Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Idol Chat (Part 7)

Okay, I'm sorry this is so late. I've been insanely busy at work today and I had to seriously edit down the epic rant I wrote last night on this week's episode. It essentially turned out to be a critical analysis of the entire Lloyd Weber oeuvre. Anyway, fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night. Here's the post:

Oh, the pretension! This week on American Idol the contestants were forced to sing the songs of Lord Andrew Lloyd Weber. LORD. They introduced her lordship with such fanfare on the show I fully expected him to enter wearing an ermine trimmed cape! From the very beginning of the show Ryan et al were going on and on about how this would be the toughest week ever in the history of American Idol as if they contestants were suddenly asked to perform Wagnerian song cycles or something. Yes, it was a tough week, but only because most of Weber’s music is so pedestrian it’s hard to pull of an interesting or fresh performance of it.

Oh. You might have noticed I have some strong opinions on the work of his lordship. STRONG. Not that he hasn’t created a couple of interesting, even relevant shows (Evita, Superstar), but let’s just say if you’re a fan, you might just want to stop reading now. It’s a long one anyway. I have a lot to say. A LOT.

On with the top and bottom 3—or the final 6 in this case.

Top Three
Carly Smithson
. “Jesus Christ Superstar” This was a toss up for me for first place between Carly and Syesha. I gave it to Carly though because there seemed to be more at stake for her this week following a couple weeks in a row of uncharacteristic lackluster performances. But last night she came back stronger than ever--a clear standout of the evening. She can thank his Lordship for some excellent advice that got her out of her slump. ( Imagine if she had sung that other piece of drivel she chose? Good heavens!) The best benefit she got was choosing a song from a period of Weber’s work when he was writing from a place of true passion rather than commercialism. It’s an exciting song and Carly gave exciting, fresh performance. I thought she was great. GREAT.

Syesha “One Rock and Roll Too Many” Well! It seems Miss Syesha has finally found her niche. She seemed much more suited to this genre than pop. Also, she went for a decidedly musical theatre approach to the song and made no apologies for it. It was a risk in a way, but it paid off. She delivered the song with all the glamour and sass of a real Broadway star. The judges seemed to respect that and in fact rewarded her for excelling in a style of music she is clearly passionate about. Following their comments, there was a look of satisfaction and relief on Syesha's face as if to say “Oh, good. It’s okay to be me” which I found sweet and touching. Syesha had proved to be an adept singer all along, but only recently has she begun to shine.

David Archuletta “Think of Me” His lordship was astonished that a boy would choose to sing this song. Why? The lyric is pretty general and non-specific—it’s not exactly “I Enjoy Being a Girl” (Although come to think of it, David would be pretty cute in that number, too.) His lordship pretends the lyric wasn’t purposefully left vague in the hopes that this banal little ditty would get recorded to death by singers of all types making him millions of dollars. David sang the song beautifully. He actually gave it some meat. But you know how Randy is always saying this kid could sing the phone book and make it sound good? This song is pretty close. He comes in third last night because you can only put so much lipstick on a pig.

Bottom Three
David Cook “Music of the Night” An uninspired song choice. Why didn’t someone steer this kid toward Judas in Superstar? He would have kicked ass. Instead he gave a bland performance of a bland song. Not good, not bad, neither passionate nor vulnerable. Just there. We can thank David’s song choice for giving us perhaps one of the most awkward moments in television history, however. Maybe David gave such a wooden performance because he was trying to resist the urge to vomit after having the lizard-like Lloyd Weber come on to him in his vocal coaching-- an incident that will undoubtedly scar him for life. That has to be one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen on tv. Seriously.

Jason Castro “Memory” This doesn’t even deserve comment. This kid is so stupid it’s not even cute or funny anymore. “I didn’t know a cat was singing it.” Need I say more? Anyone who doesn’t know that singing “Memory” ANYWHERE sets you up to be a laughing stock is clearly a dullard of the highest order. It’s akin to singing “Feelings” on the Gong Show for crying out loud! This is the reason Jason bothers me so much as a performer, he’s pleasant enough, but there’s no spark of intelligence or creativity in him. He’s always got dull-eyed vacant expression. There’s nothing going on upstairs and that’s not interesting to watch.

Brook White “You Must Love Me” She chose a third rate song for the movie version of “Evita”. That was her first mistake which ultimately lead her to her second mistake, forgetting the lyric. Here’s what happened: it’s a bad song. There’s a reason people forget lyrics—usually it’s because they don’t work. Any playwright, for example, knows that if an actor trips up on the same line all the time, there’s probably something wrong with the line. And Paula is right! YOU MUST NOT START AND STOP! First rule of show business: The show must go on. Hello? This girl is an amateur. Her vocals are extremely mediocre. She can’t play the piano worth a damn. She hasn’t grown at all during the competition giving the same high school talent show level performance week after week. This is all she’s got folks. She’s not your American Idol.

Boy, do I sound cranky today or what? But it felt good to get all that out. Whew! I guess I owe his lordship (and his fans) a really nice Musical Moments post after this, huh. The next one--I promise!


UPDATE:  Okay, this is the point in the season where I vow never to watch American Idol again.   This is when the fan base for each singer is so strong it doesn't matter how good or bad the performances are (Jason?  BROOKE?). The two best performances by far, Syesha and Carly, ended up in the bottom two.  The only good thing about this is that we got to watch both of them again  because there is no freakin' way I could have sat through that excruciating version of "Memory" again.  Sadly, the unbelievably talented Carly Smithson goes home this week while Mr. "I-didn't-know-a-cat-was-singin'-it" and Miss Start-and-Stop-Amateur-Hour live to see another week.  Where is the justice?  It better be David and David in the final two or I swear I'm never watching American Idol again.  And I meant it this time!



At 5:44 PM, Blogger LSL said...

I love these updates! And the comments about Memory are hilarious. Love it.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Y | O | Y said...

Well Mr. Cranky McCrankypants got up on the wrong side of the bed!

Bottom line: I don't think I'd pay money to see a single one of them.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Lacey said...

The only thing wrong about last night is that Carly is the only one leaving...I'm talkin' about Syesha and David Cook in the final. The rest of it is just blah blah blah.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger YNAGER '65 said...

A David vs David finale is best in my book too. I think America was just tired of Carly and her sleeve tattoo. That thing is disgusting and it distracted me more than anything.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger judy said...

You've got to be kidding me!! Did the people who voted actually watch the show? And are they hearing impaired? I thought your assessment was not only "on the money", as usual, but hilarious. Jason's performance was so painful, I literally was not able to watch the whole thing. I tried hiding behind a pillow for a while and then had to switch over to another channel. Normally, a stop/start performance would be enough to send you home, but I actually felt that Jason's mess was so appalling, he would have to go. I'm with you, Michael. This kind of voting is just too frustrating. The good news is they're only voting for an American "Idol" and not something more important. Please tell me the wisdom of the American people will improve by November.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger cb said...

Yeah, this is the point where popularity really starts trumping talent.

Poor Carly and Syesha. I called it though... even down to my prediction that the black vote would win out over the vote for some foreign chick.

I agreed with your placements too- David Cook's version made me cringe. But I would have flip-flopped Jason and Brooke. I think even with her abortion of "you must love me" it STILL was miles better than when Madonna retched it out at the Academy Awards.

At 12:48 AM, Blogger TCho said...

Brooke is really getting on my nerves. Someone needs to put duct tape over her mouth


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