Wednesday, May 25, 2005

American Idol Recap 05/24/05 - Take Me To The Place You Cry From

Do not adjust your set. Your eyes are not deceiving you, this isn’t your normal American Idol. This is super crazy harajuku Idol in full hyper Technicolor! It’s really just Idol moved from CBS Television Studios to the grand Kodak Theater on the corner of Hollywood & Highland….Oooooooh! The Koooodak Theaterrrrrrr! And with all that impressiveness, you’d think that The Head would do something rather grand or interesting but he doesn’t. Instead, it’s pitch black, the spotlight is just on him. And it should be. After all, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is just right outside. It’s as if all 3,000 people in the Kodak Theater came just to see him! Impressive!

The set looks exactly as it did back in the old studio right down to the flying saucer and belt buckle style video screen of which our host pops right out of as the show begins. He doesn’t necessarily walk out to the stage as much as he struts out there. Someone must have IM’d him today with a compliment as he is feeling sassy! You could grate cheese with that smile. 40 Million Americans are expected to watch this performance of American Idol, speculating that no one follows this in other countries via satellite. We are just one microcosm in the American Idol galaxy and I hear that American Idol Micronesia is the best! They have rap night!

The Head tells us that this is a very close competition and that it is pretty much split down the middle. How does he know? Has he been on the Idol message boards again because if he has, he has neglected to mention the serious topic/discussion questioning if Simon would be a good kisser or not. My bet is on “not” but I’m not a registered user so my vote doesn’t count. But yours does and you better call tonight if you want your Bo or your Carrie to take home the crown. It is going to be a tight race peoples!

Tonight each contestant…that feels weird to say at this point…will sing three songs, count them, three. One, two, three…blah. Two of which are original compositions and the last one their favorite from the competition or their least favorite, I’m not sure. If it is the latter, that would be cool. I doubt it’s the latter. We flash to fake Wednesday which turns out to be real Wednesday or at least they got an entire audience to tape a fake Wednesday segment. Anyway, since there is no new “theme” to spring for, they are going to determine who gets to go first by flipping a coin. Not just any kind of coin, no this is a special coin obtained through the Franklin Mint, you know the little insert in the middle of your Reader’s Digest. This special version has a picture of Bo on one side and Carrie on the other! Rumor has it that they tried to buy coffee with it afterwards and were denied patronage as it was not deemed legal tender. Shame. Well, turns out that The Head is a butterfingers as he promptly has the quarter slide off his lubridermed palms into a giant grate on the stage floor. My question is: why the hell is there a giant grate to begin with?! Set design 101 I did not take. Also, how hard is the quarter to retrieve? You see all these stage technicians come running out to pry the grate open for them, only Carrie is willing to get on her knees and help open it. Again, I don’t know much about set design, but is that grate really functional? I’m imagining that it doesn’t really go anywhere but just below the stage. Have Seacrest crawl under there and get it. That cheap gap outfit he has on can take the abuse! Edit to 30 minutes later and the coin toss goes off without an embarrassing Laurel and Hardy bit. Carrie wins. It is her choice to either go first or let Bo have that honor. Now, in any competition that I’ve participated in (which isn’t a lot), you always have the other person go first. In this case I’m not sure you want to follow Bo. But honoring tradition or just being polite, Carrie lets Bo take the first song.

Song #1 BoBice! “Long Long Road”
This is the first of the original compositions. There are no fancy introductions, no introducing us to Fleckman & Plotz or Sandwich & Hoobastank or whoever composed these craptacular love ballads. Anonymity protects the easily harassed I figure. So without any clue as to why this song was the best song for both Bo and Carrie to sing, we are launched into it. Bo is channeling so many people tonight in appearance…Lenny Kravitz, Bono, Greg Allman, Jesus, the guy on John Young Parkway who “will work for food” he’s just an amalgam of so many of them. Vocally he is on tonight. I am starting to get a sense of who he is vocally. Yes he is a dead ringer for the dark and dirty style of singing that popped up in a post grunge era circa the late 90’s such as Creed and Seven Mary Three (both from Orlando!!! Hey, he auditioned in Orlando!!!) but it somehow seems new and refreshing right about now. It also looks like he has taken the suggestion that he needed a little VO5 Hot Oil treatment. The locks look a little better tonight. Samson has his strength. There are like, twenty strange people dressed in black on the stage tonight. Are they Bo’s body guards? His posse? I assume that they are the choir but all they do is the white person foot shuffle and snap their fingers. They look impressive but don’t add much to the song in my book. Okay, it is really hard to follow this song because it is so unfamiliar and it just trudges along like some kind of trudging thing. Slow and grungy just like Bo. It does have some power ballad moments to which Bo appropriately pumps his fist in the way you would see it on a rock poster or something. Either the crowd really liked it or they are just going to cheer anyway but Bo’s family is sure hootin’ and hollerin’! Grandma is there and wilder than ever, she’s so crazy doing the Y-M-C-A sign…well, just the “Y” portion. Randy said there was good and bad. Bad because he did not love the song. Nothing wrong with that man. I mean, if you are not going to tell us anything about the surprise song then it deserves to be said. Good because regardless of what he sings, he does a great job. Fair enough. Paula loved it as much as she loves the rusty colors of Death Valley because that is how she is dressed tonight. She has lots of red bling on. Simon (who is wearing a jacket over his Hanes fitted tee tonight) thinks the song is dreary. So is this supposed to be a bad reflection on the kids? Get a person who can write an upbeat song for goodness sake. How long has it been since a Titanic-style ballad has been in the top 40. He feels that Bo has to do better if he is going to walk away with the title. There are signs that say “Ayla loves Bo” and it is being held by Bo’s family so I am assuming that Ayla really knows Bo. The other sign says “Miss Ross’ class loves Bo.” Miss Ross has class.

