After the OMG shocking
secondthird elimination of Matt Giraud from the show, you might be thinking that nothing else this show can possibly do could ever surprise you again. Lucky for you, American Idol specializes in doing different stuff all the time, so while you may not be surprised, you certainly won’t be bored. Okay, it’s possible some of you may be bored, but you’ll be bored watching something different than usual! Namely, contestant duets.
Ryan descends, and says they are coming to us “very live,” which is different from regular old live, in that Paula’s mind, body, and goddess spirit will all be here and will be on at the same time. Also, “very live” means that Kara may not have meant to wear a BumpIt in her ponytail, but no one had time to stop her because of the liveness of the show.
The Idol set is falling apart, unfortunately not before our very eyes, but recently enough that Ryan is a bit shaken at having to point out one of the stage towers which has crumbled. The stage was such a mess earlier that they had to shut down the dress rehearsal and so our poor dear contestants didn’t get a full run-through. Keep that in mind; it’ll make you feel better later.
The Uneven Bars
The contestants drift timidly into center stage; Everybody but Danny is in a leather something or another – Kris and Adam in jackets, Allison in pants. Danny is in a plain red Oxford and jeans, because “rock” Danny is no different than any other Danny you’ve ever seen.
Certified Rock God Slash is serving as mentor this week; all I really know about him is that I’ve never seen his face. My mama is a big Guns N Roses fan though. You can ask her if you want to know more. Our Top 4 meets Slash at the Roxy and immediately put on awed faces as he works a guitar. Slash offers the insight that rock and roll is “a way of life.” He makes them each perform their songs with his band at the club instead of in the L7 piano room like always just to prove that point.
Adam is up first because people can’t hardly contain their excitement to see what he’s going to do. He’s singing a Led Zeppelin song, “Whole Lotta Love,” and Slash is mightily impressed with his effortless vocal range, but warns him away from doing all the directionless shrieking he sometimes does. Adam pledges to take this advice because he agrees that Slash is a Certified Rock God.
He’s on the Idol stage with about 45% more pancake and eyeliner, same amount of leather and chrome, and maybe 10% less shrieking. He rocks the song and the audience and pays his tribute of standing still while the guitarist wails, and then when he’s done the camera zooms in on approximately a million 14 year old girls whose parents are baffled at their sudden disdain for Hannah Montana, and their even more sudden affinity for boys in tight pants and dirty t-shirts. And eyeliner. Sorry, parents. It’s the circle of life.
Randy says “Yo, yo, yo, you’re a rock star.” Kara says, “No way, you’re a ROCK GOD.” Paula says he’s better than Zeppelin, and Simon sarcastically says it was a little understated before breaking out into a smile and saying no one could possibly top that performance. Adam says thank you and leaves $20 on the nightstand.
Now Here’s Proof That She’s a Teenager
Ryan and Allison sit in the chat stools and pay lip service to the crumbling 2-ton set decoration perched precariously above their heads before chatting about how Allison went to Adam’s hair stylist this week. Allison is using all that hair to do Janis Joplin. Lately I can’t think of Janis without thinking of those vampires at Woodstocks. Sorry, Janis.
In her mentor time, Slash tries to boost her confidence by telling her she’s got an edge on “Cry Baby” because of her awesome voice and natural rock and roll mannerisms. According to Slash, Allison will be perfect if she’s less scared out of her mind. I think her performance sounds fantastic – wherever you are, Amanda Overmyer, you should be taking notes – and I think this is the clearest her enunciation has been so far, and I enjoyed her playing with the dynamics, crescendoing a little before the chorus kicked in instead of waiting for it. I loved it. Randy and Kara say “Meh.” They are jerkfaces. Paula and Simon think she ruled, although Simon thinks she tried too hard to be like Janis. Paula also thinks Allison could star in a Janis Joplin biopic. I’m sorry Paula, but that role is taken.
After the judgishness happens things get a little uncomfortable, a little attitudinal. Simon tells Allison she would’ve been better off doing “the Queen song,” and she corrects him like a smart-mouthed daughter would with the news that it was actually Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” that she considered, but she didn’t do that one because she didn’t want to play it safe. And there may or may not have been a neck roll in there as she informed The Jerkfaces that she didn’t choose “Piece of My Heart” because it’s been done so many times before. Simon disdainfully says something about Allison begging, and there is definitely a neck roll here as she answers that he’s always asking her to show her personality and so here it is. Fair enough, but that part of it I would’ve kept under wraps until after I ruled the world.
Check Your Behind for Tire Marks
Meanwhile, duets. Kris and Gokey are together of course, and they get a Styx song, of course. “Renegade.” Their voices actually blend fantastically; Danny’s mellow tone plays nicely with Kris’s brighter timbre. They don’t act out the duet part very well though. Kris sometimes glances at Danny when they trade lines, but there’s no interaction or interplay – you can almost hear them each just waiting for their turn to sing. Kris gets in some prime mic stand work though; I see a lift and a swing from him. Randy calls out the lovely harmonizing they did, Kara (the pop writer in the leather studded jacket, I have to add) laughs at them for singing “Renegade” because they’re such good boys. Paula thought it was powerful and compelling, and Simon decides to just say that Danny was better than Kris, for no reason. Except for his meaning to see Danny through to the end no matter what.
