Apr 28

American Idol Season Ten: Top Six Perform Carole King

The top six are here to perform songs from the Carole King songbook. I met Carole back in the mid-nineties. She was charming and full of incredible stories.

Last week my little pocket pal, Stefano Langone, went home. He’d been languishing around the bottom three for weeks so it was hardly unexpected. I’d much rather have seen Jacob go home though. If you haven’t noticed, I’m OVER him.

Tonight everyone’s doing two songs – a solo and a duet.

Jacob Lusk picked “Oh No, Not My Baby.” In addition to being all scoopy and wavery, his pitch is terrible in the opening of this song. Painful, even. While he seemed to exhibit a bit more life than the usual sea slug performances he turns in, I still hated every second of it. Go home, become a deacon at your church, cheat on your wife with a rough trick named “Dirk” and live your life somewhere other than on my television.

Lauren Alaina chose “Where You Lead.” I realize she’s really young, but by this point in the season, she should be able to turn out performances that rise above the level of Miss Teen USA pageant talent show. Why did you pull some random guy out of the audience to sit on stage? Vocally? M’eh. She cracked and missed several of her big notes. Not the best she’s ever done. Not likely to be the best of the night… I hope.

Haley and Casey are the first duet of the night. They’re performing “I Feel the Earth Move.” Haley is in full on cruise ship mode. Casey is his normal growly almost-creepy-but-undeniably-good self.

Scotty McCreery has decided to sing “You’ve Got a Friend.” Jimmy Iovine wants him to deliver subtlety and poignancy. I think he’s going to have to explain those big words to Scotty first. I’m sure this would be a big hit single on every country station in the US. Even though it’s sleepy and overdramatic and he scoops every single phrase. I stand by my statement that he doesn’t belong on this show.

James Durbinselected “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” He’s decided to forego the theatrics of marching bands and pyrotechnics and is instead playing his guitar and starting the song a capella. He’s reminding me a little of Jon Bon Jovi tonight. Something about his voice when he’s not really trying to scream. This is probably his best vocal performance all season. Very well done.

Lauren and Scotty are the next duet pair. They picked “Up On The Roof.” Scotty’s harmonies are flat. Ouch. Up next on Hee Haw, Roy Acuff is gonna pick his teeth.

Casey Abrams picked “Heidy Ho.” I understand why he chose the song. It’s all about personality and not at all about vocal ability. I think he’s a better singer than this song for sure. It was creative and cool and different from anything the other contestants do. He’s by far the most entertaining and talented. I just hope he doesn’t get buried by this song.

Haley Rhinehart selected “Beautiful.” Ah, I love being on a cruise. So relaxing… warm sunshine, strong drinks, cool ports of call, and lots of leggy blonde mediocre singers who like to point at me while they sing. Haley will be appearing twice nightly in the Starbrite Lounge on deck 11.

The final duet of the night is coming up – Jacob and James!? They’re doing “I’m Into Something Good.” It was just as weird as you think it was. And then some.

Oy. I could only vote for James and Casey tonight. I just couldn’t care about anyone else. Who did you vote for?

Apr 20

American Idol Season Ten: Top Seven Sing the 21st Century

The top seven are back to perform songs from the 21st century.

We got to say goodbye to Slim Pickens last week. Wait… his name was Paul McDonald, right? He’s taking his terrible suits and creepy whispers home to scare the town folks.

Can we talk for a second about how god-awful the group number “So What” with the ejected Idols was? Holy shit. Somewhere P!nk is crying into her leotard.

Let’s get to the music, shall we?

Scotty McCreery is doing “Swingin'” but he claims it’s by Leann Rimes. Bullshit. This song came out in 1982 by John Anderson. I cry foul! This is not a 21st century song. It goes against the spirit of the theme and I’m going to be pissy about it. Scotty needs to go the fuck away right now. I just want to climb through the tv and cause him bodily harm. I’m so annoyed by his dumbass smirk and beady little eyes. Just STOP IT NOW. *sigh* I’m sure he’s gonna get a shit load of votes.

James Durbin is wearing something that looks a lot like a straight jacket. He’s picked “Uprising” by Muse. This should be interesting. Drum line entrance? Check. Appropriate Adam Lambert mannerisms? Double check. Screechy cat in a closet high notes? Certainly. Was it entertaining? Definitely.

Haley Reinhart has chosen Adele’s “Rollin’ in the Deep” which is a fantastic song. Adele sings the shit out of this song. Haley is no Adele, but she’s not as terrible as I was expecting. It got better when she stopped trying to mimic the british accent after the first verse. I hated the way it ended, but overall I have to say I don’t want to smack her.

