It was Bon Jovi night on Idol, which meant I was going to be squeefully happy no matter what, because seeing Jon brings back memories of my happy youth: puffy hair, first crushes, acid-washed carefully ripped jeans, fast cars, slow summer days, my best friend doing unspeakable acts with roadies to get us backstage, and plenty of eyeliner. It's basically my own private VH-1 "I Love the '80s."
I love Bon Jovi and I'm not saying that ironically or bashfully. Go ahead, make fun of me. I bought "Bounce," fuckers, that's how serious I am, okay? If this world can have people who listen to Il Divo, I can have Jon and Richie. That's just how it is.
And just after the opening credits ended, I knew my expectations wouldn't be in vain, as I was treated to an audience shot of that hot little Jersey number named Barba who kept me interested way back at the start of the season before the ill-advised booting.
Oh. Yeah. He brought his slutty daughter Antonella with him, too. Seeing them next to each other, I guess we really don't need a DNA test to confirm paternity there, huh? Just look at this guy. Guinea gorgeous, that's what he is. Looking like he'd just as soon slit your throat as say good morning. He inspires me to want to sing love songs. "Oh Mr. Barba, these five words I swear to you. I would kill for you."
Though he disappeared back into the crowd all too quickly, there was plenty more to come to give me fodder for making bad puns about being Slippery When Wet, because Jon showed up. Still trying to work that carefully ratted hair look, babbling for a full minute and a half some airheaded nonsense about how he doesn't know what's going to happen -- it almost played like an interrogation scene where he was going all Verbal Kint and over-denying. Or maybe he'd just been around Paula for a while. But it's all forgivable because he's still a cutie.
I thought he did a good job coaching the kids. I was a bit disappointed that no one was willing to tempt fate by singing "Who Says You Can't Go Home." But Jon put in the effort of trying to slightly tailor the different kinds of rock songs to the contestants. Soulful for LaKisha, going for the gospel touch for Melinda, bluesy for Chris. And just as there are different flavors of rock music, there are different kinds of Idol Rock Conestants: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic. (for real, stay with me on this one.)
Phil went first, singing "Blaze of Glory," and he's definitely a sedimentary. He's smooth and been around a little bit, but he's not too deeply embedded and the winds of viewers' whims could blow him off the stage any day now. Jon had a charmingly contradictory monologue about Phil's performance, saying that the most important thing for everyone to do was to make the song their own. Then Phil sang and Jon thought it was the shit because it was "just like on the record!"
Though it's not quite as prescient as "Can't Go Home," "Blaze of Glory" is still fairly fate-mocking with its lyrics. I didn't change the channel and was struck by a disconcerting similarity.
Do you see it? I went to see Nic Cage in Next last weekend, and he's gotten veneers and is going bald. Picture it that way. But, see, Nic has Valley Girl and Moonstruck on his resume, and even though that was twenty years ago, he's still able to skate by with me because of those past creds. I'm not sure Phil has the cred to stay around any longer with this being a double elimination, and Simon bluntly told him so.
Jordin went next, and she's definitely an Igneous in this competition. She was hot as lava for a few weeks, but last night she cooled way down really fast as she utterly mutilated "Livin' on a Prayer." Nevertheless, she's crystalized and is pretty well embedded even though she totally screwed the pooch last night.
She looked horrible and sounded like hell. Though she's hit plenty of bad notes before, this is the first time they've really called her on it and she had to suffer a bout of de-pimpage from the judges. Frankly? It's probably for the best. I doubt she'll be voted off this week and it probably slows the eventual backlash against her.
KiKi went next, and she did well. She made Jon smile, which makes me happy.
Yeah, that picture was gratuitous. I'm still unapologetic and unashamed. Jon played nice with Kisha, and their interaction sent an embarrassing stereoptypical "rich white guy trying to relate to a poor black girl" moment flinging across our fiber optic wire in the guise of mentoring when he told her to imagine her man was "going to walk out the do'!" Ahem. Nevertheless, he was useful in helping her get the hang of "This Ain't A Love Song," and she was, indeed, back in form. I liked the performance and she sounded good and she tried fairly unsuccessfully to show a little personality. But here's the thing. She sounded good and did a good job on that song because it was exactly in the LaKisha wheelhouse and exactly what she's done well before. Talk about range? KiKi is extremely good at what she does, but she's got the versatility of a diamond tiara. It's breathtaking and rare at first, for sure, but you're just not going to put it on for daily use. Then again, what the hell do I know? Celine Dion is a superstar, and it's the same thing.