Glee, some more! Although it doesn’t really start until August, so please don’t forget about it during all those summer barbecues and pool parties.
Back in the chatty area, we remember that Kris has to go and perform right after being told that Danny Gokey is better than him. That would certainly crush my little ego, but Kris is smiling anyway, even though he has chosen to sing “Come Together” which seems way out of his arena. Hey, remember when Carly owned this last season?
In Mentor Time, Slash asks Kris if he’s up to playing the guitar. Kris is game, although being plugged in to the amplifier makes him nervous. He warms up when Slash joins him, and he interviews with a straight face that he “almost wanted to pee [his] pants” in his excitement. I guess he just didn’t want it enough. Slash counsels Kris to be a little less stiff and more animated when actually out on stage, but Kris mainly sticks to the default strumming pose. I really like his version of this song; he throws some back-phrasing and some really interesting melodic variations in there when you wouldn’t expect them, but they sound great, and his voice sounds great as well. Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this but the band is rocking tonight.
Everyone agrees and will make sure that you know that Kris is not a rock and roll kind of a guy. Randy calls him a hybrid, which is actually kind of clever? And then he congratulates Kris for putting his own spin on things, including working his folksier guitar style in alongside the rock accompaniment. Kara says he is the softer side of rock, but he tried too hard. Paula congratulates him for dropping his artistic signature all over something as iconic as a Beatles song, and pats him on the back with the reassurance that he deserves to be there. Simon says something about eating ice for lunch (meaning it was unsatisfying?), and thinks that Kris’s performance was too jam session for his taste. Hmm, let me see. I … agree with … Paula. Kris was awesome. Jam sessions are awesome. Nothing anyone says will change my mind.
Singing Brings the Laughter, Singing Brings the Tears
Here now to no doubt satisfy you like a real lunch is one Danny Gokey. Slash says Danny is naturally gifted in the singing department, but not so much in the rock and roll screaming department. Danny’s singing “Dream On,” and during his mentor session he struggles mightily with nailing that last legendary wailing-screaming thing that Steven Tyler always makes seem easy, if unnecessary. Slash says quite clearly that if Gokey doesn’t land that screaming section, Gokey will fail. So how will this turn out? Ha. As if there’s any question.
Danny has changed into a pinstriped suit sans jacket; he sings the part of the song that doesn’t matter at all, and it sounds like Danny Gokey singing “Dream On” would sound: very forceful and a little scary. Also kind of soulful. And then. The ending. Father Christmas on a snow machine! It's certifiably hilarious, but also painful. A little piece of my music loving soul died at that utterly tuneless, murderously ear-splitting whatever that was. Gokey has failed, without question. But will the judges tell him so? Ha.
Randy says “A for effort.” Really. Kara thinks it’s not his type of music, and that he should’ve done early Aerosmith (Even though, wasn’t “Dream On” one of their first songs? And I don’t even know rock and roll like that? So shut up, Kara?), but she pats him on the back for taking risks, because, and I quote, “Rock and roll is about being bold, and going for it.” Yes, and occasionally recapping is about being ill, and going for the toilet. Paula liked Danny’s energy, and doesn’t think this was a good song choice, but is still a huge fan, and gives him an A++. Simon, to his credit does say the last note was like out of a horror film, but then “predicts” that Danny will nonetheless be safe. Whatever, American Idol.
Danny, for his part, goes “Pffft,” doesn’t think it was as bad as all that, shrugs and says he will check out the footage later and make his own decision about how good it was. No one seems to see any problem with his doing all that. This show is ridic.
Okay, all that’s left for the night is Kris and Allison’s duet. This should be a good way to forget about how stupid this show is. They’re doing “Slow Ride,” and what I notice immediately after taking in Allison’s nerve-wracked first notes is how Adam can barely keep up his intense rocker snarls because he’s so busy breaking into big smiles. That’s kind of adorable, but also hammers home for me why I’ll never be able to root for him. Anyway, Adallison is naturally a wonderful duo; their voices are really well matched, they are each good at playing up the crowd and playing off of each other, and they both invest the song with massive energy. I have no complaints. The crowd will not shut up. Randy thinks they should always be duetting. Kara says “Rock god, rock goddess” and thinks they pushed each other to be better than usual. Paula loved it also, and Simon thinks they were hands down the better duet of the evening, and says that Allison just being in Adam’s vicinity while he sang may have saved her for the week.
Maybe! Maybe not. I haven’t seen the results but I won’t be kept in suspense much longer, because FORT’s resident rock star MsFroggy has all the rock week news that’s fit to