Tuesday, March 25, 2008

80's (Mostly) Redux On Idol

With this week's American Idol theme being songs from the year you were born, this effectively became 80's week redux, since only Michael Johns (1978) and David Archuleta (1990) are the only two not born in the 80's. We got some picks that were utterly predictable, some that were befuddling and one that was so out of left field but incredibly amazing.

So in keeping with the theme, here's how I saw it, using songs from my birth year (1973):

Top of the World:
*David Cook ("Billie Jean") - What I love about David Cook is that not only does he do rock versions of songs that have no business being rock songs ... but he does them on nights when he doesn't have to! He could have easily just picked a rock song from 1983, but he takes chances on non-rock songs and sings them as if they're completely different songs. I don't care if it's not his arrangement, and I don't see why some people are getting their panties all in a bunch because he's doing other people's arrangements. Ryan introduced it as Chris Cornell's version of Billie Jean. What makes David "original" is that he's doing something that in the context of Idol is totally unheard of.
*Michael Johns ("We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions") - After seeing the whole JD Fortune debacle on Rock Star: INXS, I was really nervous for Michael. "We Are The Champions" is a very tough song to sing. I had no reason to worry, though, because Michael totally nailed it! WOW. I don't remember ever hearing the crowd that loud before. Even for Archuleta.

Killing Me Softly:
*Jason Castro ("Fragile") - This is such a quiet, mellow song, and not one that should be changed up. I did not enjoy the sped-up arrangement. It's a great song, but it's also not a song that is going to make much of an impact on the audience.

Do It Again:
*Carly Smithson ("Total Eclipse of the Heart") - This was SO predictable. In fact, I DID predict it. And not only was the choice predictable, but the manner in which she sang it was predictable. She seems to do the same thing week after week. POW-er vocals? Check. Sleveless shirt or dress to show off the tat? Check. Scary faces? Check. Well, she did add something different - she rushed through the song. And the ending? Oy. HORRID.
*David Archuleta ("You're The Voice") - Another "message" song from the singing child robot. Gah. I'm really tired of it. Save it for Idol Gives Back! I have no idea what this particular song is; all I know is that is possibly the cheesiest song I've ever heard. Everything about the whole performance was Up With People-esque.

You Can't Always Get What You Want:
*Ramiele Malubay ("Alone") - Very ambitious song and totally wrong for her, but I think Ramiele felt like she needed to at least try something like this to save herself. She was pretty hit or miss with this, though. Her pitch was off a bit. I did like how she changed up the ending, but it wasn't enough.

Show And Tell:
*Syesha Mercado ("If I Were Your Woman") - I think I've figured out what it is about Syesha that bugs me so. It's her pageanty way of presenting herself and her songs. I feel as if she's just out there acting while singing, especially the last two weeks. The overwrought singing made a technically good performance boring and plodding for me. I was rolling my eyes all over Randy and Paula's "Syesha is a contender!" proclamations because I don't think there's anything she can do to make the Top 6 short of offing someone. Syesha has got to be the least talked-about contestant this year.

Time In A Bottle:
*Chikezie ("If Only For One Night") - If Chikezie could save time in a bottle, it would be from a time much older than he because Chikezie totally sounded like an old man tonight. The song choice and his singing were very old-fashioned. He sang it well, but the vibe was all wrong, as evidenced when he reached down to the audience and they weren't even reaching out to him at all.

Piano Man:
*Brooke White ("Every Breath You Take") - Or Piano Woman. Brooke is much more comfortable behind an instrument, although she screwed herself up in the opening. That false start was unfortunate because it kind of marred what was otherwise a good performance. I totally disagreed with Randy and Simon's criticism about bringing the band in. I thought the song needed that different dynamic.

Free Ride:
*Kristy Lee Cook ("God Bless The USA") - Just for singing this song, I think Kristy's got a free ride to the next round. As Simon said, it's a very clever song. It pretty much panders to middle USA, and after two straight weeks in the bottom 2, I guess Kristy felt she needed to pander. I wish she had just let her singing speak for itself, though, because I thought she actually sounded good (other than the key change) - the best she had during her entire run on Idol.

Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye):
Ramiele, Syesha and Chikezie will be the bottom 3, with Chikezie being the first of the Top 10 to say goodbye.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Quick(step) Improvements

Week 2 of Dancing with the Stars brought improvements for most of the dancers, but that isn't say much when you consider how bad some of these people were in Week 1.

Making the improvement from so-so to good:
Shannon Elizabeth (quickstep) - After a so-so cha cha cha that she thought should have been scored lower, Shannon performed an impressive quickstep should have been scored higher. Her partner Derek Hough continues to impress with his choreography, and this one brought out the best in his partner. It was charming and fun and technically good.
Judges' Scores: 8-8-8
Cristian De La Fuente (quickstep) - His posture in the cha cha cha last week was atrocious, and he really improved a great deal on that front. On the other hand, his footwork was sacrificed a bit as a result, albeit it on challenging choreography. I thought he was underscored relative to what some of the others were given. He's got to watch his attitude, though, because the petulance over criticism won't help him.
Scores: 7-6-7
Marissa Jaret Winokur (quickstep) - Afterschool special intro video aside, Marissa remembered her choreography and channeled her energy properly. She messed up the footwork a little bit, but aside from that, I thought she did well.
Scores: 7-7-7

Improving from bad to not-as-bad:
Monica Seles (mambo) - She's so awkward and so totally out of her element on the dance floor. Good for her for stepping out and committing to the performance, but it's so uncomfortable to watch. She's totally channeling Celine in looks; she should try to channel Celine in movement, and I never thought I'd say that because I always thought Celine was way awkward as a dancer.
Scores: 5-5-5
Penn Jilette (quickstep) - Not as clompy as last week, but he's already pulling out the magic tricks. Len said it best when he said Penn should have worked on his feet instead of working on moving his tie up. He improved for sure, but he didn't even move his feet during that one move; he just moved his knees instead. His footwork woes continued on his way backstage, as he tripped going up the stairs, and I don't buy for a second that he was joking.
Scores: 6-6-5
Adam Carolla (mambo) - Much more entertaining than last week, but his hunchy posture has not improved at all. And if you're going to call Cristian on it last week, you have to call Adam on it. And they didn't. Although Carrie Ann did call him on bitch-gate, and I cackled when her best compliment was "it was green". Could NOT believe Len scored this higher than Cristian and equal to Priscilla. WTFever.
Scores: 6-7-6

Still staying strong:
Priscilla Presley (mambo) - Oh my. She does not look or move like a grandmother. I do wish she would lay off the botox and plastic surgery; she's naturally beautiful. Parts of the dance were a little robotic, but that ending was RAWR!
Scores: 7-7-7
Jason Taylor (mambo) - RAWR again. For all the macho talk he had earlier in the show, he sure doesn't show one ounce of self-consciousness out there. He's a total natural, and he's good at both the ballroom and the latin. Impressive! He and Edyta bring the hotness.
Scores: 9-9-9
Marlee Maitlin (quickstep) - I wasn't wild about her posture at times, but her musicality is unbelievable, and she lights up the floor. Bonus points for pushing the microphone away from that idiot Samantha Harris.
Scores: 8-8-8
Kristi Yamaguchi (mambo) - I figured latin dances would be harder for the more reserved Kristi, but she went out there, came out of her shell and nailed it. If she can get past the rumba, she's going to be unstoppable.
Scores: 9-9-9
Mario (quickstep) - I was a little bit distracted by the ugly outfits, but the dancing was strong. He's very smooth and charming.
Scores: 9-8-9

Not as good as last week:
Steve Guttenberg (mambo) - He totally works the charming every-man angle, as evidenced by his mouthing "Hi, Mom and Dad" during the opening and his video bit with Anna's mom. But that charm did not overcome the actual dancing as much as it did last week.
Scores: 6-5-5

Likely to go tomorrow: Monica and either Penn or Cristian

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Song Suggestions For Next Week's Idol

Next week's American Idol theme is apparently The Year You Were Born (yay!). Thought I'd throw in a wish list/suggestions:

