Wednesday, April 08, 2009

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.


Anonymous JJ said...

I totally forgot about Chicken Little's version of Part Time Lover!!! oh my!! I'm not sure I appreciate my memory being jogged ;-)
I agree with your assessment almost 100% except I'd have put Lil before Kris. I thought she was awful last night.
I hope you're wrong about Anoop going home tonight.. I really really really want it to be Scott or Lil.
Adam, Allison and Matt were fab!!!
Anoop was pretty good, and Kris, as we well know, could have been better. Danny was good, but kind of boring!!
Scott and Lil were just plain bad!

11:05 AM, April 08, 2009  
Blogger Idol Women said...

Jennifer, you ranked the Idolettes exactly as I would have, which means that you are exceptionally wise and brilliant. And your words about Adam were a poem. Thank you for a fantastic post!

—Lady C

11:17 AM, April 08, 2009  

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Thanks Rob for the awesome image!