For the two of you out there who were worried (Hey, mama and dad!), my apologies for this recap being so late that we’ve all already moved on to next week. Sometimes life gets in the way of living. Whoa, how deep did I just come? Anyway, since the potential excitement of the Rolling Stones theme only yielded the complete non-event of Lacey’s elimination last week, I think this week the show decided to return to the kinder, gentler themes of yore, which you have to admit gave us more shocking results. Well, maybe that’s a bit of a logical stretch, but I really can’t think of any other reason for the theme changing so suddenly from “Teen Idols” to “Songs.”
And our mentor for Songs Week happens to be Teen Idol Miley Cyrus. How fitting for Season 9, though I am dying to know what she’ll have to say to Siobhan. Before our Idols sing, Teen Idol Miley in the audience gets to give a whole disclaimer about maybe not being taken seriously as a singing mentor because she is not a singer, but trying to work with the contestants on the connection aspect, which I guess she’s better at than singing. I mean she could hardly be worse at stage presence than singing. That logic is completely sound.
So yeah, this’ll be a quickie since who cares anymore.
Lee Dewyze with “The Letter”: RIP, Alex Chilton. Miley talks to him about having personality, and then Lee goes on stage to sing “The Letter,” with no personality. The brass section of the band is moving more than he is. Lee’s voice is fine; it sounds like it always does, with the raspy undertone and everything, although he is unconvincing selling the grit of the original. Far be it from me to direct anyone to Michael Johns for an example of grit, but he did it better with this song than Lee did, so.
Judgish Summation: Randy thinks Lee knocked it out of the box; Ellen offers a tortured analogy about her pen running out of ink and suddenly getting it back because of a miracle such that there will be a holiday celebrating it in 100 years; Kara says Lee should believe he is good; Simon says it was corny. Lee says he hopes the sum total of his singing personality (sum total: 4.3 out of 10) will create an energy strong enough both to get fans voting, and to lift Simon from his seat and drop him into the ocean.
Paige Miles with “Against All Odds”: My Lord, Paige. It’s like she’s flying blind. “Against All Odds” indeed. If she’s dumb enough to choose that for herself, it should come as no shock that she’s dumb enough to be super star struck upon meeting Miley. Miley compliments Paige’s voice, thus continuing the myth of Paige having a good voice, but she ultimately tells Paige to be less pitchy. Paige ignores that advice. This … I really don’t think I’m exaggerating when I call it the worst thing ever on this show. Granted I did fast forward through everything Carmen Rasmussen did.
Judgish Summation: Randy says, “Hi. How are you?” That’s how bad it was. I don’t even want to go over the rest of them. I wish there was a Paula there to make this better for Paige because the elimination has to be inevitable even to her.
Tim Urban with “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”: Tim thinks he’s boring, but Miley
thinks he’s dreamydisagrees. In their session she bets that if he has fun performing the song, the rest will fall into place. She was wrong. The fun was there, with Tim jumping down the stairs and working the audience pit, and sliding all across the stage, but nothing else fell into place. Certainly good singing fell nowhere around the place. Maybe it fell off a cliff, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure Miley owes me some money though.
Judges: Randy knows Tim had a good time, but the vocals were boring. Ellen knows he has tons of fans, but believes they are idiots. Simon says thank goodness he did all that crazy stuff on stage, because it distracted from the pointless singing. Also, Tim has zero chance of winning. Anything but the hearts of all the ladies, of course. T-Urb defends his choice to go up-tempo like gangbusters, and defends the honor of “having fun” against all attackers. I agree, Tim would be a strong contender on Fun Idol.
Aaron Kelly; “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”: Poor baby is the latest casualty of the Backstage Bacteria, now afflicted with both laryngitis and tonsillitis. He and Ryan kid around about not talking or breathing, and then we learn that Aaron has an adorable crush on Miley, as all red-blooded American teens should have. In his rehearsal with Miley he’s blushing very adorably, and singing very passably, enough that Miley tells him he has “literally an incredible voice.” And a voice good enough to impress Miley Cyrus is apparently worth the rental of a fog machine! Aaron’s well into the first bars as he emerges from all the atmosphere, and as he sings the song I believe he really wants those gift certificates to local eateries and water parks, so all the other 10th graders will just have to deal with being losers. I will so vote for him in whatever senior talent show he next appears.
