Last week, people wrung their hands over the prospect of the Idols besieging the sacred songbook of The Beatles. Even though it’s gotten a little less sacred since Michael Jackson bought the catalogue. Anyway, the top 12 did okay with it. Tonight, though, the ghosts of John Lennon and to a lesser degree, George Harrison (George being more of a zen type) have been awakened and man, are they pissed. They don’t exactly send down lightning bolts or anything, but at least nine out of the remaining eleven Idols probably wish the earth had opened up and swallowed them. And maybe taken Simon Cowell along for the ride as well.
She’s so heavy
Seeing as how we already went through a video journey of the Beatles’ godlike status in the history of music last week (geez, even Randy’s yawning already) let’s just head right into the music, shall we? So moving right along – about as quickly as Heather Mills fires divorce attorneys – let us lend our ears to Amanda Overmyer, who is dead impressed at the opportunity to sing on a real stage, instead of a flatbed truck. Amanda finds it much easier to connect with an audience when you sing on a stage, but I think part of it may be due to the fact that the Idol audience is more receptive than, say, a group of drunk bikers at their annual pig roast. This week Amanda is going with “Back In The USSR” and though her hair still reminds me of that poor cat who keeps trying to get away from Pepe LePew, she doesn’t do too bad of a job with it. The song, not the hair. Though she indulges herself in some standard-issue arena-rock foolishness at the end (shouting out each letter of “USSR”, but at least refraining from playing air-guitar) it’s fairly OK. Randy thinks it’s a tad pitchy, and gives her a 7 out of 10. Paula calls the beginning a “bit sketchy”, as Amanda was ahead of the beat, but still thinks she’s wonderful and unique. Simon, apparently tiring of Amanda and her grrrrl power, complains that it was predictable and that she’s in danger of becoming boring. Amanda defiantly says that she thinks ballads are boring and claims she’s attempting to give her newly-found audience a preview of what they could expect if they attend one of her concerts. Presumably, she’s leaving the flatbeds behind her forever. Simon smirks that tickets aren’t on sale for any of Amanda’s shows yet, but Amanda says she’ll be happy just to play a bar in Lafayette. Aim high, Amanda, aim high.
What would you do if I sang out of tune?
Kristy Lee Cook, sentimental gal that she is, looks through an album of her family photos every night. Ryan coos over pictures of her dog and her horses, and it makes us all kindly disposed towards sweet Kristy Lee and her version of “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”. Until she starts singing. She’s so darn cute, with her shiny blonde hair and cowboy boots, but she’s out of tune and frankly, I just don’t want to listen to her sing any more. Ever. Randy calls the arrangement “interesting”, as in “how interesting that Rickey Minor did such a sucked-out job of arranging this song for you!” then calls it boring and safe. Paula smiles vacantly and praises Kristy’s cuteness, but Simon moans that it wasn’t good save for the last two seconds, and calls Kristy “musical wallpaper”. The kind of wallpaper with the horseshoes and chuckwagons on it, I suppose. I think my brother had wallpaper like that in his room when he was about seven. Kristy pipes up to tell Simon that she can “blow him out of his socks” and Ryan pretends to think it’s funny but you know he’s really seething inside, because he likes to think he’s the only one that can blow Simon out of his socks.
The long and winding road to the Final Two
Oh, David Archuleta, you and your self-conscious little giggle that we can barely hear now over the sounds of all the little tween girls squealing in the audience. We all know you’re going to smash “The Long and Winding Road” out of the park. We knew you wouldn’t make it bad. That you’d take a sad song and make it better. Better, better, better, better, better, better! Randy declares that David has brought the hotness back to the game, but thinks he should take liberties on joints like that. Speaking of joints, Paula is busy picturing herself in a boat on the river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Meanwhile, Simon gets busy re-anointing David as The Chosen One, going so far as to declare his performance as a “master class”. Then, feeling left out of his fellow judges’ euphoric mood, eats a marshmallow pie.
The news is rather sad
Michael Johns fondly remembers his breakout performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” during Hollywood week. We remember it too, Michael, and we’re anxiously awaiting you to follow it up with something even half as good. Michael is going with “A Day In The Life”, a rather odd song choice and one that really doesn’t showcase the vocal. So let’s just focus on the positives. Michael is simply splendid in his John Corbett-like handsomeness this evening, and I highly recommend that one spends the minute and a half gazing at his artfully tousled hair and manly forearms. Because if you actually listen to the song, you have to notice that it’s very messily arranged, and that Michael really doesn’t sound very good at all. Randy looks confused and says something about Michael not finding the right “vehicle” for his voice. Paula claims that he sounded phenomenal in dress rehearsal, and then witters on a bit about ear monitors and how difficult it is to sing when using them. Simon despairs at Michael’s song choice, calls the arrangement “all over the place” and says it’s just not good enough. Ryan, who’s probably jealous that Michael’s hair looks better than his tonight, points out gleefully that Michael is not wearing the dreaded ear monitors that Paula mentioned to try to excuse Michael’s sub-par performance. Michael looks sheepish, Paula verbally flails about, and Ryan’s good humor is restored.
We all live in a yellow submarine
Brooke White is the sweetest person alive, according to Ryan Seacrest. Back off, Ryan, Brooke’s hubby is in the audience, and by gosh, those two must be the cutest little young married couple in the world. Brooke is still feeling overwhelmed by her performance of “Let It Be” last week, and has decided to try to follow up her success with “Here Comes The Sun”. I’m determined to enjoy this no matter what, seeing as how I quite like Brooke and “Here Comes The Sun” was the very first rock ‘n’ roll song I ever heard. Brooke is appropriately adorable in a yellow ruffled dress and really, she doesn’t sing it that badly. As for her dancing, it’s a good thing she’s so proficient on the guitar and piano. We’ll leave it at that. Randy calls it “not hot” and “awkward”, and Brooke good-naturedly admits that she’s a pretty darn awkward-moving person. Paula can’t help but smile, because the octopus’ garden in the shade is a fun place to be. Simon is less mellow, complaining the performance was terrible and the dancing was horrid, and refers to it all as “wet”. Perhaps he is under the sea with Paula after all. Brooke takes the critique in stride, and weakly jokes that she wanted to do “Let It Be” again but was turned down by the producers.
