Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Singing the Lord's Plays-es

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol. Let me be blunt. He seems like a nice guy and I'm not trying to be insulting, it's just a simple fact that I've never heard any of his stuff. Never saw/heard Phantom or Cats or any of it. Wait a minute. I lost my train of thought, so can I start over?

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol. Let me be blunt. Annoying, that repeated starting over shit, isn't it? Everyone let it slide when Brooke pulled it the first time on her own at the piano after just a couple of notes. But tonight, stopping the whole orchestra (which, in theory, stopping that fucking band is always a good idea) after already singing a couple of lines? It's like being trapped in Groundhog Day with her anymore. And she knows it, too. Now the funny lip-purse Debbie Downer face isn't saving its appearances for judgment time, it's coming out while she actually performs.

You know it's really hit the zenith of depressing when Paula can't even bother to tell you that you look beautiful in her consolation tone. This was the best she could muster.

Just utterly exasperated, she was. I suppose it didn't help matters that she'd just fox-trotted her way back to Fox after taking a spin in the audience of Dancing with the Stars last night. Paula really is a celeb-fraudience whore with no network loyalty, as I also recall her making an appearance on Rockstar a couple years back. This time, it's rumored that she's absolutely pining to be on DwtS, but they're shutting her out because of her professional skillz. Frankly, I was just glad to catch it last night, because that's the first I've watched that show this season, having pretty much just blown it off since it's missing Maks. But I've harbored a secret fantasy for a couple weeks now, thinking it would really jazz up both shows if we could have a judge-swap for one week. I would die to have Bruno and all his verbal flamboyance sitting next to Pauler for a round of Idol, and it'd be hilarious to see Simon and Len welly it up as they beat down the dancers.

But I digress. Perhaps I should start over?

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol. They flew the kids out to Vegas and ensconced them to the single most grotesquely baroque setting on the entire Strip -- The Venetian. Just when you thought things couldn't get any more dramatically distasteful in that building, they went ahead and opened the "Phantom of the Opera" theater. Next, we drop this -- yes, seemingly very nice fellow -- who just happens to bear a striking resemblance to a Dr. Seuss doodle, into the mix to tutor these aspiring pop stars on how to sing Broadway show tunes.

It's all a blatant shame, coming entirely too late in the season, and it again filled me with rage and regret. Just when it seemed like the show was de-gaying itself this year and settling back into its average cheeze, along comes this week. And there's no Noriega or Hernandez or even Menard to be found. Stupid voters. But that's okay. Because we did have David Cook singing some song from "Phantom" that was the butchiest-gay thing I think we've ever had on this show.

Running a close second to gayest show moments? Though this one isn't butch-gay, it's denial-gay for now, they actually brought a gaggle of girls onstage to hug David Archuleta. His reaction fell between "aw shucks" and "ick girl-cooties" but was demonstrably closer to the latter.

Why'd they bring the girls onstage to hug him? Because they know they have to avoid having him touch the pit people of doom himself, because of the curse this year. How do we know who the show is actively rooting against? They actually stuck Jason Castro and poor Carly INTO the pit to be surrounded by the jackals.

Here's what I love about that second picture. How shitty is the lighting guy, or director, to have the other two girls brightly illuminated, and Carly sunk into the shadows, the way they usually keep her husband in their brief "reaction shots" of him from the audience. Or, perhaps, it's just piss-poor directing, kind of like these kinds of shots we constantly get, with the swaying arms obscuring everything.

Know what's going on in that picture up there? That's the crowd waving "buh-bye" to Brooke after she done fucked up yet again.

Anyhow, I've gone off track, again, so I guess I should talk about the performances a bit now. Let me just start over.

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol. I don't know any of his songs, but I do know that I only liked Syesha's song-performance. She did "One Rock & Roll Too Many." I have a vague memory of actually going to see "Starlight Express" back when I was living in Vegas, so I guess I lied earlier when I said I'd never heard an ALW song. Then again, my memory is of going into the theater. There was some roller-skating going on about me, then some smoke, and then I passed out for the rest of the show. True story. So this was actually all new to me. Yeah, she got a little off-pitch several times, but overall, it was the only thing with a good beat that I could dance to.

Jason Castro? "Memory" from Cats and apparently this is a very famous song? It brought out the most laughably obvious quote from Paula yet this year when she told Jason that the song is usually associated with female power balladeers, which he is not. (another aside, I still stand by my previous assertion that Pauler is the only cogent judge this season. She still trips on her words, but her eyes focus 80% of the time and she's the only one offering actual critiques that are on the money. Simon has gone too far around the bend with agenda pushing and has lost credibility, even if he is still the crankiest.) Anyhow, Castro. Shit, it was pretty bad. I still like him. But I finally noticed just how much air he sucks in before each line and it kinda drove me crazy. Get him some Breathe Right strips or something.

