Yello! Can you smell what the Barack’s got cooking? No? Well, that’s ’cause extortion and illicit campaign contributions are nothing compared to gay strippers, DUI mugshots, and a photo of boobies on Facebook! Who wants to revolutionize American democracy when you’ve got American Idol?
Squeeze for the high notes.
Do you think the AI producers get super-secret superdelegate votes that we’ve never heard about? Evidently, millions upon millions of people try to vote at the same time but we’re never told exactly how the results are broken down by percentage. Thank god for ZabaSearch and Nick Matzorkis!
Seacrest sure isn’t sugarcoating anything when he announces that, while eight men are competing to be in the Top 12, two will fail at convincing America they’re not gay. Well, I guess Hannah Mantana never really tried so much as shoved it down our throats, wished Santa would rape us, and then choked us with his stripey scarf.
This week is all about shoulderpads and the ’80s. Thanks, Captain Obvious. We get to learn all about our contestant’s most precious, err, embarrassing moments.
“We’re not fruits.”
Meh-nard tells us an absolutely riveting story growing up gender-confused, which ultimately led to his joining an a capella troupe. His sister, desperately wanting a younger sister, dressed him up as a ballerina, complete with leotard, tutu and barrettes. And took a photo. He was eight. OMG. I, too, once desperately longed for a little sister, and it didn’t help that my first younger sibling was a boy whose name was identical to mine except for the last letter of our three syllable names. The letter wasn’t even a vowel, just the consonant at the end! Like Jam and Jan. Fucked up, right? I convinced him he was a girl and let him pick out a blue sailor dress and some plastic baubles to wear. And took a picture. My second attempt, with my next baby brother, was less successful – we only got as far as an Ariel the Mermaid nightshirt and lots of singing songs from Annie.
ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCCINO!
Meh-nard’s taking on”Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham! This arrangement, while light and frothy as a mug full of foamy deliciousness, is just not my cup of tea. It’s not the band (which is the bombdiggity with the bass slap, by the way). It’s Meh-nard’s falsetto, which is more annoyingly flat than my rack in 7th grade. He’s rushing it, is off-tempo, and is on the verge of choppiness. By the time he warbles “You make me hiiiiiggghhhhh” more weakly than a goldfish giving me a handshake, I hate him. There’s just no power behind it, it’s limp. He fades out on some of the lower notes when he really needs to power through. I douse myself in gasoline, only to remember I have an electric stovetop. UH JITTABUG!
Down Syndrome McDreamy
“Dawg, did you have a good time, baby?” said Randy. You know when Randy starts with a question, you’re done for. He proclaims it pitchy and cornier than the last time he took a dump, and is surprised by the song selection. Really. Surprised by A Capella McDreamy? Paula agrees, but explains that she choreographed George Michael’s tour and has a special place in her heart for this song. And Meh-nard’s interpretation. Yawn. Onto Simon! Not one to mince words, Simon tells it to Meh-nard straight up. It was weak. Boring. A bit girly. Oh, and BTW? You don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning Idol or making it into the top 12. Paula protests by saying it’s a singing competition, whatever that means. If it was really just a singing competition, the contestants would sing in a sealed off, windowless room that pipes their vocals out to the audience.
Lemony Snicket’s Magic 8 Ball Says: Signs Point to Tragedy
The Fetus is taking on Phil Collins. What, no Peter Gabriel? He was in Genesis, too. Seacrest humiliates the Fetus by announcing that Fetus has a bladder the size of a peanut. Fetus’ most embarrassing moment thus far is being flown out to sing in Honduras. He got halfway through the song when his voice gave out. So Mommy had to go on stage, help him finish, and change his dirty diaper. It happens.
It’s “Another Day in Paradise” but not really, ’cause he starts out playing the piano and the cheesiness level ups to orange. And I’m in hell. All we’re missing is a candelabra and some red velvet drapes. Maybe Archuleta will pull the sick card tonight, because this sucks compared to last week’s performance (even though I still think he ripped it off from Eva Cassidy). I really didn’t expect this song from him, and there’s no way you can “update” the synth line of this tune. The song is just too down-tempo, dated and frankly somber for him to sing. A whole effin’ lot. He sounds kind of sick, or something. I hear flat notes, especially when he starts to subtly push down on his stomach to hit the right pitch. Fetus is human. If I was feeling nice, I’d just chalk it up to having to pee REAL BAD. Tough noogies. It’s not my fault this kid thought “Imagine” was a happy, uplifting song about McCain winning the presidency.
