Wednesday, April 29, 2009

finding the top four: a SIMULBLOG!...

Four of the five remaining kids will get to work next week with Slash and sing a rock song or two, but one of them will have a Rat Pack standard as a swan song tonight as we cut the field to four.

Because THIS is American Idol. And this is a simulblog, where I'm typing as fast as I can as the action is happening live on the East Coast, so if you want to be surprised, now's the time to find the exit.

Because the show is about to start!


Ryan tells us that over 47 million votes were phoned in. Simon compliments all five kids, calling it an open competition. (Yeah, an competition to see who's going up against Adam.)

The Ford video is very colorful in a very black and white sort of way. The group sing with five is really more of a collection of solos, which is not a complaint.

After a disgusting food fight (you'll have to watch) for which Danny gets a $6,000 housecleaning bill, the kids are brought center stage.

Matt is given his reviews and told to stand to the right of the stage.

Danny is reminded of his reviews, talks far too much, and is sent to the left side of the stage.

Allison gets the normal treatment, and is sent to join Team Danny.

It's Kris' turn. And he's sent to join Team Matt.

Adam is left. He's asked which group he thinks he belongs with. He chooses Team Danny. Ryan corrects him and sends him to join Kris and Matt in the bottom three.

Adam, Kris and Matt in the bottom three.

Natalie Cole is one of the musical guests. She looks great.

We get a look at Danny and Allison, sitting safely on the stage and a backstage glimpse of Adam, Kris and Matt, chatting it up, waiting to be called back front and center.

After a commerical break, we get a visit from Taylor Hicks. Soul Patrol! It was good to see him.

The bottom dwellers are summoned to the stage. One of them gets a free pass back to safety. And it's...Kris.

Matt and Adam are the bottom two. Quelle surprise.

Jamie Foxx takes the stage to sing his new single, proving that one does not need be a great vocalist to have a hit record. All one needs is the proper electronic equipment.

Ryan reminds Simon that he was a little off his judging game last night. So true.

The lights are dimmed. Adam is told he's safe. He hugs Matt.

That was no surprise. Of the five, he was the weakest remaining. He watches his goodbye video.

He sings out the show as his castmates surround him.

So long Matt, and good luck.

See you next week!

Labels: , , , , ,

5 singers, 5 songs, the wet episode...

Okay, so I wasn't exactly pleased when I learned that, for the first time in eight seasons, the top five kids would not be singing two selections from the Rat Pack catalog. I didn't miss the pre-performance/mentor/prep taped packages last week. But I did like Jamie Foxx's advice to the kids, especially the truth that the songs they are choosing will be around for long after American Idol has become a footnote in pop culture history.

And the kids gave the songs that respect, pretty much across the board.

I still woulda liked 10 of them, though. (But the show not only woulda intruded on Fringe, it probably would have butted into the late news. Somebody check the producers for flu-like symptoms, please.)

Anyway, here they are, my impressions, for what they're worth, and, as usual, from worst to first.

Matt Giraud (My Funny Valentine). I love this song, but oh Matt. I know it's an unfair (and unofficial) rule that you shouldn't try to perform a song that's still memorable from seasons past. Melinda Doolittle killed this song two seasons ago, and any attempt at a remake is sure to be compared. Jamie Foxx tells Matt to just sing the song. I have told Matt to just sing the song. Just sing the song! And to his credit he does limit the vocal acrobatics, but, while he obviously respects and crawls into the song, it's - by far - the weakest performance of the night. And pretty much the only one I really didn't totally enjoy.

Kris Allen (The Way You Look Tonight). Oh I love this song. And I love Kris. And I really liked Kris singing this song. I don't agree with Randy that it was his best performance of the season - I think that came two weeks ago - but Kris continues to show exactly what type of artist he is, what type of music he would produce. Simon tells him his performance was a bit "wet" and then throws in a puppy analogy. All I know is that when I use "puppy" and "wet" in the same sentence, it's usually accompanied by naughty words. I don't know what in the hell Simon meant.

Danny Gokey (Come Rain or Come Shine). I love this song. And for probably the first time since the semi-finals, I enjoyed Danny! Okay, so I coulda done without him taking the song to church at the end, but I give him credit for the switch-up. I still don't think he belongs in the finale, and frankly I'm getting sick and tired of Paula dismissing the remaining contestants by her constant insistence that the finale is set, but this performance may have picked Gokey up a few more fans to add to the base he had before live singing ever started.

Allison Iraheta (Someone to Watch Over Me). I love this song. I love Allison. And I loved Allison's version of the song. (She's not 16 anymore!) I did not love Simon's attempt at trapping her into a lose/lose question, asking her if she felt she could win. And I don't know what Simon was thinking, calling this performance "mechanical." For me it was a genuine, heartfelt, from the gut, gritty performance, the huskiness of her voice fitting perfectly in a genre that could have posed problems for a lesser vocalist. (She's 17 now!) Now if she would just work a bit on her enunciation... (Maybe when she's 18 she will...)

