John Lennon chokes on hacks. Again.
I’ve been seriously deliriously sleep-deprived this week, because I thought Mariah Carey was scheduled to guest judge this week, or at least perform “Touch My Body” while Kenneth the Page hula-hooped and twirled flaming giant turkey legs around her. Alas, it was all a croissant-fueled hallucination. Join me, mon ami, as we romp through John Lennon’s grave and stomp on Beatles B-sides, La Cucaracha-style, ’cause this is American Idol!
Instead of the usual fun pageant walk involving choreography and criss-crossing the stage, we get close-up shots of our contestants slowly descending the dual staircases. When they get to the bottom, they just stand there. Yep, they’re planted awkwardly still, with eight different variations on waving. Or fist-wielding, as David Cook is wont to do. He is most definitely exhibiting some alarming symptoms of Smug Doucheitis.
I got this “Grow Strong” bracelet for my hair.
It’s as though they’re being peddled at an unwilling organ donor auction or about to be shot in the head by Javier Bardem’s cattle gun-wielding character in No Country For Old Men. It is the opposite of the awesomeness that is the Von Trapp children introduction after the Captain summons them with a dog whistle. Or even the way they ascend the stairs in song at the big ole’ party before they have to flee the Nazis. “This is strangely contrived,” murmurs my boyfriend.
Invisible waitress platter, or what will happen if you don’t vote for Syesha.
Seacrest re-introduces the Unholy Trinity and himself for the millionth time, for any viewers who have been living under a heavy rock for the last 8 years. It reminds me of how Ann M. Martin would annoyingly reintroduce every freakin’ member of The Babysitters Club in every single one of her books, but with slight tweaks of tone depending on that book’s protagonist. Does anyone remember that? It was like she thought I was retarded and couldn’t remember that Kristy was a tomboy who preferred softball to boys, that Claudia was a dyslexic artist junk food-aholic who brought shame to her extremely Asian parents, and that Dawn was a California veggie-hippie who would later experiment with girls in college (if the characters ever got older than 13, which they never did, although at least four books involved them celebrating Christmas.)
He calls Randy out for yawning. Randy, rocking yet another man-cardigan (in a tasteful baby blue) explains he’s gotta get it out of his system before an Idol hopeful bludgeons a Beatles ballad. Paula is dressed as Liza Minnelli, Simon is nondescript as usual, and they all natter on about what the contestants can do to improve marginally this week.
Seacrest tries to clarify that last week was Lennon/McCartney, but this week is ALL BEATLES, ALL THE TIME. It’s totally different yet distinct, like poop-flavored ice cream instead of ice-cream flavored poop. Don’t change the channel, because this is the first time they’ve ever expanded on a theme other than “Time Life’s Greatest Hits.” Will this include any songs from Ringo Starr’s discography on Shining Time Station? I sure hope so.
Sorry you got raped by Heather Mills’ peg leg.
Seacrest and Simon launch into their philosophical debate about whether AI is a popularity contest or a talent competition and whether Richard Dawkins is right about this God delusion thing since Idolism is practically a religion. The answer? It’s both (Simon says 50% popularity/50% pre-existing connections to Idol’s producers), and Dawkins is right. There is no God because Simon Fuller killed him and made this show two hours long.
While jibber-jabbering about song selection, Randy exclaims “Let’s dance like there’s no tomorrow!” as Paula does a little jig in her seat. It isn’t pretty, and I can’t tell if Randy is pimping Paula or if Paula is covertly pimping Randy to promote her. It will not be the last time we hear a plug for the deviated septum that is Paula’s career, and I only wish I had a shot of Goldschlager with extra flakes to down for each successive mention.
Never one to overestimate its audience, the show gives us a Beatles history lesson video. Don’t worry kids, just go see the Cirque du Soleil LOVE show and you won’t miss anything.
