Archive for the 'recaps' Category

American Idol Top 12: Results

I’d forgotten how much I really enjoy these results shows. Group sings! Diana Ross medley! The men sound interchangeable and bland as ever. The gals sound good. Pimpomercial! Oh, how I’ve missed thee. But meh — kind of boring.

On to the slaughtering! Lakisha is safe. Gina is safe and screams “thank you!” obnoxiously. Meh, I won’t shed any tears if and when she gets the axe. Brandon is in the bottom three. No surprises. Jordin is safe. Chris R. is safe, to my great chagrin and consternation. Melinda is safe, of course. Phil is in the bottom three…mild surprise. Chris S. is safe, as is Stephanie. Blake will be back to beatbox us to death another day. Down to Sanjaya and Haley. Well, we know Haley is hitting the seal along with Phil and Brandon, but first we need a break and a little Diana Ross!

This week’s American Idol challenge asks you “who is the lowest-selling Idol to date?” with three separate pictures of Taylor Hicks. Ugly pictures. Just kidding. But the question is about album sales, and it’s a mildly more difficult question — which Idol (Kelly, Carrie or Taylor — and it’s hot footage) did Simon predict would sell more records than any other Idol? (Hint: it’s Carrie.)

Diana Ross, arms outstretched and akimbo, makes a full DIVA! entrance through the FANT ASIA doors wearing a flaming red dress. She shrieks her way through “I Love You More Today.” Oh, please, can the judges chime in after her performance? Because this is one hot mess of pitchy, flat notes and shrieky misses. Ryan asks her who’s going home tonight. She looks bewildered and covers nicely: “Me!” Well played, Miss Ross. Back to the cryogenic freeze chamber you go!

Sanjaya joins Brandon and Phil in the bottom three. Phil gets sent back to safety as Brandon smarts. Phil hugs him. Brandon doesn’t like it. Dude, you ain’t all that. He purses his lips smugly. Although losing out to Sanjaya has got to hurt, because that’s what happens. Sanjaya is safe, and Brandon gets the first official boot of the season. Triumphant DAUGHTRY! plays in the background. Brandon shifts immediately from Pissed Off Mode to It’s An Honor Just To Be Nominated Mode, and of course he’s cut off before his singout can start. Awwww.


American Idol: Top 12 Recap

The awesome: Melinda Doolittle, of course…although she does have a bit of a bleating problem. But I was a mite bored by her. (In the interests of full disclosure, though, I just don’t like ballads much.) She still does The Turtle (head receding into shoulders) after performing, as well as the “omg you like meeeeeeee?” squeal. Feh. I love the girl, but for sheer entertainment value, I’d love to see her land in the Bottom Two to see if she’ll just have a nervous breakdown, or if she’ll go all Damien on us a la Katharine McPhee last year. Lakisha Jones or Kiki or whatever her name is turned in what I consider her best performance to date, even though the song choice came right out of the Predictable Diva Playbook, and she’s still slightly less nuanced than Melinda.

The a’ight: Chris Sligh’s appeal still eludes me, and apparently, the judges as well. He rips off Coldplay for his arrangement, and it just seems like he’s always just hovering on the edge of being really great, but he never delivers. Blake Lewis funkified up his Diana Ross song, but the end product was just a little too Everybody Samba! to have much of an impact. This isn’t going to work, this little gig that he and Sligh have got going. Oh, sure, it’s fine to cheat the theme once (see: Hicks, Taylor and the Billboard Hits theme; Daughtry, Chris and the Country theme), but Blake can’t make every single song sound like rave music for the next twelve weeks. Nor can Sligh make everything sound like Mute Math. Stephanie Edwards is wearing a really loud dress, but never seems to find her stride with the song. Jordin Sparks is so sugary that I damn near reach for an insulin injection, and she looks great, and raspberry is a fabulous color for her, but she still bored me, so much so that I started this recap midway through her song.

The meh: Brandon Rogers forgets his words and does his backup singer routine, blending too well into the music and the arrangement and never standing out on his own. Great smile, but it ain’t Colgate Idol. Gina Glocksen just sounds like some girl singing, and her hair is in that awful “I got a shag haircut a year ago and I’m growing it out now” stage that I am all too familiar with. Someone get this girl either a truly punk hairstyle or some extensions, stat. Also, she had a wallet chain attached to the arm of her satin blazer. That’s right, Ms. Rock Yo House was wearing a satin blazer. Phil Stacey…looks better with a hat. He’s got a good voice, sure, but his performance style is bland and predictable. Chris Richardson has this strange fake smile that continually creeps me out, and dead eyes to boot. He looks like an overgrown Cabbage Patch doll. He really does. Sure, he’s a charismatic performer, I’ll give him that, but he oversings, and his tone is like nails on a chalkboard. Ugh.

