Hey ya’ll, it’s me, IceQueen, trying my hand at American Idol. Don’t let the name fool you — I’m not as bitchy as I look. So… a couple quick disclaimers — I’ve been watching the show off and on, so I may miss a few inside jokes or running things. Like how Tink has acquired the nickname “Peaches.” But I’ve been keeping up via FlipIt’s laughalicious recaps, so hopefully we’ll be good. Disclaimer two: I have really bad taste and music and know virtually nothing about it. I don’t know my runs from my scats. But I do know that I love Lady Gaga, Randy Watson & Sexual Chocolate, and Marvin Berry & The Starlighters. Finally, I try not to judge people on their appearance, especially young kids — lord knows I looked a hot mess from the time I was 10 up until 25 — but these people make it too easy. They always dress like they either raided Hot Topic or there was a sale at Baby Phat. Case in point:
The Grim Reaper, Polly Pocket & an Aging High School Football Star
So Tink starts us off, rubbing his hands together and pointing out that J-Ho’s got the number one single on iTunes this week. Ah, yes. The iTunes store — the arbiter of taste. “On the Floor (feat. Pittbull)” is a song in that it has a beat and also some machine making noise. The machine noise is really just J-Ho, who is talking in rhythm while the machine makes her sound less offensive to the ears. I find it ironic that J-Ho probably can’t out-sing any of the songtestants, and yet she is judging them. But so goes life.
So this week’s mentor is Jimmy Iovine, head of Interscope Records. He and J-Ho are proof that having a shit ton of money helps you age well. Neither one of them looks a day over 73.
Splits a stem cell smoothie with J-Ho every morning.
Jimmy’s brought along a passel of producers to help him out. He discovered the rich folk secret long ago — you don’t actually have to do a lot of work to become wealthy. You just have to hire people to do it for you. Preferably minorities. The tune-testants are going to be singing songs that have been sung by their own personal idols.
Up first is Lauren Alaina, the country girl with two first names. She’s going to be singing “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain because it’s fun and shows off her personality. What personality goes with a song that includes the line “and when I cook him dinner and I burn it black/He better say, “Mmm, I like it like that”? A demanding, egotastical shrew of a woman, that’s what kind. I used to burn dinner and my ex would just order Papa John’s. I got to pretend that I enjoyed cooking and still got to eat pizza afterward. Win-win.
Super producer and human rats nest Don Was works with Lauren and he and Jimmy think she’s gonna be a supah-stah. On stage, she’s dressed like a giant blue cupcake and is wearing ballet flats, which I appreciate. Have you ever tried walking around a slippery stage in front of thousands of people in six inch heels? I have and I know that it’s just plain unreasonable to expect a 16-year-old to know how to do that.
So Lauren’s performance is twangy and off key and her top makes her look like a blue cupcake. Not so great, says I. When she’s done she reminds me a bit of a Care Bear. All cute and cuddly and happy and sad at the same time.
Care Bear Stare
It must work because the judges seem to have enjoyed that off key mess.
The Grim Reaper says he loved the song but wanted it to be more kickass. J-Ho says Carebear needs to kick it into high gear. Quarterback Snack says it was ai’ght, but she needs to shine.
Tink asks her how she feels and she says she had a good time, which is a sure sign of defeat on that stage. Then she apologizes to Death for not being kickass. Never apologize, Care Bear!
Casey Abrams and his beard are doing Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From My Friends.” He remembers it from The Wonder Years and it’s been stuck in his head since 1989.
Casey figured since he was meeting Jimmy Iovine, he’d dress up. In a hoody and shorts. But he’s just channeling Joe, who looked a little rode hard when he last appeared on Idol. They tried to dress him up in a hip blazer, but it couldn’t hide the fact that he’s really been enjoying those royalties.
Casey takes Jimmy’s advice and starts off sitting on the stairs and singing softly. He’s all dressed up but he still looks smelly to me. He growls and hoots and screams and J-Ho bounces up and down in her chair and across the country Marc Anthony is feeling confused. A black choir comes out to back Casey up and he really launches into some terrible choreography — lots of flailing and seizure-type movements.
And he’s ready to deep throat the mic.
When he’s done, J-Ho’s red lips loved it. “I’m watching somebody impor’ant,” the lips add. Retired halfback Randy says he had fun. The Angel of Death says “you are a rainbow of talent, man… a plethora of passion.” Randy mocks Steven for using big words that Randy doesn’t understand. And then things get really weird when Casey tells Tink he felt Joe Cocker inside him. That would explain the screeching and flailing I suppose.
