Archive for February 20th, 2007

American Idol: Top 12 Boys

So the guys make their grand entrance, and they’re all kind of obnoxious this year.

Umm…why is Paula blonde?

Pimping of Contestants Past. Daughtry with a number #1 album, McPhee with a #2 album (uhmm, actually, she’s #29…and didn’t Taylor have a #2 album? Why yes, yes he did.)

Feh. Idol politics as usual. Let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty.

Rudy Cardenas (28) says it doesn’t matter whether or not he has Simon on his side. Hahahaha…oh, you simple, naive boy. Rudy’s got some moves, that’s for sure. He sings “Free Ride” and I just don’t think he’s hitting those notes. Ick. I’m sorry, I don’t like his voice at all. A personal preference kind of thing. He’s also sliding into the chorus (when he’s reaching the notes at all, that is). You can also smell the fear on him. Randy says he “got the party started,” but that it was really corny. Paula thought it was fantastic. Simon says that he’s never heard anything unique from Rudy, and that his voice isn’t distinctive. (And yeah…it isn’t.)

Up on that comfy couch, Chris Sligh says that the “buzz” is about all the boys lookin’ pretty. Creepy, shifty-eyed Hooters manager (I’m sorry, I’ll never be able to see him as anything else) Chris Richardson claims that he doesn’t have a nervous bone in his body. And performing next is Brandon Rogers (29). Interesting that they’re not announcing the names of the songs this year (or at least this episode). Brandon has a very nice voice, and he’s singing that “I wanna rock with you all night” disco song. “And we can feel the boogie…” This is a really weird song choice, just as karaoke as Rudy’s, and while Brandon’s doing a servicable job, I don’t think this is quite the right song choice for his voice, which is very reminiscent of John Legend. Randy says it wasn’t his best, and was a little pitchy, and to lay off the runs. Paula thought it was great, but kind of sides with Randy. Simon calls it safe and predictable, which…yeah, it was. Time to shine, kids. Brandon tells Ryan that he knew he’d be nervous and wanted to pick a song he was “comfortable” with the first time out. For him, the risk will probably pay off, because I don’t think he’s in a lot of danger right now.

It’s the “moment of truth,” says Ryan, for Sundance Head (28). Oh hell yes it is. Sundance reminisces about his terribly embarrassing Hollywood round, but hopes to put all his failures behind him tonight. He’s covered up the chest hair tonight, which is nice. He’s singing “Nights in White Satin,” which does not count as a blues song just because The Moody Blues happened to sing it once, and he sounds strangely rock-operatic and echo-y and…Il Divo-ish, with odd enunciation and such. It’s pitchy, and it’s weirdly dramatic, and I’m completely not feeling it AT. ALL. Randy calls the pitchiness as “not quite hitting the tone ever,” Paula faults the song choice, and Simon marvels at Sundance’s downward tumble. Sundance looks like he’s going to cry. “I don’t like you tonight,” pans Simon flatly. Sundance looks like he just wants to get the hell out of there. And a quick check of the iTunes reveals that Il Divo did, at one time, cover “Nights in White Satin.” Baaaaad move, Sundance.

A famous alum will perform tomorrow night and break some very exciting news. Oh yeah? Which alum is that? Maybe Bo Bice will sing a song and talk about how he’s getting far, far away from Clive, and will encourage the other contestants to do the same. I’d like to see that. Anyway, Paul Kim (28) is still with the bare feet and shit, and makes this expression that renders him the Asian doppelganger of this guy I dated. He sings a song that I recognize but don’t know the name of (it’s George Michael, I think) and I think he’s just really terrible. The song’s too low for him, he’s plugging his ear to get the pitch, and…wow. This is just bad. Randy tries to salvage him with the whole “you’ve got potential” thing. Paula told him he oversang it, but she hopes that people get past it. Simon tells Paul to ditch the gimmick. Paul makes a weird expression. Ryan takes off his shoes. This show is jumping the shark. What’s with all the 70s and 80s song tonight?

Creepy Chris Richardson (22) claims to work in “the restaurant business.” HE FUCKING MANAGES A HOOTERS, PEOPLE! And he’s worked there for FOUR YEARS! And he’s also got this weird white-boyee vibe about him, and you just know he still text messages his boyees about the hot laydeees at the Hooters. Dude…wash your face. It looks dirty. He’s singing “I Don’t Wanna Be” in this incredibly nasal Justin Timberlake-ripoff voice, and he’s apparently having an epileptic seizure while he does it. Randy just eats that shit up…well, at least by saying that he “made it kind of work.” But Randy also misidentifies the song as an Edwin McCain piece, and has to get schooled by Randy. Hee! Paula loves it. Simon? Not that impressed — says that Chris’s voice sounded “very small” and that it was a bad vocal. But he likes Chris, the girls are gonna vote for him, he’s a good looking guy (jigga who in the what now?), he’ll be fine. I guess the pimping’s on.

