Why does my vote matter more this week? It would only matter more if fewer people were voting, but that doesn’t appear to be the case since you claimed that 45 million people voted last week. I may be the only Asian kid alive who can’t do calculus, but I still think this is Fetus’s American Idol title to lose. No matter what I do, I can’t rock the vote!
Three of our top 4 have been #1 in the votes in previous weeks, so I’m guessing Miss Syesha never made it to the top. Seabreath claims that we only have two weeks to go. Two weeks until AI decides to squeeze the last bit of milk out of this cash cow with a week dedicated to revisiting auditions and the life and times of rejects.
Is that an apathetic Antonella Barba in the audience? Or a poor man’s Hillary Swank?
Randy is rocking a bedazzled orange shirt, Paula is sparklier than glitter eyeliner that scratches your retinas out, and Simon’s v-neck is drooping dangerously, revealing a hint of man-cleavage.
Let’s learn some American Sign Language
Translation: “How many fingers am I holding up, dawg?”
Translation: “This is a right angle, loser.”
Luke Meh-nard is waggling his thumb somewhere out there in the audience in agreement.
Our contestants had a lot to choose from since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors this week. So David Cook is going to pick at least one crappy song that can rival his Our Lady of Peace performance, Syesha’s going to try and belt a diva song (Gladys Knight? Martha and the Vendellas?), and Castro will hopefully pick something laid back and folksy. Although I would pay to see him attempt some Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
Funnily enough, they’re playing KISS’ “Rock and Roll All Nite” during this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame montage but KISS isn’t an inductee (which doesn’t make any sense, right?) and fans cry every year that the band is robbed. Ironic!
We get a history lesson about Alan Freed, DJ and “relentless” promoter of all things rock and roll. In ’51, Ike Turner’s busted amp (it fell off his car) resulted in the trademark distortion that we know and love today. Broke and jobless guitarists, don’t invest in those expensive effects pedals, just toss your crappy amps off a roof. That, combined with your mastery of four basic chords, will make you sound awesome.
Times before MS Paint were tough.
Also, we’re not dumb. None of our top four will end up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Only after Zac Efron is elected President.
Tonight, they’ll all race through two songs each, inevitably flub some notes or lyrics, and incorporate some creative choreography. At least I hope they do. Seabreath emphasizes that the judges will critique the kids after each performance, with an “Everybody clear?” to make sure Paula’s with the program. Also, make sure you are bubbling in your answers completely with a number 2 pencil. Paula’s famous adjective-laced gibberish ramblings have been particularly memorable this season. I’ve heard more coherent things coming out of Bjork’s mouth.
“When I go home I throw nickels into the oven and it’s music! CRASH! BOOM! BANG!”
David Cook is singing Duran Duran’s “Hungry like the Wolf.” What the hell? R.E.M., U2, AC/DC, I would’ve understood. But when I think Duran Duran, I think of how much my 7th grade teacher loved that band. That, and Hootie and the Blowfish. And then I remember she was still wearing Velcro Reeboks and acid wash Jordache jeans with tapered ankles in 1997. In his video confessional, Cook is wearing a Simon-approved red v-neck and a silly looking chunky pendant necklace. Is this in homage to Duran Duran’s music video, which makes no sense and has snake charmers, hungry children, and Indiana Jones’ hat in it? You tell me. I wasn’t even born yet.
I was hoping for a BFF necklace, personally.
Let me sum up the performance. “Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doodoo doodoodoo doodoo.”
The chorus sounds eerily similar to the verses of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” in syncopation as well as chord progression. Check it out, it’s not quite as ridiculous as my ghetto mash-up of Paul Oakenfold + Harry Nilsson, but it’s there. Cook sounds okay vocally, but I just don’t really like the song and don’t think he really innovated (ironic, because half the other contestants get slammed for playing around too much with the arrangement). Also, he appears to be wearing a blazer made of dragonskin or something. I think Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) wore one just like it to a Harry Potter premiere.
That’s right, scrunch up your neck in shame.