Another one who sucks air like that? David A. His song was "Think of Me" and it made me think he's boring, but that's nothing new. Even though she sang it twice, I still don't recall what Brooke's song was. But Simon said she was "brave" and Paula commented on her "strength" and I have to call bullshit on that. If she was still technically a child and was sort of forced-guided into this life/competition by a parent/guardian who was also obviously marionetting her every move, I'd give her all sorts of leeway. *cough* But Brooke is an adult who chose to be on this show and claims to want to be an entertainer. And yet she's going origami worse each week. It's not brave to do something because you're contractually obligated. It'd be brave to do it if you didn't claim to want to and tried to put those desperate nerves aside. And she's failing miserably at that.

Failing a bit less? Carly. She did "Jesus Christ Superstar" and for the first time I didn't think her voice sounded very good, but she seemed into it and connected. I wish I liked her more as a performer, because week-by-week she's won me over with her pathetic personality. Being forced to admit she wore Spanx, gaining all that weight, and then somehow being able to take it off -- now that I respect. She's just so goofy and needy, and she completely lost her shit again tonight when she finally got some validation from Simon.

Fucking Fangs, man. Gotta love her, especially since they've damn near kicked off anyone else interesting.

And then Golden Boy Cook closed the show with the aforementioned "Music of the Night" from Phantom. Here's the disclaimer. I like Cook. I think he handles himself astonishingly well given all his circumstances. He's classy and confident and cool and has a decent voice. As I understand the basic plot of Phantom, and this song, it's about an ugly dude who pines for a pretty chick. That it in a nutshell? I know plenty of ladies who find this guy attractive. Suffice to say that if I'm understanding the meaning of the song, though, this fits him very well, thematically. Musically? I guess he couldn't youtube any pre-rocked versions of it by other bands so that he could "make it his own." But I guess it's hard to rock out to lyrics like "slowly, gently night unfurls its splendor/grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender." And as Simon said, so respectfully of ALW, that was the song he was stuck with. Notice how when Simon doesn't think the song fits and he dislikes someone, he rags on them for their song choice; but when it's his pet, they got "stuck" with it? But I guess it is fair to say that Cook got stuck with it. Why?

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol.

It just keeps repeating,doesn't it? Like a bad dream you can't shake. Or a super-size Pepsi and spicy taco.


Anita said...

I happen to be a Jesus-Christ-Superstar-ophile, so I just can’t give props to Carly. She messed up numerous words in the lyrics and that just really irks me. She sounded pretty good, and I have no problem with her playing Judas … one of my very favorite performances of JCS had a woman as Judas. But it was so screechy and the lack of attention to the words just ruined it for me.

From what I've read, Jason was SICK ... really sick, as in he was getting IV fluids between rehersals and the show. I do feel that his breathing was a lot worse this week, but that may be from being so ill and dragging himself out of bed. However, I feel Jason was WAY off base with Memory … he just totally didn’t get that he was a female glamour-puss singing about her past and going on the Journey to the Heaviside Layer. I’m sorry he’s sick, but I don’t think that made a difference in his (lack of) understanding. How could he go to an ‘audition’ with ALW not knowing that Cats is about … well … cats??!

Syesha was HOT!

David A. sounded pretty and has eye balls we can now see. For me, it all sounds the same - pretty and blah. Sorry.

Brooke - I personally liked her performance and her dress was so “Brooke”! I feel terrible for her flubbing the lyrics, but I felt she held it together fairly well. For her softness that usually flows through, I did get more emotion from her story-telling (singing) this week.

David C. Along with Syesha, we now see the difference in singers and performers! I happen to LOVE musical theater and could feel it running through the veins of David and Syesha. I’m thrilled that any nay-sayers of David’s (only thinking he is a shouting rock-n-roller) now knows, without a doubt, the man can sing!

Can’t wait to see the group number … guesses?!?


puppypundit said...

Man, this blog entry topped all the other entries this year. The Groundhog Day starting over stuff had me bent over, laughing.

You are so cool to make me smile every Wednesday morning like this.

citizen jane said...

Brilliant. As always.

I'm with Anita in that j'adore musical theatre (ironically, except for ALW, save for Evita and JCS) -- and that only David Cook and Syesha really understood the nuances of how to sell an ALW song.

Syesha was channeling a bit of Eartha Kitt doing "Steam Heat" from The Pajama Game. And it worked.

