May 11

American Idol Season Ten: Top F… ah, fuck it.

You guys…

I just can’t do it.

I’m halfway through tonight’s episode and I’m just so disgusted and apathetic about these four contestants that I can’t bring myself to even bother with my critiques.

I mean, come on! The defining moment was learning that Bubba JesusLicker was going to sing “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning.”

Could there have been a more disgusting manipulation of current events?

I just. Can’t. Sorry. Maybe next week.

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! 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.

Mar 30

American Idol Season Ten: Top Eleven Redux – Elton John Songs

Last week was a doozy, eh?

I’m surprised that the judges used their save so early in the season, but it really would have been a travesty for the most talented of the contestants to go home this soon. No, Casey might not have the best voice, per se, but the music world is full of shitty singers who don’t have half the guts and creativity that Casey has exhibited.

The theme tonight is Elton John. He’s one of my favorite artists of all time. I got to meet him back in 1997 and was starstruck – probably the only time in my life that’s happened — and I’ve met a lot of celebrities.

We’re gonna start the singing with Baby LockDemDoors Scotty McCreery who picked “Country Comfort.” Scotty encompasses just about everything I don’t like about country music. The smirky delivery of an almost yodeled style. Don’t get me wrong – I like country music. I was raised on it and had a record deal in Nashville for crying out loud… but this style just makes me cringe. Unfortunately, he’s not going to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Naima Adedapo is up next with “I’m Still Standing” with a reggae feel. I think this *could* have been cool… but I’m so distracted by the accent that she has adopted to really tell if it worked or not. I really don’t think reggae fans are watching American Idol. She could be in trouble.

Paul McDonald chose “Rocket Man.” What is his obsession with that Slim Pickens jacket? I’m so over him. This is what would happen if one of the muppets came to life and was handed a guitar. I can’t stand another second of this whisper speak singing. Terrible.

Pia Toscano is performing “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.” Pia has the dress. Pia has the hair. And Pia has the pipes to win this thing. I don’t think she brought anything particularly new or special to the song, but she sang it beautifully. Ultimately, isn’t that is the most important thing?

Stefano Langone continues to rebuff my advances and offers to carry him around in my pocket. I suppose I’ll have to settle for watching him perform “Tiny Dancer,” one of my favorite EJ songs! I’m not a big fan of his staccato delivery of the verses, but his pitch on those great intervals was perfect. He’s definitely good enough to stick around another week. And the offer still stands; I could use a new pocket buddy.

Lauren Alaina picked “Candle in the Wind.” The verse was surprisingly pretty with the lilt she added to the phrases. She totally lost me in the chorus by over doing the lilt. She nearly moved into full on yodel mode and there is no room in an Elton John tune for yodeling. I suspect the voters will really eat this up, though.

James Durbin chose “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” This went exactly how you would expect it to go with the added bonus of setting the piano on fire. He’s a good rock performer. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. This was a typically good showing from the resident hair band front man.

Thia Megia will now bore us to near suicide with her version of “Daniel.” Yes, she’s pretty. Yes, she’s young. Yes, she has a pleasant voice. Yes, I’d rather watch flies fuck on a freshly painted and not-quite-dry wall. Bo-ring.

Casey Abrams has chosen arguably the best of Elton John’s many great songs, “Your Song.” He really needs to turn in a great vocal performance tonight. And did he ever. I seriously teared up. It was sensitive and beautiful. Brilliant.

Jacob Lusk will now flip his head open and warble a version of “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” Jimmy Iovine didn’t want him to over dramatize this song – yet the stage is covered in fog and dramatic lighting. Coupled with the giant drama queen with a microphone up there, this could beat any Meryl Streep flick. I’m sure this appeals to someone. It’s not me.

Hayley chose “Bennie and the Jets.” Who? Why hasn’t security shown up to take this chick away yet? She’s trying to channel Michelle Pfeiffer in Fabulous Baker Boys with her piano theatrics. She was too busy clearing her throat to sing. Wait? What’s that you say? She was trying to growl notes? I see. It’s kinda sad that this stalker chick has wandered in and performed better than some of the other contestants. I almost liked her.