Song #2 (hehe I said #2) Carrie Underwood “Inside Your Heaven”
“Inside Your Heaven,” you have to be kidding me. I thought this was a family show. Okay, I promise I won’t go on for an hour about this one but pleeeeease. Do they really expect a hit from a sing titled “Inside Your Heaven?” I can only imagine how utterly gross the lyrics are going to be. This song is so syrupy that it is featured prominently on every table at IHOP. Carrie looks refreshing and heavenly although she is back to wearing jeans, why why why can’t we dress up just once for the final show! At least her jeans have appliqués on them. Appliqued jeans are sauce! Poor Carrie, this song seriously disturbs me. Not only how it is sung because it is all over the place, but also how it is arranged. Who are these mystery people so that we may throw Fantasia CD’s at them! The whole contraption is ludicrous! GAAAH! Did you just hear that? I distinctly heard one of the lyrics just now. I kid you not it says “Take me to the place you cry from.” No, seriously!!! The tear duct? What are we talking about here? Sigh….I’m so scared for these two. So much talent in the wrong hands. The backup singers or choir are back for this song as well and are highly overrated if you ask me. I know you didn’t and I also know that no one has rated them either but I still think they are overrated. Carrie swings way out at the end of the song and holds this really long note. She can hold a note a lot longer than Bo can. Randy has, guess what, good and bad news. Bad is that he didn’t like the song (REALLY?) and good is that in the end, she brought it home. Paula thought she sang well but there were a couple of rough parts and even though this is a singing competition, she says who cares if you hit a rough spot here or there. That’s the spirit Paula! Simon states that round one goes to Carrie.

In the audience are Pig Boy, A. Fed and The Vonz (half-hearted exclamation points to all three) (!)

Song #3 BoBice! “Vehicle” from this season’s 70’s Night
So this was Bo’s favorite song of the season. I was fully expecting the much-milked acapella ditty from last week but I suppose a union rep for the band had a few words with Simon Fuller after last week. The Head states something about this being the song that brought Bo into the spotlight. I think he means that this is when we realized he was the best rocker out of the two. In actuality a lot of that had to do with the fact that Constantine sang a Bee Gee’s song. Bo feels comfortable in this territory, like a second skin. He takes control of the performance and the stage and glad hands all his BoJesus disciples that have run up to the stage like they are at an MTV Awards show. Bo’s outfit is crazy. His shirt is denim in the worst way but down below he has slacks on…a very dressy pair of slacks. Shiny slacks. On second thought, he might be onto something here. Can’t say much else about the performance. It rocks out. Randy is over all the sappy original fair so he is excited to see Bo back on familiar turf. He says that’s what he’s talking about. What is he talking about? Paula loves the true and authentic Bo that we all know and love. Simon welcomes Bo back to the competition.

A better view at the row behind the judges reveals a pouty Constantine, Anwar with no dreads anymore! Nikko looking like a badass with shades that he just will not take off no matter what, Nads, Plant City, the animated corpse of Julia DaMato masquerading at Lindsey Cardinale and a very raccoon eyed Mikalah. Honey do your eyes glue shut when you close them?

Song #4 Carrie Underwood “Independence Day” from this season’s Country Night
Groan, I am sure that this is really her forte so pardon me for criticizing her but does she really think she is going to win this thing singing Country when given the chance. She already adds her signature twang to everything she does, why go full-on country now? My philosophy on this whole thing is that Carrie whether win or lose will go on to record a very successful country album. As a matter of fact, if she does win American Idol, a lot of her fans will be disappointed unless they follow her over to a country album, she most likely will not do the pop diva thing that Kelly Clarkson has made a name for herself doing. Just look at Josh Gracin. He came in what, fourth in competition two years ago? He is a big name in country now (as hard as it is for me to admit that). Carrie is currently #2 (I said #2..again) at the least so it is almost a given. Bo needs to win this, Carrie will be alright either way. Bo will be alright either way but that is beside the point. Carrie has a variation on her first outfit but the exception here is the strange snakeskin boa or scarf around her neck…gross. Even though it clearly wasn’t as stellar as Bo’s hand shaking performance, Randy is compelled to welcome her back to the competition as well. Otherwise, we won’t have that less than 2% margin in the voting tomorrow. Paula thought it was brilliant, a great vocal. Simon disagrees and said that it sounded rather strange to him, not a good vocal. Round two goes to Bo. Interestingly there is no booing from the House of Yes. To ensure total tension, The Head reminds everyone that regardless what Simon says it is a very close race.