David Cook is also still riding high from the praise of his “Eleanor Rigby” last week, and plans to follow it up with the Whitesnake version of “Day Tripper”. Vocally, it sounds more like the Cheap Trick version, and the unnecessary use of the voice box reminds me of Frampton Comes Alive. ‘70’s week is long over, David. Still, even though it isn’t as awesome as last week’s “Rigby”, it’s energetic and rather fun. Even an angst-ridden dude like David can’t make “Day Tripper” not fun. Randy thinks it was a solid David Cook concert, or something like that. Paula thinks he’s ready to do a Geico commercial. I’m not even going to pretend to know what the hell she means by that. Simon opts to take David down a peg or two, telling him that it wasn’t as good as (David) thought it was, and calls him smug and predictable. But if David C. wasn’t smug, how would we tell him apart from the other David?
Simon pours oil on the sparrow
In the course of his quest to destroy what’s left of Paula’s substance-ridden mind, Simon whispers to her during commercial breaks about the legend of the blackbird, how it started as a sparrow and someone poured oil on it. It’s stories like this that make me like Simon just a little better each season. Someone else I like a little better as time goes on is Carly Smithson, yet another Idol who’s inordinately pleased with her own performance last week. So for reasons known only to Carly, she’s chosen to ruin her good memories by picking the depressing “Blackbird” this week and donning a truly horrid rosette-trimmed red blouse. I hate the song, I hate her clothes, but I just can’t hate Carly. Yet. Randy thinks it was another great performance, and creates a new phrase, “cooliosis factor”. Hey, and whaddaya know? It looks even stupider typed out than it sounded coming from Randy’s mouth. Paula says she’s “capital F for Fantastic!”, but Simon doesn’t like the song choice and calls it “indulgent”. Carly launches into a long defense of why she chose the song, which I stop listening to halfway through. Apparently, though, it has the desirable effect of making Simon feel guilty for breaking all the poor little Idol birds. Really, I’m having a hard time following things tonight. Perhaps I should just go lay down with Paula in the strawberry fields.
Jason Castro, who has to be one of those yellow submarine dwellers (why else the dreads?) really liked his performance of “Hallelujah” a few weeks back. This week, he’s chosen to chuckle his way through the French lyrics of “Michelle”, and he’s like a goofy Valentine’s Day singing telegram. Randy is disgruntled, complaining that he didn’t “connect” to the song, while Paula titters over Jason’s charm but also gripes over his awkwardness. Simon admits that Beatles Week v.2 was perhaps an ill-advised notion, but was sold on Jason’s charm and the fact that he’s not obnoxious. Lord knows there’s obnoxious a-plenty floating around the Idol stage anyway, and that’s just from Simon and Ryan.
All her troubles now so far away
Perhaps inspired by her troubles during Hollywood week, when she lost her voice, Syesha Mercado pauses to consider that less may indeed be more when making her song choice this evening. She dials the Screamesha way down this evening, and her “Yesterday” has only an acoustic guitar accompaniment with just a couple of window-shattering notes. Randy calls her very very very good, and Paula likes that she connected with the audience tonight. I’m thinking that I need to make a shortcut key for the word “connect” this season. Simon, having run out of witty British slang to insult the contestants, lauds it as Syesha’s best performance thus far, but throws a bit of cold water over the lovefest by saying that Brooke should have sung it.
So, Simon, you think this week was weird? I’ll give you weird. I’ll give you Chikezie, and it’s not just the name that’s weird. Chikezie manages to take “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, start it off as a soothing ballad, then pull out a harmonica which he clearly cannot play, and turns the whole thing into a Saturday night square dance at the Clampetts’ barn. The whole thing is so ludicrous, I can only thank FOX for not showing Austin Clark’s face and sparing him from the embarrassment of publicly participating in this idiocy. Randy looks befuddled once again and in the understatement of the year, calls it “strange”, but poor Paula’s senses have been inalterably scrambled as a result of the performance and she can’t spit out even her usual nonsensical drivel. Simon thinks it started out OK but then the harmonica came out and it turned into “Achy Breaky Heart”. Paula notes that “Achy Breaky Heart” sold a lot of records, but really, Paula, we all know it was Billy Ray’s mullet that sold that song.
Lullaby and good night
In the absence of the irrepressible Danny Noriega, Ramiele Malubay has made a new BFF, in the form of David Cook. They exchange hats, then David gives Ramiele pointers on her singing, and Ramiele helps him streak his hair. What, am I the only one who’s noticed their hair is eerily similar? I’m still contemplating their matching do’s, all the way through Ramiele’s “I Should Have Known Better”. Because it was just that boring. Randy isn’t jumping up and down over it. Paula’s fallen asleep. Simon suppresses a yawn and calls it amateurish, mediocre…zzzzz.
*jerks head up* Whoops! Are we done yet? Sorry, didn’t mean to nod off there. Two hours is a long time, you know? Wrapping up the American Idol Magical Mystery Tour tomorrow is our own Lucy in the sky, MotherSister, who will lead you in a rousing chorus of “Ob-la-di, ob-la-da” and maybe even let you know who goes home to their glass onion.
Are you the Walrus or the Eggman? PM me.