Thursday, February 26, 2009

It takes a village to hold a singing competition – AI eliminations week two

Where else can you find a welder, bartender, font designer, comedian, and emo prince? Only here, says Ryan. Thissssss… IS aMERican Idol!

I have lesser hopes this time, since America got last week mostly (perhaps entirely) correct with Alexis, Michael and Super Saiyen Gokay moving into the Top Twelve. There are some potential disasters lurking tonight. In honor of our font designer I shall assign fonts to each contestant.

Ryan asks the judges if they have any advice. Simon: “It’s too late for advice now.” HAHAHA! “Really – they’re seconds away from singing.”

1. Jasmine leads off with “Love Song.” Her low register is iffy. She’s flatting some notes. At least she’s not the goofy marionette Jackie Tohn was. This would be slightly better without a barking dog in between me and the television. The judges are fairly unanimous – pitchy, bad song choice. Simon gets booed and comes back with “Wait, I just said the SAME THING they did.” True. He adds that she’s two years away (only 17 now), has good confidence, but it wasn’t the best performance or song choice. FONT – Goudy Old Style, a decent serif font you wouldn’t use on a resume.

2. Matt – the Georgia on My Mind guy. Singing Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” which I love dearly, so I’m worried. OK… so this is completely bad. He’s too high for the song, too high for his own voice, off-key everywhere, and like so many before him, he’s happying up a song meant to be lower-key and reflective. Way too showy. Fail.
Kara - not your type of song, you’re bluesy. This is the wrong song.
Paula - you’ve fallen very far from Hollywood. You look much more comfortable with the piano.
Simon - verging on horrible, too faux-pop star.
Randy - not your style, dawg…
AND YET they all hope he’ll be back. Not I. That was a waste of time and energy. Begone. FONT – Ravie.

3. Jeanine, who hopes they won’t show the clip of her tripping over the table at the end of Hollywood Week…. Annnnnd roll film! Inauspicious. She may as well say “I hope I don’t pick a lousy song, completely screw up the performance, and get yelled at!” Singing “This Love” by Maroon 5. Train wreck – off-pitch, pointless runs, and she can’t settle on singing the harmony or the melody, so she switches from one to the other.
K – uh… great legs!
S – “That’s how you leave it?” [NF – what else is there to say?] “It was terrible. Wrong song. But great legs.”
R – yeah, the legs are hot, best part of the song was when it ended. [OUCH.] Jasmine says she was trying to get out from under the radar.
K – Overcompensating.
P – it would have been better in tune. [DOUBLE OUCH.]
Ryan – so, based on the comments… how did you prepare your legs for tonight?
Man, when EVERYONE is killing you, it’s best just to stay dead. FONT – Rage Italic, 6 pt.

4. Nick. Sigh. Here we go. Nick, who is 27, wines that Simon acts like a middle-schooler, and that he had to be true to himself by creating a character to be. The Court Jester of Irony, right here. He breaks out Norman Gentle to crush our senses with “I’m Not Going” by Jennifer Hudson. Let’s hope he’s wrong about that, because this is outrageously bad. Terrible outfit, intentionally bad stage gyrations – the voice is nasal and off-kilter. This is ticking me off. He can sing – he’s sucking on purpose and it’s an insult to everyone who gets kicked off while trying their best.
OH. NO. He is MAKING OUT with the American Idol sign. I really wish I were lying. He’s also changing all the lyrics to be about AI. We do NOT have to love him, do we? We can disobey the song? Please say yes, so I can punch him with hammers.
S – “I hope I speak for all America when I say I hope you don’t go through.” BOOOING? What tone-deaf crack heads did they drag into the theater? “Why are your parents looking at me like that?” (Dad is incredulous. He must have been listening to David Cook on his iPod while Norman was performing.) Norman tosses a sassy diss and a karate kick in Simon’s direction. I’m completely annoyed by this whole shtick and have been pretty much since auditions. They should have bum rushed him like they did Ian Bernardo a couple years back. This is the same wretched act. Instead we’ll have VFTW all over him like stink on a skunk.
R – it was entertaining. [Have they all gotten into Paula’s glass?]
K - You wear the same shirt every week just like Simon. We will remember you. [We remember the Hindenburg too. Oh the humanity.]
P – You don’t have a bad voice.
So why did he sing so badly? Isn’t anyone going to call Bravo Sierra on this hack? You know the devil of it is, this is going to work from his point of view, and somebody is going to give him a job entertaining folks for pay. It may be on a camp level, or on a VH-5 “I Am Mildly Interested in the Eighties” special, but somehow someway this jackanapes is will be rewarded for his dis-services. I need to start Lent over. FONT – Wingdings, in flashing neon orange.