The awful: Sanjaya Guarini Malakar is actually probably sporting his natural hairdo, and the big secret is that the lovely Leif Garrett fluff is what takes him 20 minutes to mousse, blowdry and style. His song should have been in a higher key, as it is completely vocally unchallenging. It was bad, though not as bad as the judges made it out to be. Sanjaya’s voice is like Downy fabric softener, though, in that it makes me want to cuddle something and fall asleep on a big fluffy bed. Which is probably not really good for this show. Haley Scarnato was as bad as the judges thought, and worse than Simon thought. Pretty hair does not equal stage presence, Mr. Cowell. She tried to go for some grit, but she screwed up the words royally, hit a few bum power notes, then retreated back into her little Disney-character-trilling niche. Also, the makeup artists were stupidly covering up her mole. Seriously. We all know it’s there, and it looks fine. By covering it up, it just looks like she’s got a zit.

Random comments: How come no one got a major makeover? That’s like the best part of the Top 12 Reveal! Melinda is still rocking her Mom ‘do, Lakisha’s weave is still too helmety, Gina’s haircut is still just bad and her makeup is still unflattering. Oooh, Chris Sligh swapped out his glasses for contact lenses! Someone call 911, I might keel over from the shock! Yawn. Okay, Sanjaya rocked The Guarini, but that wasn’t exactly surprising. Boo-ring. At least the banter between Simon and Ryan was well-scripted this episode, instead of the usual ill-timed potshots Ryan usually spews out at Simon in a failed attempt to counteract the Brit’s caustic witticisms.

American Idol: Top 16 Results

Who will make the Top 12? It’s oh-so-exciting, only it’s not, really. We pan across the group. Sanjaya is back to sporting his Leif Garrett hair. Sundance looks like he’s going to throw up. Sabrina and Melinda are solemn. Haley rocks some serious volume in her hair.

Group sing! Chris Sligh and Haley sound like bad karaoke as they start off “Stuck in the Middle with You.” Melinda and Stephanie sound a’ight. I think Phil sounds good, though I might be the only one. Chris Richardson sounds like ass. Gina’s okay. Brandon shows a little promise here. Jordin sounds amazing. Sabrina drowns out Sanjaya completely, Lakisha sounds awesome but looks petrified. Antonella is just kind of passing through. Sundance’s weeble-wobbles (but doesn’t fall down), and his screaming is a little weak, but generally he sounds pretty good.

Quickie review of how pretty much everyone sucked. Hee.

We dim the lights. Lakisha Jones and Blake Lewis join Seacrest on the seal. Oh, feh. They’re obviously both in the Top 12, and they quickly fill up the first two seats. Chris Sligh and his strategery sidle up to the seal as Seacrest asks him if he thinks he’s made it. “For fear of sounding stupid,” he says, “I’ll say I hope.” Aw. We break, and…he’s in the Top 12. Jordin Sparks is also in the Top 12. Phil Stacey gets pre-emptive applause, which can’t be good. Phil is nervous and a little worried. He’s asked if he wants to move on, he says yeah, and Seacrest tells him he’s safe. Camera pan to his sweet wife. Aww! Phil is in tears as he advances. I like him. I do. I can’t say he’s the best voice in the competition, but I really like him a lot.

Next up is Jared Cotter, and he is out tonight. Close-up on his adorable yet disappointed parents. Simon tells him he’s a good-looking guy, but to work on his vocals, and Randy tells him to be original. Jared says he’s very surprised. He…shouldn’t be, really. But whatev. His singout is just as bland and boring as it was on Tuesday night. He handles himself well throughout, though.

Tonight’s Idol Challenge asks us who has a number-one album right now: Ace Young, Kevin Covais, or Chris Daughtry? Are they kidding? Sadly, no.

Melinda Doolittle and Brandon Rogers are both in the Top 12. Yay for Melinda. Brandon I’m not sure deserved it after the run he’s had, but he’s got potential, so cool. Gina Glocksen and Chris Richardson stroll hand-in-hand to the seal. They are both safe. I’m warming up to Gina, but my thoughts on Chris R. (well, on his vocal abilities at least) are known, so I’m not enthusiastic about that at all.