Ashton Jones — which is a fantastic name for a blaxploitation heroine — shoves aside her giant weave to tell us she’s going to be singing “When You Tell Me You Love Me” by Diana Ross. Huh? Hmmm. I don’t know that one. She’ll be working with Rodney Jerkins.
Ashton Jones really wants to impress such a big time producer, so she sings horribly off key in rehearsals. She’s worried because she’s not used to singing so high, and Rodney encourages her to go for it. Wow. That’s some terrible advice there. Has there ever been a mentor who has completely screwed over a singtestant on this show before?
Ashton Jones takes the stage in a skintight silver dress and I hope for her sake it’s either really warm in that theater or she used some heavy duty pasties. She makes all sorts of diva-type hand movements during the song, but it still doesn’t cover up the fact that she doesn’t do a super duper job with it. It’s particularly sad because Jimmy brought Diana Ross’s ex, Barry Gordy to watch.
Her hair-muff will keep her warm.
Randy says the song was safe, but he liked it and she managed to right the ship when she was going sharp or flat. Steven has confidence that she has more to show, whatever that means. J-Ho wisely advises Ashton Jones to choose a song the audience will know and want to sing along to.
Paul McDonald is up next and announces that he’s going to do a Ryan Adams — that’s Ryan with an R, he says — song called “Come Pick Me Up.” Don Was and his labyrinthine head of dreads is mentoring Paul. Jimmy advises Paul to nail the chorus. Thanks, Jimmy. Great advice. “Sing good, kid.”
Paul starts his performance off by asking the audience how they’re doing, which is paaainfully corny. He’s dressed in a military uniform — as though a minuteman militia had been hastily organized in Brooklyn.
“Pvt. Hipster reporting for duty, sir!”
Paul’s another hairy one. And he might possibly be on some sort of controlled substance, too. Maybe meth? There’s an awful lot of movement happening. But he looks pretty happy to be up there marching around and bouncing and throwing his torso back while his knees go forward. And he pretty much whispers the song.
Steven — who appears to be having a snack — likes the rasp in Paul’s voice, but thought it was pitchy. J-Ho says she was watching the audience watch Paul and they were smiling. And also, she’s never heard of Ryan Adams. Randy said he got it and he hopes America gets it, too.
“I’m sorry, am I supposed to know, like, music and stuff?”
Tink is back onstage and wants to try to do Paul’s special spastastic dance. Tink looks very different flitting around in his shiny suit and mocking Paul. What do you think Tink’s suit is made of? Sharkskin? Inside out rainbows?
Pita Tostito, however, is outshining Tink tonight. She’s ashimmer in a sparkly dress, shiny shoes and glitter eyeshadow. She’s going to be singing Celine Dion’s “All By Myself,” the saddest song ever sung. Pita loves Celine because Celine is very family oriented. She takes great care of her grandpa and all the babies they’ve stolen together.
Pita works with Ron Fair, a producer who liked early 90s fashion so much that he has refused to move on.
Pita takes to the stage and we discover that her dress has a tail on it, so it must have been pretty expensive. She does pretty awesome. I like her: she can sing, she looks good, and she takes great care of her teeth.
Not a cavity in sight!
Her family attempts to blind and incapacitate the judges with their glow-in-the-dark t-shirts, and at first it works because J-Ho’s incoherent. Biff, who won his team a championship in 1953, thought it was a hot, dope, cool performance. I think Randy goes on Urban Dictionary during commercials and pulls up random words to use. Next week it’s going to be fap, going ham and boregasm. Old Man Steve wakes up long enough to wish Pita a Happy International Women’s Day before falling back asleep. W.T.F just happened? That made no sense. Also IWD was the day before. Something tells me that he’s perpetually a day behind. So, Pita’s family’s t-shirt trick worked and the judges are sufficiently discombobulated.
James Durbin is showing us that he’s taking this thing seriously by cutting off his little rattail and singing Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” He takes it less seriously when he wears his “Freak” t-shirt and dangly cross earring to meet with Jim Jonsin from Interscope. While James works with Jim, Jimmy Iovine says he’s impressed by James’s unique voice and Jim’s ability to work with a talent like James. Then again, Jim’s been working with Jimmy for a long time, so Jimmy’s not too surprised that Jim is able to help James reach his full potential. Got that?
