American Idol + Recurring Extended Boxing Metaphor + Jock Jams (“Are You Ready For This”) playing in my head nonstop = Seabreath not having a chance to say “This is…American Idoooooooooooollllll!” But I’m not entirely convinced that Michael Buffer on the show is a good thing.
Just a regular ole’ meeting of NAMBLA.
We’ve got David “Sugarfoot” Cook in the red corner at an impressive 180 lbs v.s. Fetus “Babycakes” Archuleta in the blue corner at a whopping 100 lbs when wet. Let’s get ready to rumble, bitches!
First, I’d like to thank my good pal, HugoStop, who’s been like a lil’ brother to me in the decade we’ve known each other. I wouldn’t have survived this season without his support and biting commentary via IM over the past three months. Thanks for letting me gloat when Syesha shot herself in the foot with “Fever.”
Seabreath’s in a three-piece suit to introduce our judges, who are all spiffed up. Hell, Paula found her favorite Bedazzler before the show and gussied up her entire dress.
Our Top Ten are seated in bumfuck nowhere, it appears, and Castro doesn’t hide his boredom very well. Yawn.
“Remember, in any one-to-one confrontation, offer the guy $20 and sexual favors. Then there can be two winners.”
One man, one man-boy-prig, the same name, and one desire. And a whole lotta boxing lingo and montage. A heavyweight title reserved only for superstars (clarification: Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, and Carrie Underwood, but no one else).
SLC’s anti-punk 17-year-old Messiah slurs that his strategy “in this match is to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. Give it all I can.” Kansas City’s 25-year-old bartender just says he’ll come out with his strongest stuff all season. Whatever that means. English majors around the world cringe as the metaphor is hacked to pieces by Idol, who probably employed a broke B.A. to write this script. Someone should’ve tried to go to law school.
BOXING MATCHUP TRAINING WILL BE KEY HEAVY HITTERS TOTAL VIAGRA KNOCKOUT MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!
Boxing Coach Says: “Winning is about being able to trust your instincts. Dance like no one’s watching. Love like you’ll never love again.”
Cook and Fetus appear without the magic of sliding doors. Fetus is clad in a manly blazer and Cook looks rugged with a chain. Apparently, there was a coin toss after last week’s result shows and Fetus won, choosing to perform second tonight. Cook’s more of a showman than little Fetus, who softly murmurs being on the stage tonight is like a dream, a dream come true. SPEAK UP.
Cook says that it’s a tall order for him to keep up with this “kid,” which I hope is an underhanded attempt at shit-talking (bring it on!). Heh. Next think you know Fetus will be alleging that Cook needs to use Viagra. The judges weigh in, Randy with his usual four catchphrases strung together (Drop it hard like it’s mad hawt and there’s not tomorrow, dawg!), Paula with some new-age chakra meditation happy thoughts, and Simon putting it bluntly: “You have to hate your opponent.” Well, I wouldn’t blame Cook for hating the Fetus.
Final words from DC and Fetus? Fetus to Cook: “This guy’s so awesome (but obvs. not as talented as me, I wish the best of luck to him.” Cook to Fetus: “Whatever I say is gonna sound trite. Fetus is one of the most consistently nice people in this competition, and the competition is over. We’re just having fun.” Hmm. Neither appear to think very much of their competitor.
Oh snap, let the games begin!
This round’s song selection was made by Clive Davis, Chief Creative Officer of Sony/BMG and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
Where are my teeth?
Boxing Coach Says: “Don’t use all of your energy. Pace yourself.” Thanks, Captain Obvious!
David Cook, Song #1: “I Sill Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” U2
Keep your eyes on the prize, homies. Clive’s chosen U2′s iconic tune for David Cook, which is apt and surprisingly recent compared to anything Fetus sings (Chris Brown Catastrophe excluded). If you have been living under a rock, it’s about a generation’s yearning for love and the meaning of life.
The song starts out incredibly earnest and soulful, and I keep thinking this is an ad for the World Wildlife Federation, set to “Forever Young.” I’d like to see what Cook would do to that song, by the way. “I Still Haven’t Found…” is mellow and keeps the guitars sounding pretty ’80s. Once the drums kick in, Cook’s voice gets more gravelly and gritty and he starts to belt it as he walks through the mosh pit of Hell and up onto the judges’ podium.