“And then I realized both hookers were dead.”
Well, his monochrome beige outfit sums up the performance. It was okay for someone who’s knocked ‘em out of the ballpark in prior weeks. From someone who’s hailed as the Messiah of AI, he sure. Maybe someone told him to throw this week’s performance so that it’d look as though he wasn’t having too easy of a time, to throw in some uncertainty and vulnerability so that he wouldn’t end up like Melinda Doolittle. It’s good strategy. You’ve got to be slightly sub-par compared to your last week’s performance, but still better than 75% of the contestants. That way, you’re humanized but still safe, and you can show “improvement” next week and spin it as a comeback story. I should really manage political campaigns or be a reality show contestant consultant.
Fetus already has his own Precious Moments figurine.
Randy’s tired of Fetus. He proclaims it an interesting song choice and deems it a decent performance, saying it’s “nice.” Yep. Nice. Paula, Mistress of Wacky Judgment, loved that Fetus had some off notes and couldn’t stay in tune, since it proved he wasn’t just a make-believe hologram from the future imported from Japan. “In that imperfection, you still are perfect.” Um, Paula’s just saying that because she’s convinced Fetus is the baby that her barren womb was supposed to carry.
Simon declares it not as good as last week. He warns him to be careful about getting too gloomy as a 17-year-old, and to not keep singing such serious songs. Lighten up a bit, kiddo, you’ll make the finals and probably make the final two, but he needs to show them his fun side or Simon’ll just slit his throat. Hm, yes, this coming from the dour British man who refuses to wear colors other than black, white, and bitchy. Maybe Fetus and Meh-nard should’ve switched songs.
Seacrest reassures the Fetus that any song that involves intimacy is gloomy for Simon. Zing! Mini-Bono and enlightens us that the song is about people who doesn’t have homes, and he thought hard about it because it brings attention to those who have nothing. Yeah, and this one time, I drove down to Mexico for Habitat for Humanity, was struck by all the poverty, and that one day totally changed my life ’cause I had something to write about for my college application essays.
It’s the both of best worlds! Hannah Mantana’s most embarrassing experience was wearing a mismatched scarf and not accessorizing properly during a walk-off. He was like, tripped, like by a friend, like down giant stairs, and fell down, like right in front of “one of [his] crushes.” Mantana deliberately doesn’t specify the gender of the crush either, but immediately transitions into, “I blushed like a cute little tomato.” Then he ran. Hmm, I think the kid likes boys, but can’t afford to dash the hopes of teenyboppers everywhere who want him bad ’cause he won’t do them. TMTH!
Urban Outfitters puked all over him with a knockoff Members Only jacket, stripey scarf, ball-smothering painted-on jeans. Ooh, and subtle semi-permanent purple streaks. Fierce. Say what you want about his voice, which is either hit or miss depending on what sort of ears you have, but he needs his own show on MTV or something. Or needs to make a guest appearance on Hannah Montana and totally rip on the cast. He’s dramatic, he’s got a ton sassy head and shoulder shakes, and every measure of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” has Noriega stamped all over it. I have to give him credit for marking it and making it work. It starts out a big rough and unsure, but as he gets comfortable, he amps up the energy/sassitude (I feel like this song is dedicated to a crush) and shows up Sanjaya with a strong finish. Now That’s What I Call Entertainment! I wouldn’t call them good vocals, but the kid should stay in the picture. For now.
TMTH, STFU, ROFL WAFFLE LOLLERCOPTER!
Randy loved the arrangement, and likes how he did it at the end with confidence and conviction. He tells Danny that he was a little shy. “Oh God,” snorts Simon. Randy clarifies that he’s talking about being vocally shy. Paula proclaims that he’s got great vocals and has to keep going as her favorite spicy yet sensitive enchilada, and that he’s a bright light! And then everyone starts talking about the purple streaks that are semi-permanent that are oh, coming out proudly. Yeah, sure, we’re talking about hair and shampoo. Riiiiight. Simon deems it absolutely useless. Hates everything, and hates unborn babies and unicorns. Bummer.
Danny brushes dandruff off his members only shoulder, and talks in text-ese. Def TMTH, Idk, my bff jill? Spicy and sensitive, eh? “Kinda like a chicken wing,” retorts Simon. Paula says Simon loves chicken wings, this is a SINGING competition, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.