Up first, the gal everyone desperately hopes will sing “Helter Skelter.” Amanda Overmeyer is most thankful for getting to perform on the “big stage,” which she says is a helluva lot better than the flatbed trucks she’s used to. I love how unabashedly honest and unashamedly white-trash she is in the Idol confessionals. She’ll be singing “Back in the U.S.S.R” as though she’s at the best damn hot wings bar in America. Amanda promises to “tease it up really high and throw some black eyeliner on it” in her signature southern rock way, with a wink and a nod to the judges asking her to tone down the Elvira look she was perfecting.
Bring back last week’s extensions, they made you look pretty! She seems pretty exhausted, like she’s been doing manual labor and fixing her Harley in the middle of the night, and not quite as chipper. As promised, the arrangement involves hard, driving rock but Amanda seems a bit lost/off-kilter as she struts back and forth on the stage. She’s not quite in time with the band, but hey, it could be worse. What’s evident is that Amanda is a gal who really doesn’t bullshit, and truly does enjoy performing and connecting with an audience, guts and all. But she’s not the most versatile of performers nor an audience favorite (a la Fetus), which is why she’ll eventually get the boot. She’s authentic, but is starting to become predictable. However, I really don’t think we’d WANT to hear her try and sing a Whitney torch ballad, right?
Randy thinks it was a good song choice, dawg, but it was pitchy. He grades her a 7/10, and deems it good. Yawn. Paula says it’s sketchy at first, since the timing was off, but quickly adds that when Amanda connects with the audience, her authenticity shine. Paula wants to see her tackle a ballad. Simon calls it predictable and a hot mess, and verging on boring. But the thing is, Amanda can’t (from what we’ve heard) sing a slow, meandering, heart-wrenching ballad. Her voice just isn’t suited for it, and it’d be worse than the Kansas massacre of a few weeks ago.
“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
Amanda retorts, “Ballads are boring.” She explains that she has a minute and a half each week to show America what they’d hear and see if they bought a ticket to one of her shows, and she’s doing that, judges be damned. The crowd cheers and Simon replies that it’s a bit premature, “Your tickets aren’t on sale yet.” Amanda quickly says that it doesn’t matter what show, even one at a local bar in Lafayette, and Simon has to agree. The girl can hold her own, and anyone who can get Simon to re-evaluate himself is gold in my book. Also, she’s basically the only contestant who doesn’t waggle her fingers for the number America’s supposed to dial-in for. But you know what? I think everyone knows it’s inevitable that she’s not going to win the competition, so why vote and save her? She’s entertaining, but she’s going to run out of songs to sing. We pretty much know what we’re getting with Amanda, and while I love her brashness, I think she’s going to be voted off this week or next week.
Kristy Lee Cook is sitting on the ole’ Coke stool with some Walgreens photo albums. She’s no scrapbooker. We gloss over her family and focus on the dog and the horse she’s abandoned/allowed to die from neglect to be on this show. Kristy Lee is all smiles as she discusses being the last man standing at every elimination in the last two weeks (and the fakeout during ’60s week when she was sick). She all but acknowledges that she won’t last much longer on the show, but she’ll be damned if she doesn’t have some fun going down in flames. Or sparkles for that matter, because the tomboy is wearing a sparkly empire-waist black dress with sheersleeves. I Dream of Jeannie meets Hairspray. Last week’s Hamster Dance on Helium didn’t work out as well as she’d hoped, so she’s selected a Lennon song solely based on its title. If you think that’s risky, check out this video of Kristy riding a ginormous pussycat (i.e. tiger) .
So. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love (Of Doing Massive Lunges)” sounds like a good title to me. It’s still country-inflected, but slo-mo compared to last week’s chipmunks on speed tempo and Kristy starts in the lower register. I can’t get past the sheer sparkly sleeves on her dress. Yes, I’m shallow, but looks count. She’s flat and straining the entire time, up to the chorus “You’ve got to hide your love away” when her voice cracks like Peter Brady going through puberty. She should be kept away from all notes below Middle G. G, not C. It’s more bearable when she hits notes an octave higher than what she’s singing for 98% of the tune, but hey, that’s about 10 seconds. Somehow, Kristy managed to turn this song into a funeral dirge.
This brings me back to middle school P.E.