Three spots left, six people remaining. And it’s time for a Carrie Underwood flashback. See Carrie when she lived on a farm and looked like she was still eating solid food! See Carrie win American Idol, crimped hair and all! See a nearly-emaciated Carrie fall victim to that horrid leggings trend to sing “Wasted.” Yeah, Carrie’s got a pretty voice, but…eh. You know, not too long ago I was re-watching last season’s finale, where Carrie, Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee all sang the intro verses of “I Made It Through the Rain,” and I realized just how indistinguishable Carrie and Katharine’s voices really are. Oh, sure, Carrie’s got a country twang, and Katharine’s got kind of a gulpy lower range, but when they’re in the mid-range I think they’re both just bland, bland, bland. But, y’know, they’re both thin and pretty, and both have put out incredibly formulaic albums, so I guess that’s all that counts. Oh, also disappointing is the fact that Carrie’s stage presence really hasn’t improved all that much. She’s still the same ol’ FarmBot. Applause for Carrie. I think it would be awesome for past contestants to come back and sing, and then to pan right to the judges to get their comments. I really wish they’d do that, because it would be pretty awesome.

Antonella Barba and Stephanie Edwards hit the seal. Antonella’s in tears, and she’s out. Oh, thank goodness. I feel bad that she’s crying and all, but she’s just not that good of a singer, and she’s in serious need of an attitude adjustment. Her hair is hanging in her eyes, though, which bothers me. Her sing-out is marginally better than last night, and there are lots of close-ups on her face, which is very, very pretty, but it’s a little girl’s face, and not a woman’s. Interesting how the great American Idol beauties (Antonella and Katharine) have quite womanly, shapely bodies, but childlike, apple-cheeked faces.

Down to Haley Scarnato and Sabrina Sloan. And here’s the first shocker — Haley makes it into the Top 12, while Sabrina is cut. Whoa. I never liked Sabrina’s singing much, but she was clearly the better singer than Haley. She looks spectacular and handles herself with class. Honestly, I think it was the Latoya factor that did her in — she did come off as a little cool, and slightly entitled. You can be a consummate professional on this show, but you have to act like you appreciate the fact that you’re actually there, and Sabrina never really did. If anything doomed her, it was that (and the fact that in a competition full of belters, there was bound to be vote-splitting).

Tonight’s big announcement is that American Idol will be bringing the issue of extreme poverty in America and Africa right into everyone’s living rooms, where it will sit uncomfortably for an hour every week. I hope that’s not true; I hope they raise a lot of money. On April 24th (Top Six night), the theme will be “inspirational songs” (ugh), and for every vote cast, Idol’s sponsors will donate money to charity for every vote. Quincy Jones will write a song, Borat will appear on Idol (oh, the shark, she is jumped), and like a million stars will be around when Africa appears on American Idol. Okay, it’s a cool announcement, I guess, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the contestants, so…eh.

It’s down to Sundance Head and Sanjaya Malakar. Both have given shitty performances. Who has the most potential? I’m gonna have to say Sundance. I know a lot of people hate him, but I don’t. I don’t see arrogance in him, either; I see a dude who’s obviously very talented (exhibit A: his original audition), but who hasn’t been able to find himself in this competition. That’s not an excuse, as he really needs to find himself quickly if he’s going to continue on, but…still. And maybe I am still clinging to that first time he sang “Stormy Monday.” Anyway, both of them look scared shitless. And the person going home is…Sundance. Aww. That’s really kind of sad, actually. It’s awful to see a guy who started out so full of promise plummet so badly. Paula says she’s speechless, and that Sundance has been one of the finest. When asked what happened, Simon says that the volume must have been turned down on the televisions of those who voted. All the judges are dumbfounded. Sundance pleads for a job. Heh. But…dare I say that Sundance looks really, really, really relieved to be getting the hell off of this show. It’s entirely possible that he just doesn’t do well in a highly competitive environment. Which probably means he’ll never be a pop star, but doesn’t mean he can’t eke out a decent career singing. Aww. I wanted to see how the stylists tackled the goatee.

“Bad Day” montage, featuring Simon telling Sundance that he’ll be amazed if Sundance doesn’t make the finals. Whoops. There is a small part of me that is glad that the singer who Simon said “blew Taylor out of the water” didn’t advance, but that’s all about Simon and not about Sundance at all, who I think is a hell of a nice guy.

Take a look at your Top Twelve, kids. It’s boring as shit. Yawn.

American Idol: Top 8 Women

Oh yes it’s ladies’ night on American Idol. Aaaaand here we go…although Paula appears to be missing. Oh, the jokes, they write themselves.

Seacrest is looking very beatnik tonight in his black turtleneck as he impores us to stay tuned for a very important Idol announcement on Thursday. Simon is sporting a…gray henley, which is nice. But onto the music and stupid secrets.

Football is a huge part of Jordin Sparks’ life. Oh, gee, you think? She “c’mon, y’all!”s it just like Diana DeGarmo as she launches into Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker.” She’s…cutesy. I knew this would happen. And the background singers are completely dominating her (those background singers are sure pissed off this season, aren’t they?). She sounds good, and she had fun, and her hair looks fabulous, but…eh, I dunno. Randy calls it “hot,” even though it wasn’t her best performance. Paula loved the energy. Simon wasn’t quite as enthusiastic, calling it a bit manic and shrieky, but acknowledges that Jordin is doing well and showing personality. Jordin is very tall.

