Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eleven to ten, AI style

I saw a huge hunka hunka Beatles love tonight, so these are more recollections than notes. First recollection - apparently nobody liked my song suggestions, so much so that even given a second chance to hit them, there were no takers. There were, however, a few people who decided to do songs I suggested for others:

Syesha - instead of "Ticket to Ride," she did "Yesterday" (my hope was Jason Castro). It was one of her better performances. She went to the top ten. (Note I am not doing this in order.)

Jason - instead, goes to "Michelle," which is a sweet longing song, and should be right in his wheelhouse. He's not bad, but he gets cartoonish on the French phrases. Jarring note. Kid's got perfect eyes, though, don't he? Yeah, he's on the Tour Bus.

David Cook - did "Eleanor Rigby," which to be fair was not a suggestion of mine for poor ol' Trent Dimas, but more of a fear. Cook rocked it. He was a little less successful this past week with "Day Tripper." I liked it a bit more than Simon, who called it a little smug. The song calls for a little scorn; unfortunately, my benefit of the doubt vanished today when David said he had no reaction to Simon's criticism. That's smug, cookie. Whatevs. Siddown, you're in the top ten.

Carly - perhaps the most disappointing. Did well with "Come Together" first time around, albeit not a first-rate performance. She's beginning to make the same faces over and over again. This time, "Blackbird," and it struck me as an odd performance. I liked her voice, and it's good that she threw a ballad at us, but she has to make it work better than that. All the seams in the song were audible: she reached the end of one section, paused, started the next, paused, did the next bit, paused, did the sudden loud bit (hurting the song in the process), etc. etc. Very mechanical, none of the smooth flow of her other performances. America, shockingly, dumps her into the bottom three.

Kristy, perhaps, is the worst. First she drops this cracker "Eight Days a Week" on us - boy howdy, but that was a turd. Sounded like a parody of Hee Haw; Lurleen from the Simpsons was more subtle. Now she's slouching through "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," which is not quite as much teh suq as last week, but it's not like she was clearing a high bar. Nevertheless, America makes her join Carly on the toadstools of shame. (Seriously, those chairs look like they were stolen either from the set of the Match Game or Bert Convy's swank bachelor pad. Shame is exactly the right word.)

The only person who was remotely close to following my advice, sadly, is Amanda, who hits her one note with the regularity of a metronome. "Back in the USSR." Remember when I said that she could hardly sing worse than Ringo? I wasn't right by much. It was aight, to use Randy's phrase. I guess the advantage of having only one tool in the box means more time to learn to use it well. Amanda has in fact improved from her badger-haired spazz-outs of the first two weeks, but does anybody really want to hear inferior Joplin renditions of every kind of song known to man? Guess not - she's the last of our bottom three.

In brief, the others:

Michael Johns - decides that A Day in the Life is a great song to slice to ribbons and stitch together into a hopeless mess. He may as well have just picked one section of the song to sing in its entirety. This was horrible - AND he messed up a lyric at the end. What a clunker. Anything else would have been better. (Maybe, I dunno, "The Inner Light"? "Doctor Robert"? Hell, even "Octopus's Garden" would have been a better idea.)

Brooke - "Here Comes the Sun." I'll say. The stage lighting was probably not her fault, but c'mon, nobody thought about this beforehand? Nobody considered a bright blue, like, y'know... the sky? It would have looked tons better and subtly suggested that Brooke was the sun, rather than the current set up, which looked like staring into an eclipse without eye protection. That's all there was out there; I broke out the SPF 15 right there in my living room. It also looked like her dress had summer squash hanging off it. Then, there was the Woo, and her habit of singing too close to the microphone and hissing all her S's. This should have worked ten times better, and I'm upset about it.

Archuleta - I am beginning to come around on the innocence deal. He's from Utah, and as a friend reminded me the other night, he's the kid who nearly lost his voice permanently due to vocal cord damage. That all explains the permanent gee-whiz demeanor. But given all of that, why on earth would he choose to sing like a guy twice his age? All he's picking are these somber tunes, when he could just rock out one of Paul's happy-go-lucky deals and knock it clean out of the park. Instead, it's "The Long and Winding Road," and it's better than the utter disaster of forgetting half of "We Can Work it Out" last week, but nowhere near the magic he captured with "Imagine." See, this is why I left him out of my Final Four.

Chikeize - I'm actually liking "I Just Saw a Face," until he inexplicably breaks out the Kristy Lee Hoedown arrangement for the second half of the song. DO NOT WANT. I think I would have thrown my chair at him from the judge's stand. That was beyond atrocious. How he escaped the bottom three is beyond me.

Remiele - here, I'm going to dissent from the distinguished Cadet Happy, who longed to bring the axe right down on the hat that she snitched from David Cook's closet. While no great shakes musically, it was improved from last week. This was actually the first time that she started to move around a bit on stage. "I Should Have Known Better" is a good energy song and she didn't slouch there like a sack of oatmeal. This was a small, halting step in the right direction.

The team-up song was pretty dull, considering how much they had to pick from. Leading off with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is... I mean, "I look at the floor, and I see it needs sweeping" is one of the all-time Bad Lyrics. (Sad but undeniable. Of course, the trade off is that George Harrison was a Beatle, so frankly I can shut my blog hole.) They toss out some "Here, There, and Everywhere," so that's good, but it's all that's good. Altogether earnest and leaden. The end is "The End." Some imagination. I would have pushed for closing with "Good Night" from White Album, for the cheap thrill of it. The commercial was much better - not least for my being able to call out all the MST3K lines from "This Island Earth." I regret nothing! And I think that Chikeize wore one of his own outfits for the shoot.

Great moment with Fantasia and Elliot in Africa handing out bed tents to screen out mosquitos. They call Elliot in to see a newborn boy that they've named after him. I don't know about that "custom" of naming kids after visitors to the village, but it was sweet in spite of it all. And Fantasia sings a bit, which is always a plus.

Oh, Lordy, it's the Pickle. My lovely bride has fallen asleep out of self-preservation, but unfortunately she's got the remote. I can't even mute it. This is dreadfully bad. I wish the judges could roast her, but she's a professional now. (And she sings!) Ludicrous shot of Randy acting like a bobblehead. (And he was nodding, too.) Triple threat: Pickle can't sing, the song is mortally bad, and it goes on for five indulgent, lazy, ear-stabbing minutes. Two would have been plenty. (PS, she's still as sharp as a bowl of Twinkies.)

But enough stalling. Carly is safe, faith n' begorrah. No shocks there. Kristy and Amanda are both sweating it out now, and really, we can't lose here. Annnnnd - Amanda is out! This happens a lot with bad contestants: they don't lose until they improve a little. Their fan base gets a little slack about calling in, and without the artificial support from certain parties such as VFTW, the clock strikes twelve on them. Kristy has been worse the past two weeks, but she scrapes her way into the Tour Bus, and after next week's slight improvement, she should watch her back.

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