So what did you think of the Elton John show?

Mar 23

American Idol Season 10: Top 11 Sing Motown

It’s Motown Night and we need to just get right to it, no?

Casey Abrams performs “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye. Casey needs to learn that it is absolutely unnecessary to growl every single note. He’s a great showman and once he gets his vocals totally sorted out, he’s going to be great.

Thia Megia picked “Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas. Even on an uptempo number she sounds like she’s performing for the Miss Teen USA crown. All she needs now is a flaming baton and a swimsuit. She seemed to be a bit lost in the middle, but that could have been me because I tuned out.

Jacob Lusk the flip top head chose “You’re All I Need” by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terelle. Someone needs to help Jacob remove that potato from the back of his throat. At least I think it’s a potato… it could be a cock. Seriously, can we discuss the pink elephant here? Gay. Gay. Gay. This was actually a decent performance, though I still maintain that I am not a fan. He needs to learn how to sing a single note without a run or warble.

What’s going on? The audience is filing on the stage to hug him. Oy.

Lauren Alainachose “You Keep Me Hanging On” by Diana Ross and the Supremes. Lauren looks like she might actually be trying to win this thing. This is the first time in weeks that I have really liked her. She sold the song very well.

Stefano Langone is performing Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello.” Stefano is channelling Desi Arnaz tonight. A bit of accent has crept in. I love his vocals on this song. His nerves were a little apparent. He’s quickly becoming my favorite.

Hayley ReinhartSeriously, who is this chick? Did she wander in off the street and no one has bothered to tell her that she can’t go on? I can’t remember anything about her and forget about her the second she steps off stage. “You Really Got a Hold on Me” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles was apparently on the karaoke list and she said, “Hey – I think I can do a completely mundane and screechy version of that song!” And so she did.

Scotty McCreery managed to come in from the farm to sing some of that “colored music.” He picked “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder. This was about as cliched and affected of a country cover I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t help that I can’t look at him without the resemblance to George W. Bush making me want to punch him in the throat. Hated. It.

Pia Toscano is singing “All in Love is Fair,” one of Stevie Wonder’s great ballads. Wow. That actually brought chills. Outstandingly beautiful.

Paul McDonald is performing “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. He’s got his acoustic guitar. He’s way better this week than he has been for a while. He’s David Grey mixed with Don McClean and some alien being.

Naima Adedapo chose “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha and the Vandellas. I’m reminded a bit of Shirley Bassey during this performance for some reason… the big voice and huge stage presence. She broke into some African dancing at the end. The whole thing was pretty damn cool.

James Durbin decided to do Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” Fucking outstanding. Super cool hard rock version of a great Stevie song. The band was hot, and his vocals were off the hook. Brilliant.

Wow – this episode totally didn’t suck! What did you all think?

Mar 17

American Idol Season Ten: Top 12

Tonight’s theme is “Songs from the Year the Contestants Were Born.” They are getting to this theme pretty early. Usually it’s only the top 6 or so that make me feel like a crotchety old man.

Naima Adedapo was born in 1984. She’s performing “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner. As much as I like her, I could barely listen to this. Her pitch was wavering all over the place. I don’t think it was bad enough to send her home, but I’m not rushing out to buy a copy.

Paul McDonald was also born in 1984. He’s picked Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.” I’m so over this gangly muppet. I started out intrigued, but now… quirky has just become ingratiating and painful. Whether he’s got a cold or not, it was just weak and all kinds of a mess.

Thia Megia was born in 19fucking95. She’s singing “Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams. Suddenly American Idol has become a pre-qualifying round in the Little Miss Toad Suck County Arkansas pageant. She was flat for most of the song. She’s trying so hard to be a vocalist in the vein of Celine Dion or Barbara Streisand, but she simply can’t sing like them. It was boring and bland.