“The gay washes out in two shampoos.”
David Hernandez confides that he was in a photo shoot with great hair, great clothes. He goes home, gets the proofs two days later…and it turns out he was totally naked and gyrating all over gay guys at Dick’s Cabaret. And had to repeat this every night ’cause he works hard for the money. With a flaky walnut-sized booger in his nose. Hot.
Will America go for it?
Less scandalous than naked sushi.
Hernandez knows he needs to step it up. What better do that with than a power ballad? Meatloaf wanted it, but the first version of this song was by the soft rock band Pandora’s Box, then passed onto Celine Dion. And didya know the writer says it was inspired by Wuthering Heights? There was also a controversial music video involving sex slaves, motorcycles and cockrings. I had no idea. As a child, I thought this song was about a recovering amnesiac.
In short: David Hernandez is a decent, perhaps even good singer, but he is not going to be the next Idol. He’s technically better than Hannah Mantana, and has a bigger, powerful voice, among other things, I am sure. But that doesn’t excuse pitchiness, fix missed and overhit notes, or erase gay ole’ photos from the Internet. The performance doesn’t quite hit the sweet spot, but hey, it’s better than Asia’h last week. The lyrics are quite appropriate for this song in light of his past occupations, huh? “There were things I’d never do again / but they just always seemed right.” Hmm. Is this a public apology in ballad form?!
Motorcycles and cockrings?! It’s all coming back to me now.
Randy deems it decent, a good choice for his voice, but pitchy and sharp. Paula feels like he’s groovin’ into his niche with some of the best vocals of the competition. I guess. Simon says it wasn’t as good as last week, but doesn’t note that the song was intended for a woman. Simon prefers Hernandez tackling soul (agreed), but “100%” will make it through to the next round. I think there’s a chance he’ll be booted just for the sensational news/tabloid gossip, but hey, Vanessa Hudgens is still doing Disney.
The line-up’s been shuffled since David Cook’s having guitar problems. Michael Johns, Ol’ Reliable, is next – what’s his gameplan at this stage? Just to show what kind of artist he’ll be, even if he doesn’t make it in the competition. What kind of record would he make, hmm? One that you already recorded awhile go but never managed to blow up on the charts? His most embarrassing moment involves mascoting at a rugby game while dressed up as a kangaroo, and being lynched by four guys who were incensed that he banged all their girlfriends. In front of 20,000 people.
I’m a sucker for The Breakfast Club, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” [which was thisclose to being recorded by Billy Idol instead of Simple Minds] ought to be a crowdpleaser. Michael Johns is perhaps the most consistent/reliable seasoned performer, which means he can get boring/forgettable at times but he never sucks donkey balls. Unless he actually did it in Australia and it’s about to hit the internet. Clad in a cola-colored leather/pleather jacket, he rips off Chris Martin’s performance style with the hand gestures, the mic handling, and the hopping around on stage. Nothing is surprising, just decently good. Kind of like a McDonald’s hamburger. They’re anorexic-looking compared to In and Out’s double-doubles, but they get the job done, are predictably consistent no matter where you go, and taste pretty good for the price.
The Real Chris Martin – version 2.0
Well, that’s enough to sway America’s votes to put you in the top 6 in the end. I still don’t think you’re gonna be Idol, though, Michael Johns. You’re gonna lose and become the leading man for a relatively successful soul/semi-rock band. Like Daughtry, but softer. Not too shabby, right? Overall, Johns pulled off a song that consists mostly of “Don’t you forget about me don’t don’t don’t don’t you don’t don’t forget don’t don’t you don’t me.”
Chris Martin 0.5
Randy’s running out of commentary, cites Michael Hutchence yet again. Because that’s the only Australian dude Randy knows. Good song choice, yada yada yada…Paula is excited that he’s the type of artist who’s defining himself. Well, I’d certainly hope so because Ol’ Reliable is probably older than the 29 he claims to be and should have his act together by now. How much you wanna bet he still has roommates? Paula says he’s gotta go all the way through and acts like she’s never seen anyone with presence and hopping like that. Someone doesn’t know Coldplay. You are all beautiful and unique snowflakes, cries Paula. Good grief. Simon liked it and loved it, but is still convinced that Michael, like another unnamed counterpart who is not an American citizen by birth, hasn’t connected with the right song yet. He insinuates that he’s a wannabe rock singer who should just sing soul. But he likes the chap all right, because England used to send all its convicts down to Australia. Pip pip, cheerio!