Michael Johns - 1978 - Wonderful Tonight, Renegade
David Cook - 1982 - Jack And Diane, 867-5309, Open Arms
Carly Smithson- 1983 - Total Eclipse of the Heart, Making Love Out Of Nothing At All
Brooke White - 1983 - Total Eclipse of the Heart (if Carly doesn't take it), Straight From The Heart. Someone at TWoP suggested Breaking Us In Two. Gotta say, that's a great choice.
Kristy Lee Cook - 1984 - Missing You (John Waite), Stuck On You, Islands In the Stream
Chikezie - 1985 - You Are My Lady, If Ever You're In My Arms Again
Jason Castro - 1987 - Something So Strong, The One I Love (R.E.M.)
Ramiele Malubay - 1987 - You Got It All (This is a must; it fits so well.)
Syesha Mercado - 1987 - Looking For A New Love, I Just Can't Stop Loving You. But I just know she'll pick Whitney.
David Archuleta - 1990 - Listen To Your Heart, From A Distance (not a suggestion, but I can see him doing it). He doesn't have much to choose from here, but he could sing Biz Markie's Just A Friend and still not be in the bottom 3.

BTW - I can't believe Ramiele and Syesha were born the same year. They seem like they're about 10 years apart.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No Ballads, No Tour For Amanda

Amanda "Ballads Are Boring" Overmyer was voted out on American Idol tonight. No Idol tour for her, and no Mariah Carey night for her. I'm sure she's most devastated about the latter. Heh.

I suppose the first sign of her demise was the fact that she was nowhere to be found during the beginning of the Beatles medley when the other five girls sang "Here, There & Everywhere". She just showed up out of nowhere later on a different (upbeat) song.

After the medley, they went into the bottom 3 announcement but changed up the format. This time, each person come out one at a time, and Seacrest told them their fate. Brooke - safe. Carly - bottom 3 (Wow. One of the TCOs hits the seal THAT early? Color me shocked). Archuleta - safe. Michael Johns - safe (a bit of a pleasant surprise). They come back from commercial, and Carly has tissue in her hands. Oh poor baby in the bottom 3. ::rolls eyes::. David Cook - safe. Jason Castro - safe. Ramiele - safe. Kristy Lee - predictably in the bottom 3.

After another commercial, we have to deal with the horrible Q&A segment. Ryan picks questions to embarrass Simon. Kellie Pickler returns to sing "Red High Heels". I adore her haircut, and her singing (and mental capacity) seems to have improved quite a bit since her stint on Idol.

After a brief Idol Gives Back segment featuring Fantasia and an emotional Elliot Yamin, we return to the results. Syesha - Safe. And it's between Amanda and Chikezie. Chikezie is safe, so it's Amanda, Kristy and Carly in the bottom 3. Carly is the first sent to the sofa of safety, and it couldn't have happened any sooner because that girl was about to have a breakdown of Alaina Whitaker proportions. Kristy Lee is proclaimed ... SAFE. WTF?! Amanda took the news incredibly well. She probably was relieved after hearing about the Dolly Parton/Mariah Carey/Andrew Lloyd Weber/Neil Diamond upcoming themes. I'm so sad I won't get to hear her die through a Mariah Carey song.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let It Be, Idol Producers!

Last week, Ryan Seacrest announced that due to an overwhelming amount of emails and calls, they decided to do a second consecutive week of Beatles songs on American Idol. My immediate thought was, "Noooooo!", and after a bunch of performances tonight, I'm sure the AI producers thought the same thing - that they should have just left well enough alone.

So many of the contestants found it hard to live up to their last week's performance, and people like David Cook and Brooke White would have been hard-pressed to repeat the magic. A few, like David Archuleta, Kristy Lee Cook and Syesha Mercado, didn't have anywhere else to go but up, and they all did improve, but this week, to put it in Beatles terms, was more Ringo than John (sorry, Ringo!).

Good This Week and Last:
*David Cook ("Day Tripper") - It wasn't as good as "Eleanor Rigby", but I don't think there's anything he could have done this week that would have been better. (BTW - check out the studio version on sale at iTunes. WOW!). I hate how Simon said it was predictable when I know that if David had sung a ballad, Simon would have taken him to task for not changing the arrangement like he did "Hello".
*Carly Smithson ("Blackbird") - She has a nice lower register; she should use it more. If nothing but to get rid of those ugly faces she makes when she sings the power notes. The only criticism I have of this performance was that hideous top she was wearing and her hokey and slightly unbelievable explanation of why she picked the song.