James Durbin, born in 1989, picked “I’ll Be There For You” from Bon Jovi. He sucked every bit of emotion out of this song. He changed the rhythm of the verses to a really straight on the beat thing that I didn’t care for. That being said, his voice is probably the strongest of the entire season.

Hayley Reinhart, born in 1990, picked “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston. Choosing a Whitney song is very risky. So… that’s what a Whitney song sounds like when it’s pushed through a singer’s nose before being strained through a cat’s asshole. Terrible. Horrible.

Am I on my period or is everyone just awful tonight?

Stefano Langone came into being in 1989. He picked “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red (originally Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes). I love this song. Finally a performance that doesn’t make me want to punch myself in the testicles. There was some intensity and more importantly, some good vocals. Head and shoulders above everyone else so far tonight.

Pia Toscano was born in 1988. She’s also picked a Whitney Houston song “Where do Broken Hearts Go.” Pia’s vocals are quite good. She’s easily the best girl. The arrangement is utter shit, though. If there was such a thing as generic elevator dance music, this would be the epitome.

Scotty McCreery, born 1993, and we’re being treated to “Can I Trust You With My Heart” by Travis Tritt. I suspect that he will perform this country song well. He will completely fall on his ass if he has to step into a pop song. Scotty being on this show is the equivalent of comparing apples to motorcycle parts. How do you do that? He’s fine for country. Despite what Randy says, he simply *can’t* sing anything. He’s got a very specific sound for a specific genre. So um, yeah. It was fine.

Karen Rodriguez was born in 1989. She chose a great song, “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne. This might be the first Taylor Dayne song that’s been performed on Idol… I’ll have to look that up. This was a just plain nice performance. Nothing special.

Casey Abrams, born in 1991, chose Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I love that he has fun with every performance. He doesn’t take himself so seriously. His talent is unmatched this season. Even the weird screaming vocal was cooler than anything else on stage tonight.

Lauren Alaina was born in 1994. She chose “I’m the Only One” from Melissa Etheridge. So she has the flu. That’s too bad for her. It’s also too bad for me because one of my favorite songs was butchered tonight. I didn’t like the arrangement. I didn’t like the fact that she changed the lyrics. I didn’t like the twang she added. She doesn’t sing everything with a twang, so she specifically chose to twang it up. Sigh.

Jacob Lusk was born in 1987. He’s picked “Alone” by Heart. If he’s only 24 why does he look like he’s in his 40’s? I just… I just can’t do it. If the Wilson sisters went to the Assembly of God church in Stool Bend Mississippi they’d be raising babies and pushing paper in some dead end insurance job right now instead of being rock stars. I can’t stand flip-top head and his crazy quivering jaw. He spent most of the song so sharp he could cut glass.

Fuck me this was a hard show to get through tonight.

I can only vote for two performances in good conscience: Stefano and Casey.

So, was it just me? Tell me it was just me…

Mar 09

American Idol Season 10: Top 13

American Idol has changed. It seems only fitting that I also change the way I recap these shows. For starters, I’m gonna wrap all the judges comments for the rest of season in one fell swoop:

Randy Jackson: “Yo Dawg! You know you my dawg and I either did or did not feel that for me for you. This is my tenth season and you were the best ever!”

Jennifer Lopez: “You sure look beautiful and I love you.”

Steven Tyler: “Rainbows. Pussycats. Fuck! WOAAAAHHHOOOAAHHHOOO!”

Don’t get me wrong… I really enjoy the energy that Jennifer and Steven have brought to the show this season, but I’ve already figured out exactly who they like and what they are going to say every week.

Let’s get to the show, shall we?

The theme this week is “Idols.” The contestants are singing songs from their idols.

Lauren Alaina is the young chick that the judges have been ramming down our throats as a front runner. She picked Shania Twain’s Any Man of Mine. If you liked this performance, there are 37 karaoke bars in the city where this exact version is being performed right now. Hurry! Those gin and tonics aren’t going to drink themselves ya know.