James seems pretty comfortable on stage until he tries to start an audience clap and realizes he needs those hands to hold the mic to his mouth. He does a pretty good job and gets a standing O from the audience.
The pointing means he’s drawing you in, connecting with you. Do you feel that?
Randy says James his one of his favorites, that James is dangerous, and that he used to play in Journey. J-Ho says James has quality to his voice that all great rock stars have. Steven says some gobbledygook that I don’t understand, but he liked it.
Haley Reinhart’s idol is that huzzy homewrecker LeAnn Rimes. Very tricky, Haley! Based solely on your hairstyle I thought you were going to say Taylor Swift.
Like The Rachael. Only country-fried.
So Haley’s going to be singing “Blue” and she’s working with Rock Mafia, a producing duo consisting of a lady who likes like one of the real houswives and a dude who is trying very hard. For what, I don’t know.
Haley is wearing a dangerously low-cut dress for the second week in a row, and I always applaud my small-boobied sisters who aren’t afraid to show off a wide expanse of clavicle in a low-cut dress. She starts off yodeling and she does a great job although her final note sounds a little off.
Azriel thought it was beautiful and says that is Haley listens closely, she’ll hear the part of America that loves country roaring. “So, so fine,” he adds. J-Ho commends Haley for doing special things with her voice. Special things like singing well without AutoTune. Randy thought it was boring. J-Ho defends Haley, saying she’s sensual, so she doesn’t need to run all over the stage. Haley loses points with me by fakely blowing kisses at the audience.
The show must be running on time because Tink has time to sit on stage with Jacob Lusk and they play a game in which Jacob pretends to be a spa concierge and Tink wants the golden palm massage with a happy ending and Jacob offers to take him into the wet room.
Jacob’s idol is golden shower enthusiast R. Kelly and he’s going to sing “I Believe I Can Fly” because he loved the movie Space Jam. Jacob picked this song because he wants America to know that if you believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want. With impunity. Even videotape yourself having sex with an underage girl and urinating on her. Go America!
Jacob has classed up the joint by wearing a suit and he’s got the choir in choir robes. Because lord knows you can’t do that song without a choir. Ever. So Jacob kills the song. I mean he murders it dead. He’s low, he’s high; he’s soft, he’s loud. I get a small stabbing pain behind my left eye as he wraps it up.
The Mummy says that Jacob’s so good, he can’t even judge him. Um, that’s your one role on this show. That’s your job title on this show. Judge. That’s all you have to do. If only we could all get away with that sort of statement at work…. J-Ho says she has no idea who will win this competition because everyone’s so good. Randy is finally the voice of reason and points out that Jacob was sharp on the B verse, whatever that means. Tink helpfully adds that Jacob proved he has lungs. Yes, Tink, he’s got all his organs and they’re working fine.
Thia Megia is up next. Despite having the awesomest name in the competition, this little embryo has not grown a personality yet and has all the appeal of a wet blankie. She tells us that she’s going to be singing Michael Jackson’s “Smile.” Producer Ron Fair adjusts the Kangol that LL Cool J gave him in 1995 and tells Thia that Charlie Chaplin originally did “Smile.” Thea’s like, who? Charlie Chapman?
Thia starts the song out softly, but then the music gets all jazzy and she does a remix. It sounds like hold music. Like you’ve been on hold for a long time and you know you recognize the song you’re hearing but you can’t put your finger on it; and then by the third time it plays you realize it’s the jazz version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” So it was like that. It was weird, especially accompanied by her dead, teenage eyes.
“I did a song by Charlie Chapstick.”
Randy liked the beginning but says it got pitchy during the “jazzy bit.” Steven agrees. J-Ho says she thought the arrangement was “interesting,” but that doesn’t matter because Thia sings like an angel. Thia wraps things up by telling Tink “she felt a lot more better” at the beginning of the song. Maybe she should be in school right now…
Tink takes a few minutes to check out Steven’s work station on the stage. He’s got some glasses, a fan, a lot of pencils and a legal pad, some baby teeth, a few chicken feathers, a granola bar, some prunes and lip gloss.
Moving along… Stefano Langone is singing “Lately” by Stevie Wonder. He’s working with the producer Polow tha Don. See, Thia. Stay in school. Otherwise you might misspell your own made up name one day.
