Archive for February 25th, 2007

Shoes and ships and sealing wax.

I didn’t want to address this, but looking at my blog stats, I feel like I have to. Unless American Idol takes some sort of official action, I won’t be addressing the Antonella Barba scandal. You won’t find pictures (or links to the pictures) of her here, nor will you find long, drawn-out analyses of her behavior. If you want that, go to TWoP.

Check out the Taylor Hicks with Taylor comments on the ongoing “who’s the real Idol” debate:

In an interview, Hicks said that to measure him against, say, Daughtry or Underwood is a case of apples and oranges. “You know, it’s funny: People want to try and compare us, and that’s hard to do because I’m not singing rock and I’m not singing country,” he said. “So to compare us — I find that interesting because we’re in different genres.” Hicks said “interesting” with a droll air that suggested what he meant was “inappropriate” or “misinformed.” “If I was a rocker, I could see that [comparison],” he said. “But I’m a blue-eyed soul performer.”

Hee. This was also an interesting tidbit:

Whatever the size of the audience for his brand of contemporary blue-eyed soul, Hicks called the album “definitely a step in the right direction,” adding, “I worked very closely with that producer to capture who I am as an artist and who I was as an American Idol.”

A “step in the right direction,” not, note, “the embodiment of who I am musically and professionally.”

Entertainment Weekly continues it’s tradition of scoring the first round of Idol post-bootee interviews. This week, Shirley Halperin spoke to Paul Kim, Rudy Cardenas, Amy Krebs and Nicole Tranquillo about their short runs on the show. Paul Kim insists that he’s been singing barefooted for five years and that it wasn’t a “gimmick,” just him being him. (Note to Paul — longevity does not a personality trait make; a gimmick’s a gimmick). Kim also reveals that “Careless Whisper” was only his sixth song choice, the first being a Donny Hathawy number (the first five wouldn’t clear), and that he was sick with bronchitis before the performance. Despite his illness, Kim says that at the end of the day, he just didn’t sing as well as he needed to, and that’s why he got booted off. (Hee. Refreshing to see an Idol take personal responsibility for a sucky performance, isn’t it?) Rudy Cardenas is keeping his chin up — he says his performance was “a little much,” but at the same time, he completely embraces the cheesiness that is American Idol. Aww. I kind of like him now.

Amy Krebs wishes Paula had stuck up for her a little bit more (um… you weren’t entitled to it, sweetie), but seems to have taken the judges’ criticisms to heart, noting that she’s always struggled with feeling comfortable in her own skin. Oh, and if she were a scented candle, she’d be cinnamon. And Nicole Tranquillo stands by her song choice, regardless of Randy’s “too urban” criticism. I kind of like that attitude — upon replay, her performance wasn’t that bad, certainly no worse than certain people who should have gone home in her place, and it’s just too damn bad that she didn’t fit into the little pre-packaged box the judges had already picked out for her.

Please to enjoy Katharine McPhee’s new video for “Over It.” I guess the plot revolves around her filming a little video (video within a video — how very meta!) about how — you guessed it — “over it” she is, and then giving it to some guy who dissed her. The video in and of itself is done fairly well, although the plot is asinine, as any woman worth her salt knows that giving a dude a DVD of you moping around on a couch over him is just going to make him all the more glad that he got the hell away from you as quickly as he did. But whatever, it’s TRL. Anyway, the weird thing about this video is that Katharine’s face is kind of blank throughout. She does okay as an actress during the plot scenes, when she’s laughing in a car with her friends, then seems a little deflated when she sees the offending dude at a party. But during the narration, she’s like a zombie. Is she wistful and over it? Is she angry and over it? Does she want the guy to know that she wants nothing to do with him again, or does she hope that the DVD of her rolling around on the carpet in a backless dress, hiking her skirt up to mid-thigh, will entice Cheaty McCheatser to come back to her? I don’t get it, and it’s not really Katharine’s fault as much as it is the director’s. I had the same problem with Daughtry’s video. But then again, videos (or songs, for that matter) don’t serve to tell stories these days so much as they serve as a miniature photo shoot for the singer. Meh.



So much to do later today…recap Taylor Hicks’ concert last night, watch and comment on Katharine McPhee’s new video, and just report the general buzz in Idol land. Watch this space for updates later today.

Concert recap time!

The set list: “Taking It to the Streets,” getting the crowd good and energized; “Heaven Knows,” interspersed with cooing, teasing vocals; “The Maze,” funkified with a punched-up, semi-Latin flavor that works so much better than the recorded version (and if this is the next single, I hope they remix it); “Dream Myself Awake,” which still sucks; “Call Me The Breeze;” “Hold Onto Your Love” tagged with “Chain Gang”; “Can’t Trust Your Neighbor,” a fabulous blues-rock numer where Taylor’s acrobatic, nuanced,honeyed-gravel vocals really shine; an even funkier “Hell of a Day;” a tour-de-force “Just To Feel That Way,” one of his best performances of the song I’ve ever heard; “Heart and Soul;” “Wherever I Lay My Hat,” which was somewhat less cheesy but still not one of my favorites; “Young Turks,” dedicated to the kids in the audience; the most gorgeous version of “The Right Place;” “The Runaround” as closer; and as an encore at the behest of the crowd, Eric Clapton’s “Badge.”

The crowd: Sure, the Glitter Division of the Soul Patrol was representin’; there were women decked out in Taylor Hicks T-shirts (some purchased, some homemade — and very well made; no Bedazzling or Puffy Paint as far as I could see), blinking guitar pins, and official-looking badges, but for the most part, the crowd was comprised of families with young or teenaged children, groups of women in their mid-20s, and yes, some middle-aged women. Interestingly, the crowd was about forty percent men, the vast majority of whom looked like they actually wanted to be there, and were dancing, clapping, and generally having a great time. In fact, to my write was a gaggled of — GASP! — teenaged boys, swaying back and forth, tapping their feet, and snapping lots of pictures. My younger brother came to the show with me, and though he still maintains that he’d never voluntarily listen to a Taylor Hicks album, he had a great time, and had nothing but kind words for Taylor’s performing style.

The band: The band rocks. They’ve taken some of the cheesiest songs on the album and turned them into funkier, bluesier numbers. They are “doin’ these songs right,” so to speak. The band operates like a well-oiled machine, and what strikes me is how much damn fun they all seem to be having. The biggest surprise of the night was backup singer Melanie Nyema’s solo — what a beautiful, earthy voice on that girl. Maybe we’ll see her as the next Melinda Doolittle…I wouldn’t be surprised.

Taylor himself: Whoo-ee, that boy sure is sweaty! For real, though, I can’t say I’ve ever seen someone having more fun doing what it is they do than Taylor has up on that stage. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere — which is why some of my pictures are so blurry. He spins, jumps, shakes, wails, coos, rocks and twirls. He’s also silly, at one point (after my camera died, of course) taking the various Mardi Gras items that were thrown onto the stage and dressing his guitarist in a purple pimp hat, and himself donning a purple, green and gold feather boa (which, I have to say, looked rather smashing on him, even if it did clash with the silver blazer and slate-blue shirt he had going on).

Quotes of the evening:

“Taylor, I want to…kiss your forehead!” –a couple of drunk ladies behind me

“DAMMIT! I’m at the wrong concert!” –an older gentleman in front of me, after Taylor introduced himself to the crowd

“Stay the fuck still, Taylor! I’m trying to take your picture!” –me

“I did not need to know what kind of underwear Taylor prefers.” –my brother, after Taylor’s spinning-wheel act revealed an apparent preference for tighty whities

February 2007
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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. "