Improved and Good:
*David Archuleta ("The Long And Winding Road") - I knew the judges would play up the "David is BACK!" thing. His vocals were pretty flawless, but he still comes across as a singing child robot who doesn't really quite understand just what he is singing about.
*Ramiele Malubay ("I Should Have Known Better") - I thought this was Ramiele's best performance since the first semifinal. She made this song sound fresh and hip.
*Syesha Mercado ("Yesterday") - Not as good as the judges thought but still pretty good. It continues to drive me nuts that she strays off tempo at times because she's too busy oversinging. And WOW, her rehearsal footage was wretched!!!

Improved and Still Not Good:
*Kristy Lee Cook ("You've Got To Hide Your Love Away") - SO pitchy, especially in the chorus. And she looked like a 60's reject from the Grand Ol' Opry. I died when she said she can "blow (Simon) out of his socks". HA! Ok, country bumpkin.

Taking A Step Back:
*Brooke White ("Here Comes The Sun") - Like David, she had nowhere to go but down after her heartfelt "Let It Be" last week. She's so lovable that I can forgive her for that stupid "whooo!" Plus, she fully owned up to how bad that and her dancing were. But what I think hurt her more than the awkward performance was the interrupting of the judges (or the audience ... couldn't tell!) during the critique. Just hush, honey!
*Michael Johns ("A Day In The Life") - Michael's voice fit the song great, but he totally croaked on that high note in the beginning. The judges showed him a big case of haterade for the vocals and the arrangement and the song choice, but it wasn't even that bad.
*Chikezie ("I've Just Seen A Face") - For the second straight week, Chikezie sang a song that he mismatched into two different styles of music. It worked last week, for the most part, but this week I totally hated it. It was just utterly unrecognizable, and neither style quite worked for me. The opening ballady part sounded corny, and the hoe-down was too Kristy Lee Cook for me.

*Jason Castro ("Michelle") - This was probably one of his better vocals (no late note mishaps), but it wasn't exactly difficult either. Parts of his performance verged on corny. As Paula said, it was too sing-songy at times and kind of polka.
*Amanda Overmyer ("Back In The U.S.S.R.") - It was pitchy at first, but she cleaned it up in the end. I do agree with her thought process of picking songs she would do if you bought a ticket to her show, but if she really did do all fast-paced hard rock songs all the time, I don't think I'd want to buy a ticket. It's ok to change things up, Amanda. Ever hear of metal ballads?

My predictions for the Bottom 3: Kristy Lee, Michael and Amanda.
Going home: Kristy Lee because people always seem to go a week later than they should have.

Yamaguchi Glides To Top

Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi skated to the top of the leaderboard with a jaw-droppingly good first week performance on Dancing with the Stars tonight. Kristi, paried with Mark Ballas, got straight 9s for their foxtrot to record the highest score of any of the pairs this week.

Yes, she is used to choreography due to her skating, and yes, she has partnering experience, having paired with Rudy Galindo to win a couple of U.S. pairs championships and a World Junior Pairs Championship. Is she a ringer? No more so than, say, Scary Spice. No more than Mario (either one of them). This ringer thing kind of bugs because unless someone who has done ballroom dancing enters the competition, no one is a real ringer. If Kristi were an ice dancer, then the ringer discussion would be more valid.

Anyhoo ... her foxtrot was absolutely divine. The spins and turns, of course, were beautiful and graceful, and she really sold the routine as well. She's got to be the best hope for a female winner yet. She's a great dancer and she's extremely likeable. I'm definitely going to be rooting for her!

The other female contestants do not come close - yet. Priscilla Presley was second on the judges' leaderboard with straight 8s for her foxtrot with Louis Van Amstel. Priscilla did surprisingly well, especially for a 62-year old with major botox issues, but I didn't think she was as good as the judges did. I would have given her a 7. Her turns were clunky.