Lakisha did give us some of the best moments of the show, though. It's very obvious that the producers had a very serious talking to with Paula earlier this season when she was all in the news about how she's never been drunk. And they've consequently sucked a whole bunch of fun out of this season by keeping her fairly sober for the shows. Instead of her being shot full of ketamine she's just been shot full of ennui. But LaKisha did bring out a "proud Paula" moment, complete with moist eyes and seal clapping, which thus far has been sorely lacking.
As if that wasn't enough, Simon was so pleased with the performance that he said he could kiss her. So Seacrest the instigator made it happen. But, of course, Ryan couldn't contain his jealousy and even in the midst of LaKisha's loving moment, he had to get handsy with Simon, so it all played out like this:
It remains to be seen if that display and her heartfelt vocals last night will pull her through. But that was enough crushing pressure to change her dynamics in this competition and make her metamorphic if she survives.
So, next was Blake, doing the mother of all Bon Jovi songs, "You Give Love A Bad Name." This had all the earmarks for a replay of last year's Queen-Ace Young scandal when Ace changed Queen's anthem "We Will Rock You" into a lullaby. But Jon was cooler than Queen about it. He kept saying he's not a gambling man but this is a risky move, but you could tell he was kind of amused by it and he worked with Blake on it.
And Blake thus earned himself this:
Quite literally, this is the ONLY single performance so far this season that I'll remember. Sure, the judges have previously salivated over Jordin and lied and said she had a "moment." But Blake's beatboxing dance hall remix of "Bad Name" was the only performance this year that's managed to transcend the show. Blake's had some bad weeks, and for a while he was flattening everything out, which is basically his vocal "style." But overall, Blake has more musicality than everyone else combined. And he wasn't so much a rock as a diamond in the rough for this performance.
I still think he resembles an inflatable sex doll much of the time.
But overall, I think Blake's around for a while longer. He also gets props for getting Paula to put on her "serious" persona. You know, when she's really enthused and wants to make sure they don't cut out her mic or Simon doesn't knock her away, so she grabs hold of it and gives her impassioned speech? This happens a couple times a season, and it was brought to us courtesy of Blake last night.
So then it was Chris's turn. It appears as though the producers are finally willing to let this guy go. And, as affable and sometimes scared as he seems, it really is time. Ryan irked him by calling him Justin Timberlake and then they showcased Chris's lack of articulation by asking him the tricky question of what he thinks about before going on stage. He fumbled with saying "Have fun" for a good four or five attempts before they cut to his mentoring session. As for that, here's how Jon thought he'd do with the song:
Yeah. Surprisingly, Chris wasn't that bad singing "Wanted Dead Or Alive." But after Jordin's bloody awful display, there wasn't really any lower to go. But his nasally form of singing was kept at a minimum as was his timberfakey prancing and he did a decent karaoke version of the song before Simon gave the audience the not-so-subtle clue to kick this kid off. Because, you know, we were rebellious little scamps earlier in the season with that whole Sanjaya business, but now that that's behind us, Simon knows we'll fall back in line and heed his ultimately most reasonable commands because how can we possibly disagree with the mastermind producer of Il Divo?
Anyhow, it appeared that even Seacrest felt Chris slipping away from him, his once rock-solid foundation turning to sand, ready to be blown off stage forever. I know Ryan sensed this, because he got more handsy than usual and Chris took it like a man must. With horror.
So that left us with Melinda, who got saddled with singing the "new" Bon Jovi song. You know, the song they have to perform out of courtesy to him to pimp his Cd but which is a major handicap because no one's heard it? Add on to her troubles that she claims to not know how to sing rock music at all.
I find that difficult to believe, because I think Melinda's old enough to have been around when rock was first invented. Come to think of it, I think she's old enough to have been around when rocks were invented. Which is precisely what makes her the strongest, most stable rock left in the competition. She's been around and under heat and pressure and never once cracked. She just got stronger and harder and no matter what they throw at her, she's virtually indestructible. So she sang "Have a Nice Day," which features lyrics about shining like a diamond and that's what she did. Not a young, unpolished diamond in the rough, but like the old seasoned pro out doing her thing. (And yes, I know that technically diamonds aren't rocks, but can you please let it go and let me have this metaphor as this is the first recap this year that I've gone to the lengths of having a theme?)
The judges had the balls to compare her to a "young" Tina Turner. Young? Ahem. Nevertheless, she made them Keep the Faith and showed that even These Days a New Jersey guy can develop a Crush on an Idolette and that when the heat was turned up (to about 7800 Fahrenheit) she could Bounce back after being at the Cross Roads of having the younger Jordin pimped over her and that she won't "Runaway" from the challenge. (yes, gratuitous, hacky, and juvenile trick there. What can I say, I give blogs a bad name.)