is this funny…or disturbing?

I’m going to say it’s a mixture of both. The pile of popcorn instead of cocaine? Sort of funny. Hearing children in elementary school call each other “sons of bees” and “motherfudgers”? Weird. Seeing them act out a scene full of murder and machine guns? It’s just wrong.

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‘american idol’ top 11: too awful to make a witty headline.

I almost didn’t want to write about American Idol again, because I mentally checked out of the show about halfway through last night, and because it was so damn boring/awful/pitchy/etc. that I don’t care who goes home tonight; it could be any one of six people and I’d be happy. But I have some perverse dedication to this blog, even though about four people read it on a regular basis (Hi Mom!), and honestly, last night was just too awful not to discuss. The Idols could pick from any number one single in Billboard‘s 50-year history, and they managed to pick some of the schlockiest, cheesiest, over-performed songs on the list. Guest mentor Miley Cyrus wasn’t as bad as I thought she’d be, although her statement that, “People take me seriously because I take myself seriously,” proves all that is wrong with today’s youth.

Lee Dewyze, my current favorite, started the show with “The Letter,” by the Box Tops. The brass ensemble was borderline hokey, although it was a nice departure from the ‘dude stands behind mic stand with guitar’ performances in Lee’s past. I liked the vocals, and he definitely brought more stage presence, although he clearly had no idea what to do with his left hand, the one not holding the microphone, and flailed it around awkwardly.

Why Paige Miles thought it would be a good idea to pick “Take a Look At Me Now (Against All Odds),” a song already covered on Idol by Corey Clark, George Huff, Jessica Sierra, Scott Savol, Katharine McPhee, and Ramiele Malubay, is something I can’t fathom. Calling her performance ‘pitchy’ is an understatement. My living room cleared when Paige started singing. I think my dog was in pain. The girl sang better when she had laryngitis, for crying out loud. It was just awful.

Another performance that falls into the ‘just awful’ category is Tim Urban‘s take on Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Freddie Mercury rolled over in his grave, for sure, during Tim’s performance. There was nothing exciting about the vocals, and Tim’s attempts to be fun by sliding across the stage, touching audience members’ hands and standing amongst the audience were just cheap gimmicks to cover up the fact that he’s a terrible performer.

Aaron Kelly – whom Ryan called David Archuleta when giving out his numbers – picked another tried and true Idol favorite: Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” It was okay. It’s nothing I’m going to remember in a week or two, but his vocals were decent, and his performance was another chance for him to show off his earnest faces.

Crystal Bowersox‘s “Me and Bobby McGee” was yet another crunchy granola acoustic jam, this time with a rug on the stage! She really makes it seem effortless, but homegirl has to mix it up with the musical choices in the upcoming weeks if she wants to be a true contender. Enough with the Starbucks music. Take a page out of the books of Lambert, Cook, Allen et al, and find a song that isn’t from your genre of music, and revamp it to fit said genre. Otherwise, I think Mamasox will find herself amongst the eliminated former front runners, including but not limited to Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Melinda Doolittle.

I missed Big Mike‘s performance; I’m not sad at all. I don’t like him.

Andrew Garcia‘s performance of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” was cheesy and amateurish. I know, I know, this is an “amateur” talent competition, but I’ve seen more skill from drunken coeds doing karaoke. He lost the guitar and gained a whole lot of awkward stage presence. I won’t be surprised if he’s in the bottom three tonight.

Katie Stevens‘ attempt at being young and cool resulted in ill-advised suspenders and Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” It reeked of high-school talent show. I just can’t get behind Katie as a valid contender for the Idol crown. Her voice is great, just not technically at the level it should be to compete on a nationally televised talent competition.

I may be the only person who enjoyed Casey James‘ “The Power of Love.” Sure, Huey Lewis and the News isn’t the most current song choice, but Casey’s vocals were great. I could have done without the horn section blasting down from the band loft; they definitely contributed to the outdated feel that Randy spoke of, and they pretty much muted Casey’s guitar playing. (I did quite enjoy his comment to Miley that he’s a big fan…of her father. Zing!)

Didi Benami just plain sucked last night. There’s no other way to say it. Her performance of Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good” was cheesy, overdone, and flat. I believe I may have changed the channel to check the weather forecast during this performance.