Randy comments first on the interesting arrangement. I’m still perplexed as to how much is determined by the band (which obviously kicks ass, even when aiding and abetting contestants) and how much is determined by the contestant. Like, did anyone in the band tell Kristy “You’ve made a huge mistake” when she insisted on making last week’s tempo faster than Dick Cheney’s heart rate? Well, this was one of Randy’s fave Beatles songs, until Kristy lunged it to death. Only the high notes worked, he says, more high notes! Paula comments on Kristy’s sparkly matchy outfit and that she has never looked more fantastic. Oh, and the performance was safe and she should’ve just stuck to the melody. Simon, never one to mince words, prescribes hypnosis as a panacea for her horrible stage presence and lack of performing skills. And calls her musical (sparkly!) wallpaper. You hear it, block it from your mind, and promptly forget about it. Forgetting her outfit atrocities are an entirely separate issue.
“It’s new to me, the Beatles thing,” says Kristy. Whomp whomp whomp. And then she announces: “I can blow [Simon] out of your socks and you know it!” Um. Inappropriate yet wildly funny, because all eyes turn to Seacrest for any hints of gay sex. Seacrest has a “Woo, it’s hot in here!” moment and fans himself wildly and begs a PA to turn on the AC, while Paula insists Kristy do it (aim high!) while she’s still on the show. Seriously, blowjob monetization is not anything new in the corporate world. She improved upon last week, though (it was impossible not to improve), so she might just have saved herself. Sad, but true.
Can musical wallpaper fellate you?
Fetus is so a 7th Heaven character. He frets about forgetting the lyrics in front of millions, and feels washed-up and ancient compared to the Amazing Beatles Baby who’s practically a zygote in Pampers.
“ReRember, to ret her rin to your harrt!”
Fetus recalls his most embarrassing moment and exclaims, “Dang it!” Really? You flubbed in front of millions and knew you were in for another belt lashing from Daddy Dearest, and still kept it PG-13? You’re seventeen. You can say fleeting curse words, you lint-licker. Fetus wants to recapture some of that “Imagine” magic with “The Long and Winding Road,” the Beatles’ last #1 hit. Ah, we’re sticking to the redemption storyline.
Whenever I hear Fetus perform, I feel like I’ve been dragged to a pimped-out kids’ talent show. One with an exceptionally high budget, but one that ultimately crowns its winner with a spot in the next High School Musical movie. Maybe it’s the Utah upbringing, but he’s just so conservative/mature for a teenager that his performances I keep thinking there’s a shriveled up Mormon singing inside a Fetus suit. He’s starting to remind me of Chikezie’s earlier performances. He’s met his goal of not forgetting the lyrics this week. And women everywhere still go hormonal for the Fetus. Maybe he makes them forget they can’t afford Cream de La Mer and Botox. He’s going to have to take some more risks with future songs (i.e. stuff written after he was born) and surprise me but this kid will make it to the Top 3.
Bracelets from Paula’s QVC line, the one that sells itself like there’s no tomorrow
Checkitout, says Randy. Fetus has brought back the hotness to his game. He advises the Fetus to stop acting like a feeble senior citizen and take some time to update his songs because he played it safe. Paula’s blathering about excitingness and wonderfulness and a very identifiable purity (if only she could steal the elasticity of Fetus’ skin and bottle it!) of our token Jesus figure who has risen above adversity, MY ASS. Simon says that in contrast to last week’s mess, this performance was amazing. Awww, because wittle baby Davey remembered the lyrics. I’m a little flabbergasted. The kid sang a good song, but he didn’t exactly turn water into wine and back again. Simon call’s Fetus’ performance a “master class.” Fetus loves the slower songs as they allow him to be more “sensitive” and “Bryan Adams-ish.”
