Thursday, March 31, 2011

Somewhere, Stefano is moping, because he totally wanted to set a tiny ballerina on fire, but the producers wouldn't let him. But that's just another piano burned behind us, so let's move on...

Last week I made the case that Motown week generally made for good performances, because the songs are good. Same goes for Elton John week, but with kind of a rhinestone twist. Motown hits were manufactured--written to be hit dance and radio tunes. Elton is a different kind of artist, so his songs are a bit more complex. More complex melodies, and deeper lyrics. So, while we can smile at the insecure "HEATWAVE!" delivered with a cute little hop, it's harder to excuse a teenager's attempt to access the emotional complexity of "Daniel."

All in all it was a pleasant night, though. Wonderful to hear Casey actually sing--my favorite EJ song, no less, though my favorite rendition will always belong to Ewan Mcgregor. Saving him last week was an absolute must--not only because he's superior to some of his current competition, but because it was kind of a wake-up call to Casey himself. There's a time to set aside the self-indulgent love child of Joe Cocker and Will Ferrell. Here's hoping America learned its lesson, too. We'll see tonight.

There aren't enough words for how much I loved Lauren's performance, though I would have suggested one slight lyric change: (regarding Marilyn Monroe's life) "Would've liked to have known you, but my grandma was just a kid..." I mean she got to change "cling" to "clang," so... I actually adored Haley this week, too. Hm. I'm worried that a one-off from her will send someone else home, though.

There also aren't enough words for Naima, and since my mom taught me to say nothing if I can't say something kind, well, I'll just move on to Scotty, and let my rebellious nature take over. This kid bugs me. Seriously, from the hundreds of songs you chose the one that allows you to give a shout-out to your GRANDMA? No excuse. None. I don't understand why the judges aren't calling him on his one-note, cheesy, single-cheeked performances week after week after week after...oh, nevermind.

Due to Casey's save, two contestants will go home tonight, and that's a tough call. But, I'm thinking it's time for Paul to pursue his career as a White Noise recording artist (think about it--on your alarm clock you could choose Rain Forest, Ocean Waves, or Paul whispering all the hits from the 70's). Joining him in the upside-down martini stools of doom should be Naima and Stefano.

B-b-b-b-b-bye now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gimme mo' Motown!

There's exactly one reason why this week's show was miles and miles beyond last week's.

It's not because Paul busted out his guitar, finally setting free the invisible marionette he's been walking around the stage. (oooh, is that it? behind your couch? chilling thought...)

It's not because the A.I. stylist worked magic with the straightening iron. (Haley...Lauren...Casey...)

It's not because the musical world finally got to use the phrase: "Legendary bass player."

It's not because Scotty gave us a sneak peek into his future Vegas lounge act. (well, maybe not Vegas, but definately the Steak-n-Ale in Laughlin, NV)

It's not because Haley gave us a sneak peek into her future Vegas "dance" act. (just add pole)

It's not because Jacob Lusk proved he's the go-to guy for a one-man duet.'s not because Jennifer Lopez's laugh makes puppies happy.

Nope...This week was better than last week because there's no such thing as a bad Motown hit. These are good songs. Period. Given the broad category of "YOUR BIRTH YEAR" led to a lot of silly, sentimental, sensless song choices. Sing them well and sing them true, and we're entertained. Add a little dance (Naima) and the perfect dress (Thia, Pia) and we're good to go. Just stay out of the eighties and leave a lingering bit of soul. (Sorry Stefano...)

Still, I think Stefano will safely open his eyes to see the stage again. Bottom 3 is a hard choice this week...I'm thinking Paul, Haley and--maybe Lauren. Going home? Haley.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

To the tune of..."Wild Thing" (from my birth year--1966)

Wild thing

(ba-da-ba-da-da) That's the song I'd sing

(ba-da-ba-da-da) Like Paul, I'd make it all...groovy

Wild thing

So, this week the Idol hopefuls sang songs from the year of their birth, and no other single television broadcast makes me feel so old. This is the first year when some of the contestants are actually younger than my oldest child, thus marking the time when my grasp on all that is cool slowly began to loosen. I think 1993 was the last year I could both name and sing just about every song on America's Top 40 (remember that?).