Casey Abrams is crazy, ridiculous, and absolutely the most talented contestant that I think has ever been on the Idol stage. He picked “With a Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker and blew that shit out of the park.

Ashthon Jones is this season’s diva in training. She’s chosen “When You Tell Me That You Love Me” by Diana Ross and by the time I wrote this sentence I forgot what it even sounded like. I liked her early on, but I don’t think she’s a Jennifer Hudson diamond in the rough. She’s going to have to do something really stellar next week if she sticks around.

Whisper-y singer-songwriter Paul McDonald has picked Ryan Adams as his idol. The song is “I Wish You Would.” I’m torn on Paul. I think I’d probably like his recordings, but I’m not super impressed with his live performances, especially tonight. His voice reminds me a little bit of an asthmatic David Grey.

Up until last week, when she shined I don’t remember a thing about Pia Toscano who has picked Celine Dion’s version of “All By Myself” as her song. This was another stellar performance from Pia. Her pitch was fantastic and she chose some pretty challenging intervals to jump around to. She’s definitely a front runner for the girls.

James Durbin idolizes Paul McCartney. He’s picked “Maybe I’m Amazed.” The comparisons to Adam Lambert are inevitable, though I think James has a better tone than Adam, though he’s no where near being as polished. I’m a fan of this version. It wasn’t as screamy as I was afraid he’d make it. He actually showed more restraint than he has so far.

On a side note, if James doesn’t let out a Tourettes fueled “shitpissmotherfucker COCK SUCKER!” at some point during this season I’m going to be very disappointed.

Haley Reinhart wants to be Leann Rimes and has picked “Blue.” So… Hayley is pretending to be Leann who was pretending to be Patsy Cline. I’m a little dizzy and three levels removed from Patsy Cline equals boring. My friend Chasity used to perform this song at the Northtown Opry and would totally steamroll right over this sad note-for-note copy.

Sidebar – we’ll get into this again soon enough when Baby LockDemDoors performs, but THIS IS NOT “COUNTRY IDOL.” Yes, Carrie Underwood is the most successful Idol alum, but that’s because of her pop sensibility and crossover appeal. Plus, she’s smoking hot. I love country music and it certainly has it’s place, but all these contestants who are trying to jumpstart their Nashville recording careers should GO TO NASHVILLE.

One trick pony Jacob Lusk has inexplicably picked R. Kelly as his idol. “I Believe I Can Fly” is the only song that he could possibly perform. Yep. That’s it. I’m guessing he will do lots of flip-top-head jaw quivering manuevers and not one single note he sings will have just one pitch. Oh! And for those of you doing the drinking game at home, he did the Ambulance Siren which means you should drink shots until you can’t hear anything and I will envy you for it. I’m not a fan. I know someone out there loves this style of music… I don’t understand it, but I know it.

Little Miss Pinoy Jackson Thia Megia takes the stage next paying homage to her idol, Michael Jackson and his version of “Smile.” She’s perfectly pleasant even is she’s somewhat pitchy. If I saw her performing on a cruise ship she’d definitely beat most of the talent I’ve seen on other ships, but she’s totally outclassed on Idol. She’s just too young and inexperienced.

Can we talk? Lowering the age limit is not the way to go, folks. RAISE the age limit. One Justin Bieber is more than enough for the world. The likelihood of finding another is slim. However, the chances of finding an experienced performer who just never got the right break at the right time is MUCH better. *cough cough*

Stefano Langone has a great idol, Stevie Wonder. He’s chosen “Lately” which is beautiful. He was one of my early favorites and was quite happy he stuck around as the wild card last week. He’s definitely got a bit of a Bruno Mars vibe about him. I’m surprised I like this updated disco-y version of this song, but I can totally hear it being a hit. His vocal was very good.

Karen Rodriguez‘s idol is Selena and she’s picked “I Could Fall.” This sleepy song seems to be a bit too low for her and doesn’t have the breath support for verses. Her voice simply is not strong enough or unique enough to carry her through the end. This seemed to fall apart from note one.