Adam Lambert (Feeling Good). Adam's was, without compare, the best entrance ever in the history of this show. I have watched the video numerous times just for the sashay. So I kinda sorta agreed with Randy that this was a tad more theatrical than necessary, but it's Adam, so what do we expect. I don't even bother discussing Adam's vocal perfection at this point of the season, because it's like reminding everyone that the oxygen was good, so what put him at the top for me this week is what I've come to love from him: the voiceless expressions. The mischievous eyes, the smirk, the subliminal smile. I admire that ability in a performer, the ability to communicate without the use of any vocal cord. And, in this one performance, Adam's face spoke volumes, and was the best of a very good night.

So who does that leave on the Midnight Train to Georgia? I doubt they'll draw a final three (but then I thought they'd sing two songs, too, so what do I know.) But this is my blog, so I'll choose a final whatever-I-want.

Who should: Matt and Kris.
Who I want: Matt and Danny.
Who will: Matt and Allison.

I think Simon's death wish (reverse psychology?) on Allison, telling her she might be in trouble, will be enough fire under her voters (and new voters who just get ticked off when Simon does that) to withstand any ouster. Matt has used up pretty much all of his lives, and escaped the bottom three last week when he should have landed there. It's his time to go. And go he will.

Tonight we'll have Natalie Cole and a Taylor Hicks return. Next week it's Rock Week with Daughtry.

See you tonight as we trim the field to four.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the top 5: scooby dooby doo... (UPDATED)

It's final five week, and of course that means ten songs. And the songs will come from the big band standards made famous by that famous rat pack of guys who tooled and fooled around in Las Vegas back in the day: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Dean Martin.

UPDATE: The kids will each sing ONE song. Obviously no one can be trusted to stick with the traditional two because with four mouthy judges, a mentor (Jamie Foxx) who must be featured in pre-performance clips and two days worth of commercials to sell, the show just cannot be completed in one hour. Geesh this show is sinking. (See commentary linked below.)

I can't wait to see the spin Adam Lambert is going to put on these classics. All of them, actually, should do quite well. I don't think there's anything Kris can't handle, and these songs are made for a piano man like Matt. Allison might be the one to watch, and let's hope she survives through to the final four, where "rock" is the theme.

Taylor Hicks is getting the invitation for tomorrow's results show, and by all reports, Daughtry is on tap to visit next week.

I'll be sharing my thoughts on the final five (and ranting if the producers can't bring the show in under an hour) tomorrow. Please stop by and rant with me.

I love these songs, so I'm looking forward to a treat.

While you're waiting for the show to begin, though, you might want to check out this assessment of the chaos that is Season 8. I can't help but agree with virtually every word.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

from seven to five: a SIMULBLOG!...

Might we be in for a shocking double elimination? Might we be in for one shocking and one not-so-shocking boot?

This is about the time in the season where the unpredictable predictably happens, and with no "save" to protect the favored who knows. That's what makes the show fun. And maddening.

Because THIS is American Idol. And this is a Simulblog, where I'm writing as fast as I can, typos and all, while the action is happening live in the east, so if it's not on where you are and you want to be shocked at the result, then time to go elsewhere. But come back when you know and dish with the rest of us.

Because the show is about to start.

Ryan opens the show wishing us all a Happy Earth Day! Green Power! There were 45 million votes tallied last night.

Paula is the choreographer for tonight's group sing. This could be interesting, considering the highlights of the rehearsal session.

Well, it's definitely ugly with polyester leisure suits. (What were we thinking in the 70s?) But they look like they're having fun and it wasn't half bad. Paula is called to the stage and the kids present her with a flower bouquet approximately the size of Utah.

The Crappy Ford Commercial celebrates Earth Day.

The lights are dimmed.

Lil is told to stand. She's reminded of her really bad reviews from last night. She's sent to the far side of the stage.

And she's sent home. WOW. That was a quick kill.

They make her sing again.

Freda Payne is on the stage. Okay, now that's one non-Idol related artist I can welcome on results night. She sings Band of Gold, of course. Thelma Houston is next and sings Don't Leave Me This Way. K.C. without the Sunshine Band (but with some unidentified singer/dancers) shows up with Get Down Tonight.

The kids are back on the sofa, and Ryan is back at the podium.

Kris is told to stand. They rehash the whole ladies department/clothing nonsense from last night. And he's safe.

Adam is next. He's safe.

Danny's turn. He's wearing his contacts again. And he's safe too.

Anoop is told to stand. He's in the bottom three and takes a stool.

Allison and Matt are told to stand. Matt is safe; Allison is sent to join Anoop on the naughty stools.

Archie has returned! Is it possible that he looks even younger than last year? Or is it just me. He's keeping his eyes open! Yay Archie! Can't say I'm fond of the song, but I hope he sells a gazillion copies of it.

