Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bleeding Inspiration

I'm not sure how inspiring it was, but it was a pretty entertaining show tonight. I only liked a few of the performances, but things seemed a little more back in order. For most of this season, Simon's been hyper-critical when it was uncalled for, and I secretly ascribed that to him being tired from trotting his prize pony X-Factor winner Leona Lewis and her horse-face all over the States. But now that she's cracked the number one over here, maybe he's a bit more relaxed (or at least smugly satisfied) and he got more realistic with his critiques. While he's been outlandish, it's been Pauler holding down the fort with actual substantive criticism (she has!) and that's gotten a little disturbing. But she was wrapped tight again, both in her generous praise and costuming, so I knew it'd be a better night.

This time, we started off with first Michael and then Syesha getting lippy with Randy, which was long overdue, because they both basically called him on his nonsense. The only funny thing about it was that Syesha talked nonsense back to him, so the whole exchange was just loony.

But, at this point, Syesha should know that she's on borrowed time anyhow. She picked the stupidest song of the night, with Fantasia's "I Believe." This is the quintessential "winner's song" that every fan fears their Idol fave will have to sing. Rainbows and pots of gold and just in-fucking-sufferable cliche idiocy. But Syesha took it to heart and in her package when talking about doing good and giving back, she gave the obliviously arrogant statement that she gives back to the world through her music. Pfft. All the other contestants had the good wits to acknowledge that they felt lucky to be in this position, but she comes across sounding as though we, the audience, should feel gifted by her presence.

But she's no dumb-dumb. Clearly, the mosh pit was taunting, trying to claim their next victim. But either she's aware of how they've claimed Hernandez, Chikezie, and Rami, or she just gave 'em divatude for the hell of it. Either way, Syesha was having none of the jinx.

Also not enjoying the mosh pit? Apparently, people in the mosh pit and, notably, security in the mosh pit.

I think it's damn near impossible to be kicked off if you have the coveted pimp spot, which will probably be the only thing saving Brooke White's neurotic neck this week. She did Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" and has now lost all ability to maintain.

Seriously, she's become hard to watch with all her twitching and teary-eyed faces. If she had Bell's palsy, I could forgive it. But she's to the point where she belongs in the "before" section of a Cymbalta "depression hurts" commercial instead of on American Idol. She's exactly thisclose to becoming Ashley Ferl.

Even David Archuleta has an easier time concealing his nerves. I've always thought he was able to plaster on a serene mask even though inside, I suspected his heart was beating like a bunny rabbit's. I finally got the proof that his glazed-calm is a total front when he sat and talked to Ryan last night. Inspect:

Do you see it up there? In case you're not picking it out, I've got a close-up here where I point out the tell.

I've seen novice drivers on the Garden State Parkway at rush hour white knuckling less than he was up there. But, like the pro he is, he still sang Robbie Williams's "Angels" and did well at the piano. Simon thought it was a bit nasally, and apparently he lost the memo from Chris R last year when he informed Simon that "nasally is a type of singing." Anyhow, I softened to Farchie, and then they flashed his assy father in the crowd and I immediately turned against him again.

Frickin' Kristy had a good night, singing "Anyway" by Martina McBride. I did note that they've been blocking her to mostly show her from the waist up when she starts moving, but they slipped and she is still rocking that horse-straddle stance.

Since Kristy sang so well and since Syesha avoided the pit-people of doom reach-out, I'm actually a bit worried for Carly this week. She did Queen's "The Show Must Go On." She's got a big enough voice for it, and she, or her stylist, took Simon's warning from last week to heart because she really looked hot last night. But Simon thought the performance seemed a bit angry. I don't know what gave him that impression.

That first picture, doesn't it remind you of Seinfeld's Uncle Leo when he had his eyebrows drawn on with the Sharpie? I searched an inordinately long time for a picture of that scene and couldn't find one to compare, which upsets me. Perhaps I'll be inspired enough to sort through dvds and see if I can't get a cap of it tomorrow to replace this explanation so that it's a visual joke. Probably not.

UPDATE! Ha ha ha! A friend of mine, Kelly, got me the Uncle Leo screencap! Witness:

Also not having a particularly good night? David Cook. He did Our Lady Peace's "Innocent." You've never heard of the band? Yeah, they're not Christian Rock, they're Canadians, which is why they're not on most people's radar. It was just a little too slickly choreographed and he didn't sound all that good on the mumbly low notes and the white jacket didn't work for me. When he's at his best, Cook has a cool-yet-approachable Cook thing going on. At his worst, Cook sort of channels Zoo-TV Bono and that over-dramatic RockStar kind of thing that's just a bit too much, and that's what last night was for me. But Pauler was right on board and still singing his praises.

