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This week, Neil Diamond proves that he’s the only person alive who can make his songs tolerable. He’s also the only person alive that looks like Bill O’Reilly made babies with Andrew Lloyd Webber, but that’s neither here nor there. This! Is American Idol!
Holy fauxhawk, Tink! I understand going in for a trim and a clean up, but tonight’s ‘do makes you look a little desperate for approval. Okay, okay, Tinkley. You’re a Big Boy. There. You happy?
He starts in his usual way. By lining up the Idols and walking past them trying to act all badass. Tonight he says that the “constant exposure” is taking it’s toll on the poor kids, and he finishes this sentence right as he passes The Fetus, who looks like he is going to throw up. He may be skerd (he’s the only one who really shouldn’t be), but Syesha’s not. She takes this time to do what she does best. Stare into the camera longingly in that “I’m a ‘working actress’” way she has about her.
This counts, right? It’s a TV credit.
Castro laughs into the camera, which I love about him, and when Tink asks “who will lose their cool this week?”, Brooke smiles at us and shrugs like “my bad! Teeheehee”. Ugh. Tink asks the audience to wave hi to Carly, who’s sitting at home in San Diego begging her husband not to pierce his forehead. Hi, Carly! You was robbed, girl!
I have my fingers crossed tonight, because if ever there was a character to bring this year’s contestants to their knees, it’s tonight’s mentor, Mr. Neil Leslie Diamond. To be polite, I will say I know Neil from his fantastic songwriting and appearance in The Jazz Singer. Now that that’s out of the way, the real reason this man will always have my respect and admiration:
And he still had sex. With WOMEN.
Neil is sweet to the contestants, telling them that all he asks is that they find the joy in his music and not fuck up and then stop and start over again. I think Cook will be in the lead tonight because he has an unfair advantage. Tell me that Neil doesn’t look like his long lost dad.
Get Jane Curtain in here and we will officially have the Conehead family.
Castro’s up first, and he shows his respect to the master by showing up in his pj’s with a sushi waitress flourish in the back of his dreads. Go, Geisha. Neil tells us that Jason chose “Forever in Blue Jeans” and “September Morn”, which he describes as two very different songs. Don’t worry, tiger. They won’t be after Castro’s done with them.
“Forever in Blue Jeans” is first, and he starts way too low for anyone’s comfort. Before long though, he gets to jump into his regular one octave register. He gives it his best shot, but he sounds kind of ridonk singing a Neil song. He keeps it exactly as it was written and sings it in the same one note sweet tone he uses every week. I think this kid peeked with the Iz song. Even his boyfriend’s bored.
Alright, now. Both of you go wash your hair.
Unfortunately, no one will be judged until after their second song, so we’ll have to wait for Simon’s “CRAP”. Instead, he just says it with his face.
Wake up, buddy. 9 more to go.
Tink asks Cook how he prepared for Neil Diamond week, and since Cook is a little low on the personality, he turns the question back at Tink, who says he sat in the way way back of the station wagon during carpool facing the other cars and sang Diamond songs. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and see that, and then rear end that station wagon over and over again.
David will be singing “I’m Alive” first, and Neil is happy that he chose something no one’s heard before. That’s probably ok because it’s not Mariah Carey week and he’s not Syesha. After hearing him sing “Music of the Night” so straightforward last week, his rocker voice sounds even more put on than usual during tonight’s performance. I would probably think he was doing an awesome job if I was the last wasted reception guest listening to the last song of the night from the handsome if you’re drunk enough wedding band front man, but unfortunately I’m stone cold sober in hole-y pajama bottoms, so I’m hating it.
David’s wearing AC initials on his blazer and his guitar, and at first it makes me mad because it’s hot and my landlord wants an extra thirty bucks for my AC use. Then I realize that he’s wearing those initials in support of his brother, Adam Cook, who has cancer, and I feel like a jerk. Until reason sets in and I get mad all over again that he’s rubbing a cancer victim in my face when I’m trying to be reasonable. Hand me the phone! I’m voting for him!
No, AC isn’t a brand of hideous blazers.