Everyone’s hair looks so nice tonight. Have they brought in the stylists already? How disappointing. Much of the fun of this show is watching the major transformations that occur when the finals begin. Taylor, Katharine, Elliott…they all got major makeovers at the Final 12 mark, and continued to evolve throughout the season. It seems like everyone walking through the door is polished. I don’t like it.

Another thing I don’t like is Sabrina Sloan. It’s completely irrational at this point; she’s done nothing to irritate me, and she’s a good singer, but she strikes me as entitled and arrogant. I am, however, holding off judgment, because it’s really nothing more than a gut feeling, and certainly not enough to judge her on. Anyway, her boring secret is that she once wanted to be the next Katie Couric. A home movie snippet reveals a girl who I am convinced is a different person entirely reporting for her school, or something. Seriously. It looks nothing like her. She sings En Vogue’s “What’s It Gonna Be” song, and is totally pitchy. She misses a high note in the beginning and doesn’t ever seem to ever recover. Her sustained notes warble, and she even goes slightly sharp on her last power note. Randy calls it “solid,” but he didn’t completely feel it. Paula loved it, calling her voice “soaring.” Simon calls her a great singer, but calls her out on bot-ness and lack of passion, and calls for her to inject personality. She takes the criticism well, so maybe I was right and my pre-judgments were wrong. It happens, every once in a while. Her dress looks like a trash bag, though.

Antonella Barba’s secret is that she plays the violin and that she teaches lessons. She does Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On,” which is a great song but a horrible choice for this show, and again barely hits any of the notes. She’s alternately flat and sharp, never hitting anything in her lower range and groveling on the lower parts of the chrous, and it’s awful, so very awful. But she’s clearly earned her degree from the Katharine McPhee School of Coquettish Glances and Sex-Kitten Smiles, and prances around the stage as if she’s already won the competition. Randy calls it a good song choice and compliments her ending, but calls it “okay.” Paula calls it the right song choice for her range, but to watch out for bottom notes and that her “magic” is in her upper range. I agree. Simon tells her that she’s gone as far as she can go, in that she’s “surrounded by some pretty amazing girl singers.” Antonella looks pissed. Simon says her voice won’t get better, and commends Antonella on handling herself well in the media (applause), but says he won’t patronize her and that he wishes she could sing better. Ryan asks her what she thinks of all this, and she pussyfoots around as best she can, proclaiming that she has a “different style.” No, sweetie — Leslie Hunt had a different style. You just kind of are not all that good. Ryan asks her if she understood what Simon was saying to her, and she snots “um, yeah” in the most vapid, obnoxious, Valley Girl-ish way you can possibly imagine, bitches that she’s getting compared to other singers, and says “I don’t try to be like them and they don’t try to be like me.” Simon bursts out in laughter, Randy and Paula proclaim that this is a singing competition only, and Antonella snickers because she knows damn well that that’s not true, as do we all.

Haley Scarnato was a gymnast until she practically landed herself in traction. She tackles a little Faith Hill, and though I’ve never heard this song before, I don’t quite hate it as much as I thought I would. What I’m none too fond of, however, is Haley’s performance. Like Antonella, she’s not too good in her lower range, and it’s a very cutesy, pagent-type performance, but certainly nothing special. Pretty girl, pretty voice, but…bland. Randy says it was “okay” and “pretty much in tune,” but that it lacked pizzazz. Intangibles like that are going to doom the contestants this year, I think, moreso than technical mistakes like pitch. Simon thought it was horrible, a “terrible, ghastly, high school musical performance.” Simon, apparently, turned to Paula during the performance and admitted that he didn’t know Haley’s name. I feel bad for Haley, because she seems like a nice enough girl, but no, she does not have a spark. Ryan asks for her comments, and she says that it’s tough to hear the criticism, but that she just has to “clock in and clock out.” Sweetheart, if that’s what singing is to you, don’t expect America to expend its time and energy dialing in for you.

Stephanie Edwards wouldn’t sing at family barbecues because she was shy. Yawn. These are “things you didn’t know about the contestants?” Where’s Taylor and his creepy bunny suit? Stephanie sings “Sweet Thing” (I think), and again, she is another contestant who needs to get out of her lower range. I actually think she’s really off-pitch in spots, and that her high notes are shrieky and kind of cracked. Randy gives her an “A for effort” and tells her that choosing a Chaka song evokes an automatic comparison to a better artist. Paula thought she was “darn near flawless,” which is a lie, but tells her to keep up with the beat because she has a tendency to fall a bit behind the music. Simon’s a’ight with it.