And overall, I'm still onboard with Cook, even though he really went with the Bono vibe and even lectured us a bit at the end.

Again, I don't really mind that. Cook's earned leeway and I give him the benefit of the doubt. I just mostly wanted to post that picture because I think it's hilarious with Simon's little fool head laughing in the corner. Cook took his knocks with grace and I'm sure he'll be just fine. I will toss this out, though. I know everyone thinks that Archuleta has this season all locked up. But I do see a chance for Cook to win it all, and he could do it in one fell swoop. I think they have Billboard Top night coming up soon, and all Cook has to do is a rocked out version of "Bleeding Love." Simon will see money falling like confetti at the finale and be overjoyed at the prospect of mentioning his protoge on the show. If a girl would do it, he'd use the opportunity to tear her up and tell her that she's a weak substitute for Leona. But Cook could pull it off, and also possibly escape the dreaded rainbows and puppies song as the winner.

The biggest winner of this night? Castrocopians should be thrilled, because it was Jason Castro.

Anyone catch Larry King last night with Randy, Paula, Simon and Ryan on? They were drumming up business for IGB, but also talked about all the kids and what they thought while Larry held an online poll for viewers to vote for their favorite. Jason was the one who got roundly trashed by all. Randy said he wouldn't sign him and Simon said something negative and just blah blah down on Jason. Then, Larry unveiled his poll and Jason was the winner by a huge margin. I don't know if that played a part in the judges' attitude adjustment toward him, or if it was all the magic of Iz's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," but he even got a "fantastic" from Simon.

I know back in season five I shilled for Iz and his "Facing Future" cd, and I was glad to see Jason give the song this treatment. There's just something dreamy-lullaby about it that fits perfectly with the kid. I honestly can't say that his version is as good as Iz's, but it's also sort of different, not really a note-for-note cover. Most shocking to me though was that Simon didn't know this version At All. He thought it was from "the internet" and said he'd only heard it a total of three times. Wasn't this song even used in a really predominant commercial for toys or something several years ago? Let alone being on tons of movie soundtracks? I know he's often got his head up his ass with music, but I find this one kind of astounding.

What I'm not astounded by is his turn-around on Jason. Perhaps after that shocking reveal on Larry King, someone showed Simon a Jack Johnson cd and explained how many "units" Jack moves and he started seeing dollar signs.

And that brings me to the guy who opened the show, Michael Johns. You know, I had loved once or twice before (Danny, David) and it was all in vain. So I became frozen. But he did it. He cut me open. And I'm bleeding Aussie love. (just how popular do you suppose that song is with self-mutilators?) The Kangaroo Fucker has won me over. He did Aerosmith's "Dream On" and I sang with him, sang for the laughter and sang for the tears. What were the tears for? Well, you know, it's become something of an internet sport to capture pictures of Michael making ridiculous faces. Last night was no exception for opportunities, especially with the ascot firmly in place again.

Look. I rolled with it once. I still love him tonight. But tonight, it's not because of the silly ascot, it's in spite of it. But if he goes for the hat trick with it, even Tim Gunn couldn't make it work.

What was the laughter for? I don't want to say that Michael's getting roomy in the hips, but if Buffalo Bill was in the market for a man-suit, he probably watched last night's show and grabbed his bottle of lotion and thought about it rubbing the lotion on its body.

So what? I'm a chubby chaser. Yeah, he's putting on a few pounds, but he looks damn hot, ascot or not!

Personally, I thought he sounded great, too. Simon and Randy are not buying it, though, because they don't see him as a rocker and think it comes off sort of wannabe. Let me translate. They don't wannahimtobe a rocker. That slot is filled by Cook. But they'd be happy to make more money off MJ, too. So make it more bluesy, Michael, so there's no niche competition when they market, mmkay? Personally, I don't have a problem with that, because his voice does suit the more bluesy stuff, and I just want to keep seeing him on the show for several more weeks. (though I imagine the faces he'll make for his boot will be cap-worthy.)

So how did they inspire you last night? Did Michael inspire you to stick to your diet? Did Brooke inspire you to seek counseling? Did Kristy inspire you to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy?" Did David Cook inspire you to bring out your spring wardrobe with his fancy white jacket? Or did Jason just inspire you to blaze a spliff? I, of course, went over the rainbow with JC. But thanks to MJ, I didn't feel the least bit guilty about succumbing to the munchies. Tomorrow, I'll wallow in my contemptuous gluttony as I sit like a slob for two and half hours while Idol relieves my guilt and does the work for me and saves the world.