Marlee Maitlin was unbelievable to me. Dancing the cha cha cha with new pro Fabian Sanchez, the deaf actress used his movement as her cues for the beat and managed to stay on the beat throughout the entire song. Which is an amazing feat when you consider that even some singers on other reality competitions have major struggles with finding the beat with two perfectly working ears (Kristy Lee Cook, I'm talking to you!). Deaf or not deaf, Marlee actually is a pretty good dancer, and she got 7s and an 8. I thought she was better than Priscilla.

Marissa Jaret Winokur is probably way better than she showed. But she completely geeked out while dancing the cha cha cha with Tony Dovolani, and they put way too much hip-hop into the dance. It was actually kind of cringe-worthy, if you ask me, but I think she can do this if she just calms down and takes it down about 200 notches.

Shannon Elizabeth is all legs and seems to have the right attitude and showmanship to do well. Her legs and arms need some work in the dance department, however, but she has a good teacher who really choreographs well, so she'll be in good shape if she survives this cut.

In real danger of not surviving past next week is Monica Seles, who foxtrotted with Jonathan Roberts. They tied for the worst score of the week, with a 15, but I give her props for improvement because the first rehearsal footage looked absolutely dreadful. Monica sold the routine performance-wise, but her dancing was not doing the job. I thought it was great, though, how the male contestants were so supportive of her.

So after one week of dancing, the front-runners have got to be Kristi, Mario and Jason Taylor. Kristi has some high expectations now; hopefully she'll be able to maintain.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New NFL Dancing Star

Miami Dolphin star Jason Taylor is the latest NFL star turned Dancing with the Stars star, and after his first performance, I think it's safe to say he very well could become the third NFLer to make the finale. Jerry Rice was runner-up in Season 2, and Emmitt Smith won in Season 3, and I think Jason's already ahead of their game in week one.

Paired with Edyta Sliwinska, Jason started off with the foxtrot. And just a few measures into the song, you just knew he was going to be good. His posture was to-die-for, and he glided smoothly across the floor. The women were swooning immediately.

His main competition amongst the men will undoubtedly be R&B singer Mario, who did the cha cha cha with Karina Smirnoff. Mario came out about as strong as Karina's other Mario partner (Lopez), and he'll also have to face the "ringer" claims as Mario Lopez did. In fact, Samantha Harris already brought it up.

Cristian De La Fuente could challenge as well, provided he can stop hunching over when he dances. As Len said, Cristian's cha cha cha with Cheryl Burke was good from the hips down. His upper half, however, did look like he was riding a bicycle. Cheryl's first partner, Drew Lachey, also had shoulder issues at first, but she cured him enough to win that season, so maybe she can work her magic on Cristian. Although Drew was NEVER even half as hunchy as Cristian!

The other guys barely have a hope and a prayer. Steve Guttenberg was really fun to watch during his foxtrot with Anna Trebunskya. He was absolutely having a ball, and he made you root for him in the same way that Norm! did during his season. Technically, though, he's not in the same league as even Cristian. Penn Jillette (with Kym Johnson) was Master P without the attitude. Stompy McStomperson, for sure. And Adam Carolla managed to give two-time reigning champ Julianne Hough the lowest score she's ever seen - 3 5s. And dead last.

Women tomorrow, and no one will go home this week, but next week is a double elimination. I think Adam will be saved by Julianne's fans. Penn could be in trouble, though, depending on how the women do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

David H. Says Hello, Goodbye

Writing as I watch the American Idol result show ...

The show started out with basically a commercial for Horton Hears A Who. And when the show actually comes on, we've got a little chat with the star of that movie, Jim Carrey, who is dressed as Horton. Hey, do you think Fox might be releasing this movie?

Jim Carrey stays for the cheesy Beatles medley ... and Michael Johns and Chikezie sound terrific. Carly and Amanda, not so much. I'm sure Jim Carrey will not be seen again tonight.

It's barely 9:20, and they're already doing the bottom 3 reveal. Interesting. Carly Smithson, Michael Johns, Jason Castro, and Syesha Mercado are asked to stand. Carly is safe. Seacrest totally fakes out Michael, but he's safe. Jason is safe. Syesha is in the bottom 3, and she's about to cut a bitch, especially after Simon says she deserved to be in the bottom 3. She sings "Got To Get You Into My Life" once again and decides to throw in trills and frills all over the place to allegedly prove that she can sing and doesn't deserve to be there, but personally, that affirms it for me.