Bahston Nick Pedro (25) made it to Hollywood last yee-ah, but quit when he couldn’t remember his lyrics. Tara at MJ’s says he looks like Drew Lachey, and…yeah, he does. He’s singing some boring breathy ballad. What’s with the song choices tonight? He hits the falsetto notes nicely, if a bit yelpy, at least. It’s sad when we’re willing to hand out the gold stars just for staying on the fucking pitch, isn’t it? Anyway, blah blah, he’ll forever be your man, yawn, snooze. Randy says it was boring. Paula says the magic fell flat. Simon didn’t think it was “that bad,” although he thinks that Nick has lost his spark a little bit. He gets the you’ll-sail-through stamp of approval from Simon. “Vote for Pedro” is dropped, as you knew it would be eventually.

Ryan asks us if our next Idol be a girl. After hearing this group, God willing it will be. Blake Lewis (25) talks about how he doesn’t want to be “pigeonholed” as a beatboxer, then says “you haven’t seen the last of the beatboxing.” Argh. He sings a Keane song, and his hair looks less obnoxious tonight–maybe because he’s actually dressed decently. I have to say, he has a pretty good voice, but it’s totally blah to me. He’s somehow the lead singer of Snow Patrol and Fall Out Boy and all those other stupid emo bands at the same time. Randy “kinda dug it,” Paula enjoyed the contemporary vibe, and Simon says that while it’s not the best vocal he’s ever heard in his life, Blake was the first person to come out and sound contemporary. Well…I’ll give him that. Begrudgingly the best performance of the night, even if it doesn’t tickle my personal musica pickle.

Ryan asks whether Sanjaya Malakar (17) could be “the next Taylor Hicks.” Holy shit, did they actually mention Taylor’s name? They did, but not, of course, the fact that he has a CD that you can PURCHASE in a STORE. Why did he get a GED? Actually, wait, never mind that question. And yes, I thought Shyamali was better, too. But that’s me. Anyway, he sings “Knocks Me Off My Feet” this is the first time I’ve noticed that Sanjaya really does have a lovely tone to his voice. This is definitely the best I’ve ever heard him sound, even if it’s nothing phenomenal and possibly the teensiest bit plodding. And yet, Randy hated it. Paula was meh, and Simon calls it boring and dreary. Sanjaya makes a weird, scrunchy face, but I don’t think he’s going to get the boot. Sanjaya is all “uhh, I appreciate his…honesty?” but says that he knows he can do beter.

Chris Sligh (28) is one funny bastard, but I’m still not sold on his talent yet. Then again, after hearing what Idol claims is the “best of the best” so far…it won’t take much to win my love. He says his strengths are “strategy and song choice,” and he’s singing a song that no one at MJ’s knew the name of (oh, it’s “Typical” by Mute Math), and he’s…good, but I still don’t love his voice. Randy and Paula like it; Simon felt like he was at a “weird student gig.” Gay banter between Simon and Ryan. Sligh says that he’s singing very popular music and that “just because he doesn’t sing Il Divo and Teletubbies” doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have a shot at this. Simon tells him that he could “always do the latter” and that he didn’t think it was an incredible vocal performance. Okay, Here’s the thing with Chris’s Il Divo/Teletubbies crack. It’s been a long time coming with Simon, and somewhere on a tour bus, Taylor Hicks is giving Sligh a thousand WOO!s and all that, but I’m not sure that this was the time to deploy that particular bomb. It came off as Chris just being bitter about the entire Idol game, which…yeah, we’re all bitter about the Idol game, but when you’re a contestant on the show and you’re just getting your big break via the national exposure, you have to be very, very careful how you toe the line. And I’m a wee bit concerned that Chris stepped a bit over that line tonight. Anyway. I still think this guy is more gimmick than talent, but he was far above the pack tonight.