He stays relatively in tune, although he struggles on the lower notes. He bends the pitch upwards on the last note, which is pretty cool (it’s a feature on my Korg Triton keyboard, hee), but overall, he doesn’t modify the song structure, style, or melody as much as I expected. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t rock my socks off. The audience is supportive but not raucous. Hmm. Cook’s also managed to find a new method of inking his palm (Sharpies are so hard to scrub off!) for a shout-out:
Give back, you corporate whore.
Randy says he feels comfy calling Cook “D.C” since they’re Boyz now, and he liked the scoop up in the note at the end, it was hawt, baby. Paula says she’s found what she’s looking for in David Cook, and they need to look no further, and he’s arrived, amen, amen, great voice! Paula always makes me feel like I just ate a rofl waffle covered in lolcats syrup. Simon says that Cook looked very emotional and tense, but the performance was phenomenal.
Fetus, Song #1 “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Let me sum it up for you visually. I can’t be the only one who immediately thought of the scene from The Sound of Music, right?
“The sun has gone to bed and so must I…”
Weber weighed in earlier that Fetus has what it takes, provided that he doesn’t sing with his eyes closed, driving us all mad. Well, he still screws his eyes closed, but he imbues this arrangement with a gospely, inspirational soulful flavor that confuses me. Am I supposed to call in and pledge money to Pat Robertson for some gold-plated Bibles or something? Yes. I simply must. The power of Christ compels me!
“Here at the 600 Club we need your money to spread the word of Jesus and build more advanced deflector shields for our galactic cruiser. So we’re gonna need an ionic tractor disrupter. Now, not a regular ionic tractor disrupter, but a negative tractor disrupter to spread the word of Jesus.”
Fetus has excellent phrasing as usual, magical riffs and runs, but I’m still laughing at the kid. I can’t help it, I’m sorry. I know some of you love him. But doesn’t it ever feel like you’re getting sunshine pumped up your asshole when you watch him?
Intentional crotch grab, or prostate pain?
The crowd is deafening, and it’s totally obvious that the audience is tipped in favor of Fetus. Randy doesn’t even bother to come up with any new phrases, deeming it one of the “best performances of this whole season season, flawless, unbelievably molten hawt” and says, strangely, that Fetus picked the right time to pick with his crazy vocals. But hasn’t Fetus been at this pro level all season, without much criticism from the judges? Paula’s got chills, yet the sun is never going to go down on our nation’s most prominent man-boy. Simon tries to say something more coherent, but proclaims that it was Fetus’ best performance ever, and that round one goes to Archuleta. WTF?!
I can’t believe I cured cancer!
I’m grappling with this David vs. Davliath face-off, since one’s more of a solid musician who sings, and the other is just really a gifted, precocious singer who’s ready to go pro.
They’re both fantastic at what they do, personality aside, but what they’d do in the world of music would never, ever overlap. It’s like pitting Rihanna against Dwight Yoakam. I haven’t seen any fan posters for Cook, but Fetus certainly has his share. Not only did a bleached blonde girl in a halter ask him to prom, he’s got to cougars to fend off and uteruses to inseminate:
It’s The Age of Love all over again.
Round two’s songs come from the songwriter competition. After last year’s debacle, where Jordin and Blake both had to sing the winning song and the song clearly lent itself to Jordin’s style, the producers are letting the contestants pick from the lot.
Boxing Coach Says: “Winning the fight is like climbing the stairs. You want to poop yourself after getting to the top.”
Lord Weber is psyched to see what the kids will do with songs that are unknown and poorly-written.
David Cook, Song #2: “Dream Big,” Emily Shackleton, a 22-year-old from Minnesota
Please join me in mercilessly mocking a song that includes the lyrics “If you don’t dream big, what’s the use of dreaming”, “It takes one hope / to make stars worth reaching for” / and “Faith is something I can’t see.” Among other things, the song helps me to find the path in life, I could never have imagined it. I’m not waiting for it to happen; life’s just too short to not take chances. Oh Cook. Why did you have to go screw yourself with a song that’s a terrible fit?
What happens when Cook takes a song written by a Nashville-based country/folk pop rock singer and tries to make it his own?