After the commercial break, Seacrest calls out a dumb blonde who can’t use a iPhone (she’s confusedly typing on a black screen with acrylic nails) and enlightens us that AT&T controls the iPhone. Unless you’ve hacked it. He shills the iPhone and iTunes in such a way that we realize that even Seacrest is disgusted with himself. Oh, and Kellie Pickler is singing tomorrow. Gross. In a wink to all of this painful plugging, Ryan toasts/roasts the judges as our three Stooges display their Coca-cola steins. Paula’s of course, is filled with a mix of Klonopin and barbiturates.
Oh noes, Invisible Coke guns pointing at mah headz.
Michael Johns has borrowed one of David Cook’s stupid hats and gushes on about how proud he is of himself for singing Bohemian Rhapsody during Hollywood week. He’s doing “A Day in the Life,” one of his favorite Beatles songs. In a moment of foreshadowing, MJ expresses how difficult it is to compress a 5-6 minute masterpiece into a 90-second sound byte, but reassures us that they’ve taken all the best parts, the arrangement is good, and he’s amply endowed to tackle it
Don’t flatter yourself.
We get a snippet of a scene of one of the musicians asking MJ, “How are you gonna do that, because you took half of it already?” HEH. So we’re in for a Frankenstein of a song, a 90 second medley of Lennon’s best bits with no time for transitions whatsoever. I love foreshadowing, especially when it signals DOOM and DESTRUCTION. We start out okay, if a bit cheesy, but then MJ gets to the phrase “house of love” and “love” dies, poops itself, and rolls over in a screechy mess. He hit a note that doesn’t even exist.
Think of the worst haircut you ever got in the ’90s. Was it the poor man’s version of the Jennifer Aniston “Rachel” bob? With the long layers and flippiness at the ends? That’s kinda what Michael Johns’ song is like. The choppiest, most poorly structured, awkward haircut you’ve ever gotten. You asked for a trendy ‘do and instead, you get the “greatest hits” of ten trendy hairstyles including a bit of Farrah Fawcett for no apparent reason. Worst of all, the stylist didn’t even bother sweeping all the snippets off your shoulders and now you’re choking on your own hairball and hair bits are stabbing you in the eye.
Randy, dawg, is disappointed that Michael Johns has not found the right vehicle for his voice. In short, it was not good. He won’t be eliminated, but he’s in the bottom half (in my opinion) compared to his previous performances. Paula tries to excuse this hacky performance by saying he sounded phe nominal (two words) during dress rehearsal and that it’s probably that new-fangled ear monitors that are tripping him up. They take lots of time to get used to, and well, he’s our oldest contestant and should’ve been around for their invention, no? Michael murmurs a bit and doesn’t really say anything as Paula rambles about balance and big stages and how hard it is to hear the band and offers to help him out.
I will personally scrape out your ear wax with my fingers.
Simon says the long and short of it is that it was a mess, and that the song just doesn’t work in that compressed format because it’s a complicated song. Old Man Michael is chastised for not nailing his song like Fetus did.
Seacrest to Paula: What are these ear monitor thingies? Paula waxes on about how they’re inner ear monitors and help keep you in sync with the band and realign your chakra and help keep you sober ’cause it amplifies your drunky ramblings…but hey now now, Michael Johns isn’t. wearing. any. Controversy! Michael admits to this with a classic “Whoops!” facial expression, and also reveals that he’s fathered at least 8 illegitimate children through immaculate conception and Queen medleys.
“Pull my finger.”
Simon smiles like the Cheshire Cat as Paula tries to salvage her critique to no avail and succeeds only in stumbling over herself while trying not to embarrass Michael too much. “Now there’s just no excuse,” she snits. Michael seizes the awkward moment to dedicate this song to a dead mate whose favorite song was “A Day in the Life.” Yeah. He went there. Now the competition is 30%, 70% sympathy.
I’m a Brooke White disbeliever. Ryan unconvincingly calls her the sweetest person alive. Her fluttery layered yellow dress reminds me of cheap Halloween costumes and leads me to deduce that she is singing “Here Comes The Sun” but only because the producers said no to singing “Let It Be” again (with a guitar instead of piano). I’m sorry, but I can’t respect someone who can’t look up from the piano keys when playing quarter notes and easy chords. She’s gotten this far because she’s milked the “I play instruments” card and done it pretty charmingly, which no other female contestant has attempted. They’re her beard for “I actually have zero stage presence and performing skills.” Might there be some bad dancing and dress twirling tonight to accompany such a sunshiny tune? There’s just something off about her. (Something Canadian, ay?)