After both hugging and shaking hands with Neil, Brooke reminds us what a musical virtuoso she is by announcing that she will be playing two instruments tonight, which is awesome because it gives her a higher chance of boning it and I really want to see her have a nervous breakdown on national television. At some point, she’ll be staring down at the piano keys and praying for her life during “I Am, I Said”, and during her rehearsal, Neil’s brain starts a tickin. Since Brooke would be emotionally pulverized after five minutes in NYC, Neil suggests she change the lyrics from “I’m New York City, born and raised” to something she’d be more comfortable with. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait til the second act for “I’ve Never Seen Beverly Hills Cop, I Swear.” Now, for “I’m a Believer!”
She bounces up and down with the look of fear in her eyes, possibly afraid that her plastic pants might melt if she doesn’t hurry the hell up and get this over with. Pretty crap song choice, because there’s no range to it, and she can’t even hit the notes she’s got. What the hell is she thinking? The girl may annoy the hell out of me, but she’s more talented than this….right? She is doing her best to be perky and positive and even tries to show a little personality by imitating Elvis, or Amanda, I can’t tell them apart anymore. The result is, she’s bouncing up and down so much that she can’t hit anything. She probably sounds almost exactly like Tink did all those years ago in the back back of the station wagon as his mom drove recklessly over speed bumps. At one point it looks like she’s going to jump out of her comfort zone and start belting in a new key, but instead she changes all the notes so that they are in the same octave as the others. Lame.
Stop the caaaaaaar!!!!
Katie Holmes, is that you?
The Fetus ain’t fuckin round tonight. He’s chosen “Sweet Caroline” and “Coming To America”, two of Diamond’s finest. Me thinks Daddy had his say this week, and for once, nice work Dad. The boy comes into the rehearsal room after running up five flights of stairs to fawn over Neil, who hands him a paper bag and instructs him to breathe slowly and deeply until he doesn’t sound like he’s been chain smoking for thirty years.
The “Sweet Caroline” arrangement is bizarre. It’s the same song, but it’s arranged for what sounds like an 80′s sitcom (Bosom Buddies comes to mind) with some Wah wah wah’s thrown in for good measure. The Fetus riffs all over the place and tries to spice it up, but somehow that only makes it whiter. This kid’s like a walking commercial for “cool church”. Look! It’s a rock band! In a church! Sure, they’re just playing Amy Grant covers, but still! In a church!
He sings circles around the previous three, but still. Huh? I never realized how much Neil Diamond songs sucked without glittery spangled shirts and a can of Aqua Net. Neil loves “Syeshia” (that should be her new name), and in rehearsal it sounds like she’s about to knock it out of the park.
She starts by sitting at the foot of the stage to sing “Hello Again”. Her voice sounds beautiful, and she hits the low notes and the high soft notes with equal competence as her big belt notes. Unfortunately she’s still a bit disconnected and smiles hugely through the whole song. It’s…creepy. The way she stares at the camera, it seems like she’s calling some poor guy over and over again after a first date and leaving giddy messages into his answering machine about how much fun she had. You know the type.
It was just dinner! Leave me aloooooone!
She ends it softy and sweetly, and even though I am loving her flat, straightened hair, that performance would have been way better if I was only hearing it. Tink calls the five out for the firing range. Randy starts by saying Castro was blah, Cook was solid, Brooke was better than last week but still not good, The Fetus did a good job even with the afterbirth still stuck in his throat, and Syesha was in the zone, but not great. Paula says…
…she liked Castro ok on the first song but felt that in his second song he wasn’t fighting hard enough to get into the final four. LOLOLLLLLLLL dumbass. Randy tries to brush her stoooopidity away by telling Castro that she meant her blabber just for his first song, but then she says “OMG I thought you sang twice.” HAHAHAHAHAHA I love this woman. Please tell me there’s another season of Hey, Paula! in the works. Simon doesn’t let her finish and gives his rundown: Castro: yikes, Cook: fairly good, Brooke: “Nightmare” (cheers, clink, and snap), Fetus: amateurish, and Syesha: please stop stalking people. He tells them all that the season is almost over and they’re bore snore so please pull your heads out of your cornholes for round 2.
Castro’s back with “September Morn”. He does something completely different for this one. He scrunches up his face into crazy configurations and then whisper-sings pleasantly into the cameras. YAWN. Man, seriously pony. Get a new trick. He seems resigned at this point, just standing there bored like his mom’s making him sing during a Junior League meeting. My guess is he had a little pre show spat with someone special.
I told him if he really loved me he would sing “Honey-Drippin’ Times”. Bastard!
Randy reminds Castro that it’s a singing competition, and even Paula says it was no good. Jason says that he almost choked before he started and Simon calls bs and says that he’s become an empty shell of a boy. Well, you did it, Simon, you lovely bastard.
