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It was Rock and Roll Hall of Fame week on Idol this week and will.i.am was brought in to help coach the kids. There wasn’t a whole lot of rock this week, but there was definitely some rolling, courtesy of will.i.am, who seemed to be on something… Let’s all agree: he was out of his freakin’ mind.
Not all that surprising, I suppose when you walk around looking like this…
Lusky is up first and brought with him an ego the size of his ample booty. He tells us that he’d be singing “Man in the Mirror” and that if he ended up in the bottom three, it wouldn’t be because he wasn’t a good singer. It’d be because America wasn’t ready to look at themselves in the mirror. I don’t know what that means but I do know that it made him sound like a total asshole, and he’s a little early in his career to start being a dick. He’s been famous for like six weeks now and that summer tour ain’t gonna last forever. I love how these fools think they’re special and forget that the majority of Idol contestants disappear back into obscurity after the season ends. Something tells me America is going to take him down a notch.
That’s the face you’ll be making when you get your wake up call.
He hits the stage in all white and is backed up by Siedah Garrett, who co-wrote “Man in the Mirror.” She is apparently also a body builder, cuz those are some Angela Bassett-type arms. Lusky sounds fine but the performance is kind of boring. It’s very Quiet Storm.
“I hope they’ve got some muscle milk in the green room.”
Steven slips off his granny glasses and calls the performance beautiful. He thinks Lusky brought a piece of himself to the party. JHo thinks it was perfect in every way. Randy says a bunch of stuff but I’m so distracted because a) he’s wearing a raincoat and b) Christian Slater is sitting behind him and making all sorts of faces. Tink says he likes Jake’s hip thrusts. Of course.
Haley’s doing Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” This song choice was a real gimme, because the judges have been telling her for weeks that she should do Joplin. will/i/am says she sounds like an artist — not just a singer, but she’s not feeling the emotion of the song. So… do that, I guess.
Haley takes the stage looking like a rocker and her hair is curly this week. That’s good. I’m convinced that she sings better when her hair’s curly. She’s like the Samson of Idol.
Beware hair stylists named Delilah with flat irons, girl! But try to get your hands on some Frizz-ease…
Haley turns in a pretty good performance. Her voice is powerful. Her left arm is under control, thanks to a mic stand. And she gets a huge standing ovation from the crowd. I think it’s well deserved.
JHo says they’re off to a strong start and that Haley’s a contender. Randy says she invoked Janis by doing that bluesy soulful thing. Steven says he couldn’t find nothing wrong with it and that Haley gave a voice to rock ‘n’ roll, just like Janis did in 1968. In fact, just last week, he’d cast a spell using the baby teeth he wears around his neck and had a little talk with Janis and they were remembering that time they dropped acid back in San Francisco and ended taking a road trip down to LA but ended up in Seattle with some Hare Krishnas living in the back of the van. So they just chilled out in Seattle for awhile.
Casey was originally going to perform “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” but during rehearsals, while Jimmy Iovine and will*i*am argued over whether it was appropriate for one to call one’s male-gendered friend “homes” or “mama”, Casey changed his mind and decided to do “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, because he felt he could only give “Every Little Thing…” 80 percent of his energy.
Casey’s changing things up this week by playing the upright bass while he sings, which I imagine is a first on Idol. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anyone play an upright bass and sing an entire song at the same time. And I would know — there was a time in the early aughts when I fancied myself quite the jazz connoisseur and I used to hang out in bars where young, hairy men played jazz and I’d order a white russian, because surely someone ordering such a sophisticated drink wouldn’t need their ID checked, right? It’s not like I was asking for a Long Island Iced Tea or a scorpian bowl or something ridiculous like that!
So, much like Haley’s mic stand kept her arm from flapping around, the upright bass seems to keep Casey from screeching, howling or making crazy eyes. The first half isn’t particularly interesting, but once he gets warmed up I get into the performance. Except for the fake raindrop-type graphics that are being used on the monitors throughout the studio. Maybe that’s why Randy wore his raincoat? Anyway, Casey’s voice has grown on me with its bluesy-ness.
Randy says Casey made CCR proud and he made the upright bass cool. Upright bass: not just for polka and jazz anymore, says Randy. Steven adjusts his blazer made out of reptile skins and says that Casey should put some wheels on the bass and ride it around town. OK Steven… back to drawing naked ladies on your legal pad. JHo says this is where Casey belongs and she’d pay top dollar to be in the front row.
Lauren’s singing “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. Jimmy Iodine says Lauren’s combining R&B and Country and it’s awesome. will!i!am says she’s combining country and soul, and that makes COUNTROUL.
Lauren takes the stage in a completely ridiculous outfit that I love and want to wear someplace totally inappropriate like church or a city council meeting or dinner at a nursing home.
She sounds fine although her performance is slightly sleepy. I’m starting to get the feeling that the contestants are starting to get really worn down now. She does end on a strong note and follows it up with a little giggle.
Christian Slater — what did you think? Christian thought it was beautiful. Steven thinks she’s a natural born woman and Lauren looks slightly uncomfortable, because what do you say when you’re a teenager and an old man says something like that? JHo thought it was amazing. Randy says it was a difficult song and it’s been done better on Idol and he wasn’t jumping up and down but she did a good job, so big props to her.
During the commercial break, there’s some sort of hair product commercial featuring JHo swinging her long, silky locks around, and I’m annoyed that we have to watch her looking amazing in the show and then she comes on during commercials to remind us, yet again, how gorgeous she is. We get it. Your genetics and ridiculous wealth make you better looking than the rest of us. Now give us a break and let us look at normal people for three minutes, mmkay? Give us Flo and her goofy insurance commercials!
We get it. Now go away.