Not sure if this week's performances deserve the same detailed break-down as last week, because really, the Lusky Stank seemed to permeate most of them. (And, sorry Jacob, refuse to use the word "stank" in any positive context.) Seriously, up until the moment Stefano sang, I was wondering if something hadn't gone horribly wrong with the Idol sound system. I once had to sit through a 4th & 5th grade talent show that included no fewer than 4 10-year-olds singing Rihanna songs, and it was measurably more pleasant than half of the performances tonight. Naima, Karen and Lauren were pitchier than Roy Halladay on a Sunday afternoon.

Instead, I'll leave you with questions to ponder and--if you wish--discuss in the comments below:

1. Did anyone else get hints of Heat Meiser in Casey's performace?

2. Did it seem like Pia really cared where broken hearts go?

3. Is there any doubt--any at all--that Thia sang that song in at least one middle school talent show?

4. Don't you think that side of Scotty McCheesy's face would get tired after a while?

5. Would luminol illuminate Paul's invisibl marionette? How creepy/cool would that be?

Bottom three: Karen, Lauren, and...Paul(?)

Going home: Karen--I have a feeling her performance will lead her back. Home.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lucky 13

This is my first blog of this AI season--for lots of reasons. First, I never invest much thought until after the semi-finals. And second, I've found myself a million times more excited about the judges than the actual singers. Really--if I could choose where I could spend the next 2 hours, it would be either (A) sharing a taco salad with Steven Tyler or (B) brushing J Lo's hair. I didn't know if I could enjoy the show without Simon, and I haven't given him a thought until...well, now.

That said, I think the judges have a few kinks to work out, based on tonight's feedback. They were a bit too easy on the early singers. Randy kept it pretty real (dawg), but Steven and Jennifer seemed determined to keep it all positive. Until poor Thia. I guess by then they were just worn down, and after Ashthone-deaf and Pawful left a sea of broken notes across the stage, well, J Lo and Steven learned a new word: pitchy.

These are the hardest weeks on AI, waiting for all the chaff to clear and make way for those who are capable of providing actual entertainment along with the thrill of competition. Did the show seem endless to anyone else besides me? Being Baptist, I'm denominationally obligated to have some church activity on Wednesdays, so Idol's messing with my life by having a Wednesday performance show (thanks a lot, Glee!), so I get to watch the whole thing later in bed. The good news is I can fast-forward through the dull parts. Tonight, that meant much of the performances.

Still--I have my favorites: Casey, Thia and Naima. Going out on a limb this first final round and saying all three will be in the top five.

In case you want to spend a minute or so in my head, here's a brief re-cap of my percpetions of the night's show. The * notes who I'm predicting will be in the bottom three, with Ashthon as my pick for who should go home. (And, really, wasn't tonight proof that we should stick with 12 finalists?)

Lauren: Should have sung any song but that one.

Casey: Gettin' by with a little help from his friends (and a lot of help from back-up singers)

Ashthon**: um...awful...Jennifer said Ashthon should sing songs we can sing along with, which would be great, because then I could hear me instead of her.

Paul*: (to quote my husband from behind his Stephen King novel) "This is not good."

Pia: "Happy International Woman's Day" indeed. I feel bad, though. I didn't get my cards sent out...again.

James: I love James' voice. I just can't get past the fact that he looks like the kid who has a 3-episode story arc as the Canadian bad boy on Degrassi Jr. High. But, really...he's growing on me.

Haley*: Not sure if she's on the stage for American Idol, or Southeast Kansas Corn Queen--either way, am I the only one who thought, "Who is that?" before, during, and after...and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Jacob: I, too, believe he can fly.

Thia: Really, one of my favorites--And, might I say, way underpraised.

Stefano: Giving us a glimpse of what the world would be like if the Jersey Shore had talent.

Karen: Every now and then, I get this vibe that Karen answered J.Lo's ad for a roommate...SHF

Scotty: McCheesy

Naima: Very cool--like, that crazy cool. Like, the finale from "The Wiz" type cool. Breathless, but cool.