Jacob Lusk has decided to finally do a Luther Vandross song. Seriously, this promises to be torturous for me. Yep… “Dance with my Father.” Maudlin and morose and intentionally sappy. Awesome, I just can’t wait. Really, I don’t think I can express just how much I hate this song. And the fact that Nelly McPreachy is performing it just makes it that much worse. Kill me now.

Casey Abrams is really the reason I am still watching this show this season. If he were to get voted off, my enthusiasm level would drop by about 90%. He’s picked “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5. Fantastic. Crazy ass good. He put his style on it – scatting and getting insane on it. Fabulously entertaining.

Stefano Langone picked “Closer” by NeYo. He’s been in the bottom three for several weeks now, so it’s gonna be tough for him to avoid going home this week. His performance ability has improved – he’s dancing a bit more and moving around the stage and showing some confidence. He’s swallowing the end of his phrases which makes it sound a bit strange. He’s still better than Jacob or Scotty.

Lauren Alaina closes the show with “Born to Fly” by Sara Evans. I don’t know what’s going on with her tonight, but she should be kicking this song in the teeth, but she’s not giving it any bite. Those notes are right in the middle of her range and she should be able to belt them, but there’s just no power there. Not doing it for me tonight.

Alrighty – it’s up to you all to vote. What do you think? Who’s going home? I’d love to see Jacob go, but I am afraid Stefano’s number might be up.

Apr 14

American Idol Season 10: Top 8 Perform Songs from the Movies

It’s Idol night!

Tonight’s theme is “Songs from the Movies.”

So um yeah… Pia’s gone. It’s a shame, because I think she had the best voice of the girls. I just don’t think she made her personality come to the forefront. But, really, she is beautiful with a good voice. She’s not going to be seriously harmed by the fact that she didn’t win.

Paul McDonald is up first with “Old Time Rock N Roll” by Bob Segar from Risky Business. Can we all agree that he is past his expiration date? He’s wearing a suit from the Porter Waggoner collection. Awful. I think he’s having a grand mal seizure up there. If he sang a note in that performance I couldn’t make it out. It’s all monotonous and whispery.

Lauren Alaina has chosen a Miley Cyrus song from the Hannah Montana movie, “The Climb.” There should be a law against this. Let’s call it the Miley Bieber law. No one may perform any tracks from Cyrus or Justin. I present to you Exhibit A. This performance. Congress needs to get on this immediately. I know they’re all pre-occupied with stopping Planned Parenthood, but the true murder is happening live on stage in Los Angeles. The victim is good musical taste. Still, she did sing it better than horse-face-grins-a-lot Cyrus.

Stefano Langone is going to try to bounce back from being in the bottom three yet again. He’s hoping to do that with “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men from the movie “Boomerang.” I’m not really sure why he’s not connecting with the audience more. He’s adorably cute, he has a great backstory, and more importantly, he’s got a great voice. If he ends up in the bottom three again, it will not be because he didn’t give it his all tonight. He had intensity and drive and he put every ounce of himself on the stage. It was a great performance.

Scotty McCreery has, in a move shocking to absolutely no one, picked a song from “Pure Country.” Have I ever told you the story of how much I hate George Strait? Not just because he put a contract on a song that I co-wrote and never actually put it on his album, but because he keeps singing the same fucking song over and over again? This doesn’t bode well for me enjoying Baby LockDemDoors tonight. He picked “I Cross My Heart.” I think he should have stuck with his original choice of “Everybody’s Talkin'” by Harry Nilsson. I can not stand this smarmy smirky delivery he has. And what the hell is up with his timing being so far off the backing vocalists? This was a mess. His pitch was all over the place too. I just want to smack him in his stupid George W Bush/Alfred E Neuman face. Of course the judges and the grandmas will cream over it.

Casey Abrams picked “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole. Most recently, it was featured in “Moulin Rouge.” He’s got his standup bass and a closely shorn beard. Jimmy Iovine said that this song was very much a whisper in a hurricane and no one would hear it or get it. He was totally wrong. Sometimes that whisper makes all the other noise in the room stop and focus. This performance was bloody fucking brilliant. BRILLIANT. He got a standing ovation from the audience and judges. I’d have stood up at home if I weren’t so damned tired.

Haley Reinhart picked “Call Me” by Blondie from “American Gigolo.” Blondie is an incredibly hard artist to cover. She’s got such a particular style and the songs were custom fit for her voice. This song is way bigger than this girl who has wandered in from god knows where and keeps getting handed a microphone. This just wasn’t very good.