Judgishness: Randy is killing me tonight, as he basically says, “Thank God for you, because the two before you were awful.” Ellen approves of the song choice and thinks he has a fantastic voice for a third grader. Simon thinks he’s good, but his choices make him seem old-fashioned. This draws some halfhearted boos from a few people in the audience, who know it is true, but love Aaron because of that very fact. Afterwards, Ryan calls Aaron David Archuleta. I notice Ryan is really trying to be a personality lately! He will not succeed.
Bowersox, singing “Me and Bobby McGee”: Miley and Crystal, sitting in a tree, I don’t think that this should be. But Crystal seems to be actually listening as Miley asks her to stretch out her higher register a bit more when she gets to the gospelly breakdown. Then Crystal asks Miley to sign her Guitar of Strong Lady Musician Signatures, which is very gracious of her, and maybe a little shrewd, although that might be me projecting. Crystal takes the stage, and … really I don’t know how to write about this without fawning over it, and that’s just unprofessional. So, I will say that I found it fawn-worthy, and you can substitute whatever you’d like for an actual description.
Judgish Summation: Everyone loves her but wants her to be better at selling the show as a Goodtime Dreamery, and everyone thinks she should smile more because as my role model Suzanne Sugarbaker would say, “Everyone always looks 100% better when they smile.” There’s also some witty repartee dealing with the carpet square Crystal brings out to make the stage more homey when she sings, and Simon tells her to change that whole affect up some time, I guess so that we can remember why we like that affect so much. Crystal says he’s ruining the surprise she has planned for next week. I’m excited.
Mike Lynche with “When a Man Loves a Woman”: He begins his session by growling and picking Miley up all but unbidden. That’s not okay. You don’t get to do that to people just because you’re big like a bear. In fact, that’s a super convincing reason why you shouldn’t do that to people. Anyway, Mike practices his song in his smooth lover voice, all while retaining really creepy eye contact, causing Miley to say, “I’m falling in love with you,” and to laugh like the big donkey teenager she is. She has nothing to say to him when he’s done, so you would think his performance would be perfect. But no. Week to week, I am coming to recognize the natural thinness of Mike’s voice, and while that’s not necessarily a deal breaker, it’s not going to play well with a throaty, earthy, passionate soul song like this one. Add that to his overwhelming aura of corn, and this just doesn’t measure up.
The Judges: however, loved it. Randy compliments his strong artistic identity. Ellen thought the song was safe, but loves him anyway. Simon says something about too much ice cream, and thinks maybe it should’ve just been Mike and a piano instead of the full band, because it was too lounge-like. But we all love him anyway.
And now here’s someone else we all apparently love. Andrew Garcia will sing “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”: He’s stumbling all over the words and being awful during the rehearsal, and then Miley makes him put down his
binkyguitar for the real thing. So out on stage finally forced to move around, Andrew pretty much stands still place and moves his non-microphone holding arm around a lot, almost like he still feels the guitar there. Like when people lose an arm or a leg. Yeah. The song is slightly sped up, and jammed up with lots of horns going, and Andrew’s voice really fails to compete with them. This song isn’t super melodically involved to begin with, but I don’t think Andrew’s melody incorporates more than two notes. It was almost like talk singing. And by “almost” I think I mean “definitely.”
Unfortunately my recording craps out at this point in the show (curse you, U-Verse!), so the rest of this will be done with the help of … let’s say my psychic vibes and visions. Yeah, let’s say that. But, Judgishness: Randy hated it and said it doesn’t fit the kind of singer Andrew is; Ellen agrees and says thank the Lord he already has fans, because no one new will ever vote for him. Kara says he’s trying too hard to do another “Straight Up,” which is actually perceptive, which is why I actually recorded what she said. Simon says they judges probably just overrated “Straight Up” during Hollywood, which is also perceptive, and also true. Simon also remarks on Andrew’s corniness and lack of soul, and doesn’t understand why these children are picking such horrible songs for themselves. In his post-chat with Ryan, Andrew also prostrates himself at the almighty altar of “FUN,” and uses the power of fun to defend his sucktastic showing.