Randy agrees with me and thinks it was an okay choice of song, solid but no hott madd vocals, dawg. It was okay, not amazing. Paula likes extended metaphors and says the song left her with a big appetite to see him grow and flourish. She goes off on a tangent as to why she tolerates being the only girl in the boys’ club. I thought it was because of the ridiculous amount of money you get paid to play cheerleader, insult the English language with your lack of syntax, and promote your comeback single, Paula. Simon says it’s good enough to get Cook through to next week but calls him out on not making the song his own.
Syesha is totally going to tackle a diva song. She’s dressed as a sparkly Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls with a much shorter hem. She is excited about not being judged on tour (um, hello, ticket sales, audience reaction, pop music critics? They’re judging you) and back-up dancers.
She’s singing Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” and acknowledges that it’s been covered over 100 times. Surely it won’t be tired and overdone with the 101th cover. Syesha vowed that she told herself to get over her fear of the song and to just have fun with it. Well, any song that has built-in choreography and a character to get into should be up Syesha’s alley. Will she don a Tina wig?
Syesha is the most coordinated out of the top 10 contestants. She starts out really slow, with some hip-rolling. Then she kicks it into high gear with twirls that Brooke could never hope to duplicate and some crazy dance moves and hair-tossing. I am impressed. She even coordinates some side to side grooving with the band. It’s like in I’m in Vegas at one of those free impersonator shows that feature Tina, Elvis, Bruce Springsteen, and Dolly Parton! And maybe Barbara Streisand if you’re lucky. And afterwards, we can go to the all-you-can eat pancake buffet and save Christmas!
Syesha learned from the best.
It’s struggling pitch-wise (she also sings/shouts around the melody quite a bit) as she starts to yelp and get out of breath, but she reaches for some crowd-pleasing big and high notes and is overall definitely more engaging and entertaining than Fetus + Castro. Her voice sounds kinda thin, but hey, put enough glitter on everything and you’re good to go. The energy level she brings to the show these days is pretty essential considering half our contestants are perma-stoned or old men in little boy bodies.
Randy is impressed that Syesha’s stepped it up in the past three weeks, and proclaims she’s in the zone. As always, Paula starts with the visuals. She loves Syesha’s outfit because it basically matches her own dress. Magic happens! Oh, and here is an Abdul Analogy for you.
Pretty is to beautiful as big is to magnetic….oh fuck it, this is Paula-speak we’re trying to parse here. Simon cautiously says that Syesha got shrieky as the song escalated and that she sounded like a hacky Tina Turner impersonator. Simon and I would really get along in real life. Syesha says she’s trying to have fun, and Simon retorts that he didn’t have fun. Ouch. The Englishman hates fun!
Next, my favorite Texas sheepdog and Fetus. Seabreath smacks a mask of Castro (complete with yarn dreads!) in the palm of his hand and pretends that Carly looks like a former contestant. Carly pretends to be delighted by Seabreath’s scripted humor.
Castro is choosing a song he’s never sung in public (only in his den, sitting on the couch with his best friends and a bucket of chicken nuggets). “It’s a song by Bob Marley…Go figure,” and then he giggles/chortles/what have you. Start the video at 0:40, I promise it’s worth it. At least for the 10 seconds in his confessional.
The arrangement of “I Shot the Sheriff” is heavy on the brass section, and Castro has managed to capture the essence of the panhandling bum at Venice who insists on turning plastic trashcans upside down and playing them as drums. The dreads are about the only thing truly evocative of Bob Marley (in a non-painful way). The guitar playing doesn’t really add anything to the song, and Castro’s voice just comes off as weak and strained in contrast to the big-band sound. I want to say WTF?! but I mostly feel meh about it all. WTF?! is too active of a feeling for such a passive song. Is it possible that Castro was too mellow and laid-back for an already mellow song? Thinking about that makes my head hurt. I probably can’t relate since I am one of the few kids who never got over my D.A.R.E. lessons.
Randy calls it bad karaoke, and that it was okay and not special. He says it’s not enough to just have fun (wait, wasn’t that what Syesha was doing just now?) and that they have to show the world they deserve to be in the finals. This is because Randy likes big notes and shiny things, like the Swarovski crystals on his shirt. Paula tries to keep it positive, saying that he’s good at performing for the audience at his local coffeehouse. She admits she’s not crazy about the song, but she’s crazy about his realness/genuineness/honestness (yes, I know these aren’t real words) and she’s won over by who he is. I like that Paula leaves vocals entirely out of the Castro critiques. She also leaves his visual appearance out of it as well, because he never wears anything sparkly. He’s looking more and more like a Muppet every week.
People of Earth, do not be alarmed!
Simon tells him to stand back because he reeks. Atrocious! He says the arrangement and the song was as bad as he’s ever heard, i.e. a first round audition massacre. Simon doesn’t know what Castro’s thinking and tells him so. In my second favorite segment of the evening, Castro defiantly replies: “I was thinking Bob Marley! YEAHHHHHHHH!”
The only similarity was the hair, says Simon. Sheesh. No one is forcing you to drink the bong water, Simon.
It makes sense that Fetus identifies with Macauley Culkin in “My Girl” because he probably wants to die from something as mundane and non-singing related as an allergy to bee stings. How did I not guess he was going to sing “Stand by Me”? Evidently, he sings it to himself in his room as well as to his dog. That’s one of the saddest things I have ever heard, along with “I suffered from vocal paralysis because I’ve been forced to sing since I was a zygote, wear suspenders, and seduce Justin Guarini.” He claims he’s never sung it in public before, unlike “Angels” which he conveniently reprised for Inspiration week. Why can’t he sing something upbeat that doesn’t require runs? It’s probably the same reason why I can’t get away from my laptop, off the couch, and outside for a brisk run. But I’m not on national television to entertain you, and he is. Everything Fetus touches turns into Disney Radio/Star 98.7 poppy fluffy cotton candy. Or a magical puppy.
The birds on my shirt represent peace and freedom. Something convicts will never know. Poor convicts.
It’s sort of upbeat but it sure isn’t young-sounding. What can I say? It’s a typical Fetus performance with pleasing, saccharine melodies, professional efficiency, and more vocal power than Jason Castro’s vaporizer. Fetus does seem to strain himself to hit the high note near the end, though. Of course, the tweenyboppers all recognize the song because of Sean Kingston and give him thunderous applause. Yawn.
He traded in his sketchy baseball cap for a newsboy cap! What does it all mean?!
Randy could cry, he’s so happy that there’s at least “one guy that hits the stage (sink?) every time he hits the stage trying to win the whole thing! Hello!” Exsqueeze me, I understand not what you’re saying. Hot man vocals were broughten. It was hawt. Paula reminds us that everyone forgets that Fetus is way beyond his years, that he really delivers like a seasoned pro, like a Chinese gymnast who has been forced to train every day until she’s like a well-oiled Wikipedia-less vaulting machine. And that he really is internalizing all the advice he’s been given, like the whole “communicate with your eyes” bit from Lord Webber. It’s tough giving up the one thing that allows you to pretend this hellish business may end someday, but Fetus managed to do it.
Simon points out that Fetus could’ve whistled and it would’ve been much better than Castro’s performance. Indeed, I could have farted something a bit more exciting and in tune. Just kidding, girls don’t fart. We smell like roses and unicorns and Lisa Frank stickers. Simon suggests that Fetus struggled a bit at the end but in the grand scheme it was the best performance so far. Fetusbot’s modesty chip is so reliable and consistent, he always reacts the same way. Overwhelmed.
“This won’t hurt, I promise.”
He admits he’s scared of the judge’s faces. Gosh, he’s just so darn surprised every time the judges say something positive that Seabreath is alarmed Fetus may pass out since he’s always breathless. Hm, he hasn’t changed at all since Star Search, when it comes to his reaction to praise.
David Cook numero dos. He complains that he was really looking forward to this week since it’s his forte, but realizes he set the bar too high. Cook admits he could’ve done way more with the Duran Duran song and that he’s tried to erase it from his memory. Klonopin can help. Now, for “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. You know, the song people erroneously call “Teenage Wasteland.” I really hate when people have the wrong song titles on their playlists/iPods, by the way.
It’s an iconic song with super-simple lyrics that needs time to build and peak, which I’m not sure is possible in 90 seconds. It makes me think of every coming-of-age film about college, including Slackers (it’s totally played as the intro of that movie!), which is the opposite of The Graduate. It starts with just pipe organ/moog and he starts strumming his electric. I definitely prefer this to Duran Duran. Cook busts out some high notes for the teenage wasteland chorus and then builds up the tempo and dynamics. Just when you think it’s getting good with the “They’re all wasted!” and the drum part and the strobe lights, the song ends abruptly. Ha. I totally got suckered into thinking the song was going to do some cool breakdown and he was going to kick it into Metal Mode or Rock Band Expert level.
Randy is ambivalent, but says it was more like the David Cook he’s grown to love, the resident rocker dude with a trusty Les Paul and a newfound penchant for silly necklaces. Paula wants more, babbles about being humbled to sit here and watch his soul. Paula believes in dreamcatchers, doesn’t she. Simon simply says, “Welcome back,” which is all the affirmation a guy really needs. Way to bounce back with your song and yet take another giant leap backwards in fashion with your Lurex-striped blazer.
We’re back with Rascal Flatts, who apparently are given crappy seats in the middle of the audience despite being a immensely popular band. Seabreath shakes hands with only one of the guys, leaving the other no choice but to pat Seabreath on the butt. However, I’m more amused by the dude in the bottom left-hand corner.
Who would win in an arch-off, Syesha or this guy?
Speaking of which, Syesha’s singing “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. The song was released posthumously in ’65, at a very pivotal time (the Civil Rights Movement), mirroring a pivotal time in Syesha’s life. Sort of.
Oy! Mind the cleavage! In a floor-length champagne-colored (or should I say crÃ¨me brulee?) empire-waist gown, Syesha is going to try to bring the house down with her soulful side. The cream-colored strip of fabric stretching across the top makes no sense. Yes, I realize they pulled it through the golden fabric to make the straps of the dress, but it just looks retarded considering the plunging neckline.
In Soviet Russia, Dress Straps You!
She approaches it with tenderness and the emotion she’s been able to evoke lately, which is refreshing. Syesha reaches for some riffs and holds out some extended notes to raucous applause. Maybe she can actually make it to the Top 3 based on the audience reaction and Castro basically throwing the competition. Shouldn’t I be mesmerized by this point in the competition? There’s something off about the melody for me, but I’m used to the Sam Cooke original. Also, Syesha’s version makes me feel like I should go vote or do something patriotic/revolutionary. It’s very much YES. WE. CAN. Did you know the Arcade Fire covered this tune in support of Obama?
Randy’s reaction is surprising, as he tells her she doesn’t need to do anything extra to the original vocal arrangement, and that he didn’t enjoy it as much as her Tina Turner song. Man, when contestants don’t do enough with the song, they get in trouble (like David Cook’s first song). But when they try to play with it and they aren’t musicians, they also get in trouble. Paula stands up and wants her to know that she orchestrated her vocals beautifully. A full, coherent sentence! Also, “Welcome to your Dreams, Syesha!” Paula is really pumping up Syesha to think she can win as if Paula’s Disneyland and the Year of a Million Dreams or something and Syesha is a randomly selected tourist. I’d rather have the Ultimate Fast Pass (the one that works for every ride with a Fast Pass line) for life than win AI, but that’s just me. I love those theme park churros and soft pretzels.
Oh noes! My face thinks it’s Brooke White!
Syesha’s bawling by the time Simon gets to critique her, desperately trying not to let her nose run all over the place. Aw. Simon agrees with Paula and a rainbow appears over the stage. Simon even says that Randy got it completely, utterly wrong, and that Syesha sang it well. In a weird turn of events, Randy is the odd man out and starts getting defensive about his evaluation of Syesha’s performance. Well, we all know what well-timed tears mean in an election year – you’re probably safe for another week!
Syesha blubbers some more while Randy defends his critique while Paula stares daggers at him while even Simon is in disbelief and Seabreath rushes to say they’re running out of time before Hell’s Kitchen starts.
Jason chortles a bit as he admits he’s sticking with the Bobs tonight, and it’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and Bob Dylan time. Ooh, he’s got an iPhone, and he’s just thrilled to be here.
Hi-diddly ho, neighbor! Skip to my lou!
Phew, he looks less beach bum and more coffee house amateur now, with his guitar safely on his lap. Ever since AI allowed instruments, the singing level just hasn’t been the same. Anomalies like Brooke and Jason got this far because they’re musicians (well, Jason is – Brooke can’t play piano without looking down at the keys) We start off classic-folksy, and get past four lines safely before he breaks down and fudges the lyrics with “muh muh uh uh uhuh mururur uh uhhhh following you.” Hey! It’s better than restarting, and I never know what the actual song lyrics are anyway. Strangely enough, it didn’t piss me off that he forgot the lyrics. I just chalked it up to perfectly normal temporary memory loss.
Damnit, as he’s murmuring through the forgotten lyric, the camera conveniently shows us his back so we can’t see the hand gestures and fake words he’s trying to mouth. Boo.
I half hoped he would get up and dance a jig a la Ashlee Simpson on SNL. Other than the flub, the song had the potential to redeem the “Woo, Bob Marley!” moments with its folk-rock groove but I think Castro’s just really gone and fucked it up. There’s no way he’s not going home this week, in a season full of surprises like Michael Johns being sent home before Kristy Lee Cook and Brooke being eliminated after Carly.
Randy is incensed as he asks Castro to evaluate himself. Castro, unlike Brooke, doesn’t go “Oh, it was my first time” and simply cops to losing some lines in there, which isn’t good. Randy deems him not in the zone. Paula says it is what it is, and that it didn’t blow them away, but he blew her…away. That, and he’s solidified his fanbase and niche already so it’s not like latecomers would’ve flocked to him in droves for a good performance anyway. Fetusophiles aren’t going to save Castro, that’s for sure. Simon says: “Pack your suitcase.” Ouch. Will it be enough to galvanize Castro fans? Girls are still screaming they love him, so it’s not like he’ll have a hard time getting laid when he heads back to Texas. Just let Syesha stay!
Castro was never featured in the Dallas auditions, and I only saw brief snippets of him with his guitar during that episode. So he’s come rather far for someone who was never highlighted as a contender. I say leave now and become a better musician. Or go back to reality TV. I had no idea that he was on that MTV show Cheyenne as that main girl’s love interest, did you? That’s one step away from going on The Hills and hanging out at the coffeehouse with Spencer. It’s all on the same station.
Your days are numbered, Justin Bobby.
Finally, Fetus. Precious Fetus. He insists that he hasn’t sung a romantic love song yet, so he’s selected Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender.” Ugh. Really? I’d rather have him bopping to “What is Love” Night at the Roxybury-style. Instead, he has to go and melt the hearts of everyone who still believes in angels and intelligent design. Oh, and those in favor of abstinence-only education.
I don’t get it. Why is Fetus treated like a miracle? The arrangement of the song, spare and sweet in its piano accompaniment is what makes it, not the vocal acrobatics Fetus is doing with the melody. The chords are great. He might as well sing “When I Fall in Love.”
At least Elvis Dog keeps his eyes open when he’s singing. – Andrew Lloyd Webber
He falters on the high “always” at the end. Randy, however, jubilantly pushes for his poster boy and says Fetus caressed every word tenderly. Hott vocals of the night. I feel gross typing that extra “t.” Paula gushes that it was one of her faves, that she felt his heart (what about the joy?! the joy, Paula, the joy!). Simon shows no restraint in saying that Fetus crushed the competition. Fetus’s knees buckle from the surprise and he starts hyperventilating as Seabreath goes to catch him.
Leaning Tower of Cheese-a.
Seabreath reminds us this is the week they lost Tamyra and Daughty in past seasons. For good reason, Seabreath. In summary: Fetus makes me feel diabetic. Like someone laced my water with Nutrasweet, Splenda, MSG and all sorts of saccharine things that cause cancer. And I can’t afford insulin so I am feeling light-headed and want to pass out after hearing him. He’s totally safe. David Cook? Also totally safe. Syesha? She pulled out the stops, and deserves to stay. I feel compelled to root for her since the Fetus-Cook showdown has seemed inevitable for weeks now. Also, boobies = ratings and there’s no way the Top 3 would be a sausage fest without diversity. Nigel Lythgoe is too smart for that.
Bon Voyage, Castro!
Castro, you went to Bonetown tonight. And not the good Bonetown, either. Mr. Tambourine Man says what you did to his song was unforgivable. Something that more cowbell can’t fix. America can’t be that retarded to not send you home. I would start peddling for some cash at Hollywood and Highland right about now if I were you. Just watch out for Spiderman.