Jacob Lusk was talked into singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel from “Pursuit of Happyness.” He originally wanted to do “The Impossible Dream” or “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Seriously? I really wish they’d let him stick with one of those songs so he could just go home. You know my thoughts on this guy. I’m sure he’s good. I’m sure there’s a market for him, but *I* am not it. It doesn’t speak to me in the slightest. I hate it when a secular song is turned into some grand gospel number and injected with some spiritual interpretation that may not have been there originally. I’m not saying I don’t like gospel music – that’s absolutely not true. Some of the most beautiful songs ever written are unequivocally spiritual/gospel songs. But this interpretation feels insincere and, well, lazy.

James Durbin is closing the show with “Heavy Metal” by Sammy Hagar from “Heavy Metal.” He’s got Zak Wylde playing guitar with him which is pretty cool. He had a pretty intense argument about this song with Jimmy Iovine and Will.I.Am. I’m not sure that’s going to give him any points with the audience. I really don’t know what to think about this. It’s definitely something I don’t think has ever been done on Idol before. A straight up metal performance like this could go either way. He did it well of course.

The recap at the end always makes me laugh when you see some really feeble performance when compared as a whole to the rest. Tonight those feebs were Paul, Scotty, Lauren, and Hayley. Paul has GOT to go home after tonight. He just has to, right? Right?!?

Apr 06

American Idol Season Ten: Top Nine Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame night with the top nine.

Gwen Stefani has been brought in to “style” the girls. Oh Goody – Anime Hooker outfits galore!

Will.i.am came in to mentor the gang.

Jacob Lusk wisely changed his song choice to “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson rather than “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye. Um… except… wait… didn’t we already have Motown week? What bullshit was that arrogant crack about if he ends up in the bottom three it’s because America isn’t prepared to look at themselves in the mirror? Seriously? Check yo self. And can we talk about the all white outfit that made his ass look bigger than anything J Lo ever carried around? And the singing… scoopy and warbly and full of unnecessary runs and guttural sounds. I just can’t freaking stand it. And the rest of the world seems to think he’s the bomb. But what do *I* know? I thought Clay should have beat Ruben back in Season 2. (Shall I point out that Clay sold more albums than Ruben at a rate of something like 4 to 1?)

Haley Reinhart snuck in again this week and chose Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” She seemed to outshine several people last week. This week I might actually remember her for longer than the 2 minutes that she stands in front of the judges for judgment. She didn’t really bring anything special to the song, but it was fairly well performed. Her dress looked like she was wearing a padded grey toilet seat around her neck.

Casey Abrams has selected “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. He’s brought back the standup bass. He’s given the song a pretty cool Louisiana bayou kinda feel. Once again, I’m totally enamored. He might be the first Idol contestant that I’ve really thought I’d like to collaborate and jam with. Brilliant.

Lauren Alaina is singing “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin (Carole King, if you please…). Oh look! It’s Anime Hooker garb for the 16 year old! PLUS! Ridiculous fauxhawk with braids! While she’s doing a pretty good job with this song, she’s triggering that cranky old man in me who thinks she’s too fucking young to have ANY idea what she’s singing about. This song really needs to have an emotional connection and real understanding of the lyrics that I just don’t think she is able to pull off. Nothing spectacular.

James Durbin picked an incredible song – “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles. James is definitely modeling his performances after Adam Lambert. This reminds me a bit of Adam’s “Mad World” performance. It’s nice to see a bit of restraint from him. What I think is missing is the intensity that the original has. It builds and builds the tension until the outro which is just screaming. He tried to duplicate that a bit with his scream at the end, but it wasn’t as great as it could have been. Still worth keeping him around!

Scotty McCreery picked Elvis in a move that surprises absolutely NO one. *yawn* “That’s All Right Mama” is the choice. I couldn’t hate this more if he had George W Bush and Glenn Beck on backing vocals. Well… maybe I could. It’s still pretty hokey and awful. UMB loved it. I’m still trying to get the taste out of my ears.

Pia Toscano chose “River Deep, Mountain High” by Tina Turner. She’s really turning it out tonight. Sexy, growly, and dead on with her pitch and delivery. Frankly, I think this performance should guarantee her a spot in the top three, if not top two. Fantastic.

Stefano Langone selected Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman.” He’s cute and he can really sing. He understands when to use the run and when to hold a note without ruining it. This was a beautiful version. I’m definitely a fan.

Paul McDonald is still on this show? I guess that means I have to sit through his version of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. Frenetic, frantic, spastic, and indulgent… but almost good. Almost. I feel like I’ve been at some tent revival and while I was distracted by him on stage someone picked my pocket.

So – who’s going home? I’m afraid Stefano is in danger because he’s got the least amount schtick of the guys.