Aww, my favorite anti-drug commercial. Little cartoon dog, you rule!

Lakisha Jones is terrified of…animals. Huh. She tackles Whitney’s “I Have Nothing” and does an excellent job of erasing the horrid memory of McPhee slaughtering this tune like a herd of cattle from my mind. That being said, however, she does not take as many vocal risks as McPhee did, which is disappointing, because she can handle them. While anyone else would be doomed with this song, with Lakisha, this was a blandly safe performance. Randy calls it “great,” even if it wasn’t her best. Paula’s mind is blown. Simon says that Lakisha brought passion (true), talent (true), and believability (true), and he also tells Lakisha that she looks beautiful. Lakisha’s adorable family has made adorable T-shirts, and Lakisha adorably scolds them for “acting up.” Aww. I do like Lakisha a whole lot, even if I think Melinda is a hair better than her when push comes to shove.

Ryan and the gals have a pillow fight in the red room. Heh. Gina Glocksen has lucky charms. Are they gimmicks or silly things she says? No; they are a pillow and a tiny troll. Aww. She’s tackling Evanescence’s “Call Me When Your Sober,” and her outfit is really, really flattering tonight. The skinny jean tucked into the knee-high boot really lengthens her legs, and the tunic accentuates her curves nicely. She looks lovely. Punk Lite. More 80’s-themed-Halloween-party than actual rocker, but whatever. I guess she does a good job with this. I just don’t find her that memorable of a singer. Randy calls this “the real Gina,” calls her on pitch (yeah, she was a bit warbly), but tells her to “keep the edge alive.” Paula loved it, but tells her to watch the oversinging. Simon knows that Gina had fun, and says that it was the first time he’s seen Gina look comfortable. He says Gina tended to scream the song, but that he really hopes she makes it through. Heh. Remember this time last year when Simon said essentially the same thing to Taylor after “Taking It to the Streets?” Yeah, so do I. Don’t count your chickens just yet, Gina. You know what? I just noticed that Gina is really pretty. Her Top 24 stock photos do her no justice at all.

The pimp spot goes to Melinda Doolittle essentially has obsessive-compulsive disorder without the obsessions. She sings “I’m a Woman,” and is generally awesome and womanly and beautiful and exudes sex in ways that the plastic Barbie dolls that have graced the Idol stage before her could only hope to ever be. I will take one Melinda Doolittle and her sex-bomb self over a thousand prancing, vamping McPhee clones any damn day. Everyone just loves it across the board, and even Simon calls her a “little tiger.” He manages to slip in a little dig at Jennifer Hudson, but we expect these kinds of things from Simon. Yaaay for Melinda!

Best of the night: Melinda. Duh.
Worst of the night: The hot mess that is Antonella Barba, followed by Haley Scarnato’s cutesy self. I miss Leslie.

American Idol: Top 8 Men

So we start off with Blake Lewis, who sings that “All Mixed Up” song by 311. I recognize the song as being from an era when 1) I actually listened to pop music, but 2) when pop music was at least partially dominated by cool alternative rock and wasn’t all that bad. He’s in his lower range, which makes him sound less nasal and just generally a whole lot better. There’s a part where he appears to forget his words, or maybe that was just him covering up for some not-so-primetime-ready lyrics. Aside from some beatboxing around the word “ass” and in other parts here and there, the song is a little safe. I think he’s capable of more. Randy calls Blake the “first current artist” they’ve had on the show (throwin’ Daughtry under the bus already, huh?), and didn’t recognize the song. Whaa? Dude, even I recognize that song. Paula didn’t recognize it, either, but loved it anyway. And Simon didn’t understand a word Blake sang, but liked it anyway.

Okay, I have to say, I love that little anti-drug commercial where the cartoon pothead is too lazy to walk his cartoon dog, and the cartoon dog thinks “you disappoint me,” then leaves to raise his little cartoon dog flag. It’s freakin’ awesome. So shut up.

The stylists have worked a little hot-iron magic on Sanjaya Malakar. His secret talent is…doing the hula. Oh, dear. (“What you didn’t know about me” is theme this week, like it was at this time last year. Blake’s secret was his penchant for improv comedy.) Sanjaya is bringing us some “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer. You know, this song, while excellent, is also depressing as shit, and yet Sanjaya plods through it with a smile that is up to McPhee-like levels of inappropriateness. He attempts a huge run, and misses it horribly. Randy and Simon agree that while it wasn’t as bad as last week, Sanjaya’s lost his spark. Paula tells him to step up his game.

Sundance Head’s secret is that he’s secrety a skinny, sexy dude, and that he wears a fat suit to remain anonymous. Heh. People who hate him are going to jump on him for being arrogant for that remark; I think it was a cute way to acknowledge that he might not have any other interesting thing going on for him. He sings Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” while rocking a tiny fauxhawk (heh) and doing that gritty-growly thing. Only thing is, he doesn’t do gritty-growly as well as Taylor Hicks, or Bo Bice, or even Chris Daughtry. Okay, he’s better than last week, I think, but it’s not great, and his enunciation is very mumbly. Randy likes the Southern-rock spin, as does Paula, but Simon is less than impressed. I don’t think he totally hates it, but he thinks that Sunny shouted his way through the song. Well, yeah. It’s Pearl Jam.

Travis Tritt is in the audience. We care because Randy Jackson is producing it, apparently. Heh. Look what synergy can do for you! Chris Richardson used to play football in college and was chubby, but has since lost forty pounds. Chris continues his one-man crusade to channel Justin Timberlake via Elliott Yamin by perching on a stool and tackling a Keith Urban ballad that reveals just how truly thin and annoying his voice actually is. Proving once again that he is a friggin’ moron, Randy loves it. Paula is creaming over it. Can Simon be the voice of reason here? Not really. He thought it was good and “cutesy,” calls Chris out on his nasally tone (thank God), but says that in the end, Chris “sold it.” Ugh — I’m beginning to detect the first whiffs of the stench of TCO-dom hovering over Chris Richardson’s head. And I don’t like it.

Next we have Jared “It’s for the ladies” Cotter is just too fucking smooth for his own damn good, isn’t he? He played college basketball, but quit to do music. He sings Stevie’s “If You Really Love Me,” which is my all-time favorite Stevie song, and he ridiculously plays to the camera and hops and “woo!s” and I think it was pretty bland. Randy calls it “solid,” Paula didn’t really like it and says that he needs to work on coloring up the way he sings and using his vocal abilities to convey more emotion. Simon agrees, saying that the performance wasn’t very original and lacked the “wow factor.” I agree. Jared has some so-smooth-they’re-creepy moves, but when push comes to shove, he’s just boring.

Ryan chats up Brandon and Phil about the judges. Phil says that he hopes the judges remember how much he loves each of them dearly. Hee. I like Phil, even if his voice isn’t the most original.

Brandon Rogers’ secret is that he’s a classical pianist. He sings “I Just Wanna Celebrate” by Rare Earth. It’s a much better than last week, but I’m still not getting the star quality vibe from him, and his voice blends in with the background singers just too well. His voice cracks on the run at the end, and Randy picks up on something weird. He calls it “solid.” Paula calls it “phenomenal” and says Brandon is proving why he belongs on the stage. Simon says he doesn’t think Brandon is representing himself well, in that he’s one of the better singers. Simon says the song didn’t have enough of a hook and that he’s nervous for Brandon this week. Ryan asks Brandon if he’d do anything to win, Brandon answers in the affirmative, and many weird facial expressions ensue.

Phil Stacey rips off Chris Daughtry’s secret from last year and reveals that he once had hair. He’s singing — get this — “I Need You” by Leann Rimes. It starts off horribly, as Phil really has no lower range. And to be honest, I don’t think he ever hits his stride. He cracks on a high note, his vocals sound forced, and he looks into the camera at the end, knowing (or at least suspecting) that he’s blown it. Randy says it was “aight” overall, and that Phil reminds him of Steve Perry from Journey (Journey name-drop!), but to work on his lower range. Paula tells him to work on his lower range and that it wasn’t his best performance. Simon criticizes Phil’s “big eyes” and says that the entire package was very strange. Up the game, Simon commands. Yeah, guys. I kind of hope Phil doesn’t go, because he’s one of my favorite personalities, at least. He concedes that the song choice wasn’t great. Simon and Ryan do their weekly tap-dance of thinly-veiled homoeroticism.

Carrie Underwood will perform Thursday night. Hooray for bland and nondescript! That’s what this show specializes in.

Chris Sligh’s secret? No, it’s not Herbal Essence, though it is about his hair. It used to be short. Bah. Who gives a flying fuck? He sings DC Talk’s “We All Wanna Be Loved,” and…eh. I’ve never really been impressed with his voice (though he did sound nice on “Trouble” last week). I admit, I have a hard time getting past his prominent lisp. Oh yes, he has a very nice and well-controlled voice, but tonally I don’t find anything particularly interesting about it. I also think he’s more image over substance. Randy says it wasn’t his favorite song choice, but that it was the best vocal of the night. Paula didn’t really like it much, saying that the performance was “middle of the road” and that Chris needs to grow vocally. Chris asks if it was better than last week, and Paula says no. Simon kind of agrees, says that it wasn’t a hook song and that Chris shouted his way through. Chris apologizes for not “bringing it,” and the camera cuts to Simon with that “bitch please” expression on his face I love so much. Chris demands a hug from Ryan, which makes Simon’s eyes light up in devilish glee.

Wow. What a boring night. Can I even pick bests and worsts? Let me try.

Best of the night: Hmm. Tough pick. I’m gonna have to go with Blake Lewis. The performance was way safe, but it was the only one that interested me.
Worst of the night: Smarmy Chris Richardson and his smarmy, nasal voice and his smarmy smile. Look, I’m sure he’s a really nice guy, and he and Blake Lewis seem to be the new Laverne and Shirley and all that, but…meh. His voice is week and he sounds like a little girl, and I don’t know what the judges are smoking when they give him those freakin’ tongue baths.

End credits. The judges say that only four guys really deserve to be in the final 12. A drummer dances with a back-up dancer. And who is that plastic, shiny woman sitting next to Travis Tritt?

American Idol: Top 20 Results

Recap wil be late, guys. Life calls.


Nicholas Pedro (“Fever”)
Alaina Alexander (“Not Ready to Make Nice”) (still snarking on Simon — try having the talent to back it up, sweetie pie. College is waiting. THE HORROR!) Alaina cries and hugs her way through the first half of her singout and barely makes it through the second half. Jordin and Sundance cry at her exit. It’s almost enough to melt my cold, black heart. Almost.
AJ Tablado (“Feelin’ Good”)(Sundance cries again!)
Leslie Hunt (“Feelin’ Good”) (who looks like she’s about to die…sob)

I’m officially uninvested this season.

Uhhh…I think Kellie’s had a little, uh, work done.

American Idol: Top 10 Girls

Quickie recap, because, unfortunately, life beckons.

Simon warns the contestanst against “not giving themselves an identity” — i.e., not pigeonholing themselves into some preconceived stereotype. Heh. Heh heh.

Gina Glocksen’s song is dedicated to her boyfriend, who encouraged her to try out for Idol again. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her, blah blah blah. She sings “Alone” by Heart in a very cool red dress. She’s got major pitch problems, and…whoa…talk about karaoke. Talk about drunk karaoke. Not sayin’ that Gina’s drunk, but instead sayin’ that this is the type of performance you usually get when a gal gets drunk at karaoke night. She barely hits the major note at the end. Randy likes it, Paula calls it excellent (? I don’t think she hit like half the notes), Simon says that the vocals felt forced at the end and that he’s a little confused as to “who Gina is.” Sigh. Seacrest uncomfortably implores Gina’s boyfriend to propose to her.

Lakisha Jones tells Seacrest that she’s pretty unaware of all the media buzz surrounding her performance. Alaina Alexander, looking very pretty in her curly hair and slate-blue dress, dedcates her performance to her mom, who worked four jobs (well, “like four jobs”) to support her children. That’s great. She sings The Dixie Chicks’ “I’m Not Ready to Make Nice” and as much as Alaina’s mother is really sweet, Alaina is just not a good singer. She’s still fish-out-of-water gaspy, she’s very shouty, and I don’t think she’s hitting a single freakin’ note. It’s just bad all around. At the end, she has this really sad, pissed-off look on her face. Why? I dunno. Randy says she lost the tuning and the pitch at the chorus, and calls the song “a mess.” Alaina makes Katharine-McPhee-like “bitch, whatchoo talkin’ bout?” faces, clearly buying into the delusion of her own greatness, and firmly cementing my hatred for her. She even throws in an “I had a little trouble hearing” excuse toward the end of Paula’s critique. Gah! Simon says she ran out of steam three-quarters of the way. The “she looks amazing” criticisms dribble out of Paula’s mouth as Alaina makes more nose-wrinkling “how dare you critize moi” faces. Ugh. Get off my TV.

Lakisha Jones dedicates her performance to her grandmother, who doesn’t let her walker slow her down. Awesome. Lakisha looks killer, as her short skirt and shapely-but-not-clingy top accentuate her full figure in a surprisingly pleasing way. Her “Midnight Train to Georgia” sounds effortless in the beginning, but is — as I feared — kind of one-note throughout. Randy loves it, Paula loves it, Simon calls her a “phenomenally good singer” but doesn’t think had the “I’m in it to win it” attitude she had last week. He implores her to “act like a star” and tells her that he didn’t like her outfit, calling it “too colorful.” In the words of Dr. Evil, “rrrrriiiiggghhhttt.” Seacrest and Ryan continue their “we are totally heterosexual” banter by debating whether Lakisha’s sweater is orange or salmon.

Melinda Doolittle dedicates the song to her two best friends, a vocal coach and a stylist. I wish MY two best friends were a vocal coach and a stylist. She’s dressed in a fantastic shiny denim suit that I covet, but would never wear on American Idol. She sings “My Funny Valentine,” all classic-soul style, and while she’s still having perma-smile issues, her voice is nearly flawless. It does amazing dips and peaks and valleys, and I think she’s one of the few belters I’d actually listen to recreationally. Randy loves it, Paula is amazed by her unique phrasing, Simon calls it “incredible” and the best vocal in the competition so far. Aww.

Alaina Alexander Antonella Barba (well, aren’t they practically just the same person anyway?) says she’s picked a better song this week. She dedicates the song to her brother, a musician. “Because You Loved Me” is her choice tonight, and it’s not really much better than last week. She’s really just not that great of a singer. And her dress looks like something I bought at Wet Seal ten years ago. However, when she hits the high note, she sounds really wonderful. So maybe the solution here is to get her singing in her higher soprano range. But I don’t think the note was enough to save the song. Randy says the song is too big for her, and Alaina makes this face like “eh, maybe so, Jackson, but I’ve firmly secured the Horny Males of America vote, muahahaha!” Simon says Antonella was worse than last week. Antonella says that she’ll listen to the judges, but that “Simon was wrong about Jennifer Hudson, so…” Jeebus, what is it with these obnoxious chicks and their entitlement? Why are Antonella and Alaina so convinced of their own greatness when, in fact, they are middling talents at best?

Jordin Sparks dedicates her song to her brother. She’s singing “Reflection,” which I will forever associate with Ayla Brown and Teenage Botness, but Jordin does a serviceable job, and tears up at the end. Randy really likes it, Paula calls her “infectious” and a “good human being,” and Simon says it wasn’t her best, but it was excellent compared to a lot of other people.

Up next is Stephanie Edwards, singing the first song of the evening I don’t recognize, “Dangerously in Love,” I’m going to take a wild stab and say it’s something by Mary J. Blige, though. It sounds Mary J.-ish. (ETA: Oh, Beyonce.) Anyway, I don’t think Stephanie is that great on it, unfortunately. She’s got a lovely voice, but I don’t think she can quite keep up with the stattaco pacing of the verses. Ah well. Randy calls it “Beyonce light,” Paula says it was fantastic, brilliant, bla blah blah, Simon really liked it.

Adorable Leslie Hunt recognizes that her “flapping” works for gigs, but maybe not for the Idol stage. She dedicates her song to her grandfather, calling him “the definition of unconditional love.” She sings Nina Simon’s “Feeling Good” (yes, the same song AJ drag-queen-revued last night). Her miniskirt-and-leggings combination is a little trend overload for my tastes. I love her voice, and I think she sounds fantastic, even if her Nina-esque scatting kind of tends to lose it towards the end. Randy says it’s good to see Leslie return to her jazzy roots, but that the song was pitchy, which I disagree with. Paula loved it. Simon compares Leslie’s scatting to Paula’s talking, and says that Leslie’s getting a little bit lost in the competition because of all the belters. Which maybe is true, but doesn’t make her any less talented, and besides, some people don’t friggin’ like to be yelled at every week. Seacrest cutely reads the scat lyrics as prose. Sometimes Seacrest is awesome. I hope Leslie sticks around, although I have a feeling that should she go far in this competition, she could be as polarizing as Taylor Hicks was last year. At this point in time I hope that photos of Leslie rubbing her naughty bits against a revered memorial surface, if that’s what it takes to keep her in the competition.

Haley Scarnato dedicates the song to her fiance, then launches into “Queen of the Night.” She’s better than Alaina and Antonella, to be sure, but I don’t think that’s saying a whole lot. This is a singer who gets lost in the mix, to me. At least Leslie has something to make her stand out. This is just blah to me, and kind of like she’s channelling Nicole Tranquillo from last night. Randy doesn’t think it was great, and Simon says she’s vulnerable tonight. Haley is crying, which is sad, because she seems like a sweet girl, but she’s still just meh.

Sabrina Sloan is another one whose personality rubs me the wrong way. (Yeah, remember when I wrote last night that Chris Richardson was the only one so far who actively annoyed me? He’s gaining some competition.) She seems entitled to me, and she has this very forced coy/sexy vibe about her. Anyway, this is another song devoted to dear grams. She sings something, I don’t know what. As far as the belters go, I think she’s outclassed by Stephanie, Lakisha, and Melinda. Also, when she hits the modulation, she starts getting very, very strident. Definitely not as good as last week. Randy calls it “very nice overall” with somem pitch problems here and there, Paula loves it (what doesn’t Paula love?), Simon says she was right on the limit of confusing power with shouting, but that she’ll be back next week.

Vote Leslie, kids. Let’s round out this competition with a little something interesting. Or, if you must choose a belter, go with Melinda, whose my pick to win it all, and who will get all my (dispassionate and uninvested) support should Leslie get the boot.

February 2019
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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. "