Anoop and Allison are standing center stage. Anoop is told the bad news. He gets a big hug from his castmate. The crowd stands, obviously appreciating this classy young man. He reprises his song from last night and this time hits his final note and properly puts all of the lyrics in their proper places. Much nicer.

We get to watch two funeral videos as we say goodbye to Anoop and Lil and hello to the top five who will sing two songs each next week.

See you then.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

seven singers doing donna summer...

Okay, so not all seven chose Donna Summer songs (and regrettably, none of them chose It's Raining Men - bummer), but you can't say (or sing) Disco without the Diva of Disco, so it's not surprising that nearly half of the group dug out the Summer Songbook.

Let's just sum up the top-seven-which-was-supposed-to-be-the-top-six episode neatly and concisely:

Kris and Adam rocked, which was good.
The others didn't, which was not good.
The show cut the filler crap, which was good.
Disco was, and is, a crap theme, which was not good.
The background singers were on the stage a lot, which was good.
The background singers were mostly better than the singer they shared the stage with, which was not good.
The band was good, which was good.
The judges were, as usual, childish, which was not good.
Lil's mother looked about ready to beat the crap out of the judges, which was hysterically good.
The camera panned away from her just as the good words were coming out of her mouth, which was totally not fair.

That about sums it up.

Here we go, from worst (in pretty much any order that you want to put them in) to first (which essentially ended up in a tie for me):

Anoop Desai (Dim All the Lights). What in the name of Donna Summer was this song? It's one thing to switch up a song to "make it your own", but when you turn it into something unrecognizable, that's called destroying a song. So if you're gonna destroy a song, better sing it well. Anoop did, but didn't. But I did like the pink sweater.

Lil Rounds (I'm Every Woman). My theory is this: the producers, hell-bent on deep-sixing Lil this week, gave her three song titles from which to choose, this one, Vincent [season two reference that Clay Aiken fans will understand] and Happy Feet [nod to the Syesha fan out there]. She shoulda stuck with the Donna Summer theme, because this didn't work. Although, Simon might have bought her a stay of execution with his prediction that it was her last time on the stage. (Note to Simon: that usually backfires!)

Matt Giraud (Stayin' Alive). Yes Matt, you stayed alive last week, but it wasn't entirely necessary to sing an ode to it. It wasn't as bad as some of Matt's past performances, but when Simon noted that the outing smacked of "desperation", I couldn't help but agree.

Allison Iraheta (Hot Stuff). Who is giving this girl fashion advice? It took me about 45 seconds out of the front of this number to realize I hadn't heard a word because I was distracted by Allison's wardrobe. It took me the next 10 seconds to figure out I wasn't enjoying it. Another Allison disappointment and Simon calls it brilliant. Allison was brilliant a few weeks ago, and Simon said she had no personality. Are we watching the same show?

Danny Gokey (September). I had a Season 4 flashback to Anwar when I heard that Gokey had chosen this Earth, Wind and Fire song, but I was somewhat surprised to find myself entertained, despite the attempt at dancing. (Note to Danny: you can't dance. So don't.) I think this was his best vocal outing in weeks.

Adam Lambert (If I Can't Have You). I loved the arrangement (and loved that Adam took the effort to credit Michael Orland for it). I loved the understated performance. I loved the lighting. I loved the suit. I did not love the hair.

Kris Allen (She Works Hard for the Money). I loved the arrangement. I loved the unexpected choice of a Donna Summer song (despite the infantile women's clothing banter that followed among the adolescents at the judges table). I loved the drummers on stage. And I loved the hair, which puts Kris, once again, at the top of my list. By a hair.

We're dumping two tonight!!! YAY for US!

Who should: Anoop, Lil, Matt
Who I want: Anoop, Lil, Matt
Who will: Anoop, Lil, Matt

Anoop will go first, and I will get a phone call from my 11-year-old grandson, lamenting about how unfair this show, America and life is.

Lil will go next and the camera will go to dark just as Lil's Mom makes a homicidal lunge at the judges. Film at 11.

And, since it's Disco week, David Archuleta, king of Disco, will be the featured guest.

Because THIS is American Idol.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

we will survive...

Grab your polyester and dig out the platform shoes.

It's DISCO time on American Idol.

Get the Tylenol (or your favorite adult beverage) while you're at it. Yes we will survive it, we always have, but this is one night that promises at least one trainwreck.

This should be the perfect platform for Adam Lambert (but honestly, what genre hasn't been or could be?) and could possibly give Lil a last-minute gasp of survivability (but what makes us think she would choose the right song this week when she's got a perfect record so far?) Allison Iraheta could surprise us, but I can't help but cringe at the thought of Anoop and what he might choose.

Let's hope that without a mentor to eat up valuable time with the pre-performance clips, they've been able to streamline the show to bring it in on time.

I'll be sharing my thoughts on the night sometime tomorrow, so for now, the comment section is an open thread to blast away.

Even though You Should Be Dancing...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

and to think it only took them 4 months to figure it out...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

getting to a half dozen: a SIMULBLOG!...