And that’s all I have to say about that. He did what he could to salvage the song, but bring back “Always Be My Baby” or “Eleanor Rigby.” Please. You could be so big on STAR 98.7 FM before it turned into a crappy station. Now I guess you’re destined for KBIG.
Randy hates the song but says that Cook sang his face off and saved it, Simon hates the song and says it doesn’t feel like a winning moment at all, while Paula tries to point out that it wasn’t the winning song. Le sigh.
Fetus, Song #2: “In This Moment,” by Ryan Gillmor, who also happened to write the theme song for a FOX sitcom, “Unhitched” – nepotism, much?
Isn’t there a clause against that sort of shit? Anyway, it’s symptomatic of this entire season, having seasoned veterans entering their songs in an “amateur” contest.
Anywho, Lord Weber suspects that Simon wrote this song when he and Fetus get to the line “Staring through windows at my own reflection / how can a window encompass perfection.” Hee. Oh well, the song’s about being born without vision, so Fetus should be able to close his eyes all his want.
“It better be appendicitis, Fetus.” – Lord Weber
Clad in another blazer, this one festooned with anchors, Fetus sings a song about a beautiful world to live in and a chorus that includes “In this moment / No one can take it away from meeeeeeeeeeeeee.” He picked the right song for the crowd to squeal over and wave their acrylic-tipped hands. It’s not the best song ever, but it’s better than Cook’s, and hey, what do you expect from a songwriter with a soul patch and greasy hipster hair? After listening to the two songs in this round performed by the original songwriters, I have to concede that Fetus picked the winning song. The melody and hooks are better, and it’s got the soaring chorus that works (even though it totally evokes Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On” for me).
Randy pulls out a trusty line during his critique, telling Fetus that he didn’t really dig the song but Fetus could sing the phone book and it’d still be good – way to be in the zone, baby! Paula affirms her belief in true magic, and that it doesn’t matter what song Fetus sings, he’s on fire. She can barely move her face, so perhaps they gave her Botox injections during the commercial break. Simon loves the “fantastically self-centered, egotistical lyric” and agrees that Fetus chose the better song in keeping with the night’s theme and declares round 2 goes to Archuleta (again).
Is Simon throwing the competition to Fetus to galvanize Cook supporters and reverse an inevitable outcome? Because that would be sweet. People do tend to resist Simon’s blunt truisms, and vote against him, which saved Syesha for awhile but not Castro. Awesome TV would mean seeing Cook win against all odds. Just for the upset of the season.
Round 2 Verdict:
Ding, ding! Will Fetus deliver a T.K.O to Cook? Will it be our featherweight or heavyweight David? Our two finalists get to pick any song, and traditionally, this is where our would-be Idols pick one of their “Greatest Hits” from the season.
David Cook, Song #3: “The World I Know,” Collective Soul
Really? You get one last song and you pick that one? It probably won’t work with the audience since 60% don’t know anything earlier than Hannah Montana’s “Best of Both Worlds.” Cook attempts to reassure us that there are “heavy-hitting parts” in this song.
Weber, of course, advises Cook to sing as if it’s his last time singing on the show ever (thank you again, Captain Obvious!), and to make it a cry of passion. Right-o.
Picking up his acoustic for this number, Cook’s performance is very consistent and sincere considering what we’ve seen from him in the past. Problem is, there are like, two people in the mega-audience who are really digging it.
Oh, there you are!
Cook really needed an almost universally recognized song. Why not one of his Beatles Week hits, or even his Mariah Carey cover? Something, anything that won’t disorient the audience with its newness. People can’t handle it. Even if this is his best performance ever, it’s going to be less memorable than Fetus performing “Imagine.” Even if Fetus screws up a bit.
Cook’s voice is stellar and smooth and textured here, and the arrangement reminds you of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. But even when the song climaxes with the chorus, something sounds too wispy, too soft, and may not be enough for him to win the title. It’s just not the most memorable song, it’s not a powerhouse race to the finish. He ends on a falsetto-whimper and starts crying. It doesn’t feel contrived, though, but a cathartic ending to a long-ass journey.
“Cook, I know exactly how you feel. Love, Hillary Clinton”
Randy tries to be nice and says he enjoyed how Cook showed his versatility and many-sidedness, and that he totally thought Cook would put out an album like Collective Soul.