Siobhan Magnus and her magnificent pink faux-hawk took on Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Vocally, it wasn’t perfect, but I did like hearing Siobhan’s voice against a more upbeat, less morose song. “The shriek” is getting old fast, though, and while I don’t hate it, I find myself bracing for impact throughout her performances, waiting for that note.

My bottom three prediction for tonight: Urban, Miles, Garcia, with Urban going back to safety first and most likely Miss Miles heading back to her kindergarten class.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

long live the mullet.

There won’t be an American Idol recap this week for too many reasons to list on here, one of which being I may be suffering from Idol burnout. Anyway, I still cry myself to sleep at night over the travesty that is Alex Lambert’s elimination. Here is Alex’s interview and performance on Ellen. Could he be any more adorable? I think not.

‘american idol’ top 8 guys: a crying shame

After viewing last night’s episode of American Idol, I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or shake my fist disdainfully at the pathetic displays of talent that made up the semifinal round. Forgive me for repeating a sentiment many others share, but these 16 people are the most talented out of the thousands that auditioned? If so, I weep for the future of the music industry.
My favorite male contestant, Lee Dewyze, started the show with Owl City’s “Fireflies.” I grimaced when I heard his song choice because I think this is one of the most annoying songs on the radio right now, but Lee actually made it likable. I appreciate his willingness to take on a song that doesn’t fit his “style,” so to speak. What is up with Simon obsessing over performances having “moments?” Was he hired by Hallmark recently? It’s strange.
My second favorite male contestant, Alex Lambert, picked a great song in Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble.” I just adore the sound of Alex’s voice, and this song was a good showcase for it. The poor kid still has no stage presence, but there’s a marked improvement since week one and his deer-in-the-headlights performance.
That brings us to Idol punching bag Tim Urban. I believe my exact words when I heard he was singing Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” were, “What the hell?” This is a beautiful, nuanced song, and I couldn’t bear the thought of Tim vocally destroying it. However, it wasn’t all that bad. Was it as good as Jason Castro’s version (which still gets played on my iPod a lot)? No. Was it much better than anything else he’s sang on Idol so far? Yes. Nothing he presented last night merited a hug from Ellen DeGeneres, who claimed she’s been really hard on Tim for the last couple of weeks. If by ‘really hard’ she means ‘vaguely critical,’ then sure, hug away, Ellen.
The curtain has been pulled back to expose Andrew Garcia‘s talent to be mere gimmickry. One can only turn so many female pop songs into acoustic jams before America gets bored. His attempt to recapture the “Straight Up” magic by taking on Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” ended up working against him. He messed up the lyrics during the first few lines, his vocals were clipped and breathy, and the whole thing just came off as weird. He removed any and all range from the song, and believe me, Ms. Aguilera has quite the range. I think the neck-tattooed wonder might be in trouble tonight.
Casey James‘ version of Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me” was much better than the goat vibrato he served up last week. He did some weird things to the melody of the song, but it was a decent performance.
Aaron Kelly picked possibly the cheesiest, most melismatic country song I know: Lonestar’s “Already There.” He started off very shaky and sharp, but he was able to recover by the chorus to give a passable performance. It’s hard not to like Aaron because he’s so earnest and he tries so hard. Props to Simon, though, for sticking up for Aaron after Kara claimed he couldn’t relate to a song about a dad on the road. I always think it’s such BS when the judges say stuff like, “You weren’t living the song,” or, “You didn’t bring the song to life.”
Todrick Hall finally lost the theatrics and sang a decent version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” although I have a sneaking suspicion he used the arrangement from Glee. The gospel-lite arrangement suited his inclination towards dramatic performances, and he finally gave a straightforward vocal performance that showed why the judges wanted him in the top 24.
I totally called Big Mike singing last tonight, so I wasn’t at all shocked to see him in the pimp spot. (I’ll stop talking about the pimp spot next week, I promise. Even I’m getting sick of it.) Before the commercial break, when Ryan said Mike would be singing a Maxwell song, I turned to my mother and said, “If he sings “This Woman’s Work,” I’m going to barf.” I should clarify that I have nothing wrong with the song; Kate Bush’s lyrics about suddenly having to grow up and face reality in the time of a crisis are truly lovely and moving. Just reading the lyrics online makes me emotional. However, nothing about Big Mike’s performance was deserving of Simon’s “best performance of all these live shows by far” label, nor did it merit Kara’s apparent crocodile tears. For someone who had to tell all of America that she was crying, she sure had a dry face. Those falsetto notes Mike tried to hit were akin to a yowling cat, and it just got worse from there. All of his theatrics, from the dramatically raised hand, to the pained, supposedly emotional looks into the camera, felt so overdone and uncomfortable. When you’re singing a song that packs that much of an emotional punch, just stand there and sing it. No amount of fist-thrusting or shoulder shaking is going to suddenly turn Big Mike into the next American Idol. And no, Randy, he is not the person to beat. Stop saying that.
While I can think of four girls who might be in danger tonight, I can really only pinpoint Andrew Garcia as someone who might be watching his goodbye montage come 8:58 pm tonight. (Side note: how annoying is it that Idol and Survivor are on at the same time? I need a DVR, stat.)