There will be no Academy Awards handed out after last night's Songs of the Cinema production, but somebody's gonna get the ax before the night is over.

Because THIS is American Idol. And this is a simulblog, where I'm typing as the action is unfolding on the East Coast, so if you don't want to know the results, now's the time to go get some popcorn and take a potty break. But come back and dish with the rest of us.

Because the show is about to start!

The Ford video is to Freeze Frame, with magazine covers and a Ford car. The group sing is pretty thin with undetectable harmony. It's not been a good season for group sings.

[Blogger is really messing up tonight, so if I suddenly disappear, you will understand why.]

Ryan and the kids chat about working with QT, and we get to see the highlights of the kids' visit to the premiere of 17 Again.

Time to dim the lights.

Allison is told to stand. She gets her reviews from last night. She is safe.

Adam is next. He's okay.

Time for Anoop. He's heading to the bad stools for the third straight week.

Jennifer Hudson returns to Idol's stage. She's FAB.

Ryan kills more time by chatting with Anoop on the stools of death.

Kris is told to stand. Lil is told to join him. They get reminded of last night's reviews. Simon gets an opportunity to tell Kris he was "brilliant". Lil is sent to join Anoop on the stools.

Time for Matt and Danny. Danny's wearing his glasses tonight. Danny is safe and Matt heads for the corner.

Kara thinks the bottom three deserves their fate. Paula babbles.

Ryan sends Anoop back to the safety of the sofa.

It's time for that teen sensation Hannah Miley Montana Cyrus, and since I would rather hear nails on a chalkboard, I think it's a good time for me to take a break from the television.

Simon says the judges might consider either Matt or Lil, but not both. I think he's talking about Matt, because he did not hide his disgust with Lil last night at all.

After the two are forced to wait through an endless commercial break, the lights are dimmed. Over 36 million votes came in last night. Lil is told she's safe, leaving Matt on the stage alone.

Matt is forced to sing his song without benefit of the piano, while the judges go through their charade of "discussing" the save. This performance is a thousand times better than last night.

And the judges throw him a lifesaver. Or a show-saver, as it were.

Matt is in tears as the kids gather around for hugs. Simon reminds the group that next week two of them are getting executed after they've been forced to sing Disco.

So nobody leaves. We're still at seven.

See you next week.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

the top 7: special sauce edition...

Well, there went 63 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

For the first time during the finals of the eighth season, the seven remaining contestants turned in what can only be described as a snoozefest. Only one of them chose a movie song that had any semblence of tempo, and then turned it into a screamfest and only one of them selected a song from a movie produced in the last five years.

But two of them, apparently are sipping "special sauce." Paula knows special sauce when she smells it.

But before I critique the kids, I gotta blast away at the other folks.

For seven seasons, with Nigel Lythgoe at the helm and (usually but not always) three judges at the table, this show has been able to bring a live performance episode in under an hour. No one was rushed (at least until the very end) usually, and each kid was given a full-panel critique. (Not always a good critique, yo dawg, but feedback from each judge.

Last night, because the show was scheduled for an hour and there were a whole seven kids singing and 40 minutes of commercial time sold, the kids were given feedback from just half the judging panel. Ryan called it historic. I call it a cop out.

Who knew the show would sink the minute Nigel jumped ship?

If the show is running long, why do we have four judges, one of whom adds nothing of any consequence, one of whom can't speak English most of the time, one of whom is in the special sauce (even though she, by comparison to the newbie, is becoming more and more lucid and appreciated) and the other of whom looks as bored as a man at a Tupperware party?

If the show is running long, why do some contestants and not others, get to chat for an extended time pre-performance about purchasing a guitar that he can't play and has no intention of playing on the show?

Fix the show. It's that simple. Can the director. (And the sound guy too while you're at it.) Deep-six the fourth judge. Knock off the pre-performance chit-chat. And pay Nigel whatever he wants to return.

Tonight, one of the seven will head off the stage into the land of talk-show appearances. It's anyone's guess who it will be, even though dialidol shows Kris, Allison and Matt as the most in danger. None of them turned in performances boot-worthy. Unfortunately for us, though, none of them turned in anything worthy at all.

It was just the little episode that could. And didn't.

So here they are, my rankings, which could have as easily been thrown in a basket and ordered as they were drawn, but, as best as I can, listed from worst to first.

Matt Giraud (Have You Really Loved a Woman). It's becoming tradition that when a contestant in the pre-performance clip says he chose his song because "he loves it" that that's gonna be bad news. Matt fulfills that prophecy by mangling this number with too many vocal acrobats, which kind of leaves him gasping for air at the end.

Lil Rounds (The Rose). Lil needs to find a song without any sustained notes, because she can't sustain them. In weeks past she's gone flat. With this song she goes sharp anytime the note lasts for more than two seconds. I liked her attempt at gospel-ing the second half of the song, but the ending and that last note that went south is what I'll remember. Simon, with limited time because the show's gone long, gives her the Idol kiss of death (which will bring out the sympathy vote in large numbers) before Lil snaps back that she's trying to do what they want her to do.