5. Allison – only 16 years old, which means she was NINE for Season One. Officially young enough to be my daughter. I will now jump into a nest of hornets. She’ll sing “Alone” by Heart, and uh-oh, this is a tough song choice. Carly rocked it last season. Is anyone going to be even remotely adequate tonight? Off she goes. She’s on-key. Hey, good punch when the song picks up, a tad screechy but this is far and away best of the night so far. First thing I don’t regret hearing. Thank you for getting me off the ledge, Allison.
R – It’s a funny night tonight. [Funny? Funny like a clown? Does this show amuse you?] Finally someone blew it out the box!
K – You’re great, serious chops.
P – You could sing a cliché about singing well, by far the best we’ve heard.
S – Best by a clear mile, it’s like the competition just started. Simon also notes that she had zero personality during the interview segment and then suddenly came alive on stage.
NF – agreed on all counts, and I’ll vote for her. And next time, just have a 24 instead of a 36, okay guys? FONT – Forte: hip, bold, rocking.

6. Kris – the guy with the girl’s name spelling. He looks and sounds like an older Archuleta, right down to the message song, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Better showmanship. He isn’t offering me any gum. He’s picking up as he goes, pretty good. Best guy so far.
K – back half was much better, but still worse than Hollywood, wrong song. [Booing, both from me and the audience.]
P disagrees and name checks the songwriters, says they’d be proud.
Simon agrees…. With Paula. [Please leave the long pauses to Ryan, I’d have to start hating everyone and remember, it’s Lent – I’m supposed to be improving.] Showed energy, confidence, “the girls will love you.”
R – you did it without the guitar, good job.
NF - Which reminds me – everyone who CAN play and DID during Hollywood are NOT doing so now. Has AI banned instruments for this round or is it just individual decisions? FONT –Eras Demi ITC.

7. Megan – misses her son, sings “Put Your Records On” by hmnnwhoever. Heh, I typed the title wrong at first ‘cause I had my fingers on the wrong keys – it came out “{it Upir Recprds Pm.” That’s as good a description as any other for the performance. She’s over-pronouncing the words. She reminds me of that Four Non Blondes chickie, which is bad news for Megan.
P – right song, camera loves you, relevant, you did everything right. [Except, you know, the actual singing.]
S – started really well, oversang the second half.
Megan – I thought I rocked it.
Megan is mistaken, but Simon has a mental hiccup and says he hopes America votes for her, “but the vocals could have been better.” Aren’t vocals the point of a singing competition? It usually is when the judges want to rip someone.
R – love the smoky jazz vocals. [That was so smoky they should have evacuated the theater.]
K – you’re a packaged artist, with the right song and video you could be very viable. [As long as someone else does the singing.] FONT – Curlz MT.

8. Matt the Welder – “If You Could Only See” by Tonic.” This is a Ladybug fave. You know, it’s hard to listen and take notes when the Official Puppy is jumping, yipping, and trying to eat the corner of the coffee table. BRB. OK…. “You know, true love,” Matt says. “I like that.” Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the woild. It’s a low-key performance, but first-rate vocals. Spot on. I’m really liking this. Kris was the better showman, Matt the better singer.
S – I really like you, absolutely hate the song. [huh?] I’m frustrated, it looked boring. [What happened to the vocals?]
R – you needed a better performance.
K – we all like you, didn’t show us any side of you… and you can really sing! [Gee, thanks for noticing the singing in a singing competition! Glad we added your services, Kara.]
P – not a note out of place. BUT… and so on. They are killing this guy right in front of his wife and kid, to whom he was singing. Look, I get that this was a dull stage performance but it was an excellent vocal on a night where such things have been sorely missed. FONT – good old reliable Lucida Sans.