‘american idol’ top 16: eight girls is enough.

I first need to acknowledge the wonder that is one-hour episodes of American Idol. All the filler was gone and the viewers were left with an emphasis on performances, as it should be. Last night was the final episode before the top 12, as we were reminded every five minutes.
Katie Stevens began the night with Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway.” I really should like Katie, considering we share the same home state, her mother is an alum of my college, and her brother is currently a sophomore at my alma mater. However, I find that Katie brings nothing new to the Idol stage. This performance was the youngest she’s ever seemed, which is about 30. She started the song too low, and then her voice just went flat on the chorus. Based on the judges’ comments, they seem to have given up on her. I think Katie may be traveling back to Connecticut at the end of the week. Simon’s comment that she “kind of sucked….the air out of the room” was classic Cowell.
Siobhan Magnus, however, won’t be returning to her home state of Massachusetts for a while. I don’t care what Simon said; her performance of the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” was brave, on-key, and showed the amazing amount of vocal restraint she has. Starting the song a cappella takes guts and confidence in your vocal abilities. I hope Siobhan goes far into the top 12, because she’s the only female contestant I really enjoy.
I’ve been rooting for Lacey Brown since Hollywood week, and I think last night was the first time she picked the right song for her voice. Brandi Carlile’s “The Story” highlighted all the uniqueness of Lacey’s voice, and while it wasn’t a performance I’ll remember in six months, let alone six weeks, I think it’s enough to carry her into the top 12.
Katelyn Epperly may not have done enough. Her performance last night was the epitome of “phoning it in.” I don’t care if she claimed she was trying to be less cheesy; the girl stood behind her Wurlitzer with the same kind of enthusiasm I muster for folding laundry. Her vocals on Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” were okay, but it was like Laurie Partridge 2.0 with the plaid jumper and the lackluster musicianship. I think she might be in danger of going home tonight, unless the buzz from last week’s “The Scientist” can propel her into next week.
Watching Didi Benami‘s performance of “Rihannon,” I was sure that the judges were going to rip her apart. It was like a bad coffeehouse performance, and I’m not sure if Didi was actually playing her guitar. Poor Stevie Nicks; after Taylor Swift murdered this same song at the Grammys and Lacey murdered “Landslide” a few weeks ago on the Idol stage, she’s probably not very willing to lend her songs to others. I already aired my grievances about Didi’s tone and lockjaw, but tonight I realized she over-enunciates her words to boot. And seriously, enough with the waterworks. I don’t care if they’re happy tears or not, just stop. This woman is one criticism away from a mental breakdown.
Someone who rightfully shed tears last night was Paige Miles, who definitely reached the end of her Idol journey with a whispery, shaky take on Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile.” I don’t know why she picked the song if it evokes such strong emotions in her, because clearly her emotions got in the way of delivering a good performance. It was hard to watch a verklempt Paige try to explain her song choice to Ryan, when she clearly knew the song was her death sentence.
Unlike seemingly every person on the American Idol payroll, I’m not drinking the Crystal Bowersox Kool-Aid just yet. Her semifinal performances, including last night’s version of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason,” are good, but they’re a bit predictable. I know what I’m getting each week, and while the judges like to think it’s because Crystal “knows what kind of artist she’ll be,” I think it’s because she’s a one-trick pony. Just wait until the top 12 theme nights, Miss Bowersox. I can’t wait to see how she puts her girl-with-a-guitar spin on the Barry Manilow catalog, or better yet, disco week! I think Crystal may soon suffer from the backlash that comes from being excessively pimped by the judges. Despite what Simon claimed on Leno the other night, I don’t think this competition is Crystal’s to lose.
Closing the show was Lilly Scott, with a take on Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces.” She carried a mandolin, but I couldn’t discern it among the horrific sounds made by the Idol Karaoke Backing Band, nor did it appear that she played it very much. Instruments are not props, Idol contestants, but rather a privilege. The whole performance was weird, from the arrangement to the weird ensemble Lilly was wearing: balls of yarn hanging from her ear lobes, granny boots and a gray patchwork dress. The vocals were so-so, but none of the judges touched on that, maybe in their haste to end the show. I think Lilly is going to have to break out of her “look at me! I’m quirky!” box to be a true contender in the top 12.
The boys perform tonight at 9 – tune in for another hour of performances from men with middling talent. Seriously, this season kind of sucks.

live-blogging the oscars.

The awards season comes to a close tonight with the most prestigious of ceremonies: the Academy Awards. It will be an interesting telecast with an unprecedented 10 nominees for Best Picture, and, for the first time in Oscar history, two hosts. The duo of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin is either going to be great or terrible. I’m hoping for the latter, because I find both of them funny separately, so they have to be funny together, right? I’ll be picking apart the fashions as they appear, since I can’t stomach any network’s red carpet coverage. Check back for my thoughts on Hollywood’s most important evening, and bear with me, because I think I’ve seen one, maybe two nominated movies.

8:30: This intro of the Best Actor/Actress nominees feels like a beauty pageant.

8:32: Neil Patrick Harris! Love him and his sequined tux. Of course he’s singing.

8:33: Loving the SYTYCD alums in this number, courtesy of producer Adam Shankman.

8:35: Meryl Streep is awesome.

8:37: Great “damn”/”dame” joke at Helen Mirren’s expense. BTW, has she found the fountain of youth? If so, please share.

8:39: Gabourey Sidibe’s mom is loving Baldwin/Martin.

8:41: Awkwardddd…James Cameron is sitting behind Kathryn Bigelow.

8:43: I asked why Zac Efron and Taylor Lautner were invited and my mother’s response was, “They’re in movies.” Thanks for clearing that up, Mom!

8:48: And Best Supporting Actor goes to…Christoph Waltz. Can’t say I’m surprised since he won a Golden Globe.

8:50: Ryan Reynolds – one of Canada’s best exports.

8:52: It’s nice to see that the real family from The Blind Side was invited.

8:56: This bit with the animated characters is cute.

8:58: Not at all surprised that Up won Best Animated Feature Film. I haven’t seen it, but it’s Pixar, so it has to be fantastic.

9:00: Go home, Miley. Amanda Seyfried looks lovely, though.

9:03: The song from Crazy Heart is probably going to win.

9:04: I’m three for three with winners so far. Too bad I didn’t take part in an Oscar pool.

9:05: So far we’ve had Ryan Reynolds then Chris Pine introduce a Best Picture nominee. I like the trend that’s being set here…

9:12: Tina Fey. My idol. My mother thinks she looks like “Tarzana” in her polka dotted-ish dress.

9:13: Fey and Downey, Jr. are killing it with their writer/actor bit.

9:15: As a writer (I use that term loosely,) I love when they do nerdy writer stuff like read the stage directions on scripts.

9:17: Molly Ringwald? Did you get lost on the way from 1987?

9:19: This John Hughes montage is making me feel old.

9:22: This gathering of Hughes movie alums may or may not make me cry.

9:24: Now the clip of Up is making me tear up. Get a grip.

9:27: I have a total girl crush on Zoe Saldana, even though she was in the Britney Spears cinematic disaster Crossroads.

9:30: John Lasseter, you are awesome.

9:32: I may love Zoe, but hot damn, her dress is UGLY.

9:35: That red haired lady was pretty intense. I got the impression that she wasn’t supposed to be onstage and/or speak.

9:37: I am not shocked at all that Ben Stiller is dressed as a Na’avi.

9:40: I still love the Will Ferrell/Steve Carell bit from when they introduced Best Makeup a few years ago. I may YouTube it during a commercial.

9:47: I love Rachel McAdams (aka Regina George).

9:52: Queen Latifah always looks classy at awards shows. Her dress tonight is very flattering.

9:54: Cameron Diaz, I see you in the background chewing gum.

9:55: Robin Williams is oddly subdued.

9:59: Best Supporting Actress was a strong group with lots of talent, but Mo’nique totally deserves this.

10:01: Colin Firth is so dapper.

10:06: Of course Avatar won Art Direction. It’s easily the most visually stunning movie I’ve ever seen.

10:09: More Martin and Baldwin, please. These two are getting lots of laughs in my living room. SJP’s dress and hair piece are heinous.

10:11: I like this lady who just won Best Costume Design. Way to thank the under appreciated costumers!

10:13: Ugh, I can’t even escape Twilight on the Oscars.

10:15: I’m getting sleepy and bored. I might not make it to the end.

10:18: Color me shocked…Kristen Stewart’s dress is nice and she doesn’t look as slouchy as usual.

10:19: Do. Not. Like. Horror. Movies. I’m watching through my fingers.

10:22: Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick are very cute together.

10:27: Hmm…I thought these sound awards were a lock for Avatar. Does this mean The Hurt Locker has some big awards in its near future?

10:30: Quentin Tarantino – the Dwight Schrute of directing? Discuss.

10:35: Sandra is looking super shiny tonight. I kind of like the dress.

10:36: Avatar finally wins a technical-ish award tonight.

10:37: Oh no. The death montage. We’ve lost a lot of greats this year. Sad.

10:45: Oh, hello, Sam Worthington. I like your glasses.

10:46: LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY DANCERS! I love them so much.

10:54: Do you think Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper talked about Jennifer Aniston while they were waiting backstage?

10:55: A big “DUH” that Avatar won Best Visual Effects.

11:02: Matt Damon – smart, talented, and a writer. Yes, please.

11:08: Dear Keanu, please shave. Thanks.

11:13: All the big awards are coming up, and just in time too, because I’m by myself now and I can barely stay awake.

11:14: I rest my case re: Quentin/Dwight.

11:19: Kathy Bates, you own Dunder Mifflin now.

11:20: I got chills watching the Avatar clip reel. It truly is a story that sucks you in and keeps you emotionally involved until the end credits.

11:23: There is a GIGANTIC spider crawling across the wall towards me. I just want this awards show to be over so I can get away from this speedy arachnid.

11:28: These personal tributes are actually quite interesting and touching.

11:31: Oh my god, West Coasters, it’s 11 freaking 30. Wrap it up, already.

11:33: Best Actor goes to…Jeff Bridges. No surprise there.

11:37: All right, I have to close up shop. I needed to go to bed like, an hour ago. Unlike everyone at the Oscars, some of us have to go to work tomorrow and earn a living : )

‘the office’ recap: we’re having a baby!

Having been Office-free for a while, thanks to the Olympics, made the anticipation for this momentous event even higher. I had so many questions going into last night’s episode: Boy or girl? What kind of Michael Scott antics could we expect? And, most importantly, would Pam make it to the hospital or would it be a Dunder Mifflin delivery?

Since this is my first time blogging about the Office, I need to admit that I’m a total Office-aholic. I own all the seasons on DVD, and I have calendars, posters, Schrute Bucks at my desk, etc. I can quote the show at length, and now that I’m a receptionist, I feel like Pam Beesly and I are kindred spirits. (Except for the whole married and pregnant thing.) I anticipate big Office events, such as weddings and birthdays and mergers more than things that happen in my life.

Now that that’s out of the way (because the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem), on to last night’s episode. I was a teeny tiny bit worried as to how this episode would unfold, but I had faith in the stellar Office writers, who always take a potentially saccharine, sentimental moment and turn it into the awkward, true-to-life comedy that has become the show’s trademark. See the “Niagara” episode for proof. I think the baby-related plotline was handled well; I could see a young couple like Pam and Jim trying to make the most out of their HMO, but after a while I just wanted to shout, “Get in the car, Beesly!” John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer do a great job of playing frazzled father-to-be and panicked mother-to-be trying to play it cool. I’ll admit, I had tears in my eyes during the scene where Pam accidentally reveals the gender of their baby, and hopes Jim isn’t mad that it’s a girl. The reaction shots of Jim processing the news in the car were touching.
After 19 hours of labor, Cecilia Marie Halpert was born, and the other Dunder Mifflin-ites were there to celebrate, safely confined to the waiting room, of course. I thought the whole lactation plot was handled in a funny and realistic way, although the whole nursing-the-wrong-baby thing reeked of lesser sitcoms. I’ll give it a pass, however, because the rest of the episode was great. I was very glad that Michael actually acted like a real person instead of the caricature he’s become lately; the moment where he held Cecilia was cute.
His desire to then play matchmaker for everyone else in the office because of his “success” in matching Jim and Pam? Not so cute, although I did enjoy his description of the new parents before they became Pam and Jim: “She sat here, engaged to an animal, and he sat here, being tall and lanky.” (Not verbatim, but close.)
Obviously the spotlight was on the Halpert family, but in true Office form, the supporting players had some great moments too:
-Dwight had some great moments this episode, including,”I’ve been noticing a gaping hole in my life. Sometimes I wake up cradling a gourd,” being recognized by name by the Scranton police department, and destroying the Halperts’ kitchen to eradicate the mold, although I take the latter act to be a Schrute-ian form of affection.
-Kevin and Pam’s marathon meals together
-Angela’s reaction shot to Jim putting a diaper on her cat
-Meredith vowing to never get married because she’s “like Clooney!”
-Andy attempting to give Pam and Jim advice by saying, “Speaking as a former baby…”
-“I don’t want the first thing the baby hears to be the 8 Mile soundtrack!”
-Michael offering to set up the singletons in his office: “Who wants to live in a world where Stanley has two lovers and you don’t have any?”
-Hands-down my favorite little joke of the evening was Oscar telling Michael to bring a thesaurus, because “the hospital provides a dictionary,” complete with a sidelong glance at the camera.
-The nurse who was having no part of Jim and Pam’s know-it-all parenting: “Oh good. You know everything.”
-Ryan’s ever-evolving hipster look. There has to be a reason behind it, and I can’t wait to find out what it is.
-I like the potential of the Angela/Dwight parenting contract to fall to the wayside because Dwight may still have feelings for Pam’s pediatric hygenist friend Isabelle.
Now that baby Cecilia has entered the world of the Office, it will be interesting to see how big of a role she plays in the plot going forward.

Photo courtesy of the Halpert Baby Blog/NBC.

american idol top 20: mediocrity at its finest.