Katie Stevens, with “Big Girls Don’t Cry”: Luckily Katie has never been about having fun, so we’ll likely get away from that defense. She’s 17, Miley’s 17, it’s like they’re the same girl! Katie asks Miley how she deals with all the hatazzz, and Miley advises Katie to just have confidence in herself and her love of music. My advice would be, “haters gon’ hate,” which is probably why I’m not anyone’s mentor. So Katie sings, and it’s a little dull, but mostly fine, and shows some promise. Kind of like a 17 year old without a lot of life experience going off into the wide world.
Judgish Summation: Randy notes her sharp notes, but congratulates Katie for at least trying to appear like a young girl’ Ellen thinks it was her best performance yet; Simon thinks Miley is a gift from God put on Earth, and then Idol solely for Katie’s benefit. Also, he liked the performance.
Casey James, singing “The Power of Love,” of which I’ve never heard: He meets Miley, and she tells him he rocks, but needs to connect more with the audience, and try to make contact with some eyes. He’s got an electric guitar hooked up, and his hair fully feathered, and when he gets to the bridge I all of a sudden do recognize this song. Also, Casey’s voice is getting better by the week, so maybe it was really nerves making him so awful early on. That, or the Kara stigma hanging all over him.
Judgishness: Randy thinks Casey’s the best guitarist they’ve ever had on, and hated the song, but loved his voice. Ellen concurs, and Kara is sad and pathetic. Simon completely disagrees, and thinks the old-fashioned song was not overcome by Casey’s singing or guitar. The audience disagrees, and Simon says, “Maybe it’s me; I’m English.” Wait, I thought that was food that English people didn’t understand. And dentistry. Never heard the music thing.
Didi Bananas, “You’re No Good”: Didi is probably trying to recapture that sultry energy she harnessed with the Rolling Stones, which is a bad idea, because what made that work was the natural feel. Miley tells Didi to be less nervy, and Didi laughs and quakes while promising to try. Poor thing. Vamping it up in center stage under pink gel lights, this is just way too tryhard to pass. Every phrase is punctuated with a huge breath, and when she tries to groan seductively, it instead sounds like a groan of pain.
Judgishness: Randy thought it was pitchy, which is incorrect, but it’s easy to understand why he'd say that. Ellen doesn’t understand why these children are singing these stupid songs. Simon thinks it’s funny that Didi sang “You’re no good,” over and over again, because it’s fitting. Also, he thought she was trying to be someone she’s not. Didi takes yet another page from my departed hero Brooke White and babbles back about just how many sides there are to her. Dodecahedron, y’all. Y’all just don’t know, but Didi has sides to spare, which she will keep revealing as long as you keep her around.
Siobhan Magnuscloses the show with “Superstition”: I admit there’s no way I could possibly be objective about this, because nobody can do it like Stevie can do it, and I don’t know why you would try. But Miley is already in love because she loves Siobhan’s voice and thinks it has “swagger.” Siobhan confesses that she’s always been frigging weird, but Miley’s approval of that makes her feel more comfortable with it.
Okay, I also have to say that somewhere along the way the Idol house band has improved a great deal, because here they are doing a pretty bang-up job with “Superstition.” Autobahn’s job is less bang-up, in part because she doesn’t have all of the funky conviction necessary, and in part because she feels she must do the wild abandon screaming thing at all times now, and it’s wearing thin. It’s especially thin when she doesn’t make the note, as with tonight.
The final Judgish Summation: Everyone loved that but Simon, who thinks that she’s getting predictable and she’s getting less good at the weirdness and the wild note archery than she has been.
And Simon takes us out by again pimping Crystal, and telling the world that all of the contestants are tryhards but her, and that they each need to work harder at making themselves relevant. I couldn’t agree more, because in four years of recapping this show I have never had to work harder to remember names and faces during the Top 11 show. That just ain’t right.
I’m assuming we are all apprised of the elimination by now, but in case we are not, never fear, because my partner MsFroggy has results all ready for you.