Don Capone said...

Hi Susan!

Wow, that was one in-depth recap. I pretty much agree with you except for Archuleta and Jason. I don't think everyone thinks Archuleta will win. He had a good night last night, but to me he's just there. But, I'm not 14, so what do I know.

As for Jason, I still can't believe the judges praised him. I thought it was one of the worst, most embarrassing performances on AI ever. (And I had never heard that version before either.) Then to my surprise the judges loved him. So maybe it's me.

Brooke was just morose. I can't believe they didn't tear her apart. Going last may be the best slot because by then the show is running late and there is no time left to rip.

Murgh said...

"But she's to the point where she belongs in the "before" section of a Cymbalta "depression hurts" commercial instead of on American Idol. She's exactly thisclose to becoming Ashley Ferl."

Susan, you make me laugh and laugh and laugh like anything. Great recap.

puppypundit said...

Madam, you give good recap.

Thanks for the hearty larfs...

SusanD said...

murgh, pups -- aw thanks.

Don -- here's Iz's version of Over the Rainbow:

I'm SURE you've heard it before. "50 First Dates" featured it, I know. (And I do really like his whole CD, Facing Future.) I liked Jason's take, though it wasn't nearly as dreamy as this, and I did expect him to get shunned by the judges, but I think they realized his popularity due to Larry King and so gave him a free pass. I actually thought D Cook's was the worst of the night and one of the worst performances in Idol history. But I can let it slide.

Alice said...

Agreed on most everything. I too coudn't believe that Simon (and now Capone) had heard the Iz version of Somewhere OVer the Rainbow - actually a medley with What a Wonderful World. It's in movies, like you say, Meet Joe Black, and tons of TV shows and that commercial you mention. But, like Capone, I hated it. To me it trivialized two gorgeous songs. Also his (Iz's) sad young death from weight related issues clouds this for me I guess. Jason did bring some charm to it and made it less sad. I didn't pariticularly like this show this week. Maybe I should put some fiber in my Scotch. I did vote for Michael Johns mostly and threw some to Carly. And speaking of Carlys - wouldn't Broke have killed on Carly Simon's Let the River Run? Missed op. Thanks for a great review, Susan!

janet said...

LOL - I'm so glad I came to read this a second time so I could catch the Uncle Leo picture.

There were 2 places I heard this version of "Over the Rainbow" that I remember clearly: one was the commercials for "eToys" that ran some years ago, and the other was on ER, when Mark Greene died. I'm sure I've heard it other places as well.

As for Michael Johns, I think I know where Simon is coming from (now THAT'S a scary thought) - MJ pretty consistently sings in a near mimic of the original artist. I don't know if that makes him a "wannabe" exactly, but it does show a lack of originality.

As for Brooke - I liked her a lot, then I liked her less, then I wanted to like her but struggled, and now I just want to slap her.

citizen jane said...

I totally missed the show last night -- but after reading your fab recap, I feel all caught up. However, the stylists need to stop using cartoon characters as inspiration... Michael Johns was totally going for that Freddy from Scooby Doo look.

Plus the Uncle Leo screencap. Genius.
"Jerry! Hello! Hahaha!"

Anonymous said...

Susan you are sooo funny, love your recaps. Have to agree with Don on Jason's performance. I got cramp in my toes from having them curled during the whole performance, cringe !

Don Capone said...

Susan: thanks for the Uncle Leo update. Hilarious.

Jane: "Freddy from Scooby Doo" is perfect. Can David Cook be Shaggy?

SusanD said...

alice -- Carly Simon's Let the River Run would've been lovely for Brooke. I think she's self-destructing though and doesn't know what the hell to do.

janet -- I hear you on MJ not being too original. I just hope we keep him around to look at, though. Shocked me how un-assholey he is.

jane -- Freddy from Scooby Doo! HA HA HA! And Don -- Jason is SO Shaggy.

anon -- aw, poor Jason. Maybe I just liked it because it was a relief after Screamesha.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome Wrap-Up!

Hey Susan, don't you think
Michael Johns looks a little
bit like Peter Gallagher in
Sex, Lies & Videotape?

"Awwwwwwww, did ya hafta
make one of those TAPES with him?... You didn't... No,
tell me you didn't--Awwwwwww
did ya hafta masturbate?

lol ;)

Rock on, Susan!