And now we get to Baby LockDemDoors – I mean Scotty McCreery who idolizes Garth Brooks and the song “The River.” If you haven’t left the house to catch Lauren at the karaoke bar yet you may still have time to catch this performance. It wasn’t a very good cover and certainly did nothing to make him stand out as his own artist. Oh yeah, THIS ISN’T COUNTRY IDOL! He will kill it on country radio because he sounds like every other generic country singer out there, but he will have his ass handed to him on this show. Sorry, I don’t buy into it. Where’s the originality? I’m sure to people who don’t listen to country regularly Scotty sounds like some weird deep-voiced wondrous frog. However 20 minutes of listening to 98 WSIX will expose you to at least three current performers who sound EXACTLY like him.

She’s been my favorite girl so far, and she was almost eliminated last week. Naima Adedapo is performing “Umbrella” by Rhianna. What a surprise! I didn’t expect this style from her. I enjoyed the performance despite some moments where she was sharp. I look forward to seeing her evolve and show us more hidden talents.

So, I’m opening it up to you guys now… what do you think of the season so far? Any early predictions?

Mar 24

American Idol Season Nine: Top 11 Perform

Last week we said goodbye to the screechy Lacey Brown, who shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Lilly should have been in the Top 12. And TwinklyBits should have left a space for Alex. But you all know that already, yes?

We’ve finally reached the point where the Pop Star Mentors come to impart their advice to the Idol hopefuls.

The very first mentor… is…. Miley Fucking Cyrus?

Are you kidding me?

She can’t sing. She’s ugly. She’s probably a product of incest. She’s definitely a Disney whore who’s every move was carefully calculated and planned by some Public Relations guru.

Why does anyone think she’s a good mentor?

This night is just going to suck isn’t it? Wait… don’t tell me… I’m about to find out.

The theme tonight is #1 Hits on the Billboard Top 100.

Lee Dewyze has chosen “The Letter” by The Box Tops. This choice is actually a pretty timely pick since Alex Chilton (the lead singer who went on to head up Big Star) just died suddenly last week before a South By South West performance. Miley Fucking Cyrus had nothing to offer him. Seriously. Nothing. Lee does not seem to be comfortable on stage at all. Watch how he shrugs his shoulders and squats down trying to make himself smaller. As for the song, he’s trying to throw some of the Joe Cocker vibe into it, but he kept running out of steam at the end of ever phrase in the verses. He also missed the opportunity to hit some nice high notes and instead chose to keep singing the sam emontone pitch over and over again. The band was pretty hot, he was not. Randy thought he knocked it out of the box. Ellen called him her “favorite pen.” Kara said he had never sounded better or looked more comfortable. Simon thought it was cory and had no relevance to being a current artist.

Paige Miles picked “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins. Miley Fucking Cyrus offered up a lame “Watch your pitch.” Brilliant! What insight into the life of a performer! Three notes into the song Paige’s pith is off. This is painfully bad. This must have been what it was like to watch the Hindenburg disaster… you can’t do a damn thing about it but keep repeating “Oh, the humanity!” I can’t imagine anyone being worse than this tonight. It can’t get any worse, can it? It was a jumbled mess of sour notes, breathy whispers, ambitious runs that fell flat on their face and a sleepy arrangement. Awful. Randy couldn’t form a sentence and finally called it “honestly terrible.” Ellen congratulated her on not falling down in those heels. Kara thinks Paige stopped competing and called it the worst vocal of the season. Simon called it “all over the place” and thought she knew it on stage too.