When we get back from commercials, Tink is trying to engage the judges in intelligent conversations but they just want to know if he’s wearing deodorant. James Durbin wants to change things up and do a ballad. He’s chosen George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and he looks forward to surprising everyone by pulling back. will#i#am tells him it still needs to end with tons of energy.
To go with his choice, James has had his hair flat ironed into an emo-style bird’s nest and sings softly and gently. I like it better when he’s screaming and high energy, but it’s nice to see that he can change it up and definitely connects with the song emotionally, ending with wet eyes and a pained face.
What it sounds like… when doves cry.
JHo says pain makes rock and roll work and it’s special that he’s vulnerable enough to share his pain. Randy enjoyed seeing the true, emotional side of Jimmy D, and that’s the sign of a good artist. Steven says it’s good to see that both the guitar and James gently weep. Tink wants to know what James was thinking about that had him so upset and he blames his family. I’m sure they’re awful people.
Shock and awe: Scotty is doing an Elvis song. He chose “That’s Alright Mama.” I’m not exactly sure what will&i&am is talking about — he says something about combing two things that don’t taste good and making them taste good. Country + rock = country and rock, he adds.
Scotty starts on the giant staircase on the Idol stage with the Country Bear Jamboree or some such type band. He sounds fine, as usual, and is not only tilting his head to the side, but also holding the microphone like it’s a flute or something.
His dance moves are reminiscent of an old hip hop video: he’s pointing his finger and jabbing his arm at the audience and he’s moving around so much the cameras can barely keep up.
As he ends the song, a whole gaggle of squealing girls rush the stage and hug him. Tink comes back early to shoo them away. Christian Slater looks really excited by the whole thing.
Randy says Scotty’s more than a one-trick, Elvis impersonator. He’s like a two-trick Elvis impersonator. Steven thought Scotty was all hat and no cattle, which sounds like a bad thing. But he also says Elvis would be proud and that he like hearing the girls scream. It took him back to the days when it the girls at his concerts were lithe and perky and filled with the promise of hot tour bus shannigans. Now they’re just sloppy and need to get home in time to relieve the sitter. JHo says he’s fun and funny (good for her, getting two adjectives out of essentially one word). She also says he has rap music video moves. Scotty says it’s the Puerto Rican in him. Um, I think he just totally put the moves on JHo and he managed to be charming without being smarmy. Good to see someone’s progressing and not totally rundown on this show!
Tink finally interviews Christian Slater, who is about bust. He and his daughter are excited to see Pia perform next, though I imagine they’re excited for very different reasons.
When you had a crush on Christian Slater back in the Heathers days, did you ever imagine this is where he’d end up?
Pita’s doing “River Deep Mountain High” by Tina Turner and she wants to shock everyone. Jimmy says she’s gotta get pissed and shut everyone up with her song.
Pita takes the stage wearing a cat suit made out of endangered baby snow leopards or something. As usual, she sounds great, although not as good as her ballads and I certainly wouldn’t call her angry. She ends on a big note, there are pyrotechnics and the judges and her family are excited.
Steven is screaming “murderer! murderer!” at her, because she killed it. Also, there’s a million guys having a million drinks for her right now. Sounds dangerous. Let’s hope they don’t get too drunk to vote. JHo says Pita proved she can sing uptempo, now all she needs to do is work on her performing skills. Randy says we all believe in you — Christian Slater nods in agreement — and great singers have as many uptempo hits as ballads. Christian Slater’s daughter gives Pia two thumbs up and blows her a very hammy kiss. Something tells me we’ll be seeing that kid on the Disney channel in no time.
Stefano’s doing “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge. will%i%am tries to work on his performance with him, encouraging Stefano to draw out the song and take a moment to check his blackberry or tie his shoe. It’s pretty obvious by this point that having will~i~am as a mentor was a waste of everyone’s time, including his. I’m sure there’s a song somewhere that isn’t being auto-tuned right now.
Stefano starts off slightly off, but quickly rights the ship. He sounds good for the most part and manages to keep his eyes open, ending on a long, soft note.
Someone’s going for a taste of what’s left in the flavor-saver…
JHo loved it and thought it had another layer of emotion and she felt like he was singing to or about somebody. Randy thought the beginning was jerky — JHo says that’s crazy — and encourages Stefano to let some songs marinate and then counterpunch at the end. I feel like I need a translator for that one. Steven thought he nailed it and has great range.
Paul is closing the show with Johnny Cash’s “Fulsome Prison Blues.” Jimmy Iovine advises him to sing like he’s out of his fucking mind and will[click]i[click]am wants him to be like Jerry Lee Lewis and mess his hair up and go nuts. When Paul wants to take a water break, they tell him no! he should drink his spit and shut the hell up. Paul seems unsure about all this, but figures they’re the experts, so he might as well do what they say.
They probably should have told him not to look so happy when he’s singing about killing people in Reno and going to prison for it. Or maybe he’s just happy to have gotten out of Reno…
Disappointingly, Paul doesn’t act like a maniac, but he does turn in one of the best performances I’ve seen him do in awhile. He doesn’t whisper once, he seems to be pushing his voice really hard, and his dancing is less spastic than usual. Randy says he loved it. Steven says he rocked the house. JHo thinks it was a perfect way to end the show.
I think this episode must have run a little short, because after the video recap, the contestants are doing a hoedown and the judges are once again telling us to vote for our favorites and Christian Slater’s excited because his new show’s about to start and Steven is playing the spoons and howling. So, just a typical Wednesday night, you know.
So, overall, a pretty good episode, although I guess we learned that there’s more than rock and roll on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame play list. As we’ll see in the elimination show, though, [coming right on the heels of this recap!] the judges might want to do a better job of a) judging and b) guiding viewers on who they should be voting for.