They show the contestants on the red carpet of Horton Hears A Who. Oh wow. I had no idea they were making a movie of this! Snerk. Kristy Lee Cook lies on camera, saying that because of American Idol, she's being introduced to this lifestyle. Which is a load of bull because SHE HAD A RECORD DEAL!

Chikezie, Amanda Overmeyer, David Cook and Kristy are next up on the firing line. Ryan tries to fake out Chikezie, but no one was really buying it, and he's safe. Amanda is safe. David is safe, which leaves Kristy, and she's sure she's in the bottom, and she is. I actually thought Ryan was being tricky and she'd be safe. She apologizes in advance to the audience for having to hear it again. At least she knows how horrific it was. She does it WAY better tonight, though I still hate it.

9:34, and we have live phone interviews with the fans asking really hard-hitting and interesting questions such as "If Jason could trade places with a judge, who would it be?" And Jason answers in his totally stoner way that makes no sense. What is this horrible new segment?! I hate it. I suppose I should be glad it's not a Q&A with the in-studio audience because all the stupid questions would be "Can I have a hug from David Archuleta?! Eeeeeeeee!"

So Katharine McPhee comes on to sing "Something". Didn't Taylor Hicks sing this on their season? Hilarious that they ask Kat instead of him. She looks absolutely gorgeous. I think she flubbed a lyric and changed genders a few times. haha. She sounded good, though, and I loved that run at the very end.

9:46 and Jim Carrey's actually still there. The last member of the bottom 3 is amongst David Archuleta, Brooke White, David Hernandez and Ramiele Malubay. Archuleta's safe. The tweens squeal. Brooke's safe, they show Brooke's hubby, and the non-tweens squeal. Ramiele is safe, we get a glimpse of Danny Noriega, who squeals (just kidding), and David H. sings his song with less desperation than he did last night. He tries to steal some of Archuleta's teeny-boppers in the front row, but methinks they know they're not really his type.

Paula says she's never seen "a more stronger" bottom 3. And she totally lies because they once had a bottom 3 of Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson and LaToya London. Kristy, Syesha and David are more like the bottom 3 of Rickey Smith, Kim Caldwell and Julia DeMato. Syesha is safe. I'm a little surprised. I really didn't think she had much of a fanbase. And ... Kristy is safe. Argh. David is going home way too early, but it's not really surprising. That was one of his weaker performances, and that stripper scandal was going to hurt him at some point. It just came sooner rather than later. What is surprising, though, is that the new goodbye song by Ruben Studdard is a cover. Bah. Ru sounds great on "Celebrate Me Home" but a Kenny Loggins cover? Really?? I'd rather have Daniel Powter back.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Hard Day's Night For Some On Idol

I'll be back to doing Idol reviews on It's Destiny with my friends starting this week. So to read my full review of the performances, along with their (usually counterpoint, at least from Destiny!) reviews, go there. Meanwhile, here's the short version:

*Kristy Lee Cook ("Eight Days A Week") - BIG HOT MESS and probably one of the worst performances ever at this stage of the competition.

A Hard Day's Night
*David Archuleta ("We Can Work It Out") - No, he couldn't work it out after forgetting his lyrics early on. And I think he improvised the ending as well. Even without those mistakes, this certainly wasn't pimp-spot worthy. It was very "junior high talent show" -esque.
*Syesha Mercado ("Got To Get You Into My Life") - A cabaret and out-of-tune performance in the beginning that she barely got back on track towards the end.
*Amanda Overmeyer ("You Can't Do That") - Her "Amanda spin" seems to consist of mumbling and not enunciating and then flashing the Constantine-like tongue and devil horns. And yet the judges call it a breath of fresh air rather than contrived. Don't get it.

Get Back
These people need to get back to where they once belonged (near the top):
*Ramiele Malubay ("In My Life") - I don't know what happened to the old Ramiele, but she hasn't had a standout performance since the first semifinal. Tonight she was SO breathy in this song, and her phrasing was very odd because of it. It was like "there are places (gasp for breath) I remember"
*David Hernandez ("I Saw Her Standing There") - David reverted back to first-week David with a lethargic performance on an up-tempo song. This song DRAGGED no matter how much dancing and engaging of the audience he was doing.