Guitar troubles fixed, David Cook seems to have dyed his hair again and gone fully brunette on us. Well, la-di-freakin’-da. And he’s wearing a giant key around his neck. It looks like a polished up version of the prison cell key on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. David C’s most embarrassing moment was forgetting the second verse of “Sandman” during a talent show. Instead of faking it, he just froze up like a statue and tried to conjure an invisibility spell. Massive fail.
The opening strains of “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie cause my Emotastic Radar goes off. I immediately think of Kermit The Frog singing “Hurt.”
Fuck the Rainbow Connection, it’s not easy being green.
David Cook’s vocals begin kinda weak, as his first note SUCKS. I feel awkward because his vocals are too exposed at the start, too pleading/whiny without more backing instruments, but once the band joins in and adds some layers, the song gains momentum and the fantastic arrangement (which obviously is the band’s doing) freshens everything up. He really lets one loose with the climax and makes the song uniquely new and relevant. Definitely memorable, and there seems to be more artistry in his He also appears to have done some toning exercises to firm up that double chin. Bitchin’.
Cheer up, Emo Kid.
Randy’s impressed that he’s transformed a Lionel Ritchie uber-pop song into emo, and gives the dawg props. Paula concurs was fabulous and that he made perfect choices and will be a great shining star. And that she loves surprises, Free Botox injections, and dancing in the moonlight. For a second, I think that perhaps Simon hates it, but nah, anytime someone takes a risk (that doesn’t involve Kansas songs) and busts out an instrument, they’re golden in the judges’ eyes. He thinks it was a brave move, and that it worked ’cause it was unpredictable and risky. David Cook is so safe. And we get an anecdote about Simon shopping at the supermarket with Lionel Ritchie. Love love love from the Big Three. I’d say David Cook spanked the Fetus this week by making the baby look like the vocal equivalent of George Burns.
By the way, have you seen this? German TV shows are the shiznit : Lionel Ritchie + “Hello” + Sucking helium from a balloon = RIDIC
Time to smoke a doobie, take some chill pills and veg out, because Jason Jar Jar is here. The story of how he went on a date and ripped one of his dreads off is positively scintillating. I’ve eaten Nilla wafers with better storytelling abilities. If Castro is to make it in the industry, he’s gonna need an image consultant especially for interviews, STAT. Oh, but don’t worry, peepz. Despite having early alopecia, Jar Jar totally banged that chick on their second date to the strains of The Velvet Underground.
The stage is dimly lit, with just a single spotlight, so we’re in for a soulful, haunting, heartrending version of something. Jar Jar, sitting on the Stool of Singing Seriousness, takes a risk and decides to tackle “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, best covered by Jeff Buckley. Hm, yeah, I’d say it’s a straight up rip from Buckley, but Jar Jar will get bonus points for not “hiding” behind his guitar this week. I personally think his votes might skyrocket if he drastically changes his hair and cuts off the dreads – Middle America still hates anti-war hippies and anything that reeks of patchouli-scented granola.
Per the judges suggestions, the instrumentals are minimal, limited to a guitar. I wouldn’t have minded a few more layers for something to give it a bit more depth (he’s great here, compared to last week, but he’s no Buckley). He’s a bit breathy on the hallelujahs, and needs to sing from his diaphragm. The kid could tone down the haaaaaaas. I wonder if he’ll ever do some Dylan? Jar Jar struggles a little bit with phrasing on the last notes. However: Everyone is going to bawl over how sweet and vulnerable the performance makes him, and Castro will emerge as the dark horse.
Prepare to be fellated.
Randy thinks it had a great degree of difficulty, and gives a shoutout to Buckley and Cohen. He gives him props for not coming out with the guitar and showing them a different side. Paula thinks he made it sound so effortless, with ease and she’s glad he showed vulnerability. She thinks he’s exactly what she loves – unique and recognizable. The phrasing is his strength. Simon prefaces that one of his favorite songs is the Jeff Buckley version, and then commends Jar Jar for a brilliant performance, one of the best of the entire night and his best personal so far. So far, Jar Jar’s the only one whose critique includes a nod to his improvement and progress. He may be able to give David C/Michael Johns/Fetus a run for their money.