After enduring four hours of aural torture last week, only a fool would be back for more American Idol this week. Clearly I’m a fool, because tonight’s show just proved how mediocre the semifinalists are this season. Crystal Bowersox’s medical emergency (I’m hearing something diabetes-related) prevented the girls from performing in their usual Tuesday night slot, so the guys took the stage a night earlier. This was the most exciting thing that happened last night.
Big Mike started the show with James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World,” and although I don’t count myself as one of Mike’s fans, it was much better than last week’s Maroon 5 song. His voice is well-suited for R&B, but I suddenly got a Ruben Studdard vibe from him last night. Anyone who’s followed the Velvet Teddybear’s post-Idol career knows this isn’t necessarily the best thing. (“Sorry 2004” anyone? I didn’t think so.) I’m glad to hear Mrs. Mike and Baby Mike are moving to LA if he makes it through this week, which he probably will.
A sub-theme of last night’s show seemed to be “Sing One of Alison’s Favorite Songs…Badly.” John Park decided to take on John Mayer’s “Gravity,” which is a song that gets played a lot on my iPod. It was definitely better than last week’s performance, but John really needs to pick a more up-tempo song if he’s still here next week, which is questionable. “Gravity” is great, but it’s slooow. He needs something to prove that he’s got stage presence, or else he might be rejoining his a capella group sooner than he thought.
Learning that Casey James has never seen an episode of Idol explains a lot. Why else would he choose to sing a song already covered by Bo Bice, Chris Richardson, Elliot Yamin, et al? Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be” is a good song, but it seemed like Casey spent most of the song trying to imitate Gavin’s distinct voice. I agree with Kara; it was two steps back for him. He needs to find middle ground between acoustic crooner and electric guitar rocker. (Also: what’s in that secretive box? I’m guessing hair extensions and Aqua Net.)
I really want to like Todrick Hall, because I think a singer/dancer has the potential to do well on Idol, but he’s making himself hard to love. First, there’s the ego, which is ridiculous to have on an amateur talent show. I know he toured with Fantasia, blah blah blah, but he’s not as good as he thinks he is. I didn’t mind last week’s controversial Kelly Clarkson cover, but this week’s cover of Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” was all kinds of awful. That’s possibly the most iconic song from Tina’s oeuvre, and Todrick didn’t even come close to doing it justice. The judges clearly want him gone, which I think stems from some producer prodding; no one wants an Idol contestant who scammed money from children, now do they?
I have grown to loathe Jermaine Sellers in the past couple of weeks. You only pick Marvin Gaye if you can sing the crap out of it, and Jermaine’s performance of “What’s Going On” was just plain crappy. As if his performance wasn’t bad enough, Jermaine had to get on his God-fearing soapbox after the judges critiqued him. Now, I love God too, but there was no need for him to say, “I know God,” twice during his impassioned plea. A lot of people know God, Jermaine. You’re not as special as you think you are. Ugh, then he asked the judges what he could sing. It was like a lesson in “What Not to Say to the Judges 101.” I’m hoping he’ll be headed back to his beloved church singing after Thursday night.
Oh, how far the mighty Andrew Garcia has fallen since his sacred Paula Abdul cover in Hollywood week. I’m sure if he knew the judges would be comparing everything else he sings to a 30-second performance, he would have saved the Abdul gem for later in the competition. His rendition of a James Morrison song that I can’t remember the name of was passable, but I don’t think either of his semifinal performances show much star quality. To me, he’s just a Gokey-ish kid with a bad neck tattoo. I’m not sure what the judges want him to do next week, but it looks like he’s got a lot of thinking ahead regarding song choice.
Wee little Aaron Kelly sang the Temptations’ “My Girl,” which was definitely too old-fashioned, but props to him for putting a country spin on the song. There’s really not much to say about him, since he fits the non-threatening teenage boy mold, but it was cute how awestruck he was by Simon’s backstage comment last week.
Tim Urban should thank whichever deity he prays to, because divine intervention is the only explanation I can come up with for how he made it through while Tyler Grady and Joe Munoz were sent home. (That, or legions of teenage girls who have seen his shirtless pictures online. Go ahead, Google ‘Tim Urban shirtless’ and see why he’s a probably a lock for the top 12). His slaughtering of Matt Nathanson’s “Come On Get Higher,” another personal favorite of mine, was painful to watch. I believe I closed my eyes through most of it. Simon was entirely too nice to him, and Ellen was a bit patronizing. I feel bad for the kid, because he seems nice, but he’s become the laughingstock of American Idol. He’s just not good, and staying in the competition longer than he should isn’t going to change that.
Poor little lamb Alex Lambert, he who vomits prior to each performance, has definitely won many sympathy votes after he admitted to his rampant stage fright. He has a great voice, though; I challenge you to find a soundalike for Alex. He, unlike many other contestants, actually got constructive criticism from the judges, who really want to see him succeed. He seemed a bit more relaxed behind a guitar, and his take on a John Legend song was a good fit for his voice.
That leaves us with the pimp spot, this week graced by Lee Dewyze. Dude needs to ditch the wallet chain and plain tees ASAP, because right now he’s seeming more like a college coffeehouse act rather than the Next Big Music Superstar. Picking Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel” was a good choice, even though I kind of hate that song. Still, Simon claims he’s the one to beat, and Kara was right that Lee’s voice is extremely commercial.
Another underwhelming night from the guys, and I have 2 hours of Idol to look forward to tonight (note the sarcasm.)
UPDATE: I didn’t get to watch the girls perform because I was out to dinner with some coworkers, but from what I could see on YouTube at work today, I was pretty impressed. Of course I miss the one decent performance show thus far…