With A Little Help From My Friends
*Chikezie ("She's A Woman") - His banjo-playing, down-home, deep South arrangement was definitely unique, and I loved how he started the song on the foot of the stage with the band. But as soon as he left those guys, he spazzed out and did the Carlton and the Taylor Hicks. Oy.

Good Day Sunshine
Great song choices and performances:
*David Cook ("Eleanor Rigby") - My favorite of the night. David is very NOW, and it seems like he can turn any song into something prevelant and current. And he can sing! He is quickly becoming one of my favorites.
*Brooke White ("Let It Be") - She really puts her heart on her sleeve whenever she sings and makes you feel every word. It took her a little while to really get into the heart of the song, but the last half was just terrific.
*Carly Smithson ("Come Together") - She really has a big set of pipes that are well-suited for rock songs, and she looked very comfortable on stage.
*Michael Johns ("Across The Universe") - I am so glad someone picked this song, and I'm glad that if it wasn't Brooke (who really could have killed it on this song) or Jason, it was Michael. This was his best performance since the Hollywood round, and it was nice to be reminded of what a good singer he is.
*Jason Castro ("If I Fell") - If he can stop his voice from crapping out at the end (two weeks in a row now!), he could be a big-time contender.

Hello, Goodbye
Who should be saying hello, goodbye? KRISTY LEE!
Who will be saying hello, goodbye? Kristy Lee or Syesha

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Women Diva It Up In Top 16

The judges on American Idol always say don't sing Whitney, don't sing Celine, don't sing Mariah. So what did more than half of the girls do on the Top 16 girls show tonight? Sing songs also done by Whitney, Celine and Mariah. I guess it was an extension of last night, when David Hernandez did a song made popular by Celine ("It's All Coming Back To Me Now"), and Chikezie did a song more known by Whitney Houston ("All The Man That I Need").

The Whitneys:
Asia'h Epperson ("I Wanna Dance With Somebody) - It was a cute performance, but Simon was right in that she didn't do anything different to the song, and so she sounded like a second-rate Whitney Houston.

Syesha Mercado ("Saving All My Love For You") - Props to her for hitting those high notes, and it's nice to hear different dynamics in her voice and not just belting all the time. I had a hard time enjoying this, though because Syesha's stage mannerisms scream PAGEANT to me at times. And she always seems to have some tempo issues in her songs. But she can sing.

The Celines:
Kady Malloy ("Who Wants To Live Forever") - Yes, it's a Queen song, but this was more Celine than Queen. Kady reminds me of Katharine McPhee, and like Kat, she has a nice lower register. Unfortunately, Kady didn't do enough to make it a show-stopper, and she's already on shaky ground. I like her voice, but she isn't standing out outside of her videos.

Carly Smithson ("I Drove All Night") - Carly's marketability outside of this contest is as a rock singer, so I don't get why she keeps going for the Celine-type songs, and this was definitely more Celine than Cyndi Lauper. Yeah, she can hit all the notes, but she's not going to be the next Celine, not with that persona or that image!

The Mariah:
Ramiele Malubay ("Against All Odds") - I LOATHE this song, and it's so overdone, especially on this show. The women on Idol who choose this song tend to sing the Mariah way, rather than the Phil Collins way, obviously. Ramiele sang it pretty well - much better than McPhee did when she sang it.

So that leaves us with only three people who didn't go for the big diva songs, and all three would have been ridiculous to do so, so good for them for not going that route.

The Anti-Divas:
Amanda Overmyer ("I Hate Myself For Loving You") - She's yet to do something outside of her rocker comfort zone, so why start now?! This Joan Jett song really was a perfect song for Amanda, and this was the first time she's sounded decent. But I still think she is a totally one-dimension performer, and she has yet to prove she can do anything but rock loudly.

Brooke White ("Love Is A Battlefield") - What I like about Brooke is that she stays very true to her style, and even with these themes, you know exactly what kind of music she will put out. She is a coffee-house type singer, and she stayed true to herself with this arrangement. This wasn't as drastic as David Cook rocking out to "Hello", but Brooke definitely put her own unique spin on the song with her acoustic performance. Loved it.

