needless to say, she got nowhere with me last night: I find "Here Comes the Sun" a dull song, and Brooke's Sunny D-Light version with twirling and swaying was extra irritating.

The world's youngest comb-over David Cook did Whitesnake's "Daytripper" (who knew?), and no ... oh no ... he isn't ... ohmigod, he did. A vocoder?! Do you feel like I do -- that it was awkward, indulgent, badly done and yet, props for nuttiness. I sure didn't see that coming. Followed by uncomfortable moment where Ryan Seacrest wouldn't put his lips to the vocoder mike, but then, inexplicably remained caressing the mike stand.

Next up, Carly. (Every week I ponder: Is that a tattoo of Amy Winehouse on her arm?) I can't stand the song she picked -- "Blackbird." And that outfit was doing her do favors: It looked like a maternity smock with a craft-project fabric lei attached to it. Add Miz C to last night's roster of uppity contestants, as she gave an impassioned defense of why she picked the song, causing a rare moment of panic for Simon who worried that the contestants were "all broken birds."

Mister Easy-Listening-Dread beamed and giggled through "Michelle," or as he had it: MEE-shell. It was sappy, and swinging his arms about like a great ape didn't help. This is another guy with potential to go far on the show, but who hasn't quite found his groove.

Syesha is another one -- she can sing, she's good-looking, seems lively but she just can't connect. When she started on "Yesterday," I immediately tuned out, mostly due to the song, a quintessential elevator-music classic. In this super-quiet number, there was some audience screaming, which made me wonder what was happening off camera, because this performance sure wasn't worth hollering over.

So last week, Chikezie rocked the house with his nutty upbeat take on "She's a Woman." I'm sure I'm not the only one who groaned to see him apply the same sort of "surprise arrangement" on "I've Just Seen a Face." I love Chikezie's soul voice, which was how the song started -- but plotzed when he suddenly teleported to the Country Music Awards and segued into a steel-guitar cheese-o-country groove. I'm just sayin' dawg -- you're the only one with a decent R&B flavor, so bring it.

And poor lil Ramiele wrapped it up. She was wearing a corset and a hat she won at Six Flags (and girl needs to get some walking-in-high-heels lessons from ATNM's Miss Jay). Her uptempo version of "I Should Have Known Better" was teen-pop all the way, and made me want to go to the mall. Another contestant with a decent voice, but lacking a personality hook and the right song choices; last night, she seemed very young, as in needs a lot more experience putting it all together.

For the bottom two, I predict a three-way girl-fest: Syesha, Ramiele and Kristy Lee, with Kristy Lee must likely to return to her horse.

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