Paula plugs in a mystical healing crystal lamp and says that Cook is standing in his truth, delivering unbelievable songs with integrity. She gives him a standing ovation while Simon just looks embarrassed for her.
Simon clears his throat and tells Cook he is one of the nicest, most sincere contestants they’ve had, but being nice doesn’t win you the title of Prom King. He admits the song is beautiful but completely and utterly the wrong choice for this competition. Truf. He should’ve sung “Billie Jean” or “Hello.” Randy concurs.
Cook retorts that he sort of understands, that he sees “this whole thing is a progression, so why do something I’ve already done?” Burn! I would kind of feel the same way too, if I knew Fetus was pulling out “Imagine.”
Simon is clearly stressed, if he’s actually rooting for David Cook and just fake praising Fetus to get people to vote against him.
Bloody hell, my eye twitch has returned!
Fetus, Song #3: “Imagine,” John Lennon
What can I say? Fetus has taken the arrangement and evolved it into the super-deluxe version with extra frills, runs, bells, and whistles of the vocal kind. He barely sings anything straight, it’s crammed with vibrato and crowd-pleasing pop-hit notes. The melisma is in full effect.
The tune is golden to start with, so I am feeling bad for David Cook. Fetus is talented, and he’s got robotically perfect phrasing! It’s got wishes for no more war, no more hunger, no more old people. It’s implicitly laced with visions of puppies and unicorns frolicking through fields of clover. Speaking of unicorns, I had a dream last night that I was being hunted by a sniper with a double-barreled shotgun (or something like it) with wood paneling, like a very deadly weapon version of the old Ford Country Squire station wagons. Sigh. And at the end of my nightmare, I had to climb a chain link fence to avoid being gored by a pack of rabid unicorns straight out of a Lisa Frank memo pad. All we’re missing is a Mariah Carey-approved falsetto.
Fetus is dressed in a white jacket just like a sacrificial lamb and/or the salvation of this show. He also evokes a baby Sopranos gangster in training, and I don’t think it’ll be long before he busts out a zoot suit. His talent is something to be reckoned with, but I don’t have to like him or his squinty eyes or his monkey ears.
Imagine a world with no Daddy.
Randy is happy and proud that Fetus is exactly what this show is about, finding the best singer they could find, and he’s standing right there! Paula says it’s the culmination and Fetus has left her speechless as she was when he auditioned, and he was simply stunning. Man, semi-coherent Paula is pretty funny. Simon says that at the end of the day, they’ve witnessed one of the greatest finals, and that Fetus came out to win. And speaking of keeping with the boxing theme, “what we’ve witnessed is a knockout.” Fetus nearly bursts into tears for the umpteenth time and would keel over if it weren’t for Seabreath’s reassuring hand.
Don’t cry for me, Argentina!
But it was hardly a knockout, in my humble opinion. This finale was like watching two completely different shows, depending on whoever was performing. I honestly felt like Fetus was on a talent show for a high school for the performing arts, and Cook was demonstrating what he’d sing at his own shows (except for that second number). Fetus picked the winning songs and swung the audience, but my vote lies with Cook. I know he’ll go on to excel even if he doesn’t win the title. In a season loaded with record-label dropouts and reality-show leftovers, Cook really was the most sincere contestant, except when I thought he was being smug/smarmy with the winking and shrugging. While Fetus has spent his entire existence in a child-star concentration camp (kind of like Battle School in Ender’s Game, if you ask me), Cook’s actually been doing things like living life, bartending…and writing music. So if and when Fetus wins, I’m not going to celebrate anyone home. But I’ll understand, and resign myself to a Fetus victory. And pretend that this happened instead:
FINISH HIM! FATALITY!
To top it all off, we’ve got Ruben Studdard live with the farewell montage song. Accompanied by – what else – a montage of rejects, cowboys, promise necklaces, Comic Sans, deluded people and America’s finest. I’ll spare you the visuals, but I just wanted to thank all of you Gasmii and AI addicts for being the best free therapy group ever. I couldn’t have survived three months of this without you cheering Flipit and me to the finish line. I can rest in peace knowing that someone out there on the Internet will celebrate me hommmmeeeeeeeeee!