Tim Urban chose “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. Miley Fucking Cyrus offered him a hug and called him “great” before suggesting that he do something “cool and different.” *sigh* So I have to say I don’t think Tim has ever sounded better. His pitch was dead on. He had a Michael Buble-inspired arrangement and carried it off pretty confidently. Sure it was a little bit hokey to go out into the audience of reaching and clawing girls, but you have to admit he pulled off that slide across the floor without a hitch. I think it would be very wise of the other guys not to underestimate Tim. Randy thought the vocals were boring. Ellen compared it to a High School Musical audition that was corny (there’s another kind!?). Kara thought it was Zac Efron in Hairspray and reminded him that he hasn’t sold millions of records. Simon thought his stage antics smartly distracted from the song. He thought it was a pointless and silly choice.

Ryan just said that we’ll be hearing Aerosmith and Janis Joplin from Aaron and Crystal after the break. Is it wrong that I hope Crystal is doing the Aerosmith number?

Aaron Kelly aka TwinklyBits has laryngitis and tonsillitis. He’s singing “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith. Miley Fucking Cyrus thought he was “really really good.” Honestly, I would never have known he had throat problems, since he sounded just as pitchy and boring as he normally does. UMB however thinks this is the first time he’s actually liked anything TwinklyBits has sung. I’m certain the judges are going to give this a glowing review, but I was really underwhelmed. Randy was excited that he came out and sang since the last two sucked. Ellen thought it was a perfect song choice and said he’s normally pitch perfect and tonight he was so good. Kara called it the best song choice of the night. Simon called it a “brave choice.” He said that Aaron is making himself seem old-fashioned and there’s zero chance that he’s going home tomorrow.

Crystal Bowersox is performing “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. Miley Fucking Cyrus suggested she make it more “gospelly.” This was a brilliant performance. Of course we knew she’d do a Joplin song at some point. Kudos for not picking the most obvious choice. I might have actually gasped if she had picked something like “Mercedes Benz” but outside of the obviousness of a Janice song, she made it interesting. She came out soft in the verses and then kicked major ass on the nonsensical scatting that happens at the end. The arrangement was great and her voice was in fine form. I’m ready to declare Crystal the winner of this thing and get this god-forsaken season over with already. She’s the most talented of the bunch. Randy called her a star. Ellen loved the song choice but wants a little more connection with the audience. Kara felt more from her this performance and wants to see her not hide behind the guitar. Simon said, “Don’t change anything.” He thought Crystal’s version was as good as Pink’s.

Michael Lynche picked “When A Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge. Miley Fucking Cyrus fell in love with him and had nothing to say or critique him on. That’s so helpful! My problem with Michael is that he tries to sing too many damn notes. It is perfectly fine to hold a half or god forbid a whole note with out throwing a gospel run in it. I also wish he had a little bit of grit in his voice. He’s such a big guy he needs to have a little dirty ball soup going on. I want a growl! His performance was a perfectly pleasant smooth-jazz cover version of a great Motown hit. He’s got a nice voice but no stage presence. And no balls. Randy didn’t think it was the best song choice, but thought he sang it quite well. Ellen thought it was a safe choice but likes his tone. Kara thought it was really good technically, but it was boring and a bit lounge at time with too many riffs. Simon wishes it had just been Michael and a piano with out the rest of the band but the song choice was again not very relevant.

Andrew Garcia will be singing “Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye. He blew the lyrics and Miley Fucking Cyrus suggested he put the guitar down to connect with the audience better. Andrew has apparently gone to the School for the Incredibly Enunciated and graduated with high honors. This performance is stiff and staccato and uncomfortable. I. Heard. It. Through. The Grape. Vine. There was no soul, no oomph. He was frantically stumbling all over the stage and not looking at the audience. The arrangement was hokey. This was a terrible song choice and a terrible performance. It was still way better than the earlier Hindenburg, though. Randy said “It wasn’t good, dog.” Ellen did not think it was enough to get any fans on board and a terrible song choice. Kara thinks chasing the Straight Up moment is messing with his head and she pointed out how uncomfortable he was on stage. Simon thinks that the arrangement was horrific and he sucked the soul out of that song and ruined one of the great pop songs of all time.

Hey look… it’s a show about teenagers who can really sing… Glee, I mean.