Anoop Desai (Everything I Do I Do it for You). Everything this performance had in terms of vocal perfection, it lacked in anything energetic. Anoop knows his strength is in the power ballad, but dang, it's getting boring. He should know, after his visit to the stools and edging Scott last week by a handful of votes that he's on borrowed time. He needs to ramp up the tempo - without going over the edge - and work on switching up the appearance. Or he's not long for this show.

Allison Iraheta (Don't Wanna Miss a Thing). Allison starts the show with her worst performance to date. And suddenly Simon realizes she's there, throwing Lil under the bus while Lil's still getting her wig adjusted backstage. Allison, who is normally spot on musically, struggles with the lower opening parts and seems never to find her niche. But at least her feet are not glued to the floor, and her performance of the song compensates somewhat for the lack of vocal quality.

Danny Gokey (Endless Love). This is not a one-person song, no matter how emotionally-attached Danny is to it, as evidenced by the not-so-subtle heavenly glance at the end. It's too bad I couldn't detect an ounce of emotion in the performance. Simon noted that it was disappointing that Danny didn't change up the song like David Cook altered another Lionel Ritchie song last season. Simon, there are some songs you don't change. And this is one. That's meant for two.

Adam Lambert (Born to be Wild). Too bad all of the energy produced in this show occurred in the middle of the show. Okay, I love Adam. I love this song. I wasn't crazy about the over-the-top screech-fest performance, but every note was perfection, as usual, and it didn't bore me to tears. But it won't make my list of best season eight moments, that's for sure.

Kris Allen (Falling Slowly). Kris' only misstep here was not playing the guitar. This song, with guitar, sitting on a stool, would have been better. Yes it was soft. It was a ballad. But it was the only ballad of the night worth rewatching. Every note was pure. Kris poured more emotion into this song than all of the other attempts combined. Randy must have sniffed some of Paula's special sauce to call this pitchy. And for once Kara was exactly right: it was Kris' finest moment. And the best of the night.

So there are my reviews. Now it's your turn.

Who should: Anoop, Matt, Lil
Who I want: Lil, Anoop, Matt
Who will: Anoop, Matt, Kris

At this point the only people with a serious shot at a judges "save" are Adam, Danny, Kris and Allison. Anoop's time is finally up, and he'll be the one listening to Carrie Underwood crooning to his funeral video.

The only BIG questions for tonight?

Who will get "Huff-ed?" and will Miley Cyrus make all seven Idols sound like superstars?

My guesses: Adam and Yes.

Remember, Jennifer Hudson makes her Idol stage return!!

See you tonight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the top 7: pass the popcorn...

It's Movie Night on American Idol!

Or, two hours before the performance episode, I might suggest it be called Adam Lambert night, as only Broadway night would be more up his alley.

Quentin Tarantino makes his first return since Season 3, but this time as the behind-the-scene mentor, as the kids choose songs from the movies, episodes of which historically have brought us some of the most memorable performances.

How much you wanna bet that Lil Rounds takes on Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing or something out of Dreamgirls? How much you wanna bet that she'll be the new VFTW princess?

The big question, though, is whether the judges/producers/director/host can bring the show in within its allotted time.

I will be curiously watching, and of course will tell you how much I hated pretty much everything, but not tonight. Tomorrow. But I'll be back live tomorrow night for the killing. So use up the comment threads to throw virtual tomatoes at the kids, at the judges (aim for Kara, please), at the sound guys, at Tarantino or at the mosh pit.

And check back in with me on Wednesday.

EDITED TO ADD: You want song spoilers? Check out MJ's Blog.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

seven is better: a SIMULBLOG!...

What was a group of eight yesterday becomes a team of seven tonight, as we cast aside yet another hopeful, leaving him alone and lonely along the side of the stage without a lyric to sing until the finale.

Thank God, another is getting whacked. As long as it's the right one.

Because THIS is American Idol. And this is a Simulblog, where I'm typing as fast as I can to describe the action as it's unfolding (and taking too damn long) on the East Coast, so if you want to watch in "real" time, find somewhere else to hang out for the next hour.

Because the show is about to start!

Ryan starts the show chatting with the judges, most of whom express overall disappointment over last night's episode. And, of course, we get a little more "year you were born" humor, which culminates with a super special surprise guest that makes me stop, smile and applaud. I ain't giving that one away.

The group song celebrates 2002, the year American Idol was born. This is just not good. Maybe it's the song. Maybe it's the combination. Maybe it's mute button time.

We're taken behind the scenes of the making of the Ford "video". The kids are magicians. There is a car. You get it.

We're back live and Ryan is quizzing Adam about last night's Simon standing O. No mention of the O not being recorded by DVRs all over the country. An "our bad" would have been nice.

Hey look! It's the mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan!! He's there to see Matt.

Time to do it.

Adam and Kris are told to stand. Anoop is told to join them. The judges are given a chance to critique Adam, and he's told to sit down.

The two that are not Adam are reminded of their comments last night and Anoop is sent to the bad stools.

Flo-Rida is this week's non-Idol affiliated, no-reason-to-be-here-except-to-hawk-CD guest. At least I am enjoying his performance. That's a first. Man, they're even throwing out the streamers and confetti.

We're back. Danny is told to stand. He's safe.

Matt is next. Ryan tries to fool him before telling him to sit down.

Scott's turn. He's sent to join Anoop on the naughty stools.

Allison is told to stand. Lil is told to join her. They are reminded of their reviews. Allison is safe, and Lil is given her first ticket to the dark side.

Simon says there are two - one in particular - of the three that would be considered for a save. I don't believe it for a minute.

Pickler is next.

Pickler takes the stage, flirts with Simon and warbles through a song that I really don't like.

The trio in trouble is brought center stage. Time to send somebody to safety. Lil is given another chance, leaving Anoop and Scott to wait through a commercial.

The lights are dimmed. Thirty-four million votes were called in. Scott gets the axe. He looks both sad and stunned. I feel sad for him. He reprises last night's song without the weight of the guitar. I hope it's better.

The drama is spread out far beyond what it's worth. Simon puts us out of our misery and sends Scott home. He gets hugs from his colleagues as we watch his journey.

Good luck Scott. You did good.

See you next week!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

no lifeguard on duty...

Okay, I think I have officially gone off the edge with this show.

In the course of eight seasons, we have watched twelve singers sing for 90 seconds each, have their critiques, endured pointless banter, and suffered through commercials, all in a paced, though sometimes rushed, one-hour show.

This year's crew struggled to cram eight singers into 75 minutes, once again leaving TiVo watchers without the best part of the program.

Grow up American Idol. And get rid of one of the judges.

Even omitting (thank you) the indulgent on-stage introduction of the four judges who we already know and don't care about and whose baby pictures could have been saved for the already-too-long results show, last night's program, slated for exactly 61 minutes, ended around 15 minutes late. As a result, the early singers had more than enough critique and the later (and better) ones were left with two and three word responses.

Good thing the best got saved for last.

And one more thing, while I'm in the mood to rant. I'm officially now sick and tired of the judges constantly harping that the kid who chose the wrong song when there were "millions" to choose from during the year, say, 1985, was "indulgent" "stupid" "ill-advised or otherwise insane to have performed the song he or she did.

Get real Simon. We are not new. We know the score. And even though I think "millions" is a bit of a stretch for any one calendar year, we are not stupid. These kids are handed a list of maybe (if they're lucky) ten titles that have been cleared and that the producers have chosen. They are not handed the Billboard chart and given free reign. You know that; we know that.

So shut up.

There. I'm done. For now.

Anyway, as the last eight standing celebrated the one year none of them remember because they were busy pooping in their Pampers at the time, here are my impressions, tempered with anger over everything except them, but as normal, from worst to first.

Scott MacIntyre (The Search is Over). Oh what can I say. Scott, get your ass back on the piano bench. I respected his switch to the guitar, even though I think he'd have been better off with just the microphone. This song was just too big for him. I so want Scott to succeed every time he's on that stage, but even I had to wince when he went for the glory notes that just weren't there. But I giggled and gave him major points for the humor. And I think a lot of voters will too.

Kris Allen (All She Wants to Do is Dance). Stay out of the mosh pit!! Matt went there and drowned. Now Kris is the victim. No lifeguard is on duty!! Just as Kris was riding safely on the up escalator, he catches his toe and stumbles through this wacked-out arrangement that had virtually no resemblance to the original. Even Kris' good looks couldn't keep me from wanting this performance to end. Swiftly.

Lil Rounds (What's Love Got to Do With It). The judges, again, tell Lil she's this year's Mary J. Blige contestant, and they crucify her, again, for not crawling into her box. The girl cannot win. This was an okay performance from her, better than the last two outings, and would probably win first place in the karaoke bar. And that was the problem. When Paula starts the critique and reduces the performance to nothing more that karaoke, you know there's a problem. There was. This is not what wins American Idol, and, I think, Lil has officially been removed from the backstage top three list. Deservedly.

Anoop Desai (True Colors). Anoop retreats to the safety of the soft balladeer this week, but not before pulling a Justin Guarani and spending his pre-performance time sucking up to the voters he turned off last week after sniping at Kara. (Hey Anoop, you probably got some votes for sniping. Next time punch her. You might win this thing.) Here's the thing. I thought his vocal was great. I like a soft ballad. Sometimes. But I like Cheerios too. Just not at every meal. You can't win this thing without some variety, and snoozy voters can't dial.

