The ‘80’s! My favorite decade, my salad days. The hairspray! The blue eyeliner! The skin-tight high-waisted pants! Randy Jackson & Paula Abdul remember the decade fondly as well, seeing as it’s the last time either of them did anything relevant, and tonight they’re making sure we remember every moment of their fleeting fame. So many names are dropped, it’s a miracle Paula isn’t drunkenly tripping all over them. Speaking of our resident ‘80’s dance music diva, Paula ventures to complain that the girls aren’t gussied up to represent the decade – I guess she was expecting some serious backcombed bangs, like the ones Carrie Underwood terrified us with in season 4. Oh, but Danny Noriega (seated in the dawg pound with the boys) is in the spirit of things, as he’s sporting my mom’s old eyeglasses from 1982. And, come to think of it, my mom’s old hairstyle.
Oh mother dear, we’re not the fortunate ones
Simon starts off the festivities by warning the girls that no one is safe. It occurs to me that Simon is like the angel Gabriel in The Prophecy, ripping out souls and stuff. He’s nowhere near as cool as Christopher Walken, though…but then again, who is? Speaking of not cool, the first of our top 8 girls, Asia’h Epperson, admits her most embarrassing moment came as a result of her being an extra in a roller-skating movie. Roller skating? How old is this girl? The last roller-skating movie I saw was Roller Boogie in 1979, and she wasn’t even born then. Asia’h, a girl I started off liking, earns my everlasting enmity by choosing a Whitney Houston song for ‘80’s night, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. She does an okay job, I suppose, but it’s hard to tell when it’s a Whitney song. Under any other circumstances I would have fast-forwarded through it. Randy reminds us all that he was once BFFs with Ms. Houston, and though he feels the song is a “tall order”, he deems Asia’h’s performance as hawt. Paula grins loopily and says some stuff that includes the phrase “nailed it”. Simon sniffs that it’s “second-rate Whitney”, which Asia’h takes as a compliment, but he admits it’s good enough to send her to the top 12.
Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep
Kady Malloy ruined Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” once. Anyone surprised? Anyone? Apparently she tripped over the mic cord after performing it in the ninth grade. Kady thinks that it’ll be less embarrassing to don the torn-up top of her grandma’s nightgown and perform Queen’s “Who Wants To Live Forever” on American Idol. Maybe it’s not the ear-shattering monstrosity that her Heart cover was last week, but it’s still not great. Really, it’s just another performance I was itching to fast-forward through. Randy thinks it’s an “interesting” choice, and though the inflection on “interesting” sounds like he means “stupid as hell”, he gives Kady a half-hearted rating of “pretty good”. Paula mumbles some more incomprehensible crap and I get “best to date” out of that. Simon admits it was better than last week but continues to bemoan Kady’s complete lack of personality, going so far as to call her a Stepford Wife. Well, if nothing else, maybe Kady could be a contender for Tom Cruise’s fourth spouse. Then we could take those “Run, Katie, Run!” t-shirts and just turn the “tie” into a “dy” to resell them. Kady does nothing to disprove Simon as she shrugs and grins helplessly at Ryan, and allows Simon & Ryan to display their own, um, strong personalities by having a little go at each other before her number’s announced.
No one can save me, the damage is done
In my opinion, Amanda Overmyer’s most embarrassing moment should have been her performance AND appearance last week, but no, she thinks it’s when she set a backyard deck on fire. Let’s see - helmetless motorcycle riding, DUIs, auto collisions, arson…I vote Amanda as American Idol Contestant Most Likely To Have The Next Mugshot On The Smoking Gun. Sadly, there’s no crime against doing bad cover versions, so we can’t formally charge Amanda for her performance of Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself For Loving You”. The good news is that Amanda has combed her hair, and Steven Tyler was nice enough to loan her some of his dangly sparkly scarves. Oh, okay, it’s not as excruciatingly bad as last week, but all it really does is prove once again that Amanda is a two-note growler. Paula is moved to give her a standing ovation, but I bet it’s just that Simon goosed her to wake her up. The judges are back on Amanda’s rawker train – Randy lauds her song choice, Paula likes her hair, and Simon thinks it’s fantastic and says it’s his favorite girl performance. I fail to understand Simon’s love for this girl, really I do, unless he wants her in the top 12 to make Carly look better.