Katie Stevens is going to murder “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie. Miley Fucking Cyrus told her to “remember why you love music.” This song is really not a younger choice. This song makes Fergie sound 50 what on earth will it do to Katie? Ohmygodthisissoboringandoffpitch. The best part of the performance was watching Katie’s hair get stuck in her lipstick and her moment of panic to try to get it out without touching it. So yeah, yuck. Boring high school talent show performance by the third chair alto. That pretty much sums it up. Randy thought it was sharp and pitchy all over the place but likes that she tried to go younger. Ellen thought it was her best performance so far. Kara thought this was a perfect song choice and found her vibe but she’s still got “mad pitch issues.” Simon thought meeting Miley Fucking Cyrus was the best thing that could happen for Katie. It was a good performance, but she still doesn’t know who she should be as an artist.

Casey James picked “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News. Miley Fucking Cyrus told him to make eye contact with the audience. Seriously, that’s awesome advice from a worldly performer. ::eye roll:: This is my favorite performance from Casey of the season so far. It was fun, exciting, and perfectly suited for his voice. He made some cool melody changes. My criticism is that the arrangement was a bit clunky. It really should have gone to the bridge (the “they say that all in love is fair” part) instead of that second chorus getting stuck in there. I totally dig the John Mayer / Kenny Wayne Shepard / Jonny Lang vibe that he has nailed down perfectly. I think Casey will be the last guy standing with Crystal Bowersox. Randy didn’t like the song choice but thought he did it well. Ellen didn’t like the song choice either but called it the best vocal of the night. Kara thinks he’s ready to make an album and he’s in the zone. Simon thought it was old fashioned when it came out 20 years ago. He thought it was like listening to an 80’s cover band with no originality.

Those are some fighting words, Simon.

Didi Benami takes the stage next with “You’re No Good” by Linda Rondstadt. Miley Fucking Cyrus still gets nervous and thinks Didi shouldn’t “let it take over.” Really? You think it’s a bad idea to let the nerves take over, Miley!? I keep forgetting Didi is on the show, which really sucks because I really like her. She’s in that weird middle ground where she’s not god-awful so you remember her, and she’s not fantastic so you remember her. She really needs a “moment” on stage. Last week was *almost* a moment. This was not that moment. This totally had a Nouvelle Vague vibe to it, jazzy, lounge-y, and quirky. She’s riding a very fine line between über-cool and hokey. I honestly am not sure which side of the line this was tonight. Randy loved the idea of the performance but thought she was pitchy all over the place. Ellen didn’t get the song choice. Kara thought she was playing a character that left her confused. Simon thought it was ironic that she kept saying “You’re No Good.”

Siobhan Magnus is closing the show with “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. Miley Fucking Cyrus wants her to “bring the swagger of your voice to the stage.” Is that even English? So look… Siobhan is this season’s Adam Lambert. You know, the contestant that seemingly beamed down from outer space and is here to entertain us with their alien whoops and hollers? Yeah… That’s Siobhan. This was fun, youthful, exciting, and her voice is great. I don’t even mind it when her head flip-tops open and her liver screams. She had a great arrangement, made smart melodic choices, hit the notes with power and looked like a star. This was not nearly as cool as last week, but it is as consistently good. Randy called her “fearless” and thought it was great. Ellen wants to see more performances. Kara thinks she expresses herself really well on stage. Simon thought some will like it and a lot will not. He said everyone including Siobhan needs to push themselves more.

Ok… so here’s the ranking:

  1. Crystal Bowersox
  2. Siobhan Magnus
  3. Casey James
  4. Michael Lynche
  5. Tim Urban
  6. Aaron Kelly
  7. Didi Benami
  8. Lee Dewyze
  9. Katie Stevens
  10. Andrew Garcia
  11. Paige Miles

And we will hopefully say goodbye to Paige tomorrow night. Though you could cut any of the bottom 4 and it would mean nothing to me whatsoever. Don’t care. What do you think? Am I far off the mark? Is TwinklyBits better than I give him credit for?