Oh -- nice to see Joan Crawford's eyebrows getting work again. Lord Weber worked them well.

tangodiva said...

Thank God I went out first and got drunk on mas tequila before watching Idol TiVoed. Woot.

I wonder if anyone else wonders (as I do) if Carly was channeling Anastacia's divine version of Jesus Christ Superstar from the Concert For Diana last year. Check it out here:

(just copy and paste)

I don't think Carly took it to "church" enough, but she looked happier than she's looked all season. It makes me sad that the three amigos can't even bring themselves to say anything nice to her most weeks. I am feeling a little sorry for her, I confess. Even Pauler doesn't tell her she looks nice!

Spot on on Pauler, Susan. She's been amazingly lucid all season.

Off to deal with my hangover...

Don Capone said...

Carly absolutely blew my socks off last night. Wow! To me, she just won the competition. The other contestants should take note: do upbeat songs once in a while. Those slow, morose dirges are sleep-inducing.

Jason just outright sucks. He needs to go.

Alice said...

Susan, this is your best recap ever! Singing the Lord's Plays-es? Just brilliant! And the Groundhog stuff - I agree the judges let her slide a few weeks ago on that. Wouldn't it be wonderful to switch up judges, as you suggested! I haven't been watching Dancing either without Maks. ;-)

PezKat said...

Hey Susan, glad you're feeling better this week! But... wow. You really need to get out more. ;-) Yes, "Memory" is very famous. It contains the most dramatic moment, musically and storywise, of one of the most famous, unique, and longest running (and I would contend best) musicals of all time. Granted I'm a huge cat person and thus a huge Cats fan (I've seen it maybe 3 times??), but still.

Of all people I thought you might comment on Carly's silhouetted-female-anatomy dress! Alas, no one else is mentioning it. (But then I haven't been to TWoP yet.)

Actually there are plenty of ALW songs that are already somewhat rock (from Phantom, Jesus Christ Superstar, even Cats) or others that I'm sure David C. could've turned into rock. This week's "risk" for him was to sing a straight ballad, and despite the pimping, I think it stood out as the best performance of the night to most people.

EW pointed out that David A and Carly both messed up some of their lyrics. Then Paula called David's performance "perfect." Sigh.

Also you're missing some awesome stuff on DwtS! :-) Derek, Mark, Tony, and even Fabian have made me almost forget Maks isn't there (and Alert! he & Mel will be performing on one of the results shows!). Adam Corolla was fabulous, Marlee Matlin was awe-inspiring, and Kristy may finally be the woman that everyone agrees deserves to win. Then there is the oh-so-adorable brewing romance between Derek & Shannon Elizabeth... seriously, puppies & kittens cute (but not annoyingly so).

trudi said...

ALW is a hack. The only ALW show I've attended was Phantom and I crawled over 30 people, halfway through the first act, and ran for my life. I wish passing out in my seat had been an option.

He can't keep an audience seated with beautifully crafted songs. He has to have flying chandeliers threatening to hit them in the head.

Janet said...

Trudi, I do believe that you and I are the only people in world who HATED Phantom. The looks I get from people when I say that! Unfortunately I couldn't flee - I was wedged into a very tight seat in a very packed London theater. (I'm 5'10" and the seats are made for people under 5'6" - I believe I left 2 dents in the seat back in front of me.)

The music was horrible - at one point there had to be 5 people all singing something different. I left with a massive headache.

trudi said...

Hee Janet.
I left a party of 6 at the theater and hightailed it back home by myself. My ears are a very sensitive instrument.

My husband knows some operas singers and they all hate ALW. So we're not alone.

Janet said...

I'd just like to add that it's now after 2:30 pm EDT on Thursday, and I can't BELIEVE that Susan hasn't provided us with her post-elimination synopsis. Harrumph! Susan, your public awaits!

SusanD said...

Anita -- the group numbers have taken a serious nose-dive since Michael Johns left. He and Cook and Jason were kind of having fun with them, but they've been dirges since.

Pups, alice -- aw thanks.

Jane -- Joan Crawford's eyebrows -- ha ha ha!

tango -- oh shit, good luck with the hangover. (that's what incapacitated me last week.)

Don -- I know you like Carly. I thought she performed well, but really thought her voice sounded bad, especially for what she's capable of. Still. She kinda got screwed.

pez -- I am gonna try to catch up on DwtS now, thanks for the tips on that it is good and worth it!

trudi -- <3. Also, WHERE ARE YOU? I totally respect that you left the show!

janet -- sorry I was late. But I trust your judgment, too. If you and trudi say don't bother brushing up on ALW and Phantom, that's good enough for me! Thanks!