Commercial break. I have a great idea for next season. Why not have the Idol contestants perform Fear Factor stunts in addition to having to perform songs? You know that it would sell and we would have an entirely new angle to critique from. “Did you see last night’s Idol? There is no way that Vonzell is going to win, she only got three sheeps bladders down. And did you see her dress, totally not her color. What was that song she sang? Oh she is so gone.”

The XL 106.7 commercial with the freaky singing mouth stalks me still.

We come back from commercial where The Head has made himself at home from the Tech Booth again. Goes to show you it doesn’t matter where they tape it, he will always go bug those guys. The jokes on him as one of the techs totally hams it up for the camera behind him.

Song #5 BoBice! “Inside Your Heaven”
It’s Bo’s turn to sing about how girly he is wanting to find the place where the tears come from or whatever. You can tell it is killing him to have to sing this. But what makes Bo the one to beat in this competition is his ability to sing it as if his life depends on it. He approaches it like a potter to his clay gently crafting his voice around the gray mess that is “Inside Your Heaven.” There is emotion, anger, seriousness. Bo has his fancy dinner jacket on for this song, ready to sing for his supper. His outfit is much better than the others. I really like his intentionally dirty jeans. He makes this song almost listenable if you didn’t have to actually listen to it. When he is finished, the House of Yes goes crazy. Grandma is a riot. The camera catches her doing some strange bird call. Randy forever puts Bo in his dawg pound. He loves the song now that Bo has taken a crack at it. Paula likes how he went outside his range and did well with it. Simon notes that this is the first time he has seen Bo’s nerves, he know that was a hard song for him to sing. He says that he outsang Carrie. He sort of kisses Bo’s butt by telling him that if this is the last time they get to talk, he wants him to know that it was an absolute pleasure having him on the show. Endorsement!!! Get this, once Simon says that, Paula is seen clapping and shooting her fist into the air with a loud “yes!” Should we even tune in tomorrow?

Song #6 Carrie Underwood “Long Long Road”
Carrie has no tricks up her sleeve. If she does, now would be a good time to use them. It starts out not very good with a lot of sybillance on the mic which isn’t really her fault, it is the sound board guy’s job to fix it. It keeps inflecting sharply. The sound guy must really hate her. For all of her plasticy performances in the past, this is the most heartfelt. You can tell that she is taking advantage of that last performance spot and making a memorable one. I hardly noticed this song when Bo sang it but now with Carrie, it feels and sounds really good. I like Carrie’s version of this better. She has decided to dress up for this one, it appears she has thought this one out. She is in a very nice little black dress to match the choir who do a Ruben and join her on stage in the middle of the performance. Then she just lets loose and tears it up at the end. Her final chorus has a note so long you expect her to pass out and she almost does. She exhausts herself to the point that she can’t carry the final note past a few seconds. That’s okay because everyone is still cheering from her glory note. If she doesn’t win the competition, she should be proud of her final attempt with this song. She is crying at the end, I feel deeply moved by that. It is a long journey that has finally come to an end. Randy gives her a standing dawg “O.” Paula says something about how she has never faced something so scary, by she I mean Carrie. Simon gladly says that she has done enough to win this competition thereby adding some actual and factual edge to the voting. So whether he means it or not, it makes things tight. The Producers are fat and happy. It is so sweet, during her numbers, she mouths “Hi dad, I love you” to the camera.

I didn’t happen to watch the worst auditions ever show as is the tradition at my household so the montage at the end of the show was very refreshing. I had forgotten some of the crazy people that we met early on. During the recap of tonight’s performances I notice that you can tell Carrie’s split ends get more noticeable as the night progresses. How is it that her hair is in worse shape tonight than Bo’s?! I just don’t know who is going to win this thing! I was pretty sure up to tonight that it was going to be Bo hands down but now I am saying that it is going to be Bo hands in the air. Which is my way of saying Bo but I have the right to change it 5 minutes before the reveal.

Simon has the best line of the entire night when asked who he would like to thank this season. Given the opportunity, he would like to thank America for finally listening to him this year. Amen, what a riot!

Alright then. 24 hours from now we will have ourselves a new Idol and we will still be the same but we will have a new household name to croak at the water cooler. Look for my recap on your doorstep or in your driveway bright and early Thursday morning!

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