Ready to save the world? Oh sorry, that was last week. This week Idol is back to its regularly scheduled program -- all nonsense, all the time. Don’t believe me? How about when I tell you that this week our hopefuls are tackling Bon Jovi? That’s right. The cheesefest is back, and I for one have my fork ready. Let’s just dispense with the pleasantries and dig in.
Ryan reminds us about that crap of a non-elimination last week, and I’m still a bit peeved myself, but at least no one’s shoving my own privilege in my face. Gina Glocksen’s in the audience, presumably because it’s rock night, and no one rocks harder than she, except for almost everybody who’s ever tried to rock. According to Ryan, last week this show helped raise almost 70 million dollars. That’s a lot of money. Just imagine how many commercials during Idol that would buy. I think 7. Now we’re moving on to the music of Bon Jovi, and Jon himself is here because they had to have somebody. No, I'm just kidding he's great. It's got to cost something to realize that you and your music are now ancient enough to be an American Idol theme, and Jon Bon's handling that quite nicely. Smiling a lot, even. Cue footage of Jon and the band straight up rocking arenas twenty years ago when it was apparently okay to have hair bigger than your own face and taller than your own babies.
Jon and David Bryan meet the kids and Jon is wearing a t-shirt that says “Philly Soul” which I find both pretentious and endearing. Blake and Phil are especially eager to see him; Jon takes a cue from the Paula School of Musical Education and advises them all to make his songs their own. I’m surprised he’s up for that. And I wonder if he means royalties too. Because I could totally work out a mean “Bed Of Roses,” accompanied by a clarinet if that’s the case.
Practice Really Does Makes Perfect … Eventually
Phil shall delight us first, and he’s doing “Blaze Of Glory,” which surprised me back last week when I figured he’d do exactly this song. Bon Jovi is entirely impressed with Phil’s rendition, and he does sound very good on the song; Phil confesses to having been practicing it for 15 years, even as a young kid in his mirror with a comb. Yeah, he actually had a comb. I know; I’m confused too. Phil is also very visibly awestruck at seeing Jon in the flesh, which would be totally cute if Phil were at all cute, but you get what I mean.
Phil starts out in the audience because that seems to work for him, and he runs around doing the gestures and the poses that go with this song -- knee-bending, pointing downward, and so on, sounding very convincing and still very good, even if he does twang his phrases a bit too hard in the beginning. There’s a gal in the audience with a sign that says “Stacey Stays,” and I choose to read that with a postscript of “…Or Else” in a Marlon Brando as The Godfather accent because that makes me laugh and I have to have something to keep me going, after all. Oh yeah, and Phil is great and his voice soars on the ending glory notes. Randy compares him to Steve Perry and says that this was his best performance ever, Paula assures Phil that this is the best year of his life, oddly making it seem as if this will be ending for him soon. She better not run into the girl with the sign. Simon calls his performance phony and Phil’s face falls a bit. Aww. Never let them see your lip quiver, honey. That’s not rock. Oh, and neither is begging for votes, just for future reference.
Live A Little While Longer
Ryan makes Gina feel important in the audience for a second, and she throws up her devil horns right. on. cue, I kid you not. Then Ryan plugs the summer tour, and we get back to the show at hand. Jordin’s round here making everybody feel old saying her mother used to listen to Bon Jovi all the time. A long time ago. I question the suitability of a pretty fortunate seventeen year old girl singing “Living On A Prayer,” because … dude, what would she know about it? Does she even know where the docks are? Jon seems to not want to say that at all, so he instead compliments her great voice and suggests some tweaking that Jordin can do to the melody to make the pain and struggle easier to sing about. I’m not sure that’s gonna get it.
Also not helping matters is Jordin’s ridiculously ridiculous hair -- they stylists have gone and teased the mess out of some curly hair and then dyed a few streaks clown red, and stuck it on the poor girl’s head. I don’t want to dwell on this, you see, but it’s distracting. And if it distracts me from remembering to say how … not really that great … Jordin’s performance is tonight, then hey. I’m going to talk about the hair. And how cool all those flashing lights and stuff look. Randy chooses to talk about Jordin having trouble with the lower notes in the verses, but says her oice was great on the chorus. Paula pats her on the back for trying, because she’s a sweetheart. Simon asks for boos in advance so he can give his crit uninterrupted. Nice move. The audience obliges, and Simon goes on to say that Jordin sucked in thirteen different ways. Evs, man. She wasn’t all that bad. Jordin seems to accept all this gracefully, and acknowledges that it was a rough week for her. She also tries the Pickler defense of admitting that she messed up a bit. We’ll see if it works as well for folks who actually have talent.
Love, American Idol Style
LaKisha’s on now! I have to say I was eager for her to show and prove this week. I would like her to make it to the top 4, and she needs an impressive and attention-grabbing offering to do that. But color me not shocked at all that she chooses a power ballad instead of the “Lay Your Hands On Me” that was whispering her name and leaving love notes on her pillow. Oh, LaKiki. She is a little feistier than usual though, in her black pants outfit with the unignorable red ribbon around the middle. Also she makes me laugh when she says she saw Jon on Oprah. That O. She really is a world power unto herself. LaKisha’s singing “This Ain’t A Love Song,” and Jon urges her to really feel the lyrics and color them with her own emotions, and he also bets money that she won’t be going home after singing this song. I think that means he’s voting.