Danny Gokey (Stand By Me). Okay, so Mickey Gilley recorded this song in 1980, so technically it qualifies. But Danny's version has no resemblance to the Gilley recording, starting off the song at a snail's pace but cranking up the tempo at the chorus. Not bad. I, like Randy, disliked immensely the arrangement, but at least Danny's not screeching at me this week, and for that I say thanks. I still don't get the over-the-top judges love, but it was one of Danny's better vocal outings.

Matt Giraud (Part-Time Lover). Hey. This is Kevin Covais' song. So Matt loses points off the top for tarnishing my memory of that season five classic. (Pardon me for a second. I'm cracking myself up...) Okay, I'm back. And so is the real Matt, out of the lethel mosh pit and complete with sexy hat. This wasn't my favorite Matt performance - too many riffs and runs for my taste, but exactly what Kara asked for - but he proved again why he deserves to be there. I wasn't as gushing with praise as the judges were, but it was certainly one of the best of the evening. I still love Chicken Little though.

Allison Iraheta (I Can't Make You Love Me). Allison is 16. She sings like she's 40. Everything about this performance is right. She scales it back as it should be. She doesn't oversell it, she just lets her incredible vocal skill take the song, while controlling it exactly as she should. She's the first female I've loved so enthusiastically since Kelly Clarkson, and Randy gives her some good advice, building on Simon's observation that she needs to ramp up the personality aspect. There's no reason on this earth why this girl has been in the bottom three twice, except to remember that American Idol is not, as advertised incessantly, a singing competition. It's a popularity contest. Play the game Allison.

Adam Lambert (Mad World). Every now and then on this show, there is a moment. It's a moment that absorbs you into the performance. They are few, but they are memorable. And they are remembered years after the last note has been sung. In some ways it was a shame that because Adam closed the show, the judges had no time, save for Simon, to react. And in other ways, it's fitting that only Simon had the chance. A simple standing ovation, for the first time in eight seasons from the cranky one was critique enough. This was breathtaking.

So there you have it. Rants and all. (Disclaimer: yes, I peeked at dialidol, but it didn't change my mind.)

Who should: Scott, Lil, Anoop
Who I want: Scott, Lil, Anoop
Who will: Scott, Anoop, Kris

There will be no save. Anoop will say goodbye.

Kellie Pickler is gonna be back tonight! I'll see y'all then.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

happy birthyears!...

Final eight time is usually when things start heating up. Let's hope so.

They're celebrating their "eight-ness" by celebrating the music from the years they were born, which essentially guarantees an 80s night and Allison. (She's 16. She was born in the 90s. Pass the Centrum Silver, please.)

The questions:

Will Adam look like old Adam, who we love or new Adam, who we love?
Will Scott step away from the piano like Paula wants, or will he stay at the keyboard like everyone else wants?
Who will Matt be tonight?
Will Anoop really try to dance again?
What color will Danny's glasses be?
What color will Allison's hair be?
Will Lil have given her babies boxing lessons so they can take Randy out?
Will Jennifer fall more in love with Kris?
Will the judges act like grown ups?
Will Kara say something original that actually makes sense?

Yes. Those are the questions.

I will let you know the answers, and my views on the whole disaster extravaganza, tomorrow. But in the meantime, the comment thread is open season for all of us to let off steam as the evening progresses.

Have at it. And I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

9 becomes 8: a SIMULBLOG...

We're going to lose some more of the dead weight on April Fool's Day. (Let's hope they don't pull a "never mind, nobody leaves" act and hope that they pull a "check it out, half of you are dead" routine.)

David Cook and Lady Gaga are supposed to be the guests on a week that saw no mentors, no real theme, no Idol moments but plenty of filler. We're in for more filler tonight because despite trimming the performance show to one hour, 25 minutes (huh?), we're still being subjected to the painfully long 60 minute results.

Because THIS is American Idol. And this is a simulblog, where I'm typing as fast as the law allows while the action is happening live in the east, so if you don't wanna know, now's the time to take a nap or catch up with the absolutely terrific
Idoltry videos. But stop back by once you know who has bitten the dust to share your thoughts with the rest of us.

Because the show is about to start...

Over 36 million votes were phoned in last night, so Ryan concludes that this is the most popular group in the show's history.

Randy is still criticizing song selection. Kara invites the audience to boo her, like we need the extra incentive to hate her. Paula assures the other eight kids that she thinks they have the potential to be like Adam. Simon says half of the group could be in trouble. Megan waves at the crowd.

We get a very strange Ford video right off the bat. And then the kids, with Scott at the keyboard, launch into Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. This group has absolutely no dance ability. They have the pointy pose thing down pat, but the best they can manage in the way of foot movement is walking around in circles.

The kids are on the sofa and Ryan is at his post. We get a glimpse into a day in the life of an American Idol contestant. They are busy taking pictures, rehearsing, eating quadruple chocolate cake and making sexy faces.

The lights are dimmed.

Megan is told to stand. And so is Matt. Kris too. They are told to stand on the far side of the stage.

