Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ten the Hard Way

You know I love the gambling. And when you're shooting dice, the number ten can come easy or hard. If it's two fives, that's the hard way, and that's how Idol's roll on songs from birth year came up last night. Five good, five not-so-good.

It was a good thing they chose this "birth year" theme this week, because if it weren't for Michael Johns and David Archuleta, it could've just been another '80s week. And yet, despite the preponderance of tunes from my high school formative years, this week passed by with nary a flashback to prom. Well, other than Paula's once-again drunked-up demeanor and fucked up clothes.

Look closely up there. Not only is she sporting the elegant, elbow-length version of the Billy Idol fingerless gloves, encrusted with Madge's leftover jewels from the "Material Girl" video shoot, she's also showing off her impressive drunkard's lazy eye. Nevertheless, she still tried to rise above and offer pearls of advice, actually being the only judge to change her game this year. Sure, she did fall back on some of her standard cliche "texture" lines, but in her yammerings, there's also the highest level of truth this year. That's my dear Paula. In this crap-game of a show, she's our amiable Stickman, calling the rolls, but without any real power.

The show will stop at nothing to undermine her credibility, so Ryan, playing the Pit Boss, at one point picked up Simon's Coke cup, insinuating there might be something other than Coke in it, and then turned it upside down to show it was drained, and then looked accusingly at Paula.

Good times.

Anyhow, Ramiele was the first to crap out with her shouty version of "Alone." We were then informed that she's sick this week, along with Randy. Randy manifested his sickness by being harder-to-please than usual. Or perhaps Paula drained the happy juice from his cup, too, leaving him cranky. Or maybe someone spiked his cup with a dose of reality as he read the recent Billboard charts and saw that his album isn't exactly burning it up yet. Ramiele, however, manifested sick by just being out of tune. Honestly? I'm a little sick of the sickness on this show. If they're going to keep pushing that excuse, I want to see some sickness man. I wanna see someone hobble onstage, totally afflicted with flesh-eating bacteria or ebola or cholera or something. And since we're so into other people's covers this year, they may as well come out scabby and snot-nosed while singing Richard Cheese's version of "Down with the Sickness."

Chikezie, unfortunately, wasn't able to pull "If For Only One Night" out of the '85 unfunk. Personally? I've grown to really like Chikezie. Like, a lot. And I thought he sounded great. But the tweeny SRO portion of the studio that they've misnamed the "mosh pit" may have claimed its second victim last night as Chikezie unwisely acknowledged the audience and sang to them.

Worse, he then backtalked Simon about it who then scolded him like a dealer catching a bettor past-posting.

David Archuleta gave a really strange Up With People sort of performance on some song called "You're the Voice." If there was any doubt that the producers, contestants, and even judges aren't kept aware of the internet buzz, Simon's not-even-thinly veiled stab about the song choice removes all question. He remarked that he doubted David chose the song himself -- a very obvious reference to stage-daddy Jeff, who's been the subject of Joan Crawford-like comparisons for a couple weeks now. He also said he could picture David doing that song in a theme park with animated creatures around him. Uh. Yeah. I thought the show was shooting for that with this kid?

Kristy has secured the red states' votes with her version of "God Bless the USA."

Simon thought it was clever. I thought it was manipulative and pandering. And I somehow feel I'm going into the RNC files and being tagged as a "dissident" and possible terroristic threat for saying that. Nevertheless, this chick's number had come up at least three weeks ago, and yet the other person in the bottom two with her kept going home every week, and I expect we'll see another replay of that this week, as her patriotism will ensure her safety.

Speaking of Kristy and other people who went home instead of her, here's a brief digression for you. Last week, my pal Don appropriately tagged Kristy's "I can blow your socks off" comment as the quote of the season. I agree. Unless we take into account contestant's off-show comments. Lucky for me, TMZ still has a major hard-on for my Mojito, and because of their persistent ways, they captured the ultimate himbo magic quote. "Are you a pilgrim?" Seriously, I love the kid, but that was some funny shit.

Some more funny shit? Carly singing her heart out to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and being so happy and the judges having none of it. NONE. It's like she was the shooter and she placed her chips and thought she rolled a winning hard way and the dealers had to tell her that house rules mandate that the bet was off for the come-out roll. Again, bitch has a great voice. Again, she can't really sing all that distinctively, and then she went sharp on the last note, and almost as though she was willing it back into tune, she crouched herself lower to bring it down.

She keeps doing this distasteful shit. Making humping motions while she sings, wearing fug clothes, and being one big exposed nerve, needing acceptance. At least she looked less pregnant this week, although I suppose that could be a detriment if you follow that thought to conclusion. But even though she tried and thought she hammered it to the wall, along came Randy and Simon with pliers to pull that nail out.

Now, pardon the cross-show reference here, but her reaction? She looked like Barney, realizing he'd just lost another slap-bet to Marshall.

(For real here. If you've got two minutes to spare, click the link. It's some funny shit. And it'd be perfect for the yet-to-come Neil Diamond week!)