LaKisha stands at the mic and lets the song rip, and she just sounds good, you know? I really love her voice. And pffft, Bon Jovi, whatever you may say, this totally is a love song, one that gets LaKisha to put some big fire and passion into it, even going into a full on “my stomach hurts from so much loving” crouch. I fully approve. The judges love her. Randy and Paula praise her singing as it is worthy to be praised, and Simon says he could kiss her after that performance. Instead of laughing it off as I expected her to do while watching from behind my crossed fingers, LaKisha comes down off the stage and Simoin rises to meet her like this is World War II or something. And then they kiss each other. Well, really I guess Simon rather took it. Yeah, um, ew. He goes on to rub his lips for the next few moments while he’s telling her she nailed it, and then says, “Nice lips.” Inappropriate! Although I bet Gina’s in the audience sulking with jealousy.
The Return Of The B-B-B-B-Blakebox
So. Black is obviously this week’s white -- everyone’s dressed in Black; Blake’s hair is black, even the Coca Cola cups are black tonight, y’all. They’re not angels saving the world anymore; they’re the devil’s own spawn, here to show us that Rock Night on Idol is serious business. Blake’s doing his part in this with “You Give Love A Bad Name,” which Jon says is beloved by many people, forever and ever, Amen, and he doesn’t know how flipping it Blake style is going to go over. I on the other hand do know, because I’ve been watching this thing happen all season. Jon questions the wisdom of Blake spending several measure of the song not singing when this is supposed to be (say it with me, if you please) *a singing competition* but he just doesn’t know our Blake, does he? Our Blake who even opens his performance with a silly mime of putting a record on a turntable, because he’s gonna scratch it up! in case you didn’t catch that.
He sings, and you know what, his voice is stronger than usual; I think he’s feeding off the energy from the drummer that’s center stage with him, who really is tearing his end of things up. Blake beatboxes a large chunk of the verse, and does a lot of cool pointy poses to boot, which are always welcome. It’s all actually pretty good. Unless you disagree with me, of course, in which case it was the grossest thing you wish you never saw. Some scantily clad women in the audience think it was a slice of heaven though, and Randy agrees with them lauding Blake’s originality. Paula congratulates him for risky and adventurous and out there, and then Simon says that it was a great choice on Blake’s part, and that people will like it or hate it. Stop copying my paper Simon! Oh, wait. Never mind.
Chris Richardson gets to sit in the interview chair and show off his language skills. He says something about having fun six or seven times, and then Ryan grows bored or hungry and segues into Crich’s clip package for the week. Crich talks about choosing “Wanted Dead Or Alive” after a different, similarly egg-headed Chris performed the song to rave reviews just last season, and he seems proud of himself for doing that. Jon Bon would probably be pleased if Crich knew the words to the song in rehearsal. He doesn’t. Jon helps him through and then recommends knowing the lyrics so he can maneuver around with them and “sell them to America.”
Chris must’ve taken this last sentiment seriously, because the spotlight finds him writhing around and grimacing like his pockets are full of snake oil at a low, low price. He’s pretty whiny with the singing, but what’s new there? The head is less bobbly though. And although I can’t say that Crich has succeeded in rocking my particular face, I only fast-forwarded through about 30 seconds of this, which a vast improvement. He’s the first one tonight whose throat I can hear and feel hurting though. Randy likes it; Paula says he’s added to a great night. Simon recognizes that this is not Crich’s style and says he did as much as he could do, but adds that he doesn’t think it was enough for Chris to survive another week. I don’t want to say anything about that because I don’t want Chris fans to be mad at me when he goes home.
Melinda’s bringing down the house tonight! Yeeeeah, boyeee! I know it’s not strictly fair that she’s closed the show more than once now, but I also don’t care. Melinda meets Jon Bon and flat out admits that she’s not much with knowing about the rock. Jon convinces her that the soul and the church fervor is exactly what she needs to get the feeling right. Melinda comes out of rock school with newfound knowledge of horns and the proper way to flash them, but does she now have the attitude?
Did you actually ponder my rhetorical question? No need, because of course Melinda brings the right snappy, snippy attitude to “Have A Nice Day.” Of course she does. She also brings that voice, refusing to go flat like so many others when she raises the volume and the intensity of the vocals. She rocks so much, y’all. I even squee a little bit when she rocks out with the guitarist on stage, and then cuts it all off with a well placed sneer. Squee! Randy likens her to Tina Turner, Paula says she sang her butt off, and calls her a rock star. Simon seconds Randy and says that vocally she is another league. I’m gonna have to agree. I know, I know, pimping and whatever, but come on. She is doing a rip-roaring job of her own on this show. Also, she is very cute when she tentatively throws up the horns again in response to the judges’ praise.
This was a fitting end to Bon Jovi night indeed. Although it wasn’t as cheesy as I’d hoped it would be. I guess I’ll have to wait for Village People Night. (They will have one, won’t they? Someday?) Yeah, pretty much everyone rocked out in a respectable way tonight, so no matter who ends up on the short end of the stick, Wednesday’s singouts should be awesome. Except Chris R‘s. Stay tuned, because the brilliant AJane is bringing you your results!
President? What President? Why, I don’t know to what you are referring.