Adam stands, followed by Lil and Allison. They are sent to the center stage.

The other three, Scott, Danny and Anoop are sent to the near side of the stage.

Ryan asks if one of these groups could be the bottom three. Boy he is using the word could a lot on April Fool's Day.

David Cook is back (complete with his mom) singing his new single Come Back to Me. Excuse me while I remember how much I loved last season. :::sniff:::

He sounds terrific and gets presented with his Platinum record plaque. Platinum in three months. YAY!!

The groups are standing on the stage, and Ryan has his cards.

He starts with Kris. He's reminded of his reviews from last night. And he's sent to the safety of the sofa.

Time for Matt. He says he has no regrets about his performance last night. He's sent to join Kris.

Megan is left. I think we all know how this is gonna go. She is sent to the bad stool.

Time for Team Adam with Lil and Allison.

Lil is sent to the safe place. Allison is told to join Megan on the bad stools. At this rate, Allison is going to be the new Kim Locke/Syesha Mercado.

Adam is told he's safe, of course, considering he's Adam and the only one left of the three.

Danny's turn. He's safe.

Scott and Anoop are reminded of their reviews. Anoop says Scott should be safe. Very gracious. And he's right. Anoop joins the girls on the bad stools.

We're teased with a Lady Gaga introduction as they cut to yet another hour of commercials.

And sing she does. I'm not sure there are words to describe this. So I won't try.

Ryan asks Simon if any of the bottom three should be saved. "Just one," he replies. Bet that ain't Megan or Anoop.

Ryan's going to send somebody to sit with the good kids. It's Allison. YAY! She hugs the others as Anoop and Megan lock arms.

Megan is told she's toast. Simon tells her she doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting saved, and she should enjoy her "swan song." So she does, pulling out every quirky and dorky dance move in her handbag.

See ya Megan.

See you next week.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

no more downloads please...

Top downloads night kinda provided something for everyone. Some of the kids selected recent hits, some chose adult contemporary songs and a few reached back into the archives for some golden oldies.

And some were good, some not so good and others were simply present. In other words, I'm glad I watched the show on TiVo and chose to go to bed last night instead.

So here they are, my thoughts for what they're worth, and listed from worst to first:

Megan Joy (Turn Your Lights Down Low). I'm sorry, but I can't for the life of me figure out why Megan is still in this competition when Alexis Grace is watching from her living room. I just can't.

Anoop Desai (Caught Up). I appreciate that Anoop took a break from ballad-land this week, and this performance was nowhere near Beat It level, but despite a decent vocal, his attempt at imitating Usher just didn't work for me.

Lil Rounds (I Surrender). She's trying too hard. She says in her taped piece that she's finally chosen the right song. Wrong. Just like last week, she's flat all over the place and seems so desperate to hit those power notes that it came off more like screeching than singing. But the little bit at the end, as Lil is wiping her tears after getting bruised by the judges, with the Lil kids was cute.

Matt Giraud (You Found Me). We finally found Matt, oddly sitting at the keyboard in the middle of the mosh pit. That was awkward. Also awkward was this performance, right from the start, and while it got somewhat better as the song went on, might spell trouble for the guy on results night. Maybe they can place the bad stools in the mosh pit.

Danny Gokey (What Hurts the Most). While this performance was better than last week's, I just don't get the judges. He delivered the song well emotionally, but it just seemed strident and, at times, borderline screaming.

Scott MacIntyre (Just the Way You Are). Simon was right that this was Scott's best performance to date. I actually didn't hit the FFW button. I loved that the band took a breather and left just Scott with his piano, but as much as I enjoyed it, he's still so outclassed in this group. I think he bought himself some time, but not much.

Adam Lambert (Play that Funky Music). I am still lurving the hair and scaled back makeup. What an odd choice for Adam to sing, but the judges were right that it was an awesome arrangement, delivered flawlessly like we've come to expect from Adam. But I still don't like the song.

Allison Iraheta (Don't Speak). Yes, she looked like a Bratz doll on crack, but I loved the addition of the guitar, I loved the vulnerability at the front of the song, she didn't miss a note, even though she had a minor botch of the lyrics. I love this girl to death. (She's 16.)

Kris Allen (Ain't No Sunshine). Holy piano. I wasn't too thrilled when I heard he had chosen this song, because it's one of those songs that has a shrine in my heart, and I don't much like people touching my shrine. But this was the jewel of the night, appropriately put into the pimp spot. Kris just keeps peaking and, as Simon noted correctly, brings more confidence to the stage each week. This was FAB.

So there are my thoughts. Feel free to add yours.

Now the tough part, because I did glance at

Who should: Lil, Megan, Anoop
Who I want: Lil, Megan, Chris Scott
Who will: Megan, Anoop, Matt

And I'm going out on a limb to say that Megan will be forced to "sing for her life", we will be forced to listen again and she and her tattooed arm will wave farewell by the end of the hour tonight.

See you then.

Thanks Rob for the awesome image!