Brooke gestures to her husband in the audience, but he must be an even bigger freak than Carly’s tattooed hubby, ’cause the camera doesn’t pan to him. Is she married to Tommy Mottola or something? She mentions that she was overwhelmed by how well “Let It Be” went last week, and it is left unsaid that she has her work cut out for her this week.
She starts by sitting on the stairs (shoot me) as the background screen graphics are of (surprise!) the sun. After the first “doodle doodle” amateurish warble, Brooke is just pitchy and flat-out annoying. There’s just something insincere/overly contrived about this happy, sunshiny performance that I immediately stop taking my anti-depressants, read some Sylvia Plath poems (including “Daddy”), smear on Amanda Overmeyer’s black eyeliner, and write some goth haikus. I just don’t buy it.
If you think she’s bad sitting down, Brooke gets up and strolls towards the main stage. And does the world’s most unsuccessful cheesy twirl while exclaiming “Wooo!” as if it’s completely spontaneous and she’s Shania Twain. She’s gangly, limbs flailing everywhere, and you know she would work some sign language in there if she knew ASL. Just to emphasize the deep meaning of the song and all. It’s completely evident that Brooke needs an instrument to hide behind, or she just becomes bipolar with symptoms of withdrawal. The performance is flat, karaoke-ish, and she belongs on The Singing Bee. Is that show still around? She is also incredibly limited in the white girl dance moves department.
Get me some mood stabilizers, STAT.
Randy is all WTF and deems it awkward (as she makes a sun with her arms). Brooke also morphs into one of those contestants who can’t just accept constructive criticism, but has to reply with an acknowledgment or an excuse. Sigh. Paula loves how Brooke matched her song in appearance. Uh huh. Well maybe she can recycle the dress and sing “Mellow Yellow” at some point. Simon calls Brooke on the predictability of the performance and cautions her never to dance again, suggesting she amputate both legs and at least one arm (the right one, it flails more). It lacked conviction, he says, and it was too “wet.” Brooke’s diarrhea of the mouth takes a turn for the worse as she talks over Simon and says it’s fine ’cause the judges have loved her up to this point, and she was tortured about performing this song, and that she didn’t mean to let the Woo! and bad dancing slip out, and gee, last week was so stellar it was inevitable she’d fail this week. “It’s okay, it’s not okay, but it is.”
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Ryan can’t even really save Brooke from herself as she continues to give us a pack of excuses thicker than the wad of bills piling up on my desk. She promises to go back to what she’s used to, and to return more awesome than ever. Shut up, Brooke.
David Cook is next, which means we are in for a harder rock/emotastic interpretation. I guess knowing that we can safely expect that from him means he’s starting to be a little predictable. I know a lot of people love him, but there’s just something that rubs me the wrong way. He’s downright smug now, with lines like “Nothing could hurt me.” He reveals that he’ll be tackling the Whitesnake cover of “Day Tripper” which was a song partly about McCartney’s reluctance to do LSD and drugs. Strobe lights! Guitar of Rockness! Black leather jacket! It’s decent, as performances go, but watching him makes me feel like I’m in a hipster “dive” bar that charges 8 bucks for a PBR. And I don’t like it. He’s a decent musician, and knows what works for him. But next to his regular mic he’s got a talk box (it’s not a voice box, Paula) which is synonymous with The Peter Frampton Effect . A talk box is the thing that pipes your voice into your guitar so you can sing “Mr. Roboto” to your heart’s content. Stevie Wonder used it to great effect back in the day before Frampton did, but hell, he’s Stevie fucking Wonder. He does what he wants!