Kristy Lee Cook ("Faithfully") - I don't know exactly what category to put Kristy Lee in other than MEH. She's so bland and boring. And what a waste of a great song. I have always wanted someone to sing this song on Idol ... but not her. I don't think she did it justice at all. Paula loved it, but Paula loved everything tonight. Drunk as a skunk perhaps? She was SO out there tonight.

Likely to miss the cut: This is a tough one. I think it should be Kristy and probably Kady at this point, even though I do like Kady. She's just not cutting it on the stage, though. I wouldn't be surprised to see Asia'h or Syesha go either.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Idol Guys Share Embarrassing Moments

The intro video clips on tonight's American Idol Top 16 guys show focused on their most embarrassing moment. After tonight, a few of them should have new most embarrassing moments.

Time for a new most-embarrassing-moment video:
*Luke Menard ("Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go") - Not even a quarter of the way through this performance, I was cringing. First of all, what a dumb song choice for this stage in the game. Couple that with really weak, thin vocals, and Luke should be toast.
*David Hernandez ("It's All Coming Back To Me Now") - The singing was actually quite good, but David's REAL most embarrasing moment has got to be this gay stripper scandal that just hit the mainstream media today. And singing this song that's more closely associated with Celine Dion than Meatloaf sure doesn't help to distance himself from that scandal. But when in trouble, just throw in some glory notes - that always helps on this show.

Embarrassing, but something tells me this wouldn't be a blip on the radar:
*Danny Noriega ("Tainted Love") - I guess it fits considering that Marc Almond from Soft Cell was just as androgynous. This performance was so campy, but, even worse for me was the horrific arrangement. I couldn't believe Randy loved the arrangement. But more on that idiot later ... Danny, though, continually saves himself with his post-song banter. He's a funny kid. And he somehow manages to get away with making fun of Simon. Even Simon thinks it's funny!
*Chikezie ("All The Man That I Need") - This wasn't as embarrassing as his first performance, but seriously? Whitney Houston? All The Man That I Need?! What a BAD song choice. There were parts that were good, but that last note was WAY out of tune. I thought it was an undeserved pimp spot, just like Asia'h last week, and I can't imagine that it would be the type of performance that will inspire the masses to vote.

Not embarrassing, but slightly marred:
*Michael Johns ("Don't You Forget About Me") - I was impressed by his song choice, as well as the fact that he went for the low notes. But then he switched up an octave halfway through. As a sucker for the low notes, I would have loved it if he had kept it low the whole time. But he was dead-on during the "hey hey hey/oooooooh-oh" part. Oh, and Randy Jackson had his own embarrassing moment during this performance when he told Michael that the Aussie boy was going back home for the 80's and that Michael reminds him of Michael Hutchence. After Michael sang a song by Simple Minds. Who are from Scotland. IDIOT.
*David Archuleta ("Another Day In Paradise") - If he hadn't given his Mr. Junior America speech about picking this song because it would raise awareness of the plight of the homeless, I'd have liked this better. He gave a good vocal with a cool (but familiar) arrangement, and he played the piano. He really knows how to work this game.
*Jason Castro ("Hallelujah") - Now I've heard this song done a few times on Canadian Idol, and both Josh Palmer and Brian Melo killed it. Jason did pretty well, but he didn't kill it. What he did kill, though, was that last note. OOF. And yet the judges totally ignored his voice going out.

As far from embarrassing as you can get:
*David Cook ("Hello") - HELLO, David Cook! Now THIS is called making it your own. To even think about turning a Lionel Richie syrupy ballad into a rock ballad takes serious balls, not to mention originality. This was really, really cool. I agree with the judges - it could be a hit today. Oh, and if they thought Blake's "You Give Love A Bad Name" was a risk ... this totally surpassed that in the risk department.

Who will miss the cut for the final Top 12? It should be Luke and Chikezie, but you always have to worry when Simon tells someone they won't make it. That usually spurs people to vote for them to spite him, a la Melissa McGhee. If Luke does get in, then I think David Hernandez is toast because of the stripper scandal.