I believe in Kingdom Come…but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
Speaking of Simon’s Irish one, Carly Smithson’s embarrassing moment has something to do with one of her legs, her friend, and some vaseline. TMTH, as Danny Noriega would say. Carly has happily chosen a Cyndi Lauper song, but for some peculiar reason of her own the one she’s chosen is “I Drove All Night”. Was “Time After Time” not available? Does Paula offer around her Coke glass at song-choosing time? Though it’s not the greatest song choice, after Amanda, Carly sounds like a chorus of angels. Randy enthuses that she’s “smashing it” every week – a good thing, apparently, as he follows it up with “great performance”. Paula drools a bit and calls her a “dependable dawg”, but Simon whines that Carly still hasn’t chosen the perfect song for her. The crowd boos, and Simon asserts that Carly’s song choices fail to give her what she deserves – besides, Carly could sing the phone book. Carly’s mom has traveled all the way from Ireland to watch the performance, and I’d just like to take a moment to reassure her that this is what Simon sounds like when he likes somebody.
Straight up now tell me – or am I caught in a hit and run?
Kristy Lee Cook’s embarrassing moment isn’t so much of a “moment” as it is a cry for help from a disturbed child – Kristy, it turns out, spent a portion of her childhood thinking she was a dog, going so far as to drink out of her own dog bowl and allowing pet rats to ride on her back. First of all, “pet” and “rats” should never appear in the same sentence. Second, I can now see why her parents aren’t in the audience, as they’ve probably been forbidden to leave their home state. Kristy Lee’s going with Journey’s “Faithfully”, and though I initially think it’s yet another horrid song choice, she puts a country spin on the arrangement and it’s not bad at all. Randy, Journey alumnus and former spandex-wearer, thinks it’s cool, while Paula says “mumblemumblepassthevodka” and thinks it could be a country hit. Simon, while pleased that Kristy Lee has found her country roots, says that she’s “forgettable” and predicts a tenth-place finish for her. Kristy figures 10th will earn her enough to buy her horse back, and accepts Simon’s critique with pleasure.
Take these broken wings, and learn to fly again
How could a boy possibly spurn the adorably cute Ramiele Malubay? Some kid in the 5th grade – and his mother – laughed at poor Ramiele’s attempts to garner his affections. Who’s laughing now, chump? Is your mama sitting with you on the couch watching her on TV? Whoa, sorry about that. Something about wee Ramiele turns me into an overprotective mother-type. Not that it’s a big stretch for me or anything. Anyway, back to Ramiele and Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds”. Well, we knew someone was going to do it, it’s as inevitable as the Whitney. Ramiele brings back her big vocal style, and again, it’s an okay-type performance. Randy opines that it was pretty good, but urges Ramiele to regain her confidence and not to overthink when she’s singing. Paula avoids mentioning colors, and goes with textures instead. I get up to take some Tylenol, and arrive back in time for Simon to pull out his critique du season, “too old-fashioned”. He also thinks it’s predictable, but dude, you’re one of the AI main players, get these kids some new material then already. After six years, we’re tired of it too.
But you made me feel/Yeah you made me feel/Shiny and new
Brooke White hugged a strange man when she was 12 years old. Damn, that vaguely yucky feeling I got from Kristy Lee’s story was just starting to go away, and now it’s back a little stronger. I’m not convinced that an unplugged version of “Love Is A Battlefield” will make things better, but Brooke actually pulls it off. She’s not playing guitar this week, but instead sits on stage and gives a very nice vocal that thankfully doesn’t even come close to pretending to sound like Pat Benetar. Not to mention it’s a welcome break from all the diva-ish caterwauling. Randy really likes it, and mentions that Paula was involved in choreographing the video for the original song, back in the days when she could stand upright without assistance. Paula contributes by saying it was very, very here. Making me wish that I wasn’t. Here, that is. She doesn’t like that Brooke did it without the band, though, but Simon disagrees, saying it worked for precisely that reason. He thinks it’s great, and Brooke beams a little bit of sunshine upon us all.
Shout, shout, let it all out
Those good feelings can sure dry up fast on American Idol. Quick quiz: What’s worse than someone covering Whitney Houston on AI? Answer: TWO people covering Whitney Houston on AI. On the same night. Thanks, Syesha Mercado, and I’m just sorry that the nasty little boy in grade 2 who ratted you out for passing love notes didn’t stick that strawberry gum in your hair. So, in keeping with the blessedly brief critiques snapped out by the panel after Syesha’s performance of “Saving All My Love For You”:
Song choice=punishable by death
Outfit=suitable for the golf course
Paula=sophisticated and lovely
Simon=predictable but good
Too bad it’s not always like that, but then Ryan would have to banter with himself. Simon is cruel to be kind, in the right measure, and says that the girls were nowhere near as good as the guys. Considering the bar wasn’t set that high by the guys, that’s gotta hurt. Tomorrow, Blake Lewis is performing, and if that stops you from watching the results show (and really, we couldn’t blame you if it did), the deliciously diva-esque Yardgnome will bring you the goods right here. But leave those high-waisted pants in the back of the closet… they’re so binding.
When did Motley Crue become classic rock? PM me.