9. Jessie – the second chance girl, brought back in when a successful contestant’s prior record deal got her DQ’d. Singing “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. (Written by Jackie DeShannon – see, I can name check too!) Interesting song choice, since Carnes has a ragged voice. She won’t have to knock out the vocals to sound good. She does, however, have to NOT mumble. Oh well. Just not good enough. How can you mess this up? She’s not even using the full range of the song, just dropping it all to one octave.
R – OK, cool song, but just another performance. Like a five-note range.
K – this is your best look, interesting to watch.
P – identifiable sound, unique phrasing. [In other word, she mumbles. Even Joe Cocker doesn’t mumble this much.]
S – forgettable. “Too cool for school; people aren’t going to jump up and vote for you.” Simon’s back on my Christmas card list.
R – Simon actually agreed with me, though he didn’t say it. [Funny how they all boo and mock, and then brag when Simon agrees with them. He’s the dope, kiddies, don’t doubt it!] FONT – the illegible, boring Gill Sans MT Extra-Condensed Bold.

10. Kai – “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted?” They get voted off the show. He held the final note wonderfully. Probably outdid Matt the Welder, though it was a straight and very old-fashioned performance. Judges agree. Simon – “You’ll make an excellent backup singer.” FONT – Courier.

11. My my my Mishavonna. She was cut from Hollywood last year. Leads off her second go with “Drops of Jupiter” by Train. Oh, it’s that “eh-hey-ee-yay-ay” song. She is unfortunately over-emphasizing the ay-ee-yays. But the rest is pretty good. She’s sneaking into my top three. Funny, this was like the reverse Allison - very winning in the interview, and then very staid on stage, but the vocals are just about there. If she can connect those vocals to her personality while singing she will blow away most of the people here.
P – sang well, you can SING, but you’re not exciting me.
S – agreed, but why so serious? “Something about it left me cold. You act like a fifty-year-old.”
R – song is cool but you feel so much older than 18.
K – you’re very put together… loosen up. You’re a really good singer so shake it out.
Ryan goes over and gosh, but she’s tall… or Ryan isn’t, perhaps. Her personality is back, though, during the chat. I hope she gets through so she can show us what she can really do. FONT – Trebuchet, but with a possible upgrade to Rockwell Bold.

12. Adam, Lord Emo, is closing the show. He’s been doing musical theater since he was ten [SHOCKA!]. I don’t think he should have beaten out the guy he sang off with, so I’m already biased, y’all. He’s singing “Satisfaction” by the Stones, and let me show you that I’m willing to change – I think this is a great choice, he’s quite Jaggeresque. I like the arrangement. Good start with the slow burn and the big kick-off. (Ladybug – he’d make a great Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”) Alas, his performance is degrading. It’s like he knows he started well and is getting self-conscious and showy. Way overdoing it. Since he’s last, however, he may well overshadow the other guys who were better overall but not as stage-practiced.
P – I’m watching the Adam Lambert concert, you’re in a league of your own.
S – I’m finding it difficult. Some parts were excruciating, but some parts were brilliant. [Ah, sanity. Thank you, Simon Cowell, for making us laugh about bad singing. Again.]
R – loved it, you’re very current – he name-drops Robert Pattinson.
LB – see? He looks like he could be an extra on Twilight.
NF – don’t some extras get killed in the opening act? [I’ll be in trouble for that one, home and in blogworld.]
K – outrageous vocal technique. Who has a range like that?
NF - Range? He screeched the high notes. Lord Emo plays it very cleverly and builds off the Pattinson comment, says he loves the Twilight books. Panderer. FONT – Matura MT Script Capitals: it looks good but it’s hard to find a really good use for it. Or maybe one of those old-timey Ren Faire standbys.

Quick recap runs… stop the pain… HA! It cut off before Lord Emo. LB – oh yeah? I’m downloading his song with the gift card YOU bought me. (Touché. As always, I’m not going to win on this.) We agree on Allison and Mishavonna, but of course sharply split on the guy. She’s all about Emo the Pander Bear, I’m waffling between Kris Allen and Matt Beitzke. The thing is, I’m not nearly as big on Twilight, so why am I the one annoyed that he’s exploiting Ed and Bella’s rabid fan base for personal gain? I’m not falling for this swinging baloney.

What do you think?

No comments: