Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson, now there's a stretch!

They had Miley on last year, I think, and she was god awful.


11:10 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Dave said...

I think Allison is going to get Georged tonight. They like to do it to nice people who look like deer in the headlights when they're put on the spot.

Adam is too self-aware and savy about the show to fall for it. After all, only two people have picked a side: George and Taylor. Everyone else has smartly stood/sat in the middle and waited for Seacrest to cut to commercial.

The only way the show will go back to being on time is if the Fox affiliates and Fringe devotees throw a massive hissy-fit. Otherwise, they know they've got a ratings powerhouse on their hands and they can mess with people and their DVRs all they want.

12:26 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger jennifer said...

You know Dave, there are probably people reading who don't know what in the hell we're talking about, LOL.

I doubt Allison, because the victim is always an obviously safe one. Allison, IMO, is not safe, so she would fit neatly into either group. Everyone knows Adam's a lock for F3, so whichever group he would be in would be a giveaway. That's why I predict he'll get the job. And he'll sit mid-stage just like Archie and Bo did.

12:31 PM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous JJ said...

I hope Dial Idol is off (again) and that Kris is not the one going home! They were way off three weeks ago.. right on target two weeks ago and kind of off last week. They had Kris at the bottom last week too and he was fine!! Who I want to go home tonight is Lil. Not Anoop and not Matt. Both of them have had really good performances in the past few weeks but, as far as I'm concerned, Lil has disappointed week after week. I'm still sick that she's still in and Alexis isn't!! But it looks like her fans voted like crazy last night and she is the VFTW pick although I don't think they have as much influence as they'd like to believe.

2:22 PM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good review again - I don't what it is about this years show - I thought maybe at 47 I am just getting too old to enjoy it, but the stage seems way darker this year than last - I hate the four judge panel - and i am not sure if they are picking the wrong songs, or if they just aren't given enough choices. Adam is growing on me and so far he is the only one who has put out any memorable performances.
I hate to say it's kind of a sucky season and it's not the fault of the contestants.

3:32 PM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous chrisROCKS said...

Connie, I agree. This (despite the judges' gushing to the contrary) is NOT a great season loaded with "the most talented group to date." Ugh.

The only person I truly look forward to hearing/seeing week after week is Adam. Love him or hate him, at least he's interesting.

Jennifer, I always look forward to your analysis. Even when I disagree with you on some point, you never cease to entertain me with your wit! Thanks for making me giggle! :D

Anyway, here is my list, worst to first:

Lil - I love her personality. I hate her singing. I've never been on board with the judges: she *can't* sing! Always, always, ALWAYS pitchy! It's especially noticeable on the sustained notes. Her rendition of "The Rose" was just painful for me.

Matt - I love this song and was hopeful that he would do a good job on it. Alas, too many vocal gymnastics ruined a great song. I wish he'd be more consistent cuz I kinda like him.

Allison - Word for word, I agree with you Jennifer. I can't say anything else.

Anoop - When I close my eyes and just listen to him sing, I understand just why he's in this competition. He has a beautiful voice which was displayed to perfection on his choice of songs. But you simply cannot build a career on ballads. And I do not like him on anything *other* than ballads.

Danny - Agreed. This is a duet song. Even so, I love Danny's voice so much that I almost didn't care he sang it solo. I disagree that he showed no emotion. But I would have liked it better if he'd been behind a mic stand and just held onto it, rather than doing all his normal hand gestures. I noticed he cut back on them from previous weeks. But I think as a church worship leader, he's used to doing that and he can't break the habit. It was too distracting for this song (which, I think, was Quentin's point).

Kris - I don't like this song at all. But I think he did a really good job on it. It was a very quiet, sensitive performance. And that's the reason I think he made the right choice by leaving his guitar in the case. Not hiding behind it on stage left him way more vulnerable, which was necessary for the song/performance. He was really good.

Adam - I was scared when I heard what he had planned to sing. And I braced myself. I'm not sure I was on board with all the screeching, BUT...the one thing I LOVE about this guy is that, no matter the song, he is the ONLY one of the group who 100% leaves it ALL on the stage! He makes me smile. He makes me laugh. He makes me cheer. He makes me want to see MORE. And that is why I put him as my number 1.

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

Judges won't save Matt. They *might* save Anoop. They'll definitely save Allison.

See you later on for the results!

6:33 PM, April 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agh...other than Adam's sexiness and theatrics,this year is just plain BLAH.I was talking yesterday with a friend and we were saying that we KNEW the Top 10 last year-
could remember almost every song good and bad,they might not have been the most talented EVER,but ANYONE from last year could probably beat anyone this year hands down.
Even though i like Adam and Danny--
i miss sooooo David Cook,my fave Idol EVER,i always wanna vote for him again every

Going home-??but a guess:

B3-Matt,Kris and Lil

Please go Lil...youve been a huge disappointment all year

7:41 PM, April 15, 2009  

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