So we get David Cook as Peter Frampton in a GEICO commercial for about 8 seconds. It doesn’t quite work. Also, I hear the “ghetto version” of talk boxes involve LOTS of drool since it’s basically a tube you put in your mouth. He’s just showing off now, and while I concede it’s “original” and almost as memorable as Fetus forgetting the lyrics, I want to kick him in the balls. I know, I’m a bad person. Last week it was drop-kicking puppies, and this week it’s kicking men with receding hairlines in the nutsack. The guy just threw his guitar pick into the audience, people. Randy loves how he keeps it interesting, and says it’s just like being at a David Cook rock show. One that pays him gross amounts of cashola to be there.
“It’s true, I can s my own d.”
Paula says there’s not much else to say, since she thinks he’s ready to sell lots of records and that he chose the “voice box” in a neat way. David explains he only learned how to use the Framptonifier yesterday and nods vigorously to her insistence he’s ready to sell out. Do you want a gold record for that, asshat? Simon picks up on the smack of smug that’s seeped into the David Cook pot of water. To the boos of the greasy masses, Simon states that the talk box was ridiculous, the performance was predictable, he’s verging on boring…oh, and then David winks at someone. Seriously? Or maybe it was a super-fast facial tic, but I highly doubt it. Seacrest subtly tells David to stop with the asshattery and do what Simon Says, and it is awesome.
Moving on, Carly Smithson and the Case of Soccer Mom Hair. Just straighten it already. Paula and Simon have a mini-tiff over his whispering that the song is about a sparrow that fell into tar. Carly’s most memorable moment is being compared to Kelly Clarkson. Yeah, let’s not go there. Her selection this week is “Blackbird” and I’m sorry, but the version of the song that’s been permanently burned into my brain is none other than that of Bobby McFerrin.
Carly’s dressed like a float getting prepped for the Rose Parade, or the winning horse in a competition that could only afford carnation wreaths. If she was a high fashion kind of gal, and not an Irish barkeep/tattooed lady, she could possibly pull it off (designers like Rodarte are particularly known for this sort of crazy embellishment). But the flower explosion tunic fits her like a sack, and makes her dowdy. While I definitely prefer her to Michael Johns, I still don’t love her. Carly’s got good range, solid vocals that rise and fall when they need to, and great phrasing. She can truly sing, but this song seems too simple for her. She makes it overly dramatic/over-the-top because she doesn’t have one of those fine, pure voices that can sing Shaker hymns or whatever (you know the type – “Tis a gift to be simple / Tis a gift to be free”). She hits those big notes that Randy dreams about. We even get a shot of her husband, who is more fun to look at than Brooke’s, apparently. But I still think she’s underperforming and a bit boring this week. Will she also dedicate this song to the memory of a dear, departed friend whose last words were, “Carly, don’t fuck up another record deal”? The point is, Carly should know better by now. She should know what works and what doesn’t for her voice and her persona. That’s it.
Randy’s all yo, yo yo, inventing the word “cooliosis” to define her performance. He enjoyed how emotive and sensitive it was, and grins over the big notes he loved so much. Paula is all LOVE LOVE LOVE something beautiful arrangement, paint with the colors of the wind. I don’t know. Simon was bound to hate this song. He prefers ravens (nevermore!) to blackbirds and thinks the song choice was indulgent.
And now it’s Carly’s moment of verbal diarrhea. She launches into a manifesto about how “Blackbird” draws on a universal theme of people who struggle in the world, relating it to her struggle to break into the music world and not derail a two million dollar marketing push with her lack of je’nais se quoi and selling power. The blackbirds must fly and overcome broken wings and avian bird flu. Yes. They. Can. At least she admits it’s corny.
Simon’s put on the spot and feels uncomfortable since now Carly’s saying the contestants are a bunch of broken sparrows/almost-has-beens. Paula keeps reiterating, “You’re a gift. You’re a gift. You’re a gift.” The woman is busted. Oh, and what’s this? Carly has gotten the number 7 tattooed onto her finger, to commemorate this season. For the rest of her life. Producers, I would put her on suicide watch if she doesn’t make it to the top 3. I don’t know, kids. After last week’s smash, Carly is just not that exciting here. It’s going to ding her, and I do think the judges are holding her to a different standard than they are actual amateurs like Ramiele. America may not know where Halifax is, but they can be harsh critics when they feel like it, and may also turn on an audience favorite for the littlest thing. I think she’s shot herself in the foot here. Bottom four, if not bottom 3. She’s also a Planeteer reject, from the looks of it, but was replaced by Mah-Ti, the kid with the monkey and the power of “Heart!”