Cook sings “All I Really Need is You” as his second song, and he sings it differently than Neil, but otherwise it sounds exactly the same as every other song he’s sung so far. Come on, man. When is someone gonna break out this season?
Had the same effect on me.
Now can we seal the borders?
Randy loved it, Paula says she feels like he won the competition with his third song, and Simon calls it brilliant. I know that most of you agree with him, and I am big enough to admit when I have missed the boat completely. Have fun on your Cook cruise, suckas. I’d throw myself overboard anyways.
Tink asks Brooke for her reaction to Simon’s “nightmare” comment. She says with a huge shit eating grin that he may not have loved it, but it was no nightmare, silly! Then Simon did this.
The best part of this pic is watching Paula gargle her “Coke” in her worn out prom dress. Goddamn it I love this show.
Tink shows us that she’s got her lyrics written on her hand, which is the sign of a true star. I can totally see how “palm trees grow and rents are low” can screw a person up. They should have a Sondheim week. Her head would explode. She sings “I Am, I Said”, and she does a pretty decent job. She remembers the words, and somehow her bouncing and general spazziness doesn’t bug me as much when she’s stuck behind a piano. She didn’t suddenly get a fantastic singing voice, but she didn’t mess up the piano, either, so I guess it’s good? I’m trying you guys, I swear. I think I deserve credit for writing an entire paragraph instead of just UGH.
The judges all love it. Simon stands behind his diss of her first song, but says that she’s way more tolerable when she’s behind a large piece of furniture instead of invading our personal space with her neurosis. Brook stays positive and cool as a cucumber on the outside, but there’s a huge vein that looks like it’s gonna pop out of her forehead.
Durning commercial break she will be backstage covering her face in lipstick and trying to pull her skin off while reciting lines from “Wild at Heart” into the mirror.
The Fetus sings “Comin to America”, which was always played really loudly during a fireworks show after Diablos baseball games in El Paso where I grew up. Don’t sound so impressed that I was at a baseball game. I never knew what was going on. I only went for 10 cent hot dog night. Where else can you get dinner for ten bucks?
He tinkers with the song in his usual whitebread cool church kind of way, and it’s starting to grate on my nerves. That’s one song that doesn’t really need messing with. All the riffy riffs and little bounces are just inappropriate. When I first heard this song as a kid, the raging debate over illegal immigration hadn’t begun. At least not where I could hear it. Now all I think about when it plays is choosing sides. I choose Jimmy Smits. I don’t know what that means, but I think I’m a good guy. What was I saying again? Oh yeah can you believe that there was a time when hot dogs were ten cents?
Now he’s throwing “My Country Tis of Thee” in there. Oh for crying out loud. This is the gayest mashup ever. Again, he sang circles around the others so far, but again, there was zero emotion there. My hope is that he breaks out of his Stepford Fetus thing and grabs the brass ring. Time’s a ticking. Come on, Fetus! WAKE UP!
Randy and Paula both slobber all over each other and Simon says that it was a smart song choice because anyone who disses it will be called a terrorist. He also mentions that “his audience” will eat it up, and I can’t help but suspect that his audience is mostly made up of the same goody two shoes pasty ass religious nuts who rage against immigration in the first place. Ironic, no?
If you catch my spit I’ll give you a pack of gum.
Syesha closes the show out with “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime”. It’s generic until she gets into a gospel section in the middle. She slams some of those belt notes out of the park, and again, if I didn’t have to see her weird camera rape and arched single eyebrow, I would have loved it.
Randy says that she’s finally figuring out who she is. Paula says she loved the vulnerability in her first song and in the second she showed a fun side and did a great job. Simon says that it’s the strangest show they’ve ever done, and I have to agree. Wait. No. Gloria Estefan night was the strangest, but this might be one of the worst, fo sho. He thinks that Syesha is a good actress/singer, but she’s in trouble. Syesha asks why (you go) and he answers that there are only five left. One’s never seen an R rated movie, one’s cute as a little Muppet, one crawled out of the womb singing patriotic songs, and one’s going to get payback for Chris Daughtry getting the boot before his time. That leaves you.
I fear he’s right, even though Castro’s the obvious choice for burning at the stake. Frankly, I don’t really care. They’re all talented, and they all bore the crap out of me. Mmmmm. Hot dogs.