Jar Jar proudly remarks that he’s improving on his interviews, too. “That was the perfect answer! Here’s a gold star for you!” patronizes Seacrest. Gag. Tink’s lapels are flopping around more awkwardly than the guy in your freshman dorm who insisted on walking around in his flimsy, open-flap boxers and making small talk with people while he brushed his teeth.
Chikezie Jacuzzi ChikPatty is the closer. His embarrassing moment reveals that he’s completely retarded and unable to decipher pictograms. Every day in high school, he’d go to the same bathroom and sit in the same stall, marveling at how wonderfully fresh and so clean clean it was. Until the day the restroom was closed and he realized it was a women’s lavatory. Didn’t notice the tampon dispenser and lack of urinals and used condoms? I brace myself for another dated performance. Chikezie’s got a great tone to his voice and has chops, but his standard, traditional style just doesn’t work when other contestants are innovating and reinterpreting these songs. He’s a superior wedding singer type, but I’m not expecting him to bust out the Bob Seger or surprise me.
Predictably, Chikezie chooses “All The Woman I need” by Luther Vandross. How do I describe it? It’s okay, but it’s not that good. He’s par for the course, which won’t be enough to put him over the top with voters. Yawn. He’s still a little too lounge/easy-listening/cabaret/safe, and once again, I am transported to a time and place where I’m deciding between frozen pizzas and frozen taquitos at Ralph’s in the middle of the night and half listening to the piped-in music. Chikezie is just particularly old-fashioned for a 22-year-old, but at least he’s not wearing his Cheeto-Puff colored suit or a shoulder-padded suit. What he really needed was an unexpected, high energy song. Hell, I think he could’ve put a motown twist on Billy Joel’s “For The Longest Time.” I never would’ve become the music aficionado I am now without the help of Alvin and The Chipmunks and their cartoon series, by the way.
Pop Quiz, Chikezie: What is this Japanese sign asking you to do?
Randy and Paula agree that the song’s a toughie, and declare that it’s a good performance. Yeah, if you’re listening to KOST FM for the easy listening tunes at a nursing home. Paula marvels at how beautiful Chikezie’s voice sounds, and just keeps reiterating how boss all the boys are tonight. I guess there’s no hope of a New Kids On The Block group sing. *Tear*
Simon, who’s never really been on Team Chikezie, *surprise* disagrees. That was a Whitney song, right? he asks. Chikezie starts rambling on about how it was done by Whitney and Luther and then Whitney again. “Um, no,” flatly replies Simon. HEH. I think the audience secretly agrees, since their clapping’s been half-hearted throughout this. Even the booing is half-assed.
When asked to sum up the night, Randy delicately says that it* (Meh-nard) started out rough, but then everyone else improved. Ouch. Randy also interjects that Chikezie deserves to stay. I call racialism!
Decision Time 2008: Meh-nard sums up all the unknown, unexciting candidates (Who is Tom Tancredo?) on the Dem and Republican primary tickets this season. Seriously, stick to touring college campuses, Mr. A Capella. You’re cute. You have a cute wifey. You’ll be fine. But it’s time for you to go-go, I can’t think of a more appropriate exit song. He’s as safe as the guy who thinks wrapping his dick in saran wrap will prevent pregnancy. If he doesn’t go, I’m going to deck my tv.
But who will Meh-nard’s running mate and fellow loser be? Will it be Chikezie “Pictogram-challenged” Vandross/Houston? Or could David “Surprise! I’m Santa’s Favorite Stripper” Hernandez take the walk of shame after the scandal hit? I personally have no issue with him, considering the Idol hopefuls/has-beens who have ended up in rehab and stickier situations – like drug muling, baby-stealing, and voting for Nader.
“Hurry down my chimney tonight!”
There’s really not enough stratification this week in the performances to definitively declare two loofahs, err, losers. Whaddya think? Leave your thoughts and also tell me what your favorite ’80s catchphrase/lingo is. I am partial to “McFly” and “trippendicular.”
Fetus: Not perfect, but he’ll be in the final 3, if not 2. The results show may try to make him sweat a bit, just because he’s been shown to be mortal.
Hannah Mantana: Will rock the novelty/fangirl vote.
Ol’ Reliable (Michael Johns): Will continue to be a steady, consistent supplement to our Idol diet – just like Centrum Silver.
David Cook: May start wearing guyliner to prove his rockness.
Jar Jar Castro: Time to bust out a high-energy blockbuster and a mondo performance.
Imitation is the strongest form of flattery. And HAAAATE.
T.VO OUT! See you next week — damn Skippy!