I was a bit shocked by Randy and Simon's reactions, to be honest. I don't like her, so it's not shocking that I thought it was an over-boiled performance with some problems. But clearly, the judges have flipped the script on this lass and are just knocking her down for whatever agenda they have. Nevertheless, as Marshall sings, it was awesome, and I laughed and clapped. Also of note is that Carly obviously read up on the backlash to her taking last week's civil rights anthem "Blackbird" and babbling that she was like a broken bird and how it didn't fly with the audience, so she stood there, verbally slapped and taking it like a mute. Awesome. The only thing did say was to Ryan, that she had gone to the bathroom before coming on stage. Thanks for that info, Carly.

So that brings us to the "winning" five of the dice pair. Brooke did The Police's "Every Breath You Take." Always an interesting song, and I do love The Police, though not as much as this funny lady does. Much like the standard "Night and Day," this isn't really a romantic song as much as it is a bit of a creepy, stalker song. But sweet Brooke went straightline with it. She had a false start, which actually takes balls. And her mistake was letting the band come in. Always a bad idea to have Ricky Minor fucking up your thang. I take notes and I know I logged that they fucked up the arrangement to Chikezie's song, too. And I don't recall which songs it was other than Carly's, but I also know that the backup singers totally sabotaged a couple people tonight. They were more flat than steamrolled paper and someone needs to slap them.

But I agree with Paula that Brooke's major asset is that her voice is distinctive enough that I know it's her. I also think she sounds a bit like Tori Amos, but I can't picture her ever singing "Crucify" so it doesn't really matter.

Syesha did alright. She went shades of Tamyra and sang "If I Was Your Woman" which allowed her to be loud. But I still think she's in danger, because she did that weird baby cry again and she's just sort of smug and when Simon told her that her voice has limits, she reacted to his candor like this.

Michael Johns benefited hugely from the gayness of this year's show. Any card-carrying gay can tell you that older people should avoid backlighting. That is, unless it's so blinding it erases any trace of wrinkle or shadow.

He'd been skating on goodwill, but it was time for him to take the bull by the horns in the competition. Instead, he took the Queen by the balls and did "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions." Obviously, I'm putting him in the "good" for the night, though I can't articulate why.

Birthday boy Jason Castro stayed squarely in his box and did Sting's "Fragile." Again, for reasons I can't really articulate, Nothing Like the Sun has always been one of my favorite albums, though I rarely cop to that admission in public. Jason put a little Spanish spin on it, which I really liked. I'm no soothsayer, but I knew that Simon's comments were soon forthcoming, I just didn't know which week they'd appear. "You have to take this more seriously." When pressed, Jason said that he's taking it seriously.

Seriously. That's what he looked like. That's why people love him. He's like Kermit the Frog with dreads and prettier eyes. He doesn't have the biggest vocal range and he's not the most polished, but there's just a laid back, goofy likeability to him. Or, perhaps I just wanna hang out with him because I have a feeling he's a great hookup with the chronic. Either way, he's now officially at the point in the competition where he'll keep surviving, but it'll get tougher with the judges as they'll play the "box" game with him. They'll like it some weeks and commend him for "knowing who he is and what works for him," and then the next they'll tell him he needs to step out of his box, and then if he does dare to, they'll tell him he was uncomfortable and awkward and to get back in his box and Paula will be happy he's in the box and Simon will be a little frustrated and Randy, who cares what he'll say, but by the time we've done all that dancing and climbing around the fucking boxes, it'll be top four anyhow.

And that leaves us with David Cook, who tonight had a monster roll of the dice. Again, sensitive to internet backlash, when all the pissy-pants people harped that his "Hello" was the Incubus version, this week Ryan was careful enough to mention that he was doing Chris Cornell's version of "Billie Jean." This is almost a sad night for me. Sad because, although I'd liked the fucker before, I still retained enough venom to take a few jabs at him. But he is a smarty, isn't he? (Clearly, all that extra cranium isn't wasted.) He comes right out and addresses his big old fat skull, de-fanging me on that one. He's sticking with his comb-over, and now we know why since we've seen him without hair.

And then he comes out and shows us how nailing it to the wall is really done. Shit, if it were any more nailed, it'd be crucified. He nailed that like Kristen nailing Client Nine -- in every way possible. And the show is so totally behind him now. Perhaps he was the stealth chosen one all along. (atonement for Daughtry?) But now they're even blocking him to minimize the nettlesome skull problem.

I still don't think he looks good on camera, and I'm not quite convinced of his "originality" since he's doing other people's arrangements. But I do think he has good taste, and a great voice. He doesn't have that goat-like vibrato that pissed me off with that other fauxcker dude a couple years who's sold multi-platinum. And he's got a decent X factor, too. Not smug so much as playfully cocky.

It was so good, he even earned himself the inaugural ones of these.

It might come easy, or it might come hard. But it just goes to show you how on this show, with one big gamble, and a good toss of the dice, your luck can change that quick.


puppypundit said...

Permit me to use all caps?


You could show this blog to some jungle child raised by feral cats and they would "get it".

Well done!

Also: You can remember anything about your prom??? Surprising.

Don Capone said...