Let our powers combine! Seven!
Jason Castro is shocked to learn that “Ma Belle” is not English, and unfortunately for him, those subliminal tapes that you listen to while you’re sleeping totally don’t work. He trains with the speech therapist on hand, and murmbles (yeah, it’s a cross between murmuring and mumbling, I am coining it just for Castro) that he was embarrassed about the weak note that he sang at the end of “Hallelujah.” Why bring attention to all your flubs, contestants? Castro has stolen some cast-off pants from Hannah Mantana that look painted on, and he tucks in his usual button down shirt. Into the pants. Yeah, it’s kind of geek-chic with the rolled up sleeves, but also kind of “I just left my dealer’s house and man, was that some good shit, I totally forgot my shoes.” I can’t even tell if he’s wearing shoes!
Castro’s got a soft, effeminate voice that works for contemplative, easy-flowing tunes like “Blackbird.” His rendition of “Michelle Ma Belle” is not the most exciting, but it’s still preferable to Kristy Lee singing anything. He strolls around the stage with his goofy, Jim Halpert-y, dopey endearing facial expressions, which is what ultimately saves him. He just seems a bit lost to me, like he meant to panhandle at Berkeley but went the wrong direction on the 5 freeway. But hey, all the girls go crazy pretending he’s singing “I want you, I want you, I want you!” to them.
Randy doesn’t know, man, it was subdued (compared to the frantic hyper performances he has every other week?), and he sucks in his breath through his teeth while commenting. He cites a lack of connection with the song, and Castro stumbles and mutters the song snuck up on him. (“Kinda like Simon” interjects Randy.) Poor Seacrest.
Don’t worry, dawg, everybody farts.
Paula says he’s charming, but the song was sing-songy and polka-like because he stepped away from his guitar. She did not connect, either, but that’s only because Randy didn’t. Simon’s all, “Beatles Week Redux was a HUGE FUCKING MISTAKE.” He says that, unlike Nixon, Jason benefited from AI being a TV show and not a radio show. But he admits he’s charming and not obnoxious like some people, and that anyone who isn’t Helen Keller will vote for him and save his dorky ass.
Randy Sayz: “It could be a Beatles song every night, but these people need to sing this song like there’s no tomorrow.” Drink!
Syesha is busting out the big guns. Seriously, the cleavage is magnified by her form-fitting gown and the camera. Last week’s Bottom 3 revelation was a kick in the pants for her, she says, and I really do think she has potential. She has a versatile voice that can be tender without making a song trite or overindulgent, but also hit the big notes that Randy so desperately craves. Her distinctive fro has been tamed down with a straightening iron, though, so that’s one less way to remember her when voting. Remember, girl. Big notes = Randy love and cooliosis. Which is way better than scoliosis.
Ah, it’s time for “Yesterday.” Syesha declares that she wants to touch everybody tonight. I feel slightly uncomfortable. Didya know that Paul McCartney woke up with the song in his head and called it scrambled eggs? Even if the tenderness and emotion and sensitivity in Syesha’s voice is only a result of her freaking out about being in the bottom 3 and having to do Polident and Preparation H commercials if she’s kicked off, I don’t care. I’m glad that she can showcase her voice and hold herself with confidence and not hide behind an instrument. “Yesterday” is a whole lament on her lackluster performance of last week, it seems, and she sticks to a very simple arrangement that involves a lone guitarist accompanying her onstage. Say what you will, but the girl is in tune. I wouldn’t download it from iTunes, but she’s certainly safe this week.
Syesha has passed the Randy test with the diva notes. Paula loves it, and practically has tears in her eyes. But that might be from glitter that’s escaped her top that’s now scratching her retinas. She also thinks Syesha needs to connect with the audience more with her eyes.