Jimmy Iovine waltzes in, smelling of thousand dollar bills and tells Stefano to keep his eyes open when he sings. America’s gonna know you can sing, says Jimmy.
When Stefano takes the stage, we learn he is, indeed, able to sing. Sing well? Not so much. Polow tha Don tried to remix this one, too. I appreciate the creativity and all, but maybe this is not the song to remix? It’s about heartache and pain and cheating. Maybe putting some emotion into it would have been a better judgement call. But what do I know?
Eventually Stefano decides to close his eyes and it really helps improve his voice. He may have popped a blood vessel in his eye at the end, but at least he ended on a good note.
Steven says by the end, Stefano was soaring like a volcano. Exactly. J-Ho like the arrangement — it made her want to dance. Randy says Stevie would have been proud of the middle and end parts. The beginning would have shamed him.
Stefano is talking to Ryan about America feeling his soul, and that’s when I notice that he’s an adorable little tastee cake. I’ll feel your soul, young one.
Karen Rodriguez’s idol is Selena and she’s singing “I Could Fall in Love.” Her family loved Selena so much that Karen’s mom used to dress her up as Selena and she has Selena Barbie dolls, still in the boxes.
Jimmy advises her not to talk on the phone the night before her performance. Or even email. Just to be on the safe side. I hear nasty viruses can get you through the emailings, he tells her.
Karen said that she was going to update the song and make is sound like Beyonce, but I think she just sounds like Selena. I’m not sure what Beyonceing it up entails. Maybe some vibrato, growling and mean mugging?
Or maybe dressing like an ex member of Destiny’s Child.
When she’s done, Karen’s family members are the only ones who give her a standing O. Not really a good sing. J-Ho says she could tell Karen was uncomfortable with some of the notes and she hopes Karen makes it through (uncomfortable with notes actually sounds exactly like Beyonce). Randy thought it was sleepy and not exciting. Steven rattles the old teeth hanging off his neck in agreement.
Scotty McCreery is next. Scotty tells Ryan that he’s missing baseball season back home and his team is 2-2 and he wishes he was with him. Erm. I’m pretty sure this is much better than trading jock straps with your mediocre baseball team back home.
Scotty’s going to sing “The River” by Garth Brooks. Scotty takes the stage and the song starts and there’s pictures of rivers being shown in the giant monitor behind him. Ugh. I thought they stopped doing that cheesy nonsense. It’s as bad as singers who act out the lyrics to what they’re singing.
Scotty does his deep-voiced twang and gets a standing ovulation from the whole audience.
Oh, Alfred E. Newman, you’re always so mischievous.
Randy says Scotty could make a record now and he likes that Scotty didn’t change it up too much. Which is totally the opposite of the “make it your own” thing he’s always hollering about. Hypocrite. Steven says some more nonsense, which means he liked it. J-Lo thought he brought the audience into the performance. All three are useless.
Naima Adedap is closing the show with Rihanna’s Umbrella. What is up with all of these obscure song choices?? She’s working with a producer called Tricky, who actually produced the original. He’s going to help Naima put a twist on it.
The twist is that she doesn’t sing that much. She starts off popping and locking and twitching. Then she sings it very aggressively. You WILL stand under my umbrella-ella-ella. Ay, Ay AY! Then she starts rapping, dance hall style. And then she runs out of breath. So she dances. And she sings. And there’s lightning. And lights. And she’s panting again. It is very, very frenetic.
“Get your ass under my umbrella.”
Steven thought it was crazy good, but a little pitchy; but she brought tha flava. J-Ho doesn’t care that it was pitchy, but Naima does need to work on control if she’s going to insist on singing and dancing. Randy does care about pitchiness. In fact, that’s the one thing he does care about.
Naima dedicates the song to her husband, who will always be under her umbrella — or face her wrath. She also says she “overstands” what they said about her breath. Tink gives the numbers to call and I think he talkes a little less “white” when he’s around Naima.
He asks the judges to sum the night up and they do it thusly: Aging Football Hero says it was good night, he liked seeing the producers working with the kids, and it’s hard getting the songs down to one minute and 40 seconds. J-Ho agrees. The Crypt Keeper says reaching your peak in 1:40 adds to the pressure. You don’t have three minutes to build up like a regular song.
So — a pretty uneventful night. No major mishaps but a few clear backrunners. Hopefully the costume department will take their jobs back and help these poor kids out!