I agree, 5 good, 5 not so good (though our 5 may differ). Ramiele has run her course as far as I'm concerned. Chikezie wasn't as good as the last two weeks, but I'm surprised the judges were so hard on him. I thought his voice sounded great. Kristy chose to do "God Bless the USA" on the day Nancy Reagan endorsed John McCain. Coincidence? Hmmm...

I'm still a Carly fan, and you're right Susan, she did look skinnier this week. I guess wearing black really does help. I hate the song she did, but I love her voice. I think the judges are slapping her down because they don't want an American Idol champion who will have to waddle out to sing the lame champion song at the end.

Brooke is starting to get on my nerves.

Syesha did look put out when informed her voice has limits. She's on my nerves too. Way too in love with herself. Though this was her best performance, she's still not as good as she thinks she is.

Michael Johns was in his element, and cranked it back up a notch after coasting for a few weeks.

Jason Castro took the melody out of "Fragile" and was clearly stoned. I almost expected him to break out a bag of Doritos while talking with Ryan afterward.

Who else? Oh, David A I basically missed because someone broke the cardinal rule and called me during his performance. And I was stupid enough to answer. From what I saw, I just feel like he's in over his head at this point.

Susan, I'm so glad you pointed out how David Cook is getting raves from the judges for his originality, though he's just doing covers of other people's covers. But damn, he was good.

I think Ramiele goes this week.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, agree with almost everything you said, the exception being David Cooks looks, I think he is gorgeous ... anyone else agree?

Myfanwy Collins said...

I lurve you, Susan!

Ellen said...

Spot on, as usual. I wonder if the judges have chosen Carly as their sacrificial lamb, praising her in the beginning and then crucifying her to ensure the "shock" elimination that rachets up the voting.

One other comment on last night. What's up with Simon's beet red chest? Has he he been falling asleep by the pool with no sunscreen? And why does he follow it up with a ridiculously low-cut shirt? Does he think we want to see that? Maybe he heard someone talking about Kristy's redneck appeal and got confused.

Thanks for a great post, Susan!


one_muse said...

HAHAHA--lurker--I totally want to steal that Kermit line for my siggy! Love your play-by-play, as always. --lile

Alice said...

Great recap, Susan. I'm happy Michael Johns bounced back. I always hate that thing where the contestants hold up fingers when Ryan announces their numbers to call - but when Castro held up two fingers like a peace sign, it looked so stoned and natural. Best giggle of the night for me. I could live the rest of my life without having to hear that stupid Lee (one hit wonder) Greenwood song. I would boot Kristy just for singing it and because what is she still doing here? But you're right, she'll stay and probably Ramiele (OK) or Chikezie (NO!) will have to go.

citizen jane said...

Brava lovey! As usual.

You took the words right out of my mouth with your take on Kristy's performance. I'll save you a spot in the RNC Person of Interst line... I think I've been there for a while.

PS: Thanks for the shout out! MWAH!

Anonymous said...

S- love the Kermit/Jason comparison because it's true! I look forward to this blog every week, even more than the show. -C

cappy said...

Brilliant! Loved every word of it, as usual.

You know, you're kind of a big deal...

trudi said...

Shout it loud and proud: "Nothing Like the Song" is a monster album. A great album.

They don't make them like they use to.

Now excuse me will I polish my walker.

moon said...

As always another brilliant re-cap! You are my hero!

Cam said...

I really hated David's rendition of "Billie Jean". I thought that it robbed everything that was really good about the song. UGH.

Anita said...

I liked David Cook's Billie Jean, except people are hailing him as the most amazingly creative person ever, even though 2 of the 3 times he did someone else's cover of a song the show acknowledged it ... so are people still thinking somehow that he's writing the creative changes?

Also, I'm getting pisseder and pisseder (heh!) at the Box Game the 'judges' play with the kids. They tell Brooke one time that it's great that she just played an instrument, then told her not to play an instrument alone again, and then this week switched boxes in which she must fit again by telling her that she should have left the band out of it. They also did this with Chikezie to be himself and do open fun songs, then said he was too wild and then when he slid into the ballad box this week, they nailed him in it like it was a coffin.

Damn, I hate this part of their arbitrary judging. It would be enough for me to quit the bloody show.

SusanD said...

Aw, pups, moon, anon, jane, one-muse, alice, myf -- thanks!

Cam -- You didn't like Billie Jean, huh? I can understand that. I'd have died laughing if he'd have stayed closer to the original and tried to moonwalk!

Don, Anita -- it is really aggravating that the judges actually commend David C for his "originality" when he's far from it. I LOVE what he's doing, but it's certainly not his own thing. But I can't really blame him for their lame blatherings.

Ellen -- I had not even noticed the red chest on Simon. Now I'm going to be looking for that, though. Thanks for the tip! My secret shame -- i do think he's a little attractive. And then sometimes repulsive.

cappy -- I'm not a big deal. But I killed a man with a trident!

trudi -- we shall hobble in our walkers together!

Cam said...

Hmmm, I guess I would've liked it better if he stayed a bit closer to the melody. His vocals are good and I don't expect him to moonwalk, but... sigh.

This season of AI might be my least-watched season of AI ever. There are a lot of people with good voices but... blah. I'm gonna see next week.