Simon thinks Syesha had her best performance so far, enjoys the spare arrangement and the guitarist, but thinks Brooke should’ve sung the song instead. Still. Seacrest again peddles iTunes, this time with an old man as a prop.
Hey, it’s the dancing geezer from Six Flags!
Chikezie’s most memorable moment was Hollywood when he got complimented by all three judges. He’s selected a harmonica from potential instruments this week (including a jug, a washboard and spoons, and a corncob pipe). Chikezie plants to capitalize on the whole “violation of expectations” thing he had going last week, by interpreting “I’ve Just Seen a Face” in two movements. We start out slow jam style and Vandross is digging it. Then we get an abrupt harmonica interlude that turns the tempo on its head, complete with a steel guitar in the band. And I want to get off this crazy fair ride that is the Chikezie roller coaster lollercopter line dancing extravaganza. Part deux of Chikezie’s song makes me feel ill, like I have eaten wayyyy too many funnel cakes with powdered sugar, corn dogs, and washed it down with a few too many pitchers of root beer. I am informed that there are indeed country hybrid musicians, like Cowboy Troy, who invented “hick-hop.”
What do the best harmonica players all have in common? They all suck.
Our judges have mixed emotions. Randy liked the country bit, he didn’t like the slow jam first bit. Paula loved all of it, because it showed all of his true colors. Simon thinks it started off okay, and then he played the harmonica. Which was literally atrocious and turned into “Achy Breaky Heart.” I would have preferred a vocal tribute to Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown.”
Ramiele has been struck by fedora fever. That’s what happens when you befriend David Cook, girly. Now that all of Ramiele’s BFFs have been kicked off the show (Alaina, Kady, Danny, and Colton), she’s inserted herself into the good graces of Brooke, her surrogate mommy. David C. is her big bro who gives her ill-advised fashion advice and bad mix cds, and Kristy brings her puppies to pet. Our munchkin has been a snoozefest lately, so she hopes to get back the smiles of the judges with a slightly self-referential “I Should Have Known Better.” It’s up-tempo! It’s kicky! It’s young! It requires stupid hats!
If you haven’t noticed already, she’s saved all the cast-offs Asia’h left for her, including a bustier/high-waisted pants over a t-shirt, and combined them into the Forever 21 version of what Paula wears in her video for “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.” Her first note is breathy and weak, and Ramiele better hope her fan base is big enough to carry her through this week. (It probably is, and all the Hannah Mantana fanatics have pledge their allegiance to her as well.) She’s never displayed much sass or spunk in her interviews, so the happy-go-lucky bounciness of this song doesn’t really suit her. But hey, it’s something different from what she’s done. Sorta. The headbopping/shaking is taken straight from the Danny Noriega Songbook, by the way. It just doesn’t sit right, but she hits big notes on “mine” and “more” to applause. However, the range of Ramiele’s facial expressions is incredible. She goes from chipmunk to hamster to hedgehog to chubby bunny in a matter of nanoseconds.
It was “aiight” says Randy, digging her confidence. Paula wants her to get back on track like the Dusty Springfield song, but still thinks Ramiele is adorable. Simon opens with “It sounded like Chikezie was on harmonica.” He likes her and her personality, but the track was amateurish. He acknowledges she’s not the only one who has chosen mediocre songs
(Brooke, Carly, Michael, etc).
So let me rank the contestants not really based on how I feel about them, but how I think America’s voting.
Meh, but Safe:
*They are either going to say that Carly or Ramiele is in the bottom three, just to milk us and surprise and shock us and keep us watching this damn show. But neither will go home.
Who knows, they like to spring surprises on us, so maybe Kristy Lee won’t get the boot after all. Especially since she expects it – we can milk another week of suspense by sending Amanda home to sell out the bar in Lafayette. After all, the girl flat-out refused to ever sing a ballad, which was a major error in “strategary.” ‘Cause you know this show loves ballads, especially when it’s down to the Top 2.