The real competition! The stuff I like, instead of a bunch of ringers and morons in stupid costumes.
Yes, I know the selection process is bogus–what else could explain Norman Gentle? But those annoyances will be weeded out soon enough.
There’s some good talent this year. Time to start finding out if there is any great talent this year.
For the record, I’m making the probably stupid decision to take this show somewhat seriously. Partially this is because there is no lack of snark on the subject (you can go to Vote for the Worst for that). Partially it’s because there are only so many ways to write “singer X sounds like a crapweasel who was molested as a child crapweasel, then sown into the belly of a mama crapweasel, whereupon mama crapweasel gave birth to the child crapweasel again on the Idol stage and filled her offspring’s throat with broken glass, whereupon said offspring started singing.” Partially it’s because I really do want a good singer to win–I’m going to have to hear him or her on the PA system at Home Depot every time I go, after all, so someone I like is preferable to someone I hate.
This may cause these posts to be a little on the boring side for some of you, but so be it.
Let’s get this show on the road!
So I start out writing that there is plenty of other snark out there and that’s not going to be my focus, but I need to open with some snark. The “what do the singers need to do?” question is only slightly more insipid than the answers it inspires–“sing well,” “be yourself,” “overcome your nerves,” &c. Well, there’s really no way to get through two hours of this without a little snark.
Theme tonight is Billboard Top 100 hits. Such a broad category means the song choices will tell us a lot about our aspiring singers.
Is it just my imagination, or did Tatiana get the biggest cheers from the studio audience?
Jackie Tohn: “A Little Less Conversation” by the King. Love the song but I don’t know if this is a good pick. And she has awful fashion sense. High-tops and lycra? A solid performance, but she probably should have picked something that would flex her range a bit.
The judges are very positive, except for Simon, who agrees with me on both song choice and fashion.
Despite my critiques here and in the past, she’s growing on me a little bit. A lot of the quote-unquote “rockers” on this show seem self-conscious to me. She doesn’t–rock and roll seems to come naturally to her.
Ricky Braddy: I don’t remember seeing any of this guy before. He’s doing “A Song for You” by Leon Russell. An excellent vocal, although I don’t know how much personality he projects. Right now, he just seems like a guy with a good voice.
Simon agrees with me again! What’s wrong with me tonight?
It will be interesting to see how Ricky develops if he lasts. A good start, I must admit.
Alexis Grace: I have vaguely positive feelings about her up until now. “Never Loved a Man” by Aretha Franklin.
The judges told her to “dirty up her look” a bit. She certainly did. She looks like a whore.
The crowd seems to like this, but it’s leaving me cold. No bad notes, but it all sounds a bit plastic. Will Cowell say “cruise ship” or “karaoke”? My money’s on karaoke.
The judges love it. I don’t get it. Maybe it sounded better live?
Brent Keith: “Hicktown” by Jason Aldean. I don’t know the song. I’m glad I don’t.
Randy is saying something incoherent about a chili cookout. Kara slams the song as she should.
Simon slams him. Now I’m three out of four with Simon.
Stevie Wright: “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift. Well, we have our first humiliatingly awful performance of the 2009 competition! She can’t hit a note to save her life and apparently thinks her range extends much lower than it actually does.
Isn’t it great how the judges tell her to be young and not sing “At Last,” then slam her for going young? The problem wasn’t youth or lack of it, but that it was an utterly awful performance. Some consistency from the judges would be nice.
I agree with Simon, but I more agree with Stevie’s mom, who says the exact same thing that I just typed about the judges being inconsistent and confusing.
Anoop “Noop Dogg” Desai: “Angel of Mine” by Monica. This guy is clearly a fan favorite and I think he’ll go through regardless of how he does.
He was a little off, but I don’t think he was as off as they’re saying he was.
And here we go with “too old for you” again. <Sigh>.
Casey Carlson: “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police. No way this ends well.
It doesn’t begin well either.
This wouldn’t be good at the Canary Hut karaoke bar down the street from me.
No one is good at the Canary Hut, by the way.
I’m just typing madly so I have something else to concentrate on other than the performance.
Oh, thank heavens it’s over.
Why does Randy have a clock attached to his wrist?
Here we go with the “young” thing again. Good thing I’m not taking a shot every time they say something like that, although about now that bottle of tequila is looking more and more tempting.
Simon said “karaoke.” Drink!
Michael Sarver: That damned Gavin Degraw song that everyone sings. Man, I liked this guy up until now, but this is grab-the-ax-and-use-it-on-the-TV awful.
Where’s that tequila? Simon’s going to say “karaoke” again…
Shockingly Simon didn’t say it, and was much too kind. That was appalling.
Ann Marie Boskovich: “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. Can we please, please, abolish this song? What on earth is anyone thinking doing this–everyone is sick of this song, except for, I guess, American Idol contestants. Ann Marie is flat throughout, and ought to go home, except for, believe it or not, there were worse performances tonight.
“Young” again. Now I really am going to grab the tequila.
“Hotel singer” from Simon. Not “cruise ship” but close enough. Take a shot.
Stephen Fowler: Now this guy I’ve liked throughout, even when he screwed up the lyrics the last day. “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson. Now here’s a risk. Very difficult to pull this one off.
Uh-oh. The vocal sounds fine, but he’s off the beat. Getting it back together now. Good. This is a tough song to do right, and even though he falls a little short, it’s probably good enough to go through.
The judges are being very harsh on him. Given some of the things I’ve heard tonight, I don’t know that that’s fair, at least in relative terms. Simon is right about the arrangement being awful, but is that Stephen Fowler’s fault?
Oh, no, here comes Tatiana del Toro: “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston.
And Tatiana will live to see another day. That wasn’t bad at all. Damn it! At least she’s not talking all that much.
Danny Gokey: Wow, this show isn’t rigged at all! The two people who got the most airtime before the voting rounds get the last two slots! I understand that they have ratings to attend to, but this isn’t fair to the other contestants.
“Hero” by Mariah Carey. I’ve like this guy up until now, but I don’t like this at all. For starters, he had previously exhibited decent taste in music. This song is horrible, and there is simply nothing memorable about his performance. He’ll make it through, but it may be that Danny Gokey was more a function of good editing than anything else, if I’m to judge by finally seeing him live.
The crowd and the judges love it. Bullshit. That was crap.
Simon is harsh, but not harsh enough. And it’s tragic that Mr. Gokey’s wife died, but there’s something not right about the producers beating us over the head with it all the time.
I think he can do better than that, and I hope he does.
Coming tomorrow (or maybe the episode after tomorrow’s)–the producers beat us over the head with the fact that a contestant is blind!
Guess I’m not doing so hot at not being snarky.