Jared Cotter (25) sang a Stevie song at his heretofore unseen/unheard audition, and he’s singing boring Brian McKnight (“One”), and not particularly exceptionally, either. He’s wavering on most of the high notes, though he navigates the falsetto passably. Randy thought it was a’ight, but didn’t like the ending, to which Jared shoots back that he would have liked to have done something different, but he only had a minute thirty. True that, boy. Paula feels like it wasn’t original. Simon says it was “unadventurous,” and a bit nasal, and that he should take a few more risks in his singing. I think it was good enough to get through, but the judges were pretty much on the money here.

Fifth-timer A.J. Tabaldo (22) hopes that this time is the charm for him. He’s got the cheesy song, the cheesy smile, the cheesy bouncing dance…why the hell is this show feeling like karaoke time at the roller rink tonight? I guess the guy’s all right, but…meh. Cut to the judges’ table — Paula is dancing her little Paula dance, while Simon (still steaming from the Teletubbies remark, I’ll wager) looks dumbfounded. Randy says it was “pretty good” vocally, Paula loved it, and Simon repeats his on-point “good, nothing great, nothing terrible” mantra.

Phil Stacey somehow manages to always looks so much better in photographs than he does live. Ahh, well, not his fault. It starts off bad, but gets better (and yes, it’s “Could Not Ask for More”). He rocks the mic in a little DAUGHTRY!!111-like maneuver, and he kind of misses a high note, but I’m tempted to call him the best of the night. Randy agrees with me. Paula loves it. Simon doesn’t think it was necessarily the best of the night, compared to past singers like Daughtry who “nailed songs like that.” Uhh…Daughtry sang Edwin McCain? Anywhoo. Britney joke. Phil agrees with Simon and says he has a lot of work to do.

Recaps, phone numbers, send-out.

Best of the night: Phil Stacey.
Worst of the night: Rudy Cardenas.
Most hated contestant so far: Chris Richardson.

I miss Taylor.

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Place your bets.

Check out the fresh new Dial Idol website! Software downloads, updates and predictions are all at your disposal. Will we have a repeat of last year, with one contestant consistently leading the voting? Or will it be more of a performance-based year? These are the things that make Idol so fun. (Well, aside from the singing and all that.)

Pitter patter.

Spoilers? Spoilers? Yoo-hoo, spoilers? No, I haven’t heard anything regarding what the Top 24 men will be singing tonight…but if I do, I shall post it here forthwith. (You know what? I don’t even know what ‘forthwith’ means.) Watch this space.

Phil Stacey: “I Couldn’t Ask for More” by Edwin McCain
Alaina Alexander: “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders (unconfirmed)
Nicole Tranquillo: something by Aretha Franklin (unconfirmed)
Chris Richardson: “Do I Do” by Stevie Wonder
Rudy Cardenas: a “70s rock song”

Jared “J.L.” Cotter wants to be the first New Yawk Idol. Timberlake wannabe Chris Richardson gave up his career…managing a Hooters…to try out for Idol. Hey, I knew there was a reason I didn’t like him (aside from the Timberlake thing, of course). And here’s a little interview with Leslie Hunt’s family.

Katharine McPhee got another review, this time from Monsters and Critics (her second review from the site):

‘The Simpsons’ once featured a Chuck E. Cheese-style kids` restaurant with the slogan ‘We cram fun down your throat,’ which is more or less the ‘American Idol’ machine`s plan for Katharine McPhee on this debut record. The season five runner-up, a big-voiced Broadway wannabe on the show, is awkwardly painted as Gwen Stefani/Fergie by a surge of producers and writers on this anonymous-sounding pop album…McPhee is appealing, but lyrics like “From the first time I saw you/Well I thought that we`d be cool” don`t do much to reveal her true personality.”


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What the kids are sayin’



"I hate them all. The judges, TPTB, the blatant manipulation, the songs, the contestants, everything. I'm a die-hard Cook fan, but for the love of god, at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself up there! Please? Syesha was awesome but she ruined it by being completely shameless and disgusting. Yes, being on American Idol is exactly like the civil rights movement, except for the part where you're fighting to make the world a better place."



"All I can say after the disgusting display tonight of favoritism towards the mediocrity that is David A. - good luck trying to market and make money off of that kid, American Idol. (Not to mention good luck dealing with his father.) All the teeny boppers may buy up his American Idol coronation single, but they will quickly forget about him before the album comes out. And I shudder to think of a David A. album - song after song of unrelenting sameness and heavy breathing. Why they are pimping him for the win is beyond me."



"This show was simply a hot buttered mess tonight. And Jason "needs to be arrested for what he did to I Shot the Sheriff. But I hope he stays. He amuses me. "